Best Spy Camera

Christen da Costa Avatar
Updated Nov 9, 2023 7:23 AM
best spy camera featured image that shows the top three best digital camera models

To help you find the best hidden cameras perfect for home security, we spent over 10 hours of researching and reviewing a variety of models that are currently available. Out of all the spy cams or “wireless hidden” surveillance cameras we came across, we’ve chosen the 4 best. We omitted models that didn’t meet our standards for video quality, playback support, and those which lacked a discreet profile. By comparing these features we put together a list of the top 4 hidden cameras available today. Everyone loves their spy gadgets and these are the best.

One product that stands out, the best hidden camera, is the Omples 1080p WiFi Hidden Camera Alarm Clock. It offers WiFi connectivity so you can access the camera remotely and viewing the live footage. It looks like an authentic alarm clock so you can place the cam practically anywhere. There are several other cameras to consider, including one with a unique design. Keep reading to learn more about all the hidden surveillance and spy cameras that earned a spot on our list.

Note: None of these cameras record sound because, in the United States, US law prohibits the sale of hidden voice recording devices. They only capture video.

Top 4 Spy Cameras Compared

#1 WOONZER 1080P WiFi Alarm Clock Spy Camera

Award: Top Pick/Easiest to Place

WHY WE LIKE IT: The WOONZER hidden camera has a unique design, and looks just like an alarm clock. Yet, the WiFi connectivity truly makes it stand out, because you can connect to the device remotely using a smartphone and review footage that way instead of plugging it into a computer or TV. This is a great way to keep an eye on things while you’re out of the house.

Read Full Review: Omples 1080p WiFi Hidden Camera Alarm Clock Review

  • WiFi connectivity offers remote access and viewing
  • Motion-activated with smartphone notifications
  • You can swap between 720P and 1080P resolutions using the mobile app
  • Supports 2.4G WiFi only, not 5G networks

The WOONZER hidden camera is unique because it’s housed inside an alarm clock, unlike the other charger-based options on this list. You could essentially place it anywhere making it an ideal choice for a nanny cam that won’t arouse suspicion. But it fits best in the bedroom on a nightstand or bureau. It will capture full HD 1080P video all day and night, thanks to infrared LED-based night vision. Also, motion detection sensors ensure it picks up anyone entering the room within the camera’s view. The height-adjustable camera means you can manipulate the viewing angle to see more if need be.

The camera comes with a Lithium-ion battery, allowing it to work without the power adapter plugged in. Via battery power you’ll get 5 hours of daytime recording and 2 hours with night vision on.The WOONZER hidden camera also includes WiFi functionality for remote viewing and remote access. That means you can check-in using your smartphone and a mobile app. With a microSD card up to 32GB in size, you can record footage for review later. 32GB will hold about 90 full minutes of HD video at a 1920×1080 resolution. If you reduce the resolution to 720P (720×1280) you can fit about 200 minutes of video on the card. Loop recording support means the camera will automatically overwrite old footage to make room for new content, essentially filling up the free SD card space indefinitely.

Without the card, just quick snapshots from alerts and a live feed are available.

#2 Sirgawain 1080p Battery Operate Mini Spy Camera

Award: Best Value/Best Portable

WHY WE LIKE IT: The built-in battery means Sirgawain’s hidden camera doesn’t have to be plugged into an outlet at all times, so it’s great for travelers. You’re free to take it and use it anywhere, at least for the 60 mins of battery power that’s available.

Read Full Review: Sirgawain Battery Operate Mini Spy Camera Review

  • Has a built-in battery so it’s truly portable
  • Night vision support thanks to 6 IR LEDs
  • Will capture 12MP still photos
  • The battery life only lasts for a total of 60 minutes
  • Not as discreet and definitely looks like a camera
  • Must plugin to review footage/No WiFi

Sirgawain’s camera offers full 1080P HD video capture, and night-vision thanks to infrared LED technology. It can also snap 12MP still photos. What sets this camera apart from the others is the built-in battery. At least for the sixty minutes that it lasts, you can use the camera away from a power outlet. That makes it much more portable than anything else on the list. Unfortunately, it also looks just like a camera, but the compact size means it’s relatively easy to conceal.

Motion detection sensors can auto-start recording, which is only useful when the camera is static. 24/7 recording is available provided the camera is plugged into a power source. You will also need a microSD card installed to capture footage. Without it, you can’t do much. It doesn’t support remote viewing via smartphones either, so you’ll need to plug it into a TV or computer with the included cables to review footage.

#3 WOTEYU 1080p Hidden Camera Charger

Award: Best Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: It’s a mobile device charger and camera in one. Plus, it comes in subtle packaging that hides its true purpose at an affordable price (cheaper than our #1).

Read Full Review: JRKQDY Hidden Camera Charger Review

  • Discreet packaging when shipped, with no use of the words “spy” or “hidden”
  • No network access needed so you don’t need internet where the camera is installed
  • Plug-and-play, just plug it in to start recording and unplug it to stop
  • No live feed

WOTEYU’s camera offers all the standard features, including 1080P HD video, motion detection, and loop recording. It also has a microSD card slot and supports cards up to a maximum of 32GB in size. It doubles as a power adapter and will both record video and charge devices.

The overall design is not much different from the other hidden camera and charger combos on this list. It’s primarily here to give you another option. Plus, the plug-and-play support is always nice and injects a little autonomy into the process. Just plug the charger into an outlet to start recording, and unplug it to stop — provided there is a microSD card installed.

#4 DivineEagle Premium Smartphone Charger with Hidden Spy Camera

Award: Best Resolution

WHY WE LIKE IT: It offers superior video quality under the right lighting conditions thanks to its 1920×1080 full HD resolution and 90-degree viewing angle. That’s enough to earn it a top spot, because you can make out details like the identity of a thief or what a nanny is doing.

Read Full Review: DivineEagle Spy Camera Charger

  • Excellent HD video quality in sufficiently-lit areas
  • Very discreet, and looks like a wall charger/power adapter
  • Can be used to charge mobile phones and devices while recording
  • Needs light to provide good video feed, and there’s no night vision
  • Motion detection is less accurate under low-light conditions
  • No battery, must be plugged into an outlet to use

Because the camera itself is hidden away inside the charger, it doesn’t matter what the entire device looks like, it merely matters how detectable the camera location and lens are. Luckily, the placement and size of the camera are discreet. Plus, with a 90-degree wide-angle lens and full 1080P HD capture you’re getting a great visual representation of what’s going on in front of the camera. If you want to catch someone in the act, then you need to read our 11 gadgets to spy on cheating spouses guide.

What’s especially great is it functions as a charger too, so you can plug in your phone or tablet without interrupting the camera feed. That makes it more inconspicuous, and almost no one will be able to tell it doubles as a spy cam. A motion sensor tucked away inside will pick up even the slightest of movement, which is useful, and will also begin recording automatically. The motion must be located within the lens field of view, however.

Also, a built-in microSD card slot supports cards up to 32GB maximum in size. You do need to insert a card to record footage. Sadly, there’s no live video feed. You must plug the camera into a computer or compatible device via USB to view the footage. A 32GB card will hold about 90 full minutes of HD video at a 1920×1080 resolution. If you reduce the resolution to 720P (720×1280), you can fit about 200 minutes of video on the card. Loop recording support means the camera will automatically overwrite old footage to make room for new content, essentially filling up the free SD card space indefinitely.

How We Chose the Best Hidden Surveillance Cameras

As with any type of gadget, finding the best and most reliable hidden camera or spy cam is quite difficult. From mini hidden cameras to wireless spy access, there are so many features and specifications to consider, it’s tough to pin down just one, two, or even three options that define a higher-caliber product.

During our research, we found that many cameras are not at all discreet, which means they cannot be easily concealed. For that reason, only truly “hidden” cameras made it on the list. Finally, to be included, the cameras also had to offer some form of storage. Whether internal or external such as microSD support, it didn’t matter. HD-quality video capture is also vital. Both features are necessary because without HD, the video is unacceptable, and without storage, there’s no way to watch the footage.

Motion activation comes standard. Internal sensors will kick on the recording function when they detect movement within the camera’s field of vision. Everything on this list has it.

Cameras that have WiFi and remote access were given bonus points — like the Omples alarm clock camera. The functionality just makes reviewing footage much easier because you don’t have to plug the device into a computer or phone, or disconnect the SD card.

Price and warranty are all about the same. They didn’t hold much weight during our selection process but, when applicable, we did note the differences.

Hidden Camera Buying Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

As you’re looking at hidden cameras, including those not on our list, there are several features you should consider. One of those is camera prices, but ultimately purchase what works best for you. By identifying and comparing these options, you should be able to choose the camera that’s right for you:

  1. USB Charging – Most portable and hidden spy cams include a built-in battery, but there are a variety of ways to charge them. USB provides the most compatibility with existing power adapters — which you likely own thanks to mobile devices.
    • With a USB charger, you can plug the camera into a desktop computer, laptop, or compatible system.
    • Keep in mind when looking for a wireless camera if the rechargeable battery can stay on a single charge for enough time while recording hours of video in private spaces.
  2. Plug and Play – While it’s nice to have all the bells and whistles, the object won’t always have access to an internet connection and additional devices. So, the camera must work out of the box.
  3. WiFi and Bluetooth – WiFi and Bluetooth are not common. Both wireless protocols allow you to sync devices with the camera. WiFi requires a local network connection. Bluetooth offers a direct connection between two compatible devices. Neither is necessary, but wireless connectivity makes things much easier. In that case, you won’t want to look at our Canon HF R700 review, as this model doesn’t have WiFi.
  4. Motion Detection – Like regular security cameras, like the best outdoor security cameras, hidden cams include motion sensors to auto-record. This is useful if you’re surveilling an area that’s usually empty and you want alerts every time someone enters or leaves. The motion detection feature can come in handy with a surveillance camera, nanny cameras, pet cameras, etc.
  5. Loop Recording – Not all cameras support it, but loop recording is useful when you have limited storage space. The system will automatically overwrite old footage with new content to keep the feed and recordings up-to-date. Some cameras will let you lockdown or protect old footage that you’d like to save — this prevents it from being automatically overwritten. These can be handy features when you’re limited on internal storage but don’t want to lose important recordings. If your hidden camera stores video recordings on a memory card like a standard or micro SD card, make sure you have extra on standby in case the current one gets full. Some hidden cameras have smart features like cloud storage which doesn’t require a physical memory card, but cloud storage oftentimes requires a subscription plan to regularly store hours of footage on the cloud servers.
  6. Size and Profile – The general design of the camera determines whether it’s easy to conceal. If you’re talking about a conventional spy camera that’s not a big deal, but with “hidden” cameras you want them small enough so they’re invisible. Some can take the appearance of an everyday object so that the camera can be left in plain sight. That said, when concealed you still want them to capture as much of the surrounding area as possible, and some poor designs can limit this, so opt for a discreet design. An everyday household item with a mini camera installed like the Omples 1080p WiFi Hidden Camera Alarm Clock is one plausible solution for this issue.
    • Moreover, if you’re not interested in a spy camera but an analog cam, you’ll want to read our guide on what is an SLR camera.

Hidden Spy Cameras FAQs

What’s the Best Spy Camera?

While there is no definitive “best” there are lots of excellent quality cameras, including those in the list above. What you should be looking for are three things essentially: video quality, storage or capacity and design. Video quality determines how good the captured footage truly is, and if there are details you want to make out then the higher-quality the better, which is why everything above captures in HD. Storage or total capacity determines how much footage the camera can hold. Generally, this is determined by the microSD card you install. Higher capacity cards hold more content. Finally, the overall design determines how inconspicuous the camera is. With the charger-type cameras above, you’d never know they’re recording because they look like mobile chargers. Find something that can be disguised well within your home.

How Can You Detect a Hidden Camera?

Aside from cameras that are hidden inside objects, the best way to locate them is to simply look. Most hidden cameras using night vision or IR have either red or green LEDs that are visible in the dark. You can turn off the lights and look around for the LEDs. You should also be able to spot a conventional camera fairly easily albeit placed slightly out of reach. If the camera truly is hidden, there are tools you can use to detect a signal. You can simply place a phone call, for example, and walk around a room or home. If and when the signal experiences interference you might be close to a camera. There are more heavy-duty scanners, too, which can detect the presence of a camera.

Do Hidden Cameras Need WiFi?

Ultimately, no hidden cameras — especially those on this list — need WiFi to work. As for whether or not they have it, some do, some don’t, it depends on the camera. Even the cameras that support WiFi don’t necessarily need an active connection to record or playback video. Most cameras are designed to plug into a computer or phone to review playback. Also, they include SD card slots which means you can remove the microSD card and plug that into a reader to playback video. Both of these options mean you don’t need WiFi. For the cameras that do have WiFi, it simply offers another way to review footage.

Are Spy Cameras Legal?

Using hidden cameras in your home is legal, in most cases. You should always review local laws and regulations for the state in which you live, they differ from location to location. But as long as you’re not recording a bathroom, bedroom or similar private space you should be fine. The exception to this would be a rented property, including Airbnb properties. Even if you own the property you cannot record others in a private space without their consent. Installing the camera in a public space should also be fine, such as the front of your property or street. Audio is a bit more complex, which is precisely why none of the cameras on this list record any audio.

How Can I Hide My Camera at Home?

Luckily, all of the cameras on this list use the best kind of veil — they’re disguised as another item or device. Unless someone knows exactly what they are, these hidden cameras will look like nothing more than a mobile charger or alarm clock. With the chargers, you can plug them into any socket facing the room or area you want to surveil. The same is true for the Omple’s hidden camera and clock. With conventional cameras, you would have to conceal them using one of several methods. Nanny cams typically hide inside another item like a stuffed Teddy Bear or room decor. Security cameras are much more difficult to hide, generally. You have to place them up high out of the normal sightline or hide them behind decor and objects.

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