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Home Security Camera Shopping Guide
For new homes or rented apartments, securing your home can bring you peace of mind as you wind down for the evening or are away on vacation. Thanks to advancing technology, complex home video systems are a thing of the past — we now have portable, high-quality, high-resolution cameras that can look at moving objects with ease.
Because of this, home security cameras are a real solution, whereas, in the past, they were more of a safety measure to scare off thieves. If you ever have to deal with someone breaking into your property, home security cameras can help catch the robbers in the act, making you feel both like a private-eye detective and a vindicated citizen.
We’ve compared and reviewed the top home security cameras for a simple shopping experience, bringing to light our top 10 picks. If you don’t know where to start on deciding on your next home security system, here are some things to look out for while you shop.
Security vs. Curiosity
You can get a home security system to protect your home, or you can get one just to see if your kid is the one drinking all the orange juice. Both of these are valid, but they each require different features in a home security system.
Some brands and models specifically focus on security events, such as a person attempting to open your car in your driveway, and they will alert you when something like this happens. This means you don’t have to sit and monitor your camera all day every day, giving you the freedom to go about your day without worrying about who’s at your doorstep.
Other security cameras offer live-streaming, so you can take a look at your camera any time of the day to see what’s actively happening in your home. You might not get a notification about movement in this case, so you should only be using these cameras for overseeing your home out of curiosity or to win a bet.
How can you tell which is which?
Cameras that focus on overall security easily interact with your phone, accessing the notification center and sending you updates any time something happens. These oftentimes should come with night-vision, since security events don’t quit just because you’re asleep. Security cameras can also detect human movement and will record the specific windows of time when movement is within frame.
Along with these security devices, the camera will store video events in either the Cloud or via USB or other data-storing tool. This helps you zoom in on faces, replay events, and bring the footage to the police in case of any stolen items.
Curiosity devices (this is a term made up by the editor, not an actual term used by home security cameras) don’t prioritize notifying you in the case of movement, and can be easily installed inside a home without any special tools.
If your first priority isn’t the security of your property, you can save quite a bit of money reducing the tech needs of your camera. You’ll see these types of cameras used with pet owners as well, especially for the busy professional who wants to make sure their pup is okay at home. Of course, if you do want to be notified when Polka the puppy gets off the couch, that’s your prerogative.
Camera Video and Photo Quality
We’d all love to have crystal-clear images streaming in from a camera after a security event or in the case of some mysterious package disappearance. However, this can eat up a lot of bandwidth and cause lag times or even eat up your battery too quickly. If your internet connection can’t handle this, or you plan on only using battery-powered cameras, consider this with your purchase.
You don’t want your camera to die before a security event occurs, so even a lower resolution video quality is better than a dead battery.
Some of the best video resolution you’ll find is 1080 HD and above, and luckily most cameras are reasonably priced at the 1080 mark. If you can swallow the costs associated with an even higher resolution, like 2K, as well as the internet to handle this same quality streaming to your phone, this is your go-to.
The minimal resolution you should look for in a security camera is 720 pixels. Anything below this will simply be too grainy to make out any useful details in the case of a robbery or other occasion.
Field of View
Rather than invest in a home security camera that focuses on only one small beam of vision, think about a camera that has a range of motion that can follow a subject across a certain plane of view. Home security cameras usually have pan and tilt features, which describe how far they can move horizontally and vertically.
Again, these requirements depend on how you’ll be using your camera. For larger backyards or a bigger driveway, you’ll want a camera with a larger field of view (think of 120 degrees or more). Cameras focused on just one isolated area, like a nursery, don’t need a wide field of view, meaning you can save some money in your final purchasing decision.
App Support and Easy-to-Use Interfaces
The easiest way to access your home security camera is via your phone, and knowing that you’ll have your phone with you throughout the day means you’ll be accessing your home security system 24/7. If this describes your general phone connectivity, then app support is essential.
Installing an app for a home security camera gives you simple access to what’s going on in and around your home. For someone checking in on the dog-sitting situation from afar, you can activate the cam while still at your desk.
Make sure that the camera you’re about to purchase is easily compatible with the device where you’ll be checking in. Some only connect with certain iOS or Android devices, so it’s imperative you purchase a camera that can interact with the device you already have.
Depending on the camera, you can stream footage via Wi-Fi or you can even connect to a mobile coverage network like AT&T. This requires a monthly plan, since you’ll be using data to capture videos or streaming the images to your phone via a network.
To ensure that you find a security camera that is easy-to-use with a simple app user interface, meaning you won’t be double-guessing which each icon means or needing a tech background to communicate with your camera, we recommend looking at user reviews and evaluating their experiences with the app. If an app is disorganized or hard to use, it will be rated with low stars both in the App Store and will be prominently mentioned in real-time user reviews.
Trusting our Top Pick
Navigating the many choices for every consumer purchase can be challenging. Our team spends hours doing research, combing through forums, and reading consumer reviews on even the most basic of household items, and we summarize that information in clear, precise comparisons.
Join the millions that have trusted BuyersGuide.org to help them make smarter buying decisions. We help our readers spend their money wisely and find the right product to suit their specific needs. Our independent expert reviews and data-driven shopping recommendations empower you to find the home security camera that's right for you.
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We leverage user data to understand decision-making and put the best products in front of each user. We tailor our comparisons to what matters to our user's needs, specific or broad. We keep our content up to date, we are constantly looking for new merchants and products to compare, and we are quick to remove any that are outdated or no longer meeting our standards. Our rankings change day-to-day based on our proprietary algorithms, that crunch data to identify top-performing products and tailor recommendations to exactly what our readers are looking for.
Have a question or want to make a recommendation? We love to hear from our readers and are always looking for new products to include on our site. Get in touch!
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