Between package pirates waiting to steal your Amazon deliveries right off your porch and peeping neighbors who can’t seem to mind their own business, it’s just not enough to assume that your home – and its contents – will always be safe. That’s why a 2016 survey showed an impressive 20% of polled homeowners using home security cameras – and the number is rising! The lower price points of today’s cameras, paired with ease of use for consumer set up, is making it hard to resist taking security matters into your own hands. Higher video definition and almost unlimited options are also helping buyers feel like it’s an investment they can’t afford not to make.
So, how does a buyer decide what camera is right for them? For starters, it helps to know what’s available. With the average consumer tech store offering a dozen or more options for home security cameras, it can be difficult – if not impossible – to understand what all they offer. Here is a quick breakdown of some of the best features available on today’s consumer-positioned home security camera. Which of these perks is right for you?
1. Action Detection
If everything goes as planned, nothing at all will happen when you’re away from home. That’s why, for 99% of the time you own your security camera, you’ll never need to access recordings. If that’s the case, why even record and store these dull moments, at all?
The most intuitive cameras are set to detect motion – or even sound – to only capture the moments in which the action is happening. This way, you’re not forced to sit through hours of boring tape to get to the moment that matters. Pet owners can take comfort in knowing that many cameras offer “pet mode” and won’t record when your cat or dog is detected on video, either.
2. Mobile Headquarters
Plans change, and if you’ve decided to let Aunt Jennifer crash at your place while you’re out of town, your security camera should be able to comply. Mobile apps make it easy to switch security on and off and access the most important features from afar and at any time during the day or night. Don’t settle for a camera that doesn’t let you be in control of your system at all times (and from all locations.)
3. Custom Alerts
No security system owner should find out about a burglary only after coming home to one. Today’s cameras offer the ability to be notified by email or text when the motion detection has been triggered. Watch what’s happening in real time, and call the authorities while the crime is in progress! Then, access the recorded video when you need to file your police report. While most cameras offer some type of alert, the ability to choose between text, email, call, or push isn’t standard on all models and can be very valuable.
4. Battery Backup
Hard-wired cameras only work when there is power, so what happens when a crime happens during a power outage? Natural disasters are prime time for thieves and looters, so you’ll want to be sure that your camera is still rolling when the lights go out. Choose a camera that switches from live power to battery when needed, and consider one that uses rechargeable batteries that don’t require you to switch them when they run dry.
5. Tilt and Pan
Not many cameras can move on command, but it’s a feature that will soon become commonplace. Imagine you get an alert that someone is in your home, but you can’t see their whole body (or their face) within the view of the camera. Having the ability to access 360 degrees of view from a remote location can be the difference between capturing the crime – or not.
6. Cloud-Based Storage
Older security cameras used to hold so much video before you received that “memory full” notification. Today’s cameras are much more equipped to handled days, weeks, and even month’s of data with integrated cloud storage accounts that can be used to store all of your videos – even before you know that you need them! Optimally, the right camera can keep some videos on the device, or your phone, for easy access and sharing, but the majority of your data should have a secondary location for if something bad happens to your camera’s storage ability.
7. 2-way Sound
“Can you hear me now?”
Audio is non-negotiable for today’s security footage, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could also communicate through the camera to those in the same room as your security device? Whether you use it to calm a pet, chat with the kids about chores, or announce to a would-be robber that they are being filmed, it’s ideal to have a 2-way chat function on your security device.
8. Weather Resistance
While many consumers pick a camera based on how stylish it is in their living room, others want to know that it can withstand rain, shine, and everything in-between! Since security outside the home is just as important as inside, choosing a security product that can handle the elements just makes sense. You’ll spend a bit more for a heavy-duty camera like this, but since most people only need one outdoor unit, it’s an investment that should pay you back in added peace of mind.
Is it possible to find a camera that has all of the features you are looking for? Fortunately, it has become more and more a reality each day. As home security tech becomes more integrated into our daily lives (often working with home automation systems such as Nest), the must-haves will grow while the price continues to drop. New versions of standard security systems are launching all the time, as well, meaning that that perfect camera might soon be unveiled in a matter of months. Whether you desire form, function, crystal-clear video, or amazingly intuitive audio, there may no longer be the need to choose between all of your favorite features. The future of home security is already here!