A Comparison Of Popular Nanny Cam Styles And Uses

The importance of selecting a nanny cam that captures the footage you need to protect your family while also maintaining your privacy


The use of hidden cameras in the home is common, especially now that the technology we have available makes covert surveillance user-friendly and affordable. Hidden cameras in the home give parents the opportunity to monitor their children and the people they’ve hired to care for them while they’re away; these are popularly called “nanny cams.”

Nanny cams come in a variety of form factors, giving parents the opportunity to choose the best hidden camera style for their needs. One of the more popular options is the well-known teddy bear nanny camera because it looks like a toy and fits in well in a nursery or playroom. However, teddy bear cameras come with their own downsides (more on that later). There are many more options for hidden cameras that parents should be aware of when shopping around.


Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Nanny Cam

The first step in selecting a nanny cam is usually to determine what specific goal you’re trying to accomplish with your surveillance. Here are a few questions you may want to answer before you begin shopping around for a hidden camera:

  • Which areas of your home do you need to monitor? (For example, does your child spend most of their day in the playroom, the living room, or their bedroom? Do they spend most of their day out in yard? Or do you perhaps not know where they spend most of their day and want to find out using hidden cameras?)
  • Do you feel at ease about checking the footage later after you’ve returned to your home, or would you prefer being able to pull up the footage remotely to check on the state of things as they are occurring?
  • Are you hoping to monitor a room that has been deemed off-limits in order to see if those rules are being followed?

The answers to these and any other questions you ask will vary depending on your specific concerns, but getting a better idea about your goal will help you choose the best tool for the job.


Features of Hidden Cameras

If you are hoping to monitor more than one room of the house, you may choose to invest in several hidden cameras so that they can be positioned in various locations. Other parents may choose to move one or two hidden cameras periodically to capture different angles, although it’s important to note that a moving hidden camera may be more likely to draw attention to itself than one that remains sitting on the same shelf all the time.

When it comes to storing and reviewing the footage captured by your hidden camera, there are a couple of options. Some hidden cameras, especially the ones with compact housings, may have hidden SD card slots designed to help you store your surveillance videos locally. Other cameras have WiFi (or even wired) capabilities, allowing them to upload video to a cloud or a program which you can access and review remotely via computer or smartphone. In cases where you are concerned about to-the-minute safety, or putting a stop to something that is happening in your home the moment you see it, remote viewing capabilities may be your best choice. On-board storage can be useful if you are simply looking to be able to access footage later but aren’t necessarily concerned about “catching someone in the act,” so the speak.

If you are monitoring a room that you've designated as off-limits to your nanny (your bedroom, for example), or if you would rather only record footage in rooms where your children or their caretaker are, you may want to invest in a camera that offers motion-activated recording. This feature can help conserve storage space by ensuring that you don’t have hours of footage in which nothing happens. It can also be beneficial if you have an alert set up to notify you when motion is detected in an off-limits space, giving you the opportunity to login remotely and see what’s going on right when the activity is occurring.

Depending on your situation, you may find some or all of these features to be important. Once you’re sure which features you want your tiny camera to have, you are ready to pair those features with an appropriate look for your camera.


Form Factors of Hidden Cameras

When it comes to selecting the style of your nanny camera or the way it looks (called the “form factor”) the options available on the market are nearly endless. The form factor that you choose will ultimately be contingent upon your needs and the appearance of your space. Below are the top three most popular styles for hidden cameras or nanny cams.


Clock Cameras

A popular subcategory of hidden cameras is clock cameras. Clock hidden cameras come in a wide range of styles, from traditional-looking mantel or desk clocks to digital alarm clocks. A clock can be standard in any room of the house, making it an excellent choice for a hidden camera. Since there are so many different styles to choose from, you can select the best option for your needs. Some clock hidden cameras also function as more than a clock and a camera, making them even more versatile for your space. For example, the weather clock displays date, time, and the weather forecast, all while capturing high definition video and photos. This helps to ensure that your disguised hidden camera is also a useful tool, not just a surveillance device.


Lifestyle or Novelty Hidden Cameras

Another style of hidden camera is the lifestyle or novelty hidden camera. The teddy bear nanny cam falls under this category, but there may be some negatives to using a hidden camera of this style. For example, a camera hidden inside of a toy may not be the best idea because your child or one of their friends may decide they want to play with it, which can result in a broken camera or unusable video footage. Like the popular category of clock cameras, there are other common household items that can be made to house hidden cameras discreetly. Depending on the style of your home and the particular space you are monitoring, there are a variety of options that could be designed to suit your needs. In an indoor space, the houseplant hidden camera could fit in nearly anywhere if it’s placed on a bookshelf or desk as if it is a piece of ordinary home decor, as could the air freshener hidden camera.

Smoke detector  hidden cameras are also a great way to covertly record security footage as smoke detectors are standard items in any living space. As a result, they can often go unnoticed.

Outdoor cameras may also be a good idea if your child spends a lot of time playing in the yard with their caretaker or nanny. The bird feeder hidden camera looks inconspicuous in your backyard but can capture covert video day and night.


Black Box Hidden Cameras

Another option for selecting a nanny cam for your home is creating one custom. This can be done easily with the Camscura black box camera. Black box cameras come in a variety of sizes and shapes, with a range of different features. They can be hidden inside of nearly any hollowed-out object, turning it into a hidden camera. This can be one of the most covert of all hidden camera styles because an ordinary object that already belongs in the space will be even less likely to draw attention to itself.

When creating your own hidden camera using a black box camera, the possibilities are almost endless. You may choose to place the camera inside of a household item like a tissue box, a book, or a plant, or you could create a container for it by hollowing out an object someone would expect to be solid, mounting the camera behind a pinhole in a piece of furniture, or tucking it behind objects that would thoroughly obscure it from view.


Protecting Your Family and Home

No matter what you’re hoping to achieve with your covert, at-home surveillance, there are tools designed to help you reach your goals. Some parents may choose to monitor their home in real time, while others may be satisfied with reviewing the footage captured at a later time. The variety of form factors available for hidden cameras is broad, giving parents nearly endless options when it comes to choosing the right covert camera style for their circumstances. Keeping your family protected can and should be done on your terms.


Published March 20th, 2021