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Comparison Guide: Borescope vs. Endoscope

In this blog post, you’ll read:A borescope or an endoscope essentially involves inspecting areas where it is difficult for visual inspection to capture. This article will guide you how to compare borescope and endoscope effectively.

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Both borescope and endoscope are considered similar, or are they different in any way? 

At the inspection stage of the most production process, different tools are deployed for quality assessment of the product. However, the choice of tools will largely depend on the inspection type and product you manufacture. A borescope or an endoscope essentially involves inspecting areas where it is difficult for visual inspection to capture. Likewise, it effectively covers areas where accessibility is limited, requiring destructive, dismounting, or dismantling methods to reach this targeted inspection area.

This guide will give you all the information you need to compare borescope and endoscope effectively. It also attempts to answer all your questions about their differences. So if you are ready, then let’s dive in together. 


I. What is a Borescope?

A borescope is an optical device invented to aid visual inspection of slim, restricted, or tiny holes within the equipment. 

It consists of a flexible or rigid tube with an eyepiece that also serves as a visual capture on one end and a camera on the other end for display. An electrical system connects both components in the middle.

The borescope device in some samples is usually guided by fiber optic illumination to amplify contrast and brightness. Additionally, the objective lens forms the internal image of the illuminated object. It is enlarged by the eyepiece, which displays it to the viewer. 


Video borescope


II. Features of Borescope

A borescope is either flexible or rigid, and although they are manufactured in numerous forms, all borescope device includes a hollow tube, a light source that serves as an illuminating tool for the test object to be analyzed, and an eyepiece that is used to magnify the object, it is usually in the form of a camera or an optical lens. It transmits the image from one end of the scope to the eyepiece.

As previously stated, they are effective for inspecting other equipment areas with limited accessibility. Everyday use cases include testing for coating defects, corrosion, cracks, burrs, voids, and various crucial flaw signals.


III. Application of Borescope

Borescopes are applied in numerous inspection procedures in various industries and help inspect hollows, bores, and spaces.

Some industry applications of this tool include:

  • Boilers and Tanks: Regular inspection of boiler tubes and tanks are essential, and a borescope is the most appropriate tool to deploy to inspect cracks, corrosion, and scale deposits.
  • Building cores: It is also employed in measuring a building’s structural soundness.
  • Valves and Pumps: Industries that work with machine tools such as pumps and valves have to inspect these pumps and valves periodically. As such, productivity is not halted or delayed, and unnecessary costs are avoided.
  • Turbines: The safety and maintenance of gas and steam turbines need close attentiveness.

Here’ the selection guide for you to choose the right borescope, there are some factors you need to take into consideration aside from the application.


IV. Price of Borescope 

When it comes to the cost and pricing of borescopes, no one price fits all for this kind of inspection equipment as there are different variations of borescope tools for different types of testing. Therefore, the pricing and cost are determined by the mode of borescope you intend to acquire for a specific type of inspection.

And so, instead of asking how much it costs, the critical question should be what type of inspection is needed for and where would it be deployed? 

Other price-determining factors include the features, how frequently it will be used, and if it is the right inspection tool to be acquired for the inspection. If all these prerequisites can be confirmed, it helps determine the price.

Here’s the guide for borescope supplier list for you, click to read more if you are interested in.


V. Pros and Cons of Borescope

Firstly, let’s consider the pros of the borescope. 

A significant advantage is its ability to be deployed in areas with limited accessibility and its easy maneuvering through impossible areas and spaces, especially with the flexible borescope. Also, video borescopes have a high quality and are cost-effective in performance, with recordable screens and continuous inspection observation. 

And now the cons.

A common disadvantage is the rigidity of the rigid borescope, which is a straight-lined hollow tube that makes it difficult to maneuver. Still, it has a very clear resolution compared to the flexible fiber optic borescope.


VI. What is an Endoscope?

An endoscope is a borescope with all the similarities, as does a borescope. Still, the only difference is that an endoscope is flexible while a borescope is either flexible or rigid.

An endoscope is a flexible borescope, i.e., an endoscope is a tiny, flexible tube with a camera or an optical lens at its end that permits inspection personnel to conduct a non-destructive test on an object without dismantling or dismounting any part of the tested object.


What is endoscope


VII. Features of Endoscope

As briefly mentioned above, an endoscope is a long, stretched, and thin illuminated supple tube with a camera attached to one end. Let’s consider some of the characteristics of an endoscope.

The general features consist of a thin, long, flexible tube, a lens system or lens, a light-transmitting system that carries light through the flexible fiber, also known as optic fiber, the eyepiece, which is used for vision, and the control system. Combining all of these components makes up the endoscope and its functionalities.


VIII. Application of Endoscope

The application of endoscopes is similar to the borescopes, including inspecting the interior of elaborate technical systems. Some of its applications include the pre-visualization of layout models of intended buildings and cities to be constructed during architectural space planning.

Furthermore, endoscopes are valuable equipment deployed to examine and disengage IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) by bomb disposal personnel, so they don’t detonate if handled carelessly.

Another application of the endoscope is by law enforcement. It is employed in conducting surveillance through tight spaces; It is employable because of its flexibility and portable features.


What is an Endoscope


XI. Price of Endoscope

Similar to the borescopes, the pricing of endoscopes is not uniform. Endoscopes as an inspection tool are also in different types for different testing classes. For that reason, the cost is determined by the mode of endoscope applicable to the type of inspection.

Moreover, there is a different but similar feature in some endoscopes, just like the borescopes. Hence, the need to be specific as to what function of the endoscope is required. 

The different types of endoscopes available may also require continuous training and skill development, including usage of the tool for inspection personnel.


X. Pros and Cons of Endoscope

An essential advantage of an endoscope is its effectiveness in its deployment into areas where accessibility is narrow and its flexibility in maneuvering in complex spaces as it is naturally flexible to use.

Endoscopes also can be either reusable or single-use. Still, this advantage is closely followed by some underlying disadvantages as reusable endoscopes require high maintenance, have a higher acquisition cost, and require constant inspection officers’ constant training.

While the single-use endoscope is the opposite of the reusable endoscopes and therefore serves as an advantage because it requires no continuous training, has a lower cost of acquisition, and no maintenance is needed.


XI. Difference between Borescope and Endoscope

Both tools have different aspects with higher usefulness when compared, such as the diameter, maneuverability, pricing, and field of view, to mention a few.

Considering diameter, an endoscope is much thinner than a borescope as it accesses tighter spaces. Its flexibility also allows it to do this effectively. Maneuverability is also an aspect of the endoscope having more functionality than the endoscope. It is easy to maneuver around the test object.

Meanwhile, when the field of view is considered, a borescope has more views of about a hundred and twenty degrees than the endoscope ninety. And with pricing, borescopes are a lot more affordable than endoscopes. 


➤ Related Article: Industrial Borescope: Definition and Working Principle

➤ Related Article: Comparison Guide: UT v.s. PAUT



In a nutshell, borescopes and endoscopes are very similar equipment with similar functions. Nonetheless, their use cases can vary in purpose and, as such, have noteworthy differences.

To be frank, the differences mentioned are pretty close. These differences make them both excellent tools wherever deployed and for whatever purpose.

But while selecting the right equipment for the right inspection is paramount, the features and functionalities of both tools make for helpful pointers in selecting the best-suited tool for your inspection requirements.

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