January 28, 2011

Ryobi Tek4 Cordless Inspection Scope - Review

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In just a few short years, inspection scopes have gone from, "only the specialists have them" to "my mom's got like three of these things." Actually, that's not true, we're not there yet, but we're getting there. And with its big box store availability and nice price, the Ryobi Cordless Inspection Scope, powered by their 4-volt Tek4 battery gives a solid push in that direction. Ryobi sent us one to check out and after using it for about a month in a variety of settings, here we are writing the review...

We've used some of the pimped out inspection cameras from Milwaukee and Ridgid and as far as features, the Ryobi can't compare to those uber-pro models. The Ryobi can't download images to a computer to then be emailed to a client. It can't record video. But what it can do is allow you to see into your walls, which, at it's most basic, is what the tool is all about in the first place. So compared to the Ridgid or the Milwaukee, this one is light on features, but that doesn't mean that it is devoid of features. It's not, it actually has all you really need.

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The Ryobi has 4 buttons on it. The power button turns the tool on and off. A zoom button cycles through four camera zooms (1x, 1.3x, 1.7x, 2x). A light button cycles through three different brightnesses, and a 180 button flips the camera image on the screen. If you've never used an inspection camera before, this last one is important. It's very easy to get the camera head all turned around when you're snaking it through a wall.

We used it for a lot of things, the most important of which was when we snaked the camera through the wall to see how our ceiling joists tie into the top plate of a partition wall. As it turns out, they don't so much "tie into" them as they do "rest on top them." It's a good fact to know before removing a big chunk of the wall.

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We also pushed it down the drain of the kitchen sink in order to see the fork that Tool Snob Jr. stuck down there. Not just a construction tool...

So what's the bottom line here? Well, it's that this is a tool that will be very useful to the hardcore DIYer, someone who is doesn't need all the bling of the more expensive models. And you know what? This one will be good for most contractors too. Like we said, it doesn't have all the features, but it still fulfills all the basic functions of the inspection camera.

The Ryobi Scope is $140 and that includes the camera, a charger and one battery. Not bad when compared to the $250+ for the DeWalt or the Milwaukee.

At Home Depot

Read More in: All Reviews | Cordless | Inspection Tools | Lithium-Ion

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at January 28, 2011 6:16 AM

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Recent Comments

Is the camera head plastic or metal? Is there a 6' extension available for it? My main uses for it would looking into walls in an old, historical home for Knob & Tube, leaks, etc.


Posted by: Ev at April 8, 2011 4:40 PM

Clyde: No it does not record any images.


Posted by: Tool Snob at January 31, 2011 7:20 PM

Is the Tek4 a "camera" that will record the scope image?


Posted by: Clyde at January 31, 2011 4:27 PM

these are cool inspection tools, I saw one with nightvision for 90 bucks online that looked like a ridgid seesnake OEM. My only issue with the ryobi inspection camera is the proprietary battery, I understand thats why the whole line was launched, but for tools that don't use a ton of energy I dont see the need to lock into another batt system.


Posted by: Kevin at January 28, 2011 9:40 PM

Hey Ethan, I don't have a Rigid or Milwaukee in the shop right now, so I can't directly speak to that feature, which, I agree, is a really important one. What I can say is that the Ryobi had enough light for what I was using it for which was poking around in the walls. As you know, you're not going to be able to see six feet down a wall cavity, but things in front of the scope come in pretty clear.


Posted by: Tool Snob at January 28, 2011 1:10 PM

I've used a very old fiberscope a couple times, mostly looking into blind spots around my car engine. I think the biggest challenge for these types of devices is getting good lighting. How would you compare the light output compared to Milwaukee and Rigid?


Posted by: Ethan@OPC at January 28, 2011 11:21 AM
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