Endoscopes in the test (2020): seven models from cheap to expensive!

You like to look into cavities and would like to know, for example, whether the intake valves of your engine are coked? Then you should consider purchasing an endoscope. AUTO BILD tested seven devices, from the 39.99 euro offer from the discounter Lidl to the professional device from Hazet for 594.94 euros. All seven devices have one thing in common: They have an integrated screen. In order to see an image, no other device such as a smartphone is required.

How AUTO BILD tested it

Two considerations are crucial when evaluating endoscopes: Can I use the device to get into all the cavities and angles that I want to examine? And: Can I also see everything sharp and clear on the screen? To check that, we got square steel profiles in different diameters, an old manifold and a deck of cards. The narrowest profile is just a millimeter wider than the largest lens in the comparison field. With its almost right angle, the manifold poses a challenge to the flexibility of the goosenecks, but the round shape does not offend the optics. The highest degree of difficulty is the 60-degree angle made from a square profile with an inner diameter of 22 millimeters: inflexible goosenecks with optics over seven millimeters don’t stand a chance here.

Endoscopes in the test (2020): models – comparison – prices – info

Which endoscopes provide the best perspective?

The narrowest cavity is in the narrowest square profile measuring ten millimeters: In addition to continuity, we also check the image quality in the immediate close-up range. Is the picture sharp here too? The playing card check is all about image sharpness and color depth. We flexed a slot in a square profile, inserted a playing card into this slot and sealed one end with duct tape to make it opaque. How sharp is the image from afar and close-up? How sensitive is the light source control? How good is the color representation? Criteria that were included in the evaluation.

The test results at a glance

In addition to the image quality, the applicability of the endoscopes is a decisive test criterion: The gooseneck with integrated light source and camera, which is typical for all devices, should be as flexible and low-resistance as possible to handle. It should also be able to be guided through tight corners. If maximum flexibility is also required in tight spaces, devices with the smallest possible gooseneck diameter are an advantage. In this test field, the endoscopes from Hazet and BGS, with their optics of just 5.5 millimeters, are the only ones that can also be guided through our test angle of 60 degrees. All other devices with an optics diameter of at least 8 mm fail here.

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Results: endoscopes in the test

Does larger optics guarantee a better picture? A clear no! The optics used by BGS and Hazet even ensure the best image quality of all devices. Unsurprisingly, the very expensive professional device from Hazet is clearly at the top. Its special features are two optics: one looks straight ahead, the second sideways. Both viewing angles are possible via a toggle button on the gooseneck. And it is also razor-sharp at close range – no other device provides such sharp images as the Hazet endoscope. It’s a shame that given the price, it’s actually only worth it for professionals. Luckily, BGS also delivers maximum flexibility and sharp images on a large 3.5-inch monitor for 149.95 euros. On the other hand, if you are looking for a handy device for mobile use, you should take a look at the Bosch Universal Inspect. Its 8mm neck doesn’t get into the tightest of corners, but the image quality is very good and the gooseneck can be stowed around the small device to save space.

Conclusion on the endoscope test

For hobbyists who only rarely need an endoscope, the Lidl device for 39.99 euros is completely sufficient. Anyone who wants a handy, mobile device is best served with the Bosch Universal Inspect. Hazet and BGS offer the highest image quality and the most flexible application options. BGS disadvantage: no image memory. Hazet can do everything, but is very expensive.

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