What Is a Nanny Cam?
A nanny cam is a device that is used as an in-home surveillance camera for parents who want to monitor their child or their caregiver's interactions with their children. This type of camera can be a wired or wireless system. The term “nanny cam” is actually a slang term frequently used for this type of surveillance camera, so they are often sold as such.
Is a Nanny Cam Legal?
Yes, nanny cams are legal in every state; however, there are some restrictions. You can use a nanny cam to keep an eye on your child's caregiver even without that caregiver's consent, but only in certain areas of your home. In 13 of 50 states, you can't install the surveillance cameras in a private place without the other person's permission. A private place is described as being a place where a person would reasonably expect to be free of unauthorized surveillance such as the bathroom or a bedroom if you have a live-in nanny. There are laws specific to each state; therefore, always check your state's laws before installing a nanny cam that's used for caregiver surveillance.
How Much Do Nanny Cams Cost?
Nanny cams can range anywhere from $23 to more than $400 for a top of the line system. Just remember, you get what you pay for. And some nanny cams come with additional requirements that add to the cost and usability such as having Wi-Fi connectivity, needing a base station, the ability to expand them to multiple rooms, etc.
What Features Do the Best Nanny Cams Offer?
The most important features when it comes to buying a nanny cam are as follows:
- A camera with high resolution such as 1080p HD
- A quality zoom feature
- Night vision
- A cloud storage option
- Expansion capabilities so you can use it in more than one room
- Smart capabilities if you have a home automation system
- A wide angle lens
- A two-way talk feature
The Disadvantages of a Nanny Cam
While a nanny cam can be great for many reasons, there are some disadvantages of a nanny cam. For example, some nanny cams are expensive for what you get. Whereas, if you really thought about it—for what you paid for that nanny cam—you could have gotten an entire home security system. Additionally, there are some nanny cams that don't have any Wi-Fi connectivity and some that don't provide consistent push notifications, etc.
Now, for the biggest concern most parents have when installing a nanny cam—hackers. So what can you do to protect your nanny cam from being hacked? First and foremost, you should always change the default password when installing your new nanny cam. But unfortunately, there is no way to 100% secure a nanny cam, especially the cheaper brands. Then there is always a concern that because the nanny cams data and footage are being stored on the brand's servers, it could ultimately be hacked into from there. A hacker could also access your Wi-Fi network so you need to change the default password on that as well.
These are just a few of the disadvantages of a nanny cam, but there are more.
So what other choice do you have if you want to install a nanny cam in your home?
Well, generally, the better option would be to install a complete home security system that has a wide range of products and services available. Usually for a cost of not much more than you paid for one nanny cam. And, there are many more protections in place with a home security system than there are with a nanny cam.
The Top 3 Alternatives to Nanny Cams
Here are the top three alternatives to nanny cams.
Frontpoint is one of the best home security systems you'll find and is our top pick for best overall value as well. But what makes Frontpoint a good alternative to a nanny cam?
Frontpoint is a good alternative to a nanny cam because you're getting more comprehensive coverage for just about the same price, if not less. Frontpoint's equipment includes a wireless DIY installation and the costs start at $99. Additionally, with Frontpoint, you will not only get high-quality security cameras with a live stream that can be viewed from a mobile app, but you will also get window and door sensors, environmental sensors (fire, smoke, CO, water, etc.), and a full suite of available smart home automation features that give you many more capabilities than a single nanny cam system ever will.
Vivint is another great alternative to nanny cams; however, the Vivint equipment has an upfront cost that is more than a single nanny cam. However, the coverage you get with a Vivint home security system is well worth the cost for what you get.
Vivint is a wireless home security system; however, with this brand, you don't have to worry about the installation because they will send a pro to set up everything for you. This means you don't have to worry about doing it wrong.
The Vivint home security system also comes with high-quality cameras, environmental disaster protection features, and home automation equipment that can be placed around your home for surveillance and convenience. Additionally, the Vivint system comes with a companion mobile app that enables you to access, monitor, and control your entire system remotely. And, Vivint offers a Monthly Flex Pay plan so you can pay as little as $12 a month to offset the cost of the upfront equipment purchase that is required.
ADT is one of the most popular home security systems on the market today and is a good alternative to a nanny cam. Why? Because ADT's cameras and home automation systems are top-notch, and they offer either a wired or wireless security system. And, ADT has environmental protections such as flood, fire, smoke, carbon monoxide, and water intrusion detection, none of which you would get with a nanny cam.
Additionally, ADT offers professional installation so you don't have to do anything. And, you have the choice of adding smart home automation features such as smart door locks, lights, thermostat, plugs and switches, and more. With ADT, you don't have to pay for any equipment—ever. You just pay the monthly monitoring fee. And if for some reason you don't like it, they have a 6-month money-back guarantee.
Why buy a nanny cam when you can get so much more with an entire home security system for a little more and sometimes for even less than you would pay for one nanny cam? It just doesn't make sense!