What to Look For in a Security Camera

These days, security cameras aren’t just eyesores that are propped up in big-city streets or hang off the side of security-conscious buildings. Instead, they’re very accessible devices that have multiple functions and can help bolster the security of your home.

Now that security cameras are a lot smarter, smaller, and easier to interconnect, let’s take a look at the critical considerations for buying one.

What are the core considerations for a security camera?

Security cameras have been around for long enough that there are some smarter features they use these days. For the key parts, though, it’s worth considering whether you want to place one or more security cameras inside or outside (or both). Indoor security cameras don’t need protection from the elements, but they also likely won’t benefit from solar power.

Speaking of power, outside of solar, there are also security cameras that have rechargeable batteries, while others need a wired connection. It’s personal preference whether you want professional monitoring included, but this will incur an ongoing fee. Otherwise, you can always use a security camera more reactively and review footage on a variety of supported devices as required. Alternatively, a security camera that has motion detection and can push alerts to a companion app is also a great option.

That’s the key security consideration out of the way, but there’s also video resolution and the overall field of view to weigh up when it comes to the camera part. Finally, smart-home integration is all the rage for connected devices, and recent security cameras are part of this trend. If this is important to you, factor in security camera compatibility in terms of how nice it plays with Apple, Amazon, Google, and other smart systems.

How much should I expect to pay for a security camera?

If you’re heading to Bunnings, Kmart or another budget-friendly retailer for an entry-level security camera, you can get away with spending as little as around $50 for one, some of which include (limited) smart features. Crossing over the $100 threshold grants access to outdoor WiFi-capable cameras or add-on cameras to an existing network of home security cameras like the Swann Master-Series 4K Bullet Camera.

Crossing the $300 budget has some heavy-duty options, like the Eufy Security Floodlight Cam E 2K, Eufy Security EufyCam S40 Spotlight (a wireless, solar-powered security camera), or the twin-camera Arlo Essential 1080p Spotlight. Step past $500 and multi-pack security cameras start to become the norm, including the four-pack Ring Stick Up Cam Battery Full HD Security Camera.

Doubling that budget and beyond is when 4K resolutions are the norm, DVR storage may be included, and WiFi cameras are sometimes paired with 4G connectivity.

Compare the best home security cameras

Product
Best for
Price
Video resolution
Field of view
Type
Smart home compatibility
Learn more
Best overall 1440p (2K) 122° Indoor/outdoor, battery and solar-poweredAlexa, Google
Best budget 1080p 360° horizontal
114° vertical
Indoor, wiredAlexa, Google
Best outdoor 1080p 140° Outdoor, battery-powered or wiredAlexa
Best indoor 1080p 130° Indoor/outdoor, battery-poweredGoogle
Best for smart home1440p (2K) 160° Indoor/outdoor, battery-poweredAlexa, Apple, Google, IFTTT, SmartThings
Best doorbell 1080p155° Video doorbell, battery-poweredAlexa

Prices are accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

How easy are security cameras to install?

The ease of security camera installation is determined by the kind that you buy. For instance, certain indoor security cameras make DIY home security easier because they can be placed on shelves or other flat surfaces, which makes them a great choice for renters and/or those looking to monitor pets or children.

For security cameras that can’t be placed on a flat surface, particularly those that are designed to be outside, installation via screws or some other secure-fastening method is inevitable. If you know your way around a drill and screwdriver, there are a lot of security camera options that are designed to be easy to install. Depending on your needs, you may also be able to use a video doorbell as a security camera.

It’s never a bad idea to source a professional installation, though, particularly for more complicated multi-camera security systems. The other alternative is to pay a professional company for the installation of a security camera system and/or include an ongoing fee for professional monitoring.

Do I need a wireless security camera?

Like most wired-vs-wireless debates, a wireless security camera is mostly down to personal preference. Note that, for security cameras, wireless can refer to one that operates on batteries or receives power wirelessly, one that uses WiFi connectivity, or both.

For WiFi security cameras, the wireless connectivity is a critical part of accessing full functionality, as it helps with streaming live video to compatible devices, uploading video storage, sending mobile alerts, and offering two-way audio.

Wired security cameras have the advantage of not needing to manage battery life, but that wire is also something that can be potentially damaged or tampered with.

FAQ

The security camera that’s best for home security is one that offers the best peace of mind. This can be either an indoor or outdoor security camera (or both) and should include at least a 1080p resolution with a decent field of view. More than one camera may be needed to offer full coverage over areas of concern.
Not all security cameras need WiFi, but those that do will use wireless connectivity to open up full functionality. WiFi security cameras don’t always need internet, either (though it is useful for full functionality); instead, WiFi can be used to transmit a live video feed to devices on the local network (potentially, even if the internet is down).
There are a few ways a wireless security camera can receive power. Rechargeable batteries are a popular option or solar for outdoor cameras. Alternatively, a wireless transmitter can also be used to power compatible wireless security cameras within range.

Disclaimer
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time of publish and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the retailer’s website at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. SafeWise Australia utilises paid affiliate links.
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence

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