When you’re not at home, you may find yourself wondering – worrying, even – about what’s going on at home, is everything safe, is everyone okay, etc. There are extensive home security systems that can alleviate these types of concerns, but these may be too complicated or expensive for your needs and budget. If this is the case, home security cameras are an excellent option, especially wireless home security cameras.
Smart homes are becoming not just more popular in recent years; they’re becoming the standard of new construction. Smart home devices and capabilities are also being retrofitted into older homes because of the peace of mind they provide. One of the primary benefits of having a smart home is your ability to know what’s going on at home whether or not you’re there, and then be able to control the environment in the way you want. This is true for both indoor and outdoor home security cameras. (Which, by the way, it is important to differentiate between whether you want indoor, outdoor, or both types of home security cameras before you begin your research, as the two different types of cameras will have pretty significantly different features.)
A home security camera system is useful not just to
Pros & Cons Of A Home Security Camera System
A home that has a home security camera system is said to be less likely to be broken into, because simply having the security system provides a great deterrent. The home security system provides homeowners with video footage of what has happened in and/or around the house (depending on where security cameras have been placed). But, for all the advantages of having a home security camera set up (which we’ll discuss in a second), there might be some disadvantages to consider as well. Here’s a brief look at both the pros and cons of a home security camera system:
Pros of Home Security Cameras
- Camera security may deter crime (at least somewhat), as the mere presence of a home security camera may provide enough risk of being caught to keep would-be intruders away.
- Camera security provides relative portability, as camera placement can be inside, outside, or both. Home security cameras vary in size and shape, allowing them to be hidden, tucked away, or obvious, depending on what the homeowner deems better for their situation.
- Home security camera footage may be used to identify or as evidence against the perpetrator(s), should the need arise.
- The cost of a basic, or even fake, home security camera is very low and can deter crime just by being present.
Cons of Home Security Cameras
- The cost of a home security camera can be expensive; the best home security camera system could be hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on the type and number of the cameras installed as well as the monitoring system used.
- While home security cameras have been shown to deter crime, they don’t always. It might provide too much peace of mind, as tech-savvy intruders may have experience in avoiding or disabling the camera or entire system.
- Home security cameras will need to be maintained. If battery operated, the batteries of the camera will need to be replaced regularly. Monitors are the same.
- Video footage needs to be stored somewhere, which adds cost and/or space to the home security system overall.
What To Consider Before Buying A Home Security Camera
Everyone wants the best home security camera system, but the truth is, the “best” system will look different in different situations and homes, and for different reasons. The following are some considerations to ponder before you purchase any home security camera systems or simple cameras:
Quality of Viewing Resolution
The standard resolution for most (but not all) home security cameras is 1080p. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a home security camera that records in blu-ray-esque resolution, and that would probably be overkill anyway. But that’s not to say that a higher resolution sensor isn’t useful.
More megapixels in a camera sensor means greater capacity for digital zoom while still seeing a clear picture (as opposed to zooming in and seeing nothing but enlarged fuzziness). The majority of home security cameras on the market today include digital zoom features, which allows you to crop and enlarge the camera’s recording. This could be useful when you are looking at your security camera feed and need greater detail.
Field of View
Resolution plays an important part in your being able to see your home security cameras’ feed satisfactorily, but so does the field of view. This is a fancy way of saying: consider what the camera’s lens will actually capture. All home security cameras come with wide-angle lenses, but the angle of the lenses varies from camera to camera. This constitutes the field of view.
The range of viewing field in security cameras for home is about 100 degrees (which is just slightly more than a right angle, remember) through 180 degrees. This is a big difference, and, depending on the size of the area you want your camera to cover, you’re going to need to choose the appropriate breadth of field of view. Wider is, of course, better for larger areas, because the field of view is much greater. It’s an important component to consider, because field of view affects the number of cameras you will need, as well as their necessary placement.
This consideration may depend largely on whether or not you’re installing an indoor or an outdoor home security camera, although night vision is useful for either type of camera. Night vision involves the distance that your camera can record (relatively) clear images in low light or no light. This capacity can prove quite useful, as suspicious or criminal activity can occur in the dark.
If you are looking to be able to interact with whoever, or whatever, is in your camera’s sights through audio, you’re going to need to take sound into consideration. The three general considerations for sound in home security cameras include the following:
- Does the camera receive sound via a microphone?
- Does the camera emit sound via a speaker?
- Does the camera do both?
Cameras with both the microphone and speaker functionalities can double as intercoms.
The placement options of your home security camera will vary, depending on where you want to install the camera. Of course, inside your home, there are plenty of options for installing a security camera in the rooms. However, those options tend to decrease significantly when you’re opting for outdoor home security cameras, such as your front porch, backyard, and even driveway. Be sure to check for outdoor ratings on home security cameras if you are looking to install outside; these need to be rugged enough to withstand weather (wind, snow, rain, sun), seasonal temperature changes (which can be severe, depending on your climate), humidity, and more.
We discussed the field of view and will discuss motion detection of home security cameras, but movement of the camera lens itself can be an important consideration. A camera that has panning or tilting capabilities might be able to record more area than a static home security camera. While these features might increase the cost per unit, they also can decrease the number of cameras needed to do their monitoring job effectively.
A home security camera with wi-fi capability will be able to communicate with your home network wirelessly. This has a number of benefits, including easy installation, more aesthetic installation because of fewer wires or cords to deal with, and less chance of damage due to wires being cut.
Capacity for Connectivity
Wireless home security cameras (in other words, those that connect to wi-fi) are much more common today than in even recent past years. But not all cameras rely on wi-fi exclusively. Bluetooth is another connectivity option for some cameras, which facilitates local control and easier setup and access via your smartphone. Other home security cameras are designed with separate home automation networking standards, which allows them to interact with other devices.
The good news is that the best home security cameras will provide simple instructions on an app that will help you connect them to your home network. And, once connected, your camera will be able to be accessed via your smart devices and phone. Mobile apps are practically standard issue with today’s home security cameras.
Chances are, your home security camera will not have the capacity to store its recorded video footage by itself – it would just take too much memory. A few cameras have microSD cards that can be physically removed for accessing video footage, but this is more rare than it is common. Most home security cameras use cloud services for storing footage as well as providing remote access to that storage. But that doesn’t mean that cloud services are all created equal. Cloud variations might include:
- Stored total footage
- Stored numbers of video footage
- Stored lengths of video footage
- How long the storage will be stored
- Amount of free cloud services before requiring paid subscription
Motion Detection & Smart Identification
Similar to the motion sensor lights that became popular and more common decades ago, home security cameras on today’s market often contain the feature of motion detection. When movement is detected, you will receive notification to alert you of suspicious activity, which allows you to more closely monitor the situation remotely. However, some home security cameras can differentiate between what or who is being targeted for activity – an animal, a car, or a person. Even still, some super smart home security cameras are delving into face-recognition technology, involving an automatic zoom-in on the people within the field of view and a notification of recognition (or unrecognition) sent. Pretty amazing.
Home Security Camera Cost
As is the eternal case in the world of technology (or anything, really), there is a huge variety in the cost of home security cameras, based upon what features they offer, the brand, etc. That being said, most top-rated home security cameras in today’s market cost roughly around $200, although this doesn’t include any additional costs accrued for cloud storage.
Feature Options Of Home Security Cameras
Home security cameras vary, as do all technical products, so you’ll want to be aware of what options are available. Determine the primary reasons you want a home security camera, then choose the product that best addresses those reasons. The following is a brief, general list of some features that home security cameras might offer:
- Connect to alarm system
- Provide two-way audio capacity, allowing those at home to talk with you remotely
- Send notifications at the detection of activity (you can set parameters on some home security cameras)
- Monitor children
- Serve as complete automation hubs for the home
Other characteristics you may find important for a security camera in your home include the following:
- Easy to set up and install
- Intuitive to actually use
- Attractive appearance, or physically integrates seamlessly into the style of your home
- Unnoticeable (depending on your purpose for a home security camera)
- Sufficient device support, allowing you to access the home security camera feed or footage from anywhere, be it your computer, tablet, or phone app
Home Security Camera Reviews
The following section provides an in-depth look at various home security cameras, their features, their specifications, and their uses. We’ll look at indoor home security cameras, then indoor/outdoor rated cameras, then finally outdoor home security cameras.
Indoor Home Security Camera
The following indoor home security cameras are reviewed for you to determine what is the best fit for your interior.
Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera
An integrated microphone and speaker allow the Nest Cam to serve as an intercom of sorts; through the app, you can talk and/or listen to the people (or pets! Off the couch, Rover!) in the room. The Nest Cam has night vision capacity, which allows the room to be viewed clearly during the day as well as during the night. There is also an option to program in intelligent alerts, continuous cloud recording, and create Activity Zones for more precise alerts. There is a monthly subscription required to access all features and associated sites.
Vimtag VT-361 Surveillance Security Camera
The Vimtag home security camera offers basic functionalities including 120-degree pan and 320-degree tilt (controlled remotely), motion detection and accompanying snapshot alerts, and two-way voice connectivity via a built-in microphone and speaker. There is also 3x digital zoom capacity and clear night vision up to 10 meters. Internet access is required for the Vimtag camera to perform, either wired or wireless. A 3Dbi antenna provides reliable wi-fi connection. An internal SD card slot is ready to receive a 32GB SD card for recording and playback. Setup is easy (just four steps) through a convenient QR code scan, real plug and play 5-minute setup. This model is made out of strong, heavy duty rubber-based material.
LG All-in-One Indoor Smart Security Camera, LHC5200WI
The LD smart security camera offers 130 degrees of field of view through its wide-angle lens, which provides a pretty complete view of what is happening in the room even when you’re not there. The camera also boasts activity alerts and notifications. You can set up custom alerts pushed to your smart phone or tablet based on your daily activities, which will be sent when the alarm is tripped or motion detected. What’s more, the camera is fully compatible with ADT canopy service.
Logitech Circle Wireless HD Security Camera
Logitech Circle boasts a mere 60-second setup and is portable and rechargeable as needed. You can move Circle off the charging ring for up to 12 hours and set it up in another room as needed. A 135-degree wide-angle lens makes it easy to view what’s happening in even large rooms, and a built-in speaker and microphone allow you to be apart of whatever’s happening…remotely.
Lynx Indoor Home Security Camera
The Lynx home security camera boasts intelligent facial recognition capacity, allowing you to choose who your security camera recognizes and who it will deem an imposter. You’ll be able to see each face clearly on the video footage, too, due to the
The camera also features two-way audio, made possible by a built-in microphone and a built-in speaker, which allows you to not only listen to what’s going on in your home while you’re away, but also you’ll be able to talk to whoever might be there. Lynx provides motion detection and instant alerts as well. With the Lynx home security camera, you will also receive free and secure seven-day cloud storage for life. This surveillance and security camera has a variety of uses, including keeping an eye on kids or elders who are left home alone.
Indoor/Outdoor Home Security Cameras
The following cameras are rated for either indoor or outdoor use. This versatility might prove useful to you, depending upon your needs.
Netgear Security System Arlo Pro VMS4130
This home security camera is completely wireless, including power cords, making setup and installation a breeze. You can easily place and position the
The Netgear Arlo Pro doesn’t start recording until you request a live feed, or if a motion is detected, which causes a three-second lag between real-time and the video displayed. There is also two-way audio functionality, which means you can hear what’s happening in the room through the built-in mic, and you can also speak into the room and be heard through the built-in speaker. This push-to-talk capability is beneficial for many types of monitoring scenarios. What’s more, there is a sound-triggered recording function. There is USB connectivity for storing video locally on a USB drive, and it also offers seven days’ worth of cloud recordings for free, meaning that you can watch live stream or view recorded video and audio for up to seven days (recurring), at no cost to you. This home security camera earned PC Magazine’s Best of 2017 Editors’ Choice for outdoor home surveillance cameras.
Netgear Arlo Go Mobile HD Security Camera
Arlo Go provides free rolling seven-day cloud recordings, although it also offers local video and audio storage via a built-in SD card slot. This local backup storage option is particularly useful in the event that internet services go down or are interrupted. The two-way push-to-talk feature allows you to listen in on your surveillance space and speak to whatever/whomever is in it via built-in mic and speaker. Video capture resolution is 720p, which isn’t quite as crisp as 1080p but will still get the job done nicely and with plenty of pixels for clarity in viewing.
Canary All-in-One Home Security Device
But the Canary All-in-One is, like its name suggests, more than simply a camera. The Canary contains an integrated 90-decibel siren, which will sound as needed as a way to deter suspicious activity. Motion-activated recording, remote auto-arm/disarm functionality, and instant access to local authorities will provide you with peace of mind while you’re away. Not only that, but intelligent notifications allow you to receive instant video alerts on your devices as needed. Along with the All-in-One title, the Canary provides HomeHealth technology via its ability to monitor air quality, temperature, and humidity. This data will allow you to analyze and understand how your home might be affecting your health.
To add a measure of simplification to the Canary, there is no installation required. Simply plug in the Canary and connect to the internet, and you’ll be on your way. There is free secure cloud storage included with the purchase, meaning you don’t have monthly fees or contracts to access your video footage.
Outdoor Home Security Cameras
The last group of products to be reviewed includes home security cameras rated for outdoor use.
Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera
The first feature of this
A highly appealing feature of this particular home security camera is its simple installation that you can do yourself by just plugging it into an outdoor outlet and mounting the camera. The end. It has magnetic potential, too, so you don’t necessarily have to drill into anything to mount it securely. Nest Cam Outdoor has a built-in speaker as well as microphone, allowing you to talk and listen (two-way communication) through the app. Imagine being able to remotely tell the delivery person to go ahead and leave the package on the front step! A monthly subscription is required to access the full site of features, although there is a free Nest Aware trial in which you can get smart alerts and continuous cloud recording.
NETATMO Presence Outdoor Security Camera, NOC01-US
With its floodlight capability, NETATMO Presence is easy and seamless to install, as it simple replaces any existing outdoor light. This makes it unobtrusive and “invisible.” You can select specific areas for Presence to alert you about with the alert-zones feature; this very precise capacity helps you to know immediately what is happening outside your home and is helpful because each home is unique, and you can customize alerts and notifications to match your specific needs. Video storage is held locally on the home security camera’s microSD card, with the option to store videos on Dropbox or your personal FTP server.
Presence also provides infrared night vision, increasing your ability to view what’s happening outside your home at any time of the day or night. There is a 100-degree field of view, recorded in 1080p full HD video, and a 4 MP video sensor.
There are plenty of affordable, easy-to-use home security camera options available on the market today. Ultimately, the trick for picking the best one to meet your needs comes down to first identifying those needs, then determining which home security camera meets them in the best way possible. There is definite peace of mind provided when you are able to check in on your home when you’re not physically around, and the best home security camera systems accommodate that need.
Remember that it’s not just about buying the home security camera itself, although that’s a big part. You need to examine the features of the footage itself, view and review capacity, the camera placement options, and additional deterrents such as alarms, lights, emergency personnel contacts, etc. With so many options, you’re sure to find the best security camera for home.
We hope you’ve found this review of home security cameras helpful as you consider whether or not you want to install security cameras for home, which camera(s) will meet your needs, and where you want to install them. Good luck, and we ultimately wish for you to stay safe.
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