The current paper describes the application of lens-free imaging principles for the detection and classification of wear debris in lubricant oils. The potential benefits brought by the lens-free microscopy techniques in terms of resolution, deep of field and active areas have been tailored to develop a micro sensor for the in-line monitoring of wear debris in oils used in lubricated or hydraulic machines as gearboxes, actuators, engines, etc. The current work presents a laboratory test-bench used for evaluating the optical performance of the lens-free approach applied to the wear particle detection in oil samples. Additionally, the current prototype sensor is presented, which integrates a LED light source, CMOS imager, embedded CPU, the measurement cell and the appropriate optical components for setting up the lens-free system. The imaging performance is quantified using micro structured samples, as well as by imaging real used lubricant oils. Probing a large volume with a decent 2D spatial resolution, this lens-free micro sensor can provide a powerful tool at very low cost for inline wear debris monitoring.