How do you make the right choice among security cameras, not to mention the number that you need to install to prevent intruders from breaking into your home? This guide will show you how to select the connected surveillance camera that suits your needs best.
The best connected security cameras in 2022
|Editor’s Choice||Best value for money||Best wired alternative||Most discreet camera|
|Product||Google Nest Cam||TP-Link Tapo C320WS||MI 360° Home||
ZSGG Camera Bulb
2K color sensor
|4MP color sensor
110° wide-angle view
Color night vision
HQ speaker and microphone
|4MP color sensor
360° wide-angle view
Speaker and microphone
|1080p color sensor
360° wide-angle view
Speaker and microphone
Multiple criteria will govern your choices in terms of picking the right connected camera. They mainly depend on the usage pattern that you want to make for your camera, the installation place, as well as your budget and various features that will make it suitable for either indoor or outdoor use.
Image quality and the video format of your surveillance camera
The image resolution of the camera is essentially important if you want to accurately identify people, animals, numbers, and letters in order to figure out a license plate when reviewing the footage. Today, video modules of connected surveillance cameras are available in 1080p, 2K, or 4K resolution. These cameras will enable you to identify all the different elements that are present in the image. 4K cameras are now available at reasonable prices and will allow you to view a maximum of useful details.
The compression formats are also very important. Indeed, some formats occupy a large bandwidth and require very large amounts of storage space. This is particularly the case for Motion JPEG and MPEG-4 formats. We recommend you opt for a surveillance camera that incorporates the H.264 or H265+ compression formats, which are far lighter and less demanding in terms of bandwidth.
Viewing angle of 180 °: Is it essential?
When buying your surveillance camera, you must take into account your coverage area. Do you want to cover a fixed point such as the cash register of your business, a valuable picture, or the pool? Or do you intend to cover a wider area such as a living room or your garden? Most importantly, do you intend to be able to adjust your viewing angle in real time to track an intruder or your pet? In order to meet your needs, two types of cameras exist:
Fixed-lens cameras that offer a viewing angle of about 90 degrees, allowing you to cover a smaller area and are often sold in kits that comprise multiple cameras.
Varifocal surveillance cameras that offer a wider angle.These motorized surveillance cameras usually offer different focal lengths which allows you to zoom in, zoom out, and move over an angle ranging from 180 to 320°.The coverage area of these surveillance cameras is much wider.
Wired, solar, battery or battery?
Surveillance cameras offer different modes of power supply. They must either be plugged in and will be limited to the length of the cable provided (or you can fashion a customized length for yourself if you are up to it). For this type of camera, you will also have to think about protecting your cables so that they are not exposed to cuts, nicks, or a curious animal who might just want to nibble at it. By opting for a wired camera, you will not have to worry about charging the battery of your camera, but you will be far more constrained in terms of installation.
For several years now, surveillance cameras offer a battery capacity that is capable of operating for several hundred days on a single charge or through commonly available disposable batteries. Of course, you can install it wherever you want, but you must take into account the battery life of your camera. Indeed, you surely do not want to find yourself without any recording on the day of a crime or when your cat disappears.
To overcome the issue of cables, manual charging, or battery replacement, some manufacturers have integrated solar panels into their surveillance camera. With this type of camera, you will not have to worry if you live in a sunny area or if you want to protect your villa only during your summer vacations.
Connectivity: Ethernet, wireless or 4G?
There are two options for transmitting images and videos over your home or external network:
The Ethernet connection is known for its reliability and stability of speed, and the connection is made through a RJ45 cable and is not affected by radio interference that tends to happen over a WiFi connection. You just need to connect the camera to your Internet box via Ethernet cable in order for it to be identified. Thus, you will not need to create an encryption key, which can be complex for the uninitiated.
The wireless connection via Wi-Fi has the advantage of avoiding the hassle of having to hide meters and meters of cable. It is usually very simple to use, but often requires a more complex installation problem, which can be laborious. Also known as Wi-Fi cameras or IP cameras, wireless indoor surveillance cameras connect to a Wi-Fi network and often store their images in the cloud. Although Wi-Fi jammers are banned in certain countries, they are easily available online and some people with ulterior motives could actually take advantage of them.
4G connectivity is relatively new to the surveillance camera scene, which allows you not to depend on a router that could be unplugged or turned off during your vacation.
Some cameras offer either or both of these connections. Each mode has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s up to you to see which one works best for the location and coverage area you want to cover. Bear in mind that unless you spend a lot of money on a bulletproof security system, most cameras have flaws that can be easily overcome by professional burglars.
Form factor and discreteness
Do you remember the Vatican security camera scene in Angels and Demons?
If having a surveillance camera that is visible to everyone can have a dissuasive effect at first, in the long run, it can prove to be a real flaw in your security. Indeed, an intruder could take the time to analyze the placement, coverage area, and type of connectivity of your connected surveillance camera to interrupt its operation.
Some manufacturers have understood this and have developed surveillance cameras that are small in size or embedded in everyday objects so that your “security eyes” remain undetectable. You can find surveillance cameras embedded in a smoke detector, a clock, a clock radio, a USB charger, or even a light bulb.
This type of hidden surveillance camera has the advantage of being discreet, but their small form factor will force you to lose out in either image quality, coverage area, or battery life.
Image and video storage (Cloud, microSD or other)
Do you intend to review captured footage at your leisure, transfer data quickly to your computer, or to consult your recorded data remotely? There are different types of storage available. You can record either on a micro SD card, the internal memory of your camera, or to the cloud, which will allow you to view your recordings remotely.
Recording on the internal memory of your device and on a storage card (SD / micro SD) has the advantage of physical media being stashed away. Survivalists and enthusiasts of all things physical might opt for this solution.
IP cameras with cloud storage often involve the additional cost of a monthly subscription. Indeed, many manufacturers have realized that by creating cloud services that are specific to their camera, they could earn additional profit apart from the sale of their device, where online storage can boost their bottom lines each quarter. Each brand has its own storage service, the cost of which can vary between $3 and $15.
Features: night vision, doorbell, lighting, alarm, waterproof
Many features exist in connected surveillance cameras. Should some of these features appear as unwanted tacked-on extras such as the doorbell, there are other features like night vision or waterproof capability that do meet actual demands.
Infrared surveillance cameras offer night vision capability. As the name suggests, such night vision will allow you to capture images at night, especially in places that are not very well lit.This function seems to be essential today for me. It allows the camera to display a clear and precise image thanks to tiny LEDs. Most of the time, images and footage will be in black and white, while in rare cases, you get color footage.
If you intend to install your camera outdoors, one of the criteria you should rely on is the protection index (also known as IP) of your camera. It ranges from 0 to 69 according to the following classification. The number of ten (1st digit) defines the protection against dust while 0 means the camera has no protection against dust with 6 being the maximum level of protection.The unit (2nd digit) indicates the water resistance: 0 means the camera has no water protection whatsoever and 9 means the camera is hermetically sealed and can withstand high water pressure.
Baby monitors also known as baby surveillance cameras offer various useful features such as a thermometer, humidity sensor, built-in lullabies. They can be very useful for the well-being of your little one even when you are not being able to be there physically.
To scare off potential intruders, talk to your child or pet, some cameras have speakers that can transmit your voice. Often these speakers are also able to sound an alarm.
Built-in speakers have two completely different functions – they can deter as well as reassure. Outdoor surveillance cameras can be equipped with a spotlight that can, this time, scare off intruders.
If your security camera is exclusively dedicated to monitoring your pet, you should know that some of them offer a surprising option. There are treat dispensing cameras. They promise to interact with your dog and give him a little love while you’re away.
Installing security cameras at home as an individual: what does the law say?
Whether you live in a house or an apartment, you obviously have the right to install a camera or several surveillance cameras in your home. Whether you are a homeowner or a tenant, you will not need to make any particular request if the coverage area of your surveillance camera is strictly restricted to your private space.
If you employ people in your home, you are required to warn them of the presence of cameras. The labor code also stipulates that you are not allowed to film your employees all the time.
It would not be surprising to know that in certain parts of the world or even states, you might be strictly forbidden to film the public highway, your neighbor’s house or a private space that does not belong to you. Always refer to the relevant authorities to know which areas are off limits for recording.
In the case of an outdoor installation, your camera must be placed so that it films only your property. If your camera films a part of the public space and that you do not have the possibility of doing otherwise, there is a possibility that you must send a request to the relevant authorities for special permission to do so. Talk to your local council to know more about such matters.
Indoor surveillance cameras
Indoor surveillance cameras are generally easy to install. Whether it is placed near your box for its Ethernet connection or remotely, you will have to take into account the different features you want to take advantage of before making your choice.
The motion detector is very useful, but you may need to disable it if you have a very active pet at home. For that matter, if you’re planning to talk to your cat during your romantic weekend in Venice, consider a speaker phone feature as part of your surveillance camera.
Outdoor surveillance cameras
If you want to monitor your garden and blooming flowers, your garage entrance or your bike storage area, you’ll need an outdoor camera that can withstand extreme weather conditions in your area. Some specific characteristics such as waterproof rating, resistance to cold and or heat must be taken into account.
Ideally, they should be fixed to a solid surface (such as a wall, beam or roof) using a mounting plate and specific screws.
Many surveillance camera brands exist today, and more and more manufacturers who were not specialized in video surveillance before have jumped aboard the bandwagon.The latest example is Google, having launched the Google Nest Cam last year. The Google Nest Cam is a battery-powered indoor and outdoor camera that is easy to install using a magnet. For this surveillance camera from Google, it will cost around $129.
TP-Link, known for its routers and cheap WiFi repeaters, has entered the fray as well. The Chinese manufacturer offers low-cost surveillance cameras with essential functions. Its best-seller, the TP-Link Tapo C200, an indoor camera that is powered by a power outlet, will cost you a mere $31.
Hikivision has a very important place in the competitive video surveillance market. Each year, the brand allocates a substantial budget to research and development (R&D) despite the fact that some of these products are still a bit expensive when it concerns wired products.
Anker and its branch Eufy offer powerful and low cost cameras (as usual from Anker). For example, the EufyCam 2, a kit of two cameras that run on batteries with a one-year battery life, can be found for $320.
Bosch, Xiaomi, Arlo, and Logitech are also among the other brands that offer good quality connected surveillance cameras for less than $400.
Video surveillance kits are systems that usually consist of several cameras, but also include other elements for transferring images, storage, as well as having access to different types of footage.
These kits allow you to cover several areas and generally store your images on your own server. They are generally aimed at surveillance professionals, but have become more popular and allow individuals to protect themselves and cover several areas with equipment that is generally high quality, but difficult to install.
As previously mentioned, IP cameras or wireless surveillance cameras are often linked to a cloud service that allows you to record your images over periods ranging from several hours to a month. On average, a continuous recording over 7 days of storage costs between $3 and $6 per month depending on the cloud service.
For 30 days of recording with a single camera, the cloud service can cost on average $10 and $15 for different cameras. Some manufacturers offer good quality cameras at a low cost but make up for it via the subscription cost. You should definitely check this before dropping your cash for the surveillance camera of your choice.
Google Nest Cam (wired)
Google does not disappoint with this sleek design.The Google Nest Cam is an instant classic that offers good image quality and very interesting services such as face recognition, specific sound detection, smoke detection, and the ability to call the emergency services.
The night mode of the camera offers a very good quality rendering according to the various reviews. Recently, it also received an update that made it compatible with Alexa services.
The Google Nest Cam (wired) costs around $99 (without sale) and you will have to add to that the cost of its cloud service if you want to retain more than 3 hours of images. Nest Aware, the cloud of the Google surveillance camera, allows you to store recordings of the Nest for 30 days for $6/month, and for 60 days of recording, you will have to pay $12/month.
MI 360° Home 2K Pro
The Mi 360° Home Security Camera 2K Pro offers picture quality that is well below the Google Nest Cam, but it will be able to warn you of the arrival of potential intruders. It has the advantage of incorporating a micro SD card reader where you can store more than 10 days’ worth of images with a 32 GB card.
The surveillance camera also has the ability to interact with other connected Xiaomi elements of your home and its cloud, although you can also be limited by the free option.This camera also integrates perfectly with the Google Home infrastructure.
Google Nest Cam wireless
Simple to install, the Google Nest Cam with battery is perfectly suited for outdoor use. Its optical varifocal is able to cover an area of 130 ° and, once again, the night vision is of impressive quality. The battery life of this surveillance camera runs anywhere from 3 to 6 months. Armed with IP54 certification, the Google surveillance camera should be able to withstand heavy rain, but there is no guarantee of it being able to get through a hurricane unscathed.
The Google Nest Cam costs an average of $179.99 and you will have to add to that the cost of its cloud service if you want to retain more than 3 hours of images. Nest Aware, the cloud of the Google surveillance camera, allows to keep the recordings for 30 days for $6/month, and for 60 days’ worth of recording, you will have to fork out $12/month.
The TP-Link Tap C320WS
The TP-Link Tap C320WS is an affordable outdoor surveillance camera that offers color night vision and yes, it was launched at just $59 a pop. The camera incorporates the people and animal recognition, with whom you can talk through a built-in microphone.
The TP-Link surveillance camera has a micro SD card slot on which you can save your data. The TP-Link Cloud costs $69.99 a year for two devices.
The camera that is integrated into your light bulb
This Wi-Fi surveillance camera is one of the most discreet we’ve found. Not only can you see what’s going on in your house thanks to the streaming capability of this camera, but you can also hear what’s going on in your house and chat Big Brother style with your family, wave to your dog, or warn the thief that they are being filmed.
This camera will illuminate your living room while protecting it. The app allows you to receive a notification each time a movement is detected.
USB charger with an integrated camera
This micro camera can be used without connecting to WiFi thanks to a micro SD reader. It is equipped with 6 infrared lights which allows you to record in night vision from a distance, live. You can also charge it via USB.
Was this guide useful to you? Which connected security camera interested you the most?