Best borescope inspection cameras 2018
We find the best borescope inspection camera to take a close look at your car...
We’re big fans of borescopes, inspection cameras that allow you to see otherwise hidden places. We’ve previously looked at DIY units, but what if you spend a bit more? Sealey has a new range of premium products, so we put its VS8230 up against two similarly-professional contenders.
All come in a plastic case with hook, magnet and mirror accessories, a 3.5-inch screen and flexible probes of around a metre, ideal for car work. We used them to route the power cable for hard-wiring a dash cam.
Photos and videos of items and part numbers were taken under the bonnet, transferring to a large screen to rate clarity. We wanted probes to be flexible and controllable, instructions to be good and accessories useful. This was all balanced against price.
The Sealey didn’t excel in any area, but was the best overall, pipping the impressive, top-value Extech. The high-quality Bosch is a super performer, but trailed on video and stills quality.
Sealey Video Borescope VS8230
Price: £194Rating: 5.0Camera diameter: 9mmBattery: 3.7v li-ion
The new Sealey is a standard pistol-style device which comes with a 4GB micro SD card and 9mm camera. It was instinctive to use, the simple controls on the top proving easy to understand. The one-metre flexi-probe was a bit too flexible at times for easy control, but it comes with useful IP67 approval against moisture, widening the range of places it can safely be used.
The image can be flipped horizontally and vertically, but isn’t automatic as on the Bosch. Like the Extech, it recorded video at 30 frames per second and we could still read our test part numbers clearly, albeit at a lower 360 x 240 resolution. A fine all-rounder that takes the win here.
Extech BR250 Video Borescope/Wireless Inspection Camera
Price: Around £169Rating: 4.5Camera diameter: 9mmBattery: 4 x AA
We liked the Extech’s strong and flexible probe, plus its USP, the removable/rechargeable wireless screen that can be used remotely and, if required, fitted to the magnetic mount. This is another pistol unit, with the LEDs on the end infinitely adjustable from the roller wheel.
When recording to the 8GB card at 30fps (best of five options), the 960 x 240 resolution gave the clearest under-bonnet videos, with 640 x 480 jpgs. But all the unprotected buttons are on the side, so operation was clumsy. Still, its good price took it close to our champ.
Bosch Professional GIC 120 C Inspection Camera
Price: Around £230Rating: 3.5Camera diameter: 8.5mmBattery: 10.8v li-ion
The overall feel of the Bosch was upmarket with sensibly laid-out controls that were logical to use. The flexi-probe was usefully rigid despite being the longest on test at 1.2 metres, and we liked its simple Quick Connector system.
Even better, the ‘Up is Up’ feature, which kept the image the right way round, was truly brilliant. As with the Sealey, the sockets were protected by a rubber cover. The screen showed everything clearly, but jpg resolution was the lowest here, as was the video, compounded when our test videos recorded at just 7.4fps.
Now you know the best borescope to inspect your car, why not find the best tool box to keep it in?