Last Updated: Sep 8, 2020 @ 10:28 am.

Is it an ear infection? A foreign object? Otoscopes give you an illuminated, close-up view of the ear canal. For the best otoscopes, we turned to the experts: ear/nose/throat doctors and nurses practitioners. We gathered their feedback via interviews and researched 17 different otoscopes. Here are the top picks, whether you are just a parent curious about your kid's ear issues or a medical student in training.

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Best Overall Otoscope

For home or professional use
This otoscope offers excellent light and magnification—the top pick of the docs we interviewed. High quality and decent price.

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Best Overall Otoscope: RA Bock 3.2V Bright White LED Otoscope Set

When it comes to otoscopes, the market seems to be divided between pricey models aimed at medical professionals and super affordable options aimed at a parent that just wants to see what their toddler might have jammed in his ear. This model, the RV Bock’s Otoscope set, bridges both worlds—good quality for medical students and/or nurses to use in a doctor’s office, but affordable enough for the average parent. Here’s an overview:

What We Liked

• Variable light intensity. You can adjust how bright the light is, which helpful to see details in the ear canal.

• Decent magnification. While not as fancy as expensive otoscopes that cost many times more, it is good enough to do the job.

Coated lens resists scratches.

• Includes both reusable speculas and an adapter for disposable ones. 

• Travel case is among the nicest we found in our otoscope research.

What Needs Work

• C batteries make it heavy.

• Ear checks work well; for the eyes, not so much. This instrument is best for ears, not so much as an ophthalmoscope (which checks the eyes).

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Best Budget-Friendly

For home use on kiddos
Great for parents—this model is affordable, yet offers decent light and magnification for home use.
$37.92 ($37.92 / Count)

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Best Budget-Friendly Otoscope: 5th Generation Dr Mom LED PRO Otoscope

As a brand, Dr. Mom specializes in otoscopes for home use. The name implies these are not serious instruments, but we found the opposite in our testing and research—this is a darn good otoscope at an impressive price. It wins our Budget Friendly award. Here’s an overview:

What We Liked

 Photos for comparison. We liked the photos that compared a normal eardrum with one that has an infection. It comes with 30 photos, four of which are on the outside case for quick use.

• Scratch resistant lens.

• Affordable price—and it includes batteries.

• Travel case includes egg shock foam to protect it when traveling.

What Needs Work

• Not smartphone compatible. This is an old school otoscope—no app, nothing fancy. But it gets the job done.

• To get a clear picture, it needs to be close to the ear drum. This otoscope isn’t as robust as you’d fine in a doctor’s office. Great for home use, but probably not the best choice for medical students or nurse practitioners.

Best Smartphone Compatible: Otoscope iPhone, Anykit Upgraded 4.3mm 720P HD Ear Scope Camera Digital Otoscope 

A  picture is worth a thousand words—and this otoscope delivers. As the name implies, this thin otoscope is a camera that shows a live picture of the ear canal on your smartphone or computer (Windows, Mac). FYI: This model is Android and iPhone compatible.

What We Liked

• Take pictures/record video. That’s helpful to take with you to a doctor or just document changes over time. And you can use this on yourself, which you can’t say for other otoscopes!

• Clever USB connector. This otoscope includes a standard USB connector that also includes a micro USB connector.

• Affordable. 

Rechargeable. No batteries to deal with.

What’s Needs Work

• Rechargeable batteries can drain quickly. 

• Ear wax cleaning tool not a favorite. While this otoscope works well, the ear wax cleaner tool did not impress us.

• Pictures are not high definition. We thought the picture quality was good enough to see what’s going on in the ear canal, but don’t expect HD quality photos or video.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing baby gear since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward safety, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here's another key point: we don't take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no "partnerships." Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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