Buy Security Cameras: The Ultimate Buying Guide

Buy Security Cameras: The Ultimate Buying Guide

Mark Kimbro

Every year, around 1.5 million burglaries happen in the US, causing billions in losses to the victims.

While some burglaries happen in bad neighborhoods, professional thieves target middle class and upper-class homes with poor security measures. Think homes with no external lights on and lots of cover for someone to hide.

If you want a more proactive approach, you can opt for a security system. Of course, many of those aren't obvious from a distance. The thief might not realize the system is there until their standing right next to your house.

The ideal approach tells burglars that a security system is in place before they get anywhere near the house. The best way you can achieve that is with security cameras.

Of course, there are lots of security cameras on the market. Here are some things you should consider when you buy security cameras.

Wireless

You can still find wired cameras, but wireless transmission is the standard these days.

So, the first thing you must consider is the range of your wireless system. A wireless camera provides little value if it can't connect to show you anything.

If your cameras can't connect to the wireless router, you can use a couple different fixes.

You can install a WiFI extender. In essence, the extender expands the signal from your existing router. The pitfall with this approach is that you see a drop off in speed and bandwidth.

The other option is a new wireless router with a wider range. These might cost a bit more, but you get better speed and bandwidth. If you don't mind the setup, it's a viable option.

The other consideration is your total available bandwidth. You might need a better tier of bandwidth to get the best service from your security cameras.

The pitfall of wireless cameras is that they go down if your Internet access goes down.

Motion Activation

Some cameras run around the clock by design. These are fine for a business with a security team monitoring the feed.

For a home security system, though, it's impractical. The camera just eats power and bandwidth to transmit pictures of nothing.

The exception here, of course, is if you use in-home care for your children. Then, full-time transmission serves an important function. It lets you check up on your kids' well-being at will.

For most people, though, motion-activated cameras make a lot more sense. They use power and bandwidth more economically. They also only record things that you might need later on.

Sure, you can end up with 3 hours of Fluffy the cat chasing a loose thread around the house. You can also catch a thief in the act and alert the police. You can even provide them with a picture of the criminal.

That video can even help convict someone down the road.

Positioning and Power

You must also consider where you'll position the cameras.

You face less of a challenge when positioning cameras inside. There are lots of places you can place a camera.

You can often use sheetrock anchors for small cameras. The 12" or 16" on center studs in the wall provide ample support for larger cameras.

You also have ready access to outlets for power.

Positioning cameras outside can prove more or a challenge. Wood frame houses with wood or vinyl siding make it simple to attach the camera.

Stone-faced houses, concrete buildings, and adobe buildings take a lot more work. You must drill into the stone, concrete or adobe and use special screws to anchor the camera.

Outdoor cameras also need steady access to power. You can hire an electrician to wire the camera into your home's electrical system, but that's pricey.

Your other main choice is positioning the cameras near an exterior outlet. Since most homes only have a few exterior outlets that can limit your options. In those cases, consider wide angle cameras that watch a wider swath of your property.

Some cameras operate on batteries, but you must change the batteries periodically. Take a pass on these if you struggle with recurring tasks only happen a few times a year.

Day/Night

Most cameras work well during daylight hours. They take advantage of the sunlight. Capturing useful images at night proves a bit trickier.

You'll want cameras specifically made for the switch from daylight to low-light conditions. These cameras use sensors that let them soak up a surprising amount of ambient light. That converts into a far better low-light video.

You can also get cameras that use an infrared system. Infrared systems don't provide a clear image like daylight cameras. Instead, they form a kind of heat map of everything in the area.

It gets cooler than a human body after dark in most places. The heat a person's body throws off becomes very obvious on an infrared camera. This works well as an alert.

The problem is that you typically can't see an identifiable face from the captured video.

Weatherproof

Don't forget about the weather when buying cameras for the outside of your buildings.

Exterior grade cameras come with much sturdier casings. These let them endure the abuse of wind, rain, or snow. It also helps protect them from incidental impacts from falling branches.

More importantly, many exterior cameras are also tamper-resistant. That makes it more difficult for a dedicated thief to disable the camera before they break into your house.

Parting Thoughts on Things to Consider When You Buy Security Cameras

You must consider several things when you buy security cameras.

If you use wireless cams, your wireless network and total available bandwidth must support the cameras. That can mean new or additional gear.

You must pick between always-on and motion activated cameras. The intended position and available power supply can make wide-angle cameras a necessity.

You'll need a nighttime viewing mode. Some cameras come with low-light settings that work well in places with some ambient light. Infrared systems work best in places without much ambient light.

You should also mind whether a camera is rated for outdoor use.

Reliable Chimes specializes in security cams and installation. For more information about our services or products, contact Reliable Chimes today.

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