Security Cameras Vs Surveillance Cameras

Security and surveillance cameras are among the most important gadgets needed for property safety. They are perfect for both commercial and residential settings, allowing home and business owners to monitor their facilities for trespassers or monitor employees for suspicious activities.

Previously, video surveillance units were limited to analog CCTV devices and cameras were connected to VCRs for video recording. However, today, we have fully digital and network-based security devices connected to digital video recorders for upgraded image and video quality.

With the rising demand of security and surveillance cameras, users keep wondering if there is a difference between them. Thus, let’s engage in an enlightening debate on Security Cameras Vs Surveillance Cameras for more clarity.

The main difference between a security camera and a surveillance camera is its use. For example, security cameras oversee multiple spaces in a facility and have an on-site personal from a control center. They are used in public spaces and are easily visible.

Conversely, surveillance cameras record and capture footage for evidence and future reference. Thus, they detect motion within a specific area and the security personnel operating the system remotely get alerts via mobile apps and SMS messages.

That said, dive deeper into the conversation in the article below. I have discussed in depth what surveillance and security cameras are, their pros and cons, and how to determine the best camera for your home safety needs.

What Is Security Camera

Security Cameras Vs Surveillance Cameras
Image of a Security Camera

A security camera is a video recording gadget that records your home and property’s footage. Then, it sends the recording to a tablet, smartphone, or computer for remote access. The only requirement is internet connection.

Most home security cameras record after detecting motion and send you an alert. In addition, some record 24/7, which is called continuous video recording (CVR).

We have two types of security cameras, namely wired and wireless. Wired cameras are hardwired to an on-site video storage gadget, either a network video recorder (NVR) or digital video recorder (DVR).

Each wired camera has cable running from the local storage panel for power and footage transmission. Further, the system does not use Wi-Fi but can be connected to the internet using an ethernet cable for remote access.

On the other hand, wireless security cameras use W-i-Fi to share footage with a cloud-based server over the internet. As such, you can view the recording on any internet connected gadget.

Please note that wireless cameras still need to be plugged into AC power using a power cable. Though, some use rechargeable batteries. 

Wireless security cameras are usually called ‘smart cameras’ as you can control them with a smartphone application. They also integrate with smart home appliances and systems, such as Alexa, Amazon, Google Assistant, smart locks, smart speakers, and smart lights.

Pros of Security Cameras

  1. Interactive Monitoring

You can connect a wireless security camera to a mobile phone or tablet and enjoy self, remote monitoring. This feature feeds you live footage from every camera set up in different home corners. Furthermore, exterior cameras help detect prospective danger and you can also watch your kids arrive home from school.

There might always be a worry concerning your home and property’s safety when you’re away from the facility. So, a home security camera provides peace of mind as you can make frequent check-ups.

Similarly, business owners can regularly check up on daily practices. Therefore, they can be off-site while staff handle on-site work. Moreover, managing parties keep tabs on customer interactions and stock remotely.

The slightest trigger instantly alerts you and the security agency. This allows you to promptly act before the situation becomes worse.

  1. Deter Crime

Security cameras dissuade property damage while reducing burglary and trespassing. Criminals avoid homes and property with security cameras as they’ll provide evidence for their activities.

Besides, statistics show that outdoor security cameras reduce property crime by half. Such evidence proves that installing these devices has an extensive effect and benefits homes and businesses.

  1. Gather Evidence

Security cameras in strategic places help monitor people at home or during an event. Better still, modern devices not only have high-quality video abilities, but also audio features. This way, you have clear images and flawless sound.

Also, these capabilities are helpful when handling legal scenarios, especially where the eyewitness has forgotten a vital detail or provides an inaccurate account of what happened. The authorities can see the events as they unfolded.

  1. Make the Right Decisions

Footage from home security cameras help home and business owners make correct and fair decisions when settling the domestic and professional conflict. Your doubts will be laid to rest when dealing with disagreements among family members, employees, or between service staff and customers.

Incorrect, exaggerated, or fabricated claims by authorities or customers can be sorted out easily. The security camera provides evidence to aid in such decision making.

  1. Maintain Records

Security cameras are perfect for keeping records of the on-goings in or around home and business. They show how unintended events happen, and can be used for future reference and consideration.

Businesses can also use security cameras to monitor traffic, especially when using access control and security turnstiles. Homeowners can also keep records of who visits their property.

Cons for Security Cameras

  1. Privacy Issues

Although security cameras watch for illegal behavior, threats, and aggressive behavior, they inevitably record everything within the field of view.

For instance, cameras in schools, warehouses, and offices record everyone going in and out. Also, license plate or face recognition cameras can focus on specific private qualities within their view.

People may complain of privacy infringement, especially when they are in doubt of whether such surveillance is useful. 

  1. Vulnerability

Ultimately, the average camera is an electronic device. Thus, too much water or impact in the wrong area effectively disables it. Outdoor security cameras have features to shield them from harsh weather patterns. But debris from wind, lightning strikes, or a nefarious person can disable the device.

In addition, while some security camera brands are more effective than others, some conditions and events neutralize all electronics.

  1. Cost Issues

A conventional security system guarantees excellent security support, but it is costly. Moreover, its implementation demands running cables, multiple products, and extensive labor.

Further, though the above requirements do not apply to wireless cameras and smaller home security systems, the initial installation for wired units comes with a heftier price tag. But they promise efficiency and durability.

  1. Can’t Stop Theft

It is true that security cameras deter thieves. However, they are not effective in deterring those determined to commit crimes. Thus, the system only discourages criminal activity, not preventing it.

Nonetheless, while these cameras do not do much to thwart crime, they capture everything that happens. The devices also provide alerts, allowing you to contact emergency services.

What Is Surveillance Camera

Security Cameras Vs Surveillance Cameras
Surveillance Cameras

A surveillance camera is often mounted in public to continuously record events. It works with security cameras and can be installed in homesteads, retail stores, offices, and other public spaces.

Surveillance cameras provide security and hinder criminal activity. The recorded footage acts as evidence when a crime occurs. You can also use it as a reference for future consideration.

These cameras use an IP network that connects it from remote systems and transfers the video to secure locations. This feature allows for long recording time, which is needed for surveillance purposes.

Unlike security cameras whose purpose is to deter criminals, surveillance cameras aim to catch a targeted intruder for certain acts. Thus, it is typically used by the police to catch criminals.

Surveillance cameras can be positioned in strategic locations throughout a business or home, depending on its size. For instance, mountable cameras can be placed on walls and in ceilings, whereas stand alone ones are more flexible and can rest on bookcases and shelves.

Ideally, multiple cameras placed independently in different locations work together to capture footage. And you can connect them to a central system for convenient monitoring.

However, these surveillance cameras send closed signals to the receiving monitor. So, you can only view footage using the connected equipment. But still, they deliver wide range viewing and give a perfect view in an obstructed corner.

Pros of Surveillance Cameras

  1. Improves Public Safety

A person will be more hesitant to commit a crime when they know that a camera will catch them in the act. Hence, if there’s suspicion of crime in a given location, you can regularly monitor the area with surveillance cameras.

Installing these cameras in public spaces like retail shops, parking lots, and gas stations makes it effortless to see a crime before or as it occurs. The recording is displayed real-time and alerts the police.

  1. High Video Quality

Surveillance cameras guarantee clear pictures of moving objects. Also, you can pan or zoom the gadget to identify whether the object is a person, vehicle, or animal. This aids in investigations as you can tell what really happened at the scene of crime.

  1. Provides Convenient Monitoring

Surveillance security cameras give accessible footage from anywhere. You can view the recording when connected to smart gadgets, such as a mobile phone, tablet or laptop, regardless of where you are.

Cons of Surveillance Cameras

  1. Easily Abused

Surveillance cameras are susceptible to abuse since they often use an internet or Wi-Fi connection. Worse still, public cameras cannot be encrypted, making them vulnerable to hackers.

Similarly, visible cameras are targeted by vandals at night. If you do not contract a reputable company, the person monitoring the system may misuse their power.

Voyeurism is another form of abuse where people spy on women with public surveillance cameras. So, overall, lack of boundaries on public cameras is among the biggest disadvantages.

  1. Cost Issues

Purchasing and installing surveillance cameras costs money. Why would someone spend much money on the project when it is not effective in deterring theft and crimes. Further, the system fails to make users feel safer and violates their personal rights.

  1. Complex

Unlike traditional security cameras, surveillance cameras have more bells and whistles. So, non particularly tech-savvy people have difficulty managing and monitoring them. As such, they prefer more straightforward security systems.

What Type of Surveillance Camera Should I Get?

We have various surveillance cameras in the market and sometimes, one may wonder which one to purchase. Moreover, different camera users have varying security needs and requirements.

Surveillance cameras are categorized differently depending on their strengths and intended purpose. For instance, you can have a Wi-FI connected or analogue camera, a box, dome, or bullet camera, and network or digital recording cameras.

Let us examine various surveillance camera types for more insight and better decision making.

  1. Based on Shape

Surveillance cameras are available in different shapes to accommodate multiple spaces, whether walls, ceilings, shelves, rooms, or even the backyard. Below are common camera shapes to consider.

  • Box Camera. This surveillance camera is literally shaped like a box. It was more famous during the late 1800s and early 1900s since nowadays  we have smart home security technology.
  • Bullet Camera. This camera is often wireless and perfect for securing room corners. This way, you guarantee maximum coverage.
  • Dome Camera. This security camera is harder to install than a bullet one. The unit is positioned on ceilings, making it harder to steal. It also delivers a wider field of view than a standard camera.
  • Turret or Eyeball camera. This gadget resembles a dome camera and has the best of both worlds. You can position it in any angle to create a thief-resistant set-up.
  • Hidden Camera. This surveillance camera is designed to imitate other objects like teddy bears or pens. Also, it is small enough to be hidden and remain unnoticed. However, the gadget does not deter would-be burglars as it is easily seen.
  • Pan, Tilt or Zoom. Panning, tilting, and zooming a surveillance camera gives more freedom to see what you’d like to see. The best cameras pan 360 degrees to guarantee total coverage.
  1. Based on Connectivity

Interestingly, not everyone uses internet connected surveillance cameras. Besides, a 2019 research showed that 10% of Americans do not use the internet. But thankfully, regardless of whether you have Wi-Fi, you can still get a functional security camera.

  • WiFi-Connected Cameras (Digital or IP Surveillance Camera). Nowadays, most cameras are Wi-Fi connected. Therefore, you can livestream footage, receive person or motion-activated notifications, and control the device remotely.
  • Cameras That Don’t Require WiFi (Analog). These cameras record directly onto a hard-drive or micro-SD card. So, you only view the footage in retrospect by downloading the local storage to your computer.
  1. Based on Recording

Surveillance cameras are also categorized depending on how they record and store information. For instance, we have digital video recorders, network video recorders, and cloud recording.

  • Digital Video Recorders (DVR). These surveillance cameras are usually part of wired security systems. Further, they connect to a hard drive using a coaxial cable.
  • Network Video Recorders (NVR). Most NVR systems or Internet Protocol cameras are Wi-Fi connected and can be wired or wireless. However, wired systems use Ethernet cables instead of coaxial cables.
  • Cloud Recording. These cameras record through a cloud server operated by a third party or the camera manufacturer. Also, some older IP surveillance cameras allow personal storage options like OneDrive and Google Drive.
  1. Based on Installation Location

You can have different security camera types depending on the installation location. They include indoor cameras, outdoor cameras, and video doorbells. Moreover, although all types of security cameras serve the same purpose, the camera’s footage peripheral is key.

  • Indoor Cameras. These surveillance cameras monitor home interiors. They capture a wider field of view when positioned at a central area, such as the living room or kitchen. Further, you can use the camera to communicate with elderly family members, children, or even pets at home.
  • Outdoor Cameras. These cameras live outside the facility, usually near or on the front door. They are made of weatherproof materials, keeping them durable against unfavorable elements like wind, heat, snow, and hail. 

Better still, modern outdoor security cameras have multiple features, such as high-resolution video quality, two-way audio, motion activation, human detection, and infrared night vision to guarantee maximum safety.

  • Video Doorbells. These security cameras work with your doorbell to monitor the front door area. They utilize human detection technology to detect intruders and package deliveries. Then, send alerts and notifications to your smartphone.

How Many Cameras Needed for Home Security?

You need between two to six security cameras for effective home video surveillance. However, business owners require 16 to 64 cameras, depending on preference and the premises’ size.

Unfortunately, most people skip this crucial step by assuming they’ll figure out the cameras as they go. This approach is wrong as knowing how many gadgets you require upfront saves money ultimately.

For instance, it’s prudent to purchase an eight-channel recorder if you’ll eventually have eighth cameras. Otherwise, you might buy a four channel device, only to need another one after exhausting the ports.

Location is also a critical consideration influencing the number of surveillance cameras to install. Common areas for home security systems include

  • Driveway
  • Front Yard
  • Front porch
  • Garage
  • Hallway
  • Backyard
  • Living room
  • Rooms with safes
  • Child’s bedroom

Common areas for business security systems include

  • Parking lots
  • Lobbies and other customer areas
  • Main and secondary entrances
  • Cash registers
  • Restaurant kitchens
  • Employee only areas

Should I Get Black or White Security Cameras?

Black and white security cameras guarantee optimal functionality. But there are some aesthetic and practical reasons to consider the device’s color. For instance, black is more stylish and sophisticated whereas white has a homey and inviting appearance that blends well with various environments.

Further, both colors are effective options depending on your context. You can creatively blend them with existing interior design elements.

Generally, black security cameras are special surveillance devices designed with a black casing. They easily blend with the environment. But consider the monitored space, camera’s field of view and preferred security features before picking black cameras.

Black security cameras are also less noticeable when placed in black or dark-colored decor such as a black painting or dark door. They guarantee a more cohesive appearance and are not obvious..

This matte finish and dark color prevents a black camera from reflecting as much light as its white counterpart. As a result, it is less visible in the dark and thus a perfect way to keep burglars from spotting the unit.

Most types of surveillance equipment including digital video recorders and network video recorders give your space a uniform look. As such, you’ll create a better impression on renters and buyers viewing your property.

Black cameras absorb heat faster than white ones. Therefore, they may fail due to overheating with poor ventilation or when installed in extremely hot environments. On the other hand, white cameras absorb less light and work better in high-temperature areas.

Black security cameras are often preferred in areas requiring low-light visibility such as dark corners and alleyways. Furthermore, they absorb incoming light rather than reflect it randomly.

As a result, the cameras capture clearer images than white ones, which produce glares from other illumination sources, such as streetlights. But this aspect has not been proven in practice.

Both black and white security cameras are versatile and available in multiple powerful capabilities like smart motion detection. This feature alerts the user when the device detects movement, which is useful for monitoring the targeted space.

The cameras also offer remote access, allowing you to view footage directly from your computers and phones. Thus, you can conveniently check on your property when you are away.

In short, the decision between a white or black security camera depends on where you’re installing the device, how visible you want it to be, the color of the footage, and the needed protection level.

Are Color Security Cameras Better Than Black And White?

Many people opt for color security cameras as they’re similar to color televisions. However, it is prudent to evaluate the numerous advantages of both colored and white and black cameras before making a purchase.

Each type has various merits and demerits. So, let’s examine each device for better understanding.

  • Color Security Cameras

The primary advantage of color security cameras is that you can view your images in color. The color is more appealing and crucial in identifying key attributes of a perpetrator. For example, you can tell what color clothing the person was wearing or the color of the car they drove in.

Although all security cameras are different in type, operation mode, preference, and size, most people lean toward color security devices than their black and white counterparts. However, there is no rule on which camera an individual should get as it all boils down to individual preferences.

Color imagery makes the recording easier to view and the unit is not very different in its operation. Also, during purchase, you receive the camera, wires to plug it in, a digital video recorder, and all other vital components.

However, colored security cameras are not ideal for areas with low lighting. Their field of vision is not enough in the dark. Moreover, the camera’s infrared light attracts bugs and spiders, which obstruct its view.

As such, it is prudent to clean the gadget’s viewing area regularly. Alternatively, change to black and white viewing during the night or when in poorly lit environments. Furthermore, they still deliver useful footage.

  • Black and White Security Cameras

Averagely, black and white security cameras are more affordable than their color counterparts. You’ll find a few exceptions because some black and white cameras are of high quality.

Moreover, since the cameras can capture images in lower lighting situations, they ultimately cost more than color ones.

Black and white cameras have upgraded resolution with sharper images than those of comparable color security cameras. They only use gray coloring thus use the full sensor range. Thus, the gadget does not divert resources into picking up varying color formations.


Security cameras, also referred to as closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras use radio frequency to share recordings to designated storage devices like an SD card, hard disk, or DVR. They connect using multiple cables or wirelessly and are motion or sound activated.

On the other hand, surveillance cameras, also referred to as internet protocol (IP) cameras share real time footage to a central location in a local area network (LAN), such as a monitoring center

Interestingly, these cameras do not always need an internet connection to work. You can connect them wirelessly or through an ethernet cable and transmit signals through a cellular, Wi-Fi, or LAN network.

The above write up expounds on security and surveillance cameras, providing ease as you consider and shop for home safety equipment.

Security Cameras Vs Surveillance Cameras

While you can comfortably use security and surveillance cameras in any facility, they have different purposes. Each camera comes with merits and demerits, and works best depending on your unique home safety needs and wants.

For instance, security cameras are most common in private businesses and residential areas, as they oversee various spaces in the building. Conversely, surveillance units work best in specific zones as they provide footage for evidence and reference purposes.

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