Your home is a personal refuge from the unknown. In fact, you're probably among the growing number of consumers who want to make sure this peace is never violated, and if it is, you want to know about it. The use of nanny cams has become commonplace for parents who rely on nannies and caregivers, but these hidden nanny cameras also monitor your home at a low cost. A nanny spy camera is, in simplest terms, a video camera disguised as a common household object. While you might immediately think of a camera stashed inside a stuffed bear when thinking of a babysitter cam, it can be disguised as any object.
Nanny Cams: Our Recommendations
In our nanny camera comparison, the top cameras are the iShot 2.0 Mini Alarm Clock Hidden Camera, our Gold Award winner; the SVAT Covert Alarm Clock DVR, our Silver Award winner; and the SVAT PI1000 Recording System, our Bronze Award winner. These nanny cams have many practical uses beyond monitoring nannies and are the best overall nanny spy cameras because they offer a strong set of features, many recording options, high-quality video output and a versatile design.
Nanny cams, like any other type of security camera, typically have three measurable features that determine how well the camera performs: a DVR, recording options and video resolution. A nanny camera with a built-in DVR, as opposed to networked storage or cloud storage, saves your video to an internal storage device.
The DVR encodes video into a useful format that your computer can understand and places information on the file, such a time and date stamp, that lets you determine when a recorded event occurred. You can access recorded footage by connecting the DVR to your computer either via a USB cable or a memory card adapter. The DVRs typically have a maximum storage capacity of 32GB, though a few models may be able to use a 64GB card instead.
Next we looked at recording options, which govern how a nanny cam will work. With a solid set of recording options, a nanny cam should be able to record when motion occurs in the room. Other recording options let you determine if the camera is always on or if it only records during a set schedule. Finally, we looked at video resolution. A manufacturer's specifications for a nanny cam often provide us with an exact video resolution. We use this as a guideline for how we think a video should look. To learn more about what's important, such as legal hurdles that you may have to deal with, read our articles about nanny cams.
Nanny Cams: What Else You Should Look For
From wired to wireless, built-in DVR to Wi-Fi enabled, the vast number of hidden spy camera systems available can be confusing and overwhelming. This nanny cam review focuses on spy cameras with built-in DVRs since they are portable, easy to use and convenient. To find the best nanny cam for your needs, look to the following criteria. If you're looking for a more expensive, premium nanny cam option, feel free to browse our hidden camera reviews.
Top-notch nanny cams not only have a built-in DVR but also offer robust features that enhance convenience and make covert surveillance simple. With that in mind, the most helpful features often include remote controls and storage overwriting. Since the typical nanny cam is cleverly disguised as another object, dual functionality gives it extra utility as a clock, music player or an alarm.
The best nanny cams feature motion detectors that only record when there is movement in your home so that the camera uses energy and storage more efficiently. To complement this function, motion-sensing spy cameras often have timers that turn off recording a few seconds after motion stops. Motion masking lets you tell the motion detector to ignore certain areas such as TV screens or the floor, where pets might trigger recording.
A nanny camera's primary purpose is to keep a watchful eye on nannies or other service providers when you're not around. So it is important to choose one with versatile scheduled recording options that allow you to program them when the camera is active. Adjustable recording quality and still pictures give you multiple options to improve the performance of your nanny cam. If you want internet access for your nanny camera, some models can connect to your computer and act as a webcam.
Nanny cams have many important design features that determine how well they will work in a given situation. When choosing a nanny camera, look for one with a wide field of view, which allows the camera to observe large areas of a room. Minimum illumination defines how well a camera can capture video when the lights are off. A long lens focal length allows the camera to view objects that are farther away but might affect image clarity on low-resolution cameras. Other traits to keep in mind are weight, the power source and the type of ports it has.
Due to their covert nature and the fact that they are tiny cameras, wired and wireless spy video cameras have expectedly low video quality. Look for a unit with a resolution of at least 640 x 480 pixels and a maximum frame rate around 30 frames per second. Each model in our lineup has footage that is sharp and fluid enough to clearly discern behaviors, movements and individuals. This is important since video is admissible as courtroom evidence in many states.
The top three products aren't the only nanny cams that stand out. The final scores on our lineup are very closely grouped together, something that doesn't happen very often in our reviews. With such a close group of scores, each camera meets a specific need, depending on your lifestyle. By choosing the right nanny camera for your needs, you can make your home more secure and protect what matters most in your life.