Best Home Security Systems With Cameras of 2021 (Pricing & Features)
Check out this side-by-side comparison to see which kits match particular needs, as well as which won’t break the bank. This table gives a good idea of what to expect in terms of base fees, automation, and camera quality.
|Provider||Total Score||Price||BBB Rating||DIY instal||Trial Period||Good For||Upfront||Connect||Lens Angle||HD Quality||Storage||App||Zoom||Pan/Tilt||Night Vision||2-Way Talk||3rd-Party Sync||Inside/Outside|
|1. Vivint||9.8/10||$39.99+||–||No||3 days||All-in-One||$99+||WiFi/Wired||180°||720p||Cloud||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Both|
|2. ADT||9.6/10||$28.99+||A+||No||6 month||Pro Monitoring||$49+||WiFi||128°||720p||Local||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||Both|
|3. Abode||9.4/10||$0+||C||Yes||7 days||Flexible Plans||$199+||Ethernet||157°||1080p||Cloud/Local||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Indoor|
|4. Frontpoint||9.4/10||$34.99+||A+||Yes||30 days||Env.Protection||$167+||WiFi||180°||1080p||Cloud||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Both|
|5. SimpliSafe||9.4/10||$14.99+||A+||Yes||60 days||No Contracts||$229+||WiFi||120°||1080p||Local||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Indoor|
|6. Brinks||9.3/10||$29.99+||A+||Yes||30 days||Depend-ability||$199+||WiFi||113°||1080p||Cloud||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Both|
|7. Xfinity||9.2/10||$15+||C||No||30 days||Intelligent Add-ons||$120||WiFi||109°||720p||Cloud||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||Both|
|8. Nest||8.8/10||$19.99+||D+||Yes||30 days||DIY Smart Home||$169+||WiFi/Bluetooth||130°||1080p||Cloud||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Both|
|9. Ring||8.8/10||$9+||C-||Yes||30 days||Budget Wireless||$99+||WiFi||115°||1080p||Cloud||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Both|
|10. Scout||8.6/10||$9.99+||–||Yes||60 days||Cheap Pro Monitoring||$99||Wired||90°||1080p||Cloud||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Indoor|
Types of Surveillance Cameras
Again, just because a surveillance package comes with a cam, it doesn’t mean that it will be suitable for every household. It’s important to distinguish the different kinds of cams as well as their advantages and drawbacks (connectivity, monitoring, power, etc.).
Wireless security systems with cams as the most common choice because they’re included in many surveillance bundles. These products typically come with HD quality lenses, with exterior cams being the strongest and clearest. The primary benefit of unwired home security systems is that these cams eliminate the need to drill holes or deal with pesky cables. For one thing, burglars can easily cut visible wires and dismantle the whole system. Plus, the cords can pose a tripping hazard to family members.
- High-definition image quality
- Most common option
- No drilling/construction required
- No drilling/construction required
- Indoor cams might be lower-pixel
The only main difference between these cams and the unwired ones is the power source. Rather than depending on WiFi, wired products connect via an ethernet cable or another form of hardwiring. This makes them more dependable because the connection is stronger. The downside is that these products often cost more and can be trickier to install.
- Includes all the features of a wire-free cam
- Good for people who aren't tech-savvy
- More reliable power source
- Can be more costly
- More difficult set-up
A growing number of brands are offering DIY home security systems with cameras. It’s a way to keep costs down and appeal to more consumers. This do-it-yourself approach often allows people to pay for the devices upfront, so they own them permanently. Plus, some of the plans are on a month-to-month basis, making it more economical.
- Quite easy to install
- Works inside and outside
- Often come with limited support
- Might lack expert monitorin
The last choice is a monitored cam, which usually includes 24/7 service. Lots of well-known companies offer this solution for people who want their property under surveillance all day and night. Moreover, most of these kits are technologically advanced and compatible with third-party devices. A typical feature is an emergency response, which could potentially be life-saving.
- More likely to have automated features
- Offered by many reputable brands
- Usually comes with professional monitoring
- Can be costly
- Requires strong connectivity
Best Video Camera Features to Consider
Here is a run-down of what to expect from most of the image and recording bundles out there. However, just because businesses provide home security systems with cameras, it doesn’t mean that the features will be the same across the board. Here are the services to look for some of which might be add-ons.
Also known as a base station, this may be a touchscreen display or a small device that works as the hub of the system. Consider it the brains of the operation, sending signals to different accessories and compiling all of the data for customers to see on their phones.
Almost every company offers this capability these days. Whether through a key fob or a phone, clients can access their devices remotely. This comes in handy in case someone accidentally leaves a door open after leaving the house, or if they just want to keep tabs on everything at the house.
This is one of the standard features that most people think of when they hear about a surveillance system. Different providers vary in their range of movement triggers, but most can extend for at least 25 feet. Once a movement triggers it, the sensor will send an alert to the base station, letting the client know there’s an intruder.
This refers to the up-and-down and side-to-side movement of the cam. It might not be something that most people think about, but it makes a huge difference in the dependability and responsiveness of the product. This way, it can pick up on all kinds of movement, even if burglars are extra sneaky and agile.
On the other hand, a fixed cam is one that doesn’t have the pan-and-tilt functionality. This isn’t to say that it can’t work for the right family and household. Smaller, more confined spaces do well with these products. Plus, the price is much lower than its alternative.
Depending on the provider, a safety cam might come with recording capabilities. This makes for seamless surveillance of the property, and customers can playback that footage at their convenience. Some models even have programmable schedules that let individuals choose when it records, be it while they’re on vacation or during the night.
Speaking of footage, having audio features helps individuals capture the full situation. This functionality requires durable and quality speakers to pick up the sounds. If it has a microphone, then clients can use the two-way talk option to send warnings or greetings to intruders and visitors.
Whether it’s outside or indoors, functionality in dark lighting is non-negotiable. This feature lets individuals see cam images and recordings, even in low-light settings. This is crucial since the majority of burglaries and thefts occur at night. Paired with the audio setting, it makes for a comprehensive capability.
Finally, some plans are self-monitored, while others provide expert monitors to watch over the feed 24/7. There’s no right or wrong answer here, and it just depends on what the client wants. Some people like having full control over what they see while others prefer professional assistance, particularly for the emergency response.
How to Choose a Security System With Cameras
Since there are so many choices out there, it helps to go into the purchasing process with a game plan. Consumers are much more likely to make a good decision if they do their research beforehand. Check out these tips for strategizing the right way.
1. Browse the Product Offerings
Individuals must know what they want before they start looking at all the bells and whistles that different companies offer. It's easy to get pulled in by shiny objects, but no one wants to waste money on things they don't need. At the same time, just because someone reviews a recognizable brand, it doesn't mean it will provide the devices that they need.
2. Cam Capabilities
Besides being able to differentiate between the various types of cams, people must also know what kinds of features they need. Some considerations include whether it is wireless or hardwired if it requires expert installation or is a do-it-yourself device, and technical specs. This could include night vision, two-way talk, sirens, and more.
3. Terms & Conditions
Reading through policies and agreements is boring, but it can save a lot of aggravation in the long run. After all, clients must be aware of what they're signing up for. Keep an eye out for cancellation fees, hidden charges, trial periods, inconsistent reviews, and how the monthly billing works.
4. Client Feedback
Consumers tend to be honest and straightforward is their reviews, so check out sites like Trustpilot and BBB.org. Look through customer feedback to get a feel for the system and the company as a whole. Some key things to consider include the support team, quality of equipment, ease of use, and hidden fees.
5. Support Team
The products may be the face of the business, but the folks behind the scenes tell the true story. Be sure to browse company websites and look for helpful resources and contact information. The last thing people want is to be stuck with a faulty device and have no one to turn to.
Last but certainly not least is the price. No matter the size of the budget, there is bound to be a suitable choice. Those who are cash-strapped can turn to do-it-yourself solutions. Families that can afford it can go for a more robust kit with greater connectivity and higher resolution.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need Cameras With My Security System?
They come highly recommended, but they’re not absolutely necessary. That said, the vast majority of individuals who buy a surveillance kit get one that includes a cam or two. It doesn’t have to be a recorder, but it helps to be able to review what’s going on outside or inside at all times. Plus, this gives clients the ability to keep an eye on things even when they’re away from the house.
What Should I Look For in a Surveillance Camera?
Pay attention to the power source, such as a WiFi connection or an ethernet cable. They both have their benefits and disadvantages. Also, check out the technical specs and decide which ones matter most. Some of the most common functionalities include dark lighting settings, pan-and-tilt, cam feed, and two-way talk. Another thing to think about is whether it will be inside or outside since outdoor cams should be higher resolution and weatherproof.
Can My Camera be Hacked?
Any device can fall victim to a hack, but that’s no reason for alarm. Most kits have encryption technology to prevent things like that from happening. Even so, it’s still crucial that customers protect themselves from hackers. This means keeping passwords a secret and concealing access to the control center or keypad hub. This might be another incentive to invest in recording cams.
Can an Indoor Camera Double as a Lookout?
An indoor cam is usually meant to scan a room, not looking through a window. If someone wants to safeguard the entry points around their house, they would be better off investing in an outdoor cam. Those can mount near window sills and doors for more reliable surveillance. That said, inside monitoring is important too. Depending on the size of the space, pan-and-tilt functionality can scan the entire room, including windows.
Is an Indoor Wire-free Camera Enough Security?
These types of cams definitely have their place, but they belong inside, not outside in the elements. Also, it’s not wise to put an interior cam outdoors because it’s probably not built to withstand wind and rain. To best protect the entire household, an exterior device is necessary. It can scan the perimeter of the property and alert individuals when it detects movement or sound. This way, families can deter intruders before they get into the house, not after.
How Much Coverage Do I Need?
To answer this question, consumers should think about their property. Consider the size and how many entry points there are. If there are young kids in the household, more protection might be necessary. People who have lots of shrubs and foliage near their house should pay attention to high-quality exterior devices. Other safety measures to take into account are movement detectors, environmental sensors, smoke alarms, and intelligent lighting.
Determining a Final Answer
Sure, cameras aren’t a necessity, but they certainly make a household safer while providing added peace of mind. That said, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Some families may already have contact sensors, movement triggers, and phone alerts set up. In that case, there might not be a pressing need for a cam. It’s up to consumers to decide if they want (and can afford) an interior or exterior camera.