Ensuring the security of your home is one of the most important things you can do. It doesn't matter what kind of area you live in; we believe that you are better safe than sorry. In a day and age where security systems are getting cheaper by the day, there is no excuse not to take precautions.
There are many ways that you can ensure the safety of your family and their belongings. One of these ways is to invest in an alarm system. While this can involve a costly setup fee, there are also subscription based options available with less of an up front cost.
Another way to ensure that your home remains safe is to invest in new, high tech locks. It may be surprising but advanced locking systems like biometric locks are more affordable than ever. It helps to take as many precautions as possible when you set up the security systems for your home, and you can never have too many lines of defense.
One of the most affordable and simple ways to keep your home protected is to set up a camera system. Unfortunately, CCTV cameras have grown outdated over the years. Their replacement, IP cameras are preferable in almost every way, and they are what we will be reviewing today.
Before we get to our reviews, we will take a look at why you should take care when choosing your IP camera and then we will look at some crucial features. It helps to have a better understanding of what to search for in the best IP cameras for your particular needs.
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Best Outdoor IP Camera
Best Dome IP Camera
Why You Should Choose Your IP Camera Carefully
When looking for the best IP camera, it is important to ensure that you cut no corners. An IP camera is a product which you will end up entrusting with your safety and the safety of your family. The last thing you would want to do in that situation is to invest in a camera which will malfunction when you need it most.
Instead of investing in cheap, ineffective IP cameras, customers may wish to revise their budget slightly so they can get a camera which is reliable and features good image quality. IP cameras are not as expensive as some may think and quality models are reasonably affordable.
There are many kinds of IP cameras, and it's good to know what you are looking for, like the best outdoor wireless IP camera or the best ptz IP camera. Keep in mind that there is no single best IP camera. You will find the best IP camera by knowing what you need and trying to fulfill those needs.
It is also important to invest in a good IP camera because it saves you the trouble of having to purchase a new one if the cheap model malfunctions. Why end up spending nearly twice as much money when it would be a better choice to invest in a high-quality camera from the start?
What To Look For In The Best IP Camera
Here are some other important factors to consider when buying a IP camera:
The first thing to consider when purchasing your IP camera is the picture quality, also known as the resolution. The quality of your camera will have a decent bearing on the price point, so it is a matter of balancing the camera’s resolution with your budget.
If you are purchasing this camera to defend your house, you will want to invest in a product which shoots in HD (high definition) at a minimum. SD (standard definition) cameras have grown outdated and will present a murky and grainy picture.
What use is a security camera if you can’t even recognize who is on the other side? You will want to make sure that your camera transmits a clear enough picture to do a reasonable job of video surveillance.
Standard definition cameras tend to shoot in 360P or 480P which is quite simply unacceptable when you consider how common HD technology has become. High definition cameras take video in either 720P or 1080P which will show more details and make it easier to identify an intruder potentially.
While high definition surveillance cameras used to be rather expensive, they have grown quite affordable over the past decade. You will find that an HD IP camera can be just as, if not more affordable than SD CCTV cameras used to be, as we stated earlier, home surveillance has become affordable.
Pan, Tilt And Zoom
Something else to look for is whether your camera features capabilities for panning, tilting, and zooming. These are functions which will help improve your surveillance range and effectiveness dramatically. Since they usually require servos to be placed in the camera body, they can up the price noticeably.
A camera which can pan will be able to watch over a larger area. Panning is when the camera rotates left and right so you can overlook a larger area, this is particularly helpful for wide places like your front or back yard.
Most models of camera will automatically pan left and right in a predetermined pattern. Better quality models can be controlled so you can choose which direction you want the camera to point.
Tilt is similar to panning, but it works in the vertical plane as opposed to the horizontal plane. High-quality cameras will be able to tilt and pan, sometimes at the same time. As with pan, some models will tilt in a predetermined pattern where others can be controlled by the owner.
Finally, there is the option for a camera that can zoom. Unlike pan and tilt, cameras will rarely zoom automatically; it is usually left up to the control of the camera operator. Most surveillance cameras will feature digital zoom, and higher quality models will feature optical zoom.
The difference between digital zoom and optical zoom lies in the picture quality once you zoom in. Digital zoom will decrease the resolution of your picture as you zoom in, making things more grainy and difficult to see.
Optical zoom, on the other hand, relies on lenses. This ensures that the picture will maintain the same resolution and clarity as you zoom in. Zoom allows you to see distant individuals and objects and may be necessary if your camera commands long sight lines.
Another important feature in a surveillance camera is night vision capability. As you may have guessed, night vision allows your camera to perform better surveillance in the darkness. Some camera models will automatically toggle to night vision between certain hours of the night.
If you intend to use your camera to keep your home secure from robbery and other nefarious acts, night vision is almost a necessity. Even if your home is well lit up, you will want to be able to see any potential intruders approaching from as far away as possible.
Many modern cameras feature night vision capabilities, but they feature differing ranges at which the night vision remains effective. Your preferred night vision range will depend on how far of a sightline your camera has.
Two Way Radio
Another feature that can commonly be found in the best IP cameras is a two-way radio function. This allows you to listen to audio being picked up by the camera's microphone and to broadcast your voice through a speaker on the camera.
The functionality allows you to warn potential intruders that they are being watched or two listen in on conversations that said intruders might be having. This function can also be used in non-emergency situations, such as when you may need to talk to a family member near the camera.
Another aspect to consider when looking for the best outdoor IP camera is its user friendliness and accessibility. Some of the best IP cameras will be compatible with an app so they may be accessed from your smartphone. This makes the process of checking your cameras quick and easy.
Cameras with a high degree of accessibility may also include a computer based application to improve the ease of setup. As long as the camera is transmitting over your local network, you will find it easy to connect and start surveying the immediate area over your computer.
Ease Of Installation
One other thing to consider before purchasing your IP camera is the amount of work it will take to install it. Most cameras will have to be drilled into a spot where they cannot be reached by potential intruders. This may require a good deal of work, so it helps to invest in the best IP camera system which is still reasonably simple.
After all, you can have the best IP camera, but it is hard to take advantage of it when you can’t install it in the first place. A camera which is quick and simple to install will reduce the amount of work you have to do to get your home surveillance system running.
Best Outdoor IP Camera
Winner - Wansview 720P Outdoor Security Camera
This is the best IP security camera that you will find available regarding user friendliness. This camera features an incredibly streamlined installation process that consists of three steps.
- Camera broadcasts video in 720P HD quality
- Features IP66 waterproofing for increased weather resistance
- Features night vision capability out to 67 feet
- Works with the iOS and Android Wansview app
- Made of durable aluminum which will not rust
- Feature a simple plug and play setup process
To install the camera you simply have to download the official Wansview app on your smartphone, plug in the camera, scan the camera’s QR code and configure the camera’s wifi setup.
Regarding features, the camera has a large number of design aspects that improve its durability. For example, the aluminum construction may be lightweight, but it is also strong and highly weather resistant since aluminum doesn't corrode like steel.
The ability for this camera to see in night vision out to 67 feet makes it ideally suited for nighttime surveillance. This vastly improves your camera’s utility when it comes to keeping your home defended from potential burglars and other criminals.
While the 720P quality may leave something to be desired for customers who prefer full 1080P HD, this camera more than makes up for it with low price and good construction quality.
Runner Up - SV3C Full HD 1080P Outdoor Security Camera
This camera from SV3C is a great choice for customers who need something simple and reliable for their home surveillance. It is broadly similar to other cameras in the same price range, but it features better compatibility with third party applications than other cameras.
- Features IP66 waterproofing for improved weather resistance
- Features night vision out to 65 feet
- Features power over ethernet, so you do not need to hook up a separate power cable
- Camera is compatible with a wide variety of operating systems
- Features a wide angle lens
- Compatible with a wide variety of third party software
This does not mean that the camera is lacking its proprietary software, however. It is up to you to decide how you want to set the camera up. Keep in mind that you can only use the motion sensing and video recording capabilities with the official app unless you set up one of these third party options.
This camera also features a 4X digital zoom if you see something off in the distance that you would like to examine more closely.
Our favorite feature of this camera was the inclusion of power over ethernet which is not common enough on other security cameras in the same category. We find that a separate power cable is simply a waste when you can have a camera that derives its power from the connected ethernet cable.
This camera also features impressive video quality thanks to its 1080P full HD resolution. If you want a camera which has excellent video quality and features a wide range of compatibility with other applications, you will find that this is the right choice for your needs.
Alternative - Foscam HD 1080P Outdoor Security Camera
This is another contender for the title of best IP camera. While this model from Foscam is more expensive than a lot of the competition, it is also built to higher standards. Unlike some of the competition, this model’s instructions are intuitive and easy to understand. You don’t have to play guessing games when you set it up.
- Features IP66 weatherproofing for added resistance to the elements
- Compatible with the Foscam app which allows for a quick setup
- Capable of night vision out to 65 feet
- Features a 118-degree viewing angle for better peripheral vision
- Features an 8X digital zoom for long range use
- Compatible with Foscam cloud storage
- Records in 1080P HD
The inclusion of an 8X digital zoom is another aspect that we appreciated. While things start to get grainy and blurred near the limits of the magnification, many competing models don’t even offer the ability to zoom that far.
The Foscam app is impressive due to a large number of features it offers when compared to other proprietary apps you will find for certain cameras. This app manages to be well designed as opposed to the jumbled mess we are used to seeing provided with certain IP cameras.
The night vision mode on this camera is also remarkably clear. Where some competing models will have grainy and blurry night vision, that is simply not the case with the Foscam. Every app function still works in night vision mode, including motion sensing and direct alerts.
The Foscam outdoor IP camera is designed for homeowners who don’t mind spending a little bit more on their camera system so they can keep their home properly protected. You certainly get your money’s worth with this product, the only thing that would make this camera better would be power over ethernet.
Best Dome IP Camera
Winner - Dericam Full HD IP Security Camera
Being a dome camera, this product's greatest strength is its ability to cover a 360-degree angle. While it may feature less range regarding night vision than some of the more fixed cameras, it more than makes up for it with its ability to cover the entirety of the surrounding area.
- Features two-way audio functionality, allowing you to listen and broadcast
- Supports a microSD card up to 128 GB in size
- Camera features a secure connection that is not easily hacked
- Works with the proprietary Dericam app or your choice of third party software
- Features a night vision range of 26 feet
- Features 360 degree coverage
- Supports remote rotation control
Unlike some other cameras, this model features a good level of security that ensures that hackers will not be able to break into your network and remotely access your camera. This is more important than some customers realize, as a camera which can be easily compromised will not be able to defend your home from intruders properly.
The ability to use a microSD card for onboard memory makes this camera a lot more accessible, instead of having to rely on subscriptions and cloud storage. Onboard memory has the advantage regarding monetary savings, but keep in mind that it can be damaged if the camera is destroyed.
This camera also features a wide range of accessibility since it can be used with either the official app of the manufacturer or a wide variety of third party security software. If you are looking for a dome IP camera that features a good variety of features and few weaknesses, this model from Dericam will very likely be a good choice.
Runner Up - YI 1080P Dome Camera
We would argue that this dome camera from YI is the best IP camera for the money. While it may have a shorter night vision range than much of the competition, the 360-degree sight radius and the use of noninvasive IR LEDs makes this camera ideally suited for families.
- Camera features full 360-degree coverage
- Night vision features 10-foot coverage
- Two-way audio functions in two modes
- Camera sends alerts and keeps motion tracking records
- YI app is available for iOS and Android for maximum compatibility
- Features 1080P video quality
This camera works with your choice of a microSD card, the cloud or both. The included app is easy to understand and helpful when you need extra information on an alert. If you plan on being outside of the house often and you need surveillance while you are away, this camera is the right choice.
One of the more impressive features of this camera is how it can follow anomalies that it detects by itself. If the motion sensor picks something up, the camera will try to keep it centered so you can get a better look at it when you rewatch the footage. Far too many cameras require user input in these situations.
While the 4X digital zoom is nothing special, it is still a worthwhile inclusion that makes it a little easier to see individuals at a distance. An impressive feature is the ability to bookmark eight different camera angles and to have the camera automatically rotate between these bookmarks.
The two-way audio has two separate systems. The first is your standard intercom style where one individual speaks, and the other listens in turn. There is also the hand's free system where both can talk at the same time, much like a phone. This is the best IP camera for those needing versatility and a helpful companion app.
We hope that we have managed to present a good variety of the best IP cameras available on the market. We tried to choose cameras that would cater to the needs of a wide variety of users while still maintaining a high standard of quality. If you have any questions or concerns about these products, feel free to let us know down in the comments section.