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A hidden camera is an inconspicuous way to monitor your home and keep an eye on contractors, kids, or pets. We researched and tested dozens of hidden cameras, evaluating ease of installation and use, camera quality, battery life, and memory.
Our top pick, the Quniao Wireless Hidden Spy Camera Air Purifier, provides real-time video in Full HD, has built-in motion detection and night vision features, and is also a pretty effective small space air purifier.
Here are the best hidden cameras.
Best Overall: Quniao Wireless Hidden Spy Camera Air Purifier
Muffled audio recording
The Quniao Wireless Hidden Spy Camera Air Purifier acts as a surveillance camera and an air purifier, providing a unique and discreet way to blend this device into your decor. This camera is Wi-Fi-enabled and offers real-time, 24-hour audio and video surveillance you can easily monitor from the companion app on your phone.
Motion sensors can alert your phone if the camera detects any movement, and you can also use your mobile device to speak through the camera's two-way talk feature. Video footage displays at an impressive 1080-pixel resolution, similar to what you'll see on a high-definition (HD) TV. Thanks to high-quality night vision, you'll have no trouble seeing what's happening around the camera day or night.
The audio clarity is less impressive than the video footage because it becomes muffled by the purifier's fan noises. This device also needs to be plugged in, so you'll have to place it near an outlet. But, on the plus side, you won't have to worry about replacing the batteries.
Best Budget: Blink Mini Indoor Wi-Fi Security Camera
Syncs with smart devices
No continuous viewing
The Blink Mini Indoor Wi-Fi Security Camera has a built-in motion detector and captures high-definition 1080-pixel footage. It's competitively priced compared to other smart security cameras on the market, making it a budget-friendly option.
It syncs with the Blink Home Monitor app and any Alexa-enabled smart device to offer a live view when movement is detected. The 2-inch camera connects to a USB power source and can either be placed on the included stand or on a flat surface.
Best Splurge: Swann Indoor/Outdoor 1080p Wi-Fi Surveillance Camera
If you're open to spending a little extra on a high-quality model, this two-pack of Swann surveillance cameras uses temperature and motion detectors to sense people or animals. They capture around-the-clock footage at a 180-degree angle and can sense motion up to 26 feet away at night.
If your power or internet goes out, these cameras will continue to record footage and backs up to the cloud later. Facial recognition is also available for up to 10 people for personalized security and notifications on the app. With vivid 1080-pixel resolution, night vision, a two-way talk feature, a built-in siren, and voice commands through smart devices, you'll have peace of mind about your home security.
Best Smart : Wyze Cam Pan v2
Color night vision
Real-time viewing capabilities
Memory card not included
The Wyze Cam Pan v2 has a 360-degree horizontal view of its surroundings plus a 92-degree vertical view, making it a great indoor security camera option. It’s also compatible with Alexa and Google smart home devices and the Wyze app that sends motion detection notifications and has two-way audio capabilities. This camera also allows you to set up to four waypoints throughout a room to check on high-traffic areas around your home easily.
The Starlight Sensor offers a full-color view of night footage, so there’s no confusion about what’s on the video footage. The real-time movement sensor also automatically begins tracking objects and following their movement after detection. A separate wall-mounting system is also available to purchase, and you have to buy a separate micro SD card to save and store footage. Although it would be nice to receive all these items in one kit, we still recommend this camera as the best smart hidden camera because of its motion-tracking and color night recording capabilities.
Best Wired: Google Nest Indoor Cam
For a wired model, we recommend the Google Nest Cam. You'll see continuous live streaming with 1080-pixel resolution from any smart device, never running out of batteries. You can secure this camera's footage through two-factor authentication for extra protection.
Boasting a night vision feature with high-powered infrared LEDs, you can expect clear footage even in the pitch dark. This camera also has two-way audio, so you can listen to and communicate with anyone on the receiving end. It can be mounted using a shelf mount on a wall or the magnet base.
Best Outdoor: Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell
Long battery life
If you're looking for something to monitor the front of your home, consider getting a video doorbell like the Arlo Essential. It connects to your Wi-Fi and offers high-definition viewing at a 180-degree angle. A 1x1 aspect ratio also makes for a better viewing experience on the Arlo app.
Setup is easy—no hardwiring is needed—and the rechargeable battery lasts six months. This camera also has two-way audio and syncs with the app to offer real-time notifications. You can also view up to 30 days of recordings without needing local storage.
Best with Audio: Kasa Smart Spot Indoor 1080p Wireless Surveillance Camera
Finicky motion sensor
Memory card not included
The Kasa Spot offers continuous viewing with 1080-pixel high-definition day and night footage. Not only will you be able to see what's happening, but you can also hear it, thanks to the two-way audio feature that allows you to listen to and communicate with pets, delivery personnel, or unwanted guests.
The Kasa app also sends alerts to your phone when there’s a motion or sound detection on the feed. This camera plugs into a wall, so you don’t have to worry about batteries running out. It also pairs wirelessly to voice-control devices, like Google Assistant and Alexa, allowing you to send commands or voice messages through your phone.
Best for Pets: Eufy Security 2K Indoor Pan & Tilt Pet Camera
Syncs with smart devices
The Eufy Indoor Pan & Tilt Pet Camera uses artificial intelligence (AI) to distinguish between pets and humans. Once motion or sound is detected, this camera will automatically begin following the movement of interest and record it on your synced device. It's also compatible with Google and Amazon smart home products.
You can even talk with your pet through the built-in two-way audio feature. The camera allows local or cloud storage for recordings, so you can always look back at what your playful pets got up to during the day. However, be aware that the recordings sometimes include static audio.
Most Discreet: WNAT Hidden Camera Smoke Detector
Only points down
Short battery life
This faux smoke detector is a discreet option for your entryway, mudroom, or hallway. The wireless design can be installed on any ceiling and provides live viewing with 125-degree viewing capabilities. This camera also has a built-in motion sensor and night vision to capture movement at all hours of the day. After recording movement, the camera will enter standby mode to save power so that all videos can be saved (memory card not included).
This camera does have a short battery life of only 20 hours and will need to be removed from the smoke detector casing to be charged. However, standby mode allows the camera to remain charged for 180 days. Bear in mind that this camera is not a real smoke detector, and it should not be installed in place of your existing detector.
Our number one pick for hidden cameras is the Quniao Spy Camera Air Purifier. The inconspicuous design doubles as a covert video recorder and an actual air purifier, plus it's got two-way audio, night vision, and continuous 24-hour viewing. For something a little more budget-friendly, your best bet is the Blink Mini Indoor Wi-Fi Security Camera, a small USB model with a 110-degree view.
What to Look for in a Hidden Camera
The location where you plan to use your hidden camera will determine the best product for your needs. Will you install it in your entryway, hallway, indoor staircase, or outside on your porch, patio, or walkway? Is wide-angle viewing necessary, or will a narrower image suffice?
When considering where you put a camera and what you want it to capture, think about whether you'll place it on your wall, ceiling, or home exterior. You can position some options on a shelf, cabinet, or another surface. For plug-in models, make sure there's an outlet nearby.
Another important consideration is the quality of the video. "Covert cameras often don't provide the same quality of image that regular cameras do," says security expert Michael A. Silva, CPP, CSC, of Silva Consultants. "This is because most covert cameras view through a very small hole that restricts the camera's field of view and limits its light-gathering abilities." You'll want to look for a product with at least 720p (pixels) resolution, even better if it's 1080p. Otherwise, you may not be able to make out the details in the footage.
Some hidden cameras only capture motion-activated clips, while others record continuously with live viewing. Look into which method your camera uses and whether the video footage is stored on a memory card or uploaded to the cloud. If it goes to a memory card, most cameras rewrite over existing files once full, so make sure you check the footage regularly and store it elsewhere if needed.
Silva doesn't typically recommend the use of covert (hidden) cameras in homes except under very special circumstances. "The only exception would be when there was a need to investigate a person who was misbehaving (such as an abusive babysitter or caregiver) and you wanted to gather evidence without the person being aware that they were being watched," he explains. "However, this type of covert surveillance is fraught with legal liabilities and should only be done by a licensed investigator and/or under the advice of an attorney."
Where should you install a hidden camera?
In residential settings, Silva recommends that cameras (whether hidden or not) only in primary entrances and walkways. This list includes areas like your front door, porch, entryway, foyer, mudroom, hallway, stairway, back door, patio, and driveway. With the exception of nurseries, placing them in bedrooms and other living areas isn't recommended, as it's a privacy concern.
How do you install a hidden camera?
The proper way to install a hidden camera depends on the model. Fully charge battery-powered cameras before attaching them to the ceiling, wall, or concealed within another object. With a plug-in device, you'll probably need to place it on a shelf, cabinet, or another flat surface, though some can be attached to a wall. If your camera has an app component, you'll download the app and sync the video recorder through Wi-Fi.
What is the best size for a hidden camera?
As Silva explains, the most covert devices have either tiny lenses or lenses that view through very small holes, which can affect the image quality. If you're less concerned with getting high-def footage and prioritize a hidden design, go with a smaller device no more than 2 inches in size. However, if you want crystal-clear video and more features, like two-way talk, continuous viewing, and night vision, you may want to get something slightly larger.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Theresa Holland is a freelance commerce writer specializing in home improvement and consumer tech. For this roundup, she spoke with a home security and surveillance expert who offered insight into camera designs and legal/privacy considerations. She combed through user reviews, pored over product specs, and considered the key features, size, image quality, and price of a wide range of cameras before landing on her final picks. Theresa has been contributing to The Spruce since 2019, where she covers smart home gadgets, appliances, and organizational solutions.