This article provides a complete guide on all there is to know about Home Security Cameras, what to look for, and how to choose. Understanding home security should be the first before looking for additional methods of securing your home which has to do with security hardware and personal security practices. Under the security hardware, we have security cameras, alarm systems, motion detectors, door locks, and lighting, all these make up the home security hardware. While the personal security practices are your effort to further protect your home like activating alarms, making sure doors are locked, closing windows, and having a dog. All these make up the home security, but what this article will cover is the home security camera systems.
There are too many home security cameras out there with various designs, brands, and specifications which tends to confuse buyers. Some of the things you will see which can be confusing include NVR, DVR, CCTV, and WIFI. If you are looking for how to choose a security camera system for your home and you are unaware or familiar with these terms you can easily get confused or misled, some security cameras are indoor and outdoor, wired and wireless, and also come as a piece or in packs. Here we will explain how to choose security home cameras, what to look for in-home security cameras, and whether you need one or not.
Do I need a security camera?
You should first ask yourself if you need a security camera or not, and if your answer is Yes, then why do you need one? If you have answered yes, the next step depends on what is the level of security you need. If you need a security camera for your home over your business, another thing you should think about is the type of security camera. Most of these security cameras have sensors that help detect motion and let you know if anyone has opened the door or closed the door, and by watching the recorded footage you be able to tell what has happened and who has done that.
With home security cameras you can also get help in terms of calling the police, you can also use audio notification or video notification to contact the police and to identify who is on your property. But be careful because these security cameras can raise false alarms. With the camera recorded footage you can easily present it to the police to report a crime, this is why it’s important to know why you need a security camera.
Do security cameras deter crime?
Some of the reasons we have security cameras are because they can help to deter crime, they can also help with investigations involved in any crime especially if your house has been burgled or something stolen from your property. This is why most people including yourself need to install a security camera either in your home or business.
How many security cameras do you need?
How many security cameras you need in your house or business depends on the size of the house or the business, we recommend having three security cameras. It also depends on the areas you want to cover, you can add a camera at the entrance of your home, the entrance of every door in your home, also an outdoor security camera is ideal. If you want more security you can add more security cameras on every level of your home ground level, entrance, and exit door of your home. You should avoid putting a camera in every room or bathroom in your home, is not recommendable due to privacy. The ideal amount of cameras required is at least three cameras in your home one in the hallway, another in the indoor entrance, and the other outside of the entrance of your home.
Different types of home security camera systems
There are different types of security camera systems, they are categorized by either the location where you install the camera, the connectivity on how to get them connected, storage system, size, and shapes of the camera systems. To explain further, we will start by types of cameras by location.
1. Camera location (indoor and outdoor)
By location we mean where you want to place the camera, an example is if you live in an apartment then what you need is an indoor camera but if you live in a house that has both front and back yard what you need is an outdoor camera. Also, you may want to look at doorbell cameras especially if you live in a house.
Indoor security camera systems
Typically the indoor camera systems are placed on the ground floor of the house, avoid putting them in private areas like bedrooms or bathrooms for privacy reasons like changing rooms hidden cameras. They are usually placed in the front hallway or very strategic areas in the home where visitors I likely to pass through. Most of these indoor security cameras are plug-in, unlike the outdoor security cameras that usually need a cable connection. When using an indoor security camera it is always recommended to use a cellular backup for backing up cameras, this is because they stay connected even when there is no power.
Outdoor security cameras
Outdoor security cameras are different from indoor security cameras even though they usually require a wireless connection. The location of the outdoors camera is usually where you have an outlet but some do not require wiring. Another common feature of outdoor security cameras is that they are water, weather, and hail resistant some of these cameras have IP ratings also, the higher the rating the stronger they can resist different types of weather. Most outdoor wireless security cameras will also require an internet connection, it should be placed outside of the property mostly in front of the property or beside the property or behind the property (backyard).
Video doorbell cameras
The video doorbell cameras are usually placed in front of the door to replace the traditional doorbells when visitors ring the bell you can speak and listen to them with your mobile application or to through a smart home device in your home. When someone rings the doorbell you will receive an alert on your phone via an app. The doorbell cameras work similarly to the indoor camera they also record videos of visitors.
As there are different types of cameras, there are also different types of power sources, some of them use batteries while some get power from a wall outlet. This is one of the important questions you ask yourself before getting a security camera, what power source is best for you. Whichever one of them you choose to use also its pros and cons, whether it is a wired or wireless camera.
Wired security cameras
The wired cameras are usually indoors and outdoors as well and don’t require battery replacements, they are either plug-in or are hardwired around the home. One of the downfalls of wired cameras is having a cluster of wires around the home. Another downfall of wired security cameras is once the Wi-Fi goes down or the power goes down the cameras will not connect to the app. The best security cameras you can get are those that are compatible with either the cellular or landline backup in case of a power outage.
Can wired security cameras be hacked?
Wired cameras can be hacked. The wired cameras use cables that run the camera to DVR where recorded video footage is stored. They do not transmit footage making it hard to be jammed. These wired cameras are powered by ethernet cables and do not use batteries, this makes them vulnerable to hacking.
Wireless security cameras
Wireless security cameras are battery-powered and much easy to install, some of these batteries are rechargeable while some of them need to be changed now and then. There are also outdoor security cameras that are wireless and require the use of a solar panel, the good side of these types of cameras that use the solar panel is that you don’t need to change the battery or recharge them. These are some of the things you should put into consideration when buying a security camera system because each of these power sources has its benefits and disadvantages.
3. Security camera connectivity
Another important point to note when buying a security camera is connectivity, some cameras require an internet connection while others do not. You can also find Wi-Fi-connected security cameras, this is the type of camera that has a mobile app that allows you to view live footage with your mobile phone and receive a notification when there is a detected motion. When someone activates it sends you a notification alerting you of presence or motion in the property.
With the WiFi-connected cameras, you can view video footage from anywhere in the world. These types of cameras are known as a smart security cameras. Some cameras do not require Wi-Fi these are for those who do not have Wi-Fi or do not want to use a camera that is connected to the internet due to privacy issues. Most of these cameras record directly with a microSD card or a hard drive, with this you can,t view live footage from anywhere and you can only view the footage by downloading the footage into a drive to your computer. Here is how to use Bluetooth to connect devices.
4. Camera recording
If you are wondering how these security cameras record footage, some of them use the NVR which is how the system process the data in the camera. It processes the footage and records it on a hard drive. DVR cameras or analog cameras are not Wi-Fi connected and are usually part of a Wired Security System, they can connect to a hard drive through a coaxial cable. The NVR which is a network video recorder is usually WiFi-connected also known as IP or internet protocol cameras and are also wired or wireless.
5. Camera shapes
Security cameras come in different shapes, this is something you should think about when getting one. There are bullet shape cameras, dome shape cameras, pan or tilt shape cameras, box shape cameras, hidden cameras, and eyeball cameras.
- The security box camera has a box shape even though they are not common.
- The hidden cameras are designed into different objects like a teddy bear or pen, they are really small you wouldn’t know they are cameras. They are usually very tiny and are hard to tell and can be used indoors or outdoors.
- The eyeball cameras are more like a dome camera which can be placed at different angles and are prevented from theft.
- The bullet camera is mostly wireless and is used in rooms and corners.
- The dome camera is hard to steal and is usually placed in the ceiling and provides a wider field view, they have spherical designs.
- The zoom, pan, or tilt camera usually turns round allowing you to view anything you want and usually 360 views.
What’s the difference between NVR and DVR CCTV?
If you are wondering how these security cameras record footage, some of them use the NVR which is how the system process the data in the camera. It processes the footage and records it on a hard drive. DVR cameras or analog cameras are not Wi-Fi connected and are usually part of a Wired Security System, they can connect to a hard drive through a coaxial cable. The NVR which is a network video recorder is usually WiFi-connected also known as IP or internet protocol cameras and are also wired or wireless. Some cameras require an internet connection while others do not. You can also find Wi-Fi-connected security cameras, this is the type of camera that has a mobile app that allows you to view live footage with your mobile phone and receive a notification when there is a detected motion. When someone activates it sends you a notification alerting you of presence or motion in the property.
With the WiFi-connected cameras, you can view video footage from anywhere in the world. These types of cameras are known as a smart security cameras. Some cameras do not require Wi-Fi these are for those who do not have Wi-Fi or do not want to use a camera that is connected to the internet due to privacy issues. Most of these cameras record directly with a microSD card or a hard drive, with this you can,t view live footage from anywhere and you can only view the footage by downloading the footage into a drive to your computer.
What to look for in-home security cameras?
Security camera features explained
If you have come this far, by now you are beginning to have a clear picture of what type of camera you will go for, the next step is knowing what to look for in-home security cameras feature. After you have decided the type of security camera system you want for your home or business, the next is to look at the features of the camera. Most security cameras may not have these features, but the more features they have the better depending on your circumstances and choice.
You should also check the privacy, most cameras have reported privacy breaches, IoT devices or the Internet of Things is an example, from people spying through the cameras or listening through the microphones.
Different types of privacy
This helps to prevent unauthorized access to your accounts, it usually requires a passcode, username and password, fingerprints or face ID, and phone verification number.
Another camera privacy to aim for is encryption, the camera should be able to encrypt the recorded footage using AES-256 bit.
Security camera connectivity
When it comes to connectivity you have to check if the camera requires Wi-Fi, if so what network does it require 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. It is common to find cameras with a 2.4 GHz network but more recently most cameras that work with 5 GHz are becoming Common.
Security camera power source
Another important thing is the power source, is it a wireless camera or a wired camera? The wired camera requires you to plug it in a wall outlet, if it is a wireless camera you have to find out the battery life also if the battery is rechargeable. There are battery-powered security cameras that require you to replace the whole battery, also if it uses solar panels, especially for outdoor cameras.
Security camera durability
Another important thing when buying a security camera is durability, can it withstand falls, and also if the camera can withstand outside temperature especially for outdoor cameras. Some of these outdoor cameras have an IP rating especially for areas with cold and high temperatures. IP rating tells you how resistant it can be for liquids and solids, some of the cameras are water-resistant, dust resistant, and waterproof.
Camera video quality
Video quality is very important with security cameras because it needs to record with clarity, most smart security cameras have 1080p resolution and 720p HD resolution some cameras have 2K or even 4K resolution which is twice the pixel of the above-mentioned camera resolution.
Security camera HDR
HDR stands for the high dynamic range, this ensures that the camera video appears more like a real-life, which HDR the camera eliminates any glare or shadows that can get in the way of having a clear picture.
Security camera zoom
Design features should enable the camera to zoom in optical, this means you can zoom in closer to view objects. This can be done also by using the app on a live stream. Cameras with optical zoom features usually have high resolution.
Security camera field of view
Another important feature is the field of view, this means the camera can record footage of a wider area. Some cameras can record up to 180 degrees while some can record up to 120 degrees, and some cameras can record up to 360 degrees, this ensures that the camera can capture footage all around the property.
Night vision enables the camera to record night footage either indoors or outdoors to show you what is going on especially when you can not have a clear view. The night vision cameras come in two forms, are either infrared or LED sensors that can produce black and white footage and also color from brights whites lights, if one of the reasons for getting a security camera is to record night activities then we recommend getting a camera with a night vision.
Security camera audio
It is also important to decide if you want a camera with audio, usually, these cameras are described as a two-way audio system, they have speakers and microphones built-in so you can speak to anyone close to the camera and listen to them also. Most cameras only have speakers especially analog cameras, smart cameras have a two-way audio system.
Security camera storage
It is also important to look at the storage of the home security camera, the storage can be broken into two parts, is either local storage or cloud storage. With the local storage, the camera uses a micro SD card that is built into the camera or either an external drive, with the local storage the camera records footage directly into the microSD card or hard drive. With the cloud storage, the footage is uploaded into a cloud server and most of the Cloud services provided by the manufacturers may require a subscription, and others may not. It is also advisable to use a security camera that can handle both storages, this way if anything happens or if the storage fails the other storage option can record the footage.
Smart security cameras
Another important thing is to have a camera with smart home integration like voice assistant, even though this type of camera is becoming popular if you have a voice assistant like Alexa and Google assistant you can use a command to control your camera.
Motion detectors security cameras
Most smart cameras have built-in artificial intelligence (AI) and recognize motions and send you an alert to your phone once it dictates a motion. The downside of this type of camera is that it can send false notifications like animal footage, or moving objects like cars. Cameras with dictation or AI are able to tell the difference between people and objects, they use body temperature to differentiate between people, animals, and objects. Cameras with facial recognition can recognize faces like family members and friends which you can name each of the faces so the camera can send specific notifications.
Most of these cameras have shared asses so you can share control of the camera with friends and families who can disarm the camera when the alarm has been triggered, it is also advisable to have a camera with an app the allows you to add many users.
Geofencing security cameras are designed to be connected to your phone GPS they will automatically arm the camera when you leave your home and disarm when you come back home. This is an important feature because if you forget to arm your camera while you’re going out it will activate automatically and if you forget to disarm when you get back home it does that for you automatically.
Activity zones home security camera
Activity zone cameras only send you a notification when there is an activity in a specific area. You can set the camera to ignore specific areas while focusing on a specific area. If you live in an area where you have a lot of movements you can set the camera to focus only on the doorway especially if you have one of those wider angle cameras. With an activity zone camera, you don’t get random notifications for any movements around your property but this depends on how effective the camera is.
Cameras that have a notification system or alert system can quickly notify you when there is movement or when it detects something like unusual movement in your property. It will quickly send you notifications, some cameras with AI capabilities can notify you when a person is armed.
Home security cameras with easy installation
You also want cameras with easy installations, most of these cameras require only a few steps of installation which include login or mounted on the wall, download the app, add it to your internet, and name it. But some of the cameras have complicated installations that may require expert installation especially the outdoor camera with a larger Security System which requires a professional installation.
Cameras with the mobile app are also important especially the user-friendly apps that allow you to stream live footage, control the camera, and get notifications, also check if the camera has a good rating with user experience.
To wrap things up, by now you should be familiar with what to look for in-home security cameras, the different types of security cameras to look out for, and whether you need one or not. All the features listed here are very important, we also recommend checking the manufacturer’s website for any past privacy breaches to know what to expect with them.
- Do I need a security camera?
- Do security cameras deter crime?
- How many security cameras do you need?
- Different types of home security camera systems
- 1. Camera location (indoor and outdoor)
- 2. Power
- Can wired security cameras be hacked?
- 3. Security camera connectivity
- 4. Camera recording
- 5. Camera shapes
- What’s the difference between NVR and DVR CCTV?
- What to look for in-home security cameras?
- Different types of privacy
- Security camera connectivity
- Security camera power source
- Security camera durability
- Camera video quality
- Security camera HDR
- Security camera zoom
- Security camera field of view
- Night vision
- Security camera audio
- Security camera storage
- Smart security cameras
- Motion detectors security cameras
- Shared access home security cameras
- Activity zones home security camera
- Home security cameras with easy installation