Should I Buy a Hidden or Visible CCTV Camera?

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Should I Buy a Hidden or Visible CCTV Camera?

Closed circuit television (CCTV), once only used by the most security conscious, can now be found almost everywhere. Many homeowners now choose to use this technology within their property. There are two types of CCTV camera available: hidden and visible. Hidden CCTV cameras are classified as covert surveillance, The cameras are concealed behind or inside everyday objects inside the home. Visible CCTV cameras are classified as overt surveillance devices. These cameras are strategically placed in conspicuous positions to act as a deterrent, and can record footage. Dummy visible cameras are available that do not record footage. Both wired and wireless CCTV cameras are available. Wired models usually offer a better quality feed to the recording device, but trail unsightly cables, whereas wireless models can be prone to signal interference, but are easier to conceal.

When trying to decide whether to buy hidden or visible CCTV cameras it is helpful to understand the differences between the two, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, and whether wired or wireless models best suit the buyer's requirements. CCTV cameras can be acquired from electronics shops and home security specialists. eBay also offers a large selection of CCTV cameras, ranging from dummies to state of the art wireless covert cameras. The user-friendly website caters to every need and budget, offering outstanding value for money.

Hidden CCTV Cameras

Hidden CCTV cameras are classified as covert surveillance systems. They can be either wired or wireless. These cameras are often compact and some models can be hidden inside another object. For example, hidden CCTV cameras can be built into an inconspicuous object, such as a teddy bear, clock, or framed picture. When placing hidden CCTV cameras, buyers should consider the field of view so that the camera catches any suspect behaviour. If strategically placed, one or two covert cameras can be used to keep an entire room in view.

Advantages of Hidden CCTV Cameras

Hidden CCTV cameras can be used to record activities without anyone being aware that they are present. This is useful for homeowners that suspect that staff, workmen, or others are engaging in illegal, dangerous, or otherwise unwanted activities in and around their home when the homeowner is not present. Hidden CCTV cameras are useful devices that are relatively easy to install, and can be located anywhere. As people do not know where the cameras are it makes it impossible for them to evade being recorded or to vandalise the cameras.

The covert nature of these cameras means that even if intruders have knowledge of them being present, they have no idea of their field of view, which means that, if placed correctly, any suspect behaviour will be captured.

Wireless hidden CCTV cameras are very difficult to spot if concealed correctly. They can be put almost anywhere, from the "nanny cams" hidden in a child's toy, to behind pinholes, in smoke detectors, or in a light fitting.

Disadvantages of Hidden CCTV Cameras

Hidden CCTV cameras in places that have no signage do not act as a deterrent as people have no indication that they are being recorded. They are also more expensive than visible CCTV cameras. The head of a hidden camera is easy to site incorrectly, partially blocking the lens with the object in which the camera is hidden, which renders the camera almost useless. Therefore, buyers should check their cameras carefully to ensure that they have an adequate field of view.

Visible CCTV Cameras

Visible CCTV cameras are very popular, both at home and at places of business. Visible CCTV cameras are classified as overt surveillance devices. There are both wired and wireless models available, and the majority can store footage on DVD, VHS, or a hard drive. Visible CCTV cameras are available in a range of shapes and sizes, including anti-vandal models in a sealed dome. Visible CCTV cameras are considerably less expensive than hidden models.

Advantages of Visible CCTV Cameras

The biggest advantage of visible CCTV cameras is that they are a deterrent to would-be wrongdoers. While some people object to the "Big Brother" philosophy, visible CCTV cameras make people think twice about committing a crime or doing something that they really should not. Buyers who want to take advantage of overt CCTV coverage should place their cameras strategically in conspicuous places. Buyers can add brightly coloured paint around the body of the camera or around the point where it fixes to the wall. To draw further attention to their cameras, buyers can put up signs warning people of their presence.

Disadvantages of Visible CCTV Cameras

One of the disadvantages of visible CCTV cameras is that would-be wrongdoers are able to gauge the field of view of the cameras and avoid them. In the home or office, for example, the presence of visible CCTV cameras can put people off performing their normal activities. This can be a significant disadvantage if buyers are attempting to catch someone performing an illegal act. Additionally, unless anti-vandal or anti-smash CCTV cameras are installed, someone determined to commit a crime may decide to damage the cameras or cover them in spray paint to avoid being recorded.

Dummy Visible CCTV Cameras

Dummy visible CCTV cameras consist only of a shell: they have no internal recording or monitoring device, and are not connected to any other recording devices. Some models are available with a small, red flashing light. These mock overt surveillance cameras are used to act as a deterrent, and are particularly suited to buyers who cannot afford a complete CCTV system, but still want the security that a CCTV camera provides.

Hidden vs. Visible CCTV Cameras

The table below provides clear information regarding the advantages and disadvantages of both hidden and visible CCTV cameras. This enables buyers to make an informed decision about which type of CCTV camera is most appropriate.

Type of CCTV Camera




Offers covert surveillance

Not easily spotted

Fits into many everyday objects

Catches wrongdoers in the act

Easy to install


Does not act as a deterrent

Can be misaligned easily


Less expensive

Acts as a deterrent

Can be easily vandalised

Field of view can be avoided

Using the table above, buyers can decide whether a hidden or visible CCTV camera best suits their requirements. An alternative for many security conscious homeowners is to use both types of camera in different places around the home.

Wired vs. Wireless CCTV Cameras

Wired CCTV cameras, either hidden or visible, are usually considered to be more reliable as they are not prone to interference. Wired CCTV cameras also tend to be less expensive. When wired cameras are chosen, fitting the cables is very important. With wired cameras mounted inside the home, the cables can be something of an eyesore. Also, if they are easily accessible and clearly visible, potential wrongdoers can cut through them easily, rendering the camera useless.

Wireless CCTV cameras can suffer from signal interference and are more expensive than wired models. They are battery operated, so need to be checked regularly for power. The recording device should be in reasonably close proximity to the camera to offer the best footage on playback. Wireless models are particularly useful as hidden CCTV cameras, as there are no cables to point out the location of a carefully concealed camera.

Buying Hidden or Visible CCTV Cameras on eBay

eBay has a superb range of hidden and visible CCTV cameras. They can be found by searching from the eBay homepage using a phrase, such as "hidden CCTV camera". Buyers can use the filters to narrow their search to new or used cameras or those that fall within a specific price range.

Before confirming a purchase, buyers are encouraged to take a look at the feedback score of the seller. This information, left by previous buyers, is a strong indication of the seller's reputation. Those with a high percentage of positive feedback are known for providing top quality products and a fast, professional service.

If buyers have any questions or concerns about a CCTV camera that they wish to purchase, they can simply contact the seller to request further information. Many sellers are also able to provide advice and guidance regarding which type of camera would best suit a buyer, particularly if they have an eBay store that specialises in electronics, surveillance, or home security.


When choosing between a hidden or visible CCTV camera, it is necessary for buyers to establish what they want from a home surveillance system, and weigh up the pros and cons of each camera type. Hidden cameras are unlikely to be vandalised if they are well concealed, and can capture wrongdoers without their knowledge. However, hidden CCTV cameras do not act as a deterrent because they are not visible. Visible CCTV cameras act as a deterrent if correctly placed as many wrongdoers reconsider their actions when they are aware of being watched. However, visible CCTV cameras can be vandalised, and unless carefully placed, may allow people to avoid their field of view.

Many homeowners choose to combine the two types of camera to protect their property. Visible cameras are typically used on the outside of a house and hidden cameras placed inside the home. eBay offers a range of good quality hidden and visible CCTV cameras to enable buyers to protect their homes.

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