Teslong TD450S Borescope Hands-On Review: A Thousand And One Uses For Seeing Where The Sun Don’t Shine

There are tools of convenience and tools of necessity. Most people would consider a borescope the former until they’ve used one.
teslong td450s borescope hands-on review

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I would have probably never bought a borescope like this Teslong TD450S for myself. Although I’ve been in a few situations where I knew they would’ve made my life easier, they weren’t things that seemed critical to get eyes on to fix. If I’m honest, I also didn’t realize borescopes like the TD450s, had become so affordable. The normal price on Amazon is right around $130. As I am typing this, it’s on sale for $109.99—which is an order of magnitude less than I remember it being. It’s worth noting, this is still a fraction of the price of a tool truck brand.

teslong td450s borescope unboxing

The borescope was sent to me by Teslong for testing. No money has changed hands between myself or my company. I’ve tested this out for a few hours, spread out over a couple of days. So I can’t speak to how long this will last. Looking at the 170 reviews on Amazon, none of them complain about having one that stopped working. One review says they dropped it on a concrete floor and the screen shattered. That seems pretty normal for something with 4.5-inch screen. If you buy this from Amazon, you can get a 2-year protection plan for $15.99 or a 3-year plan for $21.99. Doing so would offer some peace of mind. I have no reason to think this won’t last for years. But I know since this is an unknown brand to tool enthusiasts, it will come up in the comments.

What is a borescope and how do I use it?

The endoscope dates back well over 200 years, but the flexible borescope wasn’t possible until the invention of fiberoptic glass in the 1960s. Today, a borescope is essentially a camera mounted on a flexible mast. This particular model uses a single camera that has one mode of articulation. It can swing through 210° of motion by using a lever with your thumb, right below the screen; sometimes with varying degrees of success. Other borescopes have multiple cameras and sometimes, multiple axes of movement.

Using the borescope is pretty easy, I have no idea why it’s so expensive to have your doctor run one up…nevermind. This Teslong is basically turn it on and go. Mine came mostly charged and with the 32 gig microSD card already installed and formatted. You might notice I didn’t even take the time to set the date before taking photos. It really is point and shoot. There’s a trigger switch that takes a photo, or starts/stops video recording. It has a mode button under the screen to go between photo, video, and playback. There’s another button to select the brightness of the probe light. A zoom buton. Then there’s buttons to navigate the menu system. 

teslong td450s borescope

Feeding the borescope into the intended target can be the difficult part. I feel as though I have a slight advantage. I am of the last generation of humans who, one: could accidentally lock your keys in your car. And two: could remedy the situation with a coat hanger.

Once I verified the borescope was working, the first thing I did was probe my car. I went in through the airbox. First, there are flow straighteners just before the MAF, so I had to worm my way through those. Then, there’s a couple of accordion bends which want to grab the camera as it’s fed past. I had to use the head articulation to guide it around the corners. You also have to try and twist the cable to rotate the head since it only pivots in one plane. I eventually got right in front of the impeller, but getting it aimed right at the center was pretty difficult. But, it was still way easier and faster than pulling everything apart.

What are the specs of the TD450S

To start at the beginning, this borescope is normally around $130, but you can sometimes find closer to $110. The lead, or cable is 5 feet in length, with almost the entirety of it being usable if you need to get really far into something. The screen is 4.5 inches on the diagonal with 854×480 resolution. It’s plenty bright enough with good contrast. Still photos are 1920×1080 and video is 1280×720. The examples you see below are straight from the camera, no editing. The depth of field is surprisingly good. It works great as an inspection camera even when it’s several inches from the target. The battery life is hours, if not days. I played with it for hour intervals over several days and it barely put a dent in the battery percentage. The operating temperature is rated between 32° – 113°F, which doesn’t seem ideal

Would a borescope for my smartphone be a better option

Teslong, and countless other manufacturers, makes similar borescopes which plug into a smartphone, and work with either iOS or Andriod. Some of these are even as cheap as $20 for a unit with a non-moveable head. Some use a free app, and some, you will end up having to pay for full functionality or to use it at all. I’ve tested dozens of automotive tools over the years that are now useless because the app is no longer available, the device no longer connects to my phone because the physical plug has changed or the wireless protocol is different. I prefer stand alone devices, especially like this one, which doesn’t require any sort of wireless connection to work. I can take this Teslong TD450S Borescope anywhere and use it, by itself. It’s nice to run the Teslong TD450S borescope while looking stuff up on my iPhone if needed.

I suppose the downside of a standalone unit is the space it takes up. The TD450S, and most of the Teslongs that are this form-factor, come in a decently nice, padded and zipper closed, case that is roughly 16x9x4 inches. The only accessory that goes along with it is a USB cable with USB-A on the computer or charger end and a USB-C on the end that goes into the borescope. 

What can I do with a borescope

As I already mentioned, I looked at my turbo. Then, I fed it down one of my dash vents to take a look at the flapper valves in the HVAC system. On my last car, I need to check which and how many of the air divertors were going bad, and to see which version I had to order replacements before tearing the dash apart. I didn’t have a borescope then. But, don’t restrict your thinking to just plumbing.

Most engine bays are pretty tight these days, plus the amount of vac and boost hoses running all over means you can’t see down more than a few inches. You can use this to check for leaks, inspect CV boots, see what color of wires are coming out of that plug that you can only feel. There are so many uses for this that are admittedly lazy, but I’m OK with that.

Around the house, since this lead is waterproof, you can use this to check drains and plumbing. Want to see how your dryer vent is looking? It’ll do it. Trying to find wiring inside your walls? perfect for that. Want to spy on your kids by running this under their bedroom door? You shouldn’t but you could. You could even use this as the name suggests to inspect the bore of a gun. There are more uses for this than I can even imagine and at just over a hundred bucks, I feel like this would pay for itself pretty quick.

Teslong TD450 Borescope The Verdict

From the quality of the on-screen imag and photos, to the ease of use, to the low price, the Teslong TD450S borescope gets high marks. I don’t have other borescopes on hand to do a side-by-side comparison with, so my judgement is based on tools in general. 

Teslong TD450S Borescope
Ease Of Use8/10

The TD450S is up and running basically as soon as it’s out of the box. You may want to take the time to set the time and date, I didn’t, but that’s about all it takes. The instruction manual is thin and there’s a good reason for it. The controls of the scope are intuitive and thankfully minimalistic. In normal use, the most you’ll need to do is switch between photo and video, which is a single, dedicated button. The trigger snaps photos or starts and stops video. I can’t imagine it being any easier to use.

Having to spec the lead on a borescope is an unenviable job. There are times when it could have been more rigid and others when it would made have made life easier if it were more compliant. The tilting head helps a little to guide it around corners, but if yours doing a lot of complicated work, I might opt for one of the models with more degrees of movement.

I have less than 10 hours of use on this borescope. It’s hard for me to really comment on how long it will last. It seems durable in the day to sense. Some of that will depend on how you treat tools. I was brought-up and trained to treat tools with respect and care.

My tools generally last for years partly from that attitude. This is as much a piece of consumer electronics as much as it is a garage tool. You need to treat it the same way you would a laptop. I’m a bit concerned with the maximum temperature being rated at 113°, I live in Las Vegas and the internals of my car will stay at those temps even after sitting overnight. I mean, in the middle of summer, it’ll be almost that hot in my garage, so this will have to be stored inside. But again, more electronics than tools.

The overall verdict is this is a great value that you will probably find more uses for than you can imagine. Even if you need to find the earring that dropped behind your dresser or look at the inboard brake pad without lifting the car. The tool truck brand names sell borescopes that are many times the price of this one and they do the same thing. You may be paying for the warranty on those more than a step up in quality or durability. There are cheaper borescopes out there also, but for under $150, this Teslong still seems a great value.