Last Updated on 14 August 2020
Choosing a home security camera may seem like a reasonably straightforward process at first, but with all the different options available it can become a little overwhelming. Thanks to advances in video, wireless, and smart technology, there are many types of surveillance cameras each with advantages and disadvantages. Navigating the market requires first understanding some basics about the different security cameras and how they fit your security needs.
Types of security cameras:
- Bullet cameras
- Dome cameras
- IP cameras
- Indoor & outdoor cameras
- Wired, Wireless, and Wire-Free
- Smart, voice integrated cameras
Although there are types of security cameras the most popular are bullet, dome, and IP cameras. A few differentiating factors to look for in security cameras is if they can be used indoors or outdoors, and if they are wired, wireless, or wire-free. Bullet and dome cameras are both named for their shape and are two of the most commonly used CCTV camera types. Many cameras can be used both indoors and out; however, there are some specific features you want to look for in outdoor cameras.
Bullet cameras are named for their long cylindrical shape, which vaguely resembles a bullet. The distinctive appearance is highly recognizable providing a visible deterrent to intruders – the primary benefit as burglars are more likely to choose a different target location if security cameras are visible. However, as they are more easily discernible, they are also more prone to vandalism than dome cameras. The cylindrical shape also allows you to focus on a fixed view, such as certain entry or exit points. However, as you only have one fixed view, you may require multiple cameras.
Bullet cameras are easily mounted on a wall or ceiling, indoors and out. At the tip of a bullet camera is a small lip or cover which adds weather protection and reduces glare, making them ideal for outdoor use.
Like bullet cameras, dome cameras have a unique shape; however they are more discreet than bullet cameras. Often referred to as ceiling cameras, dome cameras are commonly used indoors but can also be used outside.
Dome cameras include many of the same features as bullet cameras but provide different advantages. Specifically, dome cameras tend to have a wider viewing angle. In addition, dome cameras are also more resilient towards tampering and vandalism compared to bullet cameras. As with bullet cameras, dome cameras are easily installed indoors and outdoors and can be mounted on walls or ceilings.
Both bullet and dome-shaped cameras can have night vision, heat and motion sensing technology, two must-have features of modern security cameras. Additionally, they can be either connected to a DVR or NVR recorder.
Wireless IP Cameras
Wireless cameras, also known as wireless IP cameras, collect and stream data over the wireless network. As such, IP cameras connect to your home wifi network allowing you to view your security footage from anywhere. WIthin IP security cameras you’ll find wired, wireless, and wire-free IP cameras. The core differences are in how the cameras are powered.
Wired vs. Wireless vs. Wire-Free Security Cameras
Although the names may be intuitive, there are distinct differences between wired, wireless, and wire-free security cameras.
Wired security cameras are the most traditional type of surveillance camera. Wired cameras are directly connected (wired) to a recorder which connects to your router and the internet. Depending on the wired security camera, it may also require a separate power cable. Wired cameras need to be connected to a DVR or NVR recorder to store and view the security footage.
A common misconception is that wireless also means it’s wire-free. Wireless security cameras still require a power cord.
Wire-free cameras are battery powered security cameras that are 100% cable free. Wire-free security cameras are the easiest to install, and security footage is stored in the cloud. As battery operated cameras, the batteries will require charging.
Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of wired, wireless, and wire-free security systems.
Smart, Voice Integrated Cameras
The newest security cameras on the market are integrating with the most popular voice assistants, for a complete smart home system. Voice commands can be used to control and monitor your wireless security system, completely hands-free. By integrating fully with existing smart-home devices, voice-controlled home security offers more flexibility, ease of use, and comprehensive coverage for the user. Swann’s line of smart security cameras integrates with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Indoor & Outdoor Cameras
Although a number of security cameras can be used both indoors and outdoors, there are a few key elements to consider when selecting your cameras. Often, indoor and outdoor security cameras have many of the same features such as infrared night vision and remote viewing. The main differences lie in durability.
Outdoor security cameras must be weather resistant if not waterproof. We recommend that you choose security cameras which have an IP66 or IP67 weather resistance rating to ensure they are the most durable and in fact weatherproof. Bullet cameras are an ideal outdoor camera due to the enclosure at the tip of the barrel which helps minimize glare. In addition, outdoor cameras with infrared sensing vs. motion detection are the better choice. Cameras that only use motion detection are often triggered by many meaningless events, such as a tree blowing or dog running by. Today, most security cameras utilize infrared heat technology which means they are only triggered when sensing heat (from cars or people). IR sensing means alerts will be less frequent and more accurate.
In addition to the different types of security cameras, users can choose various features from, such as night vision, and resolutions. Security cameras range in resolution from 1080p Full HD to 4K Ultra HD. The key difference between the resolutions is image quality and zooming ability. Learn more about how to choose the right resolution for your security needs.
With a clear understanding of the different types of surveillance cameras, you will be able to choose the best cameras to protect and monitor your property. Keep in mind you can mix and match the different security cameras to customize your home security solution. The first step is evaluating your home security risks.