Security cameras can provide peace of mind in a variety of situations. They can help you keep an eye on kids or pets in another room, monitor hard-to-see areas outside or watch for package deliveries.
Today’s security cameras offer features such as live smartphone alerts, doorbell integration, video storage, sirens and more. Whether you’re looking for a complete security system or just a way to see who’s at the door, here’s how to choose the best security camera for you.
Home security cameras can be grouped into three main types:
The first step in choosing the right home security camera depends on where you want to use it. From there, you can narrow down your options based on your preferred power source, how and where you want to store video and other special features.
Today’s security cameras offer resolutions as high as 4K, allowing you to maintain excellent image quality, even if you need to zoom in. Security cameras with lower resolution are usually more affordable and require less storage space, but they may not provide enough detail.
Another important consideration for your home security camera is what happens to recorded images. Some cameras store data locally on a memory card, while others let you upload video to cloud storage. There are advantages and disadvantages to each: For example, cloud-based storage services may require a subscription, while on-site memory cards can be subject to theft or breakage.
If you have pets in your home, you may opt for a security camera that can distinguish between people, animals and vehicles so you don’t get false alarms. Two-way audio may also be handy if your camera catches your pet in the act of misbehaving.
While many home security cameras can be used on their own, it’s not uncommon to use them in conjunction with comprehensive security systems that can be accessed via smartphone. These cameras can also be used with virtual assistants, such as Alexa, to turn on and off, view remotely or record video.
Read product descriptions carefully while you’re shopping for a security camera because many models, particularly lower-priced options, only offer certain valuable features as part of a subscription plan.
Even though they perform similar functions, indoor and outdoor security cameras aren’t necessarily interchangeable. Outdoor security cameras are more durable and better equipped to handle the elements. Outdoor security cameras may include built-in spotlights that can be motion-activated or programmed to operate on a timer. Indoor security cameras are not as tough and not necessarily designed to perform these functions.
Your home security camera needs a power source to function. Options include batteries, plugging the camera into an outlet or hardwiring it into your home’s electrical system. Some can even utilize solar power. Battery-powered security cameras need to have batteries replaced or recharged, while wired security systems tend to have a higher installation cost.
A. If you don’t want your pets to repeatedly trigger your security camera, you may have to go through some trial and error. Some security cameras are able to take into account the mass and speed of a moving object and identify it as your pet and, therefore, determine it’s not a security risk. Others may have to be positioned so they aim above where pets are walking.
A. Wired security cameras will not be able to operate if the power goes out, so if you're worried about maintaining surveillance in the event of a power outage, look for a battery-operated security camera or one with a backup battery. Onboard video storage also helps ensure no coverage is lost during any lapses to cloud uploading.
This customizable, easy-to-install doorbell can be wired into your house or run on a rechargeable battery. It offers 1080p HD video, two-way audio, Alexa compatibility and crisp night vision.
This feature-packed video doorbell can detect package deliveries, animals, vehicles and familiar faces. It comes with three hours of free rolling video storage.
Network up to five security cameras with this easy-to-use, affordable kit. The camera has 1080p resolution and infrared night vision, and it can run for up to two years on two AA batteries.
For installation on a wall or shelf, this compact camera offers a nice assortment of user-friendly features. It plugs into an outlet and offers two-way audio, Alexa compatibility and more.
This budget-friendly security camera is weatherproof and offers local storage and color night vision. Additional features, including the ability to capture recordings without a cool-down period, requires a subscription plan.
This hardwired floodlight camera features 1080p HD video, 2000-lumen LED floodlights and a high-decibel security siren. You can use the Ring app to customize motion zones according to where you want the camera to focus.
This outdoor camera offers a 130-degree view with 1080p HD video and crisp night vision. It’s battery-powered, so it’s easy to install anywhere (no outlet needed) on its magnetic mount.
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Laura Duerr writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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