Hiding In Plain Sight: Top 10 Best Covert Spy Cameras

Need a hidden video camera to record something secretly or discreetly? Have something or someone you want to protect or watch over?

Hidden cameras are often necessary when you need to monitor something without someone knowing you are recording them or when you need to record something when you can't be on site. When a simple surveillance video camera is too big and obvious to record in secret, a tiny or hidden spy camera may be perfect for your needs.

There are so many reasons to use covert cameras or spy cams. Hidden cameras are incredibly useful in helping monitor and protect loved ones. So if you have an elderly parent or baby or child, being able to see how they are cared for when you are not with them can be critical in making sure your family is safe. If you are in a dispute of any kind , it can be helpful to film the exchanges to avoid wrongful allegations.Divorces can get very messy and it can be very useful to have a recording of events to properly protect yourself. If you are having custody issues, a recording to show the courts why you are asking to modify an existing can mean the difference in winning a case.. Hidden cameras are also helpful in divorce cases. So if you think it would be helpful to you to have hidden recordings, don't hesitate to use a hidden spy camera. Most are easy to use and very affordable. 

To be a good covert camera, the person being recorded must not be aware that there is a camera on them. So the camera needs to be unobtrusive, blend in with the background or be easily hidden in something so as to not obvious in any way.  So, here are my picks for the Top 10 List of Covert Cameras starting with cameras you can hide easily and then moving on to cameras hidden well in ordinary things.

Top Covert Spy Camera # 10 - 2.4 Ghz Wireless Surveillance System

 Look at how tiny this little spy camera is!  This wireless pinhole camera surveillance system is the perfect size to hide almost anywhere.  Apparently it goes through its 9V batteries pretty fast so use the wall adapter if you can. And the visual range is around 75 feet to 200 feet depending on your particular situation instead of the 500 feet that the manufacturers claim it to have. The video quality is mediocre but  it's difficult not to imagine various uses for a super micro-sized surveillance camera like this that actually works.  Baby monitor, anyone?


Top 10 Covert Spy Cameras: # 9 - PHYLINK HD Covert  Wireless Smartphone Enabled Mini Hidden Pinhole Camera

Phylink Covert Hidden Pinhole CameraPhylink Covert Hidden Pinhole Camera

The PHYLINK HD Covert IP Camera is a  wireless, mini hidden pinhole camera that can work with your iPhone or Android device so you can see and hear the recording almost anywhere.  This is not a cheap device but along with the higher price tag comes a lot of features and functionality. This camera has high picture quality and audio you can hear clearly with megapixel and HDTV 720p in both H.264 and Motion JPEG streams playable on your PC, MAC and smartphone. There is the main camera and sensor unit that are independent so you place within 8 feet of your hiding location. So if you are looking for a high function surveillance camera for an affordable price, you may want to try out the Phylink.


Top 10 Covert Spy Cameras: # 8 - Conbrov Tiny Motion Activated Infrared Pin Security Camera

 Conbrov Tiny Hidden CameraConbrov Tiny Hidden Camera

If you don't need a tiny camera the size of your nail, and a small camera the size of a finger will work for you, the Conbrov Motion Activated Pin Camera may be a good small hidden video equipment option.  It has some nice features including up to 7 days of stanby time, and up to 100 hours of recording time if you use a micro SD card. You can set it to be motion activated and it will be triggered by motion up to 24 feet away.  No high level video or audio quality but if you a looking for a simple camera with good basic functionality at an affordable price, the Conbrov may be worth considering.



Top 10 Covert Spy Cameras: # 7 - Snake Cameras

Flexible CameraFlexible Camera

Snake cameras are still highly effective. What makes them so attractive is the fact that they can be utilized in the most versatile ways. If there is a crack, space under the door, or a hole in the wall, this tool comes in very handy. Plus they can be found pretty much anywhere that sells video cameras at an affordable price.

Snake CameraSnake Camera


Top 10 Covert Spy Cameras: # 6 - Baseball Cap Hidden Cam

Baseball Cap CamerasBaseball Cap Cameras

If you need a camera that can go along with you, a wearable hidden camera is really helpful. One product that is very cool and that most would not suspect due to the fact that it is so common is the baseball cap. Everywhere you go a person can be seen wearing them and rarely does anyone pay much attention to a baseball cap. You can make the plain baseball cap camera even more discreet by just gluing some logo or design to the front of the cap to better hide the camera hole.  Other styles of baseball cap cameras are available here.


Top 10 Covert Spy Cameras: # 5 - Spy Video Pen

One of my personal favorites for a discreet movable camera is the Covert Spy Video Pen. It records in color and unlike past creations, it is wireless. Also this particular device is a working pen so it can be used... all of these factors allow your cover to remain intact on your mission. The images are clear and there is no way it can be detected as a camera by the naked eye. There are many cheaper ones on the market but this one gets good reviews.


Top 10 Covert Spy Cameras: # 4 - Watch Cams

James Bond eat your heart out! Watches are a spy movie icon. Wrist watches always have some degree of coolness to them in every great spy film. There are tons of nice looking watches that can film what you are experiencing easily and discreetly. Since the selection is constantly changing and improving, and everyone has different tastes, I did not pick a specific watch so just go and check out the latest selection of video watch cameras here.

Spy Watch CameraSpy Watch Camera


Top 10 Covert Spy Cameras: # 3 - Hidden Spy Camera Radio Clock


There are hundreds of different styles of hidden camera clocks that can secretly record what is going on in your home or office. You can look at some of the hidden clock cameras available here.

One of the most popular hidden clock cameras on Amazon is probably the Jumble Camera. The Jumble camera looks like a simple radio clock that actually works but it is also a full function spy camera that can be set to only record when it detects motion and can also record in the dark. A great feature is that it has the ability to continuously loop the recordings so that you don't need to worry about deleting one recordings.  It operates on its rechargeable battery but can also be plugged into a wall outlet for uninterrupted operation and can record up to 24 hours. As a package, this is probably one of the best cameras around for discreetly recording what you need to record. It's prefect for almost any room in your house and you can match the available color to your decor. It's perfect spy camera for the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen or anywhere else a clock would fit in with the decor. You can check out the review for the Jumbl camera here.

Another option for a hidden camera clock is the one from Freevaz if you are looking for something more modern looking.  Since so many of the clocks offer similar features, I'd go and look for a spy camera clock that best matched my home or office.

Freevaz Hidden Camera ClockFreevaz Hidden Camera Clock


Top 10 Covert Spy Cameras: # 2 - Spy Camera Sunglasses Or Eyeglasses

Camera SunglassesCamera Sunglasses

Sunglasses are a stylish way to secretly record situations, in person conversations, meetings and more. Fashion and style is definitely not compromised when it comes to using covert sunglass cameras . There are a wide variety of styles and colors to choose from so you can find one that is flattering and matches your style. Like normal sunglasses, there is a wide range in prices but typically, they run from $20-$300 for this cool spy accessory. You can see a large selection of spy glasses here. SpyCrushers has a very inexpensive pair of sunglasses that get great reviews. ForestFish also has spy glasses with great reviews but is slightly more expensive. If you plan to be inside and want just plain spy glasses, Kingmak has a pair of plain spy glasses that could fool anyone.

Kingmak Hidden Spy GlassesKingmak Hidden Spy Glasses


Top 10 Covert Spy Cameras: # 1- Motion Activated Clothes Hanger Camera

If you want something discreet but easy to install, it may be  hard to beat this clothes hanger camera. It is small and will fit into almost any decor. It is super easy to install, you just peel off the tape and stick it wherever you want the camera to go. It can be set to be motion activated and will record for about 5 minutes . The resolution is good with 1280 by 960 resolution. You will need a micro SD card like one of these if you don't already own one.  Most of the reviews on Amazon here look fake but I think it is still a good covert camera option to try out since it is super cheap and looks so useful.  You can look at several variety of hanger cameras here. If I needed a hook camera that worked well, I'd probably order this higher end hook camera and see how it worked. 

Clothes or Towel Hanger CameraClothes or Towel Hanger Camera


As you can see, there are so many new spy cameras available and the options for hidden ones is extensive.  You can get smoke detectors, car remotes and even plants with cameras.  It will take some experimentation to get something that works well for your needs  So get out there and be creative. To help you figure out what will work best for you, here are some tips on how to hide your covert spy camera. 

Teddy Bear CameraTeddy Bear Camera


Tips On Hiding And Using A Hidden Camera To Spy 

1. Check To Make Sure You Are Not Breaking Any Laws.

Generally speaking, it is legal to use a hidden camera in your own home and also in public spaces. However, it is against the law in several states in the United States to install or use a hidden camera or other surveillance equipment without proper authorization of the people being watched or recorded. In most of the states which prohibit or restrict the use of hidden cameras, it is a misdemeanor but in the states of Maine and Michigan, it is a felony. So be sure to check the laws of your state before you install and use one of these hidden cameras.

Also, make sure you are using your spy camera properly. Many states specifically prohibit the use of cameras in places where people would have a reasonable expectation for privacy like a bedroom or bathroom. If you are looking to hide a spy camera in a bathroom, you need to make sure you are doing it legally or you could find yourself paying for lawyers and facing jail time.  In addition, there are specific laws governing the audio recording of conversations that may differ from video recordings. So if you choose to use a hidden camera, make sure to check the laws in your state to make sure you stay out of trouble. (You can read further on this topic at RCFP.org or BrickHouseSecurity.com.)

If you are hiring a nanny, nurse, housekeeper or other caregiver, make sure you enter into a written contract with them. And in that contract, you can insert language making it clear that you can at anytime monitor them or record them while they are taking care of your family.  Having the clear consent of the caregiver will give you some protection in the event you ever need to record them.

2. Check That Your Hidden Camera Works For Exactly What You Want.

The best way to hide and use a spy camera is to practice recording. Once you find the spy camera that you want to use, you need to make sure to test it under the exact conditions that you would want your camera to record. So if you are going to capture video of someone entering a room at night, make sure your camera will work under those exact conditions and test to make sure it records the angle you want to cover.  Nothing is more tragic than getting a video of what you want to record and not being able to see it properly or not recording it from the right angle. So check and double check that what you are seeking to record, your spy camera is set up properly to record it.   Test, test and re-test.

3. Good Places To Hide A Hidden Camera

In figuring out where to put your camera, just look around the room and see where a small camera can be easily hidden.

Hanging lights and chandeliers - lights on the ceiling are a terrific place to place hidden camera. Few people ever look us so placing a camera there could be a simple thing to do.

Furniture like a table, nightstand or dresser - Since most rooms have furniture, it can be a good place to put a hidden camera hidden behind some regular object, like a clock or radio. Of course, you can get a hidden camera clock and put it right on the nightstand.

Curtain-Rod - Another great place to hide a camera would be behind a curtain or curtain-rod. If you can get a tiny spy camera, you could mount it on the top of the curtain or curtain-rod.

TV Set - Placing a tiny camera near the TV or on top of TV would be a good idea. If you do this, make sure that it is slightly off of the direct line of site so someone does not notice it easily.

Laptop or computer - If you have your computer and other computer gear laying around on a desk, it should not be too difficult to find a way to hide a camera.

Book Shelf – Placing a hidden camera in a book shelf might be a good idea. Especially when the hidden camera is in a shape of the book or you can cut a book to hold the camera in it.

Decor Item - Any vase, picture frame or other decor item including toys that can cover up or hide a camera would work.

Mirrors – You could buy a two-sided mirror and put a spy camera there. Otherwise, it’s possible to buy a mirror with a hidden camera built inside it already.

Lamps – You could take one light bulb or lamp out and put a spy camera inside.

Flowers and Plants – You could put a small camera inside a flower or plant pot and put it on a windowsill for instance. Hiding it in a cluster of plants would work especially well.

If none of these seem like great options, think about just putting up one buried in a wall. It is not that difficult to poke a hole in a wall and have a camera hidden that way behind a framed photo or something else to make it less noticeable. You just have to cut the wall below the camera and place some furniture in front of the open bit of wall where you can go and access the camera. You'll have a hole in the wall but it  can be patched up pretty easily when you are done, and it may be a small price to pay to get the shots you need. 

I hope these tips and suggestions on spy and hidden cameras will help you record what you want safely and effectively. 

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Originally published June 2009 and last updated August 2015.

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