If you’ve ever been to the doctor’s office for an ear infection, chances are you’ve been examined with an otoscope. An otoscope is a tool that doctors use to examine patients’ ears mainly, but it also may be used for examining the throat and nose. It has a handle and a small head, and it has a small magnifying glass on the end to help you see clearly. Some may also have a light to help make things even clearer.
While these are mainly found in doctor’s offices, it’s certainly possible for you to purchase one for your own home use, too. If you know how to use it and what you should be looking out for, a device to look in the ears can make things easier for you. You will be able to know whether or not someone you live with should be going in for a checkup.
Getting an affordable and high-quality otoscope is helpful for parents, medical students or people who have problems with their ears. This way they can examine the ear canal (tympanic membrane) clearly and evaluate its condition.
In this review, we will explain what you should be looking for in an otoscope, as well as some of the more popular ones on the market according to people’s reviews.
Top 10 Best Otoscopes
Different Types of Otoscopes
Normally an otoscope allows you to check someone else’s ear. However, nowadays you’ll be able find a “wireless otoscope” which allows you to check your own ears, by displaying an image on your phone or tablet.
This digital otoscope has a high resolution camera, which you insert in your own or someone else’s ear. At the end where the camera is located there is a specula so it’s safe to insert inside your ear canal.
Another useful feature of a wireless otoscope is that you can record a video or take a picture from inside the ear drum. You can then send it to your doctor, without having to visit the doctor’s office.
Large or Pocket Size Otoscopes:
Another thing you may want to consider when checking out different otoscopes is how large or small you want it to be. Ear scopes come in two different sizes- pocket-size or standard. Pocket otoscopes aren’t as durable, but they could be more convenient depending on whether or not you intent on using it often.
The size of the specula is also important, especially if you plan on using the otoscope on your child or infant. Some products come with a complete diagnostic set which includes two or three different size speculas (adult, child and infant size).
Image Clarity and Magnification:
You need to choose an otoscope that provides a clear and crisp image, without any distortion. The lens should be made from high quality glass that should be scratch-resistant.
Just like a magnifying glass, an otoscope should be able to amplify the object you are observing. A magnification of around 3x – 5x is very common, this way you can see tiny objects, such as ear wax, veins/vessels, and other small details that would be very hard to see with a naked eye.
Type of Light:
Otoscopes come with lights, which help you see better. But there are two different kinds of bulbs they may use: halogen bulb or LED bulb. LED lights produce white light that is brighter. Also, they last much longer than halogen bulbs, so you won’t need to replace them very often.
Some people prefer halogen or filament bulbs, which are also very bright, but they tend to dim over time. LED lights many not show color accurately, whereas filament bulbs do. So it’s ultimately up to you, but since LED bulbs do last a lot longer, many people tend to prefer these.
It’s also worth looking into some of the more popular and reputable brands to make sure that you are getting one of the best otoscope on the market. Some of the most well known brands include Dr. Mom and Welch Allyn.
Dr. Mom is a brand that is specifically known for the otoscopes it creates. Out of all the different brands there are online, Dr. Mom is the one that stood out the most due to its high reviews. The brand was established by two licensed physicians who intended to market their products towards medical students who could not afford some of the pricier medical or professional equipment on the market.
Their products are aimed at people who want to be proactive about the health of their ears, nose, and throat or the health of those they live with. These products are affordable and decent options for anyone who has thought about purchasing an otoscope. If you experience frequent earaches, make sure you check out our review of the best ear drops for healthy ears.
Reviews of the 5 Best Otoscopes
The fourth-generation Dr. Mom otoscope is considered to be one of the most popular on Amazon, hence why it’s number one on our list. It’s incredibly affordable, with a great price tag. Just like all the other otoscopes produced by this brand, it’s made out of high-quality and durable materials to last you a lifetime.
It comes with soft warm white LED light and large optical glass lens, which is scratch resistant. It comes with two different specula sizes for adults and children so the device can fit comfortably in the ear. It uses one AA battery and is very sturdy and compact. You surely won’t regret purchasing this product.
This Welch Allyn otoscope is a good option if you’re looking for a more professional otoscope. It has a 3x magnification lens and specula set. It uses halogen light which allows you to see a more accurate tissue color and provides a more consistent illumination.
The fiber optics won’t cause any reflection or obstruction when using this otoscope. Many customers have complemented that it’s a high quality product, which can be used by med students and physicians. It has a sturdy handle which is 7 inches long and wide angle viewing lens.
The third generation of this highly popular otoscope has received just the same rave reviews as the other ones produced by Dr. Mom. This otoscope is illuminated using highly durable LED lights that won’t fail on you and that will last even if you accidentally drop or bump the device.
This otoscope has an optical quality glass lens which you can remove and clean with alcohol or other solvent. It comes with specula in three different sizes to accommodate adults, infants, and children.
As with all Dr. Mom products, you get a lifetime warranty because the company claims that their products will last you for a very long time. It uses one AA battery which are said to last over a year.
According to this otoscope’s reviews, this is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, making it possible to see within your own ears. It connects to WiFi and is perfect for cleaning your ears from earwax, checking out for possible infections, and more. It’s essentially like an ear camera.
It has a very thin 4.3mm ear camera and three speculums, which you can use on adults, children and pets, however it shouldn’t be used on babies.
There are 6 LED lights which you can dim and adjust their brightness so you can see clearly inside the ear canal. The camera produces high definition pictures and video at 1280x720p resolution.
5. Fifth Generation Dr. Mom LED Pro Otoscope
Here is one of the newer models of the well-known Dr. Mom otoscope. This one uses LED lights for power and it’s even said that you will never need to replace it. The batteries last a long time and the company claims that this otoscope will last you forever because it is made out of durable materials.
The glass is scratch-resistant and it will provide you with a high-resolution view of what’s going on inside the ears. It comes with 10 speculas 5 large for adults and 5 small for children. You will also get a set of instructions on how to use the product and what to look for.
This is another wireless otoscope that many parents will want to use at home when their kids complain of itchy or irritated ears. It uses an ultra tin 3.9mm camera, LED lights and has a wider angle view, so you can see and view the ear canal more clearly.
Another useful feature is that it allows you to see an earlier image of your ear canal vs. a real-time picture, so you can compare easily how your ear looks. You can connect it to your IOS or Android devices, which means that you can also use it on yourself to check your ears. This otoscope is waterproof and will not overheat when using it, which makes it comfortable to use.
This is the original Dr. Mom otoscope and it is considered to be one of the best devices to look in the ears with. It comes with three different sized specula- one for infants, one for children, and one for adults.
It’s inexpensive and is lightweight and durable. It lights up using a Krypton Bulb and it provides clear images of what’s going on inside the ears. You also will get a complete list of instructions on how to use it upon purchase. It has a lifetime warranty as well should anything happen.
When it comes to purchasing the best otoscope for your needs, there are some things that you will need to consider, many of which we have outlined above.
Otoscope For Home Use vs. Professional:
First, you will want to determine what you plan on using it for: Are you a medical student who simply wants to find an affordable option, or do you just want to have one at home for when someone complains of a throat or earache? Or you may be a doctor who is looking for a professional otoscope?
This could impact the size that you end up purchasing, as well as some of the functions that it comes available with. Choosing the right light source is also important. LED lights tend to last longer and they are more durable.
Another feature you may want to pay attention especially if you’re looking for a professional otoscope is the type of illumination technology that is used. Illumination technology is either non-fiber optic or fiber optic.
Non-fiber optic technology may obscure your view when doing otoscopic examinations. On the other hand, fiber optic illumination delivers light in a more direct path, so your visibility and clarity is enhanced and improved.
Reusable or disposable parts:
This won’t have any impact on which otoscope you choose to purchase because most of them can be used with a disposable or reusable speculum. It’s important to look at the different sizes they’re available in both adult and children’s sizes. If you do choose to get a reusable speculum, you will need to properly disinfect it after every use, whereas disposable ones can simply be thrown away. You can typically get extra specula separately.
You also have the ability to choose how you want to power the otoscope. Many of them are powered using regular disposable batteries (AAA, AA or C cell depending on the model) that you can easily find at the store. However, some otoscopes have a rechargeable battery, which you can power using an USB cable.
Also make sure that you purchase from a reputable, high-quality brand. Just because you found an otoscope that is next to nothing doesn’t mean that it’s even worth considering. Dr. Mom is on of the best brands to consider for home use, as well as any of the others we have listed. You’ll also want to check out the price and how long the product is expected to last you.
Purchasing an otoscope might not make that much sense to everyone, but it is definitely something that you may want to consider if you want to be proactive about your health or the health of someone you live with. If your child complains of an earache, for example, it’s worth using an otoscope to check out their ears to see if they are infected.
Our recommendation is for a high quality and affordable otoscope is the 4th Generation Dr Mom LED Professional Pocket Otoscope. It has large glass lens which is scratch resistant. It also uses soft warm white LED light, producing natural tissue color, so you can easily and accurately see in a person’s ear drum.