Installing surveillance cameras in and around your home is one of the best ways to keep your family and belongings safe. A great security camera system can keep an eye on everything when you can’t.
There are several kinds of security cameras with many different features. In this article, we’ll review different types of security cameras to help you decide which meets your security needs.
Indoor vs. outdoor security cameras
Outdoor cameras protect areas like front and back yards. They generally have a durable, weather-resistant casing that protects them from rain, snow, hail, and other weather extremes.
Because outdoor-use cameras are more durable, they may be more expensive than indoor cameras. Many outdoor cameras, like bullet cameras, are designed to capture far-away objects.
Indoor cameras, like dome cameras and other wide-angle view cameras, generally cover the central area of your home and other areas where intruders would have to walk by. You can also use indoor security cameras to check in with family members or pets while you’re away.
Security cameras have a two-digit IP rating number showing their durability. The first number denotes how well the camera stands up to solids, like dust, while the second number denotes how well the camera stands up to liquids, like rain.
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Wired vs. wireless security cameras
Wireless security cameras work using your home Wi-Fi. They typically run on battery power, so they don’t need to be near an outlet. Most wire-free security cameras use cloud storage.
Wired security cameras connect to your home’s wiring system, so you never have to worry about changing out batteries. To ensure proper wiring, wired security cameras require professional installation. Wired security cameras may use either cloud or local storage.
Even though it’s possible to DIY install some security cameras, it’s best to have a professional — like one of Vivint’s home installers — perform installation. A professional will know exactly how to set up your camera to get the best possible coverage. Professional installers will also connect all security cameras to your Wi-Fi network and set them up to work with your smart appliances.
IP cameras vs. CCTV cameras
There are two ways to store security camera footage. IP (internet protocol) cameras store information online and can be wireless or wired. CCTV (closed-circuit television) cameras store information locally, don’t go online, and are always wired.
You can interact with a smart IP security camera from anywhere in the world using a smartphone app, allowing you to check real-time footage on the go. Smart IP cameras can also work with your broader smart home security system. For example, you might program your outdoor camera and smart locks to activate at bedtime. Many IP cameras also work with home hub systems like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so you can operate them using voice commands.
CCTV (also known as analog cameras) use local storage. This means they record footage using a DVR (digital video recorder) or NVR (network video recorder). Footage is stored on an SD card or other device in your home. You can’t interact with a CCTV camera remotely band must be physically present to view its footage.
PTZ (pan-tilt and zoom) cameras have more functionality than fixed security cameras. As the name suggests, PTZ cameras can pan from side to side, tilt up and down, and zoom in or out.
While fixed security cameras need to be adjusted manually, you can control PTZ cameras remotely. Smart PTZ cameras can be adjusted using a mobile app and programmed to work with motion sensors or adjust on a specific schedule.
Security cameras can have either optical zoom or digital zoom. Optical zoom means the lens changes position to record a clear image of a distant point. Digital zoom allows the user to zoom in or out on a fixed image using a device like a phone or a computer.
Other types of security cameras
For maximum surveillance system coverage, it is imperative to use more than one type of security camera. Decide what different types of security cameras you need.
For example, if you want to monitor the whole area in front of your door, you might invest in doorbell cameras with wide fields of view. If you really want to scare off intruders, specialty security cameras, like the Vivint Spotlight Pro can help you do it.
Doorbell cameras monitor your front door, allowing you to see who’s hanging around your home and when packages are delivered. Many smart doorbell cameras have two-way audio, which lets you to speak to visitors remotely from your smartphone. Vivint’s Doorbell Camera Pro goes a step further.
If the Doorbell Camera Pro detects a thief trying to steal a package, it will automatically sound a 90 dB speaker accompanied by an intense LED light that tells criminals they’re being recorded. And the Doorbell Camera Pro lets you control how large an area you want to monitor to prevent annoying false alarms.
The wired Doorbell Camera Pro also has a tall and wide 180° x 180° field of view, infrared night vision to capture crystal-clear footage in any light condition, and 1664p HDR resolution in video recordings.
A spotlight camera can be a powerful deterrent against would-be burglars and vandals. If its sensor is triggered, it shines a bright spotlight in the area, which is often enough to ward off intruders. Smart spotlight cameras can also be programmed to work with home alarm systems.
Vivint’s Spotlight Pro has a powerful image sensor that allows the spotlight to follow unwanted lurkers around your property until they leave. If they stay too long, the smart deter feature flashes the spotlight violently.
The Spotlight Pro’s uses extend beyond deterrence: You can also use the spotlight to light your way if you need to walk around your home in the dark.
What security camera features matter the most for home use?
Here are some top features to look for in home security cameras.
Great image quality. If you want clear recordings, you should look for a security camera that shoots in 1080p HD (full high-definition). Some models, like the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro, can even shoot in exceptional 4k resolution.
Motion detection. To deter would-be burglars, you want cameras with motion sensors that activate when they detect movement. Some motion detection cameras work with your broader home security system to automatically lock doors and sound intruder alarms when a lurker is detected.
Smart functionality. To control your video surveillance using simple mobile apps, choose smart security cameras. These cameras can seamlessly integrate with other smart appliances.
A wide field of view. For even more area coverage, look for security cameras with a wide-angle camera lens. Many indoor cameras have a wide-angle lens to cover a large central area inside a home.
Geofencing. If you want extra property protection, consider a smart camera with geofencing. Geofencing creates an activation border around your home; if anyone enters the border, the camera sends you a notification and can activate an alarm system.
Two-way talk. To remain virtually present when physically away from your home, a camera with two-way audio allows you to speak with visitors, family, and even pets remotely.
Which type of security camera is right for my home?
So, what kind of security camera do you need? That depends on what you’re trying to protect. You may only need a doorbell camera if you live in an apartment building. If you have a large family home, you might need several indoor and outdoor cameras with spotlights, floodlight cameras, video doorbells, and motion detectors to protect all entry points to your home.
You should also consider what features are important to you. If you want to check in on your kids who just got home from school while you are at work, two-way talk on an indoor or doorbell camera could be right for you. If you want your camera to work with your smart appliances, you’ll need one with smart functionality.
Discover the best security camera options from Vivint
Whichever cameras you choose, you want to get them from a trustworthy security company like Vivint. Vivint’s knowledgeable staff will help you find and install the best security cameras to fit your exact security and broader smart home system needs. Vivint also offers professional home monitoring, giving you peace of mind that your home is always protected.
Find out how Vivint can make your home more comfortable and convenient. Call us at 855.822.1220 for a free consultation today.
Qualifying system purchase requires minimum $599.99 expenditure on equipment after all discounts have been applied, professional installation, and execution of Vivint monitoring services agreement. Click here for monthly service plan prices. DIY system purchases and reactivations of previously-installed systems not eligible for offer. Offer not available in all states or provinces. Equipment purchase may be financed separately subject to an agreement with one of Vivint's third-party financing partners. Monthly $1.48 cellular network maintenance fee applies. Taxes and local permit fees may apply.
Third-Party Financing Options Available
Financing eligibility and terms subject to credit approval by one of Vivint's third-party financing partners. Qualified customers may finance equipment purchase at 0% APR for up to 60 months. Month-to-month service agreement available when equipment is purchased upfront.
Vivint Systems & Services
System supports up to six cameras subject to sufficient WiFi speeds. Without a Vivint services plan, product and system functionality is limited (including loss of remote connectivity). Speak to a Vivint representative at the phone number in this offer for complete equipment, services, and package details, including pricing and financing details. Products and services in Louisiana provided by Vivint Louisiana Commercial Certificate #58280. See Vivint license numbers here.