Sep 10, 2020|

Should I Install Security Cameras in My Home?

If you’re looking to increase peace of mind, few things compare to being able to see what’s happening in and around your home at any time. Home security cameras give you the ability to view live and recorded video so you’re always in the know.

But with so much information and so many options out there, it's easy to feel overwhelmed while shopping for cameras for your home. That's why we've created this guide to help you find the right home security cameras for you.

Why get security cameras?

Before we start, ask yourself this question: do you actually need a home security camera? Here are some signs a home security camera may be right for you:

  • You frequently shop online and have packages delivered to your door.
  • You're often away from your home for hours at a time.
  • You have multiple entrances to your home.
  • You have valuables inside the home that may be a target for thieves.
  • You have kids or pets you want to keep an eye on.
  • You have exterior features you want to monitor, such as a gate, driveway, or pool.

Each homeowner's needs may be different, but the peace of mind you gain from having a home security camera is invaluable.

vivint outdoor camera pro
While needs differ, all homeowners can benefit from the peace of mind that security cameras bring.
 
 

What security camera should I get?

Choosing the right security camera for your needs is important. There are three common types:

  1. Outdoor camera
  2. Doorbell camera (also called a video doorbell)
  3. Indoor camera

Let’s take a look at each and what you should consider.

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Doorbell camera

The doorbell camera is the most popular camera as it allows you to monitor the most crucial access point to your home. You can also see who’s coming and going, when packages are delivered, and some video doorbells allow you to have two-way conversations with guests at your door.

Look for a doorbell camera with these features:

  • A wide and tall viewing angle to see more of your porch. 180-degree width is especially important.
  • Ability to stream live and recorded video from your phone
  • Two-way talk functionality
  • Infrared night vision
  • Image quality—look for 1080p or 4k cameras for crisper images
  • Zoom capabilities
  • WiFi connectivity—be sure it will connect with your home’s WiFi setup
  • Aesthetic—does it look nice next to your door?

The Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro is one of the most advanced video doorbells available. It stands out from the crowd with the widest and tallest field of view—a full 180°x180°, allowing you to see tall visitors and packages left on the doorstep. It also comes equipped with Smart Sentry AI technology that notifies you of package deliveries and deters potential thieves using light and sound.

Outdoor camera

Outdoor cameras provide video coverage around your house. Often, homeowners will install multiple outdoor cameras to make sure every angle of their property is being monitored.

There are many different types of outdoor cameras on the market, from sleek, small outdoor cameras to dome cameras to bulky surveillance cameras. You want to choose an outdoor camera that effectively records video while also not detracting from your home’s visual appeal.

Look for an outdoor camera with these features:

  • A wide viewing angle for greater coverage of your property
  • Night vision
  • Siren or warning tone
  • Adjustable camera positioning
  • Ability to stream live and recorded video from your phone
  • Two-way talk functionality
  • Image quality—look for 1080p or 4k cameras for crisper images.
  • Ability to adjust recording triggers (for instance, only recording when people are detected, not trees blowing or cars passing)

The Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro is a top-of-the-line security camera that intelligently identifies and deters lurkers and threats on your property. With its 4k sensor, you’ll get clear images of what’s happening around your property. And the camera’s sleek design and smaller size look nice on the house.

Indoor camera

Indoor cameras have been around for a long time and go by many names, including nursery cameras, nanny cameras, and hidden cameras. These cameras often cost less than an outdoor camera or doorbell camera, allowing you to place more of them in important areas of your home.

More than a convenience, indoor cameras allow you to have an extra set of eyes, which is especially valuable if you have kids or pets always on the move.

Look for an indoor camera with these features:

  • A wide viewing angle to cover the room you’re monitoring
  • Night vision
  • Adjustable camera positioning
  • Ability to mount and/or place as a standalone, as needed
  • Ability to stream live and recorded video from your phone
  • Image quality—look for 1080p cameras for sharper images

The Vivint Ping Camera is an indoor camera designed for the home. It’s the world’s first indoor camera with true two-way communication. Not only can you see and hear what’s happening in your home, but the occupants of the room can also respond. They can also proactively connect with you through the camera’s one-touch call button.

Wired vs. wireless cameras

One of the most important considerations is choosing between wired or wireless cameras.

Wired cameras provide added levels of security and more consistent connectivity, but can also sometimes be difficult to install depending on your home’s wiring and surface materials. Wireless cameras allow for more flexibility in their placement, but sometimes suffer from difficulty connecting with your home’s WiFi, leaving you with cameras that frequently go offline.

Wireless cameras are often the way to go due to their greater flexibility, but be sure your WiFi connection is strong and add WiFi extenders or change to a mesh WiFi system if needed.

How much do home security cameras cost?

Home security cameras run from less than $50 to more than $1,000 dollars. Selecting the right camera largely depends on what you want it to do. Most cameras perform the same general tasks, so pay attention to the features that matter the most to you.

Like so many other things, you get what you pay for. Saving a few dollars upfront may not save you money in the long run if the camera suffers from connectivity issues, you’re constantly having to change batteries, or it doesn’t record at a high enough quality for you to use the footage.

vivint ping camera
Investing in high quality security cameras means that you'll be able to rely on them for years to come.
 

Where to place and install home security cameras

Deciding where to place your home security cameras is something you should do before you purchase. Not sure where to install them? Here are some tips:

  • Write a list of the most vulnerable areas around your house. These usually include your front door, garage door, and back door.
  • Determine any other areas you would like to keep an eye on. Some popular areas include driveways, the side of the house, the full backyard, inside the house facing the entryway, and in high-traffic areas inside the house.
  • Search for a satellite image of your property on Google Maps. Look at the exterior of your home to identify possible camera locations. Be sure to consider the angle of a camera and how much area it can realistically cover. This can help you determine if you need more than one camera.

Once you’ve purchased your home security cameras, they need to be installed. Indoor cameras are usually plug-and-play or battery-powered, so they are easy to install.

Doorbell cameras require a little bit of technical skill, but usually have instructions and can be installed in about an hour. The viewing angle of the doorbell camera you purchase will be a factor in where you install your camera. If your camera has a wide 180-degree view, you can usually install the camera right next to your door.

vivint doorbell camera pro
It's important to think about where you want to place your cameras as well.
 

Outdoor cameras require the most skill and time to install. Outdoor cameras should be installed about 11 feet above the ground and not point toward the sun, as much as possible. This allows for a wide view to be captured and is out of the reach of individuals who may want to vandalize or disable the camera. But it’s not so high that it can’t capture important details like faces.

Outdoor cameras have to be powered so you will need to find a way to provide power to a camera. A PoE solution (Power over Ethernet) is a good way to go, but will likely still require you to run some wires, and this often requires drilling holes and going into your attic. Getting your WiFi signal to the outdoor camera may also present a challenge.

If installing home security cameras sounds intimidating, many camera providers—including home security companies like Vivint—offer professional installation. We provide professional installation with every complete smart home security system, making sure everything is properly installed and works together. That means fewer headaches and more peace of mind for you.

vivint outdoor camera pro
With Vivint, our Smart Home Pros will install your security system start to finish, ensuring everything works correctly.
 

Getting the most out of your cameras

Once your cameras are installed you should be able to take advantage of their streaming and recording capabilities. To get the most out of your cameras, consider the following tips.

  • Make sure you have enough storage space for the video clips. This varies by camera. Some automatically back up footage to the cloud or a hard drive for a certain amount of time. Others store data to a removable storage card. Be sure to download important clips to your phone or computer regularly so you don’t lose them over time.
  • Refine settings. Many home security cameras allow you to customize features, like when your camera records and for how long. Having your camera continuously record may not be the best option because you have to sift through so much unimportant footage. Many cameras offer the feature to trigger camera recording when certain events are detected, like motion, or at a certain time of day.
  • Set up notifications. One of the biggest perks of a smart camera is the ability to be notified of important events rather than having to constantly be checking your camera feed. Set up notifications to your phone to alert you when a new clip is being recorded.
  • Keep your cameras clean. Doorbell cameras and outdoor cameras tend to get coated with thin layers of dust or water over time. Be sure to periodically wipe your camera down with a clean microfiber cloth.
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What's next?

When you customize a complete Vivint security system, you can rest easy knowing you're getting the best of the best. Here's what we mean:

  • Everything works together. With a Vivint system, all of your smart home products integrate seamlessly, meaning you can control your entire home (including cameras, your security sensors, doors, and lights) from just one app.
  • 24/7 monitoring. Your home is always protected thanks to our highly-trained home security monitoring professionals. If any safety or security device in your home is triggered, they will immediately take the proper action to make sure your home and family are safe and secure.
  • Professional installation. Our Smart Home Pros will install your entire smart home system for you. This way you'll know every product is connected properly and working correctly. And you don't have to lift a finger.

Selecting a home security camera is an important decision that will bring you greater peace of mind. Ready to install security cameras in your home? Call our Smart Home Pros today at 800.646.1469 for a free quote.

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