Best Security Camera Reviews 2018
Peace of mind is something that everyone desires. Even living in a relatively safe neighborhood cannot completely take away that unsettling feeling one may get when watching the news everyday. It is therefore not surprising that there has been a steady increase in security camera manufacturers in recent years. Even if security cameras cannot completely prevent crimes from happening, there’s no denying that they could act as deterrent because their presence makes lawbreakers think twice about committing a crime. And should the unfortunate happen, security footages are indispensable tools that police can use to solve the crime.
The good news about the drop in security camera prices due to increasing supply, is that almost anyone can now afford to purchase their own security cameras. The bad news is that with so many brands out there, deciding which one to buy may prove to be overwhelming, especially for first-time buyers.
- 1 Features of a Security Camera
- 2 Key Factors to Look for in a Security Camera
- 3 Best Indoor Security Camera – Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera
- 4 Best Outdoor Security Camera – Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera
- 5 Best Multi-Tasking Security Camera – Icontrol Networks Piper NV
- 6 Best Spy/Nanny Security Camera – Conbrov Mini Spy Cam T16
Features of a Security Camera
Prices of security cameras vary greatly, but the general rule is that the cheaper they are, the less reliable they will be. It pays to own security cameras that can display acceptable image quality for a given distance. Buyers are given the option to choose among color cameras, B/W cameras, or day & night cameras, which are basically color by day and B/W at night. Color cameras are obviously better at providing images for standard observation, or even specific identification. The only downside to this is that they should be used in places with good illumination. In short, they will not do well under dark conditions. B/W on the other hand possess infrared range that becomes useful at night. Most security cameras today offer a combination of both, and is not surprisingly the most popular option. There should also be the option to have the footages recorded on preferred devices, like on HDDs, DVRs, computers, SD cards, or even on cloud storages.
The standard resolution that a camera should have is 460 lines for monochromatic, and 380 lines for color. These parameters, however, are good only for general observation, and not for identifying people or capturing car plate numbers. High resolution cameras would have around 630 lines for monochromatic, and 500 lines for color. Standard camera resolution nowadays is 720p, with more expensive ones having 1080p.
aSecurity cameras may either be fixed, or have the PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) and lens control option. Fixed cameras are cheaper but not necessarily the worse option. Smartly-placed fixed cameras may offer better coverage than a PTZ one. Besides, megapixel cameras make it possible to cover wide areas with fine details, so any part of the live or recorded video may be zoomed by the user.
Lastly, security cameras, especially outdoor ones, should be able to withstand damage to a certain extent. Weather conditions are of primary concern when installing security cameras outside the home. They should not be easy to tamper with, so another feature to look for in outdoor cameras should be the capability to emit some sort of warning or alarm when someone attempts to alter them. Both indoor and outdoor cameras should be safe from hacking, so it would be a good idea to ask the camera manufacturer about how to avoid this potential issue.
Key Factors to Look for in a Security Camera
Before rushing out to buy those security cameras, it is important to be armed with information that would prevent regret and headaches in the long run. Basic questions that a buyer should ask himself are:
– What areas are going to be monitored?
– What is the purpose of monitoring those areas?
– What is the appropriate image resolution?
– How will the security system react when threat is detected?
– Where will the footages be stored?
– Where will the cameras be placed and what are the environmental conditions?
– Can the cameras be remotely accessed?
– Are the cameras safe from hackers?
Sure, there seem to be too many questions, but the truth is there are many manufacturers out there that are not too keen on getting into an in-depth discussion about their cameras, so it is up to the buyer to educate himself and not end up wasting good money. Security cameras that have excellent low-light viewing and night vision capability is a must. Most unwanted incidents happen under the cover of darkness, so proper viewing of footages in the dark is essential. If it the cameras are going to be left on even when there’s nobody home, it would be a good idea to choose a security camera system that comes with a DVR, or at least capable of recording footages on a computer. On this note, it would be good to buy security cameras that have motion detector in order to save space in the recording unit. It might also be worth paying extra for cameras that can give off some sort of alarm, depending on the event triggered. Some security cameras have the option of emitting an alarm if the motion detector is tripped, or when the cameras are being tampered with.
As mentioned, PTZ cameras are not necessary if the area to be watched is fairly small. Fixed cameras would do for the most basic of surveillance purposes, but a PTZ camera would be a better choice for a wider field of view. Consider also how significant image quality would be for the camera’s intended purpose. IP cameras transmit lower image quality than analog, so it should be decided beforehand which type of camera is more appropriate. Also, wireless cameras have a maximum distance limitation, not to mention eat up a lot of Internet bandwidth.
If outdoor cameras are preferred, it should explicitly be stated in the features that they are “waterproof” and not merely “weather-resistant.” There are also some camera enclosures that can be bought and can house the cameras. Ask the dealer for the IP waterproof rating in order to find out the level of protection from the elements. Although not completely necessary, it would be advantageous for a security camera to have the capability of being accessed through the Web. It’s a great way to check up on the family or office employees, access and manage the surveillance system remotely, and make sure everything at home is ok when on vacation.
The following is a list of some of the best security cameras that are offered in the market today.
Best Indoor Security Camera – Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera
Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera produces sharp, high-quality video thanks to its full 1080p camera. It’s a breeze to set up and can be placed almost anywhere in the house owing to its swivel base. It’s equipped with clear night vision capability, and the camera can even be used as an intercom. There’s even a noise detection feature that is not commonly found in other security cameras. The app that comes with Nest Cam can send a phone or email alert when an event is triggered.
Videos can be saved in the cloud for 10-30 days, provided an optional subscription is availed. Regardless, the Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera allows live video viewing 24/7, making sure everything is alright at home.
– high-quality camera
– excellent night vision
– intercom capability
– subscription need for cloud storage
– poor support
– cannot zoom in on recorded events
Best Outdoor Security Camera – Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera
Nest Cam is again ahead of the pack, this time with its outdoor security camera. Its waterproof feature is truly something that rests all worries that come with leaving security cameras out in the open. Nest Cam can withstand rain, snow, and even extreme humidity.
Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera still comes with 1080p HD day & night camera, built-in speaker and microphone, 24/7 live video, and phone or email alert. It’s still easy to install, and can even be stuck on any magnetic surface.
– excellent audio and video quality
– easy to install
– allows two-way communication
– cloud subscription can be expensive
– customer support
– occasionally loses network connection
Best Multi-Tasking Security Camera – Icontrol Networks Piper NV
Piper NV security camera took camera surveillance to a whole new level of security. It has a lot of extra features not found in standard security cameras. This model is the perfect choice for those who have kids and pets at home because it is fitted with a two-way audio feature, enabling them to stay connected anytime.
Piper NV’s elegant design houses a number of impressive features like a siren, a Z-Wave hub, and temperature, motion, light, sound, and humidity sensors. Android and iOS apps are capable of accessing the device, and perform tasks such as arming and disarming the system, set alerts, watch live video, view saved clips, and add Z-Wave devices. Piper NV also has night vision, which is a great upgrade from its predecessor. Best of all, this smart security system does not require users to sign a contract, nor pay monthly fees.
– crisp HD image
– PVZ function
– two-way audio
– no data storage
– hard to fix
– randomly disconnects from network
Best Spy/Nanny Security Camera – Conbrov Mini Spy Cam T16
Though not for everyone, some parents do rely on hidden cameras to monitor children they leave at home with a nanny. Conbrov is known for manufacturing hidden cameras, and this is their best one so far. The Mini Spy Cam T16 can record in the dark without sending out visible light. The device measures about one inch all around, making it ideal to be concealed in just about anywhere. There is also the option to choose between sound activated recording and manual recording. The camera records 720p videos and supports a maximum of 32 GB micro SD.
– tiny, yet records high-quality videos
– wifi viewing is very clear
– good low-light recording
– does not come with instructions
– not compatible with Apple Mac computers
– takes a long time to recognize SD card