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Best Inspection Camera

Have you ever dropped something down the back of the furniture, then struggled to pick it back up without being able to see what you’re doing? Difficult and frustrating, right? Well, it turns out there’s a tool made to eliminate this problem, and others like it that you might encounter whether you’re a mechanic, plumber or even just a home improvement fanatic. It’s called an inspection camera, and we’ve scoured the market to bring you the four best models so you can stop blinding reaching around and finally take your work into your own hands.

Best Inspection Cameras 2018

Below, you’ll find a list of the products we liked enough to add to the shortlist. There are also a couple of relevant specifications to help give you the gist of the product, which we’re sure you’ll find helpful.

Without any further ado, here are the top rated inspection cameras 2018.

Product NameCable LengthScreen Details
Depstech USB Endoscope16.4 feetUses mobile device screen, up to 1600x1200
Vividia 9mm Portable3.3 feet

(can be extended)
2.4”, 640x480
GooDee Inspection Camera9.8 feet2.4”, 640x480
BlueFire WiFi Inspection Camera32.8 feetUses mobile device screen, up to 1280x720

So, with the inspection camera comparison out of the way, we’ll take a closer look at each and see what they’re like, where they excel and where they could use a little work. Let’s begin with the Depstech USB Endoscope.

1


Depstech USB Endoscope – Best Inspection Camera for Vehicle Repair

The first thing you probably notice about the Depstech inspection camera is its simple design. This is a benefit, for a number of different reasons. Firstly, it keeps the price tag under $30. Since you supply your own screen in the form of a device which accepts USB or Micro USB input, Depstech were able to focus on creating the highest quality camera available in this price range.

Secondly, you’ll notice the cable is significantly longer than the cable on most other cameras. A short cable is fine a lot of the time, but when you’re wanting to get into the innards of a vehicle, you really don’t want to be running out of cable. Thankfully, five meters is more than enough for anything you’ll encounter in a non-aircraft setting.

The cable is waterproof too, and has six brightness settings which control the blue LEDs mounted on the cable tip. This allows you to use this camera in very dark places, without fear of dimly lit, grainy footage. The diameter is 8.5mm which is narrow enough for the majority of tasks you’ll need it for.

We mentioned that Depstech had the opportunity to deliver a high-quality camera, and deliver they did. Once you connect your device, you can immediately see the output on screen at resolutions up to 1600×1200. That’s just a touch below full HD or HDTV quality. This makes the Depstech the model with the highest resolution camera in our list, which is surprising given its low price.

Overall, we were very surprised by the quality of both the cable’s build and camera, especially since it is at the lower end of the price spectrum. If you don’t often carry a phone on you, this might not be the model for you, but for the majority of people, this product will be the ideal solution.

PROS
  • Long cable
  • High resolution camera
  • Inexpensive
CONS
  • Needs a phone or tablet to work
  • No additional features - it is what it is
2


Vividia 9mm Portable – Best Inspection Camera for Plumbing

If you’re in the market for an inspection camera with a built-in screen, maybe you’d like to consider Vividia’s offering? It includes a 2.4” screen which is mounted on a lightweight, non-slip handle. The video output quality is pretty low at just 640×480, but that’s to be expected of such a small screen.

The cable is a little over three feet long (although this can be extended up to five meters) and is waterproof, however, the monitor is not, so be careful when using it near a water source. The end of the cable has four white LED lights with a variable brightness setting that can be changed using one of the buttons under the display. We found that the light at its brightest settings illuminated about six inches in front of the camera head, which is a respectable distance. It also has a slightly slimmer diameter than the Depstech, at just 8mm: perfect for inspecting the inside of narrow pipes.

The unit itself is powered by four AA batteries: this is a bit of a throwback, especially in today’s environment and we’d really have liked to see some kind of USB charging, but at least it means you can always find a power source in a nearby shop. In some ways, this complements the other attributes of the device; low resolution means a low power draw, so your batteries last longer.

This model comes with a couple of really useful add-ons too: a mirror, hook, and magnet that can be attached to the end of the cable to look around corners or pick things up from the inside of a small space. Whether or not you’ll use these will really depend on what you’re using the camera for, but they’re very nice to have.

PROS
  • Comes with lots of useful accessories
  • Narrow cable diameter is very useful
  • Cable can be lengthened to 5 meters
CONS
  • Uses AA batteries
  • Monitor is not waterproof
3


GooDee Inspection Camera – Best Inspection Camera for DIY

Like the Vividia, the GooDee inspection camera has a 2.4”, 640×480 screen and is powered by AA batteries, but it has a few differences that make it a better all-rounder overall. Firstly, the cable measures at 9.8 feet, almost three times the length of the Vividia. Next, not only are the cable and monitor waterproof, they’re dustproof too. If you’ve ever had to go behind a wall on your property, you’ll know what a bonus this is. It’s often overlooked, but dust can do just as much damage to your electronics as water, so we’re happy to see this taken into account.

The camera features a six-time optical zoom, which is helpful, although as with any digital zoom, it does reduce the overall quality of the image, and the resolution is quite low to begin with, so it may not be all that useful in practice. It’s worth mentioning that you can adjust the contrast of the image on the screen, change it to black and white output, or hook it up to a bigger screen using an AV cable. You can also record video in AVI format for rewatching later. We found this simple enough although, with this capability, it would have been nice to see a higher quality camera included.

Helping to cement its versatile credentials, it not only includes the attachable magnet, hook, and mirror but also allows you to remove the three-meter cable in order to use a smaller, more easily portable meter long one. It also claims to work in temperatures as low as -14F and as high as 144F. That’s a pretty wide range, and we’re sure that covers almost all situations!

All things considered, this is a perfect little inspection camera for home use or DIY tasks. It can fit just about anywhere and is resistant to any hazards it might face, plus the included extras help provide a little more value for money.

PROS
  • Video can be recorded and played back later
  • Extremely versatile
  • Very long cable
CONS
  • Camera is a little lower resolution than we'd have liked
  • A little more expensive than similar models
4


BlueFire WiFi Inspection Camera – Best Wireless Inspection Camera

Sometimes you want a camera that’s as simple as they come: unobtrusive, compact and most importantly, it just works. Bluefire has created an inspection camera that connects to your mobile device via WiFi and displays its output directly on your phone or tablet screen. The whole process is as simple as downloading an app onto your chosen device and connecting the device to the cameras own network. Piece of cake.

The product itself consists of a ten-meter long cable, with a 2MP camera at one end (capable of displaying resolutions of up to 1280×720 (standard HD) and a power pack at the other. The power pack can be charged via USB, which is great since it means that this device can be used just about anywhere and doesn’t rely on AA batteries like some of the other models on this list. It takes between two and three hours to fully charge, and you get around two hours of use per charge, making this an effective and efficient product that’ll last a good amount of time.   

It supports a pretty wide range of devices, although you’ll need to ensure your software version is supported. Currently, only Android versions newer than 4.4 (KitKat) and iOS 8.0 are supported, so it might be worth upgrading if you’re considering this camera, and really, there’s no benefit to sticking with an outdated firmware, so we’d recommend updating anyway.

Unfortunately, this model can run a little hot if the LEDs are set to their brightest setting, although it depends entirely on your plans for this product, whether or not that’s a problem for you. We liked that it’s waterproof, though, and the 15-meter transmission range is something to be admired. When you consider the low price tag, you can’t deny that this inspection camera is a fierce competitor to even a more expensive model.

PROS
  • Very long cable
  • HD camera
  • Good battery life and charge times
CONS
  • Brightest light setting causes the camera to heat up
  • Doesn't work with older firmware

Best Inspection Camera - Buyer's Guide

Not all inspection cameras are created equal, and with the more expensive models costing hundreds of dollars, it pays to know what you’re looking for. We’ve put together a short list of important things to think about before you spend your money to ensure you make the decision that’s right for you.

Output

Some inspection cameras have a built in screen, some don’t. Built in screens tend to be reasonably low resolution and small, which is fine for looking through pipes or similar tasks, but sometimes you might need a high definition image, and for these jobs, you might be better off with a camera which uses a phone or tablet as a screen. They often have much higher quality cameras due to the reduced build costs and have the added benefit of being more compact. Consider the type of work you do and ask yourself if you really need a screen included. If not, you could save a considerable amount of money.

Cable Length

The length of cable you’ll need will vary from job to job, and that means sometimes a meter long cable just won’t cut it. Several inspection cameras allow you to unscrew the standard cable and replace it with a much larger one for more in-depth work, but some don’t, so it’s important to check. Cameras that don’t feature a screen often don’t allow this, but they often have far longer cables included as standard anyway.

Important Cable Attributes

As well as length, you’ll need to consider the cable diameter. Is it small enough to go where you want it to? A diameter of around 8mm is considered standard, although you may need a thinner cable if you’re looking to do specialist work.

Similarly, is the cable waterproof? You’re in for a bad time if you try to do plumbing work with a camera that’s not, but that camera might be focussed towards other tasks. Is it likely to be used in dusty places? If so, make sure it’s dustproof. These simple considerations could mean the difference between you finding the perfect model and you wasting money.

Camera

You should check the camera’s output quality before buying, of course. More megapixels means a clearer picture (this isn’t true for photography, but that’s a whole other beast), so it might be worth spending a little more to get a decent image. Is the camera head flexible, or does it have an inch or so of rigid plastic?

How far in front of the camera can you see? This is limited by the amount of light from the LEDs on the cable tip, but also the camera’s focal range. A good focal range is anything above four inches. There’s a guide here which explains various camera specifications, and although it’s geared more towards a traditional camera, you can use it to get a better understanding as to how various factors influence your camera’s output.

Conclusion


There’s no doubt that each of these is a great choice, they’re all very versatile products with some very useful features and reasonable price tags, however, that said, there is one that drew our attention even more than the others did, and that’s the GooDee inspection camera. It’s a very versatile piece of hardware that’s more than a match for most tasks and can alter its image for maximum effect.

Ultimately, which camera is best for you is almost entirely decided by its intended purpose, but rest assured, we only allow the best of the best to make it into our articles, so you know that every camera on this list is of a high quality. We hope you’ve found this list helpful and encourage you to remember us the next time you need buying advice. Thanks for reading!