Unless you’re a pro, you’ve probably never considered buying an inspection camera. That’s not surprising, considering that for years these suckers cost a mint and were the size of a baseball-throwing machine. But technology makes everything smaller and (eventually) cheaper, and we’ve definitely seen an explosion of inspection cameras spread across most major manufacturers’ compact cordless lines. Milwaukee, Bosch, and DeWalt, for example, all offer 12V models in the $200 to $300 range — about what you’d expect to pay for a decent durable cordless drill.
So why should you own one? Read on to find out.
Reason #3: What the hell’s in that wall?
This reason alone is enough (as far as I’m concerned) to send me to the big box to score a camera. How many times have you set up to cut into a wall (or fish a cable through it) and wondered what exactly is in the wall? Hell, I cheated and took pictures of the walls of my house while they were building it, leaving me with a set of “x-ray photos” of every wall in the place. But I still wonder if there’s a Coke can (or worse) in there left over from when the drywall guy didn’t feel like heading all the way downstairs to the trash bin. Now I don’t wonder. I punch a small hole, insert the camera, and have a look for myself. Seriously. It’s that simple.
The same goes for when you’re pulling cable and it gets stuck on something. You can wonder forever what it’s stuck on, or you can just push the camera in and see what’s what.
#2: What’s leaking under the car?
If you’re lucky enough to have a lift available, you can just put the car up on the lift and take a look. But how many of you have a lift in your garage? Even if you have jack stands around, it takes a few minutes to jack the car up and position everything so you can safely slide under to take a look. Did I mention that it’s dirty under there? The car is leaking, you know.
Try the inspection camera instead. Bend the camera around and just stick it under the car. Take a look. It’s painless and it takes just seconds. The same goes for looking in nooks and crannies under the hood. That little camera head will fit in places you wouldn’t even imagine putting your head, either because your head is too big or too precious.
#1: They’re seriously cool.
I know, this is lame. I should have given you another specific example. But try this on instead: I’ve used my inspection camera at least twice this week alone, and I haven’t had time to get into the shop at all. I grabbed it to see where the cat toy went under the couch. I shoved it around behind a computer in a rack to see if a cord was still connected (which, by the way, saved me from turning the damn computer off and pulling it out of the rack). The uses are endless.
Think I’m crazy? Or have you found specific uses for your inspection camera? Let us know in comments. And we’ll see if we can’t work up some inspection camera reviews for you over the next month or so.