Have you ever watched a spy movie like Mission Impossible or the Bourne Identity and thought to yourself, “Yeah, I can do that.” Deep down, you might know that Jason Bourne can do things that you can’t, but that doesn’t mean that with the help of some of the best spy gadgets, you can’t at least try.
In addition, there are many real-life occupations that do require stealth and clandestine operations. Bounty hunters, law enforcement, private investigators and journalists have many tools at their disposal. As a website named SPY, we’ve made it our mission to stay informed on these gadgets. In the past, we’ve written about the best spy pens, security cameras, and hidden cameras that can be used to keep or steal secrets.
Whether you’re gathering intel late at night, dropping off sensitive documents or having a conversation with a client that is not meant for public consumption, we compiled a list of gadgets that will enhance your sight (such as night vision goggles), disguise your voice and help you make sure you are safe and secure. Because we live in a surveillance state, there are actually some really cool spy gadgets available to consumers.
There are some really cool spy gadgets featured below, from night vision binoculars used by elite soldiers and law enforcement to RF detectors that help you find hidden cameras. And since we live in the digital age, no list of spy gear would be complete without some apps and software essential to maintaining information security online.
We encourage our readers to use these devices responsibly. So without further adieu, check out some of the best spy gadgets you can buy right now.
1. Night Vision Binoculars
Typically when you think about a spy, images of a mysterious figure lurking in the shadows come to mind. But all that spy work is worthless if you can’t see anything in those dark settings, and for that, you’ll need a sight-oriented spy gadget. Night vision goggles vary widely in quality. Entry-level gadgets, such as the night vision binoculars used by hunters, typically start at about $400, while military-grade night vision goggles cost between $3,000-$10,000. We’ve got a few different options for you below.
The GThunder Night Vision Binoculars are designed for hunting but can be adapted to other purposes as well. These low-light sights have 984 feet of infrared night vision range, 3X optical zoom, an IP56 rating for dust and water resistance, and a pair of AA batteries will get you three hours of use in infrared night mode. On top of that, you can save the footage you capture with these things to the included 32GB flashcard, and then back it up to your computer when it’s all said and done.
Looking for something a little more advanced? Then you’ll want to go with the military equipment available at ATN Corp, where you can buy the same night vision technology used by U.S. military and intelligence forces. They aren’t cheap, but the Superior Tactical PVS-7 goggles offer military-grade night vision capabilities. Lightweight and waterproof, it works under extreme weather conditions, has a 50-hour battery life, and can be attached to headgear. If you want the best spy gadgets money can buy, these goggles are a must-have.
2. Rabbler Noise Generator
There are many reasons why you wouldn’t want a sensitive conversation to be overheard or recorded without you knowing, but in the era where everything has an internet-connected mic, it’s difficult to find a private place. Instead, create your own private bubble with the Rambler which is one of the coolest spy gadgets we’ve found yet. This noise generator can create noise that replicates the ambient sounds of a crowded room, which makes it hard for microphones or eavesdropping ears to discern what you’re saying.
Every good intelligence agent knows that information security is essential to maintaining a secure operation. And since we’re at the mercy of big tech companies to keep our online and mobile behavior secure, many people are investing in VPN cybersecurity technology, which ensures that your private internet activity is always secure.
What does VPN technology do? A service like NordVPN routes your traffic through remote servers. In fact, NordVPN gives you the ability to route your IP address and DNS settings through one of its more than 5,000 global servers. This has two key effects: it hides your IP address and encrypts all incoming and outgoing data. So with NordVPN cybersecurity technology, your web browsing won’t be tracked by anyone, keeping you safe from prying eyes, internet service providers, hackers and, in theory, the government. On top of that, it ensures your internet connection won’t be throttled by your ISP. A VPN can also let you access the dark web, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
4. Silent Ultrasonic Microphone Defeater
Okay, so maybe you have one single room where you need to prevent conversations from being recorded, and you don’t want anyone to know you’re trying to prevent this. Maybe it’s your office or operations center. With the Silent Ultrasonic Microphone Defeater, this audio jammer will emit an ultrasonic tone that is undetectable to human ears but overpowers any audio recorder’s microphone so that a conversation can’t be heard. But even better, this noise jammer is concealed as a pair of speakers that can play back actual audio from its USB port, so you can deceive any suspicious figures in the room.
5. Spy Finder Pro
There’s no greater shame for a spy than being spied on, and if you’ve ever come across the horror stories about private spaces being inundated with secret cameras, then you know the threat is real. Thankfully, some of the top spy gadgets, like the Spy Finder Pro, can help you get around this. The Spy Finder Pro is a viewfinder with a ring of red LEDs around it, and when you activate those LEDs, their lightwaves will bounce off the surface of any camera lens that may be in the room, revealing their hidden locations. Sure it may sound simple, and it’s not cheap, but the Amazon reviews attest to its effectiveness and there’s no price tag for peace of mind.
6. JMDHKK M8000 AI RF Detector
If you’ve really got yourself into a predicament where it’s possible you’re under heavy surveillance, you’re going to need a spy gadget that does more than detecting hidden cameras to make sure you’re in a secure space. The JMDHKK M8000 AI RF Detector takes the traditional RF bug detector and infuses it with AI to make it easier than ever to detect if you’re being spied on. Instead of you having to adjust the tracker for each individual signal type, the auto-scan program will cycle through different signal detection programs as it tries to figure out if there are audio bugs, Wi-Fi cameras, IP cameras, GSM bugs, wiretaps, body wires, GPS trackers, phone taps or other types of surveillance bugs in the room. If it finds something, it will let you know.
7. FLIR One Pro LT Thermal Imaging Smartphone Camera
Thermal imaging is a powerful tool, which is why it makes for a pretty cool spy gadget. Thermal imaging is often used by law enforcement and can pick up heat from a person or object even if there’s a solid surface concealing it. In other instances, it can make it easy to see what is going on in a foggy or smoky environment where visibility is low. As a clandestine figure, you want only best spy gadgets at your disposal, and the FLIR camera for iPhone/iOS and Android is the way to go. This little attachment, packed with a pair of thermal sensors, plugs into the bottom of your phone and turns the screen into a thermal imaging viewfinder. So if there’s a person, or thing that you’re trying to avoid and can’t see them very well, this is going to help you get out of a sticky situation.
8. Kingston IronKey S1000 Encrypted Flash Drive
There may be times in your life when sensitive files need to be exchanged, and an encrypted hard drive is essential to keeping those secrets secure. And whether that’s photos, blueprints, contracts or an obscure fan recording of a Justin Bieber concert from 2012, you’ll want to make sure that those files can never be opened if they were to fall into the wrong hands. But the Kingston IronKey S1000 has a hardware encryption chip built into the drive itself, so that you can be confident that your data is protected by the toughest security protocols around with 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption and 140-2 Level 3 validation. Long story short, with the encryption, activated, nobody will ever lay their eyes on anything this drive contains.
9. DJI Mavic 2 Zoom Drone
Any good spy knows that half of the battle is preparation; you should always know what to expect when a situation gets out of hand. And in order to adequately prepare, reconnaissance is a key part of the equation. This is why the best drones make for the best spy gadget. It wasn’t that long ago that drones were a futuristic technology employed only by elite military forces, but now drones are widely accessible and more affordable than ever. The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is a drone that can help you get a literal birds-eye view of your objective while going undetected. Equipped with the same flight hardware as the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, this drone has a 12-megapixel sensor and a lens equipped with 2X optical zoom, which can help you get a closer look from afar, and comes bundled with a smart remote that gives you an unprecedented level of control over the drone’s flight path.
10. Sony ICD-PX370 Mono Digital Voice Recorder
Need to record a conversation? Then we recommend this well-reviewed digital voice recorder from Sony. This affordable and compact device has a built-in USB stick so that you can easily access and save your files.
11. Kokuji Hidden Voice Recorder Pen
What if you need to record a conversation discretely? First, we have to remind our readers to check the laws in their state or country regarding the recording of conversations and phone calls. In single-party consent states, only one person in a conversation needs to consent to record, which means you can legally record your conversations without the other parties realizing it. In dual-party consent states, this kind of secret recording is illegal, and we definitely wouldn’t encourage anyone to run afoul of the law. When you do need to record a conversation with a hidden recording device, this pen can be discretely placed in your pocket or placed innocently nearby. It comes with 32GB of internal storage.
12. Voice Changing Devices & Apps
We’ve all seen villains in movies disguise their voice on the phone, perhaps after taking a hostage. While we don’t encourage villainous behavior — in fact, we discourage it entirely! — these voice disguisers do exist in real life. For landlines and cell phones, you can purchase physical Voice Changing Devices that interact with your phone to filter your voice on phone calls. However, this is the digital age! Instead of buying an expensive device, the Google and Apple App stores have dozens of apps that will create the same effect when using online communication services like Skype, Discord or Steam. One popular option is called VoiceMod, but there are plenty of options available depending on your device.
Finally, a Note on Hidden Cameras…
You may have noticed that we’ve chosen not to include any hidden cameras in the spy gadgets featured above. There are some very good reasons for this. First, there are a lot of cheap “spy cameras” available on sites like Amazon and eBay that have extremely poor reviews and come from sketchy overseas companies. Most of these hidden cameras are of dubious quality. Second, some hidden cameras are designed to be disguised as alarm clocks, wall hooks, electrical outlets, chargers and other everyday devices. While there are perfectly legitimate reasons to use these devices, there are sketchy reasons, too. Unfortunately, perverts also use these devices to secretly and illegally record people in changing rooms, bathrooms and other private areas.
Even if you don’t have nefarious intentions, we advise our readers to research your local, state and national laws regarding hidden cameras and voice recordings. As mentioned above, it is illegal to secretly record conversations and phone calls in dual-party consent states without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved. Evidence gathered in this way may not be admissible in court, and you could face civil or criminal exposure for breaking these laws.
While it is usually legal to film and photograph people in public areas where they do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, there are exceptions to this rule. Likewise, some regions have laws discouraging people from filming “upskirt videos” and other obscene materials.