After looking at a lot of hidden cameras, microphones, and other spy gear, it’s time to look at some methods of prevention. Being equipped with bug detectors is crucial to preventing intruders from breaching your privacy in any way. Whether it’s recording video of your home, recording your voice, or any other type of spying method – it is important to fail every attempt aimed at entering your personal privacy!
The good news is that there are various ways to detect hidden spy devices of any type. Most of the spy devices utilize some form of wireless connection to transmit information. Even if they record on-device, they give out a signal like Infrared, Bluetooth, WiFi, Cellular, etc.
The bug detectors I reviewed in this guide work great for detecting these signals, which will enable you to catch a spy device of any kind.
Things to Consider Before Buying A Bug Detector
A bug detector is not only available for law or military counter-intelligence personnel. You might need them too. Especially if you are expecting unwanted surveillance threats. People of all kinds, with malicious intentions, can use a range of surveillance devices to keep an eye on you or to record or live-stream what you are doing and saying secretly. We hear about many cases of tiny hidden cameras that were found in places like Airbnb rentals, gym locker rooms, or even public bathrooms.
Making use of an RF bug detector becomes a basic safety measure to keep your privacy to you.
Bugs and Devices You Can Detect with a Bug Detector
Hidden cameras, also known as spy cams, are often placed sneakily in hotel rooms, changing rooms, and gym locker rooms to record and live-stream your activity. These covert devices are cleverly embedded in otherwise innocuous-looking items like alarm clocks, phone chargers, smoke detectors, and even shampoo bottles.
The smallest hidden camera was once found inside the cross of a Phillips-screw head, which is almost invisible to a naked eye.
Most hidden spy camera detectors work by detecting the pinhole lens of a spy cam. Handheld detectors look for the prevalent radio frequencies by conducting an RF scan. Spy camera detecting apps work by scanning suspicious devices connected to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and local networks.
The following audio bugs are commonly used. Luckily these devices are detectable too by RF bug detectors. Let’s discover the different audio bugs we can be dealing with.
- GSM bugs: A GSM bug is a wireless listening device that is fitted with a SIM card using a 3G/4G GSM network. The intruder can access and control it from anywhere through a telephone call. GSM bugs can be hidden in electronic accessories, lamps, products, and other commonly used appliances. Since they are hidden, they are very compact with a simple design. They can hear from a distance of 30-50ft. Further, as they are powered up by a GSM network, they can also track your location.
- Miniature voice recorders: Miniature voice recorders are mini recording devices that are disguised as everyday objects like USB drives or credit cards. They hide themselves well and are capable of recording high-quality audio.
- Wiretaps: Wiretaps are installed on the telephone system to intercept telephone conversations. Thus, this audio bug gets activated only when the all is active.
- Mobile phones: Mobile phones also work as an audio bug. The phone is programmed not to vibrate, ring, or show any signs that you are being called. The spy can then call your phone, which gets auto-answered and can listen to your conversation.
GPS Tracking Devices
A GPS tracking device makes use of the Global Positioning System (GPS). GPS is a worldwide radio-navigation system comprising the constellation of 24 satellites and ground stations. A GPS tracking device can be fixed or a portable unit. For instance, your company might use a GPS tracking device to track your route and progress.
If you suspect that you or your vehicle is being tracked by a small and undetectable GPS tracker, a GPS detector is what you need. A GPS bug detector works by detecting the radio frequency signal sent by a GPS tracker to the cellular networks to communicate status and location with.
So, if you want to keep yourself safe from any of these bugs and hidden spying devices, it makes very well sense to use a bug detector.
How A Bug Detector Works
In simple terms, a bug detector is a radio receiver. It works on the principle that a surveillance device emits electromagnetic signals. A bug detector detects these signals, and this is how it tells you if there are such devices nearby.
More often than not, hidden cameras and audio bugging devices transmit WiFi, cellular, or Bluetooth signals. However, they may utilize different radio frequencies depending on how the whole arrangement is set up. An audio bugging device, for instance, set up on a cell phone, may transmit a cellular signal, and so on.
Thus, it is recommended to choose a bug detector that is capable of detecting signals belonging to a wide range of frequency levels.
Best Bug Detectors Comparison Table
Below you can see a quick side-by-side comparison of the various bug detectors we are going to look at in this review. You get a glimpse at some of the specs on the devices as well as a rough idea of what they are capable of.
Electronic Bug Detectors In-depth Reviews
Now it’s time to take a look at some devices you might want to consider for yourself. This will be a more in-depth look at each product’s strengths and weaknesses.
1. KKmoon Bug Detector
We’re starting off with a device we can call bare essentials. This bug detector by KKmoon is the most minimalistic device in this list. It can find most basic devices that could be used to tap or bug you.
This device mostly detects RF signals though. Specifically, this means that it can detect mostly radio transmitter devices – basic microphones, basic GPS trackers as well as older-style hidden cameras.
If you want to take some basic care of your privacy and ease your sense of being watched, then this device is maybe the best one for you.ORDER NOW
2. YlRNhe Hidden Camera Detector
Next up, we have a relatively versatile device by YlRNhe. Initially, this detector may seem like a dream. It can detect RF signals, GSM microphones, GPS trackers, and hidden wireless devices.
It’s not as accurate as it may seem, however. On occasion, it tends to miss certain devices. If you are not close enough, it’s effective range might fall short of the bug you are trying to find.ORDER NOW
3. XFHLL Anti Spy Bug Detector
Here’s another device in, essentially, the same class as the ones we’ve seen so far. This RF bug detector by XFHLL is essentially your standard Bug Detection device.
It’s equipped for the most rudimentary electromagnetic signal tracking. Specifically, you can track basic microphones, radio transmitters, and GSM-based mics and cameras.
If you’re looking to make a quick scan of your home or something similar, this device could prove to be more than adequate for your needs.ORDER NOW
4. ARCELI Anty Spy Bug Detector
The ARCELI Anty Spy Bug Detector is quite a versatile device. Among all of the devices in the list, it detects the widest variety of taps and bugs. It has tested well against any type of microphone, camera, smartphone tap, GPS tracker, etc.
The downside is that it can be easy to fool. Specifically, sensitivity settings are a bit wonky, and sometimes it can detect noise that gives you a false positive. So make sure to double-check every potentially bugged area.
This device is more than adequate if you are uncertain about how you are tapped. But make sure to check thoroughly.
5. YlRNhe RF Bug Detector
The runner up of this list is a device by YlRNhe. It’s a more budget-friendly version of our top choice, which is coming up next. This device is more of a conventional RF scanner. You can use it to find any device using radiofrequency connectivity.
When it comes to those types of devices, the YlRNhe RF Detector is very useful for finding older-gen equipment. It can be useful for finding any device containing a microphone or any sort of inductive elements (coils, speakers, mics etc.).
This product is less likely yo find newer-gen bugs, though. Devices transmitting on frequencies outside of the radio range will likely not be detected. This is not too much of a hassle however. Sime surveillance experts use older tech under the premise of people normally searching for advanced hardware.
All in all, this device is very valuable and handy to keep around.ORDER NOW
6. Doifck Anti Spy Detector
A true top of the line device, the Doifck Anti Spy detector, receives the position of best bug detector of 2020. It can detect almost any kind of electronic tap you could think of. It has an EF detection unit for radio or wireless taps. Those cover hidden mics, wireless cameras, location tracking, and even GSM tracking.
Out of the entire selection, this device is the most accurate bug detector. Also, it is easiest to use. You can set it up and start searching your home or car in a matter of minutes. Furthermore, you can be assured; it will find almost all types of conventional bugs or taps.ORDER NOW
7. Spy Hawk GPS Tracker Finder
If you are looking for a multi-channel bug detector that could locate any GSM bug along with GPS trackers, this bug detector from Spy Hawk is one of the best bug detectors that you can ever find.
Capable of picking up a wide range of frequencies between 10 MHz and 10 GHz, the device can detect all active transmitting sources at your location, whether they be bugs, hidden cameras, telephone transmitters, wiretaps, GPS trackers, and wireless mics.
What’s more, the Spy Hawk device can be easily operated using your thumb, thus enabling you to operate the anti-spy detector speedily and securely in critical situations.
One feature that I particularly liked about this Spy Hawk bug sweeper is its built-in white noise generator. So, if you suspect any listening devices from the other side of doors, vents, and windows, raise the volume of the white noise generator to maximum, and all they will hear is distorted noise.ORDER NOW
8. RF Signal Detector
If you are looking for an easy-to-use bug detector, this awesome device ticks all the right boxes. Whether you need to look for surveillance devices in bathrooms, entertainment rooms or hotels, changing rooms, locker rooms, or need to detect a GPS location tracker in your car or office, this device will not disappoint you.
The RF detector is capable of detecting1.2G/2.4G and 5.8G hidden wireless cameras, wireless eavesdropping, and other attempts to privacy intrusions. It can also detect GMS bugs functioning on 2G/3G and 4G cards.
The bug detector works in a broad frequency range of 1MHz – 12GHz with high sensitivity and precision.ORDER NOW
9. Lawmate Law Grade RF Detector
With a broad scanning range of 20 MHz to 6GHz, this Lawmaye RF detector device is a great mini hidden camera detector. The best part of this bugs sweeper is its compact size. You can take it wherever you go and keep your privacy in check.
The device consists of a 4 section light scale that depicts the RF signal strength of the hidden camera in a particular location. With this feature, you can gauge if you are nearby the hidden camera or not.
Other than detecting hidden cameras, the Lawmate RF bug detector also works as a wireless audio bug sweeper.
To further help you detect a bug sneakily, Lawmate Law Grade RF Detector comes with a vibration detection mode so that the person on the other end doesn’t know that their bug is detected.
To ensure that you do not get the false positives, make sure that you have disabled WiFi at your place.ORDER NOW
10. RF Wireless Signal Detector Wand
This RF wireless signal detector is an all-rounder. Thanks to its broad frequency range of 50-6000 Mhz, it will detect a wide variety of RF bugs ranging from GSM bugs to wireless video cameras, video transmitters, body-carried transmitters, and vehicle transmitters. Some detectors may miss modern communication signals, but not this one. It will detect both analog and digital (wireless) transmissions.
I like this bug detector because it’s stealthy; it easily fits in your hand, and when detecting a bug, you’ll feel it discretely vibrate in your palm. It has an audio mode too, if you absolutely don’t want to miss out on a bug!
It’s great to carry around while on the go, and it’s pen-size makes it easy to access hard to reach areas looking for bugs. This easy to use bug detector is excellent for a novice like me, but it is packed with great features used by professional bug sweepers.ORDER NOW
11. Hlensix Wireless Camera Detector
Here is another spy detector, though I am not too much impressed by it. This is one of the basic bug detectors. It is portable, compact, and easy to use. The detector will start vibrating whenever it detects any surveillance. Its laser detection camera can detect a tracking device from a distance of 10cm to 10m. However, its results are not too accurate.
So, if you do not have high expectations from your device, you can go for it.ORDER NOW
12. Spyfinder Pro Hidden Spy Camera Detector
Similar to most other bug detectors on this list, the Spyfinder Pro can be used as a camera detector.
If you are looking for a compact bug detector device with decent battery life, this is it. Its battery lasts longer when compared to other detectors in the same range. Although it is a pretty basic device and an affordable option, it will not disappoint considering the price it comes for. You can carry it quite conveniently and use it to detect cameras everywhere you go throughout your day.ORDER NOW
13. Wattne Anti Spy Detector
This anti-spy detector from Wattne is the advanced version of their previous offerings. The device is capable of recording any dangerous signal, all thanks to AI integration. The device makes use of ultra-sensitive chips to detect eavesdropping and candid photos. It can accurately detect the position of audio bugs, hidden cameras, and GPS tracking devices within a few minutes.
The detector can detect a range of signals like radio waves, 1.2G to 5.8G wireless, 2G/3G/4G mobile phone sim card bugs, and wired hidden camera equipment.
This is one of the reliable anti-spy detectors that I have come across. You might need to configure it properly to prevent false positives.ORDER NOW
14. Innoo Anti-Spy Detector
This anti-spy detector can detect even the smallest signal fluctuations due to the presence of tracking devices. It is an advanced version of the company’s previous release and features a more powerful battery, improved chip technology, optimized button, and strong quality. When fully charged, the detector can work for at least 15 hours.
The detector is the right fit for confidential meetings, homes, cars, hotels, locker rooms, etc.
However, like other detectors on this list, the detector might not provide accurate readings if your WiFi is on.ORDER NOW
15. HoHoProv Anti-Spy Detector
This is the last bug detector on this list that helps you in ensuring your privacy. The device allows you to adjust the sensitivity according to your needs. You can filter out the frequency as per your requirements.
It is small and lightweight and easy to use. But the detector will require you to adjust the settings to be able to provide correct readings.ORDER NOW
Bug Detectors Buying Guide
Here are a few key components in selecting a bug detector that best suits your needs.
Features of Good Detector
You should think about exactly what you need. Are you trying to find some microphone bugs in your house? Are you afraid someone is eavesdropping on you with a camera? Or maybe your phone is tapped. Surely, the first thing you should think about is how you can be spied on and what to suspect in the area you are. Next, you can count the following things as the most important aspects to consider when buying a bug detector.
The battery life of a bug detector is important. You don’t want to end up with something that dies within hours of charging it up. Look for a detector that can work for at least 12 hours without requiring you to charge in between. This will come in handy if you commute or travel frequently and need to rule out any privacy errors.
As I mentioned above, choose a bug detector which covers a wide range of frequency spectrum. Most GPS bugging devices operate within 824 – 846 MHz and 880 – 920 MHz. Bluetooth bugging devices utilize 2400 – 2480 MHz, and WiFi transmissions happen at 2400 – 2480 MHz. Pick a bug detector according to which bugs you want to go for.
Durability is another important factor while choosing a bug detector. Most likely, you will carry the device in your pockets and bags. Ensure that it is sturdy in construction so that it doesn’t break off easily.
Most bug detectors do not come with a lot of bells and whistles. They have a simple interface and support a few basic functionalities. For instance, they will light up when they detect any signal in space. Thus, you will have to conduct a physical check to identify the installed surveillance device.
A few more advanced versions even include strength meters to give you an idea of how strong these signals are. These detectors with basic functionalities can be easily found for less than $300 in the market.
If you go up the range, you can find a bit more advanced bug detectors, which in addition to helping you find the tracking device, also help you in blocking the signals. They may also provide you with a better picture of signals, thus helping you judge if you are looking for a device in the right direction.
Ease of Use
It’s important to be aware of how much effort you are willing to put into bug detection and spy protection. A lot of the bug detectors are very sophisticated hardware. Often, you will have to figure out how to use some advanced gear. A smartphone app could be easy to use. However, those are not a good substitute for a proper bug detection device.
You can find bug detectors for as low as $30, and the range could go high with no limits. On average, most bug detectors are priced between $50 and $500, depending on the type of features, their frequency range, and the accuracy they offer.
FAQ’s on Bug Detectors
If you still have some questions on this topic, here are a few of them answered. If you have any more questions on this topic, don’t hesitate to shoot them out in the comments section below, and I will do my best to answer them.
What is an RF bug detector?
An RF bug detector works by detecting an RF signal at any place. Most surveillance and tracking devices emit RF signals. An RF bug detector identifies these signals and helps you detect the installed spy devices, also called bugs.
What does a bug detector do?
A bug detector helps you find out disguised surveillance devices that might secretly be installed in your house, a hotel room, cars, public places, changing rooms etc., which record or spy on your activities.
How does a bug detector work?
A bug detector works by identifying the electromagnetic waves emitted by most tracking and surveillance devices. When someone installed a listening device or a spy camera at your place, a bug detector will pick up the radiations emitted by them to detect their presence.
How to use a bug detector?
All you need to do is scan the area with the bug detector, and if it detects any such signals, it will notify you accordingly, mostly by blinking light, making a sound, or both.
How much is a bug detector?
The price of a bug detector lies in the range of $30 and $500, although you can find various alternatives that are even cheaper and pricier from the mentioned range.
What is the best bug detector?
The best bug detectors are used by government and military professionals. They are accurate, precise, and meet up to prefessional spy needs used by secret agents.
How can I tell if my phone is tapped?
Usually by listening for weird noises in the microphone. That’s a sign it’s active, which could mean it is being tapped. Another possibility is the camera. There are ways to make the camera work but disguise it as if it isn’t working. Use another phone camera and look at your phone through it. If there is a purple light coming from the camera, then it’s active and possibly spying.
How do I block my phone from being tracked?
There’s no way to truly block your phone from being tracked altogether. The only way to do that is to not use a smartphone. Your best bet would be to stay vigilant and look out for bugs on your phone.
Can I sue someone for recording me without my permission?
Yes. Under most laws recording without consent is illegal. If you are aware of someone recording you in any way without your permission, you are well within your right to sue the person doing it.
Can someone read my text messages from their phone?
It is possible. This is not tapping you or placing a bug in the sense we are looking at. However, this is just as important to look out for. Software hacks are quite common. You should take your phone to an expert to inspect it if you suspect a hack. Any of your data could be at risk without you knowing.
Bonus: Best Bug Detectors App
If you don’t have the time or patience to invest and work with a bug detector device, some apps can do a lot of that work on your smartphone. However, keep in mind that as good as dedicated devices. After all, those are specialized for the job.
Here are one of the best bug detector apps that I have shortlisted:
Bug Detector Scanner App
One of the best apps that can make use of your smartphone as a bug detector is the Bug Detector Scanner app by Tech Arena Apps. This app has multiple features that allow it to detect a wide range of bug devices.
This app makes use of the Infrared sensor in the phone camera to detect hidden cameras. Smartphones also have magnetometers. This allows them to detect electromagnetic signals. Such types of signals are used for Wi-Fi and 4G connections. Furthermore, they are capable of detecting Bluetooth Signals.
Hidden Camera Detector
If you want to detect the presence of a hidden camera in a hotel room, changing room, or any weird surroundings, this app can help. The app has two features – radiation and infrared. All you need to do is open the camera and scan the area. The app will then detect the prevalent signals within the space and blink the light if it detects anything.
If you want to keep yourself away from a speed camera detector, Radarbot Free is the best app. It keeps you away from potential mobile cameras, ANPR cameras, traffic light cameras, and the like. This way, you can prevent yourself from getting a ticket.
Final Thoughts on Bug Detectors
If you have explored our website, you would know that we have covered multiple types of spy gadgets and hidden cameras, that allow you to conduct surveillance yourself. However, it’s also important to be educated on how to counter such spy equipment as well.
Spying can be all fun and games. However, it is only a matter of time before this could turn into a serious problem for you or anyone, for that matter. Knowing how to find even the smallest spy cameras that could be spying on you can be very useful. Least of all, it can help you shake the feeling of being watched if that’s all that’s bugging you.
After all, you might not be the only one with an interest in spying and surveillance. Thus, it’s always a good idea to be ready for anything. What I’m really curious about is in what situations you are using your bug detector? If you don’t mind sharing with me, please leave a comment below!
SAY CHEESE! My name is Mike and I love technology, software, and crypto. I grew up around my ‘nerdy’ engineering parents who’ve worked for high tech start-ups and aerospace companies. They’ve taught me everything I know, from destructing the latest phones to playing around with drones, writing lines of code and investing in cryptocurrencies. I take things apart, put them back together and add some (code). I breathe and live tech and can’t wait to teach you more!