Time and money won’t always allow for the purchase of a dedicated hidden camera detector, but in many circumstances, it will be preferable to using an app.
After all, camera detectors are purpose-built for device detection, making them a worthy investment for high-profile or influential individuals.
Using a combination of radio frequencies, infrared scanning, and magnetic sensor detection, they are able to accurately scope out a bugged environment for cameras and other hidden surveillance devices.
Check out our picks for the best hidden camera detector below, as well as the best app alternatives that turn your phone into a hidden camera detector at a moment’s notice.
Radio Frequency? Infrared? Magnets? The Differences Explained
It’s not as confusing as it sounds, and for the majority of people, the primary concern should be radio frequency scanning. Find out what the differences are between radio frequency, infrared, and magnetic field detection below.
|Radio Frequency (RF)||Electronic devices give off different wireless frequencies. For example, Wi-Fi’s frequency range is in the realm of 2.4 GHz to 5 GHz, while GSM (relevant to regular phone bugging devices) has a frequency range of 933 MHz to 960 MHz. |
Having a device that can account for a broad range of frequencies accurately will allow for the uncovering of hidden cameras, trackers, and microphones even when unsure of what the hidden device actually is.
|Infrared (IR)||Infrared is given off by cameras because it is used to ‘create’ night vision. That’s why infrared scanners/red lenses are also sometimes incorporated into detector products to add an additional detection measure aimed at cameras.|
|Magnetic Field Sensor||Magnetic field sensors/detectors may also be added. These are used to uncover GPS trackers, as GPS devices are ordinarily magnetic, especially when designed for vehicles.|
Our Picks for Top 5 Hidden Camera Detectors
There’s a broad selection of devices designed to detect hidden surveillance technologies like cameras, microphones, and GPS trackers.
Some combine different sensor technologies, others stick to radio frequency scanning. Some are affordable, others… not so much.
Whether you’re on the run from the paparazzi or want greater peace of mind when staying in an Airbnb, check out our five favorite hidden camera detectors below.
- Best Radio Frequency Detector – DiscoverIt DefCon DD1206i
- Best Cheap Hidden Camera Detector – GooSpy Hidden Camera Detector
- Best All-in-One Bugging Detector – JMDHKK K68+
- Best Portable Hidden Camera Detector – Jepwco G8 Elite
- Most Precise Bugging Detector – DefCon Protect 1207i
Best Radio Frequency Detector
DiscoverIt DefCon DD1206i
Available on Amazon. From $545.
For high-profile individuals, journalists, and business-people working on sensitive projects, investing in accurate and versatile hidden device detectors is very important, and when what’s at stake is privacy, an inexpensive investment isn’t an option.
The DD1206 is a digital radio frequency reader capable of detecting a massive range of frequencies, including GSM (telephone-based bugging), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Wi-Max.
It’s expensive, but it does what it does very well. That being said, the lack of infrared and magnetic sensor functionality may make it better suited for detecting non-visual bugs, though it will still be able to detect analogue transmitters.
- Massive frequency range, from 50 MHz to 12 GHz, is capable of picking up every kind of frequency emitted by hidden devices.
- Expensive build quality implies longevity.
- LED color-codes the type of frequency it is detecting (e.g. blue for Bluetooth, green for Wi-Fi).
- Lack of LCD display means there may be a learning curve for users with no experience using RF devices.
Best Cheap Hidden Camera Detector
GooSpy Hidden Camera Detector
Available on Amazon. From $49.99.
Budget isn’t everything when it comes to useful hidden camera detectors, and there are a few options on the more inexpensive side that have their own merits.
For fifty bucks, the GooSpy Hidden Camera Detector is a great option specifically designed with hidden cameras in mind. That’s why, in addition to radio frequency detection, it incorporates a red viewfinder that slides up out of the main body.
Through the viewfinder, scanning the room for red dots will reveal hidden camera lenses. It also adds magnetic field detection, which is useful for catching out GPS trackers (which are usually magnetic) and a small flashlight.
While the 1MHz-6.5GHz range won’t compare to those of more expensive models, this is still a useful product to feel safer in unfamiliar or suspicious places that doesn’t require a small fortune to purchase.
- Portable and discreet
- Red viewfinder and magnetic field scanning in addition to radio frequency scanning for additional aid in locating cameras.
- Magnetic field sensor has poor range, requiring users to be within inches of the target object.
Best All-in-One Bugging Detector
Available on Amazon. From $79.99.
Still on the more affordable side, the K68+ manages to wrap up all of the features needed to detect any kind of hidden device, be it a camera, GPS tracker, or bug.
It does this by combining radio frequency scanning, infrared scanning, and magnetic field detection. This covers virtually all the bases needed to successfully scope out a room for hidden surveillance.
Though it does sacrifice the portability of other cheaper devices, it’s also a lot more user friendly thanks to the incorporation of an LED screen.
Operating it is easy, with just four buttons labeled with the different detection modes. Clicking them switches between the detection modes, so users could easily go through all four if unsure as to what exactly they are looking for.
The 1MHz to 8GHz range will suffice, but not nearly as big a range as more expensive options.
- User friendly LED screen display
- Combines radio frequency, infrared, and magnetic field scanning to cover every type of hidden device
- Bulky and indiscreet
Best Portable Hidden Camera Detector
Jepwco G8 Elite
Available on Amazon. From $69.99.
If sleek and portable takes the crown as the most important factor for a hidden device detector, the G8 Elite from Jepwco is among the best available on the market.
A hand-sized wand, it’s equipped with four different detection types—radio frequency, magnetic field, infrared frequency, and a flashlight.
Though there’s probably more of a learning curve due to its minimal design, its main advantage over K68+ is the size. Clocking in at just 25 grams, it is easily and subtly carried around and significantly more lightweight than similar products.
Whereas every other option on the list uses batteries, it’s unique for being rechargeable, lasting up to 25 hours per charge.
- Super lightweight and portable
- Combines radio frequency, infrared, and magnetic field scanning, and flashlight for maximum coverage
- Instructions are vague, adding to the learning curve
- Cheap build quality
Most Precise Bugging Detector
DefCon Protect 1207i
Available on Amazon. From $875.99.
Frequency detector products can get extremely expensive, and the Protect 1207i is no exception to the rule. But you get what you pay for, and this is an extremely robust, professional-grade detector.
Most devices work by using the widest possible bandwidth, which actually reduces sensitivity and precision in weaker transmissions like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
The 1207i instead uses narrow multibands for extreme precision across all signals, accounting for a 30 foot detection range.
While the exceptional price tag means this can only really be recommended to folks with paparazzi and actual spies on their back, the precision is essentially unbeatable among other consumer devices. Any suspect frequencies will be instantly clockable.
- Unbeatable precision through multiple narrow frequency bands
- Silent, vibrate, visual, and listen modes are much appreciated, allowing for greater subtlety in compromised situations.
- Up to 30 foot detection range
- Extremely expensive
- Additional measures of detection, like infrared, could have been added
5 Best Apps for Hidden Cams Detection
Even the most affordable of hidden camera detectors can be something of an investment, and situations in which privacy is compromised can’t always be anticipated.
Below is a list of reliable spy camera detectors designed for on-the-go use.
1. Spy Hidden Camera Detector
Available on the App Store. $4.99.
4.5 | 1.2k ratings | Jakobi Teknik
This app uses a phone’s camera to scan for hidden cameras. It works by scanning for reflections off of the lens of a hidden camera. If it detects a reflection, it will notify the user with an alarm sound.
2. Hidden Camera Detector Free
Available on Google Play. Free.
3.8/5 | 19.8k ratings | Future Apps
This app also uses a phone’s camera to scan for hidden cameras. It works by looking for the infrared (IR) light that is emitted by most hidden cameras. If it detects an IR light, it will notify users with an alarm sound.
3. Hidden Spy Camera Detector
Available on the App Store. Free.
3.6/5 | 1.4k ratings | LSC, LLC
This app uses the smartphone’s magnetic sensor to scan for hidden camera lenses. If there is a camera nearby, the app will notify you with a loud alarm sound. Clearing away other electronic devices with magnetic sensors is a good idea before using this.
4. Glint Finder
Available on the App Store. Free.
5/5 | 1 rating | YUEWANWAN HAO
This app also uses the phone’s magnetic sensor to detect hidden cameras. Instead of an alarm sound, it uses a red light that blinks when there is a camera present.
5. Hidden Camera Detector Pro
Available on Google Play. Free.
3.6/5 | 180 ratings | SmartekSG
This app uses both the phone’s camera and magnetic sensor to detect hidden cameras, notifying with an alarm sound if it detects a hidden camera.
Hidden camera detectors are capable of detecting almost all kinds of hidden surveillance, making them useful in a range of different circumstances. Peace of mind is the goal here, and detectors are able to provide that; privacy is priceless.