Dome vs. Bullet Security Cameras


Last Updated on 14 May 2020

It’s much less painful to prevent a break-in than deal with its aftermath. Furthermore, an effective CCTV security system can be a significant deterrent to criminals targeting your home or business. CCTV is a term for a variety of video surveillance technologies which operate by connecting video cameras on a loop (also referred to as a circuit) which is then recorded or displayed on a central TV monitor.

Once you’ve decided to add a security system, one of the next steps is choosing what type of camera(s) you will install. There are two main types of cameras: bullet, and dome. Regardless of your property type (residential or business) and size, there are some subtle differences between the two security cameras that should know. In this guide, our security experts explain the difference between dome vs. bullet cameras and the pros and cons of each to help you make a more informed decision. Some of the key differences between bullet cameras versus dome cameras include shape, installation, and camera range. While bullet cameras stick out and point in one direction, dome cameras are more discreet due to their dome shell protection and wider camera angle.

What is a Dome Camera?

Dome security cameras get their name by their circular, dome shape. The security camera is encased in a transparent protective dome. Although dome security cameras can be used both indoors and outdoors, many businesses including hotels, restaurants, and retail stores use dome cameras inside due to their discrete design.

One of the main benefits of a dome camera is that the dome can make it difficult to determine where the camera is pointing. In addition, dome cameras are generally more durable and resistant to vandalism as the camera lens is protected. There are also vandal proof dome cameras which are encased with durable covers that are resistant to general acts of vandalism. In comparison, bullet cameras can be knocked off or manually repositioned to point in another direction. The shape and design of dome cameras allow you to monitor a wider angle as the lens moves versus bullet cameras only point in one direction. 

Key Dome Camera Advantages:

  • More discreet – blends in with surroundings
  • Rotating camera & wide angle
  • Vandal resistant
  • Indoor & outdoor use
  • Weatherproof
  • Night Vision

What is  Bullet Camera?

Bullet cameras are also named by their distinct cylindrical shape, which looks like a bullet shell or lipstick tube. As one of the most common types of security cameras, bullet cameras are a visible deterrent. In fact, studies have found the presence of security cameras will make your property a less desirable target. Like dome cameras, bullet cameras can be installed indoors and outdoors.

The main benefits of bullet cameras are their range and installation. Bullet cameras have a longer range which makes them ideal for viewing large areas like backyards and parking lots. Also, bullet cameras are easier to install, and due to the shape of the bullet camera bigger lenses can be fitted to its body. Ideal for outdoor use, the tip of the bullet camera includes a small lip which helps protect against glare and weather.

Main Bullet Camera Advantages:

  • Longer range
  • Easy of installation
  • Indoor & outdoor use
  • Weatherproof
  • Night Vision

Main Differences Between Dome Cameras vs. Bullet Cameras:

Dome cameras are installed indoors or outdoors and can hang from the ceiling or be mounted on walls. Although dome security cameras are less visible, they are slightly more challenging to install than bullet cameras, although not by much. A minor inconvenience is that dome cameras must be remounted if you want to change the field of view, whereas you can usually reposition the bullet camera (provided the area you want to view is within the camera’s range).

Also installed both inside and outside, bullet cameras are typically mounted to the side of the wall. Bullet cameras are easier to install because they come with a mounting handle. Once installed, you can easily position the camera lens to monitor the area you want the camera to view.

Camera Range
Several things influence a camera’s range, including its sensor chip, the type of lens, wide range dynamic, lines of resolution, and backlight compensation. While it will largely depend on the exact camera chosen, in general, dome cameras have smaller lenses than bullet cameras, as the shape of a bullet camera makes it easier to accommodate a larger lens. As such, bullet cameras are more suitable for areas that require a camera with a longer range.

While light is usually a primary consideration with any camera, the good news here is that both bullet and dome cameras often include infrared LEDs that ensure light availability isn’t as big of a factor. The infrared LEDs ensure that the cameras can perform in low light situations.

Choosing Dome Cameras vs. Bullet Cameras
Although the differences between dome and bullet cameras are relatively minor, they are important to understand when selecting your security cameras. The general perception is that if you want overt security, to send a message to would-be intruders that you have security, then bullet cameras are the way to go. However, the best security system often includes a mix of both dome and bullet cameras, allowing you to monitor all angles of your property, indoors and out.

In addition, there are a few features that are critical to both cameras that you should also consider. Essential features of modern security cameras are wireless versus wired, Infrared (IR) technology, and night vision. Most of Swann’s dome and bullet security cameras include Infrared (IR) thermal sensing and night vision helping you monitor your property day or night. Learn more about these features from our security experts in the article, Types of security cameras.