Home Security Cameras Simplified: The Only Buying Guide You Need to Read

When it comes to keeping your home and loved ones safe, you should be willing to go to any lengths to find a state of the art security system that best suits your needs and does not hurt your budget.

This is possible thanks to a range of surveillance and monitoring gear in the market that are getting smaller in size, cheaper in price, and more efficient in operation. Whether you still think that surveillance is still just for cops on a stakeout, or are unsure how to go about buying the right security cameras for your home, then this guide is for you.

What home surveillance cameras do
Most homes today have basic home cameras such as nanny cams and baby monitors. These devices typically have in-built Wi-Fi connectivity to enable live streaming of what is happening in the house at the particular time.

Some may even have motion detection capability so that they turn on and begin recording when someone enters the room. Home security cameras pretty much do the same thing, except that they have even more advanced features and capabilities.

If you are considering installing a surveillance system as your next home improvement project, you have come to the right place. This post will summarize everything you need to get started.

Types of home security cameras
If your goal is to protect your home and loved ones by keeping tabs on what is going on, there are four primary types of home security cameras you may consider.

Dome camera: This is the “eye in the sky” kind of security camera that is mounted on the ceiling. It may be fixed in one position or can be remotely controlled to tilt, pan, and zoom.

Hidden camera: As the name suggest, this is designed to capture the actions of a malicious person without them knowing. This camera may be designed to look like something else such as a wall clock.

Wireless camera: Also called an IP camera, this type of surveillance camera has become very popular with home DIYers of late. They are typically plug-and-play and can be integrated into an existing home automation system with ease.

Bullet camera: A bullet camera is designed to take the cylindrical shape of a bullet, lipstick, or even a pen. Most are as large as a soda can — you see them everywhere in business properties now. This is a great home surveillance camera when you want to capture a specific range at a specific time.

Key specs to check in a home security
When you decide on the design of the home security camera you want to buy, the next step is to check the hardware and software specifications to narrow down your selection. The nine most important are:

1. Image resolution
Image resolution is plainly the number of picture elements per square inch that the camera can capture. The higher the resolution, the better the camera. A camera with 800 lines of pixels captures images clearer than one with 320.

2. Viewing angle of the lens
This is basically the area of coverage in degrees that the camera will record. Most dome cameras can record up to 180 degrees. You can improve the range the camera can capture can by buying one that tilts, pans, scans, and zooms.

3. Color capture
In some cases, you may need to see the accurate color of the hood that an intruder is wearing, or the color of the car that has been driving by your place. Today’s color cameras can capture up to 16 million colors but black and white cameras offer better low-light performance and better resolution for less money.

4. Object tracking and image stabilization
It is not economical for your camera to be recording non-stop. A handy feature is to detect movement and begin recording. A camera with object tracking means that it can also follow and record anything that moves.

5. Night vision capability
Low-light imaging technology has come far. Today you can buy a camera that also records in the dark with low lumen sensitivity and highly sensitive light-gathering sensors for cheap. The best home security cameras use infrared to detect heat signatures and record in the dark.

6. Live streaming and video storage
Do you want to watch the goings on in your home from anywhere at any time? Live streaming makes that possible. This feature will of course need network connectivity such as Wi-Fi or cable.  Most cameras have the capability to save recorded images in an external storage medium such as TF card, computer hard drive, or in the cloud. Take your pick.

7. Quality of built and toughness
If you are planning on installing the camera outdoors, water resistance and toughness is very important. An indoor camera may need to be compact and even portable but an outdoors camera must be rugged and weather resistant.

8. Sound capture
Do you want to hear what is going on as you watch it? Well, be careful when buying a camera because not all have in-built microphones. If sound is important to your home security, check to make sure the camera you buy has a good mic.

9. Home automation and alarm system integration
A packaged security system would be ideal for your next home project. But you do not have to break the bank buying everything at a go. Just check to make sure the camera you buy can easily integrate into your alarm or home automation system. Some come with advanced alarm features such as alerting you via text or email and remote control via the internet.

As you plan to upgrade your home surveillance security system, it is also important that you find out what the privacy laws say in your country or state. It is also a good idea to talk to a home security expert, especially if you are spoilt for choice. But at this point, you are almost a professional yourself.