Have you ever wondered what happens at home when you or your entire family isn’t there?
When people shop for security cameras, be it hidden or the “in-your-face” type cameras, what are they looking for? I’m referring to the type of security cameras that most people use to monitor their home, office, property, or children (nanny cams).
The benefit? Peace. “Peace of mind” as my neighbor put it, who happens to work in law enforcement.
Security cameras are an important component in keeping your family and personal property safe and secure. They’re like having extra eyes and ears – always alert and on guard – around your home protecting what’s most important to you from burglars, shady characters, and the like.
The key to security cameras working effectively is having them out of sight and in some cases, completely undetectable. Camera locations that are not concealed could be easy for criminals to disable or damage – rendering them useless and wasting the time, effort and money you’ve invested in securing your home.
- 1 Making The Right Choice For You
- 2 Technology Marches On
- 3 Protecting Your Home
- 4 Things To Consider Before Making a Purchase
- 5 Our Favorite Selections
Making The Right Choice For You
Ideally, what you want is the best hidden security camera system that not only fits your budget, but works according to your needs and is easy to configure, operate, and maintain.
We’ll share our top picks here and reveal what specifically makes them solid choices.
For maximum effect, you should insist of using quality equipment and setting it up correctly. Step into the role of detective, private investigator, or radar patrol officer as you consider possible camera locations. When connecting to Wi-Fi, it’s important to set strong passwords that are impossible for a hacker to guess correctly. Securing your Wi-Fi connection and your devices is part of a stronger overall security action plan.
Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. Reduce those opportunities and you reduce the risk of being victimized.
According to CNN, security cameras are becoming an increasingly important tool for combating crime. They’re so effective that they are slowly replacing neighborhood watch programs. A security camera sees things that you cannot and provide evidence that can lead to arrests and convictions.
Technology Marches On
Today’s hidden security cameras feature the latest technology. They’re capable of instantly capturing images and videos of intruders and thieves. They also provide visual proof of those who fail to do what they’re supposed to do – like house-sitters, nannies, and nursing home staff.
Our selections all detect motion and use it to trigger recording. They work in broad daylight to protect among other things, those packages that are left at your door. But they all also work in the dark of night when most theft and vandalism occurs.
Securing your home today means being able to monitor your premises remotely – whether indoors or outdoors, 24/7. They can also be used to monitor an elderly relative or someone with special needs who may require assistance from time to time. Dubbed “nanny cams” by some, these are often used to observe how nannies or sitters interact with children – to help ensure the best possible care. They could be also be used to keep an eye on an elderly relative or to monitor suspicious activity.
A good security camera system can also help lower your home insurance costs and provide more peace of mind at the same time. And you just can’t put a price on that.
Secondly, you can observe the weather at home when you’re far away on a business trip or vacation. You could also use security cameras to create a live broadcast or make a video you want to post on YouTube. You can also use them to observe pets or make sure your teenagers aren’t partying when they’re supposed to be working on school assignments.
Unfortunately, some hidden cameras are purchased for nefarious purposes – a practice we strongly discourage.
Protecting Your Home
Your first line of defense is a security camera mounted outside of your property. These are hidden from view and designed to observe driveways walkways, decks, porches, side entrances, and fire escapes. You want to have cameras located in places intruders might approach.
While you don’t want to reveal the location of any outdoor camera, you do want to get it in the minds of would-be perpetrators that your home is fully equipped and they’re on camera. Most criminals will tend to avoid these homes, so a single security camera can be a strong deterrent. You want potential intruders to discover that you have security cameras, but you don’t want them to know where they are so they could damage them or interrupt the video feed.
Things To Consider Before Making a Purchase
- Your neighborhood. If you live in an area with a higher than average crime rate, you want to make sure you have effective outdoor security cameras that will provide you with 24-hour protection.
- The size of your property. This will determine how many cameras you need and the type of system required. You need a system with a range that will cover the whole area you want blanketed.
- Wi-Fi capability. Wireless has its advantages like having no visible wire that needs to be run – or that could easily be snipped. It also means connecting your cameras to your home network for centralized monitoring 24/7.
- Night vision capability. You want a camera that can record clear images even at night. As my grandmother used to say, nothing good ever happens after midnight. That’s when the criminal element is out in full force and you want to be protected.
- Image resolution. You want crisp, quality images, not poor, grainy figures that reveal no specific detail.
- Audio. Capturing audio as well as video can make a difference at times.
- Field Of View. The field of view is the width of the picture a camera records. Make sure the span covered meet your needs.
Our Favorite Selections
1) Arlo Pro (By Netgear) 3 Security Cameras With Base Station
The Arlo Pro scores a respectable 3.8 out of a possible 5 stars, based on more than 120 customer reviews (as of this writing). It’s a three-camera system complete with siren that connects to your Wi-Fi network. It works with Amazon Alexa and Echo, Fire TV, Google Assistant – and more.
You can view videos right on your computer, phone or tablet. Arlo also offers two-way audio and seven days of free cloud recordings. This means you have up to seven days(recurring) to download any video footage you want from the free cloud service provided.
While it works inside or outside, there are some limitations. The Arlo Pro is designed to operate in temperatures ranging from -4°F up to 113°F. It’s not meant to withstand extreme temperatures that outside this range.
What’s Inside The Box
- Three wireless HD cameras with audio
- One base station with built-in siren
- Four rechargeable batteries
- One camera power cable
- One camera power adapter
- One Ethernet cable
- Three wall mounts
- Seven wall mount screws
- One outdoor security mount
- One outdoor security mount screw set
- One Quick-Start guide
- Two window deckles
First Time security camera buyers may scoff at the window sticker idea. But these can serve a very worthwhile purpose by scaring away intruders who are looking for easier targets. So it’s worth it to deploy these stickers in an obvious place – just like an alarm company would do.
Indoor installation is easy. Simply mount to any wall using the provided screws and plugs. Or find a solid wood stud in the wall first and then mount the camera there. The hardest part about installing these cameras outside though is finding the best possible locations – and hiding them.
The base station is what ties it all together. It connects your wireless cameras to the Internet via your router. Daytime images are crystal-clear and evening images are quite good as well. You can connect up to five cameras to one base station on the free subscription service. And you can add up to a maximum of 15 cameras to a single base station. But you’ll have to pay extra for the cameras and the monthly subscription service.
Recording is cloud-based. Files recorded remain in the cloud for seven days. This time is extended if you opt for a paid subscription. But with either subscription model, you can download any video you want to your hard drive or thumb drive for safe-keeping.
With the Arlo, you need to make sure cameras are kept within 300 feet of the base station. Cameras are activated by motion. Motion is detected – then there is a slight lag – and recording begins.
Setup is as easy as it gets. The most difficult challenge is deciding exactly where you want to mount your cameras. if you only use this system when you need it, like when you’re away from home, or the whole family is sleeping, you’ll get a lot more use out of the batteries with a single charge.
* charging the batteries is a frequent necessity – unless the system is used sparingly – and camera location can make it difficult to do
* the brief time delay between activation and camera recording could mean you miss those essential first few seconds of footage
* The app can crash from time to time as many apps do
* Resolution is good – but could be better
Overall, The Arlo Pro is a decent security camera system that’s easy to set up and use.
The seven days of free iCloud storage is an added bonus that would work well for most people.
2) Arlo Pro 2 – Home Security 3-Camera Wireless System For 24 Hour Surveillance Indoor or Outdoor
The Arlo Pro 2 has a lot of features similar to the Arlo Pro – with a few key distinctions. And it scores an even higher grade – 4.1 out of 5 possible stars – from a much larger number of buyer reviews (over 2200 as of this writing).
What’s Featured In The Arlo 2?
- Three wireless cameras, plus a base station with Wi-Fi capability
- 1080p high-definition video clarity
- Can be wire-free or plugged in to any (indoor) outlet
- Weather resistant cameras
- Two-way audio enabled
- Day and Night vision
- Free recurring cloud recordings
- Works on Amazon Alexa, Fire TV, Google Assistant, Smart TV’s, IFTTT and others
You’re getting everything the original Arlo Pro offers – an integrated, app-controlled, wireless, 3-camera system with base station, and a 300-foot line of sight capacity – and then some.
One key distinction the Arlo Pro 2 offers is a three second “look back”. This is huge.
It means that the motion detector triggers video and audio recording, as occurs with the Arlo Pro. But the Arlo Pro 2 actually captures three seconds of footage prior to the trigger. This can be the crucial in an event – the time when a perpetrator could be identified.
Another key feature on this upgraded model is the high-definition video. Clear video – both in daylight hours and the dark of night makes a big difference.
As is the case with the Arlo Pro – this one also comes complete with a 100-decibel siren. As a security feature, a siren makes an excellent addition to any system.
It’s almost guaranteed to give any would-be break-and-enter suspect the impetus to flee and choose an easier target. But the only problem is that the siren is attached to the base station and not the cameras themselves. As long as the base station isn’t locked away in an underground vault, it should be heard by the would-be troublemaker. But I think it would be even better if the siren was built into the cameras.
The fact that the siren can be controlled remotely, or by motion or sound, is a plus. Let’s say you think you see someone hiding in the bushes out behind the garage. and Simply activate the remote-controlled siren and scare the living daylights out of them. Problem solved.
If up to five cameras will meet your needs, there’s no need for any additional purchase. And the seven-day recording feature should be more than adequate for you. There’s no monthly fee for up to five cameras. Beyond that, you’ll need a paid subscription.
Set up is quick and easy – straight out-of-the-box. Video quality is excellent. And the software mostly runs flawlessly. Both the mobile app and website are user intuitive and therefore, easy to use and navigate. Oh and… you can add multiple users to the app. This is great for making home security something that involves the whole family.
The free seven-day cloud storage is an excellent feature that makes it convenient to download what you need and it continues to appeal to Arlo buyers everywhere.
If your cameras are easily accessible and within range, it takes nearly a few minutes to replace the batteries. But it can be a bit of a chore with outdoor cameras. Each of the cameras must be individually turned on and off.
It would be a nice addition if Arlo Technologies could make this adjustment available through the app.
The Arlo Pro 2 a solid choice for a security camera system. It’s easy to set up and to monitor in the app. The quality of video is superb. All that plus eliminating the delayed response makes the Arlo Pro 2 an even better selection.
3) Enter The Arena Hidden Spy Camera
This one is tiny. It looks exactly like a regular USB block charging adapter and is therefore, likely to go undetected. And it’s dirt-cheap too – so it’s worth giving it a shot.
Surprisingly, for a device of such a size – this works quite well. But let me warn you – there are a lot of knock-offs in the marketplace that are basically junk – as far a security cameras go. It records video to an SD card of up to 32gb and separates recorded segments into 5-minute videos . As the card fills to capacity, the camera automatically overwrites the oldest video, while continuing to record.
Just plug it in – it’s that easy. This thing captures 1080p high definition video and picks up sound exceptionally well. Playback is smooth too. You’ll likely be as astonished as I was at the quality of the recordings.
What’s in the Box?
* One Smart Charger with built-in hidden camera
* One USB charging cable
* One 8gb SD card
* One user manual
At this price, it’s worth checking out – and makes a great gift. But it’s not the kind of device that will solve all your home security needs – even if you had multiples – since it’s for indoor use only.
4) Hidden Clock Camera – High Definition Wireless Video Recorder
This one is sleek and stylish and designed to go unnoticed as a security camera – since it can easily blend into any home or office decor. The manufacturer even darkened the tinted plastic over the camera lens, making it almost impossible to see.
Use it on a desk, table, wall shelf or cabinet and enjoy the full 1080p resolution it delivers. The battery inside is rechargeable and a charging cable is provided. Connecting to the available app makes it easy to live-stream what the camera picks up from any remote location.
Build in motion detection ensures that any activity within range gets recorded on video. Night vision technology ensures that videos continue recording after the lights go down.
Customers are happiest with the quality of video this clock camera provides and they use for a variety of things including baby monitor, theft protection at work and to check in to see what their dogs are doing while they’re at the office. This is another cost-effective option for added indoor security.
Security cameras will continue to increase in popularity as reports of their effectiveness continue to emerge. If you haven’t yet protected your home with at least one security camera, what’s stopping you? Don’t wait until you’re a victim. Any hidden camera reviewed here will get started. And the added peace of mind it provides – is surely worth it.