The Best Borescopes of 2022

Get a good look inside your home’s walls to see pipes, wires, and other hard-to-see parts with the best borescopes. 

By Tom Scalisi | Published May 25, 2022 12:46 PM

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Best Borescope

Photo: amazon.com

Even for DIYers with excellent eyesight, there are certain barriers through which they’ll never see. Whether it’s an engine block, a pipe, a wall cavity, or even a crack between two surfaces, getting a good look at damage or a fallen item in a hard-to-reach spot can seem impossible—unless there’s a borescope nearby.

A borescope is essentially a camera on the end of an arm. Users can place these cameras into tight areas for a better look at what’s causing the issue, helping them to formulate a plan on how to fix it. There are a variety on the market, each with helpful features for specific uses.

For a better look at how to choose the best borescope, keep reading this guide to find out some of the top features to consider and check out the list of some of the best borescopes on the market below.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Bosch GIC 120 Professional Cordless Inspection Camera
  2. RUNNER-UP: Ridgid Micro CA-25 Digital Inspection Camera
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Depstech Wireless IP67 Waterproof Borescope
  4. UPGRADE PICK: Milwaukee M12 M-Spector 360 3 Ft Kit
  5. BEST WIRELESS DISPLAY: Klein Tools Wi-Fi Borescope ET20
  6. BEST BUILT-IN DISPLAY: Depstech 1080P HD Dual Lens Waterproof Camera
  7. BEST PLUG-IN DISPLAY: Klein Tools Borescope for Android Devices ET16
  8. BEST WITH MEMORY CARD: Bosch Universal Inspect Inspection Camera
  9. BEST ACCESSORIES: Anhendeler 1080P HD Digital Borescope Camera
  10. ALSO CONSIDER: Depstech 1080P Wireless Camera with Ultra Thin Probe

Best Borescopes

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Borescope

While the features and capabilities of many cable-mounted cameras might seem pretty straightforward, there are a few points to consider before selecting one. The following are some of the most important considerations to keep in mind when searching for the best inspection camera.

Rigid vs. Semi-Rigid Cable vs. Flexible Cable

There are three main types of borescope arms: rigid, semi-rigid, and flexible cable. They each work a bit differently, but a bit of background will help when choosing among the three.

  • Rigid borescopes have strong, stiff arms. They’re excellent for straight and vertical inspections where a flexible arm might not do the trick. However, they aren’t able to bend with curved pipes or snake around corners, and they can be tough to store.
  • A semi-rigid borescope has a bit of flexibility, but it will also hold its shape. This cable type allows for bending around corners, but it will also stand vertically for overhead inspections. It combines the best of the other two types.
  • Flexible cable borescopes are able to snake around corners and reach anywhere the users can place them. However, it can be hard to advance one through a pipe without the assistance of an additional pole to push it.

Camera and Image Quality

The camera and image quality are huge factors in considering a borescope. The device needs to offer a clear image, particularly when inspecting a very small space like an engine cylinder or plumbing fixture. It’s not uncommon to find cameras with multiple megapixels, offering resolutions of 640 by 480, 1280 by 720, 1600 by 1200, and 1920 by 1080.

And to help get those sharp images, many borescopes feature built-in LED lights that can illuminate dark spaces. This can be significantly helpful with plumbing pipes and wall cavities where using an additional light source isn’t possible.

Borescope cameras also come in varying diameters, and the size may determine which option to purchase. For instance, some larger borescope cameras might not fit in smaller spark-plug ports, while very small cameras might not be as durable as needed. Sizes for DIYers generally range between 5 and 15 millimeters.

Power Source

Almost all borescopes are battery-powered aside from some industrial models meant for  long-term inspections. However, there are several types of batteries, including replaceable, rechargeable, and built-in rechargeable.

Borescopes with replaceable batteries typically use 9V or AA batteries, and users will have to keep a few extra in their tool kit to make sure their borescope is always ready for the next job.

Rechargeable batteries are typically from brand-specific battery lines such as the 12V or 20V batteries used to run cordless power tools. Built-in rechargeable batteries stay inside the borescope at all times, and the user simply plugs a charger into the unit to refill drained batteries.

Built-in Screen vs. Wi-Fi Connection vs. Plug-in

For a borescope to be effective, the user needs to be able to see what’s going on in real time. To accomplish this, most models have built-in screens that display exactly what the camera is seeing. These models require very little setup time, but they can be bulky and the screens aren’t always top-notch.

However, some models offer Wi-Fi connectivity in place of built-in screens. These models emit their own Wi-Fi signal, and users must download an app and connect to the signal to access the camera’s view on their smartphone’s screen. These units are streamlined to carry around, but they can be more challenging to set up.

There are also plug-in borescopes that connect directly to the smartphone with a plug. The user must simply plug in the borescope and then open an app to use the phone as the camera’s display.

Additional Features

There are some additional features and accessories that users might want to consider. The most helpful include hooks and claws that can grab items blocking plumbing pipes. Other features include an LED light that makes it easier to see in dark spaces and a bag that helps with transportation and storage.

Also, some folks might want to look for borescopes that can record their entire inspection on memory cards. Others might appreciate mirrors that connect to the end of the camera, allowing the user to see around corners, or magnets that can collect small metal items like keys or fasteners that are unreachable by hand.

Finally, consider choosing a water-resistant borescope. These models might offer resistance ratings such as IP67, which indicates that it will resist water and dirt penetration.

Our Top Picks

That’s a lot of information about the best borescope features, but some shoppers might not know which kind is right for their needs. The following list of products should be helpful in determining the best borescope for a wide range of situations.

Best Overall

Best Borescope Bosch
Photo: amazon.com

Those looking for a high-quality borescope might consider the Bosch Professional Inspection Camera. This borescope features an 8.5-millimeter camera on the end of a 120-centimeter semi-rigid cable for checking pipes, mechanical components, and other tight spaces without full disassembly. It features three built-in LEDs as well, negating the need for additional light.

This model from Bosch features a built-in 2.7-inch display with an “auto-up” feature that automatically rotates the display, which allows for better orientation and easier inspections. This model runs on four replaceable AA batteries. While it might be a bit pricey, Bosch’s durable construction and ease of use might offset the cost for some DIYers and pros.

Product Specs

  • Display type: Built-in
  • Power source: Replaceable (4 AA) batteries
  • Included accessories: Hook, magnet, mirror

Pros

  • Durable semi-rigid cable
  • Built-in display with “auto-up” feature
  • Built-in LEDs

Cons

  • It’s a little pricey

Get the Bosch professional borescope on Amazon.

Runner-Up

The Best Borescope Option: Ridgid Micro CA-25 Digital Inspection Camera
Photo: amazon.com

Anyone concerned about whether a camera can hold up to heavy-duty use may want to think about the Micro CA-25 Digital Inspection Camera from Ridgid. This model features a heavy-duty 17-millimeter camera with four adjustable LEDs on the end of a semi-rigid cable, allowing it to handle tough inspection locations like plumbing and sewer pipes, though it may be too large to fit through some spark-plug ports.

This model features a built-in display that is 2.4 inches across. The display automatically rotates up to 180 degrees for easy and comfortable viewing. The camera comes with a hook, magnet, and mirror for looking around corners when necessary. It also comes with an RCA cable that connects to a monitor for improved picture quality.

Product Specs

  • Display type: Built-in
  • Power source: Replaceable (4 AA) batteries
  • Included accessories: Magnet, mirror, hook, RCA cable

Pros

  • RCA cable for connecting to monitor
  • Heavy-duty camera
  • Rotating display

Cons

  • Large-size camera might not fit into tight spots

Get the Ridgid borescope on Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Borescope Option: Depstech Wireless IP67 Waterproof Borescope
Photo: amazon.com

Anyone who needs high-tech, high-quality viewing at a low price might find the Depstech wireless borescope to be a good fit. This model features a semi-rigid cable that is 11.5 feet long. The 2.0-megapixel camera can shoot high-def videos in several resolutions, including 640 by 480, 1280 by 720, 1600 by 1200, and 1920 by 1080. The camera also has six built-in LEDs for lighting dark spaces.

This model from Depstech features wireless connectivity, producing its own signal that can connect with a smartphone. This provides high-quality imagery, allowing for detailed inspections of pipes, engine components, wall cavities, and other areas. It features a rechargeable onboard battery as well as IP67-rated waterproofing. It comes with a hook, mirror, and magnet, but a carrying case is not included.

Product Specs

  • Display type: Wi-Fi
  • Power source: Rechargeable onboard battery
  • Included accessories: Hook, mirror, magnet

Pros

  • IP67 weather resistance
  • Multiple resolutions available
  • Long cable for deep inspections

Cons

  • No carrying case

Get the Depstech waterproof borescope on AmazonDepstech, or Walmart.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Borescope Option: Milwaukee M12 M-Spector 360 3 Ft Kit
Photo: homedepot.com

When an inspection job calls for awkward angles, Milwaukee’s M12 M-Spector inspection camera might be the best tool for the job. This borescope has a built-in camera that swivels 360 degrees, allowing users to position it at any angle that allows for clear viewing. Also, the compact 2.7-inch LCD screen is never cumbersome and allows for easy viewing.

This model features a 9-millimeter camera that processes images in 640 by 480 format for clear videos. Its semi-rigid cable is 3 feet long, and it comes with a hook, magnet, mirror, pipe guide attachment, and carrying case. This model also uses the brand’s M12 battery system, and it comes with a battery, charger, and case. The downside? The cost makes this tool an investment.

Product Specs

  • Display type: Built-in
  • Power source: Rechargeable 12V battery
  • Included accessories: Hook, magnet, mirror, pipe guide, case

Pros

  • M12 battery system
  • Swiveling display head
  • Full kit of accessories

Cons

  • It’s expensive

Get the Milwaukee borescope at The Home Depot.

Best Wireless Display

The Best Borescope Option: Klein Tools Wi-Fi Borescope ET20
Photo: amazon.com

The Klein Tools Wi-Fi Borescope ET20 Inspection Camera might be worth the investment for folks looking for smartphone compatibility. This borescope features an onboard Wi-Fi transmitter that users can connect to their phones, allowing them to see the 640 by 480 recordings through an app on their phones. The app not only acts as a monitor but will also store videos for later viewing.

This model has an onboard rechargeable battery, charging cable, and a 6-foot-long semi-rigid cable for reaching into tight spaces. The camera is 9 millimeters in diameter and features six built-in adjustable LEDs. While it does come with a hook, bag, and a pocket clip, it’s short on other accessories.

Product Specs

  • Display type: Wi-Fi
  • Power source: Rechargeable onboard battery
  • Included accessories: Pocket clip, hook, carrying case, charging cord

Pros

  • Built-in Wi-Fi transmitter
  • 6-foot semi-rigid cable
  • Adjustable built-in LEDs
  • App stores recordings

Cons

  • Limited accessories

Get the Klein Tools ET20 borescope on Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best Built-In Display

The Best Borescope Option: Depstech 1080P HD Dual Lens Waterproof Camera
Photo: amazon.com

Displays like those on the Depstech Dual Lens borescope don’t come along every day. This model features a large 4.3-inch-wide display complete with 1080P resolution for clear, detailed pictures of repair areas. And with two cameras on the end of the semi-rigid cable (one forward-facing and one to the side), the user can split the screen to see both angles at once.

This rechargeable-battery model has other features to like as well, including the built-in controls on the screen for adjusting LED brightness, activating the camera, accessing the menu, and playing videos. Also, the 16.5-foot cable will reach into very deep spaces, though it could be difficult to feed through a pipe with one hand while holding the monitor with the other. It does, however, come with a hook, magnet, and bag.

Product Specs

  • Display type: Built-in
  • Power source: Rechargeable onboard battery
  • Included accessories: Hook, magnet, bag

Pros

  • 16.5-foot camera cable
  • Wide 4.3-inch display
  • Dual cameras: one forward, one to the side

Cons

  • Long cable can be difficult to maneuver with one hand

Get the Depstech dual lens borescope on Amazon or Depstech.

Best Plug-In Display

The Best Borescope Option: Klein Tools Borescope for Android Devices ET16
Photo: amazon.com

Those who prefer a compact tool that can plug into an Android-enabled device may want to consider the ET16 borescope from Klein Tools. This device features a built-in cord with USB type C and micro-USB adapters for linking with smartphones, providing high-quality video through the Klein Borescope App.

Along with the plug-in capabilities, this model comes with a semi-rigid cable that measures 10 feet long. On the end of that cable is an IP67 9-millimeter camera with six LEDs (with adjustable brightness). As this borescope is powered by the device it plugs into, there are no batteries. And while it does come with a carrying bag, no additional accessories are available.

Product Specs

  • Display type: Plug-in
  • Power source: Device-powered
  • Included accessories: Bag

Pros

  • Plugs into Android devices
  • IP67 camera with built-in LEDs
  • Powered by device; no batteries to worry about

Cons

  • No accessories other than a carrying bag

Get the Klein Tools ET16 borescope on Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best With Memory Card

The Best Borescope Option: Bosch Universal Inspect Inspection Camera
Photo: amazon.com

Bosch’s Universal Inspect Inspection Camera has memory options that many DIYers and pros might find useful. This device not only records inspection with onboard storage but also features a microSD port for installing a removable memory card, allowing the user to easily transfer footage to a laptop for closer inspection.

This device features an IP67-rated camera on the end of a 3-foot-long semi-rigid cable. That cable stores onboard the device by wrapping around the length of the borescope while still allowing the user to access the camera for video review. The biggest downside is the screen is relatively small, at just 2.3 inches.

Product Specs

  • Display type: Built-in
  • Power source: Rechargeable (4 AA) batteries
  • Included accessories: Hook, mirror, magnet, bag

Pros

  • Onboard storage as well as microSD
  • Onboard cable storage
  • IP67 camera on 3-foot semi-rigid cable

Cons

  • Relatively small screen (2.3 inches)

Get the Bosch universal borescope on Amazon.

Best Accessories

The Best Borescope Option: Anhendeler 1080P HD Digital Borescope Camera
Photo: amazon.com

Those looking for a full complement of accessories to come along with an affordable borescope may give some thought to Anhendeler’s Digital Borescope Camera with lights. This kit comes with a camera cap to protect it, a hook, a mirror, a magnet, and a microSD card, allowing the user to tackle inspections, retrievals, and recordings all from one affordable kit.

This onboard rechargeable battery model features a 4.3-inch display with 1080P picture, showing users the areas they’re inspecting in great detail. The 8-millimeter camera is IP67-rated, and the semi-rigid cable is 16.5 feet long. That length can be a hassle to work with if only one hand is available, but it will perform deep inspections. The only downside to this accessory-rich kit is that it doesn’t come with a carrying case.

Product Specs

  • Display type: Built-in
  • Power source: Rechargeable onboard
  • Included accessories: Cap, mirror, hook, magnet, microSD card

Pros

  • Comes with a full complement of accessories
  • Affordable price point
  • 1080P display for clear viewing

Cons

  • No carrying case

Get the Anhendeler borescope on Amazon.

Also Consider

The Best Borescope Option: Depstech 1080P Wireless Camera with Ultra Thin Probe
Photo: amazon.com

Depstech’s Wireless Camera could be just the ticket for someone looking to perform inspections in very tight, hard-to-reach places. This device features a camera that is just 5.5 millimeters in diameter, allowing it to slip through some very restricted spaces. And with its 16.5-foot semi-rigid cable, it has the length to reach those tight spaces as well.

This WiFi-connected camera syncs with the user’s phone to provide video in 1920 by 1080, 11600 by 1200, 1280 by 720, and 640 by 480 resolutions. It has an onboard rechargeable battery as well. The camera is IP67-rated for weather resistance, though its very slender design might not make it a great choice for very heavy-duty applications. However, it does come with a hook, mirror, magnet, and USB cable.

Product Specs

  • Display type: Wi-Fi
  • Power source: Rechargeable onboard
  • Included accessories: Hook, mirror, magnet, USB cable

Pros

  • Thin probe (just 5.5 millimeters)
  • Connects via onboard Wi-Fi transmitter
  • IP67 water-resistance rating

Cons

  • Thin camera might not be suitable for heavy-duty applications

Get the Depstech wireless borescope on Amazon or Walmart.

Our Verdict

When it comes to an overall heavy-duty borescope that is sure to get most jobs done, check out the Bosch professional borescope for its auto-up feature and durable construction. However, for those who’d prefer to save a bit of cash without giving up functionality, the Depstech wireless borescope is another good option.

How We Chose the Best Borescopes

Putting together a list of the best borescopes is tough work. There are lots of models to consider, so we needed to be as discerning as possible.

First, we called upon our experience as DIYers and time spent using borescopes on various projects to determine which features we thought would be important. Next, we performed extensive product research to compile a list of borescopes that we felt met the standards of most home users.

Finally, we compared each borescope’s price to its features to ensure they offered enough value. We threw out the models that didn’t make the grade and chose only the best models for this guide.

FAQs

The above might be a lot of information on the best borescopes, but the picture still might not be entirely clear for every shopper. The following includes answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about borescopes and inspection cameras.

Q. Can a borescope view side to side?

Some borescopes have side-mounted cameras that allow the user to see 90 degrees from the tip of the cable. For those that don’t, many come with mirrors that can do the trick.

Q. Can I scratch my borescope?

Yes, borescope lenses can scratch. A liquid scratch remover meant for watches or eyeglasses can help.

Q. What else can I use a borescope for?

A borescope’s main function is to inspect pipes, but with a hook attached, it may be able to remove clogs or retrieve dropped keys. With the magnet, it can pick up dropped hardware or even metal shavings when necessary.

Q. What’s the difference between a borescope and an endoscope?

The term “endoscope” is often used interchangeably with “borescope,” but endoscopes are actually medical tools. Borescopes are suitable for mechanical use only.

Q. How much does a borescope cost?

Most borescopes for DIYers cost between $50 and $250, but they can be much more expensive.