How to Choose an Outdoor Security Camera
How many cameras do I need and what is the optimal location?
The number of cameras you need depends on what you want to control. An Arlo representative told us that the five most common locations for outdoor security cameras are:
1). Main door: the main door is the main point of entry into a house. Placing a camera near the front door is ideal for monitoring package shipments, visitors and guests. Unfortunately, crimes such as packet theft often occur. By placing a camera in this area, owners have full visibility of who is visiting their home, night or day. Having a security device visible can deter potential package thieves.
2). Close to the road: Some people like to control this area of their property. To ensure that more details are seen and can be captured at night, owners may consider selecting a camera with an integrated focus.
3). In the backyard: Placing a camera in the backyard will give homeowners the ability to monitor the perimeter of their home. A backyard camera will help users alert if someone enters your property, tries to jump the fence, or is looking for another way to get in and out.
4). Side yard or near an outdoor fuse box: Tilting a camera to capture the side yard or area near an outdoor fuse box can help owners alert you if someone is trying to cut off their power.
5). Home-directed: Directing a camera at home can provide a critical point of view. Taking advantage of a tree or fence post to place a camera and aim at the house increases the owner’s chances of capturing a clear picture of the intruders.
As for the optimal location of the camera, it is important that owners make sure that the camera is within range of their Wi-Fi router and that it is separate from additional control devices. Homeowners will also want to make sure their home security camera:
- It is not to look through glass or other transparent objects.
- It is positioned so that the space you want to control is within the field of view of the camera.
- It is mounted about seven feet above the ground and tilted slightly downward.
- It is mounted so that the motion detection area is approximately five to 20 feet from the camera position.
What can I do about the risk of camera theft?
If you are concerned about camera theft or vandalism, you should also consider placing the camera out of the reach of an intruder or purchasing a security camera cage to make access difficult. Magnetic mounts may be convenient, but threaded mounts make it difficult to remove security cameras.
Security camera manufacturers have various policies on theft and replacement of cameras, so check them out before you buy. Some subscription services include additional protections, but be sure to read the terms. You will probably need to file a police report before you can claim a camera theft.
One last thing to keep in mind if you are concerned about camera theft is to make sure you don’t choose a camera that records on your own device. If videos are recorded in a home hub or in the cloud, you will at least have some images of the thief.
Should I choose wired or wireless cameras?
Wireless solutions are ideal for easy installation. They offer additional flexibility that allows you to place a camera anywhere on the property where the owner needs protection and without having to worry about a power source. Cable solutions are ideal for continuous power and can be ideal for places that can be difficult to reach when replacing / recharging the battery.
What kind of internet connection do I need?
For most security cameras, an Internet connection at a frequency of 2.4 Ghz is a must for the connectivity of the home router direct to Wi-Fi. Some systems come with their own hubs that are usually connected to the back of the router with an ethernet cable. We’re starting to see some manufacturers add Wi-Fi connectivity to the 5 GHz frequency. While 5 Ghz Wi-Fi is generally faster than 2.4 Ghz, it’s not always ideal for security cameras because it has a shorter range.
Do I need a subscription?
While many outdoor security cameras offer local storage, either via a MicroSD card in the camera itself or in a home hub, some require a monthly subscription for cloud storage and smart features. Always check what you get without a subscription before you buy and consider the ongoing cost if you decide it’s worth it.
What detection and notification functions do I need?
Most camera systems offer some sort of recognition, so they can differentiate a cat or a person, for example. This is vital if you don’t want to waste time reviewing videos of passing animals. Make sure notifications can be set up so you can dictate when alerts should arrive on your phone. Notification systems that include a video screenshot are very useful to help you quickly decide whether to open the app and view or review the live feed.
What about the risk of someone accessing my camera?
To reduce the risk of someone hacking the camera, look for two-factor authentication (2FA). Without 2FA, any user with your username and password can sign in to the camera. Needless to say, you need to enable 2FA in your account with some camera systems.
What about privacy?