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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
10 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
178 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for dome surveillance cameras

A dome light is just what the name implies: a dome-shaped cover attached to a lighting fixture installed in the ceiling of an airplane, boat, vehicle, or room. A dome surveillance camera is a small camera that is encased or hidden inside a dome light. It is so named because of the shape of the dome cover.

A common type of lighting fixture used since the early 1920s, dome lights are designed to provide illumination without being intrusive. Dome lights typically consist of a plain glass or plastic cover over an ordinary light bulb. Because these are such simple fixtures, they often go unnoticed. Therefore, they are the perfect place to hide a surveillance camera.

One of the biggest reasons to install a surveillance camera is to deter crime. Although the average person might not notice a dome surveillance camera, a seasoned criminal will know to look for it. It is much easier to prevent a home invasion than to deal with its potentially painful and expensive aftermath.

Read on to learn more about dome surveillance cameras and their many applications. When you are ready to purchase a dome surveillance camera, we’d like to point you in the direction of our recommended choices.

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A dome surveillance camera works best for areas that allow for a close-up view. A bullet camera, which accommodates a larger lens, is best for areas requiring a camera with a more extended range.

Install anywhere

A dome surveillance camera can act as a 24-hour monitors device. These cameras can be installed anywhere there is a dome light: casinos, banks, office buildings, restaurants, retail businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, schools, and family residences.

Varifocal dome cameras provide flexibility in adjusting the focal distance of the camera lens. You can use this flexibility to target an exact location in your building, such as a locked valuable box.

Watch from anywhere

With the right product, you can live-stream your dome camera’s video feed to your cell phone, computer, or other device. With cloud storage, you can play it back anytime and anywhere. For many consumers, this flexibility is worth the cost.


Discreet: Perhaps the best feature of a dome security camera is that, unlike a bullet or pointed security camera, there is no way for a would-be intruder to determine which way the dome camera is pointed or how large a field of vision the camera can capture. So even if an intruder can see that there is a camera, they will not know how to evade it.

Hardy: Many dome cameras are designed to be waterproof and therefore immune to rust and corrosion. If your camera might be exposed to inclement weather or moisture for another reason, this is a valuable feature. Some dome cameras feature bulletproof glass coverings or steel cages around the dome fixture to help prevent vandalism and camera malfunction.

Picture quality: As with any camera, video or otherwise, picture quality varies from one dome surveillance camera to another. The price of a camera is often reflective of its picture quality; the more you pay, the clearer the images are likely to be. Pay attention to features like zoom, pan, and tilt when evaluating a potential purchase.

Infrared technology (IR): By including infrared thermal sensing and clear night vision, your dome camera provides seamless monitoring of your property both day and night.

Cloud storage: As mentioned, some dome surveillance cameras automatically store footage in the cloud. Before you buy, check to see if the camera you’re considering has this feature and if there is any sort of additional cost for the data storage.

Real-time alerts: If you select a dome surveillance camera with smart motion detection and real-time alerts, you can elect to receive a notification (such as through an email) if there is unanticipated activity on your property.

Audio function: Some dome surveillance cameras have a built-in microphone so audio is also recorded. If your camera has this capability but a mic is not included, you’ll want to check mic compatibility stats before you buy.

Wireless: Some less-expensive dome surveillance cameras require direct wiring to operate. However, there are some pricier dome surveillance cameras that work wirelessly.

Technical support: One of the most important dome surveillance camera features is 24/7 service and technical support. If you are unfamiliar with digital surveillance equipment, installing and learning to operate your new dome surveillance camera can be a bit of a challenge. Some dome cameras have an app you can download onto your phone or other device, but you’ll need to understand device compatibility and other related features first. It helps to have someone to turn to when you need assistance with a new device like this. Knowledgeable and helpful phone or online technical chat support can make the installation and operation process simple.

Satisfaction guarantee: The money-back satisfaction guarantee offered by many reputable camera manufacturers ensures that if you install the camera and it fails to perform as expected, you lose nothing, including return shipping of the product.

Dome surveillance camera prices

The price of dome surveillance cameras can vary greatly depending on manufacturer, merchandiser, and brand. Picture quality and camera distance range also impact the price of the product.


Dome surveillance cameras in the low price range cost from $29 to $59. Cameras in this price range may require direct wiring, have a limited coverage range, or lack an audio feature. In the low price range, dome cameras do not offer tilt, pan, or zoom features. Picture quality and clarity may be less than adequate for identification of anyone trying to access the monitored area illegally.


In the mid-range, dome surveillance cameras cost from $60 to $275. This is a wide range; look for products that include night vision and motion-sensing features at the upper end of this range. A money-back guarantee and reputable customer support can help make you feel more confident in your investment.


Dome surveillance cameras in the highest price range feature thermal and motion sensors as well as excellent pan, tilt, and zoom features. For the sharpest images and fail-proof dependable video monitoring, expect to pay from $275 upward.


  • Choose a dome surveillance camera with brightness, contrast, and color controls that compensate for different light environments. Infrared dome surveillance cameras produce clear color images with high resolution during daylight hours. In low-light or no-light conditions, they automatically switch from color to black and white to produce a much clearer vision that the human eye can see.
  • For accurate and complete home or business monitoring, select a dome surveillance camera with a built-in microphone.
  • Dome surveillance cameras vary in the length of the distance and the height of the area they cover. Distance can range from 50 to 385 feet. Height can vary from 6 to 20 feet. Look at the distance and height specs when choosing a dome surveillance camera.
  • For the best clarity of detail, look for a camera with a minimum of 5.0 megapixels and a frame rate of up to 25 fps. Viewing angle is also important: select a camera with a minimum 80 degrees horizontal viewing angle and a 58-degree vertical angle adjustment.
"For surveillance in low light, a dome camera with infrared LEDs ensures clear photographic coverage. "
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In many dome surveillance cameras, the angle must be adjusted by hand. If you anticipate that you might have questions about installation or adjustments, select a camera from a company with a reputation for good technical support.


Q. Are dome surveillance cameras difficult to install?
Wireless dome surveillance cameras transmit video signals using the WiFi network. Because installation is wireless, there is no need to drill holes and run wiring. Wireless dome cameras operate using long-life lithium batteries.

Q. Is it legal to install a dome surveillance camera anywhere on my property?
Under local, state, and federal regulations, it is considered legal to install video surveillance equipment in or around your home or business without the consent of the person or persons you are recording. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is illegal and subject to punishment by law to record in areas where subjects normally hold a reasonable expectation of privacy.

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