Security. We all worry about it and we all need it. Some of us choose to lock our doors and some of us keep a bat near our bedside. Some of us choose to buy a guard dog, and others choose to invest more heavily in their family’s safety.
If you are the type to invest your hard-earned money in order to get the best home security system, you might be wondering where to start. Just a cursory search on the Internet can yield some overwhelming results, so how can you know what product best suits your family’s needs? Perhaps one of your best options is to purchase outdoor security cameras that will help you keep an eye on the perimeters of your property and watch for intruders.
The Basic Components of a Home Security System
A home security system is made up of several components. Depending on the amount of security you desire and the finances you have to spend, there are several items you can select from including locks, gates, alarms, sensor equipment, motion detectors, and video cameras, just to name a few of the components available in creating the best home security system. Optional features might include watch dogs, panic rooms, glass-breaking detectors, and even closed-circuit television recorders.
Even if you are someone who possesses a basic understanding of home security systems, deciding on what equipment to purchase can be a daunting task. Another crucial decision will be installation.
No matter what setup you choose for your business or home security system, one crucial component in most systems will be the outdoor surveillance camera. Hopefully, the information herein will empower you to make an informed decision on how to best meet your security needs.
Why Do You Need Security Cameras?
Surveillance cameras work best when they are tactically placed both inside of your building and outside around the perimeter of your property. Most top-of-the-line security cameras now incorporate wireless technology. The camera works to protect you and your belongings by sending a video signal to an outside recording device. If used correctly. security cameras can be incredibly helpful in solving a break-in or robbery, as they provide the police with a vital tool to catch the perpetrators who were responsible and can even help them to retrieve stolen goods and return them to the rightful owner — you!
For added security, some of these indoor and outdoor security cameras are motion activated. This allows them to run and record for much longer time periods since they only activate when movement trips their sensors. These activation mechanisms trigger an alarm system to help you catch the bad guys in the act, before too much harm is done to your property, or even to you.
How Do You Decide Which Security Camera Is Best for You?
Assessing Physical Features of Each Camera
Surveillance cameras for outdoor and indoor installation come in a wide variety of models and offer many different features. Perhaps you are looking for only a basic recording device (e.g. “nanny cam”). Or you can select a motion-activated camera, wireless technology, rotation or outdoor models. There are a myriad of security camera options to choose from, and it can be difficult to sift through the technical jargon used to describe the features of each model. Not only does this require that you invest a lot of time and thought, but if you make the wrong decision for your situation, you can end up wasting quite a bit of money. While some of these facts about security cameras may seem obvious, others are less apparent:
- The very first thing to find out about the camera is whether it is strictly an indoor model or if it works outdoors as well. Some cameras are susceptible to moisture and the elements and must be kept indoors, while other security cameras are designed specifically to withstand the cold, rain and other harsh weather found in the outdoors.
- Another option to consider is whether the camera is equipped with night vision capability. This can be important whether you are surveying your home or your business. Many security cameras are equipped to operate in low light conditions, but if you want to ensure a clear picture even in the darkest of hours, you may want to invest in a security camera with night vision.
- If the camera is wireless, that means it does not need to be connected via wire to a recording device. These security cameras work much like a cordless phone or a wireless modem, allowing the images that are captured to be viewed remotely via a secure website.
- Consider the power source. If the security camera is battery powered, you will not need to plug it in, but you will need to regularly monitor and recharge or change the batteries.
By evaluating all of these factors prior to selecting a security camera, you can save yourself a lot of hassle and money.
Finding a Camera with All of Your Desired Functions and Features
The next step is to determine which brand and model of camera offers all of the features and options you require. Be warned that many manufacturers try very hard to hide the fact that the camera they are selling you cannot function as outdoor security cameras. They will often write phrases like, “Not intended for exposure to rain or snow,” in small print on the bottom or backside of the box. This is to decrease the purchase price of a security camera so be careful and read all the fine print if you are seeking an outdoor security camera.
Ten Popular Outdoor Security Camera Models
Needless to say, if you do not know to look for the fine print, determining if your camera is capable of surveying the outside of your home or business can cause frustration. To make things easier, let’s take a look at ten different models of outdoor security cameras so you can decide which one best meets your needs.
Please note that this list is in no particular ranking order, and there are other brands and models available; this is by no means an exhaustive list of outdoor security cameras, but it will give you some idea of your choices in indoor and outdoor security cameras.
Swann 420-Line-Resolution Indoor/Outdoor Compact Day and Night Camera
- Charge-coupled device (CCD) sensors yield clear, crisp images. CCD’s are the same high-quality sensors used in camcorders and other video equipment, they are able to handle more variable light conditions than other sensors; thus, they work well in low light and a variation of light conditions.
- This surveillance camera also infrared technology with 24 infrared light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that will allow you to see even after the sun has set. This feature can be useful for environmental monitoring, remote temperature sensing, short-range wireless communication, and even weather forecasting
- The infrared technology in this camera makes it able to detect images with clarity at a distance of up to 65 feet, even in complete darkness.
- Easy installation allows for this camera to be installed on walls and ceilings thanks to the adaptable mounting bracket. This feature also helps to avoid blind spots on your property.
- Fast playback means that you can plug this camera into your VCR, television, or digital video recorder and play.
- This camera can withstand extreme temperatures between 4°F and 140°F.
- This camera is not capable of transmitting high-resolution images; however the high-resolution camera does display 480 television lines or greater. This resolution is common for standard-resolution cameras but is considered low resolution.
Defender SP301-C High Resolution Weatherproof Indoor/Outdoor Night Vision Color Surveillance CCD Security Camera
- The SP301-C is a CCD camera that can capture color images.
- This camera can be placed both indoors and outdoors.
- A cadmium sulfide (CDS) sensor in this camera measures light intensity. This allows the camera to sense changes in light levels, which saves energy, as night vision only activates when it is dark.
- This is a compact camera that can be mounted anywhere with an included adjustable bracket.
- The Defender SP301-C High Resolution Weatherproof Indoor/Outdoor Night Vision Color Surveillance CCD Security Camerais constructed with professional-grade housing and a sun shade to protect the unit from rust, glare, or deterioration.
- This outdoor security camera requires only one wire to connect to viewing devices, so it can easily be connected to any television or monitor.
- This camera is not capable of transmitting high-resolution images; rather it can only display 420 lines when it comes to television resolution.
- Lower quality night vision than other outdoor security cameras offering only 12 infrared LEDs and is only capable of night vision of up to 15 feet.
SVAT VU301-C High-Resolution Weatherproof Indoor/Outdoor Night Vision Color Surveillance CCD Security Camera
- This is a CCD camera that can be used to retrieve color images and can be used both indoors or outdoors.
- Equipped with 12 infrared LEDs and is capable of night-vision imagery of up to 15 feet.
- Comes with a CDS sensor, and it can also sense changes in light levels, which should save on energy costs since night vision is only activated when it is dark.
- This camera is equipped with an adjustable bracket that makes it “easy to mount almost anywhere.”
- The SVAT camera is built with professional-grade housing and a sun shade to protect the equipment from rust, glare, or deterioration
- This camera uses only 1 wire to connect to viewing devices which makes it easy to connect to any television or monitor.
- This camera is only able to produce 420 lines of TV resolution.
- This camera is not wireless, but it does come with 60 feet of wiring.
Difference between SVAT VU301-C and Defender SP 301-C
The main difference between the SVAT VU301-C and the Defender SP 301-C appears to be in the cost. The Defender camera is listed as being as much as $25 cheaper than the SVAT model. Though the sample size is small, consumer reviews of the SVAT VU301-C are quite positive, indicating that the equipment is very easy to work with and user friendly. Also, the SVAT seems to come with more sturdy adjustable mounting brackets, as there are typically no consumer complaints to this end.
Lorex High-Resolution Indoor/Outdoor Color Night Vision Camera
- Equipped with an advanced color image sensor that records high-resolution video at 480 TV lines making it a true hi-def camera.
- This camera uses a flat lens to record a clear image and provide an undistorted view with no image curving.
- The Lorex camera comes fitted with 18 infrared LEDs that provide night-vision recordings at distances up to 50 feet, even in utter darkness.
- This camera has a built-in auto mechanical infrared filter to capture and reproduce accurate images with precise color depictions in an assortment of light conditions.
- This camera also offers anti-glare features to ensure that the images it records will be clear, even under bright light.
- Advanced day/night mode that records in black and white to deliver clear visuals in low-light conditions.
- Poor filtration of dark colors.
Clover Electronics HDC518 CCD Super High-Resolution Indoor/Outdoor Color Camera with Night Vision
- With 560 TV lines of resolution, it has the highest-quality picture of any camera on our list so far.
- This camera boasts 86 infrared LEDs that allow for sight up to 120 feet in low-light conditions.
- The Clover Electronics HDC518 CCD Super High-Resolution Indoor/Outdoor Color Camera with Night Vision also has a weather-resistant steel construction with a sun visor to shield the camera from direct sunlight.
- This camera comes with an adjustable mounting bracket for simple installation.
- The cost of this camera is significantly higher than the other cameras we’ve mentioned.
VideoSecu IRX36 Sony Security Camera
- This camera has a wide-view angle lens.
- The camera has been equipped with 30 infrared illuminators that enable it to record even in complete darkness.
- Has an aluminum body suitable for indoor/outdoor placement.
- This camera is only able to produce 420 lines of TV resolution.
- The camera provides color images in bright light, but when the light level drops, it automatically switches to take black and white images.
8MP Brown Bushnell Trophy Cam with Black LED Night-Vision HD Video Field Scan Camera
- This is a great camera solution for those hoping to keep watch over woods and other hunting grounds. Its 40-LED flash is low-glow black, making it invisible to game animals as well as humans.
- This camera is capable of filming images up to 45 feet away in the dark
- Has a passive infrared sensor with a 45’ day and night range that captures images with a 1-second trigger.
- This camera has the highest resolution of all the cameras listed so far, with a capability of taking HD 1280×720-pixel videos for as long as 60 seconds, with accompanying audio.
- This security camera can take full-color 8-megapixel pictures, and it offers a feature called Field Scan Mode that uses time-lapse technology to take photographs at preset times to help track the movement of game animals.
- The battery life of this camera is up to 1 year.
- This camera has 32GB SD (secure digital) card compatibility.
- The camera can be mounted on any object via an adjustable web belt and a socket
- This security camera is much more catered towards those who want to monitor game land rather than personal premises.
Loftek Nexus 543 Outdoor/Waterproof Wired and Wireless IP Camera
- Features a 70° viewing angle and a 4mm lens.
- This camera is easy to install.
- This outdoor security camera has a strong waterproof exterior to allow for great outdoor images.
- The manufacturer of this camera boasts that its 36 infrared LED lights allow for night vision viewing at up to 25 meters.
- Has motion detection that can be integrated with an alarm system to record and send images through e-mail.
- Some caution that the night vision viewing estimate of 25 feet should be viewed with hesitation as that is more than 80 feet, exceeding almost every other camera on this list, even those that offer higher LEDs.
Primos Truth Cam 35 Camera
- Great for hunters designed specifically to monitor the woods, it comes pre-configured for that purpose.
- This camera is equipped with 35 infrared LEDs, that should allow for good night vision.
- This camera can be set for multi-picture bursts of 1 to 9 pictures per trigger activation.
- This camera was designed to be hidden and comes in a thin casing.
- The Loftek takes an image every .3 seconds when active. This is a little slower than the other hunting camera on this list (the Bushnell), as it takes 1.5 seconds for the Primos to motion activate and capture a picture from sleep mode.
Logitech’s 700e Night Vision Alert Security Camera with Outdoor Add On
- A truly high-definition camera, capable of recording in HD 720 clarity and according to the manufacturers description, this high definition is even possible at night.
- This camera has a 130° wide-angle lens.
- This camera has all of the motion-capture activation features of some of the other cameras on this list.
- Users of this camera have the ability to view the security feed not only from their computer, but also on their Smartphone as well.
- This camera is only compatible with Windows-based PCs for setup.
Which Outdoor Security Camera Will You Choose?
Your options for security and surveillance equipment to protect your home or business are many, and there are several factors to consider. When you are looking for outdoor security cameras in particular, you need to take extra time and caution to ask all the right questions to be certain the camera will work in harsh outdoor conditions. Each brand and model offers unique features and capabilities, but with careful research and by paying attention to feedback and reviews from other outdoor security camera owners, you can find the best models to suit your needs, whether you find them on this list or discover them on your own.
Which Outdoor Security Camera Do You Use?
But don’t just listen to us, we want to know which outdoor security cameras you love the most. Tell us the brand, the model number and don’t forget to share all the reasons you think your choice in outdoor security cameras is the best. But, we want to hear the bad stories too because that is what shapes the best home security systems reviews for you and all our readers. The good, the bad and the ugly are all crucial to our success in bringing readers like you the very best information to make the right decisions for each unique need and situation. Thank you!