Having a home security system can not only deter would be criminals from ever entering your property, but could also provide proof if anything bad were to happen. Some systems require monthly subscriptions to store videos online in the cloud while others are free. Make sure you research all the costs associated with a particular security camera system before committing to buy.
Home security cameras can save you a lot of money from traditional security systems because you’re actually setting up and monitoring the activity yourself versus paying another company a lot of money to do it for you.
However, actually picking a camera or system can be a daunting task. There are so many models on the market nowadays with different features, and keeping track of what you need is confusing. By reading this article though, you can inform yourself on what to look out for when you go shopping.
The simplest way to break down camera types is to figure out where it’s going to be installed. Obviously, a security system that’s designed to be inside your home will be built differently than one that will be outdoors all the time. Furthermore, there are several different kinds of outdoor cameras on top of that.
Outdoor cameras can be separated into wired, wireless, floodlight, or doorbell cameras. When you are picturing a generic security camera, wired or wireless is probably what you are envisioning. Floodlight cameras are ones that have a light attached that are better suited for recording in the dark. Finally, doorbell cameras are ones that are installed next to the front or back door.
Obviously, a doorbell camera is the best if you want a security camera to cover an area in front of a door. Because they use the wiring that is already there, you won’t have to figure out another power source or install any batteries. Speaking of batteries, wireless cameras are best for spots outside where you don’t have access to a power source or an outlet. Meanwhile, it’d be pretty simple to upgrade a preexisting floodlight to a floodlight camera. Since the wiring has already been run to the light, you don’t need to do much additional work.
Getting power to your security camera was already touched on a little above. Of course, having the necessary hookups wherever you want the camera to be is very convenient. This won’t always be the case though. If you need to cover a spot of your house that requires a wireless camera, be aware of what that will entail.
Wireless security cameras only turn on when movement is detected in order to save battery power. If one is installed in a high traffic area, you may have to recharge them monthly or even weekly. Meanwhile, a system that is tucked away somewhere quiet might last half the year. It all depends on your use case and the model that you end up buying.
That is why some people just chose to go with wired models, so you don’t have to worry about recharging at all. The main limitation then becomes the locations you can place them while still being able to access electricity.
If you compare the options, having cloud storage is kind of a no brainer. Before systems had that option, you would have to install a central receiver or rely on memory cards. Now that cameras can upload directly to a cloud, it makes everything simpler for both customers and manufacturers. This also ensures that the video can’t be lost due to memory card corruption, or if someone steals the camera itself.
The important thing here is to be aware of how much free cloud storage you get with the camera, and how much you’ll have to pay to get more. Also, think about how much video will be recorded by your device. A wireless setup in a low-traffic area will record less, and therefore need less space.
Although you may feel safer with a home security camera, keep in mind that they are also a backdoor themselves. Being connected to the internet means that malicious people can tunnel their way into your system. Be prepared to take certain precautions to prevent things like that from happening.
If you hire a company to set up your system for you, you may want to be sure they change the default passwords. Some devices always have the same default codes, so not altering them means a criminal can easily access your data. To be safer, you should always select new passwords that aren’t easy to guess.
Also, a system with two-factor authentication is much more secure than one without. Simply put, this form of authentication not only requires a password, but also sends a temporary code to your phone or email anytime you try to log in. It might seem like a hassle, but that means a would-be hacker needs to gain access to both your camera password and your personal email. A little bit more work when logging in is definitely worth the extra peace of mind. Just be sure to activate it, since some systems won’t have it turned on by default.
Our Top Picks
No subscription needed:
Eufy outdoor security cameras are the best option if you do not need cloud storage. All video clips are stored locally either on a microsd card in the camera or if you are tech savvy enough to store them on a local hard drive via third party software. The video records in 2K which is double the resolution of 1080p. These are also great because you have the option of recording all activity 24/7 unlike other cameras that record when there is motion or sound detected. Since there is no subscription or monthly fees, the price you pay for the camera is how much the camera will cost you to run.
Google Nest outdoor cams are the best security cameras that require a monthly subscription. Although you can use the cameras without a subscription, you would have to pay a small monthly fee if you want recordings to be saved in their cloud. There are two subscription options available, one that only saves recordings after motion or sound events and another that records 24/7 and saves the recordings for you to view whenever you want. The drawback is that the videos will be streamed and recorded in 1080p. The benefit of this service over Eufy’s is that if there was a theft involved, the thief could take the Eufy cameras with them that contains your recordings, whereas with the Google cameras, even if they take them, you’ll have the recordings backed up online.
Home security system:
We recommend Reolink security systems for those who are budget minded. Their systems cost about the same as the first two options per camera, but you’ll have a dedicated system to connect and view recordings or live camera feeds. These cameras can also stream and record at 4K resolution, and some can even go as high as 8K. Many people connect the dvr included with the systems to a monitor so that they can see live feeds of their cameras 24/7. The camera feeds are also recorded to a very large hard drive that is included with the system so that you can rewind and review footage any time you want. These systems also don’t have a monthly subscription fee because everything is stored locally. If you don’t have any budget constraints, the best of the best system to get would be a Lorex security system.