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

Person viewing different rooms on a laptop, as captured by the best spy cameras and best micro cameras
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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.

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 "Spy camera" is a pretty broad term, and there's quite a bit of overlap with other types of cameras. 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

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

(Image credit: Ray-Ban)
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The best spy camera that's wearable

Specifications

Video: 1184 x 1184 px (square) 30fps up to 1414 x 1414 (cropping depends on stabilization)
Display: No
Viewing angle: N/A
Storage: 4GB flash storage
Power: Rechargeable
Size: 41.2mm (height), 50mm (width), 22mm (bridge width), 150mm (temple length)
Weight: 50g

Reasons to buy

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Lightweight 
+
Hands-free operation
+
Touch control

Reasons to avoid

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Expensive
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Creepy factor
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Use may break the law

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 has 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 that 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

Product shot of the Blink Mini, one of the best spy cameras

(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

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Can't be left for long periods

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. 

Read our full Blink Mini review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Fredi)
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3. 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

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

Reasons to avoid

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Battery life is just 3-4 hours

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. If 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.

(Image credit: Amazon)
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4. Monkaim HD 1080P WiFi Spy Clock

The best spy camera disguised as a clock

Specifications

Video: 1920 x 1080px, 30fps
Display: No
Storage: Up to 32GB micro SD
Power: Rechargable 2700mAh battery
Size: ‎23.7 x 22.9 x 6.4cm
Weight: 0.7kg

Reasons to buy

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Tells the time!
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Very discrete
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Use phone to view footage

Reasons to avoid

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Doesn't record sound

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: Arlo)

5. 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

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Easy to mount anywhere
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Handy smart features

Reasons to avoid

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No 4K
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Non-removable battery

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.

(Image credit: Amazon)
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The best security camera for two-way audio

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

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Full HD video capture
+
Weather resistant

Reasons to avoid

-
Not invisible to oncomers
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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. 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. 

(Image credit: Kami)
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7. Kami Indoor Camera

The best spy camera with 360 coverage

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

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Rotating camera
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Competitively priced option

Reasons to avoid

-
Not hugely well ‘hidden’
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Expanded storage via subscription

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. 

Read more:
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)

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