Why PIR Motion Detection Cameras Offer Superior Home Security


Last Updated on 14 April 2023

Most Americans believe that crime is on the rise, and one in four American households has some kind of security system, many of which have security cameras. Most homeowners say they want security cameras for self-protection and to deter criminals.

For a security camera to be effective, however, it must be able to differentiate and alert homeowners to potential threats. Cameras should also reliably record criminal activity to help catch and prosecute criminals. 

When shopping for the right security system for your home, you must make several decisions about the type of equipment that best suits your needs. The challenge is choosing the best type of camera to detect intruders and promote peace of mind. New technologies are able to provide increasingly sophisticated motion detection and analysis.

Two advanced motion detection technologies you might encounter are pixel motion detection cameras, which compare the change in pixels from one frame to another, or passive infrared (PIR) motion detection cameras. What exactly does PIR mean? A passive infrared, or PIR, sensor, is an electronic sensor that measures the infrared light that radiates from items in the perceivable “view” of the sensor.

Between these different types of motion detection, how do you decide what is the right camera to install to protect your home? 

What Is The Difference Between Pixel and PIR Motion Detection?

Motion detection technology isn’t new, but it is continuously improving. The rationale for using motion-detection security cameras is that they are more efficient, can provide alerts based on observed changes, and reduce video storage requirements.

One of the biggest challenges with motion-detection technology is discerning between objects that trigger the camera. Motion sensing fidelity is especially important if your security system sends an alert whenever there is a perceived threat. You don’t want dozens of false alerts on your smartphone due to visits by your neighbor’s cat. That’s why many homeowners prefer PIR motion detection cameras over pixel motion detection cameras.

With pixel motion detection, the camera sensors monitor for any type of movement. The percentage of pixel change in the image triggers the camera. You can adjust the sensitivity, but finding the right balance to detect threats with fewer false triggers is difficult.

For example, you need to adjust a pixel motion detection camera to detect moving objects as large as a person or some other threat, such as a mountain lion or bear. However, many moving objects, such as the neighbor’s dog or a tree branch on a windy day, can trigger the camera. Even bugs, falling leaves, and rain can fool a pixel motion camera, increasing false triggers.

With PIR camera detection, you have more accurate motion monitoring with fewer false triggers. What is a camera with PIR detection? Instead of just detecting motion, a PIR camera monitors for moving objects that emit infrared energy, such as people or cars.

What is PIR Sensitivity?

PIR detectors typically monitor for temperature differences from 5 to 10 degrees Celsius (approximately 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit). You also want to install a security camera with good range and size detection. A reliable PIR security camera should be able to detect a human 32 feet (approx. 9.75 meters) away.

When properly installed, a PIR security camera will alert you of deliveries left on your doorstep, as well as trespassers and potential intruders. It also reduces the number of false triggers from ambient movement since it detects heat as well as movement, which means fewer false alarm notifications sent to your smartphone.

One thing to note when it comes to the meaning of a PIR sensor: PIR detection cameras do not measure heat; they measure infrared radiation. A PIR camera is thermal sensing and looks for changes in ambient temperature, but that doesn’t mean it will “see” a heat source such as a fire or a light bulb. It will detect infrared radiation either emitted or reflected from objects, so when shopping for a PIR camera, be sure it is labeled “heat sensing.”

Considerations for Capturing Video

Event recording and video data storage also are major considerations when shopping for security cameras. While small businesses may want continuous recording to monitor for shoplifters or employee theft, homeowners don’t need a constant record.

Your security system should capture any events triggered by the security camera’s sensors, either using a digital video recorder or cloud data storage. Choosing a security camera with suitable sensitivity will reduce the number of false triggers, which saves on the amount of video storage needed. It also makes it easier to review captured events since there is less video to wade through.

However, you also want to make sure the security camera captures everything that’s relevant. In addition to motion and infrared sensitivity, the system should be able to detect approaching intruders early, so the recording captures all activity. Consider where you plan to install security cameras and check the camera specifications to ensure it has sufficient range to record all activity.

Why PIR Motion Detection Cameras Offer Superior Home Security

When shopping for a PIR camera system to secure you home or business, you want a system with superior sensitivity and ability to detect large heat-generating objects. Swann’s True Detect™ has outstanding sensitivity and can accurately monitor for motion detection while avoiding false triggers from wind, falling leaves, bugs, and rain.

Swann’s True Detect heat-based thermal sensing PIR cameras reliably capture people, cars, large pets, and other warm, moving objects. True Detect also makes more efficient use of digital storage to capture a visual record, ensuring only important footage is recorded.

Swann Security offers a variety of PIR cameras suitable for any home security installation. Swann’s True Detect heat-based thermal sensing PIR cameras reliably capture people, cars, large pets, and other warm, moving objects with fewer false triggers. Swann explicitly designed True Detect for home security, optimized to detect intruders using both temperature and size up to 32 feet.

While PIR detection is more widely used, our large range of CCTV cameras can optionally be set to pixel motion detection as well. This is sometimes useful if a camera is mounted in an area that may be partially obstructed, such as behind a glass window. At Swann, we design our cameras to be adjustable and customizable to your specific security system needs.

Check out our True Detect heat and motion detection cameras to find the security solution that is best for you.