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Unveiling 8 Types of Hidden Spy Cameras: What Works Best?

Hidden spy cams come in all shapes and sizes. From air vent spy cameras to spy cameras disguised as household objects, some are more undetectable than others.

In some situations, like in unfamiliar hotel rooms or in private spaces, like bathrooms, the feeling of being watched can be hard to ignore.

Read on to discover the different types of hidden cameras there are, including why they are favored, and which are among the least detectable.

8 Different Types of Hidden Cameras

Hidden spy cameras are discreet by design. Here’s 8 of the most popular undetectable types of hidden cameras, including spy cameras that connect to phones.


a hand holding a small hidden camera

A custom-built spy camera has the advantage of realism, since it can be produced using an actual object, but will likely be costly to produce if DIY isn’t an option. 

In theory, the options for disguise are endless, so long as there’s someone willing to manufacture it.

Mini Camera

Sir Gawain’s 1080p mini spy camera

Sir Gawain’s mini spy camera is one such choice. Though it can’t be described as a spy camera that connects to your phone, it is an easily concealable solution that lasts for up to 60 minutes a charge. 

Small enough to fit between thumb and forefinger, it features night vision, as well as motion detection and continuous recording when it’s charging.

USB drive

uimomn’s USB spy camera

They’re cheap and simple to manufacture, which helps keep the costs down. They have a constant source of power through USB ports.


abyyloe’s 1080p hidden camera pen with 32GB SD card

With this type of hidden spy camera, expect to come across more ‘gimmicky’ options designed as toys.


DIVINE EAGLE’s 1080p spy camera charger

Given their natural purpose, these really blend in with surroundings.


DouDuWu’s hidden camera clock spy camera with mobile

Photo frame

The former is more feasible, since having a phony photo in the frame is a dead giveaway.

Sunsome’s 1080P Wi-Fi hidden camera photo frame

Though presumably digital frames will allow for the camera to remain operational constantly, traditional photo frames are more likely to maintain realism.

Smoke alarm/Air vent

Probably the option that draws the least attention to itself and provides the best viewing angle for security purposes, smoke alarms and air vents have long been used to hide cameras inside them for both illicit and non illicit purposes.

If you’ve ever watched a thriller, you’ll probably be familiar with the classic bugging of the hotel room smoke alarm.

KAMRE’s Wi-Fi hidden camera smoke detector

They also more easily provide the option for the camera to be constantly powered through hardwiring.

5 Types of Easily-Detected Hidden Cameras

Some of the options for hidden spy cameras are more obvious than others. Here’s 5 types of hidden cameras that are super easy to detect.


Cutting open a teddy bear and stuffing a camera inside it is a pretty foolish means of hiding a camera.

a pink plush bunny

Holding or sitting on it will quickly reveal the presence of something unusual inside it, and may even wind up destroying the camera.

Keeping the camera powered likely means that the back of it will have to be fastened with velcro as opposed to stitching, which is also pretty suspicious.


Plants are, for the most part, green, meaning a camera among or beneath the leaves is pretty visible.

Houseplants sit on a table beneath hanging light fixtures

It goes without saying that if the plant in question is real, it needs water to survive. Good luck to anyone trying to water the plant without drowning the camera tucked into its foliage!


At least in the movies, mirrors seem to be a beloved hiding place for cameras. But these can actually be detected fairly simply.

A rectangle mirror hanging on a wall

In low or diminished light, the lens may appear reflected in the mirror, particularly if a light is then shone at the mirror from a particular angle.

Cluster of objects

Hiding a mini camera among a random cluster of objects isn’t a bad idea per se, especially if seeking subtle surveillance of communal areas without sacrificing the aesthetics of a room to the presence of a camera.

A cluster of objects piled up on a desk

But it’s an easy thing to do poorly if not particular about the objects and how they are arranged. For the most part, it can appear unnatural and draw attention to itself.

Near windows or light sources

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how well a camera is concealed or what kind of object it is in—specific angles of light can instantly reveal it.

Light shines through a window onto a small potted plant

Lenses placed in certain positions near strong light sources will reflect it, creating a glint that will quickly draw the eye.

Where to Hide Cameras and Where to Avoid

AlfredCamera takes a hardline against misusing concealed surveillance for inappropriate purposes. Hiding cameras in hotels, hostels, and rentals without obtaining consent of the parties being filmed is illegal. 

Consent must be obtained before recording others for surveillance. If you suspect you’re being watched secretly, it’s important to notify the authorities. 

In the home, no laws specifically prohibit concealed surveillance, but there is a right to privacy where there is a reasonable expectation of it. 

Bathrooms, bedrooms, and other private spaces are therefore off-limits.

Credit: Safewise.com

Conversely, an open-plan office or the porch of your home are public spaces, and there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. As a rule of thumb, stick to public or communal spaces when it comes to subtle or covert surveillance.


What is the smallest spy camera available?

How do you tell if a screw has a hidden camera?

Screws concealing hidden cameras will have a noticeably large Philips, Torx, hexagonal, or square-shaped screw head. Real screw heads have a very minimal gap for the screwdriver to slot in, whereas false ones would have a complete hole in them for the camera lens to point out of. Shining a light at various angles at the head will reveal reflections from the lens.

Do hidden cameras need wifi?

Hidden cameras don’t necessarily require Wi-Fi, but this will depend on the brand and model. Regular microSD cards are small enough to fit into cameras of a small stature.

Does a hidden camera flash?

Hidden cameras are highly unlikely to have a flash, since this is an overt giveaway of their location.