Security Cameras Reviews Buying Guide
Security is extremely essential in a business or home setting, and part of a good security system is a solid camera setup. Security goes hand in hand with awareness, and the right camera system can give you full awareness of your surroundings. You might be setting up cameras at home to watch for vandals, destructive animals or nosy neighbors. You might be setting up a security system around your business to stop potential theft and in order to monitor employees and customers. You might even be setting up a hidden camera to catch a known thief in the act. Whatever the reason may be, you need to know about the types of cameras that are available and how best to use them.
Security Cameras Reviews – Topics to Keep in Mind
Before you begin looking at security cameras and video surveillance systems, you will need to decide what you’re trying to monitor. Write down the areas you will need to monitor. If it’s only one or a few small rooms indoor, then you will need an entirely different camera system than if you need to monitor larger outdoor spaces.
- How large is the space you need to cover? Larger spaces might need zoomable mobile cameras with HD (high definition)
- Do your cameras need to be hidden or not? If you’re catching a known thief in the act, you don’t want your cameras to be obvious. On the other hand, if you’re using a camera system as theft deterrent for your business, these cameras work best when they are visible
- How many cameras will you need? If you’re monitoring a large area, then you might benefit from drawing up a blueprint as well as highlighting camera views
One other concern that you will need to keep mind of is the legality of your camera system, and some cameras might need to be visible. Installing hidden cameras may sometimes be a breach of privacy.
Security Camera Reviews – Types of Security Cameras
Dome Security Cameras
Dome security cameras can be used as a replacement for bullet security cameras. You will find these cameras suspended from cables in department stores, they can be affixed to corners in school hallways and they can be positioned anywhere a black dome can cover a visual area. Dome cameras have an advantage over bullet cameras as they are actually harder to destroy or vandalize. With a smoked dome, these cameras make it harder for a potential thief to determine the coverage, making them pretty effective.
Outdoor Security Cameras
Outdoor security cameras come in many different styles and can come with a number of different available features, depending on how you want them to be used. They can be motion-activated cameras attached near motion-activated lights and may also include an infrared or night vision lens to have a better nighttime view. Outdoor surveillance cameras are usually waterproof so they can operate in inclement weather without being damaged.
Bullet Security Cameras
Bullet security cameras are some of the most common types of cameras you can find. When you think of a security camera carefully positioned on a corner, then you probably think of these types of cameras. They are cheap and conspicuous and are generally cylindrical or rectangular and mounted on arms that fix to the ceiling or wall, which allows them to be manually positioned for the best visual coverage of the targeted area. Most bullet cameras do not move remotely. However, some advanced models of bullet cameras may have a pan feature and a built-in zoom.
Spy Security Cameras
Discreet cameras, which may also be called spy cameras, come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. You can find them the size of a coin, built into a wall clock, embedded in a pen or stuffed into a teddy bear. Spy cameras are designed to be as inconspicuous as possible. They are the most questionably legal type of security camera. Although they have a number of legitimate uses, they can cause you trouble if inappropriately used. The most important features of a discreet camera are concealment and small size. It is of note however that spy cameras never have high picture quality because of their compact design.
PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) Security Cameras
PTZ cameras, or pan tilt zoom cameras, have several mobility features in order to enhance their effectiveness. PTZ cameras are generally used for large open areas and have the ability to pan across an area, they can tilt for a better view and they can zoom in on suspicious activity. These types of cameras typically have a high resolution lens that allows them to zoom without having a loss of video quality.
Networked Security Cameras
Networking is another feature that can be part of several different security camera designs. The typical networked security camera relies on a wireless or cabled connection with a central security computer that is installed somewhere in your business or home. These types of cameras have no local storage, and send their visual signal to the computer for real-time storage or monitoring. If you would like to archive video taken with networked security cameras or need to monitor more than one or two cameras at the same time, then a networked security system is an ideal solution.
High Definition Security Cameras
As the name implies, an HD security camera with high definition video is considered an HD security camera. The additional video resolution of an HD camera means that the camera needs higher amounts of storage, so these cameras are often wired to a central computer and can come in handy if video is ever needed as evidence.
Security Cameras Reviews – Basic Features
Security cameras have a big range of basic features. As for advanced features, you will likely have to pay extra if you want them.
- Connection features. Whether the camera has local tapes, a wireless connection or a wired connection to a computer, it will need to store video in some fashion
- Operation features. If you’re looking for security cameras, you may not want a fake camera. However, fake cameras can be great theft deterrents
- Color and definition features. Cheaper security cameras may only have black and white video, while color video and high definition video come at a premium
- Mobility features. Basic cameras are fixed in position. Some mid-range cameras can pan automatically. PTZ cameras can pan, tilt and zoom for much better coverage
- Protection features. Outdoor security cameras need to be protected from outdoor weather, while dome cameras have more anti-vandalism protection
Security Cameras Reviews – Advanced Features
The more advanced the features are in your camera, the more expensive it will be. You can easily spend a lot of money on a security system that can watch both indoor and outdoor locations of a large warehouse or business in all weather and light conditions. The important thing is determining which are the features you don’t need.
- PTZ option. The advanced range of motion available in a PTZ camera is useful, but it does however require manual operation and therefore someone who is assigned to monitor the camera feed
- Advanced vision option. Most cameras will take simple video in daylight, but you can optionally pay for night vision or infrared feeds as well
- Web access option. While this is most important for home security, you can purchase web cameras that are connected to the Internet, which allows you to monitor your camera from any location
Selecting the Right Security Camera for You
Choosing the right security cameras can be tough. Security camera companies might have a limited selection of cameras or may push for more expensive camera models. Working with a consultant can tell you how many surveillance cameras you need, what concerns you may have, and where to position them. Here are some tips before buying.
- Any cameras that are positioned outdoor will need to be weatherproof
- Cameras that are positioned indoor don’t need weather protection, but they might need vandalism protection if they are within reach
- Dome surveillance cameras and fake cameras can work together in order to establish psychological theft deterrents without the need for investing in an expensive camera system
- If your cameras are out of reach or if you have more than one, you may want them to be networked in a wireless way, so you don’t need to string cables through your building
- A home or small business can benefit from networked IP cameras, while larger businesses will not check security remotely
- Hidden cameras are good for discreet surveillance but are not theft deterrent
- You will not need night vision or extreme high definition video most of the time. High definition is more useful for long-range cameras, and a low-light camera works in many cases in place of a dedicated night vision camera
Now that you have an idea of how many cameras you will need, what features they need and where they need to be, you can begin shopping for specific models of surveillance cameras or systems. You should make sure they are all manufactured by the same brand in order to ensure they work together with a central piece of software under the same warranty. Take a look at the best selling and top-rated security and surveillance cameras from Amazon below in order to choose which is the best for your needs.