Many people swear by security cameras, like indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras. Given their popularity, the question is, are security cameras worth it? To help you discover whether a camera is right for your household, we’re covering important information about outdoor and indoor home security cameras, including pros and cons and what you should look for in a camera system.
Cameras are a useful addition to any home security system. These tools are often affordable, easy to install, and quite effective. Although useful alone, security cameras are best used as part of an overall alarm package that includes items and services such as motion detectors, entry detectors and professional monitoring.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Home Security Cameras?
Home security cameras can deter crime in addition to allowing you to check in on your pets and kids while you’re away. You can also keep an eye on anyone in your home who may not live there, such as tradespeople or installers. With audio, you can use your camera system as an intercom. Cameras also provide evidence in case there is a break-in or other crime in your home.
As for the cons, there are a few to consider. First off, many people are uncomfortable with the breach of privacy cameras can cause. Cameras also can’t stop a crime in progress, if one occurs. Additionally, cameras can be blacked out, destroyed, obscured or even hacked, rendering them useless.
Can Security Cameras Be Hacked?
Yes, security cameras can be hacked, exposing data and images to people who might have ill intent. It’s important to make sure you take steps to protect your camera system from hackers so that your valuable camera data isn’t exposed. Fortunately, if you take the proper steps — including changing passwords, keeping firmware updated and setting up multi-factor authentication — you’re much less likely to experience a hacked security camera.
What Are the Most Important Features I Should Consider When Buying a Home Security Camera?
Some camera features you may want to consider include:
- Field of view: How wide is the space you need to see? Cameras with fields of view of at least 140 degrees are ideal for large outdoor spaces.
- Night vision: Night vision is very useful for 24/7 monitoring and for spotting nocturnal animals and potential intruders.
- Resolution: Security cameras generally range up to 1080p resolution. However, you may not need that clear of a picture. Higher resolution means more storage and bandwidth used.
- Low light: When the lighting is too dim to see clearly, but not dark enough for night vision, low-light capability may be helpful.
- Power: Some cameras require wired power, and some are battery operated. Consider where your camera will be and where you can run wires.
- Storage: Some camera systems come with storage plans, so consider how much storage you want and for how long you want the system to save footage.
- Cost: Security cameras come in a wide range of prices to fit almost any budget.
- Extra features: Camera systems may include any number of advanced features, including two-way audio, motion-activated recording, smartphone alerts, sirens, floodlights and even smart detection of animals versus people.
Do Fake Cameras Deter Burglars?
While fake cameras may deter inexperienced burglars, professionals can easily recognize the deception, and it may even make your home a more attractive target. Cameras have been shown to work to deter crime, but when burglars can tell the cameras are fake, they’re not deterred.
Luckily, many legitimate camera systems aren’t much more expensive than fake systems, so it’s best to invest in a real camera system and monitor the feed yourself or hire a professional monitoring service.
What’s the Difference Between Surveillance Cameras and Security Cameras?
The difference between surveillance cameras and security cameras mainly comes down to how they’re used. Surveillance cameras are generally monitored by professionals who can respond to a situation when they see it by alerting authorities. Security cameras typically just record video.
Both types of cameras are effective crime deterrents, but security cameras provide evidence after the fact, rather than helping you catch criminals in the act. Because of this, security cameras are usually paired with a wider home security system, which may include window and door sensors, motion sensors, alarms and/or professional monitoring.
Do I Need a Home Security System to Monitor My Security Camera?
Depending on your system, you may be able to monitor the feed yourself, hire a service to monitor the feed, or record the feed to any number of storage devices, including the cloud. That said, most security cameras can be packaged with home security systems, which is the best way to keep your home secure.
When all is said and done, security cameras are a great addition to a complete home security package. On their own, cameras can deter crime and capture evidence. When paired with an advanced system and professional monitoring, they make for a robust security solution for your home. No system is perfect, but if the question comes down to whether security cameras are worth it, the answer is yes.