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Published: Jul 08, 2024 4 min read

If you’re looking to install a security camera in your home, you may be overwhelmed by the number of options on the market. Prioritizing your security needs while staying within your budget will be your main concern when deciding what to buy.

Are you looking to invest in a simple setup to just watch your main entrance or do you prefer a full indoor and outdoor setup? Do you have an existing smart setup into which you wish to integrate your camera? Read on to learn what you need to know about buying a home security camera.

For a more in-depth look at home security systems in general, read our list of the best home security systems.

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1. Home security camera setups come in all shapes and sizes

For some people, a doorbell camera might be enough to fulfill all their home security needs. Others may be looking for a full outdoor camera setup. Deciding in which camp you fall is key to making sure you don’t overspend on technology you don’t actually need.

Your setup can include a combination of doorbell, indoor and outdoor cameras, with optional features such as motion detection and wireless connectivity. How many cameras you need will also determine where you set them up. For example, a homeowner with a single security camera might want to prioritize their home’s main entrance.

2. Wireless doesn’t necessarily mean wire-free

The “wireless” in wireless cameras refers to how the equipment transmits its signals, not necessarily to a complete lack of wires. A camera that is ‘wireless’ in this sense can still be connected to a power source through a plug, for example.

Wireless cameras can be truly wire-free if powered by a rechargeable battery pack or simple primary batteries. Battery packs can also be useful if you want to stay protected during a power outage. For this reason, some cameras powered via a wall outlet also have a battery backup.

3. Monitoring can be costly

Your choice of monitoring will usually depend on your budget and how much control you want over your footage. Professional 24/7 monitoring services usually come hand in hand with professional installation and require a contract commitment for the duration of the service, whereas self-monitoring services only require a one-time upfront cost.

Professional monitoring services can be useful for homeowners looking for greater peace of mind or who are not technology savvy, while self-monitoring might be more enticing to those who want to control every aspect of their home security setup. Deciding what sort of monitoring you want before setting up your security camera can save you money and troubles in the long run.

4. Smart home integration can make things easier

If you’re opting to self-monitor your home, smart cameras can make the process easier by integrating with the smart home setup you prefer.

Whether through a hub or your smartphone, you can easily check on your smart cameras and use voice commands through platforms such as Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. Smart cameras can also sync with your smart home security setup to provide seamless control between your cameras, smart locks and thermostats.

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