The Ultimate Guide to Buying Spy Cameras
There are many ways to protect your family and business nowadays. While self-defense weapons can protect you in the event of a face-to-face encounter, they won’t be able to keep you safe at all times. Sometimes you need protection that watches over your shoulder whenever you need it. Here lies the importance of modern-day security cameras.
Surveillance equipment goes a long way for the savvy business owner or first-time homeowner. Spy cameras and camera systems protect the assets that mean most to you, whether it’s family, personal possessions or financial assets. Keeping a watchful eye when engaged, physically triggered, or 24/7, this technology is a surefire way to add efficient security to your property, whether it be from intruders, thieves, customers, or employees.
You might not know where to start if you’ve never used a spy camera before. Which is the right kind for you? How do you differentiate between different cameras?
Let’s zoom in on the matter and figure out what’s going on.
How do Spy Cameras Work?
Spy cameras are intended to promote safety, deter crime and record footage of potentially illegal activity for personal protection in civil cases. But how do they really work? It depends on the type of camera you’re using.
Wireless Spy Cameras
Wireless spy cameras tend to be the most commonly used cameras among homeowners, collecting footage across various streams and downloading saved data to a server or interconnected cloud. The “wireless” aspect of these cameras comes into play when connecting to the internet—most cameras will have internal Wi-Fi features that allow them to transfer footage across networks with ease. However, you will need a wire to attach the camera to an electrical outlet, which will supply it with the necessary voltage to turn on.
Wireless cameras tend to work in a few different ways, depending on the camera you buy:
- The camera may record 24/7, collecting footage around the clock.
- The camera may only capture footage when an object is seen passing in front of the camera’s field of view (FOV).
- Wireless features may extend to an attached smartphone/tablet app, which allows you to access footage on-demand or receive a notification when an object is captured on camera.
- Some cameras may have night-vision features, allowing them to record at night in low-light settings.
The features found in the camera depend solely on the type of device you purchase, but wireless cameras will come with fewer wires, making for less clutter and allowing you to rely on a digital platform.
How CCTV Cameras Work
Close-Circuit Television (CCTV) Camera Systems are another useful type of general surveillance system for homes and businesses. Best of all, CCTV camera systems work to reduce crime. Often used in businesses rather than homes, CCTV works by connecting and recording to a DVR station or directly to a videotape/DVD. These systems will record around the clock when turned on, capturing footage at all moments of the day.
Business owners are best served to have these cameras deployed around their store in areas that are noticeable and leave no blindspots—anywhere theft can be committed without being seen.
As seen in many traditional films and television shows, CCTV camera systems will regularly feedback to a monitoring station. A guard or manager can readily check live footage from this station to see what is happening around a business. Each camera will usually have a monitor of its own, and modern technology allows for this process to be further digitized and viewable on computers, too.
What are the different types of spy cameras?
Spy camera is just an umbrella term: not every camera is going to be a new trinket out of a James Bond movie. But how do they differ from one another?
- Hidden Cameras: Innocuous cameras overlooked by the untrained eye, hidden cameras can be readily stored around a home or business to capture footage without attracting attention.
- Night Vision Spy Cameras: Not interested in keeping the lights on in your business or the light over your home’s front door overnight? Night vision spy cameras will still keep watch even when there’s no light around thanks to infrared technology.
- Wi-Fi Spy Cameras: Cameras are connected to the internet without requiring a direct-wired connection, letting you upload footage to a server with ease.
- Wireless Spy Cameras: While some wireless cameras require wired connections for power, others are entirely wireless. Wireless cameras operate off of a battery or portable power device, all while having access via the internet.
- Mini Spy Cameras: You can hide these cameras in an everyday device and store them inconspicuously wherever you need to record.
- Smoke Detector Spy Cameras: Everyone is already aware of the smoke detector and its blinking light. This camera hides inside the smoke detector, making it easy to capture footage of a specific hallway or room without much attention.
- Nanny Cam: Nanny Spy Cameras are similar to hidden cameras, they are a specialized device meant to hide in plain sight. Whether in the form of a teddy bear, alarm radio or phone charger, a nanny spy camera can help your family keep an eye on the nanny or babysitter whenever they’re in your home.
- Outdoor Spy Camera: Install an outdoor spy camera by your porch, by the edge of your gutters or next to your garage. Outdoor spy cameras are made to stand up to the elements while recording footage throughout the day and night, allowing you to monitor the safety of your home’s entrance points.
What’s the difference between a Wired Spy Camera and a Wireless Spy Camera?
As said above, “wireless” cameras might not always be wireless—they might still need a single wire to connect to the internet. Here lies the distinction between wired and wireless spy cameras.
Wired cameras may have Wi-Fi as a feature, but they will still require a wired connection to receive power. Wireless cameras, on the other hand, are entirely wireless, relying on battery power and Wi-Fi. Some may even have attached solar panels which store energy in an internal, rechargeable battery pack.
Wireless cameras come in two variations, which include:
- Cost-effective DIY models with built-in transmitters.
- Pros: These are good-quality cameras that are easy to install on your own (without the need of a professional).
- Cons: Transmitting abilities are weak, so a server will have to be nearby (most often with only one wall between it and the camera).
- Professional CCTV wireless cameras which include high-end transmitters.
- Pros: This has a long transmission range (up to 300 meters), which allows you greater range and more flexibility regarding installation.
- Cons: This enhanced technology means the cameras will also be more expensive.
If you’re planning on going wireless, you’ll need to consider what type of device is best for your needs—whether you’re wiring a small apartment or a large business/office.
Qualities of A Good Spy Camera
The technology of spy cameras has advanced dramatically in the past decade. But what makes these new cameras so good, when it comes down to it, what makes a camera right for you?
Here are some qualities and characteristics to consider when looking into cameras and how they fit your needs:
- Durability: Is your camera going to have to handle the natural elements outside or will it be situated in an indoor room?
- Situational Usage: What level of security do you hope to achieve? Are you trying to provide your home with basic protection or attempting to deter serious crime inside of a business?
- Brand: Does a brand name matter to you? Do you need a camera that comes with a reputable name or are you fine relying on a camera that simply matches your budget and safety needs?
- Feed: How is the quality of the camera? What are the frame rate and resolution of the footage that it captures? Is the footage in color or black and white? Does it have night vision capabilities or will it require lighting to see at night?
- Size: Do you want a camera that is noticeable to deter crime outright or do you want a camera that can be easily disguised and hidden?
The above considerations will lead you in the right direction and help you identify your best-fitting camera.
Choosing A Spy Camera Based on Your Needs
So you’ve considered lots of camera options and identified what type of camera you need. Now comes the time to decide. Here are a few popular choices among people in urgent need of a spy camera:
- For new parents: A baby monitor camera is your best bet, as it will allow you to keep a watchful eye on your kids and notify you if they are in danger.
- For homeowners in a prestigious neighborhood: A doorbell camera is a great, simple way to protect your home against potential theft and unwanted intruders. In some cases, it might be enough to ward off the single porch robber looking to swipe an Amazon package.
- For homeowners living in an area with a high crime rate: High-quality security cameras are the best bet for the ultimate protection around their home. Often hidden from the naked eye, these cameras allow homeowners to protect themselves by staying out in front of everything happening around their home.
- For business owners: Business owners will most benefit from the installation of a business-wide CCTV system that allows them to identify potential theft or suspicious activity. Moreover, if an unsavory employee interaction takes place or a customer is injured on camera, you can save the footage for legal protection.
Installing Spy Cameras around Your Property and Business
Place cameras in high-traffic areas, especially entrances. These include:
- Front doors
- First-floor windows
- Off-street windows and sliding glass doors
- Back doors
- Basements and basement entrances
- Near registers
- In back offices near safes
- Near high-value items
Set these cameras up with FOV and perspective in mind. Vulnerable areas should always be covered, and cameras should be aligned to eliminate blind spots. This is especially important for the entrance of homes or for parts of your business that contain high-value merchandise.
In most cases, it’s a good idea to put cameras out in the open as a deterrent that will hopefully stop criminals from ever committing a crime in the first place.
The Benefits of Owning a Spy Camera
The best part about having a spy camera in your home or business is the level of extra security it offers you. Did someone break into your home? Now you have footage to show to the police or your insurance company. Is someone attempting to break into your home? You’ll be notified by a modern camera, allowing you to take immediate action to guarantee the protection of your property.
Do you suspect your nanny is stealing from you? A well-placed hidden spy camera can catch them in the act, which can then be used to confront them. Have you noticed your registers are off at the end of each night? You can watch your CCTV cameras to see if an employee has been “double-dipping” in the register to take some for themselves with each transaction. Have a problem customer who regularly loiters around your business? You can record footage of them and present it to local law enforcement to lawfully ban them from your business.
The benefits to these cameras are endless, but they all boil down to one particular characteristic: they are installed to keep you safe.
If you’re looking to protect your home, property, or business, start with a home security system strengthened with security cameras. Our selection of spy cameras here at The Home Security Superstore contains a variety of cameras designed to protect every part of your home and business. You’ll never have to end your night worrying if you’re truly secure.
Browse our Selection of Spy Cameras
How do spy cameras work?
Spy cameras collect video footage of areas in your home or business.
What are the best places for home cameras?
Entrances to your home and property are ideal areas for spy cameras, as these will be the most likely break-in points.
Can spy cameras protect the inside of your home?
Yes! They can help you keep an eye on the vulnerable areas in your house to ensure they’re always protected. Furthermore, nanny cams can protect your home against potential theft for any in-home maids or service workers entering your residence.