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This detailed review focuses on the best hidden spy cameras on the market today.
Only a handful of spy cameras were able to make the list and it’s a really tough job, if not impossible, to find the best spy camera as the needs of every consumer are different.
When someone says “spy camera”, you might think of a fancy gadget from James Bond, but these days, the spy camera industry is actually a lot more practical than using a gadget to foil international crime syndicates.
Without further ado, here is what we are going to cover today:
- Why Get A Hidden Spy Cam?
- Spy Cam Buying Guide
- Traits of a Good Spy Cam
- We review:
- Mini Wearable Spy Cams
- We review the best wearable spy cams:
- We review the most advanced security system:
We start by explaining why you should get a hidden camera.
Why Get A Hidden Spy Cam?
One application for spy cameras that is very popular, is to keep your eye on your child’s new nanny, as there have been reports of abusive nannies out there, which is unfortunate.
Other than keeping an eye on bad nannies, there are many other uses for spy cameras as well, such as keeping an eye on employees, or otherwise covertly watching what’s happening on your property, whether it be home or business.
Many people simply refer to these types of cameras as hidden cameras, as they don’t like the sound of the word “spy”. After all, if it’s your house, how can you be spying? It’s your property!
Then again, whenever one person doesn’t know another person is watching them, that’s really what spying is. If it’s your property, however, it might be warranted, to avoid damage or other mishaps.
Whatever you want to refer to these devices as, technically speaking, the cameras we will show you here come in many different shapes and sizes (and guises), such as alarm clocks, power banks, electric outlets, and other discreet objects.
Now, before we get to our actual camera reviews, we need to go over some tips for what to look for. Read this over, and you will gain an education on all things spy camera.
Next, we talk about what you should pay attention to when buying a hidden camera.
Spy Camera Buying Guide
Spy cameras come in many shapes and sizes. They, in fact, come in even more varieties than normal professional camera or security cameras.
And, some of them don’t even look like a camera in the first place, which I think is a good thing, as they are meant to be inconspicuous.
The features of the cameras vary depending on their usage as well.
For example, some might like the idea of a wireless hidden camera, whereas some others might prefer the night vision spy camera as a spy camera gets only the minimal amount of ambient light in the night-time.
What is the camera for, specifically?
You’d think it would be obvious what spy cameras are for, but it seems like some people haven’t really thought this through entirely.
They buy an all tricked-out wireless spy camera with voice command and facial recognition only to find out that they hardly need those things to keep an eye over their pet.
So, today’s lesson: always ask yourself why you need it? Is it intended for watching over Mr. Whiskers or do you want to keep your possessions under close surveillance while you’re away?
Just hired a new nanny with a twinkle in her eye and a gold tooth?
Read about this top pet camera review here
The Magic of Resolution
Okay, that brings us to the second question – how much detail do you want in your recorded video (or picture)?
Well, that depends completely on the video resolution that the camera shoots at. The higher the better. You can think of it as the number of dots (aka pixels) in the final output.
That means the more pixels you have, the higher you’d be able to ‘zoom in’ without distorting the image or video. If you’re after fine detail, then this is of vital importance.
It’s too price-y!!
Just like every other feature, the price will vary depending on the model and the feature list. But in most of the cases, they fall in the $100 – $250 range.
While some of them do come under the $100 mark, we would recommend you to leave those only for pet surveillance.
For securing your entire house and possessions, we’d suggest strongly to go for a full-fledged security system as they come with many cool and handy features, and we’ve reviewed plenty of those on this website as well.
But that’s not really a spy cam, now, is it? It is worth mentioning though that many cameras these days allow you to watch the footage live on your phone.
Many people aren’t even aware that things have advanced that far, that we have the technology to watch things from our phones. Well, we do!
We just want to make sure that if you’re in the market for a spy cam, and that’s what you want. Not a pet cam. Not a whole security system, but a spy cam.
Something to watch people in your home without them knowing they’re being seen by a camera at all.
Something more like this…
Next, we discuss the key features you need to look for when buying a good spy cam.
Traits of a Good Spy Cam
We’re going to closely analyze some of the most important features and check out how they influence the actual performance and usability of the spy cam.
For example, you might end up buying a spy cam that doesn’t even have a mobile app, although that’s pretty rare these days.
There’s a wise saying – time spent preparing is never time wasted. So, it’s going to be utterly important to understand how these features define the usage value of the spy camera.
As stated, most of the mini surveillance cameras shoot in standard 480p or 720p which should be good enough for pet surveillance.
But for the security purposes, you’d want a surveillance camera that is able to record at least 1080p.
These wireless hidden cameras are mainly of 2 types connectivity wise – they either work over a WiFi network, or they use the cellular 3G/4G network to transmit and receive data.
This implies that you would need an established internet or cellular network in your house to make these cameras function properly.
While these features make them fairly convenient they, unfortunately, depend solely on the quality of the connection making them somewhat less reliable if your connection isn’t very good.
A functional and handy app for easy remote access is one of the most necessary features of a spy camera.
Dedicated mobile applications alongside the PC interface are needed for accessing the camera feeds and tweaking the settings on the go.
The application and the interface make the hidden spy camera video feed available readily alongside offering features like two-way communication, activity log, night vision, and preset alerts.
Storage is an important aspect to consider, as the usability of a spy camera can be crippled seriously by the low memory space.
While most of the low-end and medium-grade cameras come with SD card support, the high-end models usually features either cloud storage or a dedicated hard disk drive.
Do you want your spy camera to sit right where it is kept, or do you intend to put it in your bag and carry it around?
Most of the portable cameras come in the form of a day-to-day objects like a pen, battery, or even a little decorate rock.
Field of view
Field of view measures the amount of ground that the camera can cover at once and is measured in degrees. In short, the higher the field of view the more area it can cover.
So, keep the size of your doorway and the FoV of the camera in mind before buying.
Alongside the basic options, there are tons of other features that the slightly pricey models offer.
One such feature is the facial recognition. Another handy feature is night vision. Options like activity zone selection and voice command give you an enhanced amount of control over your tool.
Motion activated cameras
Worried about the battery life of your hidden spy camera? Or maybe not excited about the idea of going through hours of recordings to find that exact moment when the suspect broke in?
A spy cam with motion detection can be the ultimate solution to these problems. These spy cameras come with a motion sensor which sets off the camera to take a mugshot or start recording upon detecting any motion.
The device stays in the standby mode for the rest of the time, saving both the battery and the memory space.
In the following motion activated spy camera reviews, we are going to check out some models that we deemed the best we could find.
Next, we review some of the best hidden cameras. We start with Jumbl Mini Radio Clock camera.
Jumbl Mini Hidden Spy Camera Radio Clock
We came across many types of spy cameras while compiling this list. One of the more popular forms your hidden spy camera will come in, is in the form of an alarm clock. Jumbl makes a good one.
Here we have a device that is both a clock and a radio (with a full range tuner), plus a fully functional camera that operates off of a microSD card that stores up to 32 gigs, and also has the ability to record continuously, overwriting data once it gets full.
So, you’ll have to check out the footage, which is time-stamped and includes audio, before it gets to the end and starts to record again.
Also, the microSD is not included, so that’s something you’ll have to pick up yourself.
There’s a lot to like about the Jumbl spy camera. For instance, the battery is re-chargable, or you can just plug it into the wall.
This Jumbl alarm clock cam can be set to save on energy by being in motion detection mode, hence only recording when it detects motion.
This Jumbl spy camera also has night vision abilities, which is very handy indeed. So, even if you have it sitting in a dark room, you can still get the footage you need.
With about a 9 foot range, the infrared that enables the night vision doesn’t have the hugest range, but hey, it’s not too bad either.
What else do we like? You don’t have to hook up to any computer or laptop to see what the camera saw. You can, instead, watch it on a built-in 2 inch colour display screen.
Jumbl also throws in more bells and whistles, such as having music playback via a 3.5 aux line, with a quality built in speaker.
This means your little spy cam can be a little boom box if you want, and you can plug in headphones as well.
All things considered, people are generally quite pleased with this camera but it does have its detractors.
Some people find this Jumbl camera hard to use, or they think that the images aren’t clear enough, but the majority of people like this product just fine, as it’s not overly expensive.
You’ll also have to keep in mind that this is an alarm clock, and that means it’s going to look suspicious in some situations if you’re trying to be discreet.
Not every place in the house or at your place of work is going to make sense having an alarm clock sitting there, even though it does function as a clock.
On to the next one…
MEAUOTOU Hidden Camera Alarm Clock Spy Cam
Here comes another alarm clock spy cam, this time from our friends at MEAUOTOU. What’s with the company name, you ask? We have no idea.
But, what we do know is that this spy cam is very well liked by the many people who own one.
Not to disparage the previous cam by Jumbl, but this camera does seem to have a few things going for it that the previous one does not in terms of features.
First, let’s talk about what is the same between this spy clock and the last one. Like the previous model, you get motion detection, which is of course a benefit, as it saves on energy.
If you’re going to be watching out for something specific on your camera, rather than just keeping a general eye out, it’s extremely handy to have the motion detection option.
Then, after 3 minutes, it will save the footage.
There is some logic to how this camera is set up, because it allows for 3 minutes to pass before saving the footage and this would seem to be enough time from the point when the motion detection is activated to capture what you might need.
Unlike the previous spy camera clock where a few people complained that it was a little too grainy for their tastes, this MEAUOTOU spy camera clock shoots inarguably in full HD 1080P, in .AVI format, which you can then view later on your computer.
In fact, you will need to synch this camera up with your computer first, and you’ll be needed the adapter they’ve included. Like the previous camera, you can use a 32GB Micro SD card to store footage, but this camera will record for 2 hours / 8 GB.
All round, this camera is a good deal and it’s not a bad looking clock either!
Ok! On to the next one.
Corprit Hidden Spy Camera Power Bank
Up next we have the Corprit Hidden Spy Camera Power Bank, which is about the size and weight of a small cell phone.
What we like about this little device, which acts as a real power bank while it is also a spy camera with a very discreet little spy lens, which basically ensures you get the footage you need without notice. That means it’s perfect for spying on whoever you like.
Yes, this camera does fortunately have motion detection technology, as the other two alarm clock cameras do, but this one also has a super duper 6000mAh lithium ion battery, which can allow you to extend the recording time of this camera for up to 15 hours.
That is, if you need that much footage. Video card expansion is supported here up to 64 gigs.
If you don’t need that much footage (15 hours), you can just use it with the motion detection feature which works quite well and skip ahead to what’s going on at that moment.
After the SD card fills up, it will overwrite old material.
Now, this is not an alarm clock, this is a power bank, so there’s that to consider.
If you’re doing some discreet recording, an alarm clock is only going to look natural in certain environments, and the same could be said for a power bank.
We might argue that power bank could be discreetly used in more places than a camera, but it really depends on the application.
After all, this thing is just a little black rectangle so it doesn’t really draw a lot of attention to itself.
One of the technical plusses of this Corprit spy camera is that the video quality is very clear and in 1080P HD using Syntek chipset technology, so your footage is going to be easy to interpret.
On top of that, this camera has a G-sensor, so that means no matter how you place it, the camera itself knows which way “up” is, and will right the view for you so you never get upside-down footage.
This is an easy-to-use system as well, with a one button operation style, so you can’t really beat that either.
In terms of complaints, people have mentioned that they have had trouble changing the settings, which requires you to edit the text file to change things.
Aside from this, there are those who do have their hang-ups about the supposed finicky nature of this device, but they are definitely outnumbered by the satisfied buyers.
Ok, moving on…
Hidden Camera USB Charger 1080P
This hidden camera is designed to look exactly like your regular USB wall charger.
Actually, this hidden camera does both things – it records and charges at the same time, providing you have enough storage left.
The fact that the camera is constantly plugged in means it constantly receives power and will never run out of batteries. There are no batteries you need to worry about.
Another cool feature this camera has is motion detection.
Thanks to the motion detection capability, the camera stays in standby mode until the motion sensors detect movement in front of the camera.
As soon as the sensors detect movement in front of the camera, the camera “wakes up” and starts recording.
Thanks to this feature, you don’t have to worry whether the camera captured something that happened or not.
This is a full HD camera with 1080P video quality. All the videos are recorded at 1080P and 30 frames per second. Thanks to the 1080P video quality, you can easily discern details in the video, even at night.
The camera stores the footage to the micro SD card (up to 32Gb). In case you manage to fill up the micro SD card, the camera uses the looped video capability to overwrite the oldest footage, so the newest footage is at your disposal.
Next, we review some of the best mini wearable spy cams. But first, let’s explain how the wearable hidden cams differ from the stationed cams.
Mini Wearable Spy Cams
A mini spy camera is, by definition, much smaller and more discreet in comparison to a regular spy cam.
With these small hidden cameras, WiFi come handy in outdoor situations or social gatherings, as these tools can be worn or carried easily without blowing your cover.
They also come in many forms – pen, power bank, purse or even a rock! And that certainly makes sense.
I mean, who in their right mind would use an alarm clock camera to record a face-to-face meeting? The following section on the spy pen camera reviews will be a delight for the James Bond lovers.
Ok, let’s continue with the reviews.
Tonut Mini Spy Camera
If you weren’t wanting to get something that really resembles a clock or even a power bank, the Tonut mini spy cam is even more discreet.
This hidden camera WiFi is a black stick that is so small that you can fit it in your pocket and do some spying on the go with ease.
Or, it can be stationary on a shelf, in your bedroom, living room, nursery, garage, cottage, office, etc etc. – you can basically place it anywhere and it can be used to keep an eye on things.
No matter where you put it, this WiFi mini spy camera will not draw attention to itself as it’s just a little stick thing (3.2 ounces, 3.7 x 2.6 x 2.2 inches).
You can watch what’s going on on your phone, or save it for later to watch on your PC.
As with the other cameras, spy cams like the Tonut mini do serve a dual purpose, which is that you can either use the camera to keep an eye on your kids, pets, elderly family members, making sure your home is safe without having an actual camera set up.
That’s not so much a spy purpose, it’s just a discreet version of a normal indoor camera that people use.
Then there’s the intention to watch people where you want to see if your employee is stealing, spouse is cheating, burglar is burgling, dog is eating your cat’s food, and so forth.
Because the Tonut cam is so covert, it has the most flexibility of actual purpose when it comes to how it can be used, so that’s a big plus.
Now, onward to the technical features of the Tonut spy camera.
First, it comes with one USB cable, one user’s manual, the camera itself, as well as 8 specialized button lenses that you can use to customize your camera.
These we think are of particular interest, as you can change the appearance of your camera to suit a given situation.
This camera comes with motion detection, like the others on this list, which saves you time, and it also overwrites when the card is full
You can select between 3 different image qualities – 720P, 640P, and the lowest being 480p.
As you can see, the quality of the image isn’t as high as some other cameras, but this is also the tiniest camera on our list so far.
The camera runs off of an app called BVCAM which you can download for your smartphone, but the app isn’t supported by Macs or Windows phones, so you know.
This spy camera WiFi supports only 2.4G WIFI router though. Another limitation for you to be aware of.
Speaking of limitations, this camera has some naysayers. They say that is flimsy and crappy, and generally hard to use. This argument is countered by the majority, who think it’s a good camera.
This hidden WiFi camera is usually purchased for under $30, so there’s that factor in as well. If you get it, do let us know what you think of it.
Next, we review NexGadget Mini pen cam
NexGadget Mini Pen Camera
In our opinion, this could be the most James Bond item on this list – the NexGadget Mini Pen Camera.
Why do we like it? This pen is basically a discreet camera which takes great quality audio and video while looking and behaving exactly like a pen.
There is nothing to make anyone suspicious that this might be anything other than a pen, and with no winking lights or things of that nature while the camera is on and recording.
The video the camera takes through its tiny lens is time-stamped and very watchable. With 32 GB of space, this pen camera is definitely comparable space-wise to the other spy cams on this list.
This is not a WIFI camera, instead, you just turn it on and record, then turn it off. It can be used to take still pictures, or actual moving footage, depending on which mode you’re in (1 or 2).
When recording video, you can get up to 90 minutes of video capture, so keep this in mind.
The pen camera here comes with a USB extension cable for charging and data transfer, using a standard USB port.
As it’s stated in the previous spy cam review you can carry this pen in your pocket or take it with you, or you can set it down where ever you want to get footage.
We will say that in our opinion this hidden spy camera is a little more preferential than the Tonut, just because it is such a convincing pen that no one would ever question why you have it, or notice it and wonder what it is.
This is why it makes such an effective spy camera. For the price you pay, you do get a lot of value.
If there are any complaints, they include the USB being on the slower side when it comes to transferring footage to your PC.
Also, there is no battery level indicator, and setting the date and time can be tricky, which some people have fussed over.
Overall, what you get here with the full package is the pen camera, as well as an instruction manual, USB cable, and a 32 GB Micro SD which some of the other spy cameras lack.
If you by any chance got the feeling that the previous ones were not powerful enough, then you may just want to go for a full security system after all.
Next, we review you one of the best full security systems available.
Reolink RLK4-210WB4 Wireless Video Security System
Reolink RLK4-210WB4 is undoubtedly the most advanced and feature-packed security system in the list.
This WiFi camera system is a complete solution to the security needs of your home and business.
It’s exactly not a WiFi hidden camera per se unlike most of the others, but it can do everything that the rest can do; do a bit better to be precise.
This system consists of a 4-channel WiFi NVR along with 4 bullet style cameras which lets you cover a fair amount of ground.
The cameras are capable of recording at 1080p (aka full HD) leaving no chance of getting grainy visuals.
Just like any other wireless camera, the Reolink RLK4-210WB4 gets rid of all the wires.
And the best thing is that it’s plug-n-play meaning you won’t have to go through the long and complex installation procedure.
The Reolink RLK4-210WB4 comes with tons of features including night vision and remote access facility.
Additionally, this night vision spy camera also features a humongous 1 TB hard disk drive making sure your home stays secure 24×7.
Okay, enough with the positives. Time for some reality check. The price is pretty steep, you said? Yes, it is. But again, it’s not really a small purchase.
Rather, it is an all-in-one security solution. Another issue that some mentioned about is the lack of documentation.
But all in all, Reolink RLK4-210WB4 is a slightly pricey yet excellent wireless security system.
Thanks for reading our article on the best hidden spy cameras for home use. Leave a comment below if you have anything to add!