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The best spy cameras in 2022: how to see without being seen!

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best spy cameras are easy to use, and allow you to watch people in secret, to protect yourself from harmful intent. They're broadly similar to normal home security systems, but are much more discrete. Spy cameras are generally either too small for anyone to notice, or can be easily disguised as something like a clock or a lightbulb. Plus if you're on the move, there are even James Bond-style wearable cameras you can affix to your person.

So how do you choose the best spy camera for your needs? Other than size and how easy they are to hide, there are a few other things you should be looking out for. 

Firstly, you want a wide field of view so the camera can see as much of its surroundings as possible. You also want to look at resolution, although it's not always a case of 'the bigger, the better'. (Why bother having to process massive 4K files that take up a lot of space when 720p will more than suffice?) And when it comes to features, you might want night vision and motion detection, which means the camera recording only starts recording when something moves. 

"Spy camera" is a pretty broad term, and there's quite a bit of overlap with other types of camera. If you're interested in the cameras on this list, we'd suggest also checking out trail cameras (opens in new tab) as well as action cameras (opens in new tab), home indoor security cameras (opens in new tab) and pet cameras (opens in new tab), as many of these provide similar functionality to a spy camera. 

We've also been sure to include spy cameras at a range of prices, so there should be something for every budget in the list below.

The best spy camera in 2022

(Image credit: Fredi)
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1. Mini Hidden Camera

The best spy camera overall

Specifications

Video: 1920 x 1080px
Display: No
Viewing angle: 140 degrees
Storage: Up to 128GB via optional microSD card
Power: USB charging
Size: 4.5 x 4.5 x 2.5cm
Weight: 81.6g

Reasons to buy

+
Can record on a constant loop
+
Sends images to users’ phones

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life is just 3-4 hours

The Fredi Mini Hidden Camera ticks all the boxes most people look for in a spy camera. It's the size of an after dinner mint or a small cracker. But unlike either of these, it can detect motion, shoot 1080p video, capture images to an optional microSD card or record on a constant loop, and even see in the dark. 

As with many of its ilk, you can set up an alarm notification to your phone, whereby the camera will send images to your email address, so you can monitor how the nanny is getting along with the kids, or how the dog you’ve left alone is bearing up. 

That’s not all though, as this miniature wonder features six infrared LEDs and a night vision distance of 5m, so you can leave it monitoring proceedings while you sleep, if desired.

(Image credit: Arlo)

2. Arlo Essential Spotlight

The best spy camera for home security

Specifications

Video: 1920 x 1080px
Display: Via smartphone
Viewing angle: 130 degrees
Storage: Cloud-based or via Arlo SmartHub (sold separately)
Power: Li-Ion battery
Size: 5.2 x 7.84 x 8.9 cm
Weight: 331g

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to mount anywhere
+
Handy smart features

Reasons to avoid

-
No 4K
-
Non-removable battery

One of the best home-security spy cameras, the Arlo Essential Spotlight can be placed pretty much anywhere with its screw-in mount. Unlike many other products in the Arlo range, it doesn't require the Arlo SmartHub in order to work, although you can connect it if you do have one. It's a well-featured spy camera, with motion detection and an effective "vision" range of 300 feet. There's also a spotlight, if you want to use it as an intruder deterrent.

The battery in the Arlo Essential Spotlight can last a good long time (the manufacturers say up to six months), though be aware that it's non-removable. This means you have to take the entire rig down when charging time comes. It's also worth being aware that the Essential Spotlight records only Full HD, not 4K. This probably won't be a deal-breaker for most, but still.

Setting up the camera is an easy process, and once it's connected to your phone via the app you'll be able to control a host of functions, though it's a lot less useful if you don't continue your free trial of the Arlo Smart subscription service.

(Image credit: Bear Grylls)
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3. Bear Grylls Waterproof Action Camera Glasses

The best spy camera that's wearable

Specifications

Video: 1920 x 1080px at 30fps
Display: No
Viewing angle: Not given
Storage: Not given
Power: Lithium batteries (included)
Size: Not given
Weight: 59g

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight device
+
Hands-free recording

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricier than ‘no brand’ options
-
Wear it all the time you’re recording

We couldn’t do a roundup of spy cameras without featuring at least one option that's secreted within a pair of glasses. While there are a lot of pocket money options from brands we’ve never heard of online, the look tends to be more Austin Powers than Tom Cruise. The Bear Grylls Waterproof Action Camera Glasses, however, sport a specification list that sits head-and-shoulders above the rest, albeit with a price three times bigger. 

The bonus here is an eyeline point-of-view perspective when recording hands-free, full HD video, and because it’s as much an action camera as anything else, we get waterproofing and dustproofing alongside promised 100% UVA protection. An accessory kit including a safely strap with float is helpfully included, for anything your ‘missions’ might throw at you.

See our full guide to the best camera glasses (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Blink)
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The best small security camera

Specifications

Video: 1920 x 1080px
Display: Via smartphone
Viewing angle: 110 degrees
Storage: Cloud storage
Power: 2 x AA lithium batteries
Size: 71 x 71 x 31mm
Weight: 48g

Reasons to buy

+
Full HD video capture
+
Weather resistant

Reasons to avoid

-
Not invisible to oncomers
-
Requires app for full use

The Blink Indoor isn't that small, making it more of a home security camera (opens in new tab) than a spy camera. But if that isn't a deal-breaker, this camera offers better quality video than some of the smaller, harder-to-see devices. 

It has a handy feature that gives it the ability to talk to intruders using the integral two-way audio system controlled by the Blink app on your smartphone. It's completely wire-free and powered by two AA batteries, which can last up to two years so you don't need to worry about replacing them all the time. Additionally, it's compatible with Alexa so you can view live streams or disable the camera using just your voice. 

Full HD recording is available during daylight hours but at night it switches to infrared HD night vision so you never miss a second. While it is weather resistant, we recommend the Blink Outdoor (opens in new tab) camera if you want a fully waterproof version. 

(Image credit: Adam Juniper/Digital Camera World)
The best cheap spy camera

Specifications

Video: Full HD 1080p at 30fps
Display: None
Viewing angle: 110 degrees
Storage: Cloud only (none internal)
Power: AC/DC
Size: 50x49x36 mm
Weight: 50g

Reasons to buy

+
Unbelievably tiny
+
High-quality footage

Reasons to avoid

-
Can't be left for long periods

The cheapest camera in the Blink range, this is a solid choice for anyone on a budget. It's easy to set up, and its diminutive dimensions make it easy to put somewhere out of sight. 

The camera can shoot Full HD, and comes with a suite of security features, including motion detection and infrared night vision. Plus there's two-way audio, in case you need to tell off a pet that's getting too close to the snack drawer.

The only real downside to the Blink Mini is that it has no SD slot, and in fact, no internal storage at all. This means that to save footage and images, you're stuck either signing up for a subscription plan to get some cloud storage, or paying the same price as the camera again for the Sync Module 2 hub, which allows you to offload clips to a USB stick or similar device. This is hardly ruinous as the camera is so cheap to begin with, but it's something to factor in before you buy. 

(Image credit: Amazon)
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6. NinjaPro 2-in-1 Spy Camera Wall Clock

The best spy camera built into a wall clock

Specifications

Video: 1920 x 1080px, 30fps
Display: No
Viewing angle: 110 degrees
Storage: via optional SD card
Power: Lithium ion battery included
Size: 14.09 x 13.98 x 2.87 inches
Weight: 1kg

Reasons to buy

+
Tells the time!
+
Motion detection with loop recording

Reasons to avoid

-
Clock hand may trigger recording
-
No night vision

A pleasant looking spy solution, this wall clock containing a spy camera won't look out of place in an office or kitchen. The lens is well hidden, so it is unlikely to be discovered – and the clock works, so it has an everyday use, too. The video recording is motion activated, triggering an app on your phone, but also recording footage to an SD card. 

(Image credit: Amazon)
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7. LED clock spy camera

The best spy camera built into an alarm clock

Specifications

Video: 1920 x 1080px, 30fps
Display: No
Viewing angle: 140 degrees
Storage: Up to 128GB via optional microSD card
Power: Lithium ion battery included
Size: 3.9 x 1.8 x 1.4 inches
Weight: 6.7 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Tells the time!
+
Motion detection with loop recording

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 2.4G wifi (not 5G)

A great spy solution for a bookshelf or a bedside table, this LCD clock looks completely innocent in your home. It has a built-in slot for a microSD card, so it can record footage. Additionally, you can get alerts and monitor the room via the smartphone app. With night vision and a 140 degree viewing angle this gives great security coverage at any time of the day. Like many hidden spy cameras, it does have a serious use – while many intruders might spot a Blink or other regular home security camera a mile off, they won't see this one. 

(Image credit: Amazon)
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8. 360°Wide Angle Fisheye WiFi IP Hidden Camera Bulb

The best spy camera built into a lightbulb

Specifications

Video: 1080p HD
Display: No
Viewing angle: 360 degrees
Storage: Up to 128GB via optional card
Power: Via mains
Size: Not given
Weight: 200g

Reasons to buy

+
Small and unobtrusive
+
Practical solution

Reasons to avoid

-
Tricky 360-degree viewing angle
-
Plastic-y build

A lightbulb is surely one of the last places you’d expect to find a hidden camera that can record at up to 25fps and that offers a 360-degree field of view. There's also a motion detector built in, which will transmit a notification to your phone if, says its manufacturer, an ‘abnormal situation’ occurs in your home. As well as the all-encompassing viewing angle, the camera bulb also features a two-way audio function, so users can remonstrate safely from afar with any possible home invader – and hopefully scare them off before major damage is done.

(Image credit: Kami)
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9. Kami Indoor Camera

Cheap, but with hidden subscription costs

Specifications

Video: 1920 x 1080px at 30fps
Display: No
Viewing angle: 110 degrees
Storage: Not given
Power: Via USB
Size: Not given
Weight: Not given

Reasons to buy

+
Rotating camera
+
Competitively priced option

Reasons to avoid

-
Not hugely well ‘hidden’
-
Expanded storage via subscription

The Kami Indoor Camera somewhat resembles a mini droid from Star Wars but what it lacks in stealth, it makes up for in value for money and usability. It may not be the most discrete unit but it does provide 360-degree coverage thanks to its rotating camera. It also offers full HD recording and has a pretty smart design.

It's powered by a micro USB port close to the base, which is also motorized so it can pivot and track any movement it detects. Like with so many of the spy cameras on this list, it can be controlled and set up using a smartphone app and the user can select the settings that govern its behavior. The biggest downside to this camera is it only stores six-second clips for up to a week and you'll need to invest in a subscription service for additional storage. 

More security and surveillance guides:
Best indoor security cameras (opens in new tab)
Best outdoor security cameras (opens in new tab)
• 
The best doorbell camera (opens in new tab)
 The best dash cam (opens in new tab) 
The best body cameras (opens in new tab)
Best thermal imaging cameras (opens in new tab)
Thebest night vision goggles and binoculars (opens in new tab)
The best trail cameras (opens in new tab)
Best borescopes & inspection cameras (opens in new tab)

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Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.

With contributions from