Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Homeowners in particular are often unsure whether their own house could be a target for burglars. An IP camera for surveillance can help. Simply to be able to sleep better or to be able to capture actual criminals, an outdoor IP camera can make it easier for you. But such a camera can also be used in a completely different way, e.g. to identify unexpected visitors in advance.

Our big 2020 outdoor IP camera review is designed to help you find a surveillance camera that's right for you. We have compared tube and dome cameras and listed the advantages and disadvantages. In this way, we want to make your purchase decision as easy as possible.




Summary

  • Outdoor IP cameras are good for detecting burglars and other potential criminals who are on your property. But they can also be used as an intercom system for visitors, for example.
  • In any case, you may only monitor your own property. Your neighbours and the public space may not be filmed by your IP camera.
  • Depending on how visible a surveillance camera is positioned, it can also serve as a deterrent.

The Best IP Camera Outdoor: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an outdoor network camera

What is an IP camera?

An IP surveillance camera is also called a network camera because it is connected to the home network. This makes it easy to control the camera remotely from your computer or smartphone. Most IP cameras come with the corresponding software. This makes them very convenient to use compared to analogue video cameras.

IP Kamera outdoor-1

The two types of IP cameras not only look different, but are also used for different purposes.
(Image source: pixabay.com / simell1968)

Many IP cameras also allow the collected footage to be stored in a cloud and thus accessed directly from the desktop.

What is an outdoor IP camera suitable for?

To meet the needs of an outdoor surveillance camera, there are specially designed IP cameras.

For outdoor surveillance, your IP camera must be weatherproof.

These have a weatherproof housing to record their surroundings even in wind and weather. Often, outdoor IP cameras can also be powered by rechargeable batteries or solar cells and do not need a power connection.

All in all, an outdoor surveillance camera should always be used outdoors. Otherwise, wear and tear and suboptimal image material will quickly occur.

What are you allowed to monitor and what are you not allowed to monitor?

Before you install an IP camera, you must be clear about what you want to film and whether you are allowed to do so. In principle, you are allowed to install a surveillance camera in a private room without further permission. However, it is important that you only film on your own property and not that of your neighbours. You are therefore not allowed to observe the access route or even the public area. You may also only monitor your own house or flat door if the area in front of it belongs to you alone and you do not share it with your neighbours.

You are only allowed to monitor your own property.

What does an outdoor IP camera cost?

You can buy functional outdoor IP cameras for as little as 40 to 50 euros. However, if you want to use a surveillance camera with integrated intercom or similar equipment, it can cost up to 150 to 200 euros for private use.

In addition to the purchase costs, you must also take into account the operating costs of a network camera. The camera usually runs continuously and thus also costs a lot of electricity.

Item costs incurred
Purchase from 50 €
Operation ongoing, depending on the electricity provider

What alternatives are there to outdoor IP cameras?

As an alternative to a network camera, a commercially available webcam with a memory card can also be used for surveillance. However, these are rarely well-suited for outdoor use and must be separately secured or mounted behind a window.

Decision: What types of outdoor IP cameras are there and which is the right one for you?

What distinguishes a tube camera and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The classic model of surveillance cameras are tube cameras, also called bullet cameras, which are mounted with a typical wall arm. This makes them very conspicuous. This makes them more suitable for deterrence than for actual observation.

IP cameras with a wall arm are mainly used as a deterrent.

Due to their construction, there are always blind spots that cannot be captured. The wall-arm mounting also makes it easy to damage the camera with brute force. The internal technology is otherwise no different. They provide good image material and potential criminals can be detected.

Advantages
  • Useful as a deterrent
  • Fully functional
Disadvantages
  • Very conspicuous
  • No all-round view
  • Easy to damage

What distinguishes a dome camera and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Dome cameras are much more inconspicuous and concealed. They are characterised by their round design and the dark dome makes it impossible to see from the outside which area is actually being monitored. In principle, this type of IP camera also allows 360° recording, but this is only made possible by the internal swivelling of the camera. This means that several cameras are still usually required.

Another advantage is that dome cameras are less easily damaged due to their shape. The disadvantage of this model is that potential perpetrators feel safer and may still commit the crime. The resulting damage cannot always be reduced by the video material.

Advantages
  • Unobtrusive
  • All-round view possible
  • Safe from vandalism
Disadvantages
  • No deterrent
  • No simultaneous all-round view

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate outdoor IP cameras

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the numerous IP cameras for outdoor use

The criteria you can use to compare IP cameras with each other are:

In the following, we explain what you should look for in the individual criteria.

Storage type of the recordings

There are two ways in which an IP camera can store its images.

  • A cloud makes it possible to retrieve and process the images directly from your computer or smartphone. The disadvantage of this system, however, is that it may be hackable and thus unauthorised persons can access it from the outside.
  • An SD card stores the images on the device itself. This protects them from unauthorised access and even a network failure is not a problem. However, the images must be transferred manually.

IP Kamera outdoor-2

Always keep an eye on your door - even when you are not at home.
(Image source: pixabay.com / geralt)

Shooting angle

Before you buy an outdoor surveillance camera, you need to check what the minimum angle is for filming from your intended position.

It is also important to know that the larger the shooting angle, the more the distances in the resulting images become blurred. Therefore, you should not choose a much larger shooting angle than you actually need.

A large shooting angle is not always ideal.

Image quality during the day and at night

More and more burglaries happen during the day. But even at dusk, an IP camera can have a significant loss of image quality. So when buying, make sure that this is not a problem. A night vision mode makes it possible to take clear pictures even in complete darkness. It is up to you to decide whether this is important to you.

Degree of protection against dust and water

Of course, you don't want your network camera to be affected by environmental influences outdoors. Therefore, you should pay attention to the self-protection of the camera when buying it. The IP standard, which has nothing to do with the term "IP camera", gives you information about this. Your outdoor camera should ideally be classified with IP66.

The IP certification consists of two digits, the first of which provides information about protection against dust and the second against water. The first digit should be 6, which means "dustproof". Your camera should also be protected against heavy rain, so the IP rating should also have a 6 as the second digit.

digit meaning in position 1 meaning in position 2
4 protection against solid foreign bodies with a diameter of 1.0 mm protection against splashing water from all sides
5 protection against dust in harmful quantities protection against water jets from any angle
6 dustproof protection against heavy water jets
7 - protection against temporary submersion

Power source

Plugging into a wall socket is the safest way to power your IP camera and protect it from failure. However, it is not easy for everyone to connect to mains power. In this case, a camera with rechargeable batteries is more suitable. However, these should be equipped with strong batteries and checked regularly to avoid failures. With a PoE connection ("Power over Ethernet"), you can also supply your camera with power via your home network.

There are many ways to operate an IP camera.

There are also some IP cameras with solar panels available on the market. These should only be used if the panel can really be exposed to sunlight on a regular basis and should be secured in parallel with a power cable or battery. This ensures that the camera can also film when the sun is not shining for a longer period of time.

Audio recording option

The pure image material recorded by the surveillance camera is not always enough to prove that criminals have committed a crime, for example. Therefore, before buying, you should consider what you want to use your camera for and whether it makes sense for it to also record sound.

Another possible use is to add an intercom system to the IP camera. For example, if you are expecting visitors, you can see when they arrive without them having to ring the bell.

Facts worth knowing about outdoor IP cameras

How do I install an IP camera outdoors?

If you have already found the ideal place for your IP camera and the power supply has been clarified, there is nothing to stop you from installing it. Proceed as follows:

  1. Power connection: First connect the surveillance camera to the power supply or insert the battery. If your camera has a PoE connection, you can skip this step.
  2. Network connection: Connect to your home network with a LAN cable or wirelessly via WLAN. You can now determine the IP address of the camera via the menu of your router.
  3. Configuration: Now enter the IP address in the search line of your Internet browser. On the page that opens, you should now be able to make settings on your IP camera.

Where is a surveillance camera best placed?

Depending on the goal you are pursuing with the IP camera, it should either be well hidden or clearly visible from its position. Pay attention to the recording angle and position your surveillance camera so that there are no blind spots and your neighbour's property or similar is not in the camera's view.

IP Kamera outdoor-3

When mounting your camera, pay attention to the shooting angle.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Israel Fuentes)

How can I evaluate the images from an IP camera?

If your IP camera has cloud storage, you can easily view the collected images on your computer or via an app on your smartphone. If you have an SD card memory, you have to remove it from the camera and connect it to your computer to transfer the images.

In order to draw conclusions from the images, there are various approaches. If you have a specific suspicion at a certain time, then retrieve the pictures from that time and study them carefully. If you just want to check in general who passed your camera and when, you should rather look at the pictures in time lapse.

Image source: Imprasertsuk/ 123rf.com

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