There are a lot of situations where you want to have an idea of what’s happening in a room when you aren’t inside. Whether you’re suspecting of partner infidelity, or you think that someone is stealing your belongings, you just want to know what’s going on.

Fortunately, in this day and age, there are a lot of ways to do so. But by far the best option is surveillance. Now, we aren’t talking about a massive camera that’s immediately visible. If you do opt for such a model, whoever the perpetrator is they’ll be able to see it and they will very likely back off immediately. This means that even though whatever was going on will most likely stop, you may never find out the truth.

Therefore, our suggestion is a hidden, spy camera. They’re small and inconspicuous, and impossible to notice unless you know what you’re looking for. And the best option as far as a spy camera goes, today, is a USB flash drive. Yes, you’ll find other options, such as toys and other common household objects, but trust us, this is the way to go.

So, without wasting any more of your time, let’s take a look at how to choose one, what storage options you have, and what you’ll come across in terms of power source.

How do you choose a USB flash drive spy camera?

Even though this is still somewhat of a niche product, there are still a lot of them out there on the market. They aren’t all the same, obviously, and there are some key differences that may make or break the entire experience. They may give things away, so you end up with a useless flash drive that everyone knows is in fact, a camera, and the entire point is lost.

That being said, you should avoid additional buttons. Those additional buttons often make things simple in terms of operation, and for example you’ll get one button that is to start/stop recording, as well as a second one that chooses whether you’re recording video or capturing a photo. These buttons, if present, should be hidden. A popular option is to put the camera next to another item, with that other item blocking the buttons and keeping them out of sight.

Then, you should consider the lens itself. It’s important to have a lens that’s on the opposite side of the USB plug itself. The thing is, many USB flash drive spy cameras have the ability to work while plugged in, and the lens on the opposite side of the plug is the best way of ensuring you won’t need to work with any weird angles to capture useful video. If, however, you’ll only be using the camera when it’s running on battery power, you can go ahead and get one with a lens on any side, you’ll work around it.

Storage is an important aspect

This is an obvious one, but the more storage you have, the more video you can record before you need to transfer all data to your computer in order to empty it out. And while many cameras will ask that you additionally buy a micro SD card so you can save videos on it, a USB flash drive spy camera often comes with built in storage. Depending on the model, you might get anywhere from 8GB to 64GB of storage. There are some pretty expensive models that will capture the footage directly on the computer they’re plugged in. Note that these are premium models, and if you’re on a budget, you won’t find this feature on many cameras.

What you will find (and you should definitely have) is loop recording. The thing is, once your storage is full, you should empty the recordings on a computer to open up more room. But remembering to do this is a tricky task, and the day you forget to do it is the day you need it most. Loop recording is going to be your savior in this case. It will keep on recording, and overwrite the oldest footage that’s saved. This is usually done by splitting the clips into 5 minute segments, so not a lot of footage is overwritten at once.

You could go for motion detection

While not something we see on many cameras, motion detection is certainly something that’s worth paying a bit extra for. It not only saves battery, but storage too, because it only records when something is moving in front of the camera. This will also save you from having to scrub through hours of footage when in reality, you only need the 10 minutes where something happened. It’s going to come in handy at some point, so by all means get it if you can.

Where you put it depends on how it’s powered

A USB flash drive spy camera always has a battery inside. It’s there because many people choose to leave it on a desk. It’s unassuming, and it works really well because unless you know it’s a camera, there’s minimal chance of you spotting it. However, since it is a pretty small item, there is little room for a battery, so you don’t get a battery life of, say, two weeks, like with other cameras.

However, many of the better options can actually record while they’re plugged in. If, for example, you have an office with a desktop computer on your desk, chances are it has a USB port at the front. You can have the USB drive plugged in. When your computer is on, the USB device will receive power, and you basically get infinite power for your camera. Unless you run out of storage, you shouldn’t have any issues with it stopping recording. And if you have loop recording, which we mentioned earlier, that won’t happen.