If you want to avoid an expensive drain repair or worse, flooding, grab yourself the best drain camera.
Whether you're a home owner trying to save some cash, or a Professional looking for an income generating camera, we review them all for you below.
Read on to learn about different types of drain cameras for every budget.
Best Drain Camera Chart
Drain Camera Price
Drain cameras are available in all price ranges. You can always find one that's in your budget and with the options you need to get your drains inspected.
Pro Drain Cameras
Ridgid SeeSnake is the top of the line professional camera, the best for drain inspections on the market. The Ridgid 40798 Seesnake gets all jobs from small to big ones done.
The Ridgid SeeSnake Micro Reel Drain Camera comes with everything you need to figure out your drain problems. Pro level drain cameras like this come with locators and the Ridgid drain camera monitor. This sort of capacity makes this drain inspection camera more expensive than others. Its great that the monitor is included. Having to also shop around for a monitor, separate from the camera is not our idea of a good time.
The Ridgid Drain Camera comes with 100 feet of cable. This is a ton of cable to inspect any length of pipe that you may have. You can use this camera in both commercial and residential pips because it's made for pipes that are 1.5 inches to 4 inches in diameter. Even novice homeowners can get this drain camera to go easily through traps and bends in their pipes.
This drain camera comes with six high powered LED lights. The stainless steel camera head protects your camera from pipes while not rusting.
What you won't find in mid and budget priced drain cameras is the built in locator. This is a must for Pros to record and track issues in customers pipes. The SeeSnake drain camera is durable and reliable backed with a lifetime warranty.
You can switch from video to camera while the cable and camera are inside your pipes. This lets you zoom in on problem areas and take pictures, essential in figuring out problems in your pipes.
Ridgid Cameras are a must for all contractors out there.
SECON Drain Cameras are built with color video, WIFI Connections, and an SD card slot to record. This camera is made in the USA.
It comes with a MASSIVE 200 foot cable that basically goes anywhere. Specifically made for larger pipes of 3 to 10 inches, this unit is a commercial contractors dream.
Not anywhere near a plug? No Problem, this unit also comes with 2 DeWalt batteries that are rechargeable, so you can operate this drain camera cordlessly.
The camera isn’t self-leveling. But, when you consider the price, you can invest in the skid kit and still be ahead of the game, money wise. Click here for the link to the skid kit.
While still in the Pro drain camera category, this SECON MicroSM unit is cheaper than most. That's because its really built for homeowners. It has 100 feet of cable and can inspect 1.5 to 4 inch pipes. Other SECON Units above have longer cables and inspect much larger pipes, hence why the price is so much more.
This unit is Made in USA and built with 10 LEDs and a 1.29 diameter color camera head.
You get a great color LCD monitor that is 7 inches and a built in locator.
Pro Built Tools is built to inspect drains from 3 to 10 inches wide. It has 130 feet of cable and is a good price for homeowners to get into the Pro drain camera market.
Please note that even though this camera has a transmitter, it doesn't come with a locator, you have to buy it separately. You can see anything in your drains with the 10 bright LEDs on the camera.
Because of its affordable price, you are sacrificing the ability to record, a skid kit, and a self-leveling camera.
For Pro Built parts, check out their website here: www.probuilttools.com
Best Drain Camera - Mid Range Prices
The Mid range priced drain cameras are great for homeowners. The price is just right for using them a few times a year to do routine drain inspections. For the cost of 1 drain inspection, you can pick up a drain camera for yourself instead of paying someone else to do it.
The drain cameras below offer most of the features of pro cameras except recording and locators. Some of them also have shorter cables, but they are long enough for home based drain inspections.
Below are our top choices in mid range prices drain cameras.
Get up to 4 hours on 1 battery with the Forbest Drain Camera. 4 hours is plenty of time to inspect all your drains. Great for any homeowner because it inspects pipes up to 3 inches wide.
With 2 ways to record, USB or SD card, you won't miss any drain issues. Usually with mid range models, you sacrifice the ability to record, but not with this bad boy.
While even the Pro cameras only come with 10 LEDs, this Forbest Camera comes with 12! You'll be able to see anything in your pipes.
Forbest pipe inspection camera has a 100 foot cable, which is perfect for homeowners or Pros alike.
This Anysun camera is a great deal. For a mid range camera you can record both video and images. This camera also lasts about 7-8 hours on a single charge. Much longer than its competition at 4 hours.
Did I mention that it comes with an 8 GB SD card, so you can get started right away on inspecting your drains? AND a color display? I love the value here!
Built with a flexible spring head, which helps it to get past elbows and bends in your drains.
You will find most mid range priced drain camera models are very similar. This Jaydear drain camera comes with 100 feet of cable and 6 LED lights. I found the biggest CON was that I wish it had more lights. The camera does come with a nice 7 inch screen that is super clear and you can record too.
I was happy when the battery lasted nearly 8 hours on a single charge too.
Being able to record is a huge bonus and we were happy to see that ability on the Jaydear. I love that you can play back your drain inspections on Apple, Android and tablet PC.
I found it super easy to connect my devices to this drain camera.
Best Budget Drain Cameras: Affordable
You can inspect your pipes on a strict budget. You will have to give up a big screen and long cables, but, its important to stick to your budget. Choose the most important features for you, and shop with those in mind. Check out the top 2 inspection cameras below for your needs.
This DEPSTECH inspection camera has a very short 16.5 foot cable. It is no good for inspecting long drains. You would need to buy a mid ranged priced drain camera model to get that extra cable length for long pipes. Entire drain lines are much longer than 16 feet so you won't be able to do a complete inspection with this model.
You can use it for shallow inspections and to see around corners or in tight spaces around your home, ducts, cars, any place you can't fit your head basically.
For the price, I found this unit has a clear picture and was easy to set up.
The IWOBAC camera has a short cable too. Budget models always will. Perfect for shallow drain inspections. For an actual drain inspection, the cable with this unit is just not long enough.
The 3 foot cable is great for checking out clogs in your pipes up until the P-Trap but that’s about it. If you want an actual drain camera with a long cable, you’ll have to go with our mid-range priced cameras we discuss above.
How Much is a Drain Camera?
Drain cameras can be super expensive. Good news is that those drain cameras are built for commercial plumbers. They have a ton of options that drives up the price considerably. You can get your drains inspected yourself for a fraction of the cost.
You can find an inspection camera to fit almost any budget. If you're a homeowners looking for a drain camera, we recommend checking out the mid range and budget models we outlined above.
Should you get an Expensive Drain Camera?
There are many different kinds of drain cameras on the market. Some cost a few hundred dollars and others cost $1,000. Is there a difference between the drain cameras? Why do they charge so much for some and so little for others?
Expensive drain camera comes with very long cables, a ton of lights, high quality video and recording, and a long warranty. They are mostly made for commercial plumbing shops and can handle very large drains.
Picking the Best Drain Camera: Which one do YOU Need?
There are 8 things you should think about before buying a drain camera.
- Water Proof
- Video Screen Size
- Image Quality
- Color Output
- Cable Length
- Pipe Size You'll be Inspecting
It's pretty obvious that if you're putting a camera into your pipes that it's going to get wet. You must make sure that your camera is waterproof and not water resistant. Water resistant means that, eventually, your camera will get water inside, depending how long its submerged.
A locator let's you know the exact location of your camera inside your pipes. This way you will know exactly where the problem is and can get to fixing it. Locator's are not standard on drain cameras, and to buy a camera with a locator, you will pay more. Locators are typically found on higher end drain cameras used by professionals.
#3. Screen Size
If the screen size is too small, you won't be able to see the problems in your pipes. The bigger the screen, the more expensive the drain camera. Wearing glasses or having poor eyesight means you may have to invest some extra cash to get an inspection camera with a bigger screen.
#4. Image Quality
Grainy images are hard to read. You might not be able to tell if you have pipe problems or not if the image is of poor quality. Higher resolution display images and video will cost you more.
This feature is standard in most professional grade drain cameras. Homeowners will probably find that they don't need to be able to record a drain inspection and get away with a camera that just takes good quality pictures.
#6. Color Output
Whether you want black and white or color output is up to you. It really makes no difference in the ability to see problems in your pipes. Getting a color output just costs more money. If you're on a budget, we recommend getting a black and white output.
#7. Cable Length
Homeowners really don't need drain cameras with super long cables. Most mid priced drain cameras come with 25-50 feet of cable, which is plenty for inspecting you own drains. Plumbers and other drain professionals are required to inspect long pipes. Because of this most Pro level drain cameras will come with a minimum of 100 feet of cable, maybe more.
#8. The Diameter of Your Pipes
Professional cameras are built with thicker cables and more lights. This is because they need to use their cameras in commercial situations. They inspect pipe that can be over 10 inches in diameter. Homeowners don't need this type of capability and can save some of their money. Get a drain camera that is built for the diameter of your larger pipe.
What to Think About Before Buying a Drain Camera
What is Drain Camera Inspection?
Drain cameras work for you to find things in your pipes that are not normal. You insert the long cable with a camera on the end into your drain pipe. The drain camera will have a video monitor output where you can see for yourself what's inside your pipes. This helps you to detect any issues before they become huge and expensive repair problems.
When looking inside your pipes, you need to look for a few things. See if you can spot any clogs, breaks, roots, sagging pies or cracks. If you see any one of those things its time to call in the Pros for a repair.
Borescope Camera, Snake Camera: Are they the Same Thing?
Borescope cameras are another term for an inspection camera. Most borescopes are used to see in tight an narrow spaces where you normally can't reach. You can rent all sorts of cameras at your local hardware store, like Home Depot. Click on this link HERE to check it out online.
Do You Need a Drain Camera?
If you own a home, getting a drain camera is a great idea. Drain cameras are not super costly, considering the cost of a plumber. Owning a home means that you must inspect your plumbing on a regular basis.You can do your own annual drain and pipe inspections yourself, saving a ton of cash.
Shopping around for a home? You must get a drain inspection done. This way you can find some very expensive problems before you invest your life savings. If also tells you if the seller has been neglectful in their maintenance, so you might want to look more into the electricla, plumbing, etc., before making an offer.
Drain Camera Inspection: How much does it Cost?
Online, the lowest you can pay for a drain camera inspection by a Pro is about $100. This seems ridiculously low to us. This cost will change depending on the area you live in and the going rate for inspection services. The average price for a drain inspection is about $600.
Buy a Drain Camera, Save Your Cash
Compare that to the cost of the mid range cameras above, and you can get a camera for less than the average price of a Pro inspection. Then, you have the camera to use over and over again, saving you a bunch of money in the long run on annual inspections.
Does Inspection a Drain take a Long Time?
Drain inspections can take a few hours if you're doing your whole property. This is because it depends on the size of your property, home, and the length of your drain pipes.
Are Drain Cameras Easy to Set Up?
It's easy to start using a drain camera within a matter of minutes. There isn't a ton of effort to feed the camera and cable down your drains and then watch the monitor for pipe problems. These problems are usually easy and quick to spot without being specially trained in using inspection cameras.
Can Drain Cameras be Used Anytime?
You bet! You can do your own inspections any time of the day at no extra cost to you. It's easy because you can do the inspections according to your schedule and not someone elses'.
Can You Rent a Drain Camera?
Yes, you can rent drain cameras by the hour at your local hardware store. You might find though that the cost of a two hour rental is almost the price of some of the mid range drain cameras we've listed here and decide to buy one instead.
Rent a Drain Camera!!
How Do You Use a Drain Camera? How do Drain Inspections Work?
A drain camera сan loсate a рroblеm fast, allowing you to start your repairs without having to worry about getting someone in to do the work with a busy schedule.
Drain cameras work by feeding the fiber optic cable, either by hand or with a motor, down the pipe. Turn on the video before you enter your pipe.
If your drain camera has the option to record, start recording as soon as you feed the cable into your pipe. If you can only take pictures, do so every time you see something suspicious.
Don’t go fast when inspecting your pipes. Speed will only make you miss problems. Take your time and really inspect each area of concern. Note its location using your locator on your camera (if it came with one).
Otherwise, note on a piece of paper how many feet the suspected problem is down your pipe so it can be found again later.
If you don’t find any issues, that’s fantastic! But, if you do, don’t worry, you’ve caught it early before it became a super expensive emergency. And for the repairs?
The best drain camera, along with our words of wisdom and experience, will make sure that you save cash on drain inspections and have your drains in tip top shape all year long.