Last Updated on 2 June 2023
We often hear from people wondering about the cost of security camera systems. When it comes to home security, the price range is rather large, which can make it difficult to compare all the options. But, thanks to the improvements in technology, DIY home security has greatly reduced the costs usually associated with professionally managed security systems.
Even within the DIY home security market, however, there are hundreds of different security cameras and systems to choose from, many of which carry hidden subscription costs. To help you make sense of it all, our team of security experts will break down home security and share tips with you to keep costs down – without sacrificing peace of mind.
The Factors in Home Security Costs
At a high level, three main factors contribute to the overall cost of a home security camera system. Each element has a wide price range, giving us the ability to customize our security – but the variety can also be overwhelming. The main areas which impact how much your home security costs are:
Equipment – security cameras, video recorder, lights, etc.
Installation – DIY or professional
Monitoring fees and maintenance – professional monitoring and upkeep
Factor 1: Equipment Cost
Most of the upfront costs associated with home security camera systems come from the equipment – specifically the kind of system you choose and the type and number of security cameras. However, if you choose a reputable brand, this investment will pay off for years to come.
To best determine your equipment cost, you need to assess your property’s security needs. Start with a quick home security checklist, which will give you a good idea of how many cameras you’ll need. This assessment should be based on how many entry/exit points you have, along with your current security status and whether or not you have additional areas you’d like monitored. If you’re starting from nothing, you should expect a higher equipment cost compared to someone who’s simply upgrading an existing camera or two.
So how much do home security cameras & systems cost?
Individual security cameras can range as low as $50 to upwards of $500, while super tech cameras can cost over $1000. To decide what price point works for you, assess the camera features.
Resolution – Generally speaking, the higher the resolution, the higher the price. However, getting good camera resolution is worth the cost, as it’s often important to see details within your security footage. The average security camera resolution is 1080p full HD, which is an excellent option for most people. If you want commercial-grade resolution, consider getting 4K Ultra HD or 6K Mega HD (also known as 12MP) security cameras.
Warning lights and alarms – Prevention is key, so opting for cameras that feature sensor security lights, or an alarm with a siren, will help to protect your home before anything happens.
Motion detection – While this is a relatively common feature within the industry, it’s best to look for cameras that use both thermal heat sensing and motion detection. This may seem somewhat insignificant, but it’s the difference between getting a notification every time a squirrel runs by versus when a plausible security threat is present.
Audio – Choosing security cameras with audio microphones allows you to hear what’s going on, and if you’re able to talk through the camera, you can welcome visitors or scare off intruders.
Remote viewing – This feature is well worth the cost. After all, you’re installing security cameras to keep your home safe, mainly when you’re not home.
In addition to choosing what features and number of security cameras you want, you’ll also have to decide how you’ll record and store the footage. The kind of video recorder you need depends on the type of security cameras you get. Many cameras require a recording device, specifically a digital video recorder (DVR) or network video recorder (NVR).
In terms of cost, DVR systems are usually more affordable, but have some limitations. Swann DVR systems start at around $200. NVR systems, on the other hand, are more versatile but also more expensive, starting at $300. The prices vary depending on the number of cameras and, to some degree, their specific capabilities.
Although the cost of home security camera system equipment generally comes down to the cameras and recorders, it’s important to factor in other security measures. Smart locks, safes, motion sensors, alarms, and sirens can impact your overall security costs, as well.
Smart locks – A key feature of smart homes, and often standard in modern homes, these locks can lock and unlock doors from your phone and allow you to see who’s at your front door from wherever you are. Smart locks can vary in price from as low as $30 to as high as $150 or more.
Safes – Using home safes to protect your valuables is never a bad idea, especially while you’re out of town. Good, cheap safes can cost anywhere from $200 to $400. Oftentimes, you’ll have to pay more for added security services and additional features like fire resistance.
Motion sensors – While motion detection is standard in almost every security camera today, some people choose to install separate motion sensors. While they’re relatively inexpensive, opt for a camera with built-in motion detection.
Factor 2: Installation Costs
DIY security systems are designed to be installed within a day, or a weekend for a more complex system. Some people love the DIY option, whereas others prefer to pay for professional installation, especially for large multi-camera systems.
DIY Installation: $0
Professional Installation: Expect to pay the same value as the system – i.e. if your system cost $100, installation may cost $100 or more.
A critical component of the installation process is where to place security cameras. Planning is the key to installing a robust security system, as you need to place and position your cameras for optimal coverage. Professional installation may be worth the cost if you’re limited on time.
Home Security installation costs come down to the type of security system you choose and personal preference. DVR security systems require a power and video cable, contained within a coaxial cable with BNC connectors, to link the cameras to the recorder. As such, the cable is larger and can be more cumbersome to install. NVR security systems are often easier to install, as they only require power over ethernet (PoE) cable to run power and video from each camera to the recorder.
Factor 3: Activation Fees & Monthly Monitoring/Storage
Activation Fees – Check for any hidden activation fees or ongoing storage costs to ensure your security system doesn’t end up exceeding your budget. Activation fees are usually seen within monitored security systems, which also carry monthly fees, contributing to a costlier security system. You can avoid activation fees by confirming and reading any contracts before purchasing a system. Fortunately, most DIY security systems don’t include an activation fee.
Monthly Monitoring & Storage – Today, most security camera systems are coupled with a monthly subscription. In many cases, there is not a limited, zero cost option. While these subscription fees are generally fairly affordable, around $30 to $50 a month, they can add up. Here’s a good savings tip: Before you purchase the cameras, confirm if they require a hub to operate. There are numerous benefits to hub-free systems, but most of all, the absence of required monthly fees.
Determining the Total Cost of Home Security Camera Systems
As you have read, there are several variables that go into determining how costly security systems may be. Ultimately, it comes down to what you’re looking for in a home security system. If you’re a renter looking for a simple, temporary, plug-and-play security option, one or two wire-free security cameras are all you need. If you have a medium, single-unit home, you may opt for a wireless NVR security system, with a mix of indoor and outdoor cameras, as well as a smart video doorbell. Large properties often require eight or more security cameras for full coverage.
Average Swann Home Security Camera System Cost
At Swann, we believe in providing affordable home security options for everyone. Whether you need one or 16 security cameras, our focus is to give you peace of mind knowing your home and loved ones are safe.
You can purchase and install a Swann multi-camera security system for approximately $720. Need to add an additional camera? It’s easy and affordable. Add-on Swann security cameras are around $119. Or, opt for a wireless, hub free camera from only $169.
Tips to Lower Security Costs:
A great way to keep costs down is to choose a wire-free security camera that doesn’t require a recorder. However, while this will save you on equipment costs, your video storage will be limited unless you upgrade your cloud storage options.
Beware of cloud storage costs, as they can become quite expensive, and some brands don’t choose to disclose them from the onset. At Swann, all our wire-free security cameras include up to two, and sometimes seven, days of cloud security storage for free.
Cost-Benefit Analysis: Why Invest in Home Security?
Few people think a burglary will happen to them. However, even in safe neighborhoods, nobody is immune to break-ins. At the end of the day, the cost of being proactive is just a fraction of what a burglary costs. And, with added peace-of-mind, you’ll benefit from reassurance that’s tough to put a value on.
Here’s some information that you can measure:
The cost to prevent a break-in by installing a security system: approx. $200
The average cost of a burglary: $2,661¹
Take the time to assess your property’s vulnerabilities, researching different systems and cameras, and plan to protect yourself. Using your new knowledge, you’ll be sure to find a security system that fits within your budget and that protects your loved ones.