Home Security Cameras Buyer’s Guide

Top Home Security Cameras - 2017

Security cameras come many types and have seemingly endless feature options. With so many different kinds of home security cameras available, deciding which one makes sense for your home can be a daunting task. The information in this guide will give you the knowledge you need to find the security camera or cameras that will help you keep your home and your family safer.

Security Camera Types

The simplest way to think about the types of security cameras is to break them down into two groups: indoor cameras, and outdoor cameras. While each of these groups have different styles of cameras within them, those difference will become apparent when you compare features, so separating them further isn’t necessary. For instance, none of the cameras we talk about in this guide are dome cameras, not because dome cameras are of any lesser quality, but because they simply aren’t necessary for most home security systems.

Both types of cameras are available as standalone units with monitoring apps or as part of a subscription-based home security monitoring system. In this guide we compare the top indoor and outdoor cameras as well as the combinations of cameras available through the top subscription monitoring services.

Important Security Features

Below are some of the important features to keep in mind when comparing home security cameras.

Motion Detection

Cameras with motion detection can send you notifications when the camera observes motion within its field of view. These notifications can alert you to suspicious activity, so you can monitor the situation.

Field of View

Field of View refers to the width of area a camera can record. This is important because it will affect how many cameras you’ll need and where you should place them.

Sound

The sound feature can refer to your camera receiving sound via a microphone, emitting sound via a speaker, or both. Cameras with both can double as an intercom.

Resolution

Resolution defines how clear the image from your camera will be. A clearly visible image is very helpful when trying to identify faces or items in the images your camera records.

WiFi Capability

A camera with WiFi can communicate with your home network wirelessly which can be very handy for installation, but is also less susceptible to being disabled, because it doesn’t have wires which could be cut.

Night Vision

The distance to which your camera can record images in low to no light situations can have a great impact on its effectiveness because often criminal activity can happen at night.

Movement

A camera that can pan and/or tilt may be able to record a larger area than a static camera and therefor reduce the total number of cameras needed to observe a particular area.

Cost

Obviously, if a camera costs so much that you can no longer afford the valuables you’re trying to protect with it, then it doesn’t serve a purpose. Cost is a factor for every purchasing decision.

Indoor Home Security Cameras

Indoor cameras are the cornerstone of a good home security system. We researched dozens of indoor home security cameras and found these to be a consumers best bet. The cameras in this chart have WiFi capability and can be monitored online and on your smartphone via each camera’s corresponding app.

Top Indoor Home Security Cameras

Camera

Price

Resolution

Pros

Cons

Safewise Endorsed

Vimtag 361 HD

Read Review

Resolution

720p

Pros

Pan 120° and Tilt 320°

Mic and Speaker for 2-Way Talkback

Low Cost

Cons

Unknown Static Field of View

Safewise Endorsed

Nest Cam

Read Review

Resolution

1080p

Pros

Good Resolution

Huge Field of View — 130º

Mic and Speaker for 2-Way Talkback

Cons

Night Vision Distance Unknown

High Cost

No Movement

Arlo Wire-Free

Read Review

Resolution

720p

Pros

Good Night Vision Range - 25 Ft

Good Field of Vision - 110º

Can also be used outdoors

Cons

No Sound Capabilities

High Cost

Amcrest

Read Review

Resolution

1080p

Pros

Good Resolution

Great Night Vision Range - 32 Ft

Mic and Speaker for 2-Way Talkback

Cons

High Cost

D-Link DCS-932 L

Read Review

Resolution

480i

Pros

Low Cost

Built in Mic

Cons

Low Resolution

No Movement

*SafeWise has conducted impartial research to recommend products. This is not a guarantee. Each individual’s unique needs should be considered when deciding on chosen products.

Outdoor Home Security Cameras

Below are the best standalone outdoor cameras we researched. The cameras in this chart are wall mounted cameras and can be monitored through online applications. Not all information is available for all cameras.

Top Outdoor Home Security Cameras

Camera

Price

Resolution

Pros

Cons

Safewise Endorsed

Amcrest QCAM

Read Review

Resolution

1536p

Pros

Great Resolution

Motion Detection

Good Night Vision Range: 65 Ft

Cons

No Movement

No Sound Capabilities

No WiFi Capability

Safewise Endorsed

ZOSI 960H

Read Review

Resolution

900tvl

Pros

Low Cost

Great Night Vision Range: 20 Ft

Good Field of Vision: 72°

Cons

No Movement

No Sound Capabilities

No WiFi Capability

Uniden GC45S

Read Review

Resolution

1080p

Pros

Pan & Tilt Capabilities

Good Resolution

Mic and Speaker for 2-Way Talkback

Cons

Lower Night Vision Range: 40 Ft

Requires Purchase of Full System
($349.99: Includes 2 Cameras)

Phylink Bullet HD

Read Review

Resolution

1080p

Pros

Great Field of Vision: 90°

Good Resolution

Built-in Mic

Cons

High Cost

Low Night Vision: Approx 26 Ft

No Zoom

Zmodo ZM-W0007

Read Review

Resolution

720p

Pros

Lower Cost

WiFi Capability

Good Night Vision Range: 65 Ft

Cons

No Sound Capabilities

Lower Resolution

No Zoom

*SafeWise has conducted impartial research to recommend products. This is not a guarantee. Each individual’s unique needs should be considered when deciding on chosen products.
*Price is for individual camera, initial setup requires purchase of full system which includes two cameras and monitor for $349.99
monitored-cameras

Monitored Home Security Systems

One advantage of ordering a monitored system is that you don’t need to worry about the details of each specific camera because you can talk with the home security company’s representative to get help picking the system with the appropriate cameras to accommodate your needs. Each company’s cameras will have the functionality to work best with its system, eliminating guesswork. Below you will find the home security monitoring services with the best camera and functionality combinations.

tablet and phone icon

Each of these systems offer the ability for you to monitor your cameras from your computer or smartphone.

Top Monitored Home Security Camera Systems

Frontpoint Ultimate

View Packages
Safewise Endorsed

Cameras & Cost

Wireless Indoor Camera $179.99
Wireless Pan & Tilt Cam $279.99
Outdoor Wireless Cam $399.99

Startup fee

$449

Monthly fee

$49.99 /mo w/ 3 yr contract

Pros

Great Resolution

Motion Detection

Good Night Vision Range: 65 ft

Cons

No Movement

No Sound Capabilities

No WiFi Capability

Vivint Smart Control

View Packages
Safewise Endorsed

Cameras & Cost

Indoor Fixed Cam $229.95
Indoor Pan & Tilt Cam $229.99
Outdoor Cam $289
Doorbell Cam Not Disclosed

Startup fee

$199

Monthly fee

$60.99 /mo w/ 3.5 yr agmnt

Pros

Free Professional Installation

Many Camera Options

One Camera Included w/ Subscription

Cons

Pan and Tilt Costs Extra

Monthly Cost over $50

Long Contract

ADT Pulse Video Service

View Packages
Safewise Endorsed

Cameras & Cost

Indoor Wireless Camera $199
Outdoor Wireless Camera $250
Indoor Infrared Camera $150
Outdoor Night Camera $299

Startup fee

$499

Monthly fee

$58.99 /mo w/ 3 yr contract

Pros

Low Startup Cost

Unlimited Cloud Storage

Equipment Lifetime Warranty

Cons

Outdoor Cams Cost Extra

Monthly Cost over $50

No Pan & Tilt Functions

Protect America Copper

View Packages

Cameras & Cost

Wireless Indoor Camera Not Disclosed
Wireless Indoor Pan & Tilt $199 + $10/mo

Startup fee

$99

Monthly fee

$54.99 /mo w/ 3 yr contract

Pros

Low Monthly Cost

Lifetime Warranty

Free Activation

Cons

No Outdoor Cameras

LifeShield Security Advantage

View Packages

Cameras & Cost

Wireless Indoor Camera $139.99
Outdoor Camera $159.99

Startup fee

$49.99

Monthly fee

$49.99 /mo w/ 3 yr contract

Pros

Indoor Camera Included

Low Startup Cost

DirecTV Discounts

Cons

Night Vision of Only 15 Ft

No Pan & Tilt Functions

Outdoor Cams Cost Extra

Security Camera Resource Center

What is a home security camera?

Although they come in a wide variety of sizes, image quality, fields of view, and ranges of motion, home security camera all perform one basic function-they provide a video image of what is occurring within their field of view. Cameras show live action in real time or record everything for viewing later. Some camera systems even let customers monitor and even control their security cameras online.

How do security cameras work?

Not only can home security cameras help catch burglars, they actually help to stop the criminals before they become intruders. Cameras work as a deterrent when would-be burglars see them decide breaking into your house isn’t worth the risk. With that in mind, keeping surveillance cameras clearly visible on your property is a good idea. You also want some hidden cameras because a determined burglar may try to block or disable cameras he or she can see. For more help assessing your property and determining the best combination of cameras for your needs, consult a home security expert from one of the monitoring companies spotlighted above.

Security Camera vs Surveillance Camera

While the terms are regularly used interchangeably, there is a slight difference between security cameras and surveillance cameras. The difference is whether a camera is passive or active. Surveillance cameras are passive. They observe and/or record whatever is happening in their field of view. Security cameras are active. They alert people to unexpected events within their field of view. This distinction can be very subtle or very large depending on the circumstances of a particular situation. For instance, if a surveillance camera sends a constant feed to a monitor that is continually viewed by a security guard, it is essentially functioning as a security camera because simply by viewing the feed from the camera the guard would be alerted to anything unexpected happening within its field of view. However, most modern security cameras have the ability to detect motion and send alerts to owners or authorities via text or emails.

Find your perfect home security system