The best hidden camera detector will put anyone worried about their personal security at ease. If there's a covert camera watching you, it'll let you know. Many will also locate nearby bugging devices and GPS trackers too.
These days, spy cameras (opens in new tab) are easily available to the general public, and so whether you're staying in a hotel room or an unfamiliar AirBnB, it can be a concern. Plus, just looking around the room isn't always good enough, because some cameras are now so tiny they can be hidden in places like smoke detectors and light bulbs.
A quick sweep with a hidden camera detector, though, is all you need to put your mind at rest. Below we've listed the best on the market today, at a range of prices to suit every budget.
Best hidden camera detector in 2023
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Our pick for the best hidden camera detector overall is the K68. Be warned, though, that it's known by a number of names. The Sherry model is easier to find in the USA, while the KMDHKK edition is easily found in the UK.
This hidden camera detector benefits from a built-in infrared detector, but the core function is the classing RF sweep. The simulated analog dial indicates the strength of the signal detected, and the dial at the top allows you to turn down sensitivity as you hone in on a suspect.
The ‘AI’ feature (right function button) is a pulse-based approach that makes it easier to do the scans but is still relying on the user's intelligence. Something appreciated by the hard of hearing – or when operating somewhere discretion is required – will be the vibrate option (instead of the piercing beep which, on this device, is only an option rather than something to tolerate). It’s also handy that the magnetic probe can be detached if it’s not needed.(opens in new tab)
You don't necessarily want to advertise that you're using a hidden camera detector. So if you're looking for something small and easy to hide, we recommend the Jepwco G4 Pro. This pen-sized bug-sweeper is as easy to use as it is discrete.
This hidden camera detector makes a few good design decisions that are apparent the second you get it out of the box. First, it's rechargeable, via a standard USB socket at the bottom (though Jepwco still supplies a charging cord) and there's a pinprick LED to indicate charging next to it.
The detection is via a kind of ‘bar chart’ of six white LEDs, which appear inspired by Apple MacBooks (opens in new tab) of the mid-2010s. Having only two buttons is very elegant, although it does mean you need to remember to do a long press for on/off. Once on the lower button allows you to switch between Wi-Fi and full-band sensitivity, and the chosen mode is nicely displayed by a glowing word.
Similarly, the top button cycles sensitivity. The end also acts as a torch which may help spot hidden lenses. At 30g and in a nice box, this could make a good gift for someone who struggles to trust their environment.(opens in new tab)
Want to get technical, and see all the details of what your device is detecting? Then the Latnex SPA-6G Spectrum Analyzer will be just up your street.
With two SMA connectors and three antennas, the unit has good coverage for most communication bands, including Bluetooth, LTE, and GSM as well as Wi-Fi. But where it really scores over the cheaper options is by providing a genuine visual representation of the strength of individual frequencies.
Operating in max, hold, and averaging modes, the system is flexible, and firmware updates are provided via the USB socket. The same connection allows export to view on-screen spectrums 3D (via the program Waterfall), offering more resolution and potential interest to HAM radio enthusiasts.
That said, for a quick scan of a hotel room this might be too much on the RF, and too little when it comes to the more ‘low tech’ features, like a light to reflect from lenses, which you’ll need to get separately.(opens in new tab)
With a magnetic and a radio frequency detector in the same device, and supplied with a lens highlighter tool in the package, this is a useful kit that will help you whether you’re checking out meeting rooms, looking for GPS devices under cars, or sweeping a hotel room for a hidden camera.
With a user-facing sensitivity dial, it's easy to hone in on the source of a radio signal, starting to up the sensitivity as you get nearer. When you plug in the magnet sensor you need to remember to switch over to magnet mode and then center the chart. But the diagrammatic design (and relentless beeper) makes remembering this easy enough.
There's a light on the end of a flexible probe, so looking under cars is easy and it's sensitive enough to spot a hard drive magnet. Some might have found having the hidden camera detector built in easier, but this way two people can work together for a quick sweep.(opens in new tab)
In a market dominated by low-cost products, a professional can struggle to get something with the full feature range they need. This device will detect all GSM, GSM(DCS), WCDMA or DECT 3G, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi signals and the additional pointer antenna is up to four times as sensitive as competing products in these last two categories.
That means you can scan for analog (traditional VHF/UHF bugs) and digital ones at the same time with no worries of missing anything. As a user, you can also choose to push up the sensitivity for either or both of the detection bands depending on your assignment, and with 16 segments the readout is more detailed than most.
There is also the chance of the correlation function producing feedback, where you’ve got an FM transmitter-style bug. This device isn’t a cheap option and may provide more than you need in the radio area while missing out on magnetic fields, so you should decide whether it’ll make your operations faster.
On a tight budget? This RF detector will help you find hidden cameras, bugs, GPS trackers, and wireless listening devices and offers excellent value. Its 10-LED indicator shows you increased signal strength when it gets near the signal source, and alerts you once you're very near. It's small, lightweight, and good for taking on a journey. On the downside, this device is fairly basic, and it takes quite a while to do a full scan of a room. However, at this low price, you can't really complain too much about that.
How do hidden camera detectors work?
There are two effective ways that hidden camera detectors work. The first is by looking for the glint of a secret camera's lens. That might sound like something you could do yourself, but a hidden camera detector does it more effectively, by sweeping using a lens with directional lights (this is often marketed as “laser detection”).
The other method is to seek out unexpected radio frequency (RF) signals emitted by the sharing of the data. This is also useful in spotting other live snooping tools, like GPS trackers.
A magnetometer (compass) such as that built into your phone could also play a part; interference from something near should throw it off and highlight a suspect area. Magnetic probes are included on some multifunction bug scanners and can detect anything from the magnetism in a speaker to that holding a GPS device under a car (adjustable sensitivity is always a useful feature).
Finally, the ability to look for Infra-Red (IR) lights can be handy given how many compact security cameras have night vision. These IR lights aren’t visible to the naked eye but are a reasonable indicator that a camera is nearby.
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