A Guide to Home Security Cameras: Types, Benefits, and Drawbacks of Each

Nov 25, 2022|

Without a doubt, having an extra pair of eyes looking at your home gives you peace of mind.

Home security systems have come a long way with different types of home security cameras available in the market. Although that’s a good thing, choosing the right camera for your home can be a big task if you’re not familiar with home security.

To take the hard work off your shoulders, we explore the different types of home security cameras to get you closer to choosing the best camera for your needs and budget.

Vivint Indoor Security Camera in a home's kitchen.
 

Cameras by location

When choosing a home security camera, the first thing you should consider is the installation location of the camera.

Although all types of security cameras serve essentially the same purpose — to allow you to see what’s happening in and around your home — they nevertheless have subtle differences when it comes to durability, features, and functions.

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Indoor cameras

As its name suggests, an indoor security camera is designed to provide an interior view of your home.

Indoor cameras are equipped with a wide range of features, including motion activation, microphones, notification alerts, and infrared night vision, just to name a few.

Thanks to technology, it’s possible to connect your indoor camera to your smartphone through an app so that you have a 24/7 view of your home. This way, you can make sure your home and family are safe even while you’re away.

Sophisticated indoor cameras, like the Vivint Indoor Camera, also feature two-way communication capabilities, which allow you to have a full conversation through the camera. That’s especially important if you have young children, pets, or older family members that you want to monitor throughout the day.

To capture a wide field of view of your home, try to place your indoor camera in a central area, such as the living room, the kitchen, or the hallway.

Outdoor cameras

Outdoor cameras are designed for outdoor use, usually mounted on or near the front door. Outdoor cameras are made to withstand the elements. Outdoor cameras are made using weather-resistant materials that make them durable against fluctuating temperatures and extreme weather conditions like snow, hail, dust, and heat.

To determine how durable your outdoor camera is, check the IP rating, which gives you an indication of how the device responds to different weather conditions.

Similarly to indoor security cameras, exterior cameras have a wide range of features, such as remote viewing, motion activation, infrared LED vision, and continuous recording.

If you want added security, you can opt for the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro, which features an integrated Smart Deter system that proactively detects potential burglars and vandals and sends them away automatically with its LED illumination and loud sound.

Video doorbells

Video doorbells are integrated into your doorbell and provide an easy way to keep your home and family secure.

Also known as porch cameras, video doorbells are used to monitor activity outside the front door, see and speak to guests through a microphone, and get alerted when motion is detected in the surroundings.

The Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro also features a Smart Deter system with computer vision technology that detects package deliveries and sends away potential lurkers with a bright LED ring and a 90 dB speaker.

To maintain constant connectivity, doorbell cameras are usually wired. That’s especially important when you’re away for long periods of time and unable to cater to battery-powered wireless security cameras.

Child walking in their front door with the Vivint Doorbell Camera in view.
 

Cameras by power source

When it comes to the camera’s power source, there are two types of home security systems to choose from, wired cameras or wireless cameras.

The choice ultimately depends on your budget, home security needs, and installation location.

Wired cameras

Wired cameras are connected to your home’s electrical circuit through hardwire or a wall outlet, meaning that they don’t rely on batteries to function.

Although wired cameras can solve the recharging problem, they may limit your installation options as they need to be connected to the home’s electrical wiring. On the same note, many homeowners don’t appreciate the look of additional wires and cables in their living space.

Due to the nature of wired cameras, you may require a professional electrician when you install or move your device.

Pros

  • Wired systems are harder to hack as they can’t be accessed through a wireless connection.
  • Wired cameras can cover large living spaces due to stronger signals compared to Wi-Fi.
  • There are no batteries to maintain. Wired systems connect to your home’s electrical wiring system.
  • Wired systems don’t rely on Wi-Fi networks and can work even if your home’s Wi-Fi goes out.

Cons

  • Your installer may have to drill into your walls to connect your wired security system.
  • Wired systems can be hard to transport if your location changes.
  • Sometimes, it might be hard to hide all cables.
  • Wired systems need to be connected to your home’s electrical wiring, which can limit your placement options.

Wireless cameras

If you love the flexibility of moving your home security device around your home, a wireless camera could be a good option for you.

A wireless system uses a Wi-Fi connection to record videos, send live footage, and communicate with other devices. This means that you can control your home security camera from the palm of your hand.

Wireless cameras are usually battery-powered, which means that depending on the camera’s usage, you may need to recharge your device every few weeks.

Pros

  • Wireless systems offer an easier DIY installation as you don’t have to connect any wires.
  • You can access your wireless system remotely through a Wi-Fi network connection.
  • Wireless systems can be easily moved and transported to a new place.
  • Wireless systems tend to be compatible with other smart devices to allow an integrated home automation experience.

Cons

  • A wireless system stores videos in a cloud, which may come with a monthly fee.
  • If the Wi-Fi goes out, a wireless system will stop functioning. This creates a problem when the Wi-Fi connection is unstable or intermittent.
  • Wireless systems tend to be battery-powered. Keeping an eye on the battery level is important for keeping your device on.

Cameras by connectivity

You’d think that everyone has access to Wi-Fi, but 27.6 million American households still don’t have a home internet connection. The good news is that there are surveillance cameras that don’t require a Wi-Fi connection to function.

When it comes to connectivity, there are two primary types of home security cameras to consider: Wi-Fi-connected cameras and cameras that don’t require Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi connected cameras

The most common type of home security camera nowadays is the one that connects to Wi-Fi.

That’s because a Wi-Fi connection allows users to access and manage their cameras through a mobile app or home hub, meaning they can view real-time footage, get notified when motion detection is triggered, and access the camera’s settings remotely.

Pros

  • Wi-Fi-connected cameras allow remote access to the camera’s settings.
  • A Wi-Fi-connected camera can be part of a larger smart home automation system.
  • Footage from Wi-Fi-connected cameras can be stored in the cloud and easily be viewed and shared online.
  • Wi-Fi-connected cameras are popular, with many affordable options available on the market.

Cons

  • It’s possible to hack a Wi-Fi-connected system.
  • Wi-Fi-connected systems that use cloud storage usually require a monthly fee.
  • These types of cameras rely on Wi-Fi to work, which can cause problems when the Wi-Fi network is down or unavailable.
  • Poor Wi-Fi connection can impact video quality.

Cameras that don’t require Wi-Fi

For those without a home internet connection, a traditional analog camera is a great option for home security.

Analog cameras aren’t connected to the internet, and footage is stored in a micro-SD card or hard drive, which you can view on a computer. No big surprise here; analog cameras don’t support live streaming, notification alerts, and remote access.

Despite the above disadvantage, analog cameras are great when Wi-Fi isn’t available, or the Wi-Fi connection is poor.

Pros

  • Analog cameras don’t require a Wi-Fi connection to work, making them ideal for places with intermittent or unstable Wi-Fi connections.
  • Analog cameras are typically cheaper compared to Wi-Fi-connected cameras.

Cons

  • Analog cameras don’t allow remote access via a mobile device.
  • Analog cameras record and store footage to a micro-SD card or hard drive, which means you can’t view content in real time.
Vivint Outdoor Camera on a home's exterior.
 

Cameras by recording options

Home security cameras have different types of video storage options, including cloud recording, network video recording (NVR), and digital video recording (DVR).

Cloud recording

A home security camera with cloud recording means that the footage is automatically sent to a cloud-based server.

Having your recordings uploaded to the cloud means you can access your footage on your smartphone, which provides a quick and convenient way to monitor any suspicious activity happening in and around your home.

Most security companies offer a cloud storage subscription option that comes with a monthly or yearly fee.

Pros

  • Cloud-based storage is easy to use. Footage can be viewed anytime, anywhere.
  • There are multiple cloud storage options available depending on your budget and needs.
  • You don’t need any additional hardware to set up a cloud-based home security camera. The setup is quick and easy to DIY.

Cons

  • Cloud storage comes with a subscription paid monthly or yearly.
  • Cloud-based storage relies on the internet, which might be a problem if you don’t have a stable connection to Wi-Fi.
  • A camera with cloud storage is more vulnerable to cyberattacks as information is transmitted through a Wi-Fi network.

Digital video recorders (DVR)

DVR is a common type of video recording system used for home security cameras. With a DVR, the footage is captured from analog cameras and then passed to the recorder through a coaxial cable.

DVRs store the camera stream to a memory card, a disk drive, or another local storage option — meaning that they can work without an internet connection.

Pros

  • DVR is good for traditional CCTV video surveillance systems.
  • DVRs stores the footage in a local storage device and can work even if your home’s Wi-Fi goes out.
  • DVR systems are hard to hack, as hackers need to physically access the device or memory card to see the camera footage.

Cons

  • A DVR might be complicated to install by yourself. It’s better to contact a professional to install the coaxial cables correctly.
  • Analog cameras transmit lower-quality video with limited audio capabilities.

Network video recorders (NVR)

On the other hand, NVR systems work by capturing video from IP cameras. The camera stream is processed and stored directly on the network with the use of a Wi-Fi network or a Power over Ethernet (PoE) connection.

Based on the above, NVR systems offer a more convenient and flexible approach to home security compared to DVR, with higher resolution footage, live streaming, and remote access to the camera’s settings.

Pros

  • NVRs offer advanced features and audio capabilities with two-way audio.
  • NVR systems offer high-definition videos.
  • With NVR, you can opt for a cloud storage option, which is convenient for accessing and sharing footage online.

Cons

  • NVR systems are equipped with advanced features and are typically more expensive.
  • NVR systems might not be compatible with devices from another manufacturer.

What are the most important home security camera features?

Choosing the right home security camera system comes down to your needs, budget, and personal preferences. . Before committing to a purchase, it’s important to consider how well the device ranks on the below features.

  • Video quality: When investing in a new security camera, be sure that you’ll be able to see high-quality footage from your home and surroundings. That’s why it’s important to invest in a camera with at least 1080 pixels HD resolution, such as a Vivint camera.
  • Motion activation and sound detection: If your camera has a built-in sound and motion sensor, it’ll be able to alert you when something is happening around your house. Vivint cameras also allow two-way talk.
  • Night vision: Being able to see clearly during the night is crucial for keeping your house and family safe. So, make sure that your camera is equipped with infrared night vision for low-light viewing.
  • Weatherproof: If you’re buying an outdoor security camera, make sure it’s durable enough to withstand the elements. You can check the durability of the device by looking at the IP rating. For example, the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro has an IP rating of 65.
  • Smart home integration: We live in a connected era, and being able to access your device remotely can make your life easier. So, make sure to invest in a device that supports home automation and other integrations like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Vivint Indoor Camera.
 

Make your home safer with Vivint security cameras

When it comes to keeping your property safe, a home security camera is worth the investment.

With an array of advanced features and high-quality video quality, Vivint home security cameras offer the home protection you need, whether you’re away or near.

If you’re ready to start searching, check out the home security cameras offered by Vivint or contact our Smart Home Pros at 855.822.1220 for a free consultation today.

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