November 01, 2021 / by Danny Mavis

Our households are all dependant on pipes running through them. Regardless of whether they’re made of plastic or metal, piping is crucial for the removal of human waste and the irrigation system in your home. Today, we are dependant on both systems and have engineers and physicians to thank for them, but we also have to consider the people keeping them in check.

Plumbers may not have invented any of these systems, but when it comes to drain inspection, they are there to do the dirty work. With the help of some of the most widely used technological advancements in today’s world – the camera, plumbers are able to locate issues that they couldn’t before. This way, digging and guesswork are eliminated right away.

What Kind of Camera Do Plumbers Use?


A borescope camera, or drain inspection camera, is a small and flexible camera module. This module is attached to a cable acting like a snake of the pipe jungle. A plumbing camera is able to detect an issue while being non-invasive. Plumbing cameras often have a set of tools you can use through them, eliminating the need to spend a lot of time on getting to the pipe yourself.

What to Look for in a Drain Camera

Video Quality

It is crucial that you get a camera with decent video quality. The video quality of a plumbing drain camera largely depends on its lens. Luckily, camera lenses have come a long way even when it comes to the smallest of form factors. Today, you can have a small borescope camera with exceptional video quality. High definition camera lenses are going to enable you to see things that you wouldn’t with a lower resolution camera. However, keep in mind that the better the video quality, the more strain on the batteries.



The size of a drain camera is also important as it can make or break the inspection process. But you don’t have to worry about the size of the camera module as they are tiny no matter which model you go for. It’s the length of the cable you have to pay attention to. An off-the-shelf drain camera will have 20 meters of cable for you to use, but if you want more you can get some models that come with 30 meters of cable available.


The runtime of a drain inspection camera largely depends on its battery. The bigger the battery the longer you’ll be able to use a plumbing inspection camera. Bigger batteries add a lot more weight than ones with a smaller capacity. Usually, a drain camera that will work for 3 or 4 hours at a time. These cameras usually have a battery capacity of at least 2500 mAh. Furthermore, consider whether the batteries are rechargeable or disposable. Rechargeable batteries are more expensive, but you can get more use out of them down the line. However, most of the time, you’ll want to have an extra set of batteries, especially if your workday consists of multiple inspections and you have to use the camera for several hours at a time.



The display of a drain camera needs to be able to display the resolution the camera module captures clearly. This is where you want to get a display that can get really bright to ensure you can see everything on it when working outdoors in direct sunlight. The display should also be big enough for you to see the whole picture without having to squint your eyes every time you do so. For a well-lit, sharp display with clear viewing angles, you should look for inspection cameras that are able to capture a 1080p resolution. Modern cameras may include a touch display that features an easy-to-use interface for quick and seamless operation.


The sonde, or locator, is the latest technological addition to drain cameras. This feature isn’t found on every plumbing drain camera but if you can afford one with it, it’s recommended that you go for such a model. Why? Because what this locator does is help you identify the exact spot where an issue has occurred. While the locator will definitely amp up the price of a drain camera it will save you a lot more time and money later down the line.


When looking for damage or blockage in a drainpipe, you definitely need light and you can’t just use a flashlight. A LED light at the sides of the camera module is definitely a must. You should look for a drain camera that has more than 6 LED lights on the sides. Why LED? Well because it can produce bright light without using too much energy, and they last longer too. Furthermore, LEDs are very durable, making them well-suited for the types of environments they’ll find themselves in.