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12 Best Security Camera Features

Posted: December 05, 2017

Security cameras have become so commonplace that we no longer find it surprising to see them openly staring at us as we move through our daily lives. From traffic cams to gas station surveillance, security cameras are everywhere. While we haven’t yet launched enough cameras to power the Truman Show, a large part of our lives is already being recorded on video. Why not take advantage of these capabilities within your home?

Using home security cameras can offer you many benefits, especially when used in conjunction with your security system. With so many models and surveillance options available to the average consumer, it can be difficult to determine which security camera features are right for you. Here are a few features to consider before you choose the best surveillance camera for you.

  1. Wired vs. wireless

  2. Recording options

  3. Mobility

  4. Camouflage capabilities

  5. Size

  6. Indoor vs. outdoor options

  7. Firewall protections

  8. Motion sensors

  9. Internet speed

  10. Lighting Options

  11. Picture quality

  12. Cost

Before whipping out your wallet, take a look at our guide to discover how to choose the best security camera for your needs.

perfect camera placement

Perfect placement: Where will you put your security camera?

One of the first considerations when choosing security camera features deals with where you plan to put your camera. Will your security camera be hidden or in plain view? Are you going wired or wireless for surveillance?

If you are trying to catch deviance in the act, you probably don’t want to make your camera easy to spot. If it’s easy to identify, it’s easy to avoid. On that note, if you plan to make your camera hidden from view, there are a few things to think about.

  1. Consider a covert camera: If you want your camera to remain hidden, think about how you plan to camouflage your device. Is it mobile? Will it blend in with surroundings? Your best possible chance of catching an act, well…in the act, is to keep it from being easily identified. Try a camera that blends in well with surroundings or that can be moved so that it is hidden amongst other objects. Check out our blog for more tips on camera placement.
  2. Wired or wireless security camera: If you plan to go the wired route, you’ll need access to a power supply, which will impact your placement options. Wireless cameras allows for more flexibility. More on this later.
  3. Size: Size is obviously a factor when evaluating security camera features. Smaller cameras are more agile and more easily hidden. However, depending on your needs, a larger camera might pack more features and be the more reliable solution.

Knowing how you plan to use your camera and where you want it will help you narrow your choices of the best surveillance cameras.

best security camera features

6 best security camera hardware features: Let’s talk hardware

Finding the right security camera features can be achieved by knowing what you want out of a camera. Check out these key features.

  1. Wired vs. wireless
  2. Recording options
  3. Indoor vs. outdoor options
  4. Firewall protections
  5. Motion sensors
  6. Internet speed

Picture quality, pixels, infrared lighting, motion sensors, connection capabilities—ugh, when did making a purchase decision seem more complicated than buying a house? The good news is that finding the right security camera features can be achieved by knowing what you want out of a camera.

Here are a few questions to get you started.

Live streaming vs. motion activated security cameras

Will your camera mostly be used to identify if an intruder breaks in or are you hoping to use it for more constant monitoring of your kids, pets, or loved ones?

The answer to this will determine if you need to opt for a camera that offers live streaming capabilities or motion activated capturing. Live streaming of video allows you to log in and see what is happening at any time through the scope of your security camera. Motion activated capturing only records video when motion is detected. An important distinction.

Indoor vs. outdoor surveillance

Are you using your security camera features to surveil the outdoor areas of your property or are you wanting to take video of the comings and goings inside your home?

Knowing whether you plan to put your camera inside or outside makes a big difference when it comes to investigating security camera features. Outdoor cameras are subject to more extreme conditions like condensation, low temperatures, and sun exposure. In addition, outdoor cameras are more likely to fall subject to vandalism or damage. If you plan on using an outdoor camera, buy a device that is specifically suited for that purpose. These security cameras often offer protections against the elements and more durable casings.

Indoor cameras often don’t need to be as durable and hardy as those of the outdoor variety. Indoor cameras are usually cheaper and there are a ton to choose from.

Choosing between wired and wireless security cameras

Are you looking for something that is simple to install and allows for flexibility of moving around with your home? Or, do you need a more reliable security camera with features that are more robust?

Wireless security cameras are the popular choice for average homes. These cameras are simple to install and move around your home. They usually offer remote access so that you can connect your device to an app. Many wireless security cameras also feature integration with other home automation devices, like security systems and smart thermostats.

However, wireless cameras are often viewed as less secure. They are more prone to signal interruptions and hacking which means you may need more sophisticated firewall protections. Also, the need for a constant signal means that you can only place these devices within range of your Wi-Fi signal. If you plan to operate several cameras simultaneously, you may need to invest in upgrading your internet speeds, while addressing your security camera needs. Often, these cameras sport a lower resolution, as well.

Wired cameras are more secure because they are actually hardwired into your home. This physical connection means that there is a constant power supply and no signal to interrupt or hack. In addition, wired security cameras typically offer better video resolution. But, there is a tradeoff. These devices are more difficult to hide from prying eyes and involves invasive installation methods that often require the services of a professional.

lights camera security

Lights, camera…can you see the action?

If you remember the webcams of old, you probably have memories of videos punctuated by stuttering visuals and pixelated views. Today’s security cameras have come a long way. Just think about FaceTime. Ten years ago, you may have had a video conversation with someone that was so poor in resolution that only the novelty of the situation could draw attention from the diminished picture. Now, iPhones offer such stunning visuals with FaceTime that there seems to be no space dividing you from your caller.

Modern security cameras feature higher resolution and better lighting so that you have a better idea of what is happening in the video. That being said, some of the more cost-effective security cameras still don’t offer the sharp picture that comes with high resolution. Check the resolution and the capabilities for low-lighting so that you are able to see what you need to. How sophisticated does your security camera need to be? Think about this.

What are you monitoring with your device? If you are keeping an eye on teens or loved ones and you only need to ensure their safety, a lower resolution is probably fine for those purposes. However, if you are concerned about crime in the area, you may want higher resolution so that you can capture more detail when an event occurs.

Similar to resolution, low lighting capturing capabilities vary from advanced to basic. Again, what do you plan to surveil? If you just need to know if Johnny is making a late-night getaway, a less expensive model with lower resolution is likely to be enough. However, if you need detail, go for a device that features higher low light capturing options.

how much should your pay for a security camera

How much should you pay for a security camera?

Cost is a factor that is best determined by your video needs and your budget. There are many surveillance options on the market that are economical for a tighter budget. You can also go high-end and get all the features you could ever need—but it will cost you. Do some research and investigate reviews and competitors before settling on a security camera.

Knowing how best to invest will help you make the most of your security camera features and home security setup.