On the control monitor, you see them look directly at you, furrow their brow, squint, and move closer. They’ve noticed the lens shining in the nose of the teddy bear not-so-inconspicuously positioned on the mantle. Now your hidden camera has been disconnected and your bear needs a nose-job.
Let’s move away from such obvious ways to hide your nanny cam and explore creative solutions for your security needs!
In this guide, you’ll find recommendations for pre-made hidden cameras that suit a variety of needs, instructions to create and install your own, and other tips to help you feel safe and secure in your own home.
Reasons to Hide Security Cameras
So you’ve made the decision to improve the security of your home or business. These following reasons will assist you as you consider whether to install a hidden security camera:
- Hidden cameras provide one with a sense of security over the happenings in their home or business
- People will act themselves when they don’t know they are being watched
- Hidden cameras are less likely to be detected and destroyed by burglars — and even if you choose to install visible security cameras as well, your incognito cameras can catch angles the others cannot, giving you a complete picture
- Visible cameras can be aesthetically unappealing while carefully-chosen hidden cameras (such as those recommended in this guide) blend into their environments without detection.
Please be mindful of laws and restrictions that may affect your choice and placement of hidden security cameras. As a general rule, one should follow a “reasonable expectation of privacy” guideline when making the decision to install surveillance equipment.
For example, while one does not have the reasonable expectation of privacy in public areas (such as the area outside of your home), one does have a reasonable expectation of privacy in places such as a restroom or changing room.
Additionally, if you are choosing a camera with audio recording features, double check with your state’s laws on audio recording laws. If your state permits single-party consent, then you’re in the clear.
What To Consider When Choosing a Hidden Camera
When choosing which hidden camera to purchase, here are a few aspects and features to consider:
Is it a battery or a plug-in camera? Do you have a power source nearby? What is the battery life and would you be able to change batteries as needed?
What picture quality would enhance your security?
Does your security need require night surveillance?
How much space will this camera occupy?
How would you prefer to access storage? cable, memory card, wifi, etc.
Do you prefer real-time access to footage?
Would having audio provide a complete overview of the happenings of your home/business?
Will it fit in?
Will the camera blend in?
While an investment in security is wise, consider how much you are willing to spend.
Be informed about what types of recording (audio/visual) are permitted in your state (see note about legality above)
Hidden Camera Ideas — Indoor Cameras
Smoke Detector Hidden Camera
It never hurts to install an extra smoke detector and this one detects something else — employees goofing off, nannies neglecting your kiddos, or innocent-looking old ladies pocketing that antique gravy dish on your display case. Whatever your reason for installing a hidden nanny cam, this smoke detector camera blends in as a normal feature to expect in any indoor space.
This high-definition camera has a wide-angle (360˚) fisheye lens, capturing a wide and clear picture with no blind-spots. Because of its disguise as a smoke detector, it can be installed on a ceiling or wall, allowing for flexible strategic placement for either overhead or horizontal view. Its motion-sensitivity will preserve storage until movement triggers it. Its night vision function provides security that any disturbance, either day or night, will be caught on camera.
With the smoke-detector cam’s WiFi connectivity, you’re able to connect to an Apple- and Android-compatible app to view real-time footage of your space. Keep an eye on kids, pets, and other people in your home even while you are away. The two-way audio feature also allows you to hear speak to your family, or notify intruders that you can see them, through the built-in speaker.
One downside might be that the power-cord could tip off would-be oblivious surveillance subjects. One way to circumvent this issue is to hide the cord in ceiling tiles (if in an office space), through the attic (if in a home), or install the smoke detector near objects or art that could disguise or minimize the appearance of the cord. Please also note that this device merely resembles a smoke detector but does not have a smoke detection function, so be sure to have a real one!
As a hidden camera, this option rates high in functionality, quality, and simplicity. Its unsuspecting design with high-tech features makes it an excellent entry-level choice for detecting smoke and mirrors in employees, babysitters, and housekeepers.
The Blue Hills Smoke Detector camera is available from Amazon.
Houseplant Hidden Camera
This houseplant can add a decorative touch to any room in your home or office. With the camera discretely tucked into the basket, no one would ever suspect this innocent plant to be keeping a lookout.
WiFi connectivity allows you to watch your feed in real-time. The motion-detector will send notifications to your phone as soon as it detects that someone has entered the room. The app also allows you to zoom into the picture up to 4x. The app is also compatible with other cameras from the same company, allowing you to view multiple camera feeds all in the same convenient location.
This option is great for someone trying to avoid adding more electronic gadgets to their space. The natural look is unsuspecting and even improves a room’s ambiance as well as its security. However, this premade option is a bit pricey, and you could probably create a comparable product with a basic spy cam and your own, perhaps alive, house plant (see below).
The Spy-MAX decorative plant hidden camera is available from Amazon.
Sleek Digital Clock Cam
This sleek, modern, digital clock will not only tell you the time but also whether your friend/house-sitter is rifling through your diaries looking for juicy gossip while you’ve entrusted them with your home for the weekend.
As a clock alone, this device can be programmed for 12 or 24-hour time and changes color and brightness as you adjust settings through the app.
Its spy camera is high-definition (1080p), with a 120˚ angle lens, capturing a sweeping view of your space. You may also program the resolution lower (720p or below) to save network speeds. With its 4500mAh rechargeable battery, this nanny cam is completely portable and can record up to 8 hours of continuous footage without being recharged. Video recording works while the battery is being recharged, allowing for continuous recording even if you are away for an extended time.
Night-vision capabilities ensure a seamless transition between day and night surveillance. The camera can record up to 8m of distance at night.
The mobile app allows you to access live and playback footage remotely from anywhere in the world once your clock is hooked up to your home WiFi. Setup is easy and does not require too much technological fiddling. Two-way audio allows you to hear what’s going on near your clock as well as speak through the built-in speaker from wherever you are.
As a camera, this device offers functionality and user ease with its high resolution and view-anywhere capabilities. It is both low-maintenance and versatile, allowing you to plug it an leave it but also set time, color and brightness of the clock functions from your app.
The MAGHO clock camera is available from Amazon.
Picture Frame Hidden Security Camera
That photo of your smiling kids on your desk reminds you that they are safe in your home because the picture frame is moonlighting as a security guard. This stylish picture frame serves two purposes — protecting your loved ones and protecting photos of them. It can be hung on the wall or propped up on a desk or dresser, allowing several angles at which to keep an eye on things. The frame is cordless and has a rechargeable battery that lasts up to a year.
When triggered by motion, this high-definition camera captures short bursts of footage that are sent directly to your phone in real time and stored in the inserted SD storage chip. Push notifications alert you to any motion and let you view footage live before responding to the motion.
This camera’s “No Glow” night-vision LED camera sees up to 20 feet in distance in total darkness, guarding your home or office even when you’re away or sleeping.
This option is optimal for someone who is looking for versatility, ease of use, and immediate results. It is reliable and low-maintenance (no need for frequent charges), but lets you know exactly when your security needs your attention.
The Hidden Spy Camera WiFi Photo Frame is available from Amazon.
USB Charger Hidden Camera
This dual-purpose camera is functional across the board. It not only allows you to keep an eye on your home or office, but it is also a usable USB port for charging phones, cameras, and other accessories. Versatile in appearance and function, this hidden camera USB can be moved to any location since it is not dependent on a highly-specific disguise, such as would a lamp or smoke detector (see above).
This HD 1080p camera is undetectable and functional. Doubling as a USB charger, it does not give off any indication of being a camera — the indicator light turns off when it is recording and the camera lens blends into the color of the charger. Its wide camera lens captures a 90˚ angle from its position.
With no need for batteries, this charger is also low-maintenance. Plugged in, it records only upon movement and preserves storage space when its motion-detector isn’t triggered. To ensure continuous recording, the device will overwrite the oldest video data, eliminating your need to wipe the memory as long as you check it frequently. This product comes with a 32GB micro SD card along with an accompanying SD card reader.
Some downsides would be that without WiFi compatibility you’ll need to download the data off of the micro SD card. With most power outlets located close to the ground, you may get a limited vision of your space without installing several around the room. Plus, somehow it seems that people are always in need of a charger and may take or move your spy cam, defeating its purpose altogether.
This is a no-nonsense, easy-to-use device that is perfect for anyone looking for an entry-level spy cam without complicated set-up or unnecessary frills. Reviewers on Amazon also report that the seller is highly responsive and helpful with any troubleshooting needs!
The Hidden Camera Charger Adapter is available from Amazon.
Spy Pen Camera
This pen writes and records when you need it to. Requiring a bit more direction, this hidden camera activates when you click the top and stops with the same click. While this is more of a spy pen than just a room surveillance device, it can come in handy if you are trying to record a specific scene or conversation on the sly.
The footage is downloadable off the pen using the included USB cord. The loop recording feature keeps footage up-to-date by erasing old footage and overwriting it with newest recordings.
While this option is not suitable for long-recordings or wide-angle shots of a room, it can be useful for individual surveillance. Pop the pen into your shirt-front pocket and discretely click the top to record your movements and that of those around you. The pen is undetectable as it is not Wifi-connected, and also writes, as all pens are expected to do — no suspicion there.
The Hidden Pen camera is available from Amazon.
Hidden Outdoor Cameras
Wall Lantern Security Camera
Keep an eye on who is coming up to your front door without making your entryway an inhospitable environment. Catch unwanted solicitors and package thieves without tipping them off. Classic but polished, this advanced home security feature improves your doorstep’s ambiance and your peace of mind.
While this lantern must be installed and wired to your home power, it is a permanent feature that provides additional security and warmth. It lights up your entryway day and night and also has night-vision functionality. High-definition wide-angle cameras capture a clear view of your front door.
With WiFi and Bluetooth compatibility, you’re able to see your live feed from anywhere — no need to get up and look out the peephole of your door. While this is a common feature of most secret cameras, this one provides additional convenience as it serves as both security and everyday use.
Unlike most hidden cameras, this one reveals itself if an intruder has made it too far. Pre-recorded deterrent messages and the 100+ decibel siren alarm and deter potential burglars. The two-way speaker system also allows you to tell off thieves, or simply greet your houseguests remotely.
As far as outdoor cameras go, this one provides a very specific but complete service of guarding your front door. Dual-functioning as a lantern, which all houses need anyways, this option is a practical solution for security concerns.
The Veana Outdoor Wall Lantern Security Camera is available from Wayfair.
That fake rock at your front door tends to be the go-to for hiding a spare key, but it can also be an excellent place to hide a camera!
With up to 1 year of rechargeable battery life, you might almost forget about this rock, until a break-in happens and you want to catch the culprit. Motion-activated recording preserves battery and memory and spares you hours blank footage. These features make it an incredibly low-maintenance outdoor surveillance tool. Some users report that this is an excellent trail camera for spotting wildlife, giving it functionality beyond just home security. If a deer or mountain lion won’t notice it, that neighborhood prankster snagging your Amazon packages off your doorstep won’t either.
Do note that if this option appeals to you, make sure you’re living in a warmer climate as the lowest temperature it can withstand is 55°F. Additionally, the camera is not equipped for night-vision and one user noted that the camera will still record, but the picture will be black. As far as rocks and cameras go, this one sits on the pricier end for its durability.
The Rockcam is available from Amazon.
DIY Hidden Camera Guides
If none of the above options suit your needs and preferences, or if you’d simply like to create something more customizable, several hidden cameras are available to purchase and retrofit to existing objects.
Most basic hidden cameras, such as the ones linked below, are wireless, rechargeable, compact, versatile, and affordable.
Additionally, these camera options are also great for people who are not overly concerned about hiding their camera but still want peace of mind and security without installing expensive or permanent solutions. Again, placing a camera in plain sight can be a deterrent that prevents crime or other disturbances.
There are so many ways to conceal these cameras. Hide one in the leaves of a houseplant, behind a family photo, on a shelf, or in a cluttered corner. Or even go for the tried-and-sometimes-true practice of putting it in a stuffed animal — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Mini Wireless Cop Cam
Mini WiFi Spy Cam
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What about more useful items like a water bottle, or tissue box?
While it may seem appealing to purchase an item that serves several purposes, try to stay away from hidden cameras that might be handled by the very people you are keeping an eye on. Interacting with the item may make the camera feature more obvious. The items suggested in this guide tend to be more decorative, to avoid over-scrutiny.
Q: What happens if someone discovers my hidden camera?
As long as you’re not breaking any laws in your state, you have every right to install features that enhance your security. Of course, that doesn’t mean your coworkers or housekeepers won’t feel like their own privacy was violated. This may be an excellent opportunity to explain your reasons for seeking additional security, and assuring them of your intentions to protect, not to spy.