The best spy cameras allow you to protect yourself from harm, without being noticed. They're different from normal home security cameras in that they're much more discrete. In other words, they're either too small for anyone to notice, or disguised as something other than a camera, such as a clock.
The best spy camera is one with a wide field of view, so you can see as much of your surroundings as possible. It also needs to be high resolution, although there's a balance to be struck here. (You don't want the bother and expense of processing huge 8K files when 720p will suffice.) You might also want night vision and motion detection, which means the camera 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. So if none of the devices on this list seem suitable, also check out the best trail cameras (opens in new tab) as well as our guides to action cameras (opens in new tab), home indoor security cameras (opens in new tab) and pet cameras (opens in new tab), because many of these provide similar functionality to spy cameras.
The best spy camera in 2022(opens in new tab)
We couldn’t do a roundup of spy cameras without featuring at least one option that's secreted within the best camera 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. These glasses from Ray-Ban, though, are fashionably stylish as well as providing great functionality.
A tie-in between Ray-Ban and Meta, they feature dual 5MP cameras, offering a photo resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels, and video at 30fps, 1184 x 1184 pixels. The main appeal here is an eyeline point-of-view perspective when recording hands-free.
Obviously, outside of a James Bond movie, the creepy factor is high, and so Ray-Ban have included a colored light indicator on the front of the glasses, which lights up when camera recording is in use. That said, most people still probably won't work out you're filming them, so it's up to you where you feel that using these glasses is appropriate, and/or legal.
For more details, see our Ray-Ban Stories review.(opens in new tab)
The Fredi Mini Hidden Camera ticks all the boxes most people look for in a spy camera. The size of an after-dinner mint, 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.
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. It there are also six infrared LEDs and a night vision distance of 5m, so you can leave it monitoring proceedings while you sleep, if desired.(opens in new tab)
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.
Low on funds? 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 main downside is that it has no SD slot, and in fact, no internal storage at all. If you want to save footage and images, then, 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 think about. For more details, see our Blink Mini review.
Need to protect and monitor your home? 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.
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.(opens in new tab)
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. And it works 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.(opens in new tab)
The Kami Indoor Camera 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 body cameras (opens in new tab)