The best otoscope for parents, medical students and pet owners in 2022

Doctor using the best otoscope to examine a woman's ear
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best otoscope isn't just for doctors. Parents and pet owners can make good use of them too, and they make a good addition to any home's medicine cabinet. Ears can tell you a lot about their health, and an otoscope can help you spot infections and when ear wax build-up is becoming a problem too.

An otoscope is used to view into the ear canal, past the sicilian hairs which keep dirt out, to give a view of the ear drum (or tympanic membrane). Beyond that lie the Ossicle bones and nerves – not somewhere to push a camera, so these devices must be used with care.

There are two types to choose from: traditional optical ones, and ones that incorporate digital camera tech. The classic otoscope, which are typically used by doctor, tend to feature a light and lens with about 3x of magnification. More modern alternatives are more like a borescope (opens in new tab), a favorite tool of DIY enthusiasts. Some of these digitals otoscopes even allow you to examine your own ears, as well as others'.  

Read on, as we reveal the best otoscopes on the market today, and give you the facts and figures to help you choose between them.

Best otoscopes in 2022

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(Image credit: Vitcoco)
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1. Vitcoco Otoscope

The best otoscope overall

Specifications

Focal length: Fixed
Resolution: 5 megapixel
Smartphone requirementt: iOS 9+ / Android: 4.4+
Lighting: LED
Live video: 1080P
Power: Charged via USB

Reasons to buy

+
Useable on self
+
Record to phone
+
IP67 waterproof lens

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires a smartphone
-
Image lag

The Vitcoco Otoscope is digital, and you need to install an app on your smartphone in order to use it. It come with a 5MP endoscope-like camera that's 3mm in diameter, surrounded by six LEDs, which can be adjusted for brightness in steps. 

The great thing about this device is the ability to inspect your own ear as well as those of others. On the downisde, lag is a slight issue, as is having the coordination to adjust your ear to get a clear. But once you master it you can attach one of the many tiny scoop-like tools to conduct your own earwax cleaning. 

Only the lens is IP67 waterproof for cleaning, but that is enough, and the focal length is 1.5-2cm, which is closer than earlier otoscopes. The tidy design of the case is great too, as is the picture quality.

(Image credit: Bysameyee)
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2. Bysameyee Otoscope

The best cheap otoscope

Specifications

Focal length: Fixed
Resolution: Optical
Lighting: LED
Battery: 2x AAA

Reasons to buy

+
Budget price
+
No-nonsense design
+
Tongue depressor included

Reasons to avoid

-
Low-cost construction

If all you’re looking for is a tool to sit in the first-aid drawer, in case you quickly check an ear, there's no need to spend a lot of cash. And this is the best cheap otoscope we can recommend today.

The Bysameyee Otoscope is cheap for a reason: it's essentially just an LED torch with an otoscope adapter, and some other accessories. Two AAA batteries live inside the stainless steel tube, likely providing all the power you’ll need for the device’s lifetime, though you might find that it needs a bit of a shake to get the power flowing. On the plus side, a tongue depressor is included, so you can use this light for checking throats as well as ears.

(Image credit: Welch Allyn)
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3. Welch Allyn Pocketscope Jr

Professional quality at an affordable price

Specifications

Focal length: Adjustable
Resolution: Optical
Lighting: Halogen
Battery: Rechargeable lithium

Reasons to buy

+
Designed for professionals
+
All-in-one-system
+
Premium optics

Reasons to avoid

-
Could be tougher

Premium otoscopes from Welch Allyn are commonly used by medical practitioners in the US, and typically cost more than a $500. That's going to be overkill for home use, and even medical students might struggle with this cost. In which case, the Welch Allyn Pocketscope Jr provides a good alternative, offering real professional quality at a much more affordable cost.

While it has good consistent halogen illumination, cool and unobstructed thanks to fibre-optic design, the device – and especially the switch – doesn’t feel quite as tough as the premium models. Plus, you’ll have to swap traditional AA batteries from time to time rather than drop it in the charger.

(Image credit: Equinox)
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4. Equinox Veterinary Otoscope

The best otoscope for dogs and cats

Specifications

Focal length: Fixed
Resolution: Optical
Lighting: Filament
Battery: C-type battery

Reasons to buy

+
Good magnification
+
Easy to clean
+
Different tubes for different breeds

Reasons to avoid

-
Uses old C-type batteries

Want to keep an eye on your pet's ears? This device is both good-looking and functional, with engraved metal providing you with a firm grip. The three polypropylene speculars (the pointy end) can be sterilized in an autoclave (medical washing machine) too, making this ideal for regular use. 

The brightness is adjustable thanks to the rheostat at the top of the handle, which is easily manipulated with the thumb. Furthermore, the magnifying power is 4x, putting it ahead of most rivals. It’s a shame the storage box is plastic – somehow it feels like it deserves engraved wood – and, seriously, who uses ‘C’ batteries any more? Those are both minor niggles, though.

(Image credit: Xiaomi)
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5. Bebird M9 Pro

The best otoscope for regular ear wax removal

Specifications

Focal length: Fixed
Resolution: 3 megapixel
Smartphone requirementt: iOS / Android
Lighting: Soft-white LED
Live video: 1080P
Battery: 350mAh rechargeable
Dimension: 141 x 13 x 13mm

Reasons to buy

+
Good Wi-Fi image
+
Neat storage solution

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires connection to phone Wi-Fi

Some find themselves need to clean their ears more than others. Users of AirPods and other ear buds, for instance, can find it particularly difficult to keep wax under control. The Bebird M9 Pro provides the same tech seen in many other ear cleaning cameras, but instead of supplying a few accessories in tubes, there is a large ball-like accessory base and charger which the wireless camera can easily be dropped in, and perhaps stored near the toothbrush cup. 

Use requires the installation of an app (iOS or Android) to see the camera’s feed. But at 100MHz and with digital stabilization the image is reasonably easy to use on yourself, and with 17 accessories you’ll not be wanting.

(Image credit: Bebird )
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6. Bebird Note3 Pro

The best otoscope for mechanical wax removal

Specifications

Focal length: Fixed
Resolution: 10 megapixel
Smartphone requirementt: iOS / Android
Lighting: Cold-white LED
Live video: 1080P
Battery: 300mAh rechargeable
Dimension: 141 x 13 x 13mm

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent image quality
+
+6 axis stabilization
+
+Robotic tweezers are a unique feature

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively expensive
-
Tricky to use alone
-
Requires connection to phone wi-fi

If you like the idea of cleaning ears with a tiny robot arm, this is the device for you. The Bebird Note3 Pro is a Wi-Fi otoscope, similar to the Bebird M9 Pro at number 5 on this list. What this has, which the other device doesn't, are tiny robot tweezers, which give you more precise mechanical control within the ear. 

Clamping and releasing is done via the app, which seems strange at first, but a button in the arm might make it hard to hold steady. Nevertheless this is an exciting option to have, and for some with tricky dry wax or clipping it offers a choice others simply don’t, even if the average hair will not be pulled by them.

Product shot of the 5th Generation Dr Mom LED PRO Otoscope, one of the best otoscopes

(Image credit: Dr Mom)

7. Dr Mom Professional Otoscope 5th Gen

The best otoscope for a home medical cabinet

Specifications

Focal length: Fixed
Resolution: Optical
Smartphone requirement: No
Lighting: Soft-white LED
Live video: No
Battery: 2x C-Cell

Reasons to buy

+
Traditional firm grip
+
Illustrations to help diagnosis included
+
Spare speculas available

Reasons to avoid

-
C-cell batteries are less common
-
Not professional grade optics

As the name suggests, this otoscope is firmly aimed at concerned and responsible parents. This pocket-size, traditional-style otoscope is well made, featuring an optical quality glass lens with anti-scratch treatmen, a female insuflation outlet and the ability to add and remove a disposable specula. The LED gives off bright light, a battery is included, and the lens provides good magnification. All in all, this offers great value for the affordable price.

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With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 


Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 


He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones (opens in new tab), The Smart Smart Home Handbook (opens in new tab), 101 Tips for DSLR Video (opens in new tab) and The Drone Pilot's Handbook (opens in new tab)

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