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There are few things more frustrating than trying to get to the route of a problem without the proper tools at hand. For a plumber, it can be almost impossible – especially if you’re trying to solve an issue in a home that’s already built. Ripping apart walls to gain access to pipes is probably something most of us would like to keep as a last resort.
Fortunately, some tools can make such tasks a lot easier such as a borescope inspection camera. These amazing tools can be a plumber’s best friend making it possible to take a look into the heart of a home’s plumbing system and identify what may be causing a blockage or leak.
Inspection cameras are gaining in popularity these days with more and more people looking to capitalize on the benefits of technology to solve day-to-day problems. These cameras are attached to cables and can be inserted into small gaps or holes. They’re popular among construction workers and maintenance workers who need to take care of the tiniest details in hard-to-see places.
Best Inspection Cameras – What Do You Need To Know?
There are hundreds of different digital inspection cameras and designs to choose from. Some come with built-in monitors or connectors which can be plugged into smartphones or laptops.
Ones equipped with USB connectors are also top sellers, as they can be directly connected to a laptop. Here are some of the best USB inspection cameras. These high-quality devices normally come with CD drivers to be installed on a laptop or other device.
1. CrazyFire USB Endoscope Inspection Camera
The CrazyFire is the best seller in the product category at Amazon.com. It is equipped with a Hi-Vision 3 million pixels CMOS camera for capturing pictures and videos. It also comes with six LED Lux Luminance lights. This flexible device is portable and is waterproof. It is 8.5 mm in diameter and can be used underwater or in gaps and holes.
This USB powered inspection camera is easy to install and use and is available in black. The packaging includes one mini USB endoscope, one small hook, one magnet, one side audition, one manual, and a CD Driver. The CrazyFire Endoscope Snake Inspection Camera is no longer available at Amazon. Here is a suitable alternative.
- 2.0MP Super Clear Lens: 1600*1200 resolution camera with...
- Long Focal Range: For better using experience and more wide use, we...
- Friendly Features: Thin 8.5mm IP67 waterproof probe makes the...
- Compatible with Computers and Smart Phones: Work with your PC with...
- Package Includes: 1 * endoscope,1 * type-c adapter, 1 * USB charging...
- The camera provides high-quality pictures and the focus is best within 6 inches.
- The USB connector has a dial on the side to control the intensity of the LEDs.
- Setting it up is remarkably easy, simply connect it to your computer. By copying the drivers from the CD driver and installing it, you will be able to access the device’s full capabilities.
- Anything outside of 6 inches might be blurry, due to the lack of focus.
- The 5 m cable might feel too long for someone trying to sort out simple problems.
CrazyFire is easily the best inspection camera in the market. The features are of high quality, and it is relatively inexpensive. The CrazyFire is a fantastic value for its price. It has multiple uses and can be used almost everywhere.
2. Potensic USB Digital Endoscope Snake Wire Camera
The handheld mini USB endoscope from Potensic is popular among inspection camera enthusiasts. It comes with a 5 m cable and features a metal camera head. This flexible and durable snake wire camera makes inspecting holes and gaps all the easier. It can be used for vehicle maintenance, construction work, and checking pipes.
The 300,000 pixels CMOS camera captures images in BMP format and videos in AVI format. As is the custom with Potensic products, there are two sizes and three colors to choose from. The 5 m cable with four LEDs is available in black.
The blue 5 m cable has six LEDs, and the red 7 m cable has four LEDs. The Potensic USB Digital Endoscope Snake Wire Camera is no longer available at Amazon.com. A suggested replacement is featured below.
- 0.21-Inch Diameter Camera & Semi-rigid Cable Endoscope: The USB...
- 720P HD Camera: This updated one comes with 1280*720, 640*480...
- Easy to use: with USB, Type C Connector, This endoscope can only be...
- IP67 Waterproof: The Snake Camera is also a helpful tool when you have...
- 6 dimmable LEDs: Inside the camera at the top of the line, there are...
- It is easy to setup.
- The packaging is excellent, so there are fewer chances of the product being damaged during delivery.
- The LED lights are adjustable.
- Although the image quality is quite good, it has a limited range and the image focus will blur after a few inches.
The size option is a huge plus from Potensic. The LED lights are adjustable and the product overall works great. It is remarkably easy to set up and the picture quality is commendable, considering its price. The price is right, and the camera comes with a great many features. If you are looking for a basic camera, this one is worth buying.
3. DEPSTECH Semi-Rigid Endoscope Inspection Camera
The inspection tube visual camera from DEPSTECH is widely praised for its useful features. With an 8.5 mm diameter, it can easily be inserted into pipes, holes, gaps, and even underwater due to its IP67 waterproof protection. This inspection camera is commendable with its adjustable LED lights and other features.
The packaging includes a mirror, a small hook, magnet tools, and the USB driver. The DEPSTECH Waterproof Endoscope Inspection Camera is available in two lengths at Amazon.com.
- USB Endoscope for OTG Android 4.4+ Devices, MAC& Win PC: With USB-C &...
- HD 2MP Camera Sensor & Faster Chip: Capture clear 1280x720 snapshot...
- Unique Blue LED technology：6 adjustable blue LED light on camera...
- 0.33in camera probe, IP67 Waterproof: Easy to explore unreachable or...
- Depstech Semi-ridged Cable: Armed with a bendable cable that can bend...
- Setting up the device is easy. You don’t even need to install the driver to get it working; it’s simply plugged and play.
- The included magnet is impressively strong, capable of lifting a full-sized pair of scissors.
- Still, images are sharper and in focus within a 5” range.
- The quality of the camera is questionable and has received mixed reviews. Images taken in motion will be blurry, and the focus range is just 5”.
- The cable wire is quite floppy and it can be difficult to insert it to its full length into narrow places.
The image focus range is 5” and still the images produced are commendable. But at such a low price, do not expect anything too fancy or hi-tech. The cost is inexpensive, and it is a fantastic value for money.
4. Depstech WiFi Borescope Inspection Camera 2.0 Megapixels
It might seem a little cliché to save the best for last, but the Depstech WiFi camera is definitely in a different league from most of its competitors. It’s easily the best borescope inspection camera. This camera 8.4 mm diameter to get in some pretty tight spaces and with an 11.4-foot cable, it should be long enough to locate most issues – although it could be a little longer.
What makes this particular camera so impressive though is its compatibility with just about every device. There are plenty of cameras that can connect to Android devices, but not many that will work with your iPhone as well.
This Depstech inspection camera is WiFi compatible so you can easily connect it to an Apple product. It also has a 2.0 Megapixel HD camera, 6 adjustable LED lights, it’s waterproof, and the cable is designed to be bendable while still keeping its rigidity as you move it forward.
When you top it all off with the ability to take still images, watch live video, or recorded video this is a camera with all of the features you’ll need. It is slightly more expensive than some other models, but it’s still quite competitively priced.
- Endoscope with Wide Compatibility: This wireless WiFi endoscope can...
- WiFi Connection, Easy to Use: Download and install the compatible App...
- HD Inspection Camera: 2.0MP borescope offers you a wonderful...
- IP67 Waterproof, 8.4mm Diameter Probe: With 6 adjustable LED light and...
- Tips: Turn on the Wi-Fi Endoscope, then it will generate a Wi-Fi...
- Compatible with Android, IOS, and Windows-based devices
- WiFi compatibility makes it easy to connect to any device
- 0 megapixel HD camera
- 6 adjustable LED lights
- The cord is rigid and waterproof but is still easy to bend around corners
- You have the option to take still images, watch live videos, or record videos
- The cable length could be a little longer
- There have been a few complaints about getting the companion app to work properly
The Depstech borescope inspection camera is one of the most versatile devices on the market today. With this camera, you can leave your laptop at home without sacrificing any capability. iPhone enthusiasts will be particularly happy with the Wi-Fi capabilities of this product which allows it to connect with their devices.
Borescope Buying Guide
It’s probably clear by now after taking a look at the above reviews that inspection cameras have come a long way from the days of simple black and white snapshots. Today’s best borescope cameras are USB video recording devices that offer fantastic resolution making it much easier to identify and diagnose a problem. Here are some key features you should be looking for when you’re in the market for a new inspection camera.
These days pretty much any inspection camera worth its salt is USB compatible. USB is the standard connection for computers these days and this allows you to hook your inspection camera directly into your laptop so that you can get a live image of the problem. If you do come across an inspection camera that’s a little old school and doesn’t have a USB cord attached to it then you’ll probably want to keep looking.
High-Resolution Camera Quality
It’s great to be able to plug your inspection camera into your computer, but that won’t do you a lot of good if the images you’re looking at are blurry or distorted. It’s important to pay attention to the resolution of the inspection camera as well. At a minimum, it should have 640 x480 and preferably something even higher. You may have to pay a little more for a true HD quality image, but it’s well worth the extra expense.
I came across an inspection camera the other day with a 9-foot cord on it and I had to ask myself what the point was. In my opinion, if a borescope camera doesn’t have at least a 10-foot cable on it then it’s simply not long enough.
Most problems aren’t conveniently located near the end of a pipe or sewage system. In most cases, you have to dig deep to get to the route of the problem and that requires a cable that’s long enough for the job in question.
You might think it goes without saying, but it’s important to check the reviews for any borescope camera you’re considering to make sure it’s waterproof. All manufacturers are going to claim that an inspection camera largely used in plumbing work is waterproof, but the reality is often much different from the claim.
Some start pretty well but start to fail after only a few months of use. The few extra minutes you take to check the history of a product can save you a lot of hassle down the road.
Long-Lasting LED Lights
Your inspection camera is going to be searching around in some pretty dark places so you’ll want one that’s well-lit to help you find your way around. You should be looking for one with a reliable set of LED bulbs as these are typically long-lasting and consistent in their strength. A quality LED bulb can last for up to 25,000 hours or more and that should give you years of use.
Support for Multiple Platforms
We’ve already mentioned that most inspection cameras these days are USB compatible which makes it straightforward to plug them into your laptop, but what about other devices? Some of the better quality borescope cameras now come equipped with an adaptor that lets you plug them into most smartphones or tablets. This is a great option if you don’t want to have to lug your laptop around with you to every job site.
The Depstech camera is our clear favorite because of its versatility. If anything we’re surprised that more models are not offering Wi-Fi compatibility yet, but it’s probably something you can expect to see more of in the future.
The CrazyFire is a pretty good second choice with its wide focus and nice clear picture. After that, it’s a bit of a toss-up between the Potensic and the DBPower, but we’d probably give the edge to the Potensic because of its picture quality and color capabilities. The DBPower model also has a pretty flimsy cable which doesn’t help its cause.
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