Buying Guide for Home Security Cameras

Buying Guide for Home Security Cameras

Everything you need to know to make your home safer using security cameras.

What price would you pay for safety? For millions of homeowners and renters, security cameras represent more than a worthwhile investment; they’re also an effective tool in preventing crime.

One of the biggest draws of home security cameras is that they create an immediate visual deterrent against break-ins, trespassing, and other intrusions. And since so many cameras nowadays are run through a mobile app and a Wi-Fi signal, monitoring your home using video surveillance is now as easy as picking up your smartphone.

So in this guide, we’ll break down everything you can expect out of your camera buying experience. We’ll cover the bases of this ultra-competitive market and the ins and outs of the best brands. And we’ll get you closer to choosing the right cameras for your home and budget, no matter what your security needs may be.

Features to look for in a security camera

As you set your sights on the many cameras options out there, you might get overwhelmed with such a wide range of choices. But trust us, it doesn’t have to be painstaking finding the right security camera. Also, the wide selection helps to ensure you get the right product, with the right features – and the peace of mind you need to feel safe in your home.

For us, we always take a close look at the features and tech behind each camera to help narrow down our choice. We do this, primarily, by asking a series of questions as we go through our tests, like: How’s the app? How’s the night vision? Does it include batteries? Is it weatherproof? Can I install it myself?

The answers vary with each camera. So to help you make sense of it all, here are a few features we consider essential in home security cameras:

Fast Motion Activation

You want a camera that works fast and doesn’t hesitate. Part of this depends on the strength and speed of your Wi-Fi signal, but a good camera will always “wake up” the moment motion occurs to send you alerts on your phone. 

Flexible Video Resolution

You’ll see an overwhelming number of security cameras that claim 1080p video resolution as you start comparing options. But this, too, can be a bit misleading. Many cameras will only reach that 1080p benchmark under the most ideal conditions, like when your Wi-Fi signal is running at full strength.

But with our sometimes-less-than-perfect Wi-Fi connection, we didn’t always see the ideal 1080p quality we were hoping for, even among the top-rated brands that are known for recording exceptional video. From time to time, our picture was pretty grainy.

Night Vision

We’ve seen some spectacular night vision images from our tests of security cameras. 

Video Storage

With some home security equipment boasting pretty heavy advanced tech, it can be tempting to buy cameras based on how high-tech they are. But it’s important to remember that all that data you’re getting from your high-tech cams is not cheap, no matter which camera you end up with.

Field of View

Another important point you should always consider when choosing equipment is how much coverage you want to get out of your camera – otherwise known as the field of view. Simply put, we refer to the field of view as the angle between the two horizontal edges of the camera’s display.

Design and Durability

A camera’s design – how it’s built as well as how it looks – often reflects the purposes it serves.