Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Digital Endoscope

How to select the best tiny, exploratory camera for your personal or professional use.

A digital endoscope is a device that gives you a view on a screen of those places you otherwise can’t see: sink drains, engine cylinders, and ear canals, for example—or that tiny little space between the car seat and the console where you think you dropped your wedding ring.

A length of cable with a lens and light at the end allows you to get a view inside those small cracks and crevices, and your smartphone or an attached screen displays whatever is in front of the lens. Some models even allow you to take photos and videos during your exploration. A digital endoscope with a long focal length provides a big-picture view, which is ideal for examining the surrounding areas. An otoscope, which is an endoscope designed for use in ears, allows you to perform a home examination and is ideal for telemedicine.Endoscopes vary in things like focal length, probe length and width, brightness, and specific uses. Here’s a guide to choosing the best endoscope for you:

Extended Reach

This device has an LED light with six power settings and a long cable. DEPSTECH

Check Price

If you want a digital endoscope for tasks like inspecting a dryer vent for lint buildup, investigating a clog in a drainpipe, checking an engine cylinder, or simply taking a close-up look at something, get an endoscope with a semi-flexible cable. It will allow you to work the cable around bends and turns that would snag a soft cable. Attachments like a hook (so you can retrieve items, such as a toy stuck in a drainpipe), a mirror (which allows you to see to the side of the probe), and a magnet (which will pick up errant screws and the like) make an endoscope not just helpful, but an investment.

Clear Resolution

You can insert an SD card inside this model to store images, which is ideal for telemedicine. Anykit

Check Price

An otoscope is an endoscope designed to use inside ears. It has a short focal length, so you can get a clear view of the inside of the ear to check for infection or earwax blockage. Some have caps that fit onto the end of the probe so you won’t endanger yourself by inserting it too far. You can also use these devices to check a child’s nasal cavity or mouth, and some people use them to check pets that are prone to ear infections. For telemedicine, an otoscope is invaluable—you can send a photo to a doctor for evaluation. Look for a model that comes with an adjustable light and an earwax removal tool, so you can easily remove blockages if necessary.

Easy to Use

This model has a focal length of 1.2 to 8 inches, which allows for a good look at the surroundings. NIDAGE

Check Price

An endoscope with a relatively long focal length provides you with big-picture views. That’s important if you want to check the condition of the inside of a long pipe, search for a leak in a vent, or examine insulation behind a wall. A long focal length is also helpful if you’re not sure of the track you’ll be taking, as it will allow you to get a good look around before you venture farther. An endoscope with a long cable is extremely helpful in such cases, so you won’t have to cut your search short.