There are plenty of legit reasons why you might have decided it’s time to invest in a hidden camera either for inside or outside of your home. Perhaps security in your neighborhood has recently become a bit of an issue, or maybe you’d like to be able to keep a more watchful eye on that new nanny or child babysitter that you’ve recently recruited. Perhaps you have pets, and you want to be able just to check in and make sure they’re OK and not wrecking your home while you’re away!! The best hidden cameras these days really do come in all shapes and sizes as well as disguises so much so that any would-be intruder really will get caught totally unawares. We’ve picked out six of the best that will help you to secure your home and maybe fulfill that fantasy you have to one day be a secret agent! Let’s review our top surveillance recommendations and don’t forget to read on to discover our suggestions in the FAQ section of the key considerations and features to look out for before you make that investment in some top-notch spy gear!
The Best Hidden Camera
The Fadeplex Hidden Mini Spy Camera is another effective way of keeping track of what’s going on at home. If you’re looking for a camera that’s completely hidden from view, you’re going to be disappointed. This isn’t a spy pen or a teddy bear with a camera in its eye. It’s more like a discreet surveillance camera that you can place anywhere in your home. It comes with a powerful magnetic surface, so you can attach it to any metal surface in your home.
One of the best things about this camera is that it can provide a 24/7 live stream, straight to your smartphone. It can support up to a 128GB memory card, allowing it to save weeks of footage. In the case of non-stop recording, it will automatically loop and record over old footage. It even has motion detection and night vision, making it one of the best security cameras on this list.
No-Glow IR night vision
Motion-activated push alerts
24/7 live stream
Supports 128GB Micro SD card (not included)
Battery life – approx one hour
- Weight6.4 ounces
Great image quality
Provides a live stream to a smartphone
Perfect for keeping an eye on your home
Not very well hidden
The perfect spy camera is hard to come across. It needs to blend perfectly into a room. If you place a teddy bear on the mantelpiece, people are going to get suspicious. That’s why the DivineEagle Spy Camera Charger is perfect. It looks like a phone charger, plugs into a wall outlet, and the camera is so small it’s almost impossible to see. It records directly to a Micro SD card (not included) so you don’t need to worry about WiFI connection. It’s perfect if you want to keep an eye on your babysitter, nanny, or anyone else that is acting suspiciously.
The other most important feature of a spy camera is the quality of the video. It needs to be high-def if you want to see what is happening clearly. Luckily, the DivineEagle Spy Camera Charger records in 1080P HD, so you can see everything. It also has IQ motion detection with 130 points, which means it will automatically turn on when the slightest movement is detected. Without interference the camera will record over old footage, so you need to take the SD card out regularly and save the video.
Looks like a USB charger
Requires Micro SD card (not included)
IQ motion detection
SD card protection
- Weight0.952 ounces
No one will notice it
Automatically turns on when it detects motion
Instructions are difficult-to-understand
Not very durable
The WF-113 Wireless Spy Camera is one of the most advanced and well-hidden spy cameras on the market. It’s the most expensive product on this list but it’s money well-spent if you catch someone stealing from you. One of the reasons this hidden camera is slightly more expensive is that it’s super discreet. It’s hidden in a dual USB charging port that actually works. So, even if someone plugs their phone into the unit, they won’t notice that it’s recording them.
The tiny camera is situated above the three outlets, making it almost impossible for someone to notice. Despite its tiny size, it offers 1080P resolution images, a wide-angle lens, and the ability to record in low-light conditions. It also has one of the best corresponding apps, which you can use to view, edit, and save your videos.
Hidden in working charging port
Internal 16GB SD card
36hrs of video
- BrandSCS Enterprises Store
- Weight1 pound
Extremely well hidden
Large internal memory
Charging port works
Kind of pricey
Hidden camera pens have been around for decades. If you went into a decent spy store in the 90s, you could pick up a pen like this one. Problem is, they used to be prohibitively expensive and the video quality was never up to scratch. Nowadays, you can pick one up for cheap and it will record in full 1080P HD. What a world we live in! Our favorite spy pen on the market is the Sirgawain Hidden Spy Camera Pen.
You can place this pen in your top pocket, in a pen pot on your desk, or clip it onto a notebook. Then, once you click the record button, it will provide 70 minutes of continuous footage before it needs recharging. The footage is in 1080P and is stored on a Micro SD card (not included). After 70 minutes, it will loop over the old footage. To ensure that the pen doesn’t arouse suspicion, it only has one button for every operation.
Looks like a standard pen
Requires Micro SD card
70 minutes of continuous recording
90º angle recording
- Weight5 ounces
Easy to hide
One-button operation takes some getting used to
Some durability issues
The Oucam Hidden Camera isn’t the most discreet camera on this list. It isn’t cleverly hidden in a pen or a charger and if someone asks about it, it’s going to be pretty difficult convincing them it isn’t a camera. However, sometimes it’s best to hide in plain sight. This tiny little camera could go unnoticed because it just looks like another bit of tech in your home. At 1.65” x 1.65” x 0.45”, it’s definitely small enough to hide in a corner or place on a countertop without raising too much suspicion.
Using a Micro SD card or a TF card, you can record continuously 24/7. Of course, you’ll have to plug it into the mains for that to work, otherwise, you can run it on the battery, which lasts about an hour. Using the Oucam app, you can view your videos and organize them easily. With a large-capacity Micro SD card, you could record 20 days or more of continuous footage. That makes this camera one of the best nanny cams on this list.
Dimensions – 1.65” x 1.65” x 0.45”
Requires Micro SD card or TF card
Battery life – approx one hour
24/7 hour recording
- Weight5.9 ounces
Can record continuously for weeks at a time
Decent image quality
Easy to use
Not as discreet as the other cameras on this list
The GooSpy Hidden Camera is a true spy camera. It’s not crudely made to look like something else. Instead, it can be hidden anywhere. You could tie it onto a house plant, stitch it into a shirt, or hide it just about anywhere in your house. Whether you’re keeping an eye on your nanny, looking out for an elderly relative, or trying to catch an unfaithful partner, this is the camera to do it. The tiny size does come at a price though – it claims to provide 1080p footage but it looks too grainy to be full HD. Having said that, it’s still good enough to clearly tell what’s happening.
To save the footage, you need to insert a Micro SD card into the camera (not included). With a large-capacity card and with the camera plugged into a wall outlet, you could record for days without interruption. With the battery, it will only last for around 60 minutes. It also features motion detection, which takes a 30-second video and sends a push notification when something or someone moves in view of the camera.
Dimensions – 2.59” x 1.02”
Battery life – approx one hour
Requires Micro SD card
18-month quality warranty
- Weight3.84 ounces
Can be hidden anywhere
Capable of continuous recording
Image quality is lacking
App needs work
Next up, we’ve got another hidden camera disguised as a USB charger. This is a great way to keep an eye on your home when you’re not there. Choose the right wall outlet and you can get a perfect view of your nanny, cleaner, children, and anyone else you need to keep an eye on. One of the best things about this style of hidden camera is that it can be plugged into a wall outlet without raising suspicion. That means it can record continuously. Of course, you’ll need a large-capacity Micro SD card (not included) if you want to leave it running. TOQI Spy Camera also has motion detection and loop recording to ensure that you capture everything.
Wide 90º angle
Requires Micro SD card
- Weight3.52 ounces
Good quality images
Can record continuously
Hidden Camera Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection Of Hidden Cameras
Quality - we always ensure that the products we recommend get plenty of positive feedback when it comes to their quality and reliability. It's reasonable to expect your investment to last for a good length of time and if you are intending installing it outside, that it's waterproof and weather-hardy. Quality is especially important when you are buying technology products and the camera itself installed in your surveillance device needs to perform reliably and preferable silently too so that it remains undetected.
Reviews - besides doing all our own research, we extensively review what other consumers have to say about their experiences using the products we select. Reviews are a fantastic way of really getting the real low down on how you can expect a product to perform including all the positives as well as any negatives.
Price - assuming that you're not a secret agent on a government mission with a budget to match, then you'll need your tech to be cost-effective and not just reliable. As always, we aim to hadn't pick a section of products at price points that are attractive and not totally prohibitive to the man on the street as opposed to 007 licensed to kill!
Features To Look For In Hidden Cameras
Depending upon the main purpose as to why you are investing in a hidden spy camera, there will be a few different considerations you'll need to take into account. Whether your priority is home security or rather monitoring purposes, the range of features you'll require will be slightly different. There's so much choice these days when it comes to sophisticated and undetectable surveillance kit from pen cameras to spy cams and hidden security cameras. The perfect hidden camera for you is going to depend upon your personal situation. Below we've covered off what we think are the most noteworthy features worth assessing.
Video quality - The better the video quality, the better the clarity of the footage that you can record. Depending upon your intended use of the video you capture, that may be more or less important. To ensure the best possible viewing experience, then 1080p HD is going to deliver better results than standard definition.
Viewing angle - As with any style of camera, you will have options when it comes to the field of vision. If you know that you are positioning your spy gear in an area where you'd like to capture a wider angle of vision, then carefully consider its parameters, otherwise, you might be disappointed that all the important action is happening just out of shot!
Size and Design - The size, design, and style of your hidden camera is an obvious consideration, especially if you need it to blend in with a particular background or environment. The last thing you want is to actually draw attention to yourself or a room by suddenly placing something really out of character in the space which will just stick out like a sore thumb! You could go for something discreet like a smoke detector camera, a camera poisoned inside a clock or a security light for example. There are plenty of designs and styles you can go for. Choose a size and design that's appropriate to it's setting.
Battery life - If you are going for a battery operated as opposed to a wired device, consider the battery life and how frequently you might need to recharge your battery, especially if you want to use your hidden camera regularly. It is possible to purchase cameras with year-long battery life while others you may end up recharging daily.
Recording time & Memory capacity - Regardless of whether you opt for a wired or wireless hidden camera, the first thing you'll want to know is just how much recording capacity and memory it can give you. Monitoring your pets while you're away from the house on vacation will require more capacity than checking in on how that new nanny is getting on. The memory capacity should be large enough so that it's useful for a host of situations that way, you don't have to go to the trouble of recording, reviewing and wiping your drive every single day. Consider the amount of storage space you also require. SD cards can range from 2GB up to 64GB.
Night-vision mode - If you do want to keep amp eye on happenings overnight then you will require a camera with a night-vision mode otherwise you'll never get a view of who's prowling around late at night!
Lens quality - As with all cameras, the better quality lens it's fitted with, the clearer the footage you capture and record will be.
Ease of use - We don't all have a technical whizz back at HQ to set up our gadgetry for us so make sure you purchase something that you can reasonably expect to be able to install and operate yourself. Some of the more sophisticated and complex surveillance style systems, as opposed to basic secret cameras, might require professional installation so unless you have a degree in electrical engineering, opt for a unit that's user-friendly like one of the six on your list today.
Motion detector - Some hidden cameras have more advanced features like motion detection which might come in handy if you want to be alerted to the proximity of intruders.
Connectivity - See our next FAQ regarding wired versus wireless and battery over AC-power which are the main options you have when it comes to connectivity. In a nutshell, wireless means you can remotely video real-time footage, battery operated is a portable solution which can easily be moved to a different location and AC-power is a stable and reliable option.
Sound monitoring - Remember that the laws are very different regarding audio as opposed to video monitoring. You can read more on that in our FAQ section.
Compatibility - While most hidden cameras these days have been designed to work with Mac and PC, it's always worth checking. The same applies to IOS via Android if you wanted to view recorded footage on a mobile device as opposed to a computer.
Features - Other additional features that you might want to consider include the ability to adjust and toggle through various available resolutions which can help save your memory as well as operating via remote control.
Types Of Hidden Cameras
As if there wasn't already enough choice in the category in terms of all the various shapes, sizes and disguises that hidden cameras are available in, you also need to decide whether to go for wireless, wired or even a battery operated spy device.
Wireless - The beauty of a WiFi streaming hidden camera is that you can choose to watch the footage being recorded in real time, either over the internet or on a mobile device. These types of cameras can be more challenging to set up and operate and more expensive too plus of course, they do require a reliable and stable consistent internet connection to be useful. They are a fantastic option though if you are away from your home for prolonged periods and have pets, you want to monitor or just generally keep on top of your domestic security when you're away from home.
Wired - A wired unit is a reliable and cost-effective choice, but it does, of course, require a constant source of power to work and will need to be stationed close by a power outlet so that it can be plugged in easily without causing a hazard. Wired and battery operated devices are both going to be self-contained and self-recording. The footage you record will be housed on a removable internal drive or memory card which you will have to physically remove and review to watch the action.
Battery-operated - The major benefit of a battery operated self-contained recording device is that it's portable. This means that you can discreetly set them up anywhere around your home or garden but just remember, that they will only be effective for as long as you have a charged battery. For some models that might only be for a few hours whereas for others, it might even be as long as a year.
Hidden Camera FAQ
Q: Why buy a hidden camera?
A: Whether you want to monitor your pets while you are away from home, put in place a security system which can detect intruders and send you motion alerts or simply enjoy peace of mind that your children are safely tucked up asleep in bed, there are plenty of great reasons for purchasing a hidden camera. You don't need to be involved in covert spy operations! Although that sounds like a lot of fun! It's more likely that you are just keen to protect your home and your loved ones and ensure a safe, secure environment.
Q: Are hidden cameras legal?
A: If you're going to invest in a new hidden camera, it pays to understand the legalities of actually using one. Of course, the law differs from country to country and even state to state, but the general rule of thumb in the United States is that it's perfectly fine to have a hidden camera in your home and to record footage without the permission of the people visiting. The key thing to remember is the word "home" and the second is that it applies to visions but not audio. That said, it's illegal to record video in places where people should reasonably expect to have their privacy respected for example in a bathroom or a guest bedroom.
When it comes to installing and using surveillance-style cameras in public places, again the same rules regarding decency and privacy prevail so that would extend to changing rooms, public restrooms as well as inside hotel rooms.
As we said, video is entirely a different matter to audio. It still remains illegal to covertly record audio without the speaker's permission, even if that device is located in your home. In any case, if you do find yourself ever in a situation where you might need to use recordings from your nanny cam or another hidden camera, the best option is to seek legal advice first.
Q: How to clean a hidden camera?
A: Hidden cameras should be relatively easy to maintain and clean as long as they're positioned in a place that you have easy access to. As long as you keep the lens clean, then you shouldn't have to worry about the blurriness, and as the camera is likely to be hidden safely out of sight, there's not much more maintenance that you'll need to worry about. Just take something like a microfibre cloth and periodically give the lens a clean just to make sure it's not dusty.