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2023 Spy Camera Buyers Guide and Spy Camera FAQs



2023 Spy Camera Buyers Guide and Spy Camera FAQs

2023 Spy Camera Buyers Guide and Spy Camera FAQs

If you're looking for a spy camera in 2023, but arent sure where to start looking - you're in luck. At SpygearGadgets, we have been designing and selling spy cameras for over 12 years. We take security and surveillance very seriously, and we only carry high-quality, professional-grade spy cameras. 

WiFi vs Non-WiFi Spy Cameras

When shopping for a spy camera, one of the first things many people will look at is whether to get a WiFi enabled spy camera or not. Having a WiFi enabled hidden camera is great for many reasons - it allows you to watch your live camera feed in real time, and you can also set up motion detection alerts to notify you if your camera detects movement - like a person in your home.

WiFi Spy Camera Motion Detection Alerts

WiFi Spy Cameras Can Alert You if an Intruder Breaks In

But not every situation may need live viewing, or you may not have a WiFi connection available where you want to monitor, which is why many people use non-WiFi cameras. Cameras without WiFi obviously do not allow you to live stream your camera feed - these cameras simply record video to a memory card for later viewing on your computer.

See Related: WiFi Hidden Spy Cameras

Both WiFi an non-WiFi cameras can gather the evidence you need for most situations, just in different ways. So if you need or want live viewing and do have WiFi in the area you want to monitor, a WiFi enabled camera is a great choice. Otherwise, a simple non-WiFi spy camera would be better suited.

Expert Tip: WiFi spy cameras are compatible with most home WiFi systems, but may not work with public WiFi or WiFi networks that require a secondary login screen.

4G Cellular Spy Cameras

Brand new for 2023, we introduced  the first 4G LTE cellular streaming hidden spy camera. The camera design is our popular DIY pinhole kit design, which allows you to place the camera almost anywhere since it is so small.

One of the biggest benefits of a 4G cellular spy camera is that it does not need WiFi in order to operate. It connects to the cellular network just like your cell phone does. This allows you to set up your camera almost anywhere in the US - even outside your home or office. For example - you could set up the camera inside a vehicle, or even wear it on your person.

4G cellular spy cameras feature many of the same benefits as a WiFi camera. Motion detection alerts notify you of activity if your camera senses motion nearby. You can also record video to a hidden micro SD memory card inside the device for later viewing.

How are Spy Cameras Powered?

One of the first things to consider when looking for a spy camera is whether to choose one that is battery powered or AC powered (or both!)

AC powered spy cameras are ideal for long term 24/7 operation, in situations where you want around-the-clock video surveillance with no battery life concerns to worry about. This is ideal for home or office security. We carry AC powered spy cameras, which simply plug into an AC outlet, and even have hardwired cameras (like our  Decora Wall Outlet Camera) that are so covert they are designed to be hardwired to your existing electrical lines:

Hardwired AC Powered Decora Outlet Camera

Functional Wall Outlet Spy Camera in Use in a Kitchen

Battery powered spy cameras are suited for short term use or for portable operation, or simply in areas where you may not have an AC outlet nearby to plug into. Depending on the specific camera, some battery powered cameras can last 8-10 hours, while some can last up to 6 months - it all depends on the type of battery and motion detection used.

See Related: Battery Powered Spy Cameras

Can I Save Videos From a Spy Camera?

Almost every spy camera on the market has the ability to save or record video. Some cameras utilize internal memory, however most use a removable memory card. In general, most of the spy cameras that we carry can record to a micro SD memory card.

Different cameras have different maximum size cards that they can use. Some cameras like the 720P HD Mini Black Box Camera can take up to a 64GB card, while others like our popular 1080P HD WiFi Pinhole Hidden Camera Kit can take up to 128GB.

Record Videos to Micro SD Memory Card

Most Spy Cameras Record Video to a Micro SD Card

How Do I Watch Recorded Video From My Spy Camera?

After you've recorded your video, you may be wondering the best way to watch your recorded video.

For non-WiFi cameras, the method is simple - you just need to remove the memory card, and insert it into your desktop or laptop computer. Most computers have a micro SD card slot, if not, most of our cameras include a USB card reader which will plug into your computer's USB port.

From there all you have to do is click on your video files to play:

Recorded Video Files on PC

Double Click on Video Files to Play Back Videos

Some computers may have out of date video drivers, in which case we always recommend downloading and installing  VLC Media Player, which is a free, open-source video player that can basically play any video file out there.

Expert Tip:VLC Media Player is available for both PC and Mac computers, and is 100% free and has all the latest video drivers built in.

For WiFi-enabled devices, you can remove the memory card and insert into your computer as well. However you can also view your video files remotely via the smartphone app. This way, you can easily watch your recorded videos from anywhere in the world:

Remote Viewing Hidden Camera

Remote Viewing Hidden Camera

What are the Different Kinds of Spy Cameras?

Clock Spy Cameras - One of the most common types of spy cameras are ones that are designed to look like an everyday object that can be found in almost any home - a clock. These can be wall clocks, desk clocks, or even decorative clocks. And because clocks often have a power cord, they can be powered 24/7 without arousing suspicion.

WiFi Mini Alarm Clock Hidden Camera

WiFi Mini Alarm Clock Spy Camera on Desk

Smoke Detector Spy Cameras - Another incredibly common item found in virtually any room in a home or business is a smoke detector. Our two smoke detector cameras are some of our most popular spy cameras. One is a battery powered smoke detector camera that can get up to 6 months of battery life on a single charge. We also carry a hardwired smoke detector camera which can be wired to your existing wiring for 24/7 operation.

WiFi Smoke Detector Spy Camera

HC374w WiFi Smoke Detector Spy Camera in Office

USB Wall Charger Spy Cameras - Chances are you have a phone charger or wall charger in almost every room in your home, which is why these type of cameras are so popular - no one gives them a second glance! We carry both WiFi and non-WiFi charger cameras, and most of them work as functional USB wall chargers as well.

Non-WiFi USB Charger Hidden Camera

Non-WiFi USB Charger Camera in Kitchen

DIY Pinhole Spy Cameras - One final popular style of spy cameras are ones that are tiny and easy to hide. These are miniature pinhole style cameras. Their small size allow them to be hidden almost anywhere, or even built into your own object like a tissue box or a teddy bear, allowing you to make your own hidden camera.

See Related: DIY Pinhole Spy Cameras

How Does a Wireless Spy Camera Work?

Wireless spy cameras can technically mean two different things:

A camera with no wires is a battery powered spy camera, and is considered wireless simply due to its physical characteristics. There are no wires - ie. no power cord - which makes it portable and easy to move around.

Calling a camera wireless can also refer to the camera operating using WiFi, meaning that it wirelessly transmits video. These cameras connect to your WiFi network in your home or office (or wherever the camera is physically located), and allows you to monitor your video feed remotely.

How Small Can Spy Cameras Be?

Spy cameras come in all shapes and sizes. They can be disguised as ordinary looking objects like clocks and smoke detectors, or can be tiny black boxes or even tiny pinhole lenses.

Our smallest spy cameras are our DIY camera kits, which have a tiny camera lens less than a quarter of an inch by a quarter of an inch wide. This is the only part of the camera that needs to be visible.

Generally, the smaller the camera, the smaller the battery, however with our DIY camera kits, you only need the tiny pinhole to be visible, and the rest of the kit and battery can be hidden, making it one of our most versatile hidden cameras:

Pinhole Small Spy Camera Kit

The HC100w Pinhole Spy Camera is One of the Smallest Spy Cameras

Where Can I Hide a Spy Camera?

Living Room / Family Room - One of the most common places to hide a spy camera is in a living room or family room. These rooms are often large areas that overlook the main part of a home, giving them a great view for recording activity, especially if you are using the camera for home security.

Living Room Family Room Spy Camera

Living Rooms are a Common Place to Hide a Spy Camera

Home Office / Den - Another place many people hide their spy camera is in a home office or den where they may have different valuables at - like a safe, computer, important files, etc. Whether you are worried about a housekeeper or just for general security - having a camera in these locations is important.

Warehouse / Storage Area - Businesses are starting to use spy cameras and hidden cameras to monitor employees as well as sensitive storage areas like a warehouse with high value goods and products. This can supplement an existing security system because no one will suspect a secondary hidden camera.

Use a Spy Camera to Monitor a Warehouse

Businesses Use Spy Cameras to Monitor a Warehouse

Nursing Home - Many people use hidden cameras and nanny cams to monitor their elderly loved ones by placing a camera in a nursing home or elderly care facility, or in their loved ones home itself if they still live on their own. This allows you to ensure your elderly loved ones are getting the proper care they deserve.

Can You Detect Spy Cameras?

Finding or detecting a hidden camera is possible with the right equipment. We sell all kinds of counter-surveillance products if you are concerned you are being monitored by a spy camera without your consent.

Looking for a Hidden Spy Camera

Finding a Spy Camera is Hard without the Right Equipment

For example, some hidden camera detectors are very small and easy to carry in your pocket, like our  Pro Grade Multifunction Hidden Camera and Bug Detector. It can detect anything from transmitting cameras to audio bugs, giving you peace of mind:

Hidden Camera Detector in Hand

Using a Hidden Camera Detector Can Help You Locate a Spy Camera

There are some smartphone apps that claim to work to detect hidden cameras, however they are mostly for show and do not accurately locate cameras. If you are truly conerned that someone may have planted a spy camera to spy on you, a high quality detection device is recommended. 

Are Spy Cameras Illegal?

You may be wondering if it is legal or not to use a spy camera. As long as you are not using the device in an illegal manner, like putting a camera in a bathroom or changing room, using a spy camera is legal almost everywhere.

The one thing you need to be sure of is that you are not using the camera in a manner that violates someone else's privacy. People in the USA have what is called an "expectation of privacy" in certain places - like a bathroom, changing room, bedroom, etc. 

Placing a camera in one of those locations with the intent to record a person when they are expecting to have privacy is a violation of the law.

Do Not Record in Areas Where People Expect Privacy

Be Sure Not to Record in Areas Where People Expect Privacy

If you are uncertain whether or not your intended use of a spy camera is legal or not, we recommend researching your local laws so that you can remain in compliance with all laws, statues, and ordinances.

Is It Illegal to Record Someone with a Spy Camera?

While recording laws can vary, in general, it is legal to record someone with a camera in your own home as long as it is not in an area where someone expects privacy - like a bathroom or bedroom.

We recommend only using hidden cameras in areas like a living room or dining room or other places where people would not expect to have privacy.

Do I Have to Tell My Nanny I Have a Hidden Camera?

People also may wonder if they need to tell someone who works in their home, such as a nanny or housekeeper, if they have a hidden camera. Generally in the US you do not need to disclose that you have a camera if you are recording video-only, but the rules are a little different if you record audio.

Monitoring a Nanny with a Spy Camera

Using a Spy Camera as a Nanny Cam to Monitor the Babysitter

If you have a camera that also records audio, the laws can be different. Some states like California require two-party consent, which means everyone whose audio is being recorded needs to be informed of that recording. If you are not sure if your state has two-party consent, there are online resources you can check to confirm.

If you are recording in order to gather evidence you wish to use in court or as evidence, be sure to double check these audio recording laws before using a hidden camera.

How Much Does a Spy Camera Cost?

Spy cameras and hidden cameras have came down in pricing drastically over the last decade. It used to be that even a low-quality low-resolution camera cost hundreds of dollars, but thanks to technology getting cheaper over time, we now sell spy cameras for as little as $99.

Good quality spy cameras generally range in price from about $100 to a few hundred. Some of our custom-built, design and assembled in the USA cameras can run $300-$400 depending on the model. It all depends on what kind of quality you are looking for, along with the features and design.

Do Spy Cameras Require WiFi?

Not all spy cameras require WiFi. Non-WiFi hidden cameras like the HC100 DIY Pinhole Camera and the HD Mini Black Box Camera both do not require WiFi, and simply record to a micro SD memory card. When you're ready to view your recorded videos, remove the memory card from the camera, insert into the included USB card reader, and plug into your computer to play.

See Related: Non-WiFi Hidden Spy Cameras

Best WiFi Spy Camera for 2023

When it comes to WiFi enabled spy cameras, our most popular and best WiFi spy cam is our tiny portable DIY portable camera kit. It has two available battery options, as well as an optional night vision upgrade, making it one of the most versatile hidden cameras on the market:


4.7 Average Rating
35 Reviews
1080P HD WiFi Streaming Pro Grade DIY Pinhole Hidden Camera Kit
  • Streams Live 1080P HD Video
  • Dual Power - Battery or AC Power
  • Tiny Lens Easy to Hide Anywhere
  • Motion Detection Alerts
  • Available Night Vision Upgrade
View Product >

Best Non-WiFi Spy Camera for 2023

If you don't want or need live streaming, and are looking for a simple and easy-to-use, as well as portable spy camera, a non-WiFi hidden camera is the perfect tool for the job. Our best spy camera without WiFi is disguised as a regular looking wall charger, helping it blend in to any environment. Just plug it in, and it is ready to start recording motion activated video:


4.7 Average Rating
34 Reviews
1080P HD Mini USB Wall Charger Hidden Spy Camera
  • Records Color 1080P HD Video
  • Plug In 24/7 AC Power
  • Simple Operation - Just Plug it In
  • Records to Micro SD Card
  • No WiFi Setup Needed
View Product >

Best 4G Cellular Spy Camera for 2023

While WiFi spy cameras have been around for years, brand new for 2023 are a new style of camera that allows you to live stream without WiFi. This is thanks to new camera technology that allows you to stream live HD video over the 4G LTE cellular network. 

Our DIY camera kit is now available with this new 4G connection technology, allowing you to place your camera almost anywhere in the US, even if you don't have WiFi available, and watch your camera live on your iOS or Android device:

4G LTE Cellular Pinhole Spy Camera Kit
  • Streams over 4G Cell Network
  • Battery or AC Powered
  • Super Wide Viewing Angle
  • Motion Detection Alerts
  • IR Night Vision
View Product >

Best Clock Spy Camera for 2023

There are tons of hidden camera clocks on the market - because clocks are so common, they blend into almost any environment in any room. When looking for the best spy clock camera, you want one that has both great video quality, as well as being packed with features.

The  HC215w Mini Alarm Clock Camera fits the bill perfectly - it is small and compact, and can be either battery or AC powered. It streams live HD video as well as records video, and can send you motion detection alerts so you can get alerted instantly if your camera detects motion:


4.7 Average Rating
14 Reviews
1080P HD WiFi Alarm Clock Spy Camera
  • Functional Mini Alarm Clock
  • Battery or AC Powered Operation
  • WiFi Live Streaming
  • Records to Micro SD Card
  • Motion Detection Alerts
View Product >



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