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Wireless vs. Wired Home Security Cameras: Which Is Best for You?

Jun 28, 2022|

Security cameras are an essential component of your home security system.

They help monitor your home and let you know when potential intruders are nearby. They can also work with other smart devices in your security system to provide maximum protection for your property.

Whenever you’re choosing the best home security cameras for video recording, you have to decide between installing wireless or wired cameras. This guide explains how both types of cameras work and offers tips to help you choose the right option for your home.

Exterior of a home.

How do wireless security cameras work?

In general, wireless security cameras are pretty easy to DIY. They’re usually battery-powered, so you don’t have to connect them to your home’s electrical wiring system. You just have to watch their battery life (and you can use a regular or a rechargeable battery).

Some wire-free cameras need to be plugged into an outlet. Many wireless cameras come with adhesive strips that make it extremely easy to mount them. All you have to do is stick them to a wall.

Wireless security cameras can also be called Wi-Fi or Internet Protocol (IP) cameras. They use your home’s Wi-Fi network to communicate with your wider smart security system and send you notifications.

Typically, IP cameras use a cloud storage system to save footage. This means they rely on an external server for video storage. The benefit is that you can access security footage from your camera online using your smartphone or another mobile device. However, most security companies charge for cloud storage plans beyond a certain amount of free cloud storage.

Indoor and outdoor wireless home security cameras are available for purchase. Outdoor wireless cameras are larger than indoor ones and are designed to stand up to the elements. An outdoor security camera needs to be weather-resistant and durable enough to work in harsh conditions.

Outdoor home security cameras also have a 130-degree field of view or more. This lets them keep track of a large area outside your home.

They may even have security add-ons. For example, your camera might have a spotlight that turns on whenever it senses motion.

Indoor wireless cameras can have added functions, too. For instance, an indoor camera may have a sensor that lets it measure the temperature in your home.

This feature can be helpful if you worry that your home might get too hot for your pets while you’re at work. If your home is too hot, you can use your smartphone to adjust your smart thermostat.

As long as you have an adequate internet signal and your router is up and running, your wireless security cameras will work well. However, disrupted or spotty Wi-Fi may affect your camera’s ability to function.

Some wireless cameras can work without a Wi-Fi connection. They might use a cellular network to connect to the internet or a micro-SD card to store footage.

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How do wired security cameras work?

Installing wired security cameras is much more involved than installing wireless ones. You’ll need to connect wired cameras to your home’s electrical wiring.

Even if you’re an experienced electrician, it’s best to have these cameras professionally installed.

Wired security cameras typically use local storage to keep track of video footage. That means they’ll send video clips to a recording device somewhere in your home.

The benefit is that you won’t have to pay for a monthly cloud storage plan. The drawback is that you won’t be able to access a live stream of your security footage online.

Like wireless cameras, you can use wired security cameras indoors and outdoors. Both outdoor and indoor wired cameras typically have LED lights that make it possible to record clearly in the dark.

Outdoor wired security cameras are often bullet-shaped. Their shape gives them the ability to focus on things from a long distance. They’re typically installed high on the outside of your home.

Indoor cameras can monitor a large square area inside your home because they have a dome shape that gives them a wide-angle field of view.

Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro on a home exterior.

Wireless vs. wired security cameras: key differences

Now that you have a basic understanding of how wired and wireless security cameras work, let’s talk about the differences between the two to help you decide which option will better suit your needs.

  • Wireless cameras use a Wi-Fi internet connection to communicate with other smart devices in your home and send motion alerts. Wired cameras use coaxial cables to send footage to on-site recording devices, but they generally can’t communicate with smart appliances.
  • Wireless cameras use cloud storage, while wired cameras use local storage. Cloud storage lets you view security video remotely, but local storage doesn’t require a monthly fee.
  • It’s much easier to DIY home security cameras that are wireless because wired cameras need to be connected to your home’s electrical system.

How to choose the best wireless home security camera system

A wireless security camera is likely the better option if you’re looking for a camera that will be a part of a larger smart home security system.

A smart wireless security camera lets you use a mobile app to see what’s going on in your home, whether you’re at your work, on vacation, or anywhere else.

The next few sections will cover some considerations that can help you pick from the best wireless home security cameras to fill your needs.

Consider smart home integration

If you want your security camera to be part of a wider security system, you’ll need it to have compatibility with the rest of your smart devices.

Some smart security devices, like those offered by Vivint, even work with smart home hubs like Google Home and Amazon Alexa. An integrated security system will help you automate many of your home’s security functions.

For example, you could tell Google Assistant on your Google Nest system to activate your outdoor security camera, turn on your smart LED lighting outdoors, and lock the smart locks on your front door at the same time—all without getting up.

You can even program your smart devices to work on a schedule. For instance, you may program your security camera to monitor its motion zones after 11 p.m. when everyone in your household is sleeping.

Camera types to choose from

The wireless camera that’s best for you will depend on what you want to monitor. Different security cameras have different features, like high video quality, facial recognition, and color night vision.

Here are some of the basic types of security cameras.

  • Outdoor security cameras are weatherproof and might have security features like alarms that help them ward off burglars. For example, Vivint’s Outdoor Camera Pro uses Smart Deter technology that plays a loud sound and illuminates its LED ring if someone lingers too long. A floodlight camera is another type of outdoor camera. The floodlight cam shines a light that fills your yard when motion detection sensors pick up movement.
  • Indoor security cameras like Vivint’s Indoor Camera also have security features like motion sensors, alarms, and lights. Wireless indoor cameras are also great for pet owners and parents. For instance, a baby monitor is a type of indoor security camera.
  • Video doorbell cameras like Vivint’s Doorbell Camera Pro monitor the area directly in front of your front door. Video doorbells also have two-way audio, or two-way talk, that lets you remotely interact with visitors.

Installation options

Even though you can technically install your wireless security camera yourself, it’s better to enlist the help of a professional.

An expert installer will be able to position your camera system so it monitors the exact areas needed. They’ll also be able to help you connect your security camera to all the smart devices in your home.

At Vivint, we offer professional installation for all of our smart products. Our knowledgeable installers will help you set up your security cameras, smart locks, and other devices for optimal performance.

Vivint indoor camera in a baby's nursery.

Find out how Vivint brings your home security to the next level

Both wireless security cameras and wired cameras can be valuable tools to improve the safety of your home and give you peace of mind. However, a wireless security camera will work with all of your smart home devices.

When your smart devices operate together, you get a seamless automation experience that you can manage from a central control panel like Vivint’s Smart Hub or remotely using your smartphone.

If you’re ready to take your smart home security to the next level, take a look at the best wireless security cameras offered by Vivint. Our cameras have a variety of useful features and programs like 1080p video resolution, professional monitoring, and Smart Deter technology that make it easier to keep your home safe.

Call us at 855.822.1220 for a free consultation today.

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