Whether you’re keeping an eye on the kids or their caretakers, nanny cams are a great home security tool. These cameras can sit in the open or hide on bookshelves, in clocks, and even in teddy bears. We tested a few of our favorites to get a better idea of video quality, two-way intercom features, app navigation, and more.
Overall, Wyze takes the prize with its quality picture, low price, and easy app. It has impressive pan, tilt, and zoom features thanks to its swiveling base and moving camera eye.
The other top spots go to Blinkand Google’s Nest Cam: small, lightweight cameras with motion detection, video playback, and more.
Amazon.com and other List Prices as of 06/17/2020 3:31 p.m. MST. See full disclaimer.
For this review, we tested the Nest Cam, Blink, and Wyze Pan Cam in-house. For the most authentic experience, we set up each camera and proceeded with our day as usual. When we got alerts from each camera, we used the apps to check the footage, speak through the cameras, and share footage. We selected the other two cameras, the Arlo Baby and Swann Pan and Tilt, based on top user reviews and product specs that fit our standards for quality nanny cams. Learn more about how we test and research by reading our full methodology.
The subtle Wyze Cam Panfits in almost anywhere in your home. It has smooth pan, tilt, and zoom action, so you can easily look around the room to see your kids and their nanny. The picture is 1080p full HD, and the six infrared LED lights let you see up to 30 feet in the dark.
Setup is easy with Wyze too. Simply plug in the camera and download the Wyze app onto your smart device. Connecting is a snap, but there are step-by-step videos if you need help along the way. From the app, you can watch past videos, adjust settings, and use the two-way audio to talk to anyone on the other side.
Once you’ve set the camera to your preferences, you’re good to go. Overall, we’d recommend the Wyze Cam Pan to anyone curious about nanny cams. And, at under $40, the Wyze Cam Pan is the cheapest on our list.
Without wires to hold it back, the Blink camera can hide in spaces like planters and on shelves. If you’re looking for a hidden nanny cam, this battery-powered beauty can slide into a range of covert spots.
Blink comes with a small hub that links your Wi-Fi, smartphone, and camera together. Once that’s set up, you can place it anywhere in your home. As Blink picks up motion and passersby, you’ll be able to look over notable events, replay, save, and send any footage you capture.
Blink has a wide field of vision for such a small camera. We were able to see the entire room where we set up, plus part of the next one over. And while there was a slight lag in the audio and video, we got consistent motion alerts whenever it sensed activity.
The new Blink Mini
The Blink camera has a new baby brother. The Blink Mini camera is a small indoor camera with a pint-sized price (around $30). It shoots in sharp 1080p, has motion detection, and two-way communication so you can speak to anyone on the other side from the Blink app. Unlike the standard Blink camera, the Blink Mini needs to stay plugged in. So while it’s not as portable, it’s still small enough to fit in a shelf or mount on a nursery wall.
Slight video and audio lag
No two-way audio
Check Your State's Surveillance Laws
If you hide your nanny cam, we recommend muting the audio. Only some states allow hidden cameras with video and audio, but it’s legal in all 50 states to record without sound. If you catch an incident on camera, video-only evidence is valid in court no matter where you live in the US. If you want audio, check your state’s laws to make sure.
The Nest Cam delivers 130 degrees of live picture. Set it up to watch live feeds of the playroom from your desk at work or from the next room over. The livestream feature saves up to 30 days of continuous video footage, allowing you to review everything at your convenience.
Nest Cam can be trained to recognize familiar faces too. This makes searching and tagging videos featuring your nanny, kids, or other members of the household easy to access. All these features come at a steep price (nearly $200 per camera), but Nest can be a nanny cam, security cam, or video baby monitor for little ones.
The Arlo Baby is the only nanny cam that made us say “aww.” Dressed as a bunny, puppy, or kitty, the Arlo Baby is more than just cute.
Its unique talents include a smart music player for lullabies, an air sensor to monitor room temperature and humidity, a baby crying alert, and a smart night light. Using the Arlo app, you and your nanny can work together to keep your kiddos safe and happy all day.
Perfect for nights in the nursery, the Arlo Baby can see up to 15 feet in the dark and sense motion up to 50 feet away. And while the Arlo model is expensive, you can use it for years—first as a video baby monitor, then as a nanny cam for your little one’s room.
Extras for kids like lullabies and air quality sensor
The Swann Pan and Tilt camera has the most impressive night vision capabilities in our lineup. Its powerful infrared LED lights can catch footage up to 50 feet in the dark.
This camera can also pan, tilt, and zoom just like the Wyze Cam. Instead of uploading data to the cloud, your footage can be stored on an SD card up to 64 GB—about the same amount of storage as a smartphone.
Like our other nanny cams, this Swann model links to your phone through an app, allowing you to control it, change settings, and monitor footage.
It’s charged by a cable, so it isn’t as portable as other cameras like Blink, but you get high quality and a wide field of view to watch your children and their caretaker.
50-ft night vision
Pan, tilt, zoom capabilities
Not as portable
Things to consider before you buy a nanny camera
While there are plenty of hidden nanny cams on the market, we looked into the more conspicuous options. Hidden nanny cams and spy cams can fall under hazy legal territory, so we feel it’s best to be open with your nanny or any in-home caretaker about your monitoring system. This helps build a trusting relationship and makes better use of the camera itself. For example, your babysitter can reach you through the nanny cam’s two-way audio when needed or help you find important clips in case of an emergency.
Before you get a nanny cam, you should hire a nanny you can trust to watch your children. Nanny cameras make sense if you have a reason to suspect something’s wrong, but they aren’t usually necessary when you have a trustworthy child care provider.
Hidden camera laws in your state
Different rules apply to hidden and exposed nanny cams. Hidden nanny cams can be cleverly disguised in devices like alarm clocks and picture frames to monitor your nanny without their consent.
It’s legal in all 50 states to record video-only footage in your home from a hidden camera as long as it isn’t set up in a private space.1 That said, there are 11 states that require “two-party consent” for video and audio footage in public or private spaces.2
Even if you don’t live in one of these states, we recommend getting consent from your nanny before recording audio, video, or both. Their consent can also help you avoid prosecution and loss of evidence.3 In other words, without their permission, you could be sued, and your footage won’t be admissible in court.
Nanny camera FAQ
What is good picture quality for a nanny cam?
Picture resolution is simply a pixel count on your camera. Numbers like 1080p refer to the vertical lines of pixels lined up across your camera’s view. Generally, the more pixels create a sharper picture, but this can change based on how closely you zoom or the size of the screen you watch a video on. Most smartphones screens are 1080p and up, so it’s best to find a nanny cam with a similar resolution for a clear picture.
How do nanny cams store memory?
It varies from camera to camera, but most nanny cams use a separate SD memory card or send videos to a cloud that you can access online. Both can be uploaded and shared to different devices.
Where can I hide my nanny cam?
Battery-powered nanny cams can hide almost anywhere. Spots like potted plants, bookshelves, stuffed animals, kitchen cabinets, and out in the open can all give you a good view of your home and anyone inside. Nanny cameras powered by cables are more restricted because they need to stay plugged in to work. Cables can also give away your hiding spot if they aren’t concealed properly.
How can I use a hidden nanny cam legally?
All 50 states allow silent video recording within your own home. But we still think it’s best to tell your nanny that you’re recording. If they consent to be filmed and recorded, you can use audio in addition to your video. You don’t have to tell them where you’ve hidden the camera, but if you want audio, most states require their permission.
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Written by Katie McEntire
Katie McEntire has tested home security systems in her own apartment, installed GPS trackers in her own car, and watched her cat, Toki, nap all day through a live nanny cam feed. As an expert reviewer, she believes that firsthand experience is the best way to learn about new products (even if it requires being the guinea pig). She specializes in pet safety and DIY security and has contributed to publications like DigitalCare.org and TechGuySmartBuy. Learn more