–Hidden Surveillance Camera has become a necessity in households today. They come handy in trying to track movements in the house without the knowledge of the perpetrator. You can hide them in the most inconspicuous places and still be able to get away with it. Places such as nightstands, light bulbs, wall clocks, teddy bears or baby dolls, etc. are good places to hide a hidden camera. Over the years, manufacturers have improved on the design of these security gadgets.
-In our attempt to write a review on hidden security cameras, we decided to look beyond the usual nanny cam reviews. We decided to take it a notch higher so that you can purchase a high-quality camera that you could use for the long term. So we set these parameters as the baseline: a DVR, ability to record colored video, continuous and motion activated recording, time and date stamps.
-With a DVR or Digital Video Recorder, you can store saved clips in an SD or micro SD card, as this is the quickest way to access recorded videos with a computer. Being able to record colored video allows you to see a person’s clothing or hair color, which adds detail to the video, better than a black and white camera. Having a hidden camera that is motion activated helps you save memory, so it is only triggered by movements within its view. Finally, time and date stamps provide a timeline as a frame of reference to locate activity during a time period, better than when it is just a video without a time and date stamp.
Table of Contents
-In most cases, clips surreptitiously recorded with hidden surveillance camera for home do not come with audio as the State vehemently disallows the recording of sound without the awareness of the other parties. Also, certain states totally disallow the use of hidden cameras. Be sure to check with the local authorities first before installing one in your home and office. Your intentions may be good, but it is the prevailing law in the state that matters more.
-Although you may have the good intentions to use hidden surveillance camera systems for suspicious activity such as abuse or theft in your home or office, there are certain locations you should never use a hidden camera. Such places are regarded to be private and it would be a breach of privacy to install a hidden camera there. Locations such as locker rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms are no-go areas for you to put a hidden camera. Be sure to know what the state laws are regarding this.
-In making a choice of a hidden surveillance camera, it is critical to pick one with which you can easily view recorded clips and make fitting conclusions about your observations. In our hidden cameras reviews, we made mention of a lot of useful features such as a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) for saving the videos in an accessible manner, camera lenses that capture colors and the ability to be triggered by actual motion. There are considerations that are usually taken for granted because of often those features are included in cameras. But truth be told, they are very vital for optimal use of hidden surveillance cameras.
-Still speaking about features, it may not be necessary for a hidden camera to have certain ones for it to perform its basic functions, but it makes it easier for you make recordings. For instance, hidden spy cams with dual functionality make a much better disguise, and a remote control makes recording easier especially if you place the camera out of reach.
-A key feature of the best-hidden cameras is that they allow you to easily record videos you find useful, and they come with a variety of attributes for this benefit. Like we mentioned before, a vital feature a hidden camera should have is the time and date stamp. We can tell when an event occurred with this ability. Also, making the color video is a highly rated but still basic feature every hidden camera needs. All of these are meant to make recording and reviewing for later use easier for the owner or installer.
-Moving on to more advanced features such as the ability to choose the resolution of the video recorded is a major plus for a hidden surveillance camera. You can decide to reduce the resolution so that space is saved on the memory card and for more time to capture more video or you can increase the resolution to a high quality for clean clips.
Sometimes, all you want are still images in succession of each other rather than long hours of video. Some hidden surveillance cameras come with this option as well. When a camera comes with a remote control, it makes it easier to snap photos too. Depending on your needs and preferences, you can as well go for a camera that can do this.
-Another notable feature all hidden cameras have is the ability to record continuously. In some, you can schedule a start and stop recording time, while in some others, it only records any movement in the room it is installed. Both are meant to save storage space so that only what is needed is captured.
-As a bonus, look for a hidden surveillance camera with dual functionality, so that it can blend well with its surroundings. An example would be a fan that is also a wireless spy camera. This way, it is more covert and would more beneficial in keeping track of whatever goes on in a surrounding.
-It is important to go for a hidden surveillance camera that produces images and videos exactly the way you want it. Therefore its design determines what kind of features it would have. The optimum hidden camera is one with a high video resolution, high frame rate, wide frame of view, reliable power source and if night time viewing is necessary a low minimum illumination.
-You should look for a hidden security surveillance camera with a high video resolution. The majority of hidden cameras have a standard resolution of 640 x 480 but if you want to capture fine details like facial features, you need one that captures videos with a resolution of 1280 x 720. This is the resolution we use in all our hidden camera reviews.
A camera’s frame rate per second (fps) is the number of images it can display in a second. A high frame rate means smooth video playback but limited storage space whereas a low fps means more video capturing but poor video quality. The standard frame rate per second in most hidden cameras is 30 fps although there is low budget hidden cameras such as MiniGadgets HCBulb720 which record at 12 fps.
-When it comes to minimum illumination (measured in lux), you may want to get a camera with a low lux. 1 minimum illumination is equivalent to the amount of light given by a full moon. The best surveillance cameras for night time recording or recording in dark rooms are those with a minimum illumination that is less than one. The Sperry West Smoke Detector is one of the best-hidden cameras for this function. With a high lux of 1.5, the MiniGadgets HCAndroidDock records better during the day than at night.
-A wide field of view makes room for a covert camera to capture a more robust view of its surroundings. Usually, cameras have the same field of view as humans, which is a sight that is straight ahead. The SleuthGear Xtreme Life Wall Clock and SleuthGear Zone Shield Night Vision cameras are the top rated surveillance cameras with a 140o field of view which is close to the horizontal field of vision you have at almost 180o.
-In regards to accessing stored videos and images, you can do this with either a USB cable connected to a computer or an RCA cable connected to a TV set. The stored content is in an SD or Micro SD card of which when you connect the hidden surveillance camera to either gadget, you can review security footage for your perusal.
-Every electronic item needs a source of power. In the case of a covert camera, it may use Li-ion batteries which last longer or a wireless source of power. As long as it records for the time span you want it to, wherever it draws power has to be sufficient enough for the duration you would like the camera to work.
-Storing your video in a compressed digital format is okay, but it would be optimal for you to format it in the standard of forms of AVI or MP4 for easy viewing on platforms like mobile devices and computers.
-The amount of video (size) and its duration depends on the holding capacity of the SD card. Some hidden cameras come with an SD card so you won’t need to purchase a separate one. These cards come in different sizes, ranging from 16GB to 128GB. Should you need to buy, we advise purchasing a large capacity card so you do not have to wipe the memory each time you need to record. A video with low compression, high resolution, and that is lengthy would take up more space on an SD card than one with a high compression, low resolution, and short duration, which means a poor quality. A 64GB memory card would normally store up to 5 or 6 hours of video.
-In addition to the above, it is also vital to look out for a hidden security camera with a strong warranty backing, a helpful customer support in times of the need for help, and a detailed hardcover or digital manual (downloadable from manufacturer’s website) that tells about the product’s use.
Help and support
-Since it is obvious that you purchased a hidden surveillance camera for the sake of vigilance of life and property, the least of your worries should be finding that it is defective. You should be able to buy a camera and be rest assured that in case it have a defect from its manufacturer, you can always rely on them to repair or replace it. A well hidden surveillance camera system would have a warranty of at least one year. The best ones have a lifetime warranty.
-The place of a user manual cannot be overemphasized, especially when you are a novice at the use of a hidden camera. You may need the manual to know how to set up the device, transfer videos or retrieve warranty information.
-Finally, being able to reach a manufacturer when you need to is paramount to your satisfaction as a customer. Although there is the option to contact them via email, you may need to actually speak with someone to fully express your complaint. Some companies use a 24-hour live chat as a customer support feature on their websites. The bottom line here is to go for a product whose manufacturer is available and responsive.