Security is on everyone’s minds these days. One way to take control of your home is through hidden cameras. Read ahead for tips to pick the one that’s right for you.
Keeping your family safe is the number one priority. You’ve probably already looked into options like security cameras, doorbell cameras, and outdoor cameras. These are great options, but what if you need to take things a step further? Enter hidden cameras. You expect people to be on their best behavior when they’re being watched, but seeing what happens when nobody’s looking can be eye-opening. If you have people in your house- maintenance, housekeepers, nannies- it is in your best interest to know what’s going on.
Why Get a Hidden Security Camera?
A combination of visible and hidden cameras is your best bet. According to ADT, homes with security cameras are 300% less likely to be broken into. Deterrence is a big plus, of course. Hidden cameras have the added value of letting you know what people are doing when they think you’re not looking. For example, most people are smart enough to know not to steal when a camera is pointed at them. However, their behavior might change if they think they can get away with it. When it comes to keeping your home, and especially your children safe, it’s worth taking every precaution possible.
Features to Look For
Hidden cameras are made to look inconspicuous. This may mean they are particularly small, a decoy of another item, or able to blend in with other non-surveillance items. Things like picture frames, USB plugs, and even smoke detectors are fair game. Most hidden cameras operate on WiFi, though some do require the use of a hub. Cameras tend to come with their own app in order to control the camera and view footage. Before purchasing, make sure you have the appropriate set up so that the camera can work. Next, determine what you want your hidden camera to do. Some models include night vision, while others capture audio as well. Battery-operated cameras offer versatility that their wired counterparts won’t match, though they will also require regular charging.
The Ethics of Hidden Cameras
Hidden cameras can provide safety for your family and possessions, but this technology must be used responsibly. When your home is a place of work, it would not be considered a private space for the worker. They should assume that their conduct while on your property is public, whether they are being directly watched or not. This is where a combination of visible cameras and hidden cameras can come in handy. Since cameras are present, there is a notice a person is being filmed. The hidden camera can capture footage from different angles or more hidden areas. Even though it is your residence and property, keep cameras away from rooms that someone would expect privacy, such as a bathroom. Instead, you can have a camera pointing at the entrance of the room.
What about Hidden Audio?
Different places have different laws about cameras, especially those that record audio. Check with your state and local statutes to make sure you are in compliance.
What if you’re on the other side of surveillance?
Being watched is never a good feeling, especially if it’s in an inappropriate place, like a changing room or hotel suite. If you think you’re being unfairly watched, you have a couple of options. For one, there are cellphone apps that can detect cameras. These are cheap and accessible but their accuracy varies. Another option is a device like the Ebarsenc Anti Spy Detector, a portable device that lets you monitor any camera activity within your space.
Why You Can Trust Ideaing
Since 2013, we have been providing objective insight through our reviews and recommendations. Many hours are spent researching, analyzing, and testing products. After our extensive research on the top hidden cameras on the market, these are our favorites. If you choose to purchase through our link, we may earn a small commission.
The Best Hidden Cameras of 2022
Battery-Powered Smallest Size Hidden CameraGet it
When it comes to hiding things, smaller is better. This makes COOGA’s Hidden Camera a great choice for small spaces. At only 1.5 inches, this tiny but mighty camera is easy to conceal but includes 4K HD quality. There’s motion detection as well as night vision, giving you everything you need.
- Records in 4K HD day and night
- Long-lasting (6 hour) battery
- 150°ultra-wide angle HD lens
Smallest Hidden Camera with Wireless WiFiGet it
Another compact option, this hidden camera by BATEMAN W has no battery to charge. Instead, you simply plug it in via USB or even mobile charging. It has plenty of cool features like night vision and the free Android/iOS app allows for live streaming.
- Night vision distance of 5 meters (over sixteen feet!)
- 1080p HD
- Can record without WiFi via SD card
USB Adaptor/Hidden CameraGet it
Not only do you get a hidden camera, but a functional USB adaptor as well! The BAIDREN security camera plugs into any standard outlet. You can keep your home safe and charge your phone while you’re at it. It comes with great features like motion detection and allows multiple users through the smartphone app.
- Easy to set up
- Motion detection
- Functional USB adaptor
Two-Way Audio Hidden CameraGet it
This small but powerful hidden camera by BTFDREEM includes 1080p HD and looped recording. What sets it apart from the rest is that it not only records audio but allows you remotely speak through the camera. While this may blow your cover, it could be useful in some situations.
- Two-way audio
- Magnetic base makes it easy to attach and use in various places
Spy Camera PenGet it
Looking like something straight out of a James Bond film, this spy camera pen from SIR GAWAIN lets you be a real-life spy. The pen is the size of a normal ballpoint pen but holds a camera capable of recording in 1080p HD. Once the data is recorded, you simply use the USB plug with a compatible Mac or PC device.
- Records up to 70 minutes at a time
- Portable and easy to store
- Lithium-ion battery with fast recharge
Most Affordable OptionGet it
This is one of the most affordable options on our list, but don’t let the low price fool you. This tiny hidden camera from SIR GAWAIN gives you plenty of options to surveillance on the sly. This device supports SD cards from 2-32 GB (sold separately) and can record up to sixteen feet even with night vision.
- HD day and night vision
- comes with lanyard, fastening clip and USB/TV cords
- motion detected recording
Hidden Camera in Plain SightGet it
Nobody will guess that this chic picture frame is actually a camera, making it possible to sit it on a desk or mantle without anyone realizing its true use. The battery offers 30 hours of recording or an entire 365 days of standby.
- No wires required
- Minimal charging
- Can be hung up or inconspicuously placed
Power Bank Hidden CameraGet it
Another multitasker, this power bank lets you charge your phone and record video at the same time. Since this is a portable option, you can take it with you anywhere you go. It boasts a long battery life as well as clear images.
- can charge a phone and record simultaneously
- Records according to motion detection
- Video is viewable without removing the SD card
Hidden Camera with StandGet it
Another extremely affordable option, this hidden camera features a stand. It is ideal to use nestled among belongings and could be incognito on a desk. Not only is it economical and easy to incorporated into your décor, but it also records two-way audio.
- two-way audio
- 24/7 cloud storage
- works with Alexa
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Are hidden cameras ethical?
They can be! But you need to be smart about it. Different states have different laws regarding surveillance. Check your local ordinances as well. To be fair to workers or other people who may enter your home, consider letting them know that they are being recorded. You don’t necessarily need to let them know where the cameras are. Of course, you should also keep them out of areas where people would expect privacy, like a restroom.
Question: Which hidden camera is right for me?
Choosing the best hidden camera will depend on a number of things. The space you want to cover and the room you have for the camera itself are key. Make sure that you have proper technology for the camera to work and record. Some cameras require a hub, WiFi, or access to specific smartphone apps. Another factor is what sort of recording you require. Do you need night vision, audio, or long distance? Finally, if you want to use your camera outdoors, assure that you choose one that is listed for outdoor use.
Question: How do you hide a camera in plain sight?
Decoys are a great way to hide a camera in plain sight. Things like alarm clocks, smoke detectors, USB plugs, and even picture frames can be displayed without anyone knowing that they are there. For cameras that look more traditional, you can group them in with other electronics on a desk, or place them in with mementos on a shelf. You can even nestle it into a potted plant.
Hidden cameras let you take control of your space and let you know exactly what’s going on with your property. Used correctly and ethically, these cameras can improve your peace of mind.
What has your experience with hidden cameras been like? Do you think they’re a good idea? Share your thoughts below.