The 9 Best Otoscopes

Updated February 22, 2018 by Jeff Newburgh

9 Best Otoscopes
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you're a doctor or veterinarian, having fully-illuminated and unobstructed views of a patient's ear are important for routine checkups, ensuring accurate diagnoses, and determining proper treatments. Our selection of otoscopes include multiple specula and dependable light sources, and they deliver superior fields of view that make it easy to spot potential issues. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best otoscope on Amazon.

9. ADC Proscope

Weighing seven ounces and at just under 7.5 inches long, the ADC Proscope offers a compact and lightweight design with an attractive, satin-finished handle. Its knurled texture makes it super easy to grip. But the two required C cell batteries must be purchased separately.
  • bayonet locking head
  • rheostatic power switch
  • doesn't get very bright
Brand American Diagnostic
Model 5211
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Depstech Digital

Compatible with most Android mobile devices and PCs, and with an onboard waterproof camera, the Depstech Digital brings the necessary visual clarity and high-tech precision needed to assess virtually any problematic situation that may be brewing within the inner ear.
  • extra-long cable connection
  • 4 sizes of specula are included
  • instruction manual is confusing
Brand Depstech
Model pending
Weight 3.5 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Dr Mom Vet

The Dr Mom Vet features extra-long specula that are specially designed to accommodate a canine's anatomy. Unlike yellow incandescent bulbs, its LED light source delivers full-spectrum illumination, which comes in handy when trying to locate infections in Fido's ears.
  • very durable construction
  • lifetime warranty is provided
  • it's a pain to keep clean
Brand Doctor Mom
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Serenelife 2-in-1

Be prepared for any auditory abnormality using the Serenelife 2-in-1. An impressive 300-percent magnification level will allow you to pinpoint a problem efficiently. Four types of interchangeable tips can be used to inspect most child- and adult-sized ear canals.
  • scrolling wheel adjusts aperture
  • can be used on pets as well
  • doesn't come with batteries
Brand SereneLife
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

5. Heine Mini 3000

The Heine Mini 3000 is a pocket-sized solution that sheds bright xenon halogen light into both the auditory canal and eardrum. An integrated insufflation port accommodates the use of variable air pressure to test a patient's degree of tympanic mobility when needed.
  • swiveling viewing window
  • device is shockproof
  • handle is a bit bulky
Brand Heine
Model pending
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

4. Essentrapy SpecV3

Using efficient 360-degree fiber optic technology, the Essentrapy SpecV3 gives pediatricians a field of view that is up to 30 percent greater than its competition, ensuring accurate diagnoses without the need for additional patient follow-ups.
  • price is affordable
  • sturdy brass body
  • case hinges are flimsy
Brand essentrapy
Model SPECv3
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. RA Bock Diagnostics

Made from durable chrome-plated brass, the RA Bock Diagnostics comes with 3 different sizes of reusable specula. The optical-quality glass lens is equipped with both a scratch-resistant coating and a hinged design that makes it easy to swing aside for cleaning.
  • luer-lock head mounting system
  • supports use of an insufflation bulb
  • good for small dogs and primates
Brand RA Bock Diagnostics
Model AmzPro
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Welch Allyn Premium

Perfect for ENT physicians performing examinations throughout the day, the MacroView otoscope in the Welch Allyn Premium kit is equipped with a powerful instrument head and a lithium ion battery in the handle that delivers two hours of continuous use per charge.
  • built-in throat illuminator
  • comes with an ophthalmoscope
  • zippered storage case
Brand Welch Allyn for Student
Model 97-MDS-PML
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Firefly DE551

The Firefly DE551 boasts wireless capabilities for capturing both still images and videos at near high-definition pixel resolution, making it one of the most advanced and precise instruments available for examining the entire anatomy of your furry friend's ears.
  • 3-hour lithium battery
  • 4 leds with adjustable brightness
  • usb cable is included
Brand Firefly
Model Firefly DE551
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Scoping Out The Mysteries Of The Ear

Whether you're a healthcare professional or running a veterinary practice for Fido, you use diagnostic tools to find signs of potential problems inside your patients' bodies. For example, a doctor uses a stethoscope's hollow tubing and earpieces to listen to the high-frequency sounds produced by a patient's heartbeat. But what happens when the patient's ears are the topic of concern? In much the same way as the stethoscope is a standard diagnostic tool for annual checkups, so is the otoscope when used to look inside the human and canine ear to identify and treat medical issues.

The otoscope provides illuminated magnification of the inside of a patient's ear canal. Regardless of the type used, the device is equipped with several standard components. These include: the specula, specially shaped tools for gently probing and visualizing the ear canal; the head, which consists of an eyepiece and magnifying lens; a handle, containing an integrated power switch; an internal battery, responsible for supplying power to the device; and a light source. The light with which an otoscope is equipped can take the form of halogen, xenon, LED, or even fiber optic illumination.

Otoscopes fall into three main categories: pocket, full-size, and video. As its name suggests, the pocket otoscope easily slips into a lab coat pocket, making it an ideal tool for the doctor who's always on the go. The heads of most pocket otoscopes can be unscrewed to access their light sources when the time comes to replace them. Pocket otoscopes are powered by disposable AA alkaline batteries accessible through a cap on the bottom of their handles.

Setting the full-size otoscope apart from its smaller competition is the interchangeability of both its head and handle. The interlocking tool design from medical supply company Welch Allyn has made possible the attachment of different otoscope heads to the same handle. This means that a physician has the flexibility to attach a more advanced head to the same handle, upgrading certain components of the device without having to replace it entirely. Most full-size otoscopes are powered by rechargeable batteries, which means the user can plug the device into a standard wall outlet instead of relying on a reserve of disposable batteries.

The video otoscope is the most modern of all three types. Designed to interface with a computer monitor or television screen, this device captures both high-quality images and video inside the ear, projecting an enlarged view of the tympanic membrane that includes details of all its structures. Because it can be used to document the ear canal through images and video over time, the video otoscope is useful in determining the effectiveness of clinical procedures, such as the removal of cerumen.

Diagnosing Your Options

If your career path leads you to providing hearing care in the medical world, consider all available features and options.

Size and weight are critical features to consider when investing in an otoscope. If you have particularly large hands, then a full-size or video otoscope will work quite well for your needs. They are lightweight and easy to control, which simplifies the experience of performing an examination on a young child or fussy pooch.

Consider the source of power for your otoscope. Some offer wireless operation and run on rechargeable batteries, while others offer wired configurations with wall-mountable power transformers.

Look for a device capable of pneumatic otoscopy. A pneumatic otoscope is equipped with an integrated port for an insufflation bulb that applies positive and negative air pressure to the eardrum. This delivery of air pressure allows you to determine how rigid or flexible a patient's eardrum is and whether that result could indicate a problem in need of treatment.

You must decide on the appropriate light source for your needs. For example, high-quality LED bulbs last for thousands of hours with an ability to distinguish a variety of colors observed within the ear canal. These colors indicate the overall health of the area under examination. That said, it's in your best interest to spend a little extra for a reliable source of illumination to ensure a proper diagnosis.

Finally, you must choose the type of specula that work best. Some doctors prefer using disposable specula, as their otoscopes have built-in ejection systems that minimize direct contact with such contaminated components prior to their disposal.

A Brief History Of The Otoscope

The earliest concept of an otoscope dates back to the year 1363. French physician and surgeon Guy De Chauliac described his invention as a tong-shaped specula device used to examine both the nasal and aural passages of the human body.

By 1838, Vienna native Ignaz Gruber developed the first funnel-shaped specula made entirely from metal. Unlike Chauliac's invention, Gruber's device had a relatively simple, conical shape that wasn't separated by a pair of jaws. While Gruber's design was never officially published, its operation was demonstrated to W.R. Wilde from Dublin, who further refined the device in 1844. It was at this point in time that ear speculum gained international acceptance as the standard means for examining the inside of a patient's ear.

The first pneumatic otoscope was invented in 1864 by German native E. Siegle. Siegle's device allowed for the examination of the eardrum as well as its response to variations in air pressure. This time period saw the incorporation of modern otoscope characteristics, including interchangeable ear specula, illumination of the ear canal using a perforated mirror, and a magnifying lens. All of these components were engineered into a single diagnostic instrument that we still know and use today.

Modern otoscope designs include advanced video and image capturing functionality along with completely wireless operation for increased freedom of movement around a doctor's office.

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Last updated on February 22, 2018 by Jeff Newburgh

A dedicated writer and communications professional spending his days lost in the intricacies of both proposal and freelance writing. When not sharing the knowledge of both fully and self-insured medical benefits to employer groups of all industries within California, Jeff Newburgh can be found at home spending time with his family and 3 dogs, pondering the next chew toy to be thrown, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.

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