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As a private investigator, there are certain covert tools–spy tools–you must have under your belt in order to complete missions in a safe and efficient manner. Let’s face it, the job comes with a lot of risks. Tact, stealth, cleverness and a keen eye are just a few of the traits required. In many cases, simply relying on your instincts alone just doesn’t cut it.

Not to worry, though, Lauth Investigations International, Inc. has you covered! Below are the 5 most important spy tools we, at Lauth, believe every private investigator should have if they plan on creating a career in the business.

  1. Camcorders

Camcorders are an investigator’s best friend. They’re probably one of the first spy tools you should purchase. They’re not only great because they provide proof of illegal activity, but they can also be used for surveillance as well. What’s even better, there are several different types of cameras and a myriad of options to choose from.

The three main types of cameras you will need include: 1) a digital camera to record interviews, stakeouts, etc. 2) a concealed camera for more covert missions and 3) a dashboard camera to make your surveillance vehicle even more of a spy tool.

digital camcorderDigital Cameras – Handheld digital cameras have gotten smaller over the years and with features like optical zoom and night-time recording being improved with every new model, it’s easier than ever for private investigators to get the evidence they need.

The camera you pick doesn’t have to be complicated. The main features you need to ensure your camera has is a long optical zoom and high ISO settings. Optical zoom provides clear pictures and videos when zooming in because the lens physically moves closer towards your target. Note: optical zoom is different from digital zoom, which is a feature where the electronics in the camera magnifies the image by increasing the pixels seen on the screen, creating a more distorted picture as you zoom in. Without getting too technical, ISO is a feature used to enhance the brightness of the image you see on the screen, making it easier to capture usable pictures and videos in the dark.

Concealed Cameras – What about the situations where you can’t be parading around with a camera? You’re going to need a spy tool to capture footage discreetly. Luckily, there are several mini cameras available that are camouflaged as regular objects, making them hard to detect. Some of these cameras can even be worn on your person without looking obvious, such as spy cameras inside baseball caps and glasses. Others look like chargers, outlets and fire detectors, just to name a few, which can be used to capture footage without you ever being in the room.

Dashboard Camera – Now, you may be thinking of police vehicles when you hear dashboard camera; however, they can also be of benefit to private investigators. While on the road, a dash cam provides a hands-free solution for capturing videos when you need to focus on driving. Not to mention those long stressful stake outs. With a dash cam, you have an extra eye to cover you in case you happen to miss something.

  1. Surveillance Vehicle

Another spy tool you should consider investing in is a surveillance vehicle. You’re going to be spending a lot of time on the road and you will need a quick, convenient way to get around town. The vehicle you choose for surveillance is one of the most important spy tools  potentially making or breaking your investigation.

When choosing a vehicle, bare in mind you need to appear inconspicuous. In fact, it’s best to pick a forgettable vehicle in the general area you plan on conducting the majority of your investigations. You do not want something sticking out like a sore thumb.

Think about the most common make and color of vehicles you most often see in your area and select a similar one. Remember, if you can’t decide on a color, you can never go wrong with silver.

A few other things you will want to consider is the size of the vehicle, how comfortable it feels to you, the amount of miles to the gallon and the amount of tint on the windows.

Larger vehicles are easier to spot while smaller ones are easier to maneuver as well as fit into tight spaces. However, a particular kind of vehicle may work in one area and fail in another depending on the kind of people Living in the neighborhood, so again, be sure to look around you and take notes before making your decision.

The vehicle you select must be comfortable as well because you will be seated in there for hours at a time. Not only when driving, but also during stakeouts. Consider the kind of material used in the interior and the amount of space inside.

  1. Voice Recorder

pen voice recorderVoice recorders are great for capturing conversations which will come in come in handy later down the line, whether it be getting a confession out of someone or helping with notes. Just like camcorders, voice recorders come in very small sizes.


Since this is a spy tool, we suggest getting one of the voice recorders disguised as everyday items such as a lighter, usb drive or even a pen. A lot of the models out there now are almost impossible to detect!

  1. GPS Car Tracker

All too often Private Investigators get distraught clients who are worried about their husbands cheating. A GPS car tracker can discover the husband’s whereabouts without staking him out. It’s also useful to pick up on suspicious behavior as most GPS trackers can store a long history, which can be used to pick up a change in regular patterns and routines.

  1. Personal Protection

The last type of spy tools you will need as a private investigator are a set of very important tools. Spy tools for your personal protection. The truth is your job doesn’t come without risks.  You may be investigating a criminal which has the potential to be very dangerous.

We recommend you at least have pepper spray on you when conducting an investigation. However, a great tool to consider investing in for your safety is the Olympian 3 in one self-defense. It comes equipped with pepper spray, a stealth stun gun and a flashlight for those night time missions. You can find this and other great spy tools online at the PI Mall website.


All of these spy tools are important if you’re looking to become a more efficient private investigator. Take the time to build up your tool kit. Trust us, it will be worth the investment. Every case is different so be sure to choose the right tools for your particular investigation.

Thank you for taking the time out to read this article. We hope this list has you helped you. Let us know which tool on the list you think is the most important. If there are any important spy tools we missed be sure to leave them in the comments. Lauth Investigations is always looking for new tools to assist us in our investigations. www.lauthinveststg.wpengine.com

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