How to choose a security camera system for your home?

Video security concept

The Chinese built an enormous wall, the likes of which no one had seen before. In fact, it came to be known as a wonder of the world. The aim was clear: to make their home secure. However, even the Great Wall of China could not serve its purpose. The guards were susceptible to bribes, and consequently, the authorities would not be alerted about intrusions.

Like the Chinese, we have installed walls around our homes. However, they are not enough when it comes to ensuring the effective security of our homes. Fortunately for us, modern technology provides us access to security cameras. The Chinese would never have built the Great Wall of China if they had the option to install security cameras.

Arguably, installing a security camera system is one of the soundest investments one can make. It can be to monitor suspicious movement outside the premises, to keep a check on your pet, or your baby and the babysitter from the office.

Everyone has a distinct set of priorities and reasons for deploying a security camera system. A single mother living in an apartment is bound to have a particular set of needs than an old couple living in a large house. Therefore, there does not exist a single size fits all handbook which can be followed to decide on how to choose a security camera system for your home.

However, a reflection on the following points will aid in selecting the best option for you:

First things first – Purpose.

The first step to choosing a security camera system is to establish your needs with clarity.

  • Is the threat of burglary the foremost concern on your mind?

OR

  • Is keeping an eye on the house staff the primary concern?

Once it is clear what the target is, it will be easier to figure out which camera system will work best.

Outdoor vs. Indoor

CCTV cameras are installed along the streets

When you are clear about why you need the camera system in the first place, you can answer the question of location–Outdoor vs. Indoor. This is because the camera system used for indoor usage often tends to be dissimilar to the one used in an outdoor setting. For instance, the element of sunlight would call for a different set of cameras. Moreover, night vision specifications must be added if there is low visibility on the street. Additionally, it is always a good idea to get weatherproof cameras installed, particularly in areas with extreme weather conditions. Otherwise, the performance and durability of the product may get depleted.

Here is a brief list of universal standards for camera quality.

  1. IP 65: water-resistant
  2. IP 66: water-resistant against strong jets
  3. IP 67: total protection against temporary water submersion

Note: the higher the number, the better the quality (IP stands for International Protection)

It is advisable to deploy products with a higher IP level in outdoor environments where the threat of dust and wet moisture is high, e.g., near the beach. In indoor settings, the need for high IP products is not strong.

Unlike indoor cameras, outdoor cameras are susceptible to theft and vandalism (This may vary according to neighborhood and city). Therefore, the utmost attention must be paid on how to deal with this issue. An innovative tactic practiced in some areas with high crimes is that; two sets of cameras are deployed.

  1. The first set of cameras are placed in a hidden manner, so that they may not be visible to anyone who is looking to steal or vandalize the camera itself.
  2. The second set of cameras is made up of cheap toy cameras that look similar to real cameras. This way, even when a camera itself is stolen, the loss is kept at a minimum.

Why is there a need to install fake cameras instead of only going with hidden cameras?

This is because the visibility of cameras acts as a deterrent to crime.

Wired vs. Wireless

When setting up a new security camera system, the pertinent question of selecting a power source must be addressed. Due to the wide variety of camera options, it is easy to gain both types of cameras; hard-wired or wireless. However, both come with their own advantages and shortcomings. Therefore, a decision must be made that serves individual priorities.

The wireless option has the advantage of flexibility in terms of placement. Since it is not bound to be placed near the electric circuit, it can be placed almost anywhere. No drilling needs to be incurred to make holes for the wires required for the camera. It is relatively easy and quick to set up. In terms of the shortcomings, wireless cameras need their batteries to be changed at regular intervals. Depending on the heaviness of usage, the batteries may need to be changed every few weeks. This can prove to be cumbersome for the people living in the home (where excessive use is not required, batteries may need to be changed only once or twice a year).

The option of installing a hard wired camera system is always difficult and time-consuming at first. However, once set up, it does not need to be regularly serviced (A sigh of relief for the homeowner). A key shortcoming of this system is that it runs on the house electricity. If a power outage (which is a regular feature at many locations), the camera will stop to be operational. As a result, it is not effective if an unwelcomed intrusion is made in the house during a power outage. This is one reason many people don’t opt for the hard-wired approach.

Type of Camera

Security camera set

The continuous development of the home security market over the years has resulted in the availability of a wide variety of cameras.

The following considerations will help in making the right selection

Traditional cameras vs. Do It Yourself cameras

The latest technology has enabled us to deploy a smart home security system. How it works is that it connects the camera with our smartphone or provides us access through the web. What this essentially means is that you can gain a live feed of your house from anywhere in the world (Provided you have a Wi-Fi network). A professional security firm need not be hired to keep a check on your home. As a result, it provides a pleasant sense of privacy. As the name “Do It Yourself” suggests, it involves no third party. (Also note, this may turn into a disadvantage, as the person will have to alert the cops themselves, which may not be the quickest option in emergency situations).

The Do It Yourself cameras run on the home Wi-Fi network. Therefore, any little disruption or stoppage of the home Wi-Fi will affect image quality and may even completely stop the camera from functioning.

Resolution

Ideally, the higher the resolution, the better will be the security monitoring. However, budget considerations will help you choose what works for you best. The diverse amount of options cover resolution ranging from HD to Ultra HD.

Night Vision, colored vision, zoomed vision

Depending on the need, the type of vision would need to be selected. Outdoor settings with bad street lighting would need a night vision for enhanced security. Simultaneously, colored and zoom vision would be especially helpful if we place the camera at a considerable distance from its point of view.

Static cameras vs. movable cameras 

If the field of view needs to be covered is wide, movable cameras would be the appropriate choice, especially for the front door on a street. However, an intruder can deceive a portable camera by carefully moving when the camera is facing a different side.

Advanced features

  1. Motion and sound alerts
  2. Notifications via email
  3. Two-way audio speakers (Ideal for warning a suspicious intruder)
  4. Facial recognition

App

The app of the company is of paramount importance. This is because the app becomes the central ground when operating a smart camera system. Suppose the app is not user-friendly or updated with the latest functionality, e.g., push notifications. The performance of the home security camera system will be negatively impacted.

Design

The camera must blend in with the setting. Therefore, black and white colors are the preferred choice.

Recording and Storage

Most cameras have their own SD card for storage. However, it is always advisable to have a back-up system. A lot of companies offer cloud storage packages. Although expensive, they will keep your recordings from being deleted by any burglar, for instance. However, please be careful with the details covered in the package, as there have been cases where the cloud storage company has asked the user to pay for downloads to be sent to the police.

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