how to tell if a smoke detector has a camera
Kristina Davis

Do you know how to tell if a smoke detector has a camera? Smoke detectors with cameras are fire safety devices that combine a smoke alarm with a built-in camera.

They are designed to detect smoke and fire and also record videos of any incidents in real time.

These cameras can be connected to a home network for remote access and can be controlled through a smartphone app.

According to Finn Wheatley, “To check for a camera in a smoke detector, look for blinking lights, tampered screws, and a lens, pinhole, or small hole in the device.”

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Can A Smoke Detector Have A Camera?

can the smoke detector have camera

Yes, smoke detectors with cameras are available in the market. Smoke detectors with cameras are a combination of a traditional smoke alarm and a small, discreet camera.

They are designed for home security and can be used to capture footage of potential intruders or to monitor activity in a room.

Some models allow users to view live footage remotely via a smartphone app, while others store footage on a cloud server or local storage device.

The cameras in these smoke detectors typically have a wide-angle lens and night vision capabilities.

However, they can raise privacy concerns and it is important to be aware of the laws and regulations regarding the use of cameras in residential settings.

How To Tell If A Smoke Detector Has A Camera

how tell smoke detector has a camera

There are several ways you can tell if a smoke detector has a camera. Keep reading, and I’ll teach you how to detect hidden cameras in the smoke detector.

Method #1: Look For Visible Lens

A visible lens is the most straightforward way to identify if a smoke detector has a camera.

It’s a small glass or plastic component that sits in front of the camera and captures the images.

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If you see a lens on the smoke detector, it’s highly likely that it’s a camera smoke detector.

Some smoke detectors with cameras will have a small lens that is barely noticeable, while others may have a larger lens that is more easily seen.

To find a lens, you’ll need to look closely at the smoke detector, turn it around, and inspect it from different angles.

Tip: If you don't see a lens, it doesn't necessarily mean that the smoke detector doesn't have a camera, but it's a good indication.

Method #2: Check For Wires

check for some wires

Checking for wires is another way to determine if a smoke detector has a camera. If there are wires coming out of the smoke detector, it may have a camera inside.

A wired smoke detector camera needs a power source and a way to transfer the video signal, which is usually done through a wired connection.

The wires can be visible, or they may be hidden behind the smoke detector casing.

To check for wires, you’ll need to remove the smoke detector from the ceiling or wall.

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This may require unscrewing the smoke detector or releasing it from its mounting bracket. Once the smoke detector is removed, inspect the back and sides for any wires that are attached to it.

If you see wires, it’s a good indication that the smoke detector has a camera.

However, it’s also possible that the wires are for other purposes, such as connecting the smoke detector to the power supply or the smoke alarm network.

To be sure, you’ll need to inspect the smoke detector more closely or consult the product manual.

Method #3: Check For Unusual Features

check for unusual features

Checking for unusual features is another way to determine if a smoke detector has a camera.

If there are buttons, switches, or other features on the smoke detector that don’t seem to be related to smoke detection, it may have a camera inside.

Some smoke detectors with cameras have additional buttons or switches that allow you to start and stop recording, change the recording mode, or access the camera’s menu.

To check for unusual features, inspect the smoke detector carefully. Look for any buttons, switches, or features that don't seem to be related to smoke detection. 

✅ If you see any, it’s a good indication that the smoke detector has a camera.

However, some smoke detectors may have features that serve other purposes, such as testing the smoke alarm or silencing the alarm, so you’ll need to inspect the smoke detector more closely or consult the product manual to be sure.

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Keep in mind that not all smoke detectors with cameras have obvious or noticeable unusual features, so if you don’t see any, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the smoke detector doesn’t have a camera.

Method #4: Scan For Wi-Fi Signal

Scanning for Wi-Fi signals is another way to determine if a smoke detector has a camera.

scan for a wifi signal

Some smoke detectors with cameras use Wi-Fi to transmit the video signal, allowing you to view the video feed on your smartphone or computer.

If the smoke detector has a Wi-Fi camera, it will broadcast a Wi-Fi signal that you can detect with a Wi-Fi scanner app.

To scan for Wi-Fi signals, you’ll need a smartphone or a device with a Wi-Fi scanner app.

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There are many free Wi-Fi scanner apps available for both iOS and Android devices.

Once you have the app, turn on the Wi-Fi and launch the app. The app will scan for Wi-Fi signals in the area and show you a list of available Wi-Fi networks.

If you see a Wi-Fi network that is named after the smoke detector or the manufacturer, it’s a good indication that the smoke detector has a camera.

Note that not all smoke detectors with cameras use Wi-Fi, and even if a smoke detector has a Wi-Fi camera, it may not be broadcasting a Wi-Fi signal.

Note: If you don't see any Wi-Fi signals, it doesn't necessarily mean that the smoke detector doesn't have a camera, but it's a good indication.

Method #5: Check The Manual

check the manual

Checking for the manual is another way to determine if a smoke detector has a camera.

✅ The manual or product information can provide details about the smoke detector’s features and capabilities, including whether it has a camera or not.

To check for the manual, look for the manual that came with the smoke detector or search for the product information online.

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The manual or product information may be available on the manufacturer’s website or on the retail website where you purchased the smoke detector.

If the smoke detector has a camera, the manual should mention it in the product description or in the list of features.

Note that not all smoke detectors come with a manual, and even if a smoke detector has a camera, the manual may not mention it.

If you can’t find the manual or product information, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the smoke detector doesn’t have a camera, but it’s a good place to start.

Note: It's important to note that not all smoke detectors with cameras have these signs. To be sure, it's best to research the specific model or contact the manufacturer.

Method #6: Scan Using a Smartphone

scan using smartphone

A smartphone camera or security app can be used to detect hidden cameras by scanning the infrared light that is emitted by the camera.

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Download a camera detector app on your smartphone. There are several available on the app store.

Turn off all the lights in the room and close the curtains/blinds. Point your smartphone camera at the smoke detector and look at the screen.

If there’s a hidden camera, the app will show a bright light on the screen indicating the presence of an infrared light source.

Note: This method may not be foolproof and may not detect all hidden cameras.

Method #7: Check For Unusual Weight

check for unusual weight

A hidden camera in a smoke detector may add weight or have an unusual attachment compared to a regular smoke detector.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Compare the weight of the smoke detector in question to others in the same room or nearby.
  • A hidden camera may add weight to the device, making it heavier than a regular smoke detector.
  • Also, look for any unusual attachments on the smoke detector, such as a small lens or an additional component that seems out of place.

Method #8: Consult An Expert

Consulting with a professional security expert can be an effective way to determine if a smoke detector has a hidden camera.

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consult an expert

These experts have the knowledge, experience, and tools to detect and identify hidden cameras.

A professional security expert will assess the smoke detector and its surroundings to look for any indicators of a hidden camera.

This can include a physical inspection, scanning for wireless signals, and checking for infrared light.

Note: Consulting with a professional security expert may be a more comprehensive and reliable method to determine if a smoke detector has a hidden camera, but it can also be more expensive than using other methods.

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Conclusion

I’m convinced you now know how to tell if a smoke detector has a camera.

Keep in mind that not all smoke detectors with cameras have obvious or noticeable signs, so if you don’t find any, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the smoke detector doesn’t have a camera.

Additionally, laws and regulations regarding smoke detector cameras vary by jurisdiction, so it’s important to check the local laws before installing or using a smoke detector camera.