Choosing a Plumber Camera: The Basics

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Choosing a Plumber Camera: The Basics

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Buying the right inspection camera for your day-to-day needs can have a major impact on your productivity and profitability. We encourage customers to begin every purchase by asking:

  1. What size pipe will you be inspecting most often?
  2. Where do you commonly inspect?
  3. What display size do you want?

Naturally, size of pipe has the greatest bearing on camera system choice. Common sense says the larger the pipe diameter, the larger the system should be. However, larger systems do have thicker, more rigid pushrods that cannot traverse bends in smaller lines, and may also have larger camera heads that simply do not fit. Conversely, smaller-diameter systems are designed with more flexible rods to negotiate tighter bends. These systems will fit in larger lines, but may suffer a “wet noodle” effect where the rod winds back and forth, bunching up in the line. Ultimately, any tool performs best within a limited range of applications. Making the best choice involves understanding what your most common applications are, and how well the system can manage the challenges when used outside that range.

Where you work is also important. If you perform most of your inspections through basement clean-outs, a smaller, more portable unit is your best choice. It will be easier to carry up and down stairs and less likely to dent a customer's walls and woodwork. On the other hand, if you inspect primarily through outdoor clean-outs, portability is less of a consideration, and the thicker pushrod of a larger system will offer better performance when inspecting larger lateral connections and small mains. 

Finally, consider the desired video display size. Generally, screen size increases with system size. However, if you need a large display for small-diameter work, your best bet is a small camera with a larger accessory monitor. 

Learn more about these and other purchase considerations in this video.


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