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

Sometimes, you get the inexplicable feeling that you might be being watched. We’re not ones to encourage superstition, but in some situations, like in unfamiliar hotel rooms, you might find the feeling hard to ignore.

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

8 Different Types of Hidden Cameras

Thanks to constant technological innovations, the possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to hidden spy cameras. 

Here’s 8 of the best and most popular undetectable types of hidden cameras, including spy cameras that connect to phones.

Custom-made

a hand holding a small hidden camera

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

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 likely to be very cheap and simple to manufacture, which helps keep the costs down. They are also a pretty handy option since they can be powered while remaining easily disguised—a downfall faced by most other types, which will have very humble battery lives because of their size.

Pen

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

With this type, you can expect to come across some that are more ‘gimmicky’ than others, so you’re pretty unlikely to come across these for security purposes.

Credit: Top 10 Zone

Charger

DIVINE EAGLE’s 1080p spy camera charger

Given their natural purpose, these really blend in well with surroundings, making them a choice option as a hidden camera in the house or in the office.

Clock

DouDuWu’s hidden camera clock spy camera with mobile

Photo frame

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 (digital photo frames ended up being a bit of a novelty, didn’t they?)

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 blatantly more obvious than others. Here’s 5 types of hidden cameras that are super easy to detect.

Plushies

Cutting open an older teddy bear and stuffing a camera inside it might seem like a reasonable way to hide a camera, but ultimately, it’s a pretty foolish means of hiding a camera.

a pink plush bunny

A plushie isn’t exactly an object that is solely observed from a distance. 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 stitched up, which is also pretty suspicious. 

Plants

While they can provide advantageous vantage points since they are regularly placed in corners of communal spaces, 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!

Mirrors

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 at 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 a pretty easy thing to do poorly if not particular about the objects and how they are arranged. For the most part, it can quickly become unnatural looking and draw attention to itself.

Near windows or light sources

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how well a camera is concealed or in 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, be it natural light from a window or artificial light, will reflect light, creating a glint that will quickly draw the eye to itself. 

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. 

For home surveillance, there is no specific law that disallows the use of concealed surveillance, and it can be handy from a security and aesthetic perspective, but there does exist a right to privacy where there is a reasonable expectation of it. As such, bathrooms, bedrooms, and other private spaces where there is a reasonable expectation are 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.

FAQ

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 of any type have a very minimal gap for the screwdriver to slot in, whereas false ones will have a complete hole in them for the camera lens to point out of. Shining a light at various angles at the head will also reveal reflections from the lens.

Do hidden cameras need wifi?

Hidden cameras don’t necessarily require wifi, but this will depend on the brand. 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. If you are looking for one, shine a light on the suspected object at various angles and pay attention to any unusual reflections.