What To Look For
A good security system is a great investment for your house. It can give you peace of mind and added security, as well as deter any would-be wrongdoers. If your residence has an Ethernet connection, choosing outdoor PoE cameras is the way to go.
PoE or power over Ethernet cameras come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and functions. Here’s a quick overview of the different types of cameras, as well as what features you should look for when purchasing one.
The Different Types of Cameras
PoE security cameras are all powered by a single Ethernet cable, either a category 5 or 6. When it comes to shapes, most cameras fall into one of three distinct categories. These are bullet shaped, dome-shaped, and PTZ CCTV cameras.
PoE bullet security cameras are small in size, usually between 2 and 8 inches. They are in the shape of a bullet or lipstick and are most commonly placed overlooking backyards and near off-street windows, as well as near front doors.
PoE dome cameras are larger, low profile and dome-shaped. With this type of camera, it’s difficult to tell the viewing angle from a long distance. They are often placed on ceilings or under eaves.
PTZ CCTV cameras are the largest type. They can rotate in all directions, and are often placed on the outside of the second floor, in order to get a wide view.
Look for High Definition
No matter which type of camera you choose, you want to get a clear image. Don’t settle for anything other than 4MP, and if possible aim for 8MP..
Paying a slightly higher price here is worth it – the crisp image makes it much easier to make out details. When reviewing the footage later, a small difference in quality can make a big difference when identifying what happened. It’s easier to zoom in on a still image or video that is of a higher quality.
On top of this, if possible, purchase a product with built-in image stabilization. The small vibrations of the camera moving can cause blurriness. Even if you never need to spot small details, the added peace of mind is worth the small price increase.
A Wide Field of View
When looking for outdoor cameras, pick models with a wide field of view. A FOV of over 80 degrees is perfect for large areas. A camera’s FOV is a crucial benchmark for PTZ type cameras. There are many advantages to cameras with wider fields of view. It’s a great way to combat the problem of blind spots, and you can cover a wide area with just a single camera.
Buying one camera with those specifications instead of multiple fixed cameras may end up being the cheaper option. When choosing between cameras for monitoring your backyard or any large area, this is the most important feature to consider.
Placing a camera higher will give you the best coverage. Modern cutting edge designs can even rotate up to 355° horizontally and 90° vertically, significantly expanding the field of view.
Working Temperature and Weather Resistance
A good security system is always operational. If your area of residence has very hot summers or cold winters, always check the working temperature of the camera you intend to purchase. Consider purchasing camera housing or enclosures – they can significantly increase the lifespan of the camera.
You should also factor in the humidity range the camera is designed to work in. Last but not least, consider getting a camera with at least an IP65 weatherproof rating. This will ensure that your system can work and keep you safe at all times.
You should also consider if your product of choice has a backup battery system. Weather can be unpredictable, and with a backup, you know that your home is being kept safe even if a power outage occurs.
Night vision is a crucial factor to consider. Nighttime is when most robberies, break-ins, and home invasions occur. Many modern camera models have infrared LEDs and IR sensors, allowing them to record clear footage even in the middle of the night.
When considering night vision, always look for models with infrared illuminators. These components provide an adequate amount of light so that the image does not turn out blurry. Such options are often labeled as Smart IR.
Another thing to consider is whether the model in question has an IR cut filter. This option toggles between different filters according to lighting conditions and provides vibrant colors during daytime while simultaneously making sure the image is clear at night.
Remote Viewing and Web-Based or Smartphone Apps
Remote viewing options provide added safety, comfort and security. With these features, you can check what’s happening at home no matter where you are.
This feature is useful in everyday situations, like getting a package delivered or hearing a knock on your door or suspicious noise. The ability to check out what’s going on from a computer or mobile phone is the next best thing to staying at home all the time. Remote viewing is the only way to achieve consistent surveillance and can help you keep your cool in false-alarm situations.
Always use the software provided with the camera. Third party apps are available but have issues with compatibility, updating, and security. The software that comes with the camera is easy to set up and use. Remote viewing is essential for fostering a sense of security and peace of mind.
Motion Sensors and Alerts – Line Crossing (Tripwire)
A great addition to remote viewing, having motion sensors and alerts means that you won’t have to waste precious time checking a screen for suspicious activity. These systems send notifications to your phone whenever motion is detected by the cameras. The notification is instantaneous, allowing you to react quickly. Some systems even send you an image of what triggered the alert.
The software that manages these systems is customizable. If you prefer, you can turn off alarms for certain times of the day. For example, when you usually come home from work. These systems support multiple devices, and it’s easy to set up so that your entire family receives an alert when something happens.
With these options, you can identify any potential threats quickly and react appropriately. A system of this type can help prevent break-ins in the nick of time.
Water-Resistant and Vandal Proof
Whenever you place a camera outdoors, you run the risk of it being vandalized. Purchasing a vandal proof camera guarantees that you won’t lose your investment so easily. There are many options for camera housing or enclosures which will protect your camera from impacts. Another thing to consider is hiding or disguising your cameras, as well as installing them out of reach. Coupled with this, look for cameras with an IP rating of 66 – these products are not only waterproof but also resistant to solid impacts and the effects of dust.
Built-in Microphone and Audio Recording
Another feature that is highly useful is the audio recording. Audio input adds a new dimension to the camera’s effects and can serve a useful purpose in identifying threats. With this in mind, if you purchase a camera with a built-in microphone, don’t place it too high up or the audio won’t be clear. Before settling on where to put it, trying out different locations can help you figure out where the mic can and can’t pick up audio.