In a world where everyone is under surveillance, where we are constantly surrounded by cameras of all kinds, IP cameras are one of the best tools to protect your home or business. Their direct connection to the Internet allows you to access their content anytime, anywhere in an instant.
Most frequently used for video surveillance tasks or to watch a baby or pet, there are currently two main types of IP cameras: models for indoor use or those for outdoor use. However, many other criteria come into play when the time comes to buy your very own IP camera.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our Selection: The Best IP Cameras
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About IP Cameras
- 5 Buyer's Guide
- 6 Summary
- IP cameras are digital electronic devices that record and send video and audio in real time over the Internet, independently from and without the need for a computer.
- These cameras are completely secure. You can easily configure their access using a user and a password to prevent unauthorized persons from viewing the images recorded by the camera.
- How you plan on using your IP camera is the very first factor that you should evaluate. In that regard, remember that there are indoor and outdoor cameras. You should also consider whether you want your camera to be fixed or mobile. Finally, you will want to pay attention to other criteria, such as connectivity and compatibility.
Our Selection: The Best IP Cameras
In the following section, you will discover our own selection of the best IP cameras currently available on the market. We have searched for both indoor and outdoor cameras, all of which are from quality brands that offer real bang for your buck.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About IP Cameras
There are several essential points that you need to be familiar with in order to purchase an IP camera. Keep in mind that there is a wide variety of products out there, all of which are tailored to specific uses and offer distinct features. In the section below, we have answered the most frequently asked questions regarding IP cameras to help you make the right decision.
What are IP cameras exactly?
What are the advantages of IP cameras?
As if that wasn't enough, you can watch the video in real time from anywhere around the world once your IP camera is installed and configured. The vast majority now offer applications to control them from your smartphone. We have listed their perks and drawbacks in the table below:
For whom are IP cameras useful?
What types of IP cameras are there?
|Outdoor cameras||Indoor cameras|
|Installation||They are generally fixed.||Most are mobile cameras.|
|Design||Since they are designed for outdoor use, they are resistant and waterproof.||They are usually shaped like a dome or lamp.|
|Price||They are more expensive.||Most of them are very affordable.|
Are IP cameras secure?
How do IP cameras work?
You need a software to access and control the camera. They generally come with the camera, but you can also get them separately. In fact, the vast majority of IP cameras now offer applications with which you can control the device or view images from a smartphone or tablet.
If you are seriously considering getting an IP camera for your home or business, there is a series of essential factors that you need to analyze first. We want to make this whole process easier for you, so we have detailed those key criteria in the section below. We hope that this will help you choose the right model with the best possible value for money.
- Intended Use
- Fixed vs. Mobile Device
- Image Quality
- Connectivity & Compatibility
- Storage Space
- Additional Features
How you want to use the IP camera is naturally the very first question you should answer. You won't need the same device to watch over your baby or to monitor access to a large industrial building. In the same vein, you cannot use the same IP camera indoor and outdoor – the latter application requiring weather-resistant models.
It is equally vital that you determine the location(s) of your camera since this will influence its viewing angle. Keep in mind that it will generally vary between 120º and 160º. If you are purchasing an IP camera for a bar, discotheque, or parking lot, you may be interested in a camera with a vandal-proof system.
Fixed vs. Mobile Device
Directly linked to our first criterion, the choice between a fixed and a mobile IP camera is crucial. Fixed models are widely used in stores to monitor access to the cash register. Mobile cameras, on the other hand, are often dome-shaped to look like a lamp or spotlight.
This allows them to offer a 360-degree view. Also, most feature with a dark dome that makes it impossible to see in which direction the camera is recording. Some models even present designs specifically designed to go unnoticed. The main perk of this type of camera is that you can use it in various locations.
The maximum resolution of your device is what you want to focus on when looking at image quality. You will notice that the cameras currently on the market offer either high-resolution HD or Full HD images. We recommend that you pay close attention to the overall quality of the zoom, too – be it digital or analog.
Connectivity & Compatibility
As you now know, the two main options to connect your device to the Internet is either using an ethernet cable or a Wi-Fi connection. The second option is naturally much more convenient, but it can be more unstable.
Make sure you check what type of Wi-Fi networks your IP camera is compatible with. Some models only operate with 2.4 GHz networks.
In addition, you should also look into which operating systems your camera and its software are compatible with. Many people also find it particularly interesting to have the possibility of controlling their device remotely using a cell phone or tablet. Nowadays, some cameras even support 3G and 4G network connections.
IP cameras are specifically designed to send the data gathered over the Internet. That being said, you can find models with their own internal memory or a microSD or SD card slot. This allows them to store the content they record content. Many IP cameras are also compatible with cloud storage services.
Whether the model you are interested in has a microphone or not could be a decisive factor in your purchase. If the IP camera does have a microphone, you will want to check its range. Also, keep in mind that certain models integrate sound recording activation systems. If you are looking for a camera to monitor your baby, you may want one with a built-in speaker.
IP cameras with zoom allow you to look closer into the images that you are recording, which can come in very handy. You may also find the motion-activated functions interesting while opting for an infrared camera is essential if you want to set it in a nighttime environment.
Designed for surveillance and monitoring tasks, IP cameras connect directly to the Internet to allow you to access their footage through various mobile devices. Since their images are password-protected, they provide complete security and privacy. We can classify these cameras into two groups: indoor and outdoor models.
Nowadays, most of them integrate night vision and motion activation systems, with some even having microSD card slots to store the images. Others offer the possibility of storing the data directly on the cloud. Make sure you take into account essential criteria such as installation, configuration, and compatibility to choose the right product.
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(Source of featured image: Alicephoto: 39176110/ 123rf.com)