Nanny Cam Buying Guide
What is a Nanny Cam
A nanny cam or nanny camera is also known as a hidden camera or spy camera. It is a tiny video camera that has been hidden in a common household item such as a clock, teddy bear, lamp or other device. There are many different types of hidden nanny cams on the market. Just in our top three nanny cams that we have reviewed there is a clock, a water bottle and a pinhole camera that no one will ever find unless they know where it is.
Nanny cams were originally installed to check up on the nanny or babysitter while parents were gone. It was a way to see if anything bad or dangerous was being done while the babysitter/nanny was home alone with the baby. Now they are used for a multitude of reasons including checking up on businesses and are still used to check up on daycare centers and babysitters in private homes.
Nanny cams can take both still photos and video recordings and the whole purpose of them is to film people without their knowledge. If they know the camera is there they won’t act the same way they would if they had no knowledge of it. These nanny cams are typically so small that they can be hidden in anything. The nanny cams featured in these reviews are already placed in regular items except for the pinhole nanny cam that you can put on a stuffed animal or some other device that will monitor activity in whatever room you choose to place it in.
Wired or Wireless
Nanny cams can be wired or wireless. Wired nanny cams have to connect to a device such as a DVR or TV to record video or take photos. Wireless nanny cams transmit the video to a receiver. These are much easier to hide since there are no cords or wires.
Uses for Nanny Cams
Even though the original use for nanny cams were to film babysitters and nannies in private homes or daycare centers, nowadays, they csn be used for a number of things. We have listed the most common uses for nanny cams below.
- Security – In places like restaurants, banks, stores and other professional places, a nanny cam or hidden camera can be used to ensure the safety of employees and customers alike. They are very good for use in small businesses that want to keep an eye on things like the cash drawer, the office, the safe and the inventory areas like storage rooms and walk ins. They are very good for being able to uncover potential theft. They could be placed in any number of places that are not detectable to others so the owners of the businesses can see what is going on when they are not there
- Surveillance – In this instance, the purpose of the hidden nanny cams are to monitor behavior. A good example of this application would be the traffic light cameras that are so prevalent these days. Now, officers don’t have to be everywhere, they can use these hidden cameras and catch violators without even being there physically. This type of application isn’t usually set up in a home atmosphere and is most often used for business.
- Employee Performance – A private mom and pop business may decide to use a nanny cam to see what their employees are doing when they are not there. They can be put all over the restaurant or place of business in many different forms. The water bottle style nanny cam would be perfect for this type of application, as it would not draw attention.
- Child Safety – This is the application where nanny cams got their name. It is the perfect way for a parent to see how the babysitter or nanny treats their children when no one is around to see. Some parents choose to put the nanny cam into a stuffed animal that is on a shelf and aimed where the babysitter has the child often or it could be in a device that is possibly moved around like a diaper bag or stroller. With the video and audio capability, parents will be able to see what the nanny/babysitter is doing with the child and even how they are talking to them. If there is anything out of line, the parents will know right away. Nanny cams have been responsible for saving a number of children that were being watched by less than nice people. The parents never would have known had it not been for the footage obtained by the nanny cam.
Nanny Cam Features
Nanny cams have features that are common throughout the different styles and models. There are three basic features that every nanny cam has that determine how well they will perform and meet your needs. These three features are: a DVR, recording options and video resolution. If the nanny cam has a built-in DVR saves your video footage to its internal storage device.
The DVR takes the information on the video footage and encodes it into a format that the computer can understand. The computer saves it and puts a date stamp and time on it for your reference. In this way you can pinpoint the exact time that certain events occurred.
Parents can access the recorded videos by connecting the DVR to the computer with a USB cable or memory card adapter where they can view the information and save it as necessary. Most models have a capacity of 32GB but some can be expanded to 64 with the purchase of an additional card.
Types of Nanny Cam Disguises
There are many different types of disguises that nanny cams can take the form of. Below we have listed a few of the more common ones. If you choose to get a pinhole style nanny cam, you can actually disguise however you choose.
For a nanny cam to work the way it was intended, you want to find disguises that will not be detectable. Things like mirrors, crib mobiles, fireplace mantles, light switches, stuffed animals and other places are all commonly chosen places. Sometimes the nanny cams are preset.
- Alarm Clock – The nanny cam is placed into a working alarm clock and can be activated via a remote control. It can also be set to motion activation so it will start recording as soon as it detects motion in whatever room it is in.
- Video Pen – This works just like a regular pen and has the ability to take video and still photos. This is not a very good choice for a nanny cam since the pen style is more for manual use unless the pen is laying on a dresser or table facing the right way.
- Teddy Bear or other Stuffed Animal – This type of placement is almost always wireless or a WI-Fi nanny cam. It plugs into a TV or other type of compatible device so the parent can view the footage from the device of their choosing.
- Smoke Detector – This type of nanny cam is also usually wireless or WI-Fi. It functions as a real smoke alarm and is perfect for home security and child safety since parents will have a good view of what is going on.
If you have other suggestions and ideas for where to place your nanny cam, as long as it is undetectable it will work well to record the information you need it to. Just don’t give in and let anyone know where the nanny cam has been hidden for the maximum effectiveness when trying to get honest footage of what is going on.
A Few Other Things to Look for
When shopping for a nanny cam, be sure to look for one that has a wide field of view so you can observe larger rooms like the living room or kitchen. You also want the nanny cam to work well in low light so be sure to check out the minimum illumination ability. Other features that you will encounter will be power sources, resolution, port types and the ability of the nanny cam to focus on images that are farther away from the camera. This feature is handy for large rooms.
You also want to look for a nanny cam that has a resolution of at least 640 x 489 and a max frame rate of 30 frames per second. These numbers will allow for the best visual quality. A nanny cam doesn’t do any good if you can see what they are doing in the video due to bad quality. The quality of the video should be sharp and clear enough that movements, actions and individuals are easily discernible.
Nanny cams were created for a very specific purpose and while parents still utilize them for that purpose, the applications in which they are used have grown. Now people use them to monitor their kid’s behavior, the pet’s behavior, to see if the housekeeper is cleaning, and m any other reasons.
If you are looking to get a nanny cam, make sure you know exactly what features you need it to have and the preferences that you have. You will also need to decide whether you want to get one that you can choose the placement of or whether you want one that is preset.
With all of the choices available in terms of size, application, cost and features, you are sure to find one that has the features you want with the capabilities that you need. With the knowledge you have on what to look for, you will be able to choose the right nanny cam for your personal needs. It’s a great way to get the peace of mind you need that your kids are safe when you are not there.