Best Overall Value

SecureScore™: 9.0/10
The Nest Camera is one of the best and easiest to use cameras on the market.
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Best Features

SecureScore™: 8.4/10
Arlo has a selection of home security cameras that are loaded with features for every type of user.
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Most Affordable

SecureScore™: 7.5/10
Blink offers a very affordable home security system thanks in part to it's ownership by Amazon.
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When buying a home security camera, there are many different factors to consider before actually deciding on which brand and its corresponding products and services are right for you. The best way to make sure you are getting exactly what you need and not paying for things you don't is to learn about the different equipment and service options on the market. Doing so will help you make an educated decision about which one is right for you and your budget.

Location

Before searching for a home security camera, you should first determine whether you need an indoor security camera, an outdoor security camera, or a home security camera system that offers both. Here are the differences and why each is important.

Indoor

There are different types of indoor cameras. There are wired, wireless, professionally monitored or self-monitored, and some of them are a DIY installation with others requiring professional installation. Additionally, some are IP cameras and others contain smartphone/smart home capabilities, which means they can be controlled using a smartphone app and/or your home automation equipment. Next, you will need to compare the different features.

  • How is the camera's video quality? Good video quality enables you to receive a clearer picture of what the camera is capturing.
  • Does it have night vision? The night vision feature is an infrared option that allows you to see the video recordings clearly at night.
  • Does it have a wide angle lens? A wide angle lens will enable you to see a wider area versus just the area in front of the camera.
  • Does it have live streaming capabilities? Live streaming will allow you to view what your camera is capturing live in real-time versus viewing a recording of what has already happened.
  • Does it have a two-way talk feature? A two-way talk feature will enable you to communicate remotely through the camera equipment with someone who is on your property.
  • Does it have motion and/or sound sensors? A motion and/or sound sensor will send you an alert if either is detected so you can view the event as it's happening and respond accordingly.
  • Is video storage an available option? Video storage will allow you to review the video history of your camera versus only being able to see what's happening at any given moment.
  • Is the camera adjustable, such as an indoor camera that can pan, tilt, and zoom? These features will enable you to monitor a larger area with less equipment, which will save you money in the long run.

There are other types of indoor cameras as well. For example, nanny cams, pet cams, baby monitors, and more. So if you need one of these cameras, look for a system that also offers those options as well. Or, at least one that is compatible with third-party equipment if they don't offer them.

Outdoor

Outdoor cameras are a great deterrent and your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your family, home, and property.

Outdoor cameras are specifically designed to withstand criminal and weather-related elements such as light, heat and cold, which is why they are generally a bit more expensive. And just like with the indoor security cameras, you will need to compare its different features.

  • It the camera interactive? An interactive camera will not only enable you to monitor what's happening outside, but it will also allow you to communicate in real-time with anyone who enters your property or is at your door as is the case with a doorbell camera.
  • Is it an analog system or a network security camera? An analog system uses closed-circuit television (CCTV) software programs to connect to your computer. A network security camera is an IP camera that has the ability to stream video directly to a network video recorder, computer, or mobile device. Therefore, it will need much larger bandwidth and storage capabilities.
  • Do you want a bullet, dome, or pan/tilt/zoom camera? Bullet cameras are stationary and perfect for wall or ceiling installations. Dome cameras are great because they can't be avoided by criminals due to the unknown (to the intruder) direction of the camera's coverage and range. A pan/tilt/zoom camera is initially more expensive; however, it's cheaper in the long run because they cover a wider range than a stationary camera. That means you don't have to buy as many cameras to get the same coverage.
  • Does it have night vision? A night vision camera has infrared technology, which allows you to see the video stream at night.
  • Does it have a quality lens with plenty of pixels? The more pixels a lens has, the clearer the picture will be.
  • Does it come with a video storage option? This feature allows you to store your camera's video history rather than just being able to only see what's happening at any given moment.
  • Does it have motion detection? A motion detection feature will send you an alert if any motion is detected.
  • Does it have a live streaming feature? Live streaming will allow you to view what your camera is capturing live in real-time versus viewing a recording of what has already happened.

Connectivity

There are two different ways to connect security cameras. They are either installed and connected by hardwiring them into your existing power source, or they are a wireless installation, which is battery powered. Here are the differences between the two.

Wired

As we mentioned above, a wired camera system, also referred to as hardwired, is one that usually requires a professional or an electrician to perform the installation. Unless you already have prior experience with electrical wiring. There are a few wired security systems that can be installed by a novice. Especially if what you are installing is a simple doorbell camera. However, most will require professional installation and should not be attempted if you don't know what you're doing.

Wireless

Most wireless camera systems, also known as Wi-Fi systems, are battery powered and come with a DIY installation. They communicate wirelessly by connecting to the control panel using a radio frequency. Then connecting to an outside source using a cellular uplink.

Features

There are a wide variety of available features when it comes to home security camera systems. Here are some of the most popular features.

Night Vision

Night vision gives your security cameras the ability to clearly see and capture video in shadows, shady areas, and enables the camera to see at night using infrared technology.

Live Streaming

A live streaming option will enable you to view your home security camera's remotely and see what's being recorded on them in real-time versus having to review the video history of what has already happened. This feature will also enable you to proactively respond to any given situation, which could ultimately prevent an incident from occurring in the first place.

Motion Detection

Some security cameras come with a camera that only records when it detects motion and others have a continuous live streaming and recording feature. The motion detection only recording helps save you money on video storage space and the related costs. But the continuous streaming video is helpful if you ever have the need to look at a camera's history as in the case of a neighborhood robbery or other incident.

Home Security Camera Company Reviews

Now that you understand the main features and functions of indoor and outdoor security cameras, it's time to search for a security camera company whose service and equipment matches your particular needs.

To do this, you will need some home security camera reviews, pros and cons, and side-by-side comparisons to help you narrow down your options. These comparisons will enable you to easily view all aspects of each brand. Our reviews and side-by-side comparisons will also show you the pros and cons, as well as detailed information about each brand's equipment, features, technology, customer service, ease of use, and value so you know you are getting the most for your money. They will also help ensure you are not paying for services and features you don't need.

 

You can also take a look at our list of the best home security camera systems to help you make the best decision possible.