How to Choose a Security Camera System

by Deep Sentinel | | Learning Center

Security camera systems come in many forms, especially with today’s rapid advancements in security technology. This article will help guide you through some specifics you should think of when selecting a security system, so that you can find the best option that suits your home security needs.

Budget

The budget that you’re willing to spend on home security will be the main factor in what style of home security you choose. We’ll mention the most budget-friendly option in each of the following sections.

Professional Monitoring or Self-Monitoring

In the long run, the most expensive home security systems are those purchased from a traditional security company and their professional monitoring services. They can include recurring monthly payments usually ranging from $20 to $50 a month, with a long-term contract. Some have no upfront costs, meaning they’ll install your security system for free, but on average a security company requires a 3-year contract to ensure profitability. Most companies also only include security cameras in their more expensive monthly subscriptions. Cheaper subscriptions usually include a motion sensor and a few window and door sensors.

Read our article on DIY vs. Traditional Security Company Services to learn more about the benefits of each side. In short, with many DIY systems, you will miss out on dedicated monitoring of your security system if you choose to not go through a security company’s services, which leaves you with full responsibility of responding to alerts from your security system.

With today’s technology it is totally possible to self-monitor your home security system. Many modern security systems come with a phone app that will ping you when an intrusion happens, let you watch camera footage remotely, and some systems have a speaker and microphone to let you remotely listen and respond.

Of course, there will be times when you are not available to monitor, such as a camping trip or a dead phone, and knowing that a professional monitoring service has got your back might be worth the expense.

Do-It-Yourself Installation and Wireless Technology

Thanks to the growing capabilities of wireless technology, a lot of security systems are very easy to set up by yourself. For many, simply connect the device to the WiFi, then sign in with your phone app, and then place the cameras and sensors where you’d like.

Read our article on Wired vs. Wireless Security Camera Systems for an in-depth view of this topic. In short, the benefits of wireless technology have ballooned with recent advancements, and there are real savings when you do not have to hire professionals to install or repair the system. Many traditional security companies now offer DIY installations as an option because they have adopted wireless technology as well.

The Indoor All-In-One Device

A cost-saving method is to have a single indoor security camera, that also carries functions as a motion sensor and alarm. Piper, Nest, Reolink, and Canary, among others, sell this type of product. The upside is an all-in-one package for a couple hundred dollars or less. The downside is coverage, especially the outside. You’re also missing out on the benefit of a visible security system outside your home, which has been shown to deter break-ins by 300%.

Nevertheless, since 72% of home robberies happen while no one is home, being alerted by your security system that someone has entered the living room gives you a big advantage in catching the criminals. You are warned, can call the police, and have security footage, which is much better than no security system.

Base Units/Hubs and Control Panels

These units help make extensive coverage possible. A base unit (aka hub) is the central connector for all sensors and security cameras, and sends information to a professional monitoring service if you have one. The control panel provides a user interface to see what parts are armed and to manage the components. On fancier control panels you can also perform home automation, such as setting the heater and dimming smart lights, and attach your smoke alarms so you get alerts when a fire starts. Sometimes the control panel and base unit are combined.

If you have many entrances and first floor windows, or want to provide security camera coverage of numerous areas, then you are better off purchasing a base and control panel. Be aware that only certain sensors, cameras, base units, and control panels will work with each other, so it’s best to do plenty of research or buy bundles.

Other Sensors and Smart Homes

Having window, door, and motion sensors are a great way to be alerted to and to scare off burglars. Loud sirens will often panic a burglar who’s just opened a window or busted a door.

Some wireless all-in-one devices can be paired with sensors to provide much-needed coverage. Usually, a hub is bought, to which wired and wireless sensors are connected. This is how most professionally-monitored home security systems operate.

Many other smart devices, such as smoke alarms, thermostats, and door locks, can also be paired with hubs and a few all-in-one devices. Be sure to check for cross compatibility and to read our article on Smart Home Security here <link>.

Conclusion

There are many roads you can take in constructing your home security camera system. You can go for a budget DIY single outdoor security camera, an all-in-one indoor DIY security camera, a modular system starting with a hub and attaching cameras and sensors from there, or you can pay a subscription for professional monitoring on a professionally installed hub system as well. There are many more options and variations out there, these are simply some highlights to help you find a path worth taking for your home security needs.