Home Security Cameras: Everything You Need to Know Before Buying

Home Security Cameras: Everything You Need to Know Before Buying

Home Security
By Mateos Glen Hayes November 12, 2022

Disclaimer: Contractors.com is not receiving any type of compensation for reviewing any of the products or services mentioned in this article.

Whether you own a home or a business, the risk of theft is something that is always at the back of your mind. While theft is fortunately not as common as you might think, the idea that everything you own could be stolen in 10 minutes or less is certainly frightening - not to mention the idea of someone invading your home. One of the best ways to prevent robbery and vandalism in both your home and office is to install surveillance cameras. If security is a concern for you, this is a home security addition worth thinking about. 

Installing a surveillance camera or cameras is a very quick process. The more difficult part is actually choosing the type of camera you would like to set up outside of your home or business. Fortunately, we’re here to help with a breakdown of the many options on the market today as well as some important considerations for when you install your new security cameras

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Benefits of Security Cameras 

Keep an eye on your home even while you're away with a home surveillance system.

Keep an eye on your home even while you're away with a home surveillance system.

To start off, you might not be convinced that a security camera is something you even need. In that case, it is helpful to consider the benefits that come with having a wireless security camera system installed in your home. Aside from the considerable peace of mind, a security camera system can give, there are some other significant advantages. 

Insurance Claims 

If the worst does happen, you’ll be comforted to know that the process of going through insurance claims is much easier when you have video evidence of exactly what has happened. Because everything will be recorded, any claims you make for vandalism or theft will be much easier to prove. Your insurance company might even offer you a discount for having the cameras installed. 

Make Investigations Easier

Home security cameras are quite good as a deterrent to would-be burglars.

Home security cameras are quite good as a deterrent to would-be burglars.

Having high-definition video evidence of a break-in can even help the police with their investigation. Police can sometimes use this evidence to recover stolen items, prevent future crimes by predicting a burglar's habits, or even catch the burglar. Wireless camera systems specifically allow for the videos they record to be easily shareable and accessible on multiple devices. 

A Live Feed of Your Home 

A home security camera system is also just a practical thing to have because you can easily check in on your home at any time when you are away and make sure everything is OK. So if you think you left the door open, or that the stove is still on, you have an easy way to check and make sure that all is well thanks to the remote accessibility of the home security camera live feed. Many manufacturers even offer push-notification capability, meaning your phone will receive an alert if, say, a burglar trips a movement sensor. 

Deterrence

The biggest reason to get a home security camera is the simplest one: deterrence. The combination of a home security camera system and warning signs can act as a strong deterrent for any would-be thieves. This is because burglars will often ‘case the joint’, meaning they will check your home out beforehand to see if it’s a good place to break into. If they see a lot of cameras and signs for a security system, that makes it far less likely that thieves will strike, because they know the risk of getting caught is higher.  

Types of Security Cameras 

Ring video doorbells are one of the most popular video doorbells out there due to their ease of installing and operating.

Ring video doorbells are one of the most popular video doorbells out there due to their ease of installing and operating.

With so many security cameras and smart home gadgets out there, all the myriad features they promise to deliver can be quite confusing. So let’s go over some of the most common features of home security cameras and what they can do for your home’s security. 

Doorbell Cameras

The Ring video doorbell is one of the more popular products in this category and is perfect for deterring porch pirates. The Ring video doorbell has a camera and a motion sensor, allowing it to act like a conventional doorbell while also offering video/audio intercom and surveillance capabilities via smartphone remote access. This means you can use it to see and talk to whoever’s at your door even if you’re not at home.  

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Dome Security Cameras

You’ve probably seen these types of cameras in stores, but dome security cameras can also function quite well in residential applications. A dome home security camera obscures the camera lens, making it impossible for a would-be thief to see in which direction the camera is pointing. This means a dome security camera inside your house is going to be harder for a burglar to evade.  

Cameras with infrared bulbs such as this one can provide night vision surveillance.

Cameras with infrared bulbs such as this one can provide night vision surveillance.

Pan-Tilt-Zoom Cameras 

Of course, a security camera is as good as what it can see. If something’s happening just out of frame, your smart home security camera will need a pan-tilt-zoom feature in order for you to see it. This is especially true in a wide open space like a backyard or a driveway where one camera might not be able to see everything at once. Home security camera companies like Reolink offer wireless pan-tilt-zoom cameras controllable from any smartphone. 

Bullet Security Cameras

This is a smaller wireless version of the CCTV camera you often see in public spaces. These types of cameras typically do not move but are shielded from the elements and can see far, making them perfect outdoor security cameras. Some models such as the Netgear Arlo come with lithium battery versions that are more practical to install since you don’t have to worry about wiring the security cameras up to a power source.  

Choosing and Installing a Camera 

Children and pets can trigger cameras equipped with motion sensors, so take this into account when deciding where and at which angle to position your home security cameras.

Children and pets can trigger cameras equipped with motion sensors, so take this into account when deciding where and at which angle to position your home security cameras.

Now that you know what’s out there, it’s time to figure out which camera setup is going to work best for you. You should also think about where and how you want your cameras installed. Namely, will it be better to install it yourself, or hire a professional?

Assessing Your Needs 

When considering where to put your home security cameras so they will be most useful, consider the layout of your home, its size, and the number of ways in or out of the house. This is all crucial information for determining what types of cameras are going to work best in your situation. It may well be that the best security camera system setup for you will be one that includes multiple different security camera types to provide full coverage. 

Hire an Installer 

When in doubt, call the pros for a trouble-free home security camera installation you can count on.

When in doubt, call the pros for a trouble-free home security camera installation you can count on.

A benefit to having an installer come by and do this is that they will know how to set up an effective surveillance system for your home. They will know the angles that each specific camera covers, they will have the correct tools on hand to mount the cameras, and once you use their service you can call them again later for any help. Do yourself and your family a favor and have the security surveillance system installed by a real pro to ensure that your home and office are properly protected.

Cost 

This one can be kinda tough to determine, but it’s good to know going in how much you are willing to spend and where your budget limits are. If you have a lot of high-value stuff that you want to protect, getting the more expensive surveillance cameras will be a wise course of action. However, if you are just looking for a little extra security but don’t want to lock things down like Fort Knox, know that there are plenty of budget-friendly options for basic home security cameras as well. 

Location

Be mindful to respect the privacy of your neighbors and avoid pointing your cameras into public areas or other people’s property.

Be mindful to respect the privacy of your neighbors and avoid pointing your cameras into public areas or other people’s property.

You should consider if you have pets, children, or pedestrians that walk by your house. All of these can accidentally trigger motion cameras, leading to lots of false positives and annoying notifications. Additionally, whether you are using your cameras inside or outside is another important detail. Outside cameras will likely need some protection from the elements and may need night vision to be most effective in the dark. Meanwhile, interior surveillance cameras may not need all that. 

Privacy 

Finally, consider the privacy impact of installing a wireless security system in your house. You want to protect your own privacy by ensuring the system you get has protections built in that will keep it from getting hacked. However, be mindful of the privacy effect on your neighbors as well. Pointing the camera out onto a public area (like say, your street) can infringe on other people’s privacy, and in some places, it might even be illegal.  

By keeping all these things in mind you can find the best security cameras for your home and ensure that they are installed so that they are providing maximum security. It’s hard to top the sheer peace of mind of having a home that is well-defended from intruders. 

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MG

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes

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