Whether you’re looking to secure your home, or want to catch your cleaner stealing, hidden cameras are a novel way to boost your home security.
We’ve previously discussed wireless home security cameras, along with a DIY security camera network from old smartphones, so today I’ll be showing you how to secure your home with hidden security cameras.
Why Choose Hidden Surveillance Cameras?
With systems such as the Reolink DIY CCTV system costing less than $400, many people believe hidden surveillance cameras are not always necessary. While traditional CCTV systems offer excellent value for money, they do have two distinct disadvantages:
- Encourage crime: As CCTV cameras are easy to identify, potential thieves may believe you have something worth stealing if you’ve gone to the trouble of installing security cameras.
- Encourage interference: If a thief is aware of a security system, they can take steps to disconnect or otherwise disable the system.
Hidden security cameras easily solve this problem. A criminal won’t know to disable the cameras if they don’t know the cameras are there. Similarly, if it’s not obvious that a home is protected with cameras, criminals may not think to target your house.
Are Hidden Surveillance Cameras Legal?
Generally speaking, the use of hidden cameras in your own home is legal in most states, but recording in certain circumstances can be illegal, as can recording for nefarious purposes.
It’s unwise to place cameras in private areas such as bathrooms and bedrooms, and recording audio is almost always illegal. You may also want to consider if you want to record your family or not. While not illegal, it usually makes more sense to arm your system — enabling record functionality only when the house is empty.
Regardless of your system, you should always double check your local state laws before configuring anything more complex than a basic anti-intruder system.
Smoke Detector Wi-Fi Camera
For your first hidden camera, a wireless 1080p camera disguised as a smoke detector is an excellent choice. The MEAUOTOU spy camera has several premium features, including motion detection, live video streaming, and mobile device push notifications.
This camera is totally hidden inside a non functional smoke detector. You’ll still need a real smoke detector, so be careful with your placement — people may get suspicious of two smoke detectors right next to each other.
For your next camera, this hidden camera alarm clock [Broken Link Removed] features night vision, motion detection, and has a built in battery. This camera records to microSD cards, supports loop recording, along with mobile device remote viewing and notifications.
If analog clocks are more your thing, this 1080p wall clock camera [No Longer Available] will easily blend into any room, and the built in battery should last more than enough time to protect your home in the unlikely event of a power cut.
If you’re looking to get really stealthy, the Conbrov IP camera is cleverly disguised as an ordinary PIR sensor. Like the previous cameras, this model features remote viewing and control via your mobile, along with motion detection.
The camera lens is visible on the front of the unit, but it’s unlikely anybody will spot it, especially in the dark. This camera does not have a battery in it either, so you’ll need to install it in a semi permanent position.
Lights, Camera, Action!
There’s no better place to hide a camera than in a lightbulb — who would ever think to look there? The Bellcam Light Bulb Security Camera provides all the features you expect from a wireless camera, such as night vision and motion detection, but it also includes some unique features.
Two-way audio is built into the bulb, so you can talk to your guests (or intruders!) through the camera. It also features a 360-degree panoramic lens, which is certainly a unique perspective, and gives you a view of the whole room just from one camera. The bulb still operates as a normal LED light, and you can operate it remotely via the app.
This introductory video by YouTube channel GatoCam shows off this camera’s capabilities nicely:
Like the camera above, this lens is unfortunately visible when looking at the bulb — although who would think to check the lightbulbs for cameras?
USB Charger Camera
What better place to hide a camera than in a USB charger. The USB charger camera features a 1080p camera, and is a fully functional USB charger!
With loop recording, and the ability to view multiple cameras on one app, you can’t go wrong with this little camera. The 90-degree wide-angle lens ensures you capture the best angle, despite being so low to the ground.
You’ll need a microSD card if you wish to record any video, so make sure you check out our microSD card buying guide .
DIY Hidden Camera
If you’re looking to hide a camera, and nothing store bought will do, then this mini spy camera is just what you’re looking for.
Measuring just less than one inch square, and with a magnetic back, you can easily attach this tiny camera almost anywhere. With a built in battery, and 1080p image quality, this is one camera that no one will ever spot.
Unfortunately, such a small camera comes with a few trade offs. There’s no wireless control via an app, so you’ll need to manually start and stop recording. There’s no power supply either, just a bulky USB cable, so you’ll need to get creative if you want to leave it permanently powered on.
The Name’s Bond, James Bond
This is a long list of hidden surveillance cameras, but we’ve actually barely scratched the surface. With hidden camera watches, pens, desk lamps, photo frames, and much more, there’s practically no limit to what or where you can hide a camera. Remember to check our roundup of the best hidden cameras for protecting your home, too, for more options.
If you’re just getting started with surveillance cameras (hidden or otherwise), then make sure you read our guide to IP vs. DVR cameras . If you’re on a tighter budget, our guide on how to secure your home for less than $30 will help you out.