Endoscope vs Borescope: What’s the Difference?

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In this article, we profile the endoscope and the borescope. Below, you will find information on what each tool does. We will also explain how they differ from one another, and what types of jobs they can be used for.

What is a Borescope?

a borescope

A borescope is a piece of optical equipment that is able to access spaces that humans cannot reach. The tool features a tube with a specialty lens attached at the end, which can usually produce high-quality imaging even in low light scenarios.

Depending on what the borescope is being used for, it may feature a rigid shaft or one that is flexible enough to navigate corners and turns.

Borescopes are commonly used to take a look into pipes and other areas that are otherwise impossible to access.

What is an Endoscope?

An endoscope is a borescope that is used for medical procedures. Like any borescope, it features a camera attached to cables. The difference is that the endoscope is made with specifications that make it well-equipped for getting around the human body.

It’s commonly used in a procedure called an endoscopy, where it’s used to help doctors get a look at a patient’s insides.

What’s the Difference?

The main difference between these two pieces of technology is their application. Both pieces of equipment are in the same family. They are related in the same way that a claw and a ball-peen hammer are.

Because of the tools’ radically different uses, they do differ somewhat in makeup. For example, the endoscope is more flexible than the average borescope because it needs to be able to navigate the twists and turns of the digestive tract with ease.

Conversely, a standard borescope will have brighter light settings than the endoscope because the inside of the human body does better with low amounts of light.

Here is a breakdown of a few other core differences:

  • Length: Technically, you can probably find versions of both tools that are more or less the same length. However, the vast majority of the time, endoscopes will be a lot shorter than borescopes. The reason for this is, of course, obvious: you need a lot more length to look into a drain than to look through the human anatomy.
  • Diameter: You’ll be relieved to know that endoscopes are typically a lot thinner than the average borescope. Neither are exceptionally thick, but the modest dimensions of the endoscope makes it a little less invasive.
  • Maneuverability: Endoscopic maneuverability is usually as seamless as possible. The physician is able to glide the device through the body, focusing on the image rather than the actual process of steering the camera.
  • There are standard borescopes with this feature as well, but you have to pay a lot for it. Typically, endoscopes are substantially easier to control.
  • Flexibility: Endoscopes are also more flexible than borescopes.
  • View: The view of an average borescope will depend mostly on the make and model, but it typically falls somewhere around 120 degrees. There is less variation with endoscopes. They typically feature a view angle of 90 degrees.
  • Price: Endoscopes are also typically radically more expensive than the standard borescope. That’s just medical equipment for you.

Of course, differences aside, there is very little risk of the average consumer getting the wrong version of this tool. Borescopes are fairly common, whereas endoscopes are typically only sold by medical vendors.


As you can imagine, it would be pretty catastrophic to confuse these two pieces of equipment on the job site. But for as similar as they are, the risk of a costly mistake is pretty low. If you didn’t know what an endoscope was when you sat down to read this article, the chances are pretty good that you do not need one.

For most people, a standard borescope will satisfy your needs just fine.