Should home security cameras be hidden? Your questions on practicality (and legality), answered

Can you keep your security cameras out of sight? We look at the reasons why you'd want to, and whether you should.

Simplisafe Outdoor Security Camera
(Image credit: Simplisafe)

If you're considering a security camera for your home, whether inside or outside, then you may be wondering about the benefits (and legality) of hiding it from sight. There are pros and cons to having hidden cameras as opposed to keeping your devices out in the open, as well as practicalities to consider.

In this article, we will go over why you might opt for either, and discuss whether hiding your security camera is even the right thing to do. We're no strangers to mounting our own cameras, testing various models over the years as technology has become more advanced and easier to use.

Keep reading for our advice, and head over to our guide on the best home security systems to see which brands offer the best protection.

SWANN SWIFI-XTRCM16G1PK-EU Xtreem Full HD 1080p WiFi Security Camera

(Image credit: Swann)

Reasons to keep your cameras out in the open

Before we get to the benefits of hiding your security cameras, there are a few reasons that having them out in the open can actually be helpful.

Visible security cameras are a great deterrent to any would-be burglars, which is also why many security bundles will provide you with a window sticker to indicate that your home is protected. In the end, criminals are opportunists, and knowing that you have cameras and other devices around will reduce the chance that they'll attempt anything. 

Of course, there are downsides, such as the potential for people to disable or damage your cameras. This has its limitations, though, as cloud storage and mobile apps mean that you can probably catch someone in the act.

You can even consider hiding your camera in plain sight with the best video doorbells. Now so common that many of us have stopped noticing them on the front doors of our neighborhood, they're often just as good as security cameras at recording comings and goings.

Arlo Essential Indoor Camera

(Image credit: Arlo)

What about indoor security cameras?

When talking about indoor security cameras, you can easily get into spying territory. There aren't too many reasons why you might need to hide a camera inside your home, but you can also easily do so if you want to keep them out of sight of pets and children you need to keep an eye on. Indoor cameras tend to be smaller and easier to move around (because of a greater number of outlets), so you can pick the perfect spot. 

Be sure that you're not heading into dicey waters, though, as you should never hide a camera in a room or area where someone is unaware and might reasonably expect privacy - such as a bathroom or bedroom. As long as everyone in the home is made aware, you should be okay.

Canary Flex on brick wall outside

(Image credit: Canary)

Reasons to hide your security cameras

Many of the problems with keeping security cameras out in the open are solved by having them somewhere out of sight, and you can still indicate to intruders that they're being watched in other ways.

Stickers and yard signs are a great way of signaling that you're not messing around with your home security, and you can keep your expensive cameras somewhere out of sight and safe from any unwanted tampering. This also means that criminals won't be able to purposefully avoid the visual range of your system - increasing the chances that you'll get a good picture of what's happening.

Of course, some security cameras will be better suited to hiding than others. Wireless cameras are always going to be more versatile, and easier to place in specific locations without worrying about where your power outlet is. You will need to make sure these devices are still easy to reach, however, as they will need to be periodically recharged.

Caroline Preece
Smart Homes Ecommerce Editor

Caroline is the smart home ecommerce editor for Livingetc, covering everything tech for the home, from smart speakers to air purifiers and everything in between. She is passionate about the role that technology and smart devices can play in daily life, enhancing the home without sacrificing personal style and carefully chosen interiors. In her spare time, she can be found tinkering with bulbs, soundbars, and video doorbells in an effort to automate every part of her small home. Previously, she lent her expertise to the likes of Expert Reviews, IT Pro, Coach, The Week, and more.