Last updated: August 10, 2021

Our method

22Products analysed

26Hours spent

11Evaluated articles

76User reviews

Surveillance cameras are now almost part of every household's equipment. This is mainly because people generally have a high need for security, which can be satisfied by using surveillance systems. In an increasingly technology-driven world, it is now easily possible to monitor one's belongings from anywhere and at any time.

However, in addition to providing a view of the yard, surveillance cameras can also serve as a baby monitor in the children's room or a means of communication with visitors.




Summary

  • In order to use surveillance cameras, it is essential to comply with legal requirements. For example, cameras must be visibly marked and may not film beyond their own property.
  • Important purchase criteria are the power supply, the presence of a night vision function, the recording angle and range, the motion sensor, the storage location and the possibility of smart home connection.
  • Surveillance systems are available in a wide range of price segments and scope. Low- to medium-priced variants are often sufficient for private purposes.

The Best Surveillance Camera: Our Choices

Buying and rating criteria for surveillance cameras

In order to find the perfect surveillance camera, we have listed some buying criteria that you should consider when buying:

To help you understand each point individually, we have explained them in a little more detail below.

Power supply

Is there a power connection at the desired connection location? Or is it possible to lay extension cables there? If not, the choice will always be a wireless version. There are now a large number of battery-operated cameras, some of which are equipped with solar panels to extend the operating time.

Night vision

To ensure that you get a usable image in an emergency situation, you should make sure that the surveillance camera has a night vision function. Depending on the reflectivity of the environment, very good black and white images can be obtained at night. However, if the chosen option does not have a light, alternatives such as special camera lights or general motion detectors can be added to the monitored area.

Shooting angle and range

Before purchasing and installing a surveillance camera, it is important to remember that the angle of coverage is usually between 90 and 110°, making it suitable for entrances and larger areas. If you want to view an entire room, you should go for a 360° camera (dome) or a fisheye camera on the ceiling.

Location

Surveillance only makes sense if the collected data can be stored so that it can be accessed. There are three possibilities:

  • External cloud storage: Data is stored on a company server
  • Local storage: data is stored on the camera's micro SD card
  • External local storage: data is stored, for example, on an FTP server or NAS storage in the home

Which option is best depends on individual taste and the goal of the surveillance.

Motion sensor

Motion sensors in surveillance cameras vary in sensitivity and sophistication. One problem with the sensors can be that objects are classified as a threat when they are not. This can be counteracted by using a camera where the sensitivity can be individually adjusted up to the point of alarm notification. New infrared sensors, for example, recognise heat of movement in addition to the image matching technology, so that the danger assessment is significantly improved.

Smart home connection

Do you live in a networked home? WLAN cameras are particularly suitable for connecting to the smart home system. However, it is important to ensure that the surveillance system is compatible with the devices used and the voice assistant.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about surveillance cameras answered in detail

Frequently asked questions on the subject of surveillance cameras come up, which we would like to answer for you in the following.

Who is a surveillance camera suitable for?

A surveillance camera is basically suitable for anyone who wants to have access to video or audio material relating to their area, regardless of location.

Überwachungskamera-1

The use of surveillance cameras does not only offer security for companies and businesses. The acquisition of surveillance cameras can also make sense in private and public areas. (Image source: Shaw/ unsplash)

For private individuals, for example, it is suitable as an intercom system in the entrance or as a baby monitor in the children's room, and for companies it can serve as a theft protection and deterrent. Cameras can also be used to protect railways and public facilities and places from vandalism and crime.

What types of surveillance cameras are there?

Surveillance cameras can be classified according to various criteria. To give you an overview of the individual types, we have created a table below.

Type Features
Box camera box-shaped body, flexible adaptation of camera function through separate availability of camera body and (interchangeable) lenses
Dome camera all-rounder, extremely resistant to weather and violence (lens is under a dome)
Bullet camera square to round body, lens not interchangeable
Cube camera cube-shaped, small and therefore well camouflaged
4K camera works with moving and distant objects, and changing light conditions
IP camera signal transmission into a network, access to the camera can be made via the browser, in a system landscape second network is only necessary for video surveillance
PTZ camera possible control of the camera for certain events, zoom and tracking in case of motion detection, usually used by ports, public places or authorities
Infrared camera surveillance in complete darkness, no additional lighting required, not so good at long distances
Mini-camera usually a circuit board with lens without housing, good camouflage through hidden installation in objects
Fisheye camera creates a 360° panoramic image, high resolution at short range compared to dome or bullet camera

However, many cameras available on the market are a combination of several of the above types. For example, you can buy an IP box camera with infrared LED lights, as "box camera" essentially means the body, while the other aspects refer to technical functions.

Is it difficult to install a surveillance camera?

Installing surveillance cameras is possible without the help of experts. Almost all manufacturers offer detailed step-by-step instructions or support through the installation and setup via instructions in an app.

Conclusion

When purchasing a surveillance camera, it should be well considered in advance what purpose it is to fulfil. Accordingly, it must, for example, either be suitable for outdoors or indoors, be equipped with or without a night vision function and have two-way audio or not. Once all the important buying criteria have been compiled, it is necessary to assess which model is best suited.

A surveillance system can be purchased by anyone. Especially since there are models in a wide variety of price ranges. It can offer you protection and a sense of security. However, do not neglect that there are legal regulations, the violation of which can be sanctioned. Your own protection should not exclude that of your fellow human beings.

Image source: Santana / unsplash

Why you can trust me?

Reviews