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Ideally, security cameras should be affordable, easy to install, and able to capture quality footage without depleting your bandwidth. Many different types of cameras are available on the market, and each will benefit different households. When considering which type of camera is best for home security, you must first assess your needs.
Features will vary according to the home security camera you buy. A very basic camera will capture footage with hopefully a clear picture. They will store it on a microSD card, hard drive, NVR, DVR, or cloud storage. Basic cameras allow you to check in on family members and loosely monitor the house. More robust solutions will enable you to view the entire home inside and out.
What you select as a homeowner will depend on several factors. These include:
- Your Purpose for Buying the System. Some people want to be able to monitor family members, pets, babysitters, and deliveries. Other people may want a system that will monitor their entire house in the event of an intrusion. These factors will decide what type of system you end up purchasing.
- Required Features. For outdoor cameras, you may want something that incorporates night vision or activates only when something trips the motion sensor. You may want a basic system that allows you to communicate with those inside the house. You will need to consider what you need when determining your camera system.
- Your Location. Since many wireless security camera systems operate on Wi-Fi, if internet connectivity in your area is sketchy, you may have problems recording footage. Furthermore, you need to consider the number of cameras in your house and how frequently they record footage. This will influence bandwidth.
- The Type of System That Will Work Best for Your Home. Each system is very different and has different costs. Wired security camera systems will need to be professionally installed, meaning there will be an extra cost. Wireless security camera systems are great because you can install them anywhere. However, since they use internet connectivity, they can more easily be hacked.
There are other bells and whistles associated with buying a home security system. Some of these are a must for a home, while others may be more of a want.
- What to Consider in a Home Security System
- Which Type of Camera Is Best for Home Security?
What to Consider in a Home Security System
In addition to the points mentioned above, you should make a list of what you need in a camera system. Each household will require something different in terms of home security. There are many “musts” when selecting a system, and then there are things that make life more convenient.
Power outages are bound to happen. Also, clever thieves have been known to cut the power before breaking into a home. Without electricity, even the best home security camera goes dark and will not be able to record footage in the event of a crime. You will then lose any evidence that might have been recorded.
Therefore, some cameras come equipped with the ability to operate for a short duration using battery power. It is a worthwhile feature to invest in. Furthermore, you can also buy cameras that solely operate on battery power or rechargeable batteries.
The best home security system can be equipped with push notifications. These will go directly to your smartphone, alerting you to any potential danger surrounding your home. It is unrealistic to watch your home all day for danger. This feature makes things more straightforward to keep tabs on activity in real time.
Depending on the camera you select, it may alert you when there is sound, motion, or an unrecognized face, or it may alert you on all these features. You can send the alerts to several people; other systems may also send emails as a failsafe option.
Some companies offer cloud storage plans with their systems. The footage is sent to a remote server and then stored for anywhere from one day to one week. The footage is deleted to make room for new video when it is full.
While some storage may be free, cloud plans usually require a monthly subscription. They may be worth the investment, especially if you are away from home for extended periods and may not be alerted to a break-in right away.
Some newer cameras use facial recognition technology. The downside of this technology is that it isn’t yet fully developed. Those who have used it state that it is better at distinguishing a face from an outdoor item than noting differences between people. This type of camera learns faces from repeated exposure, so you may need to spend a lot of time around your camera.
The monitoring environment sets apart a full-fledged home monitor from a simple security camera. It will track house vitals, and each model will track something different. Some may track illumination, while others track motion.
- Air Quality. This feature tracks indoor pollutants, from carbon monoxide traces to cooking smells. Most monitors don’t identify the type of pollutant in the air with alerts; they will simply note the air is abnormal. This should not be considered a substitute for an actual life-saving device.
- Temperature. This feature tracks dips and spikes in indoor temperatures. It will alert you when the temperature goes outside of an established range.
- Humidity. This feature tracks humidity in the house. Outside the acceptable range, humidity can contribute to sinus irritations, static electricity, and mold
Some cameras have memory slots with or without cloud storage. Video can be directly stored on your device, eliminating the need for storage fees. The only downside is that if the physical storage is stolen, you don’t have anything left to go on.
Adequate ambient light is necessary to have your camera system work properly, enabling it to capture a clear image. While this is easy when it is daylight, nighttime becomes more challenging. This may require you to consider adding ambient light by installing lights indoors or flood lights outside.
However, some security cameras have spotlights that directly illuminate the area, providing the clearest picture possible. Integrated spotlights can be activated using motion detection. They will only be triggered when a potential intruder is within view. This eliminates the need to keep lights on all the time. Also, the glare of light tends to deter crime as well.
This feature is excellent to have if you are monitoring an empty home. A built-in sensor detects movement within the range of the system. Then, the video recording feature is triggered, enabling you to save on bandwidth and only record when an intruder is detected.
These sensors are sensitive to any type of movement, which may include blowing leaves or light shifts. Select a system that will allow you to narrow the detection range or adjust the sensitivity. Otherwise, you may have several false alarms.
Some systems allow you to view footage on your smartphone app, which enables you to see live feeds and will allow you to customize performance. You can adjust motion/sound detection, customize notifications, and set a detection area.
Intrusions tend to happen during the night. Therefore, night vision is just as crucial as motion detection for a home. Most cameras will support infrared LED illumination compared to actual night vision or thermal vision.
Most cameras will automatically switch to night vision when there are low-light conditions. Others may permit you to customize them and determine activation. Cameras tend to come equipped with full-color footage, enabling you to capture important details.
Footage will not help you catch an intruder if it lacks clarity. Search for cameras with the highest resolution (generally 1080p or Full HD). Some have a higher resolution, labeled as 2K or 4K. However, with higher resolution, be prepared to sacrifice bandwidth for clarity.
There is a great deal of information regarding those who have hacked into security systems, baby monitors, and Wi-Fi to spy on others. Always check to see what the company has incorporated to address this issue. Find a camera that contains the latest wireless security protocol. Ensure it encrypts internet transmissions like live feeds, passwords, and usernames.
Scheduling will allow you to turn cameras on or off, send specific alerts, and detect any motion. It comes in handy when you want to know when children come home from school or want to monitor your residence while away. It reduces false alerts as well.
Cameras with a geofencing capability do this based on a smartphone’s location. They activate while you leave home and turn off when you return.
Hearing what is happening inside the home can be as crucial as video footage. It may alert the person to an event occurring out of the camera’s range and allows you to speak through the camera. This allows you to communicate with children, pets, or intruders.
Wireless Camera Range
There is a benefit to moving a wireless camera anywhere in the house. You should maintain connectivity no matter how far from the router. Some come with ethernet ports, so you can additionally hardwire them into the network.
There are cameras that you can access through web portals, which is excellent for times when you don’t have access to your phone or a connection. This app mimics the mobile phone closely, so it will not take you long to learn how to use it.
Which Type of Camera Is Best for Home Security?
There are a variety of cameras on the market. In addition to learning what features you need, you must consider what camera type you will need to use. For outdoor cameras, you will need something that can handle changing weather and light conditions and still produce a crisp, clear image. These are essential features to have in a camera.
Wired Versus Wireless Cameras
This is always an interesting debate for homeowners. Wired camera systems are great if you are concerned about data breaches. They aren’t systems that an intruder can easily mess with, either. They are great for limiting data usage and storing data on a physical device. This makes them perfect for areas with low connectivity.
However, if there is a power outage, the wired cameras will not work without battery backup. Also, installing them is an additional cost as you will likely need a professional to do the wiring for you.
When it comes to wireless cameras, the advantage is that footage is stored in the cloud. They can be placed anywhere in the home; you can view footage on your phone and have them send you alerts. They are more intuitive compared to wired camera systems.
However, some may use up a great deal of bandwidth and can leave you open to data breaches. You should note that intruders could mess with both types of systems if they wanted to. With wired cameras, they can simply steal the recording device. On a wireless system, they can hack into the system. Neither system is entirely foolproof.
The below YouTube Video will provide more information on wired vs wireless home security cameras:
Best Cameras Overall
The Arlo Pro 4 is a highly preferred system. While the Arlo Pro provides half the resolution of the Arlo Ultra, it is more cost-effective. It eliminates the need to purchase a base station, but you can use it with a storage device if you already have one. The base station will provide Apple HomeKit smart home compatibility and local storage.
- Integrated spotlight
- 2K resolution
- Motion detection
- Subscription is required to unlock all features
- Optional accessories can be expensive
The Google Nest Cam contains great features accompanied by a versatile offering. It’s easy to install and provides excellent performance no matter the lighting. As a bonus, the Google Nest Cam can be used as an indoor or outdoor camera.
- Easy installation
- Can be placed inside or outside
- Uses battery power or AC
- Poor night vision feature
- Power cable too short
- Subscription needed for full features
There are many other types of cameras on the market. These are just the top two when it comes to features and performance.
Which type of camera is best for home security? The answer will be based on your needs, your location, and your personal reasons for investing in the system. There are many things to consider when purchasing a home security system. Select the best home security camera that will keep your entire house safe.
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