With falling prices and new features, the average home security store is now carrying quite a few security cameras. However, they are not a traditional option for the average home alarm system, and many homeowners may be unsure how to pick out a security camera, how to use it, and whether or not it is worth the extra time or expense.
Security cameras have several different uses — and yes, most are related to security. Not only can they discourage burglars from entering or capture vandalism in the act, but they can also be used day-by-day to keep watch on the kids and the babysitter. Pet owners also love them for short-term trips because they can often log in and see how their pets are behaving without them and if there is a problem that needs some immediate attention.
8 Camera Features to Look For at the Home Security Store
When shopping for a camera in your nearby or online home security store for this type of piece of mind, keep an eye out for these features.
1. HD Imaging
With the latest tech advancements, many security cameras — even residential versions — now come equipped with high-definition video capture abilities. The best of the best can boast up to 1280×800 pixels these days — enough resolution to easily spot the relevant details.
Many devices, however, can offer definition almost as high as this without the full HD expense. So keep an eye on resolution numbers when buying and do not accept any grainy feeds.
2. Adjustability Features
The least expensive home cameras are fixed-point versions that only look one way — common for watching entrances, playpens, etc. But this is only one type of camera. You should find several other varieties to choose from, and the best allow for greater mobility.
Pan-and-tilt cameras, as they are known, allow you to adjust the camera, or at least move back and forth on a set track, shifting both vertically and horizontally to capture as much space as necessary.
Adjustable camera viewpoints are not the best option for every monitoring scenario, but they are certainly a welcome feature for multiple angles.
3. Nighttime Compatibility
Check the camera details to see what type of nighttime vision that it has. Some type of extra sensitivity should allow outdoor cameras to keep an eye on events, even when they occur in the shadows or at midnight.
Even better, the latest cameras feature infrared lens options that can capture details dozens of feet away during the night. This sort of technology is probably not necessary for indoor video capture, but it may be worthwhile for an outdoor camera or two.
4. Sensor Integration
The basic camera should have sensors that can at least detect movement, but modern home security is all about integration. When your frontdoor alarm trips, the indoor security cameras should turn on automatically — or at least snap a couple images for later review. The same is true of unexpected movement in the yard (although, large pets may lead to a long list of dog photos).
Integration works best when the camera is the same brand as your total security system, so purchase carefully.
5. Online Control
When shopping at a home security store, look for plenty of online options — the ability to log onto a site from any computer and check camera feeds remotely is expected. Modern cameras should also include online controls that enable you to move the pan-and-tilt cameras, or to turn specific cameras on or off. Email notifications of triggered photos should also be sent for maximum awareness.
6. Flexible, Wireless Placement
The latest residential security cameras are wireless, communicating with the security control panel through radio waves instead of wires. This has two major advantages.
- No wires make for faster, less expensive installation.
- Without wires, you can choose nearly any camera position that you want, which can reduce the number of cameras that you require while helping you find the perfect angle.
7. Mobile Viewing
Online control is one feature, but these days, those online features often migrate over to mobile devices. Search for a camera brand that offers smartphone features that let you get text messages about captured photos and view camera feeds remotely, no matter where you are. Tablet features are also common.
8. Modern Warranties
Home cameras are one of the most expensive devices as part the average residential security system. Fortunately, modern cameras come with solid, multi-year warranties in case they fall or are damaged by storms. If your security camera offers less than a couple years warranty, look for an option with better customer service.
Shopping at a home security store means you are serious about keeping your family and property safe. Consider these features and go the extra step before making your decision on a security camera.