What features should I look for in a security camera?

What features should I look for in a security camera?

It is surprising how many features can be found in a security camera. Before purchasing a home security camera system, it helps to have a good idea of all the features you need.

High Definition

A few years ago, many inexpensive security cameras did not record clear images. Even professional cameras used by businesses recorded fuzzy images that made it difficult to identify intruders.

Modern cameras have high definition (or HD) lenses. Look for cameras that have images of at least 1280x720 pixels if you want clear widescreen HD pictures.

Motion and Audio Detection

Motion and audio detection systems detect movement and sound. A camera can be set to record when it sees or hears anything. If you choose indoor and outdoor CCTV with smartphone access, then the camera can also alert you via an app if its sensors are activated. The homeowner can then check to see if the cause of the alarm is an animal, a baby crying or glass breaking.

Cameras that cost less than £50 can be purchased with motion and audio detection features.

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The best security camera systems will come with an app that you can download to your smartphone, tablet or PC. A security camera for the home that is connected to your phone means that when you are away you can monitor your home.

The cost of the software should be included in the price of the phone. It is usually downloaded from the Apple Store for IOS or from Google Play for Android systems. The app should be easy to set up and use and be able to show images from all cameras in your home. The cameras are linked to the app through the internet. Look for IP cameras that can be paired with your broadband router so that they can access the internet to transmit images to your smartphone.

Night Vision

Cameras with infra-red systems can see in the dark. An outdoor CCTV camera to connect to your mobile phone will enable you to see images when you are out for the evening. You do not need to leave the room lights on to see what is happening in your home.


You will want to record video images from your security camera. These recordings could be used as evidence to find and convict an intruder. There are several methods of recording and storing video footage. You can store recordings with an online storage service, but you will have to pay a monthly storage fee. Businesses often use hard disk recording machines, but these are expensive.

An inexpensive and efficient storage method is memory cards similar to those used in digital still cameras. Look for a camera that includes a memory card. If you need more than one, you can buy them with various memory sizes from around ten pounds. Most computers and laptop have a card reader and media software that you can use to view the images.

Two-way audio

You may find two-way audio useful. These cameras enable you to have a conversation with people in your home when you are away. Many people find these systems are good for use with elderly relatives. If an elderly person falls they can alert you and you can talk to them whilst help is on its way.

Pet owners like seeing and talking to their pets, so it can even be used for this purpose when pets are left home alone.

Pan & Tilt

For a large room, one camera may not be able to see the whole area. A pan and tilt security camera for home connected to a phone will let you move the angle using a phone app so you can see every inch of the room.

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Cameras can be powered by battery or mains electricity. Mains electricity cameras are better as they will not run out of power when operating. You do need a nearby mains socket or install an extension socket. Choose a wireless camera so that you do not need extra cables to connect to your home router.

Build Quality

You want your camera to be reliable and to last. Look for a seller who backs up their quality claims with an extended warranty.

Outdoor cameras need to operate in all water conditions. Cameras housed in metal casing will withstand climate extremes. Outdoor cameras are usually bigger than indoor ones. If they are clearly visible they act as a deterrent to intruders. A well-built outdoor camera is also more difficult to damage by an intruder.


To fully protect your home, you will need a few cameras inside and outside. You need cameras in your main rooms and guarding the front and rear entrances.

It helps for outdoor CCTV with smartphone access to be made by the same manufacturer as your inside wireless IP cameras so they can be accessed using the same software. Look for systems where up to eight outside and inside cameras can be linked together and accessed on one smartphone, tablet or computer app.

You can often find deals where kits of more than one camera are sold that cost less per camera than buying separately.

Purchase from a seller who provides good customer support. Camera, app set up and installation guides should be available. Email and telephone support can be useful if there are any issues with cameras. The seller of the cameras should have a website that clearly details all the features of the cameras they sell.


A camera with all the features you need, infra-red, HD, card storage, night vision, two-way audio, wireless IP, and pan & tilt can be bought for a surprisingly small cost. A well-built inside camera can be purchased for less than £50.

Security camera systems can be installed by anyone who has basic do it yourself skills or there are many professional installers that can be hired to do the work.

If you need many cameras it will cost a few hundred pounds, but this is not a high price to pay for the peace of mind in knowing your home is protected.


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