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Published Sep. 27, 2021

Problems often lurk in places you can’t see. That’s where digital endoscopes come into the picture. They’re basically a small digital camera on the end of a semi-rigid cable. Many connect to phones or tablets, while others have their own screens. LED lights and waterproof construction allow these little cameras to take a look inside areas of the home you thought you’d never see. 

These handy cameras make an excellent addition to a toolbox because they save money and time. For example, instead of tearing apart an entire wall, you can use an endoscope to pinpoint a problem. Make sure you’ve got compatible technology and save yourself some time with a camera meant for unreachable spaces. Here are our recommendations.

How We Picked the Best Digital Endoscopes

Methodology 

Endoscopes are a handy tool to have around for unexpected emergencies. Everything from wiring issues to a dropped wedding ring can be solved with an endoscope. When making our picks, we started with image quality and connectivity. Are the images of sufficient quality to diagnose an issue? Can it easily share those images? How and where does it store images for later review? 

Lighting and battery life played a role, too. LEDs eat through battery life, but they’re necessary for many of the dark, tight places that could use a light and camera. We looked for a balance between the effectiveness of the lights with the battery life.

The Best Digital Endoscopes: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: DEPSTECH Wireless Endoscope

Versatile and Reliable

This wireless model’s compatibility and versatility work with iOS and Android devices. DEPSTECH

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Why It Made The Cut: This DEPSTECH connects with iOS and Android, has six adjustable LED lights, and captures stills and video, making this versatile endoscope our top pick. 

Specs:

  • Compatibility: iOS, Android, WiFi-enabled devices
  • Cable length: 11.5 feet
  • IP rating: IP67

Pros:

  • Compatible with iOS and Android and doesn’t require an adaptor
  • 6 adjustable LED lights
  • Connects wirelessly 
  • Captures JPEG stills and AVI videos

Cons: 

  • Short battery life

The DEPSTECH Wireless Endoscope doesn’t come with its own screen. Instead, this digital camera connects via WiFi to iOS 9+ and Android 5.0+ devices. It’s controlled and viewed through a free app. Three or four devices can connect through the app at once, allowing you to share views with other people. The camera has six adjustable LED lights around it to illuminate dark spaces. 

The camera takes JPEG photos and AVI videos that are automatically saved to the connected device’s camera roll. It has a fixed rather than a zoom focus, which requires some getting used to. This model takes some practice to use because if you get too close or too far, the image gets blurry. 

The DEPSTECH includes three tools: a mirror, hook, and magnet to get better views and remove debris. You can bend and shape the cable as needed, and it will hold its shape. An IP67 rating means this model can get wet (not submerged) and will still keep on ticking. The downside with this handy camera is that it runs out of battery quickly. Many users connect it to a portable power supply to extend the run time.

Best Screen: 7″ Big Screen HD Industrial Endoscope

Big and Bright

This scope comes with its own seven-inch screen, from which you can control the camera functions. Oiiwak

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Why It Made The Cut: Of the endoscopes that come with their own screen, this model’s large, bright seven-inch screen outperforms them all. 

Specs:

  • Compatibility: NA
  • Cable length: 16.4 feet
  • IP rating: IP68

Pros:

  • Large, bright 7-inch screen
  • Not required to wirelessly connect to other devices to get a view
  • 5- to 6-hour battery life

Cons: 

  • Cable not rigid enough for the length

The 7″ Big Screen HD Industrial Endoscope provides clear images on a seven-inch anti-glare screen. The screen also contains anti-shake technology to clarify images and video in real time. All of the camera controls are on the screen, so as you see something you need to capture, you can press the button as you view the problem area. However, this model comes with a handle to house the cable and mobility controls so you can keep your eyes on the camera.  

The camera’s IP68 rating can handle wet environments, and a 32GB memory card stores 15,000 images or six hours of video. The only issue with this one is that the cable isn’t quite rigid enough for its length. Sometimes, when it’s fully extended, it can feel a little floppy. 

Best with LEDs: DEPSTECH Dual-Lens Industrial Endoscope

Side and Front Views

This model’s front and side cameras both get impressive LED illumination. DEPSTECH

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Why It Made The Cut: DEPSTECH’s side and front camera both offer excellent images, but it’s the LEDs that light the way for the cameras, earning this one the recognition for the best LEDs. 

Specs:

  • Compatibility: NA
  • Cable length: 16.5 feet
  • IP rating: IP68

Pros:

  • Front and side cameras, each with their own LEDs
  • 7 adjustable LED lights
  • Single or dual camera views

Cons: 

  • Small screen

The DEPSTECH Dual-Lens Industrial Endoscope shines light into darkness with seven LEDs and two cameras. The LED lights have variable brightness adjustability to keep images in focus and visible. The side and front cameras can work independently or together to get better angles and views.

The DEPSTECH comes with two attachments, a  magnet and hook, that attach to the end of the 16.5-foot semi-rigid cable. Like other semi-rigid cables, it can bend and hold different shapes to get into challenging spaces. 

Images show up on a 4.5-inch screen, which is on the small side and one of our least favorite features with this endoscope. However, it takes photos and videos and stores them on a removable 32GB TF card. So even if you can’t see it well on the screen, you can transfer the images to another device for closer inspection. 

Best Wireless: NIDAGE Wireless Endoscope

Narrow and Compatible

This endoscope’s narrow 0.21-inch camera and versatile compatibility let it reach into tight places and connect with the latest technology. NIDAGE

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Why It Made The Cut: The NIDAGE’s slim design can fit in smaller places than most, and it’s compatible with both iOS and Android devices, making it one of the best wireless endoscopes.

Specs: 

  • Compatibility: iOS 9+ and  Android 5.0+
  • Cable length: 5 feet
  • IP rating: IP67

Pros:

  • Narrow, 0.21-inch camera head
  • Quick app download and setup
  • Excellent image quality

Cons: 

  • Short cable

The NIDAGE Wireless Endoscope connects with iOS 9+ and Android 5+ devices through WiFi. It gets a strong connection signal and operates through a free app. For a wireless device, it’s easy to set up, with many reviewers doing it within a couple of minutes. Images come through clear and bright once the app is up and going. 

The narrow 0.21-inch camera can fit in spaces many endoscopes cannot. This model comes with some attachments to get better views and move items. However, the attachments expand the diameter. The camera alone has a narrow width. 

The five-foot cable is long enough for engine repair and basic plumbing. Professionals will probably need a longer cable.  

Best Value: USB Endoscope Type C Borescope

Plug and Play

This endoscope can connect to several devices using one of three connector options. T TAKMLY

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Why It Made The Cut: This model’s three connector options let you use phones, tablets, and laptops as screens, expanding the usability at an affordable price. 

Specs: 

  • Compatibility: USB, Micro USB, or Type-C devices 
  • Cable length: 16.4 feet
  • IP rating: IP67

Pros:

  • Connects via USB, Micro USB, or Type-C ports
  • Adjustable brightness levels with 6 LEDs
  • Narrow 0.21-inch camera

Cons: 

  • Requires app download

The USB Endoscope Type C Borescope doesn’t have a screen, nor does it operate wirelessly. You will save some cash because it’s a wired camera that connects to phones, tablets, and laptops using one of three connectors—USB, Micro USB, Type-C. However, it cannot access any already loaded camera apps. Like many other models, this endoscope requires an app download to operate. 

Beyond that, there are only positive things to say about this endoscope. The camera is a narrow 0.21-inches, fitting into narrower spaces than some of the competitors. Hook, mirror, and magnet attachments expand the uses but also expand the diameter. However, they’re useful for moving or removing items that are out of reach. This model brightens its way through dark, damp areas with six LEDs and adjustable brightness.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Digital Endoscope

 Endoscope Type

  • Wired: Wired endoscopes connect directly to another device like a phone, tablet, or laptop. They require downloading an app but provide bigger images than those that come with their own screen. Compatibility may be an issue, so make sure the endoscope and digital device run on the same operating system.
  • Wireless: Wireless models use WiFi to connect to a phone or tablet with a compatible operating system. The best models can connect with either iOS or Android systems. However, some can connect only with one or the other. Make sure you have a compatible operating system and that it’s up to date enough to work with the endoscope. 
  • All-in-one: These endoscopes have their own screens. Look for a model with a screen that’s big enough to really see what you’re looking at. Small screens may save space, but they might make it hard to diagnose problems.

Image Quality

It’s hard to see what’s happening if you can’t actually see what’s happening. Images should be relatively crisp and clear. Don’t expect magazine quality, but adequate lighting, image stabilizing, and camera quality will make a difference. Be sure you understand whether the camera works in zoom or fixed focus. How close you get to the object will vary with the magnifying methods. 

Cable Length

Endoscopes have a semi-rigid cable. The rigidity allows you to adjust the cable’s shape to reach around and through different areas. For nonprofessionals, a cable that’s ten feet long or less is probably plenty of length. Pros, on the other hand, may need significantly more length, up to 30 feet or more to see down pipes and other hidden areas of the home. 

FAQs

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

An endoscope is a type of borescope. Generally, endoscopes are used on living creatures, while the term borescope is used on cameras that have mechanical and industrial applications. 

Q: What is an endoscope camera used for? 

A digital endoscope camera can be used for all kinds of jobs around the house. You can drill holes in the wall and use it to look for wiring, dead rodents, or insulation. Waterproof models (which most of them are) can enter pipes and plumbing. Use them in the garage to check inside engines and other inner workings.

Q: Who uses a digital endoscope?

DIY homeowners, professional plumbers, and electricians are the most common users. 

Final Thoughts

The best digital endoscopes let us peer into places that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to see. The DEPSTECH Wireless Endoscope brings the full package to the table with attachments, clear images, and broad compatibility. However, if you want something in a lower price range, the USB Endoscope Type C Borescope provides similar compatibility and utility, though it’s not wireless.

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