It can be very time-saving to know what you should look for when buying home security cameras. To get the best bang for your buck, we recommend that you choose a security camera that meets certain minimum requirements. Learn more below.
We recommend security cameras that are affordable for all budgets. To find out what security camera prices you can expect to pay, check out our guide on security camera costs.
Security camera video quality
While video quality is important for wireless security cameras to do their job well, it goes beyond just resolution. A camera’s field-of-view, frame rate, night vision quality, and frame rate all need to be considered. These are the things we recommend to ensure that your security camera delivers excellent video performance.
- Video resolutions of 1080p and higher provide enough detail to distinguish people through facial features, clothing, or actions. You don’t have to rely on your phone’s small screen for 1080p resolution. Reolink Argus 3 Pro with its 2K resolution is a wonderful example of high-quality video resolution.
- The camera can see large areas indoors and out, but the field of view is only 130o. Subjects are kept within the video frame at a reasonable size. For outdoor security cameras or video doorbells, a 160o viewing angle might be a better option. This will allow you to cover more of your property with fewer cameras.
- Smooth motion in videos requires a frame rate of at least 15 frames per seconds (fps). Smooth video is less prone to motion blur. This can cause loss of detail on high-resolution cameras. Smooth video is less susceptible to motion blur, which can reduce detail even on high-resolution cameras.
- Wireless cameras can produce bright images after sunset if they have a night vision range of at least 30 feet. Infrared LEDs are used by most security cameras to record in total darkness. You might still consider purchasing a model with a secondary light source, such as the Ring Floodlight Cam. This can help deter intruders while providing color night vision.
Video storage for security cameras
Video recording preserves a record of what happens around your home without you having to constantly be on the lookout for live feeds or respond to every notification that appears on your mobile device. It all depends on your personal preferences and budget. Here are our recommendations for both:
- You can record several weeks worth of videos with a local storage capacity of 32GB or more (preferably on an SD Card). If possible, cameras with higher resolutions than 1080p should be able to support 64GB or 128GB microSD cards. We recommend a NVR of at least 1 TB if you have multiple analog security cameras.
- You can download and review your cloud storage video history for 14 days or longer if you notice something unusual or suspicious. Monthly storage costs for single camera will be less than $4 per month and $10 for multiple cameras. Wyze’s cloud plan for $2 is a great place to begin.
Security camera features essential
These features will make your camera more user-friendly and more efficient, even though video quality and storage are the most important aspects of security cameras.
- The best way to manage your Wi-Fi security camera is via a mobile app. You can view and receive notifications as well as adjust settings to make your everyday life easier. You also have access to smart home controls and two-way audio. A good example of a simple, but powerful mobile app is Blink cameras.
- It is easier to manage video storage and notifications with a motion detection camera. Most people will be satisfied with models that have adjustable motion zones or motion sensitivity. However, smart detection is available if they are financially feasible. Smart detection is an artificial intelligence feature that allows smart security cameras to identify people, animals, and other objects and notify you.
Optional security camera features
Your camera and wallet won’t be affected by anything beyond the security camera features mentioned above. These are some nice features that you might want, but not necessarily what you need.
- While a battery eliminates the need to run power cables through installation, it is still necessary to charge it in order to keep your camera working. While batteries are convenient for outdoor cameras, we prefer wired cameras. You don’t like changing out smoke detector batteries so an indoor security camera that consumes too much power may prove to be more hassle than it’s worth.
- An outdoor weatherproof camera is something you might not need in your home. You can also save money by purchasing an indoor camera. You might also consider an outdoor camera for areas of your home that don’t require heating, such as the garage or workshop.
- Security systems are a great way for your camera to be more proficient. They allow it to communicate with professional monitoring and a range of security sensors. It will cost you more in monthly monitoring and equipment. Before you make a large investment in security systems, get comfortable with your surveillance camera.