Security cameras are a great addition to any alarm system. Video cameras add additional peace of mind. They let users see outside the home at anytime. Not all security cameras are created equal though. There are multiple things to consider when adding video surveillance to your home alarm system.
An outdoor camera can help deter and detect burglars. Strategically placed outside your home, they show a would be burglar that you have an extra level of protection. Burglars don't want to be caught. An outdoor camera lets the burglar know the possibility of being caught is increased significantly. If it's between breaking into your home with a camera and another without, odds are the burglar will choose the other. Security cameras work.
Nest Cam, Ring.com, Arlo and Guardzilla are all camera focused security companies. Alarm companies like ADT, Think Protection, Vivint and Simplisafe all have camera solutions as well.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a security camera:
First, how is it installed? Is the camera wired or wireless. Wired cameras will require drilling and running wire. This is difficult and requires electric capabilities. Often an electrician will be needed for installation. If there's no power nearby, then you'll have to run additional power. This could also be very costly.
A wireless camera is always ideal. But with wireless cameras comes the issue of battery power. Find out how long the batteries will last. You'll have to recharge the batteries or switch them. This could come at an additional cost as you may have to continuously buy new batteries. Do your research to find out how each camera is powered.
Wireless cameras can be installed anywhere. All that's needed is wifi reception where the camera is. Wired cameras also need wifi. If the location doesn't get wifi, either add it or add a wireless extender. Cameras with DVR's work without wifi. However this may not be able to be accessed remotely.
Nest, ADT, Vivint and the cable companies all have cameras that need power to work. Ring.com has a wireless video doorbell. Think Protection and Arlo have wireless outdoor video cameras. Simplisafe has a wired camera, but only for indoor purposes. Simplisafe does not have an outdoor camera currently.
Next, what features does the camera have? Is the camera weatherproof? Will the video camera work at night? What's the storage for video? Is the video stored in the camera (on an sd card) or in the cloud? Does the camera have two-way voice? What does the camera look like? How far is the line of sight? Does the camera have a wide-angle lens? What's the quality of video? If the image quality isn't good, then you can't see what's actually there. What's the point of having a camera if everything just looks like a blob? These features are all important and can be the difference between a good purchase or buying a camera that you'll never use.
Cost is obviously important. Video surveillance cameras can cost anywhere between $150-$500. Some multi-camera video systems can cost thousands of dollars! What's the monthly cost for storage? Some are free while others will charge a monthly fee.
It's important to understand the best place to put your camera. Put it somewhere with a clear line of sight. There should be good lighting nearby. Even if the camera works well in night mode, proper lighting will make the image clearer. Cameras provide exceptional deterrent value. With this said, don't hide your camera. You want a burglar to see it before they decide to break-in. This will make them think twice.
Indoor video cameras provide a purpose as well. They let the homeowner see what's happening inside the house at anytime. They don't provide the same deterrent value to burglars. A burglar doesn't know the cameras are inside. They help after a burglary occurs though. You can see who is inside, but it won't help stop a burglar. Understand this before adding indoor cameras.
If it's between adding an outdoor or indoor camera, choose an outdoor one. Outdoor cameras provide more value. They act as a better deterrent for burglars. Plus they will usually provide more information. If budget isn't an issue though, you can always have both.
Security cameras are a fantastic addition to any alarm system. Do your research to pick the best for your needs. Understand what each camera does. Certain features are only available with specific cameras. Ask what the upfront price is and the monthly for storage. Plus see how the camera is powered and how is it installed.