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9 Most Essential Private Investigator Equipment and Tools

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If you’re thinking of becoming a private investigator (PI), or you’d like to see if there’s any equipment out there that you don’t have, you’ve come to the right place. It’s so important that PIs have all the equipment they need right on hand, since the job is so unpredictable and they never know what you’ll be needing tonight.

The better private investigator equipment you have, the easier it will be to get your work done. The final product will also be much nicer (like photos and videos for example) if you have high-quality equipment. The last thing you want to do is get the shot you were hoping for, only to have it turn out grainy where no one can see who the subject is.

This list of nine private investigator equipment is essential for anyone interested about this line of work:

1. Pocket Notebook and Pen

These simple items might be one of the most essential private investigator equipment. An old-fashioned notebook and pen? That’s right, it may sound old school but it’s important for PIs to have and use this. The pocket notebook and pen fit snugly into their pockets and it is easy to grab to take quick notes. PIs often use this notebook to take contemporaneous notes (which means notes at the time of the incident).

2. Satellite Navigational System

PIs must know where their target is and how to get to their target quickly. With Satellite Navigational Systems (SAT-NAV), the PI can load it with places that the target frequents. The Sat-Nav also helps the PI get around, especially if they find themselves in a new unfamiliar territory.

3. Digital Audio Recording Equipment

Although notebooks and pens are great, sometimes PIs find themselves in situations where they can’t get out their notebook and pen to start taking notes. This may blow their cover. Instead, PIs have come to rely on digital and audio recording equipment which is usually attached to their bodies. All they need to do is be close to the target and the conversation should be picked up. The PI can then go over what they heard and transcribe it to notes later.

4. Computer Equipment

Like most other professions, PIs need to use a computer. Many private investigation companies use sophisticated computer technology to do all types of sleuthing work. Their online activities may include research, investigations, business emails, and invoices. When PIs are out on assignment it’s much easier to carry around a tablet or notebook – something small and easily portable.

5. Camera with a Zoom Lens

Whenever a PI is staking out a residence, workplace, or other location, a camera with a zoom lens allows them to capture the photos they need from a distance, which helps keep them undercover. It is always recommended to have three zoom lenses available to you since the magnification on each lens is different and is used in particular situations. One lens is usually used to take photos close-up, one lens is for middle distances, and one lens is used for larger distances.

6. Concealed Wearable Camera

When you’re a PI, you don’t always want people seeing your camera, especially if you’re trying to be covert. With a concealed wearable camera, you can easily hide it in your shirt and people will think it’s a button. The camera comes with a built-in super high definition CCD camera lens, a video resolution of 1280×960, a lens with a 3.6mm wide-angle lens, and a microphone. This concealed wearable camera is perfect for staying incognito.

7. Digital Video Camera

Since the main job of a PI is gathering evidence for their clients, one of the most essential private investigator equipment would be the digital video camera. PIs typically use these to film their targets. An example of a target may be a suspected cheating spouse. The other spouse will want physical evidence of what the PI found. It’s always a good idea to have a back-up camera, just in case. You can never be too prepared as a private investigator!

8. GPS Tracker

If targets are constantly on the go, sometimes PIs use GPS trackers. These GPS trackers can be hard-wired to a vehicle, allowing the PI to have a constant eye on the target. GPS trackers are also used to track sensitive documents like classified files. Having at least one GPS tracker at their disposal is essential for any PI.

9. Binoculars

Binoculars are an important piece of gear for any PI. Although PIs don’t need a huge set of binoculars, they do need to have a small pair. Binoculars are sold by magnification. For example, the 10 magnification means you will see things at 10 times their normal size. The diameter refers to the larger lens. Obviously the larger the diameter, the better view you will have from left to right. PIs tend to use binoculars with magnification and a diameter of 10X50.