Today, I’ll walk you through how to buy home security cameras. In other words, all you need to do to land the very best affordable security cameras for your home. Please keep reading for more…
In an increasingly interconnected world, the demand for home security has never been more apparent. Homeowners and renters are trailing ways to safeguard their homes and families from emerging threats.
Luckily, technological advancements have made improving your home’s security more manageable, and one significant tool in this effort is a home security camera.
Home security cameras have become instrumental in today’s security systems, as they offer homeowners and renters alike peace of mind, deterrence against intruders, and the freedom to monitor their property remotely.
But with the rapid evolution of home security cameras, many models have flooded the market, making choosing the best unit that aligns with your security needs even more challenging. This takes us back to our original question: How to buy home security cameras?
To buy a home security camera, you should first assess your security needs, including purpose, coverage, type of camera, and location. Once you understand your security needs, you can look for additional features you want in a security camera. Research brands and models that offer the best features at a reasonable price and pay attention to customer reviews.
If you’re unfamiliar with the world of surveillance, this guide may be for you. We will help you navigate the complex world of home security cameras courtesy of our comprehensive buying guide so you can make wise purchase decisions. Let’s begin!
How Do Home Security Camera Systems Work?
Home security camera systems are aimed at monitoring and capturing activities in and around your property. They offer you a sense of security, which may also calm your nerves when you are away from home, particularly if you want to monitor a sleeping child or a burglar in the act of breaking in. But how do these systems work?
- Image Capture:
The working mechanism of home security camera systems is straightforward and begins with image capture. Each security camera is outfitted with an image sensor, often of the CCD type.
These sensors operate as the digital eyes of the security camera, converting incoming light into electrical signals. This transformation leads to the establishment of a visual representation of the captured scene.
- Video Processing:
After capturing the images, the camera uses internal processing mechanisms to form a coherent video stream. This process involves color correction to guarantee precise color representation, compression to minimize the data size being transferred, and frame adjustment to control the video’s speed and smoothness.
Advanced security cameras connect to the home’s Wi-Fi network, allowing you to access and communicate with the camera system. This connection acts as an entry point for the camera to transmit its footage and other relevant data. This connection also facilitates convenient integration and remote monitoring.
- Monitoring and Control
Home security cameras allow homeowners to access the camera’s feed and control its functions via a dedicated mobile app or web interface. These user-friendly apps offer access to live feeds, allowing you to change camera angles and configure different settings to customize the system to your specific demands.
- Motion Detection:
A key feature of home security cameras is the ability to sense movements within their field of view. These surveillance systems deploy motion sensors to monitor the surroundings constantly. When they detect motion, these cameras initiate a predetermined action, triggering connected devices such as alarms or alerting users.
- Storage and Recording:
Security camera systems have storage options for keeping captured video data. These storage options include:
- Local Storage: Some security cameras have built-in memory cards or USB ports for storing video footage.
- Network-Attached Storage: Home security cameras can be connected to a NAS device on the home network to provide enough storage capacity.
- Cloud Storage: Wireless security cameras allow cloud storage, where video data is uploaded to remote servers managed by the camera manufacturer or third-party service providers.
- Power Supply: Home security cameras need a reliable power supply to work optimally. The source of power can be an electrical outlet, Power over an Ethernet cable, or a battery, depending on the type of security camera.
What to Consider When Buying a Home Security Camera System
With the increasing home security risks, surveillance systems and their implementation are gaining momentum. Security and surveillance are no longer restricted to critical government facilities; they are now being implemented across various settings, including residential and commercial. However, there are numerous considerations for homeowners to factor in when buying a home security camera system.
After all, the last thing you want is blurred video footage, even if you don’t fancy high-end features in a home security camera system. As such, a security camera and its related accessories should have some basic features, which form the basis of this discussion. Ahead, learn the essential factors to consider when buying a home security camera:
- Power: Security cameras are powered differently. Some are plugged in, others are battery-powered, and others can be rechargeable. Determining the power option is important as it can interfere with your installation. Battery-powered models are the simplest to install, and their batteries will serve you for months before demanding recharge or replacement. Outlet-powered cameras won’t run out of battery, but you must weigh this benefit against their complex installation options. Wired models are great candidates for heavy usage, allowing around-the-clock recording, but they will fail during power outages.
- Connectivity: Determine if your security camera needs Wi-Fi and what type of network if that’s the case. Most security cameras only support 2.4 GHz networks. If your router runs on the 5GHz frequency, go for a camera that connects to a similar frequency. If not, you’ll experience connectivity issues. Alternatively, you can upgrade to a dual-band router instead of searching for a camera that supports your router’s frequency.
- Smart Home Integration: If you have an existing smart home system, including devices such as door locks and alarms, choose a security camera system that seamlessly integrates with these devices for improved automation and control.
- Durability: Durability mainly applies to outdoor home security cameras. Check that the camera can withstand maximum abuse and adapt to temperature changes. If you reside in areas that see temperatures between 0 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, choose a camera that suits that range. Equally important is to consider the camera’s IP rating, as this tells you how resistant it is to the elements. For instance, a security camera with an IP rating of 65, typical for outdoor security cameras, would be entirely dust-tight and able to tolerate low-pressure water jets.
- Night Vision: A security camera must show you what’s happening at night, so choose a unit with night vision capabilities to capture detailed footage in low-light conditions. This feature is handy for around-the-clock surveillance, and it comes in two forms: infrared via LED sensors or color from a bright white spotlight.
- Two-way Audio: Those looking to interact with visitors, family members, and even unauthorized persons will find this feature a dream come true. Two-way audio allows real-time communication courtesy of the camera’s built-in microphone and speaker. Whether instructing a delivery person or checking in on household members, two-way audio facilitates your security system’s versatility and interactivity.
- Storage and Recording: Storage is available in two categories: local and cloud. Local storage can be a micro-SD card built into the security camera or an external hard drive. With this option, the video data is recorded directly onto the SD card or hard drive. On the other hand, cloud storage involves the footage being uploaded onto a cloud server. We recommend security cameras with both storage options so that if one fails, you have a backup.
- Type of Camera: Security cameras come in different types, ranging from outdoor cameras to indoor cameras and the rest. Outdoor cameras are more popular. They come in wired and wireless options. Wired models are hardwired into your home’s electrical system, while the wireless ones are typically plugged into a wall, though some are battery-powered.
Indoor security cameras are often plugged in and may need an internet connection to offer you live video feeds or remote alerts. Wireless security cameras link to your home’s Wi-Fi network and keep captured footage in the cloud.
They are relatively easy to install as they don’t involve physical cable connection throughout the home. Generally, all these security cameras have strengths and weaknesses, so it’s upon you to find one that suits your security needs.
- App: Your security camera must have a user-friendly app so you can control the camera from whichever location and receive timely notifications. Check that the app has excellent ratings on the iOS or Android store, based on the type of your smart device.
- Shape: A security camera’s shape works best in different spaces. For instance, a bullet camera will function best in the room’s corners, offering complete coverage. Dome cameras, often tricky to install, provide a wider field of view and are not easily accessible because they are mounted on ceilings. This makes them challenging to steal. Pan, tilt, or zoom cameras give you the freedom to view everything you want captured, as they can pan all the way around for complete coverage. Lastly, eyeball cameras have the best of both worlds. You can place these cameras at any angle in a theft-resistant setup.
- Geofencing: This cutting-edge feature adds a new dimension to your home security camera system. With it, you can create virtual boundaries around your home. Geofencing uses your smartphone’s location to arm when you leave the house and disarm when you return, conserving power and minimizing false alarms.
- Image Quality: It is pointless to install a security camera if the footage is blurry. Therefore, choose a unit with at least full high-definition (HD) resolution or 1080p. Some cameras offer higher resolutions, like 4K, for greater clarity. If you choose a unit with built-in light or your home is well-illuminated, a high-resolution (HD) camera will suffice. Most cameras blend a high resolution with infrared sensors to enhance motion detection and range.
- Cost: First, assess the overall expenses associated with your security setup. This includes the initial camera price and additional costs in the long run. Value-minded security cameras often retail at a higher price because they have sophisticated features. But you don’t necessarily have to pay for features you don’t need. Evaluate your security needs and see whether these additional features are worth it. Similarly, you don’t want to pay for a cheap home security camera system that doesn’t incorporate your desired features.
Also, consider the subscription fees, as some security camera systems offer premium features for a monthly fee. If these additional services accommodate your needs, why not invest in these cameras? Lastly, factor in installation costs.
Wired security cameras are affordable, but the installation costs can take a homeowner by surprise. Wireless models are easier to install, meaning you can do it yourself, and they don’t incorporate intricate cable installations as with their wired counterparts.
- Installation: Installation options are often linked to the security camera’s power source type. As stated earlier, battery-powered security cameras are typically easier to install, and you can reposition or remove them conveniently. This flexibility makes battery-powered cameras a favorite pick among renters who can’t modify their homes. On the other hand, the installation of hardwired security cameras ranges in terms of difficulty. Some models can be run into the house and attached directly to an outlet, while others need hardwiring to the power supply. Such installations necessitate professional support to ensure everything has been set up safely.
By carefully considering these factors, you can make a financially sound decision when buying a home security camera system that accommodates your security needs.
Best Home Security Cameras
Considering the numerous residential security systems on the market, finding the best home security camera is challenging. However, the trick is understanding how to sift through the various available models, price points, and features to find one that massages your interests. That said, here’s a detailed outline of the best home security cameras on the market:
Google Nest Security Cam (Wired)
For a perfect camera that goes above and beyond, look no further than this quality bargain from Google Nest. It is renowned for its high-resolution video quality and integration with the Google Home ecosystem.
It is specially designed to blend in with any surroundings, and you can install it easily, unlike other wired security cameras in its category. Even better, the built-in stand, wall mount, and hinge offer a perfect angle regardless of the installation location.
Features like differentiating between a person, animal, and vehicle enhance the functionality of this indoor Nest Cam. Also, you can set activity zones to be informed of the most critical areas.
The most outstanding feature is the ability to replay video recordings and interact with visitors through the Google Home app. However, certain features such as remote control and video streaming need an active internet and Wi-Fi to function.
Wyze Cam v3 is one of the more prominent names in the world of home security. This affordable home security camera offers numerous service levels to align with different home security needs without compromising essential features.
Like its predecessor, Wyze Cam v3 lets users view and capture 1080p video through the Wyze mobile app. This app is incredibly responsive and user-friendly and offers all the basic capabilities. The only downside is you cannot fast-forward through continuous recordings.
One of the major selling points of this camera is its waterproof design, which makes it suitable for outdoor applications. With an IP65 rating, the Wyze Cam v3 can tolerate dust and light rain or snow. This home security camera also capitalizes on an all-new Starlight sensor, which facilitates visibility even in low-light conditions and delivers clear images in complete darkness.
Arlo Essential Video Doorbell Wire-Free – HD Video,AVD20001B
Keep an eye on your front door with the convenience of a wire-free, battery-powered video doorbell. This unit has it all! It offers full coverage of the person at your doorstep and delivers detailed images in low-light conditions. This top-notch security camera connects directly to your home’s Wi-Fi network without the clutter of extra gear.
Additionally, this wireless doorbell for home is weather-resistant and is built with robust materials to withstand the elements year-round. Installation is a breeze, and since it doesn’t involve intricate cable connections, you don’t have to seek professional service.
What’s more? The Arlo Essential Video Doorbell Wire-Free works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and more. Unfortunately, some features are premium and require renewal, including advanced object detection, quick responses, cloud storage, and cloud activity zones.
Best of all, this unit allows you to interact with visitors at your door courtesy of the two-way audio feature. If you are busy, the camera offers the option to respond with pre-recorded quick reply messages.
Known in the business as one of the leading brands in home security, Arlo continues to hold its own by keeping up with the newest smart-home tech and releasing new home security products.
This time, they have introduced this quality spotlight camera that lets see moving objects clearly with auto-zoom and tracking. With the integrated spotlight, you can be confident that no intruder will think of breaking into your home.
With free local storage, the Arlo Ultra 2 spotlight camera allows you to remotely access your stored footage from the included Arlo Smarthub and mobile app.
The camera is wire-free, which hastens installation, while the weather-resistant nature means it can serve you outdoors for years. Interestingly, you can view essential features such as faces and license plates in full-color courtesy of the integrated spotlight.
Most importantly, the manufacturer offers a secure plan, allowing you to get notifications for vehicles, packages, and individuals through the mobile app.
Other features include advanced motion detection, local and cloud storage, two-way audio, and more.
Note: All the units discussed above excel in different aspects, from integration with smart home ecosystems to video quality. Your selection should match your needs, whether you prefer ease of installation, high-resolution video, or budget.
How to Install Home Security Cameras
Installing home security cameras can be challenging, but with a bit of know-how, you can do it in no time. Check out this step-by-step guide on how to correctly install wireless and wired home security cameras:
- Decide Where to Place the Camera.
The first step is to choose the optimal locations for your cameras. Assess areas needing attention, like entrances, driveways, and other vulnerable spots. Make sure your desired location offers a clear sight to capture critical footage.
- Gather Necessary Supplies
Have the following equipment at your disposal for seamless installation:
- Screws and anchors
- Security cameras
- Ladder (optional)
- Cable clips
- Drill and drill bits
- Power cables
- Mounting hardware
With these supplies at hand, you’re good to go.
- Plan the Wiring
This step applies to those planning to install wired security cameras. You’ll need to establish the wiring routes, hide cables to deter tampering, and ensure a neat setup. It would be better to use cable clips or conduits to conceal wires along walls.
Next, drill some pilot holes for the mounting screws and run cables to each camera, then follow by screwing the camera mount to the installation spot. Mount each camera and ensure the mounting site (wall or ceiling) is stable for proper camera positioning.
For wireless security cameras, you must attach mounting brackets to your desired location using screws and anchors. Then, download the app your security camera uses. You can get this app on the Google Play Store or App Store. Once downloaded, open the app and create a new account using the on-screen guidelines.
Log in using your new credentials and click “add a camera or device.” When prompted, use your smartphone to scan the QR code on the security camera’s box. Alternatively, you can tap on the camera option from the list that pops up on your screen.
Select your Wi-Fi network from the pop-up list and follow the on-screen guidelines to finish up. After that, mount the camera in the mounting bracket and proceed to the next step.
- Test the Camera
With the cameras up and running, it’s time to test their functionality. Check whether the camera is aligned appropriately to cover areas that matter the most to you. Make sure they offer a clear view of entry points and other vulnerable areas. If need be, adjust the cameras until you find a perfect angle.
Check that the camera gets adequate power, be it battery-powered, USB-powered, or solar-powered. Remember to check the Wi-Fi signal: it should be strong to avoid connectivity issues.
The other crucial test is the live video feed. You should open the mobile app associated with your security camera system for this test. Then, access the live video feeds from the camera to see whether you can view real-time footage.
- Set Up Monitoring and Alerts
Now, this is the most crucial step. It involves configuring your security camera system to send alerts and notifications to your smart device when movement is detected in the camera’s field of view. Customize the following settings to your liking:
- Spotlight brightness
- Motion sensitivity
- Detection zones
- Push notifications
- Activity zones
- Camera brightness
- Set Up Storage
There are several storage options based on your camera’s model. You can set up a cloud account for the home security camera through the cloud option in the mobile app. Or, link your camera to its local storage devices, like a computer or DVR, using the integrated wiring. The other option is inserting the SD card into the camera’s memory slot.
- Set Up Two-Factor Authentication.
Setting up 2FA helps protect your security camera system from hackers. It offers a second security layer beyond just a password. Before setting up two-factor authentication, check that your camera system and mobile support this feature.
If compatible, launch the mobile app and navigate to the security settings in the app. Select “enable two-factor authentication” or “2FA” or something similar.
You’ll be prompted to choose your desired method of 2FA. These methods include:
- Text Message: With this option, you’ll get a one-time code on your phone via SMS.
- Authentication App: You can use different authentication apps like Google Authenticator to generate time-based one-time codes.
- Email: You’ll receive a one-time code on your registered email address.
Follow the on-screen guidelines to verify your identity, depending on your two-factor authentication option. For instance, if you choose SMS, you’ll get a code on your phone that you’ll use to log in to the app. Lastly, complete the setup and perform a login test to ensure the process works optimally.
With a security camera system, you can monitor your home and deter would-be burglars from invading your privacy. However, many security camera brands are on the market, and each manufacturer claims to offer a quality model that will satisfy your security needs. That’s why many homeowners and renters want to know…
How to Buy Home Security Cameras
Buying a home security camera requires a targeted approach to avoid ending up with a below-average product that won’t support your demands.
It involves evaluating your security needs, such as coverage, purpose, or type of camera for your home. Once equipped with that understanding, you can sift through the different features of home security cameras to determine one that favors you. Consider how the camera will be powered, installed, and other critical features which we discussed earlier.