Home security cameras are now the most essential component of the security system of your home. Search the internet for home security cameras and you’ll come across information about a mind-boggling range of products in different specifications.
Depending on your budget levels, you can find cameras that give you great image quality, view scopes, variations in motion, and for indoor and outdoor installation objectives. Before you make the final decision on the product to opt for, you may want to understand the in-depth details about how these security tools work and how you can use them for the best possible protection for your home and family.
What is a Home Security Camera?
A home security camera is a recording tool that provides you with video footage of the activity in its field of vision. You can program the devices to show you real-time occurrences or use applications that record activity for viewing later. Some cameras also record and relay the footage to a remote surveillance team that monitors the footage for potential intruders and burglars.
While installing a camera in plain view is enough to deter home invasions, you might also want to install hidden cameras. That’s because intruders are well aware that cameras are only effective in the field they cover. Accordingly, you could look for home security systems that include a combination of indoor and outdoor, and visible and invisible equipment for the complete protection of your home.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Home Security Cameras
Various factors go into your choice for the ideal home security camera, like for instance, your budget and surveillance requirements. In addition, here are the other factors that you may want to sort through:
- Your objective for installing the cameras – do you have security in mind or do you intend to monitor the activities of pets and visitors like maintenance and cleaning personnel?
- Need for a detailed video footage in high resolution that captures entire hours or single pictures in standard definition
- Linking the video cameras to computers, laptops, cell phones, and tablets for monitoring
- Need for an application to control the camera and its operations from a remote location
- Need for stationary images or the possibility of moving the camera to direct it at other spots in the surveillance area
- Integration of the home security camera with other devices in the house
- Possibility of saving the video footage for later viewing on cloud storage, USB drive, or microSD card
Understanding Security Webcams and Surveillance Cameras
Although webcams and surveillance cameras fall under the same category, you might want to understand the small distinction between them. To begin with webcams record video footage of the activities and relay them to you when you connect to the internet. However, these cameras are not activated by sensors and will not alert you to an intrusion. For these cameras to be effective, you’ll have to monitor the feed on your own and alert the authorities if you see intruders. When you’re away at work or on vacation, watching the camera feed may not be a practicality. Further, you may miss actual intrusion and detect it only later when you view the footage
Surveillance cameras, on the other hand, relay the feed to trained professionals in remote locations who may in turn alert law enforcement agencies. The cameras may also relay alerts by sensing movement and send you an automated email or text message.
Types of Home Security Cameras
When matching the various kinds of home security cameras with your needs, here are the types you can consider.
Indoor and Outdoor Cameras
Indoor cameras are ideal for keeping watch on cleaning crews, nannies, and maintenance and construction personnel. Outdoor cameras, on the other hand, are better suited for detecting possible home invasions. They are typically weatherproof and may have wipers for cleaning the lens. These cameras monitor all the entry points of the property or the grounds outside. In addition, if you think you may need surveillance during the night or when lighting conditions are poor, you can opt for cameras with night vision or infrared LED technology that lights up the area well.
Single Room or Multiple Area Surveillance
You can choose from a single camera that monitors a specific room in the house. Or, you could opt for a network of cameras that cover every room of your property. You can also choose cameras that are installed in clear view or hidden for discrete monitoring.
Wired and Wireless Cameras
Wired cameras are connected to recorders and powered by wires. For this reason, installing them discretely can be a problem because of the visible wires. However, they make up for the inconvenience and lack of aesthetic appeal by ensuring better quality and consistent coverage with high-grade pictures that are not grainy. However, if intruders spot the wires and cut them, the cameras can be rendered useless. Wireless cameras are easier to install and record footage by connecting through the internet. However, in case the internet is not functioning properly, you chance to lose the surveillance for hours and sometimes, even days.
Picture Quality and Resolution
Depending on the level of monitoring you need, you can opt for high-resolution cameras that come with TVL or TV Lines of 480 to 800 and offer you absolutely clear images to identify intruders. However, if you intend to install the cameras in residential premises, you can make do with the low resolution or TVL 350 to 400 cameras. You can also choose from cameras that take black and white or colour images.
Wider or Lower Coverage Area
The most vital factor of the camera is the lens and the coverage it can get you. If you need coverage for larger areas, look for a camera with a wide-angle lens but if you need complete coverage, you should opt for the pan-tilt-zoom lens cameras. In case of outdoor cameras, ask about automatic irises that adjust to dim lighting also. Depending on the coverage area each camera provides you with, you can adjust the number and placement of cameras in each room.
Battery-Operated or Wired
For the cameras to operate, they need a power source. Should you opt for cameras with replaceable or rechargeable batteries or a power backup, they’ll continue to operate even in case of power outages. With electric cameras, you’ll need to connect them to a power source with wires that are clearly visible.
Features of Home Security Cameras
In addition to the kind of footage and coverage the different cameras give you, you’ll also want to check for their features. For instance:
Digital Video Recording (DVR) Devices
These DVRs record the footage and save it on a hard drive. You can choose the size of the hard drive depending on the number of days for which you want to save the footage, the type of cameras you have installed, and the number of cameras. However, if you’re using wireless home security cameras, you can consider using the Internet Protocol (IP) recorders that use your internet connection to record the footage. As mentioned earlier, you can also save the data on a microSD chip or on the cloud for which you’ll need to get a subscription.
Cameras that have motion detectors are activated by sensors and record activity only when they sense motion. They may also send you an alert to the activity so you can investigate the cause.
Should you choose cameras with audio capability, they’ll record the sounds in the rooms under coverage. You can also use them as intercoms since they can relay sounds by way of speakers.
Android or iOS Apps Compatibility
Choose a camera that comes with an Android or iOS App and you can use your computer, cell phone, tablet, or laptop to make adjustments as needed. You can also use these devices to view the recorded footage from a remote location. If you intend to use the app, look for a product that comes with a user-friendly interface. Of course, you’ll need to connect your camera to the home Wi-Fi network to be able to use the app. Keep in mind that the newest of apps allow you to use voice control to manage the cameras.
Integration with Other Home Security Systems
Home security systems typically have other components such as fire and smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and temperature or thermostat controls. Accordingly, you might want to choose a camera that integrates seamlessly with all these systems even if they are manufactured by a different company.
A Word of Warning About Home Security Cameras
While home security cameras are no doubt an effective tool for the protection of your home, they can also aid and abet intrusion. Here are the factors to keep in mind:
- Connecting the cameras to your home Wi-Fi so you can monitor them from a remote location is no doubt a convenience. However, be warned that hackers can also access the activities in your home by breaching the security of your network. As a result, would-be criminals can track all your movements including those in the bedroom if you have a camera installed.
- Most cameras are typically run on non-default ports that are listed on the internet. Hackers need to only scan the net looking for open cameras and use them to attack your home.
- Cameras typically come with password protocols that you must use to secure your home. Keep in mind that the default passwords are easy to decipher.
- Remember to secure your Wi-Fi network with encryption, passwords, and firewalls so cybercriminals cannot access it to view your camera feed.
- You may have to get a separate Wi-Fi connection for your home security cameras. That’s because cameras take up a large section of the bandwidth leaving inadequate capacity for other activities.
- Security cameras have a lag time or a time interval from the time they record the activity in the room and play it back. This lag time can last from 5 to 10 seconds. As a result, intruders can enter the field of vision and exit without the surveillance tech noticing the movement. If you’re using motion detector cameras, there may be a lag time from the start of the movement to the start of the recording with the intruder escaping unnoticed.
- Outdoor motion sensor detecting cameras often capture unnecessary feeds of leaves blowing through the yard or small animals and birds wandering through the property grounds.
Now that you have a clear view of the positives and downsides of home security cameras, you can choose the specific brands with the features that match your particular requirements. Take your time comparing the various products before making your choice.