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Hidden Camera Buying Guide

Cameras function as a huge part of everyday life. They come in all shapes and sizes and provide a wide variety of uses ranging anywhere from enforcing traffic lights to documenting birthday parties. A popular type of camera that shares a similar range of uses is the hidden camera. It is just as prevalent in everyday life as the regular camera and it populates places like restaurants, grocery stores, and streets in large quantities. Hidden cameras may also be purchased for at-home or personal use. For those interested in purchasing a hidden camera, there are many options to choose from, not to mention several different ways they can be put to use. Buyers can make their purchasing experience simple by first knowing the basics of hidden cameras, as well as learning about their many uses, and their equally plentiful types and features.


Once buyers have deciphered which hidden camera will best suit their needs, they can make their purchase from their local electronics or spyware store where retailers will be able to assist them in picking out the correct features and type they are looking for. Alternatively, buyers may direct their search online where they will find an endless number of options, all with succinct descriptions and photos to aid in the searching process.

Hidden Camera Description

A hidden camera can take either still photos or video recordings and is meant to be used to film people without their knowledge. Usually, hidden cameras are so small that the subject being filmed can’t see them, or else they are disguised as an everyday object so that the subject remains unaware. There are several different uses for a hidden camera, as well as endless ways to disguise it for optimum use.

Wired and Wireless

Hidden cameras may be either wired or wireless. Wired hidden cameras must connect to some sort of device, such as a TV or digital video recorder to record information. This type of camera may have a harder time remaining hidden, as a wire must run from it to the recording device in order to work.

Wireless hidden cameras are as their name describes and they work by transmitting a video signal to a receiver, usually within a small space. This type of camera is easier to use for disguising purposes as it can be placed almost anywhere without the user having to worry about additional wiring or mobility.

Uses for Hidden Cameras

Hidden cameras are used on a large scale both professionally and for at-home or personal use. Buyers interested in purchasing a hidden camera, or several hidden cameras, should first know what purpose they want them to serve, as well as what they wish to record. Understanding the different uses will help buyers choose a camera with the correct resolution and quality for their particular job.


Hidden cameras may be used for security purposes on a professional level in such places as banks, stores, and restaurants. They ensure the safety of both customers and employees in highly populated settings. They are particularly useful for small businesses that wish to keep an eye on their safes and cash registers, as well as their merchandise. Additionally, hidden cameras provide a sense of security at home. Users may place them in their yard or inside their house to prevent break-ins or vandalism from occurring.


Hidden cameras are popularly used for surveillance and are most commonly used for professional purposes, such as traffic light and tollbooth enforcement. This particular use is rarely needed for at-home instances, though users may choose to set up hidden cameras in their home to watch over pets while they are absent.

Employee Performance

Small businesses can also benefit from the hidden camera as a way to monitor employees on a daily basis. They can be placed sporadically throughout a store or restaurant in order to ensure that employees are doing their jobs and performing their tasks up to par without the knowledge that they are being monitored at all. This use can also transfer to the home where users may monitor the performance of an unaware babysitter, nanny, or housekeeper.

Child Safety

The nanny camera is a popular choice of hidden camera for parents who are concerned with their child’s safety while they are away. Again, the camera may monitor a nanny or babysitter’s performance, as well as monitor the child to ensure he or she is being properly cared for in the parents’ absence.

Types of Hidden Camera Disguises

Hidden cameras are versatile in design to ensure that they will remain hidden. They usually come small so that the user may either place it in a position that will not be noticed, or they are placed inside an everyday object for a full disguise. Additionally, many hidden cameras come pre-placed in certain objects for inconspicuous use and may range anywhere from tissue boxes to keychains.

Disguise Type


Hidden Projector Alarm Clock Camera

Wireless camera; can be activated with a wireless remote or set to motion activation; functions as a working alarm clock with time projector

Video Pen Camera

Wireless camera; can take both video and still photos; functions as a working pen; good for office use

Teddy Bear Nanny Camera

Wired camera; may come wireless as well; plugs into TV or other device for viewing; good for child safety use

Smoke Detector Camera

Usually wireless or Wi-Fi camera; functions as a smoke detector and camera; good for home security or surveillance

This list of disguises briefly touches the surface of the wide range of objects that can contain a hidden camera. Hidden cameras may be placed virtually anywhere and can provide a high quality view of the user’s unknowing subjects.

Features to Look for in Hidden Cameras

Hidden cameras come in many different shapes and sizes as well as different ways to disguise them for best use. Buyers interested in purchasing a hidden camera should also be aware of the differing features available so that they may decide which features best fit their particular job.

Wired, Wireless, or IP

When purchasing a hidden camera, buyers should first choose whether they want it to be hardwired, wireless, or IP. A hardwired camera is more reliable in that it won’t lose signal or picture and it is firmly connected to a recording device. However, wired cameras have the drawback of having a cable run from the camera itself to another device and run the risk of being too conspicuous.

Wireless cameras are easy to use in that they can be placed anywhere without running the risk of being found with a wire or cable. On the other hand, they run on a signal that may be weak or unreliable for recording purposes.

Additionally, buyers may opt to purchase an IP hidden camera which acts as a wireless camera, but plugs into a hard drive, such as a computer with a USB flash drive, so that it does not lose information. The only drawback with this type of camera is that the information cannot be hidden on the hard drive the user chooses.

Motion Activation

Many hidden cameras come with a built-in motion detector that sets off still shots or video recording once someone has activated it. This allows the user to be hands-free from the camera while still recording what they want, without having the camera constantly in use.

Black-and-White or Color

Buyers should also consider if they want their recordings to appear in black-and-white or color. Many hidden cameras provide different resolutions and picture quality, as well as both color options, depending on camera use and need. Buyers should decide whether they need a good quality color picture versus a cheaper, more mediocre resolution.


Hidden cameras are a prevalent part of everyday life and can be used for a number of situations, both professionally and personally. Buyers interested in purchasing hidden cameras for at-home use should first understand how they work, as well as their various uses and endless disguises. Once buyers have a grasp on the basics, they can then decide which features will best suit their hidden camera needs. Buyers who are comfortable with their choices may make their purchases through eBay where they will find an array of options and ways to tailor their search to fit their desired specifications.


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