Do you need or want to see a certain area of your car’s engine, but don’t want to take it apart? If so, a car inspection camera or borescope may be just what you need. With a borescope or inspection camera you can carefully negotiate it into places that you can’t normally see or reach.
There is a wide range of inspection cameras on the market that include all-in-one units, Bluetooth ones that connect to your phone and more. In this article we have put together a list of some of the best of these inspection cameras and borescopes, and we have also included some general buying advice as well, so that you can find the right inspection camera or borescope for your needs and budget.
Best Borescopes & Car Inspection Cameras
1: DEPSTECH 5.0MP HD Endoscope for iOS & Android Devices
As most of us have an android or iOS device on hand, a wireless endoscope or borescope such as DEPSTECH’s 5.0MP HD one is an excellent option. This particular model is a mid-priced option and has racked up close to 2,000 reviews while maintaining nearly a 5-start rating, and an older version has over 10,000 reviews with an extremely positive rating as well.
The HD Endoscope uses a highly efficient third-generation chip that allows for a resolution of up to 2592 x 1944 pixels. A total of 6 LED lights can be adjusted to either illuminate what the camera is looking at or to reduce the exposure of the image, improving picture clarity. Another great feature that helps to improve image quality and sharpness is the ability to adjust the focal area from 3 inches to 16 inches.
The 5.0MP HD Endoscope features a 2,200 mAh battery, which will be more than enough for long or multiple inspections.
Information is passed from the camera to the main body of the device via a 5m (16.5 foot) semi-rigid copper core cable that can bend to fit in a wide variety of different places. The cable is also features an IP67 waterproof rating so you don’t have to worry about using it in wet environments or places.
- Camera resolution of 2592 x 1944
- Adjustable lighting via 6 LED lights
- Focal area of 3 to 16 inches
- IP 67 waterproof cable
- 2,200 mAh battery
- Brand: Depstech
- Part number: 028-5M
- Colour: Yellow & Black
2: Teslong NTS300 Dual Lens Inspection Camera
For those looking for one of the best all-in-one endoscope/borescope cameras for their car, you can’t go far wrong with Teslong’s NTS300 Dual Lens Inspection Camera. While this camera is at the top-end of the price range for consumer car inspection cameras, it does come with a whole bunch of features and benefits.
The most notable feature is the 4.5-inch IPS LCD display that offers three times the resolution of the previous model. Teslong have covered the LCD display with a tough glass screen and the body of the device is made from reinforced metal that improves drop resistance, keeps out the rain and makes the NTS300 perfect for both indoor and outdoor use.
One of the biggest benefits of the Teslong NTS300 is the adoption of a dual camera system. The system includes two cameras with a second HD one built into the side of the main camara that provides a wider field of view. Users can easily switch between the cameras for a total field of view of 140 degrees.
Both cameras can record and take pictures up to a resolution of 1920 by 1080 and the files can be stored on the included 32gb MicroSD card for later viewing. A total of six adjustable LED lights can be used to control the exposure of the image and an included CREE LED flashlight on the body of the device can provide further lighting to a dark work area.
Like the DEPSTECH above, Teslong’s inspection camera features an IP67 waterproof cable that is bendable, so it can pass through hard-to-reach areas. The waterproof design allows the camera to operate at an underwater depth of 1 meter (3.28 ft).
Teslong’s Dual Lens Inspection Camera is extremely highly rated and is one of the best consumer/prosumer camera endoscopes on the market. It is higher priced than the other options on this list, but if you need something that does it all and plan to use it for lots of car inspections (and other inspections) it is a great buy.
- Dual camera system that provides up to 140 degrees of view
- IP67 waterproof cable
- 5-inch screen
- Ability to capture and record 1080p images and videos to the included 32gb MicroSD card
- Cree LED flashlight and rugged metal body.
- Brand: Teslong
- Part Number: NTS300
- Colour: Orange and black
3: SKYBASIC 1080p Industrial Endoscope
If you are looking for a more moderately priced car inspection camera or borescope, SKYBASIC’s 1080p Industrial Endoscope is an excellent option. Like the Teslong above it features a built-in screen, however, it is slightly smaller in size at 4.3 inches.
The SKYBASIC Industrial Endoscope not only allows you to perform live analysis with its 1080p camera, but images and video can also be stored on the included 32GB TF card for later viewing. Users can adjust the exposure of the image they are receiving on the screen via six adjustable LED lights that are much like the ones on the other cameras we have listed in this article.
The cable and camera both feature an IP67 waterproof rating, and the body is made from durable plastic. Buyers can purchase the SKYBASIC Industrial Endoscope in two different cable lengths, 5m (16.5 ft) and 10m (33 ft).
In the box you will receive one Digital Endoscope, one USB cable, a 32GB TF card, a user manual, and a range of accessories. SKYBASIC’s Industrial Endoscope is another product that has an overwhelmingly positive rating with nearly a 5-star rating and over 3,000 reviews. Some users have complained that the picture quality wasn’t quite as high as they were expecting, but this seems to be a small minority of buyers.
- 3-inch built-in screen
- Ability to record and capture 1080p video and images and store them to the 32GB TF card
- IP67 waterproof camera
- Can come with either a 5m (16.5 ft) cable or a 10m (33 ft) one
- Brand: SKYBASIC
- Part Number: SK129-CA or SK129-10M-CA (longer version)
- Colour: Black
4: NIDAGE 5.5mm Wireless Endoscope
If you are looking for a slightly cheaper option than the other car inspection cameras we have listed above, the NIDAGE 5.5mm Wireless Endoscope may be the product for you. Despite being at a lower price it is still capable of capturing images and video up to a resolution of 1920 x 1080, while being at a framerate of 30 frames per second (most cheaper options can only do 10 fps).
The NIDAGE Wireless Endoscope is much like the DEPSTECH one we featured at the start of this list. It does not feature a built-in screen and instead sends the images/video it is capturing to your Android or iOS device for viewing. This not only allows the device to be cheaper, but also smaller, so it can easily be carried in a pocket or fit in a small toolbox or storage space.
Another benefit of the NIDAGE Wireless Endoscope is that it features a smaller diameter cable (only 5.5mm or 0.21 inches). This means that it is easier to bend to fit in hard-to-reach areas and places. While the cable is thinner than the ones on many other borescope/endoscopes on the market, it is still strong enough to withstand repeated use.
Perhaps the biggest downside of this cheaper option is the smaller 450 mAh battery. This small capacity battery gives the camera an operating time of around one hour, significantly less than the other endoscopes on this list. However, if you are just using it for the odd inspection here and there, the battery life should be plenty.
- 1080p, 30fps recording ability
- Connects to Android and iOS devices
- Low price compared to the other options on this list
- Small size and thinner cable
- Brand: NIDAGE
- Item Number: 4336304388
- Colour: Black
5: Teslong NTS500 Dual Lens Industrial Endoscope
If you need to use an inspection camera or endoscope for a lot of car inspections and want something that will withstand repeated abuse for years, the NTS500 Industrial Endoscope is an excellent option. We have already included the excellent NTS300 on this list but the NTS500 is for those who want a bit more out of their inspection device.
Like the NTS300 it features a dual camera system and a simple button press toggles between the front-view camera and the side-view at any time. The dual cameras sit at the end of an IP67 waterproof cable that is 3m (9.8 ft) in length.
Compared to the lower-priced NTS300, the NTS500 has a larger 5-inch 720p IPS screen that is more suitable for outdoor use. The screen is rainproof, so you can use the high-quality Industrial Endoscope in a range of different weather conditions.
Users can capture and record up to 1080p images and video to the 32GB MicroSD card, or they can watch the footage live. The NTS500 even has a built-in speaker and microphone so you can record audio and voiceovers.
A total of six lights on the forward camera help users to adjust the exposure of the image, while one LED light on the side controls the exposure of the side camera. Behind the endoscope there is a built-in torch for illuminating large areas when it gets dark.
The last great benefit of the NTS500 is its large rechargeable 3,500 mAh lithium-ion battery that provides an operating time of around five to six hours.
In the box you will receive one NTS500 Endoscope, a dual-camera probe, Type-C charging cable, 32GB MicroSD card, Hard plastic toolbox, user’s manual, and an 18-month warranty.
If you want one of the best car inspection cameras/endoscopes out there and you don’t mind paying a bit more, you should definitely have a look at the NTS500. It has an excellent rating of 4.8 stars out of 5, so it is one of, if not, the highest rated digital endoscope/inspection camera on Amazon.
- Dual camera system with front and side cameras
- 5-inch IPS screen
- Ability to capture images and record video in 1080p
- Ability to record and play audio through the inbuilt speaker and microphone
- Large 3,500 mHa battery
- IP67 water resistant camera and rainproof display
- Brand: Teslong
- Part Number: NTS500
- Colour: Black/Grey
Automotive Inspection Camera and Borescope Buying Guide & Information
A car inspection camera or endoscope is an incredibly useful tool that will allow you to view areas of your vehicle that can’t normally be seen without taking things apart. One of these devices is not only a good inspection tool for your own vehicle, but can also be taken along to a used car inspection as well.
What Is a Car Inspection Camera or Borescope/Endoscope?
A car borescope is actually just one type of the many industrial endoscopes out there. The ones we have featured on this list can not only be used for automotive inspections, but they can also be used for other tasks such as checking drains, looking inside walls, etc.
Car inspection cameras usually consist of the body of the device, a cable, and then a small camera on the end of the cable. The cable is usually anywhere from around 5mm to 8mm (0.2 to 0.31 inches) in size, however, this does vary depending on the manufacturer. Cables are usually semi-rigid, so they can be bent into shape and many are water resistant or waterproof.
Some automotive borescopes and endoscopes come with a built-in screen that lets you view images and video from the camera directly on the device itself. Others do not feature an inbuilt screen and instead pair to your phone (Android or iOS) to display the image. Many car inspection cameras can also capture and record images to the device for viewing at a later point, and some higher end ones (like the NTS500 above) can record audio as well.
The camera on the end of the cable is usually around the same size in diameter as the cable. Most devices will feature a series of lights around the camera that allow users to adjust the exposure and some borescopes feature multiple cameras that allow for a much wider field of view.
Automotive inspection cameras are now commonly found in many repair shops and are used by mechanics to see areas of a vehicle that are not normally visible to the naked eye. Some of the common uses include looking for carbon deposits, blockages, wear, broken components and more.
Why Is Owning a Vehicle Inspection Camera a Good Idea?
Below you can find some reasons why a car inspection camera or borescope is a good device to have in your toolbox or automotive inspection kit:
To check for damage or wear in an engine without having to take it apart – Being able to check the internal components and hard-to-see areas of your engine for wear or damage without taking the whole thing apart is not only a massive time saver but it can save you money. If you can diagnose a problem before disassembling your engine it will speed up the repair process.
To look for issues in other areas of a vehicle – A car inspection camera is not only a great tool for checking your engine, but it is also useful for inspecting other areas of your vehicle. For example, you can use one of these devices to check the underside of your vehicle for rust, damage or worn components without have to lift the car up.
For used car inspections – If you are going to look at a used car it is a good idea to take a device such as a car borescope or endoscope to the inspection. This way you can view areas of the car that are normally hidden, and you may spot something that may cause serious expense and trouble if you purchase the vehicle.
For other tasks around the house – An automotive inspection camera is not only great for checking hard-to-see areas of your vehicle, but it is also a useful tool for other jobs around the house. Have a blocked pipe? You can use one of these tools to see what is causing the blockage and where it is.
It can save you money – If you can find out what an issue is without having to take everything apart it can save you a lot of money.
How to Use a Car Endoscope or Borescope?
Using one of these devices is easy. Depending on what inspection camera you have you may or may not have to connect it to your iOS or Android device. If the endoscope or borescope you have purchased has an inbuilt screen, you will see a picture on it when you turn the tool on.
For those that need to be paired with an iOS or Android device you will have to download the specific manufacturer’s app that allows the image from the camera to be sent to your smartphone or tablet.
Once you have got the inspection camera up and running it is as simple as feeding the cable into the area where you want to view. Most automotive inspection cameras feature a semi-rigid cable that will stay in shape if you bend it. They also feature lights that allow you to change the exposure of the image, so if the area you are trying to view is too dark, you can brighten up the image.
Can an Inspection Camera Be Used in Water?
This entirely depends on what the manufacturer has outlined. Many automotive inspection cameras have a waterproof camera and cable, while the body of the tool is usually rainproof.
What to Look Out for When Buying an Inspection Camera?
While buying an automotive inspection camera may seem like a fairly straightforward process, there are a few things to consider:
Camera quality & resolution – Higher end inspection cameras not only usually come with more features, but they also usually feature better quality cameras. If the camera is not good quality or the resolution is too low, it may be difficult to accurately determine what you are looking and whether or not there is an issue.
Camera cable length – It is important to work out what length of cable you will need before purchasing an automotive endoscope or borescope. While most car inspection tasks won’t require a massively long cable, you don’t want to be left with something that is too short. Additionally, if you plan to use the camera for other tasks such as inspecting the drains in your house, you may want to go with a longer cable.
Camera field of view – Some inspection cameras like the Teslong ones featured in this article have two cameras for a wider field of view. This lets you see more of the area that you want to view, which can be extremely handy when looking for an issue.
Water resistance – Most automotive endoscopes or borescopes will come with some sort of water resistance, however, some cheaper ones do not. We recommend that you get something that has at least some resistance to water.
Built-in screen – An inspection camera with a built-in screen is usually easier to use as you don’t have to worry about pairing the tool with your smartphone or tablet. Additionally, you don’t have to deal with two devices at once, so it makes inspections simpler. Alternatively, if you want something smaller or cheaper a Bluetooth or Wifi inspection camera may be a good option.
Size & portability – If you plan to use an inspection camera for something like used car inspections, it may be better to go with a smaller device that you can fit in your pocket or in a small toolbox. Alternatively, if you just want to use it at home, a bigger device with an inbuilt screen may provide better functionality.
Battery & power – Depending on how long you need inspections to last, this will be a big thing to consider. For instance, the cheapest inspection camera on our list has a small battery that can power the device for up to one hour, while the most expensive unit has a larger battery over 3,000 mAh that gives a usable operating time of around five to six hours.
Conclusion – Best Car Inspection Cameras & Borescopes
Thanks so much for taking the time to read our guide to the best cameras and borescopes for car inspection.
Whether you are looking to do a pre-purchase inspection on a potential new car purchase (if so, make sure you check out our comprehensive and ever-growing list of buyer’s guides) or whether you are wanting to do maintenance and repairs on an existing vehicle, having an inspection camera or borescope will make life so much easier for many different tasks.
If you have another recommended product, then we would love to hear your feedback too!