I had this question myself so I did some research and found that a lot of the people’s answers weren’t right.
Here is the difference: Put simply, an endoscope (Wikipedia) is a medical tool consisting of a camera at the end of a flexible tube, which is used to take photos of your internal organs by your doctor during what is called an endoscopy. Likewise, a borescope or snake camera is also a small camera attached to the end of a flexible tube, however, it is not a medical device and is NOT designed to be used on humans. The difference is an endoscope is a medical device, and borescopes are made to be used as tools– not on humans!
A borescope and an endoscope are the same in that they both take photos and can fit in small places. Mechanics use borescopes to inspect the insides of an engine. I suppose an endoscope would work as well, but it may be hard to get your hands on a real medical grade endoscope and I don’t know why you would want that. I would suspect an endoscope, being a medical device, would be really expensive!
Both Endoscopes and Borescopes are used to reach normally inaccessible, or hard to see places. Allowing you to get an idea if anything is wrong either in your body or your car/home. Using a borescope for automotive purposes means being able to see your valves, piston walls, and the general condition of the inside of the combustion chamber.
They are an awesome fun gadget, and many borescopes now come with Bluetooth which allows you to see the image on your phone immediately. I highly recommend buying a borescope if you want to learn more about your engine.
The best deal on a borescope I could find is on Amazon. Just grab this insanely good deal on Amazon for a Bluetooth borescope here that works with either Android or iPhones. It is an AWESOME deal and PERFECT for the beginner or advanced auto mechanic.
Recommended Borescopes for Mechanics:
I see way too many people spending way too much money on subpar borescopes for automotive repair.
Look, quite honestly, it does not cost much money to mount a camera on the end of a long flexible wire.
Camera technology has come a long way, and cameras can be had for very cheap.
You DO NOT need to buy an $800 borescope unless you’re a real professional plumber, mechanic, or work in some other trade where you will be using it daily.
For many of us, the under $50 USB or Bluetooth borescope will work PERFECTLY.
My absolute favorite borescope for mechanics is the Depstech 1200P Endoscope Android & iOS 33FT Long Cord.
It works great, is around $50, and also comes with a SUPER long cord. Literally, some of the super expensive borescopes only have like a 3ft long cord. Don’t pay $800 for a borescope and realize you can’t see anything because you don’t have enough slack on your camera cord.
What is the best hand-held borescope?
Ok, so maybe you want to spend a little bit more money and get a borescope where you can see the image on a screen. This is useful if you don’t want to always have your phone handy and deal with the issues that any Bluetooth device always seems to have.
My favorite handheld borescope where you do not need a smartphone to connect and see the image, it is the Teslong Short Focus Endoscope with a 9.84 ft long cord. While it may be more expensive than the Depstech borescope, it will give you a better-focused image and allow you to record images directly on the Borescope. You do not need to have a separate smartphone in order to be able to see what you’re looking at.
An endoscope is used by surgeons to look at your organs during a procedure called an endoscopy. A borescope is also a camera mounted on a long flexible tube, but it is a non-medical grade instrument used by homeowners and mechanics. Both allow the user to see into dark crevices where no other camera will fit. For mechanics, this comes in handy as you can look down through a spark plug hole to see the condition of the cylinder in an engine, or through the air filter to see the intake valves.
The most important feature for a mechanics borescope is providing a high-quality image in a dark environment (needs an external light) and a long cord. You can use a borescope to even examine your exhaust and make sure there are no plugged up areas.
Really the borescope options are endless. I highly recommend just buying the Bluetooth Borescope on Amazon here.
Not only does it have great reviews, but it also has BETTER reviews than much more expensive borescopes. I don’t know about you, but I’ll stick with what people say works well, even if it is pretty cheap. It is absolutely the BEST fun gadget for working on cars in 2018/2019 and allows you to get an idea of the health of any engine very easily.
Check out the list of my top ten favorite mechanic tools here! Do you own any of these? and which tool you are using? please comment below.