private investigator gear tools and equipment

Are you a private investigator in need of equipment, tools or gear? Here you will find a wide selection of curated private investigation equipment, built around your needs.

From binoculars, cameras, audio equipment, to GPS devices; you are sure to find the right gear to get the job done.

Private Investigator Tools and Gear

​The job of a private investigator often includes individual surveillance and investigation, sometimes even putting your-self at risk. At these points in your private detective career you’ll find there are some gadgets and accessories that are basically necessary. Having the correct equipment can mean the difference between collecting the information you want, and letting your target slip away unnoticed. You’ve probably heard about most of the gear on this list, but there are definitely some things that you could add to your arsenal to help you become the all-seeing private eye.


​This may seem like a no-brainer, but there’s a lot more to this simple piece of optical technology than you might think. Binoculars are arguably the most important part of your surveillance kit. It just doesn’t get more standard than a pair of binoculars for surveillance. Standard and Zoom Binoculars are surely essential to have, but your kit would benefit from an addition in the form of Digital Binoculars. They have much better digital and optical zooming capabilities than the classic pair, often with the option of directly recording the target.

​Digital Sound Recorders

​Audio is often as if not more valuable than video evidence. This means that a good P.I. should always have a means of audio recording on-hand. The standard recorder may do the trick but it’s often bulky and too eye-catching. If you want to stay inconspicuous you’ll need to find a more concealed sound recording device. Having a watch that records sound or a pen with a microphone is really crucial when close to a person who shouldn’t notice you recording him. There are also devices that disable other sound recorders – White Noise Generators. These should be used if you don’t want to be recorded yourself, but may interfere with your other recording devices.

​Video Recorders and Cameras

Having a high resolution digital camera with a quality lens can be crucial when trying to catch all of the small details. Invest into one of these and you definitely won’t be sorry. Still images are fine, but what about video? There are obvious advantages to having video recordings of a subject, but it can be risky just going in and blatantly recording. A better option is always to have some sort of hidden or unnoticeable camera to film for you. Gadgets that fit this description are:​

  • Body-Worn Cameras - Such as camera-glasses or pen-cameras
  • Hidden Cameras - Cameras that can be planted without the target’s notice - like the bullet-sized cameras or nanny-cams.
  • Infrared and Low-Light Cameras should also be considered when going on a night time surveillance mission.
  • Motion Activated Recorders – These are the cameras that trigger when motion is detected. They’re very useful when you want to be able to record without being nearby. They are unreliable in most situations, though since they can be triggered by pets and other unpredictable motion.


​When you want to be sure there aren’t any cameras or bugs in the room there’s not a better thing to do than use a detector. There are several types of detectors, depending on the type of device they’re used to detect:

  • Bug Detectors are used to detect or fry microphones in a small radius around the device. Great for when you want to tear the ears off walls.
  • Camera Detectors can be used to disable video recording devices, though they are usually unreliable and sometimes even unsafe for use.
  • Radio Frequency (RF) Signal Detectors play a role in detecting suspicious radio signals and putting a stop to any unwanted wireless information transfer.
  • Wire Tap Detectors do exactly that – check if your landline is being listened to.

Tracking Devices

​Following your target is definitely the best way to find out what they’re up to, but there are certain situations where you want to stay on the down-low. This is the job the GPS tracker was created for. Most GPS trackers are magnetic, so it’s possible to just stick them on to the inside of a car rim where they’ll practically be invisible to the target. There are usually legal limitations to using these devices, as they are prohibited in most places. There are two main types of GPS trackers:

  • Live Trackers (Real-Time) – These are the more expensive option. They will allow you to track your target’s movements in real time on a smartphone or computer. They usually come with a battery that makes it through 48 hours of on-time and some even have battery expansion packages that can be purchased separately.
  • Passive Trackers (Recorded) – The passive recorders simply record movement over a certain time period. Their retrieval is vital, as the information can’t be read remotely.

Video Surveillance Equipment

A video surveillance system is, in some extreme cases, a security precaution that can’t be overlooked. It’s vital to position your cameras intelligently when planning your security system as you don’t want them to appear too prominent. Having a professional install these is a smart thing to do since this almost guarantees well-made connections and less obvious cables. The cameras, cables, receivers and installation costs may hurt your wallet, but there’s not a price you can really put on safety.

​Whether the devices listed here are legal or “super-legal” depends on your location. There may be restrictions on certain items based on the country, state, county or city you live in. Some jurisdictions prohibit the purchase, possession or use of some of these items. Making local inquiry to determine whether the device is prohibited in your location is important before ordering any of these private detective gadgets.

A private investigator should try to be prepared for any situation. This means having the adequate tools for dealing with any surprises you may encounter during a surveillance mission. The gadgets listed here are supposed to make your job easier, but if not used carefully can leave you lob-less instead!​

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