The Different Types of Borescopes

The Different Types of Borescopes

July 9, 2021

When you perform in-depth inspections on any piece of heavy equipment, you need the best tools available to do the job correctly. These types of complex inspections often require the use of borescope cameras. These seemingly delicate image processers are widely known for their effectiveness in sniffing out issues within an object or part with accuracy and speed. That said, there are numerous types of borescopes to choose from, each catering to different aspects of an inspection, so it’s important to understand how the different types of borescopes enable you to complete what you’re trying to accomplish.

Rigid Borescopes

Rigid borescopes are optical devices that allow inspectors to access the most remote, hard-to-reach spaces of an object or part. Generally, inspectors will use this type of borescope to evaluate parts such as straight pipes, engine cylinders, and the like to find serious issues like cracking. Rigid borescopes consist of a few primary components, including a hollow tube, a light source, an eyepiece, and relay lenses. And because their design is simple and easy to use, inspectors will often choose this tool for investigations over some of their other, more complex counterparts.

Advantages of Rigid Borescopes

There are several advantages to using rigid borescopes for professional inspections, such as:

  1. They have a very simple design, making them much easier to operate and interpret the results they yield.
  2. Rigid borescope inspection cameras use a lens system to capture images that can either be relayed through the eyepiece or displayed through an adaptor. Not only does the lens system capture images more straightforwardly, but it also provides more options for inspectors regarding how they’ll collect the images necessary to complete a thorough inspection.
  3. Because they’re less complex in design and utilization, they are also known for being one of the more affordable options among borescopes.

Flexible Borescopes

Flexible borescopes resemble their rigid counterparts. However, as the name suggests, they have a much larger capacity for flexibility. This kind of borescope is best for examining ducts, vents, and curvy pipes. In other words, its design allows an operator to bent and tilt it to fit into even the most impossible areas of a part. In addition, flexible borescopes use a specialized fiber-optic bundle to relay clear images back to inspectors. This bundle is housed and well-contained within a system of braided steel to protect it from outside elements that could potentially contaminate the results of an inspection.

Advantages of Flexible Borescopes

Flexible borescopes are advantageous for various reasons, the most obvious being their flexibility and range of movement. In addition, since these borescopes are more flexible, they are typically more durable and able to withstand a little extra wear and tear. Aside from that, this type of equipment is also widely known for covering more distance in a particular area and at greater depths with striking detail and accuracy. Plus, flexible borescopes also have adaption capabilities that allow an operator to add helpful features, such as portable light sources and adaptor kits.


Fiberscopes are closely related to flexible borescopes, and, essentially, their design is the same. The components of a fiberscope include what’s called the insertion, as well as an eyepiece and a control section. Much like their close relatives, fiberscopes use a fiber-optic system to capture images and transmit them from the end of the tube to an eyepiece. Attached to the control section is a light source connected to a light guide to help the operator gain a better field of view during inspections. Because fiberscopes also have a flexible rod, inspectors often use them to inspect areas with sharp corners and elbows that would otherwise be difficult to access.

Advantages of Fiberscopes

Fiberscopes are particular in the way they process images. For example, each fiber is capable of relaying only one color or similar colors within an object. This feature can be very useful in certain types of inspections, as it can help the operator better differentiate the specific issues with a part that they might overlook otherwise. This type is also known for being more economical and versatile in its capabilities and features. Further, because of their flexible rod and fiber-optic system, fiberscopes are more durable, which is an essential factor in inspecting heavy equipment.

Video Borescopes

Videoscopes are a more advanced version of fiberscopes and flexible borescopes in operation and appearance. What sets this instrument apart is its unique capability to provide enhanced images while enabling inspectors to store a detailed record of each inspection they do for future reference. Videoscopes can do this through a system of image sensors that process through a charged coupled device (CCD). From there, the images then relay electronically through the instrument’s flexible scope to a camera control unit or CCU. Generally, this type of equipment is best for the inspection of turbines, crevices, pumps, buildings, and valves.

Advantages of Video Borescopes

Video borescopes can be especially advantageous in inspections of larger, more complex objects or parts. They can perform because they have enhanced imaging capabilities and a feature that allows operators to keep a record of the inspections that they’ve performed with it. In addition, they also benefit from a flexible rod, which makes them perfect for the examination of areas that are particularly hard to reach. Their flexibility also gives video borescopes an edge of durability and the opportunity to perform a versatile range of inspections.

Each borescope has its own unique qualities and features that can make the inspection process go a lot more smoothly. These revolutionary gadgets are capable of performing all sorts of tasks that align with any operator’s specialized needs. But with so many options to choose from, it can be challenging to understand which borescope will work best for you. Therefore, it’s essential to know a little bit about the different types of borescopes so that you can select the very best instrument for your purposes. Whichever borescope you choose, this handy tool can help you ensure that your inspection process is smooth and thorough every time.

The Different Types of Borescopes