water bottle hidden spy camera

So you’re thinking of buying a covert spy recording device but are not sure what to purchase.

You’ll need to do your research. Spy listening devices have many advantages over spy cameras..But the opposite is also true. It depends on your individual needs.

In this article I’ll take you through the pros and cons of each to help you make a decision.

Let’s take some typical criteria and judge both devices against the other.

Ease Of Use

Spy cameras are of necessity more complicated to use than spy audio recording devices.

When you use spy cameras, you have to make sure you capture the footage correctly.

For example, when you use a spy watch camera you have to ensure you stand correctly to get the subject in view.

You might need to improve the quality of the audio too.

Watch Camera With Rucksack 1

Demonstrating Example Stance Using A Spy Watch Camera

If you use a spy camera in your home to capture potential burglars, you have to think about camouflaging the camera.

Bottom Line: There are a number of factors you need to consider.

With spy audio recorders it is much simpler.

You just turn the device on and leave it. Most decent spy audio recorders are sound activated, meaning the device will only turn on when it picks up a sound.

wall socket spy audio recorder

Wall Socket spy audio Recorder

Let’s take an example of catching a cheating spouse (a common use for spy recording equipment).

If you want to monitor conversations outside the house, you simply hide the recording device under the drivers seat.

The device will record any spoken conversation during the journey.

It’s even simpler to record inside the house. Simply make sure the house is quiet, plant the spy audio recorder and leave it.

The device will turn on only when someone enters the house and starts talking – making it super easy to use.

Furthermore, spy audio devices have a good range of recording – up to 10 metres. This means you can effectively bug the whole of an average sized house with 2-3 audio recording devices.

Finally, spy audio recording devices win on the battery life too. The average battery life on a spy audio device is 10-100 times longer than a spy camera.

This is because audio recording takes up far less resources than video recording, and the devices are much less complicated.

Verdict Ease Of Use:
spy cameras: 7/10
spy audio: 9/10

Effectiveness Of Recorded Material

Spy watch Camera 1080P HD

Spy Watch Cameras Produce Great Footage

This is where spy cameras come into their own, for obvious reasons.

Whilst audio recordings are perfectly sufficient in some cases, it is obviously better to have visual footage as evidence.

The obvious example is catching a spying on a live in carer.

Whilst audio footage of a the carer mistreating the patient is useful, visual evidence is much more compelling.

You can actually prove the mistreatment and possibly use it for legal purposes.

Therefore spy cameras win hands down in this section.

Verdict Effectiveness Of Recorded Material:
spy cameras: 10/10
spy audio: 7/10

Stealth Of Recording

For many people, wearing a spy camera is a daunting experience. It’s not easy to remain calm because you know you are filming someone without their knowledge or consent.

There is a temptation to fidget, overcompensate..And even show physical symptoms like excess sweating.

This is especially true with body worn spy camera. Obviously less so with motion activated indoor cameras.

With an audio recording device you just have to leave the device unattended, and let it do it’s thing.

How Spy Cameras Look Vs Audio Recorders

Whilst stealth is more of an issue for body worn cameras, both spy cameras and audio spy audio recorders are superbly well designed to hide in plain sight.

Let’s see some examples:

spy audio recorder clock

Spy Clock – Can Be Used To Record Audio And Video Footage

Here’s an example of a spy camera for home. No one would suspect this is a recording device.

With this device you can record both audio and video. There are specialist audio recording clocks with a greater range.

In both cases the device is very covert and easy to disguise.

water bottle hidden spy camera

Water Bottle Hidden Spy Camera

This is one of my personal favourites. This device is only available as a spy camera.

You could easily camouflage covert spy camera by surrounding it with gym equipment such as a protein shake etc. No one would possibly suspect it’s a spy camera!

Verdict Stealthiness Of Equipment:
spy cameras: 9/10
spy audio: 9/10

This one is a draw. Whilst body worn spy cameras are more nerve wracking to use, they are fundamentally well designed and hidden in plain view.

The real issue is with controlling your nerves when recording – which is hardly the fault of the spy camera!

Ethics Of Recording

When I bought my first Spy watch camera, the first thing I wanted to know was : is it legal to film someone without their consent in the UK?

Many people search this question on Google. I’m not the only one!

Beyond that there is an ethical question : how comfortable are you recording someone’s face and voice without their knowledge or consent?

If you’re trying to catch a cheating spouse you need to gather evidence, but many people feel squeamish about recording someone on camera and using it as evidence.

This seems to be less of an issue with recording just their voice.

Whilst you may record intimate and private conversations, it is somehow less intrusive when you cannot actually see the subject on camera.

For this reason, spy audio devices win the day for ethics of recording.

Verdict Ethics Of Use:
spy audio Recorders : 8/10
spy cameras : 7/10


Adding up the verdict score in each category, it is clear that spy cameras Vs spy audio recorders both have strengths and weaknesses.

Audio devices are on average cheaper, have a longer battery life, and are easier to use.

They are generally speaking less nerve wracking to use than spy cameras.

However, spy cameras record much more useful footage which can be used for a variety of purposes (including legal).

If you ever need to gather evidence to prove something beyond a shadow of doubt, spy cameras will definitely be more useful to you.

Both spy cameras and audio recording devices are very well disguised. You can hide both kinds of devices in plain sight without trouble.

Therefore you need to consider all factors when deciding which device to purchase.

If you’re just looking to catch a cheating spouse, then a spy audio device is probably perfect for you.

If however you want to catch someone in the act – either a burglar or an employee who is mistreating your loved ones or staff, then you definitely need a spy camera device.

For more information, check out our guide to using a body worn spy camera.

To catch a cheating spouse, you’ll need to check out this related guide.

Good luck in your decision, and happy spying!