Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Security Cameras for your home
This part of the ultimate guide to home security we look at Outdoor Security Cameras. This guide gives you an overview of outdoor security cameras, the different types of outdoor cameras, what the most common uses are and a buyers guide for buying an outdoor security camera.
If you have ever had anything stolen right outside your front door or had your car broken into on your driveway, the likelihood of ever catching the thief is low. Most thefts and burglaries are spur of the moment and thieves will often take an opportunity if they see one. A great deterrent for any would be theft out there is an outdoor security camera. Upgrading your home security to include outdoor cameras are a practical and effective way to protect your home, giving you peace of mind whilst you’re out and confidence that you know what is going on around your home.
Outdoor Security Cameras
Things to Consider When Buying an Outdoor Security Camera
Benefits of an Outdoor Security Camera
Placing Outdoor Security Cameras
Wired Outdoor Security Cameras
The Best Wired Outdoor Security Cameras for 2021
Wireless Outdoor Security Cameras
The Best Wireless Outdoor Security Cameras for 2021
Outdoor Security Cameras FAQs
What are Outdoor Security Cameras?
These rough and ready devices are built to withstand extreme weather conditions like snow, rain and sudden temperature drops and rises whilst still recording the goings on outside your home. Most can connect to your WiFi network and live stream video footage of the outside of your home directly to your smart phone and can even be set up to send an alert when something is moving outside your house.
Are Security Cameras Worth it?
Yes! Security cameras are regularly suggested by security experts and the police as an effective way to improve home security. Statistically 63% of burglaries committed in 2020 happened to people without a basic home security system and former burglars have come forward to argue that a security camera was their biggest deterrent for committing a crime.
An outdoor security camera not only acts as a deterrent to crime but also gives you peace of mind that your home is safe, and should anything be awry you’ll be notified. However, to make the most of your surveillance requirements, you need to assess the needs of you and your family, as not everyone will need the same level of outdoor security.
How is Video Stored from an Outdoor Security Camera?
Video can either be stored digitally in systems such as the cloud or there can be a hard copy that is saved to a DVD and/or a NVR.
Can Outdoor Security Cameras Work with Other Products?
Some outdoor security cameras are compatible with products such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, but this would be depended on the make and model of the camera. The majority of smart outdoor cameras have an app or a link that would allow you to connect your phone to the camera’s livestream.
How Can I Make My Outdoor Security Camera More Effective?
Security cameras are a great way to deter burglary and are often fitted with some form of night vision and some can even be bought with a motion activated flood light. However, if there is one thing, we would always suggest pairing with an outdoor security camera, it’s security lighting. Outdoor security lights take away dark spots in which burglars can hide and can even scare off anyone looking to try and force entry.
You can read more about outdoor security lights in our Ultimate Security Lighting Guide.
What to Consider When Buying an Outdoor Security Camera
Wired or WIFI?
WI-FI cameras are easier to install as they do not need to be located near an Ethernet port and don’t require wiring. The easiest model out there is a battery-powered Wi-Fi camera as they can be placed anywhere, they can connect to your router, without having a cable running through your house to a power outlet. These cameras usually have rechargeable batteries which can be popped out and charged through a USB, however one downside of this variation is that the battery does tend to drain faster in colder weather.
Weatherproof or Waterproof?
Weatherproof means that your outdoor camera will be able to withstand exposure to weather without deterioration, so your camera could handle wind, rain and snow without being damaged. Whereas waterproof would mean that your camera isn’t going to break if submerged in water; no water will get in to the components to destroy them. A consideration will therefore need to be the weather conditions where you live when selecting the best security camera for you. If you live in Scotland for example, which gets a lot of snow; it would probably be worth getting a weatherproof camera. But if you live on the South Coast of England where snow is a remote possibility, you could probably manage with a waterproof camera.
How much of your property do you need on camera?
A camera’s viewing angle will determine how much space the camera will cover. A camera with a wider angle will mean you need fewer cameras. You also need to think about the size of your property and how much you want in view; this will determine how many cameras you will need to buy or how wide the camera angle will need to be.
How clear do you want the picture to be?
You need to think about what kind of video you want from your outdoor surveillance camera. The higher resolution the camera has, the better the picture quality will be. For a good quality image you need at least 1080p, or even higher if you want crystal clear images. It depends if you are going to be studying the footage every day, or only if there is an issue.
Do you need Night Vision?
The most likely answer to this question is…yes. What’s the point of having an outdoor security camera that can’t capture images at night? To get a high quality image you will need to buy a camera that has infrared technology. Most outdoor security cameras will have this, but if you want the highest possible quality image then you will need to buy one with a high number of infrared LEDs. The more infrared LEDs you have the more range you will have with the night vision.
Do you want to be able to access your outdoor camera on your mobile?
This is popular feature because it allows you to check in with your home when you are out and about. You will need to make sure you choose an outdoor camera that is compatible with your phone and be prepared to pay a fee for your footage. Most cloud based features will require monthly or yearly fees paid to the company that makes the camera you choose.
How much do you want to spend?
There are pretty cheap outdoor security cameras out there, but it is a case of ‘you get what you pay for’, one or two basic outdoor cameras will be around £150-£250 but if you want multi-camera, indoor and outdoor top of the range camera with all the fancy extras, then you could be looking at thousands of pounds.
What are the Benefits of Outdoor Security Cameras?
Just the physical presence of an outdoor security camera can act as a deterrent for potential burglars. Most burglaries are in the spur of the moment and an ill-wisher will want to minimise their risk of getting caught. Having a visible camera will make a home more of a risky target for ill-wishers, which will act as a deterrent if your home becomes a potential target.
Some camera models out there have a two way audio feature that allows you to talk through the camera, should someone come to the door and you’re not at home you can ensure that you don’t miss anything.
Should the worst happen, and a burglary is committed, having video footage may give you evidence towards an insurance claim, thus helping your case and validating your case.
The Best Outdoor Security Camera for 2021
The best security camera for you will depend on your needs, however the Arlo is reliable and packs a lot in for the price. Nest is also a big player in the security camera game so you can’t go wrong with them and with its 24/7 video you are going to feel very secure. Ring is a good place to start if you want a doorbell camera, they are the original and the best at that. Of the outdoor security cameras on our list, they are all good and will do the job, you just need to figure out which one is going to work best for your needs.
How to Place Outdoor Security Cameras
The way you place outdoor security cameras is just as important as the make and model you choose. Picking the right position and spot can ensure that your camera angle and field of vision is optimised to protect your home. We would always suggest asking a professional to install outdoor security cameras, especially if they are wired, as they will have the knowledge and expertise to ensure that they in the best place possible. But if you plan on going for DIY, make sure to read our tips below!
Where’s the Best Place to Install Outdoor Security Cameras?
Front, back and side doors are a good place to start, as that’s where a lot of burglars enter your home. Try to place your outdoor camera above or at least near any external doors that lead into your home. Another good place for outdoor security cameras is at any windows that are not street facing. Windows that are hidden from view are perfect for burglars to use to get inside the home, so it’s important that they are covered. You can place outdoor cameras above them, or you can use any internal cameras to monitor them. Its more than likely any intruder that approaches your home, will use the driveway, so having an outdoor security camera covering your driveway is a good idea.
When choosing where to put your outdoor security cameras, it’s important that you get the placement correct. All your cameras should be out of reach, so they can’t be easily tampered with or knocked down. It’s safest to place all outdoor cameras at a second story level or at least 9 foot above the ground. You also need to make sure they are attached securely, a fall from that height is likely to break any outdoor camera, they can be attached with adhesive or screws (these are more secure).
Where Should I Place my Outdoor Security Camera?
As of 2021, it is thought that over 34% of burglars will enter a property through the front door, 23% with use an open ground floor window and 22% use the backdoor. Therefore, ensuring that you have a camera placed at any doors to the property and any particularly weak entrances will ensure that your outdoor security camera network is optimised.
Important things to consider when placing an outdoor security camera:
- Place it high, to maximise the field of view and to reduce the chance of manipulation from an ill-wisher
- Consider the weakest spots in your home, such as your front door and back door, for how many cameras you may need
- Is there good lighting both night and day for where you have placed your camera; if not it may hinder you catching important details if the worst should happen.
What is The Best Height for an Outdoor Security Camera?
The best height for placing a security camera is 3 meters above the ground. We always suggest putting your camera up in a high advantage point, where they are out of reach and are optimised to view as much as possible. 3 meters in theory is just out of reach of most people, making it less susceptible to tampering but still easily accessible if need be.
How Many Outdoor Security Cameras Do I Need?
We would recommend between 2 and 4 outdoor security cameras to properly secure a home. However, remember that the amount of outdoor security cameras you will need will depend on your needs and how many areas you want to cover. The suggested placement for outdoor cameras is at least one that covers your front door and perhaps one that overlooks your back door and garden if you have one.
Wired vs Wireless Outdoor Security Cameras
Traditionally outdoor security cameras were always wired, meaning that they had to be connected to a power source, internet connection and video transmission to work. However, with new technologies, smaller more compact wireless versions hit the market and became more convenient for customers to not only install themselves but also to create a network of security around their home.
Wired Outdoor Security Cameras
The most traditional form of outdoor security cameras wired cameras, as the name suggests, need to be wired into different sources to be able to functions. Find out more about wired outdoor cameras below.
How do Wired Outdoor Security Cameras Work?
A cable is usually run from the camera to a recorder which is then connected to your internet router. You can either have a system that has separate cables for power and internet connections, or a system can have a POE (Power Over the Ethernet) cable which then only requires a single cable.
The Benefits of Wired Outdoor Security Cameras
Theses cameras are highly reliable due to the physical connections between the camera itself and the router.
2. Better Support for a Larger Network
If your property is larger, or you want to install more cameras, a wired system is the better choice as it is able to support more cameras on a single system. Wired cameras can often support between 4 and 16 different cameras and often allows you to keep the records for a longer period of time.
3. Built for Long Term Security solutions
If you have a more permanent location, wired outdoor security cameras are a great choice as they are built to last longer and hold a longer duration. Although they may be more expensive, they generally are more cost effective in the long run.
The Disadvantages of Wired Outdoor Security Cameras
1. Cost and Installation
The installation of wired cameras is not as easy as it might seem. All of the cameras will need to be connected to a power source and router through cables, and whilst this is something we would recommend doing yourself, it can be quite a daunting task. With less flexibility and adaptability, these cameras can be harder to place, and you may even have to front the cost for a professional to install them.
2. Vulnerable to Power Outages
A drawback of wired outdoor security cameras is that as they rely on being connected to power, in a power cut they are rendered useless. Although not an often occurrence, it is something to consider when installing wired cameras as your property could be left unsecured if this was to happen.
The Best Wired Security Cameras for 2021
1. Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera
This nifty little camera alerts you via your mobile phone if something is happening around your house by detecting motions and sounds. It can even alert you with a photo from the ‘event’ whether that is the cat knocking a plant pot over or someone breaking a window. It’s also extremely clever, it knows when it’s recording a person, and so it can alert you specifically when someone is walking up to your door. You can also ‘talk and listen’ with the Nests inbuilt speaker and microphone.
The Nest Cam Outdoor is weatherproof and extremely easy to install; you can either get a Nest Pro to install it for you, or you just plug in the cable and adaptor, mount the camera and you’re ready to go!
- 24/7 live video
- 1300 Wide –angle view lets you look after your home in 1080p HD.
- Phone or email alerts when activity is detected.
- Weatherproof cable and adaptor, so it can be left out in the rain.
- Talk & Listen feature, you can speak to get someone’s attention or tell the postman to leave the parcel by the door.
- Night Vision with 8 infrared LED lights that evenly illuminates the scene.
2. YI Outdoor Camera
The YI Outdoor camera comes with a reasonable price tag, and you still get some good quality features. It boasts a 110 degree wide angle lens with 3.9mm focal length and along with flexible mounts which means you get a huge range of vision. It also has an inferred night time function and colour switch filter to give you the best quality images at night. It comes with its own app; this is great as you can live stream the footage anywhere; you can also share the footage with up to 5 different people. Meaning that if you are going on holiday, you could ask friends and family to keep an eye on your house. The 3 meter cable is useful, as you won’t have to struggle to plug it in, or uses extension leads.
For the price it’s a great little camera and has the useful features that you find in the more expensive outdoor security cameras.
- Deterrent Alarm
- 1080p HD
- Enhanced Night Vision
- 3 Meter Cable
- YI Home App
Find it on Amazon for £69.99
3. Netatmo Outdoor Security Camera
This security camera is great as it doubles as security camera and outdoor light. The camera can be installed by replacing any existing outdoor light fixtures. The infrared night vision ensures that your home is secure both day and night, and if all else fails the powerful floodlight will ensure to illuminate your home. A great feature of this camera is that is compatible with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant base and Facebook massager; all that is needed is a quick text on Facebook to turn on the floodlight and it turns on! With 1080p HD video and a 50ft range you can rest assured that the video will be crystal clear and catch all movements on your property.
- Built-in smart LED floodlight
- Store and playback camera Footage using Dropbox, microSD card or FTP server
- Smart product compatible
- Up to 20m of motion detection
£284.99 from the Netamo Shop
Special Mention: Hive View Outdoor
This security camera is the latest addition in the expansive range that Hive Home offers and comes with a range of features that makes this one of the best outdoor cameras on the market. With 1080p HD video and 130o wide angle lens, wherever you place this nifty camera you are sure to catch the action whether day or night with automatic night vision. An amazing feature of this camera a side from the person detection and the two-way audio is the activity zone setting. You can set the camera to focus on specific areas so that it would be triggered by things that don’t matter but rather by the things that do, like the dog being somewhere they shouldn’t. Of course, like most other outdoor cameras it can be controlled and monitored through an app that is downloadable onto your phone and smart devices.
However, do keep in mind for an extended footage storage you will have to pay a monthly subscription of £3.99, but this will give you 30 days of video playback.
- Two way audio
- Activity Zone mode
- Night Vision
- Smartphone notification with video feedback
£179 from the Hive Home Website
Wireless Outdoor Security Cameras
A great alternative to wired security cameras, wireless outdoor security cameras are more adaptable, flexible, and easier to install.
How Do Wireless Outdoor Security Cameras Work?
They work by transmitting the camera’s video through a radio (RF) transmitter. The video is sent to a receiver that is then connected either a built-in storage device or the cloud.
The Benefits of Wireless Outdoor Security Cameras
1. Easy Installation
Without the need for cables, wireless outdoor security cameras couldn’t be easy to install and usually can be done without the need of professional help. With easy instructions of how the install and set up the camera, the hardest part will be decided where to put it.
2. Ideal for the Short Term
If you are renting or not planning to stay in your home for that long, wireless cameras can easily be placed, moved and adjusted as need be giving you much more flexibility.
The Disadvantages of Wireless Outdoor Security Cameras
1. Dependent on a Good Wireless Signal
Wireless cameras rely on WiFi to transmit video to storage devices so if the signal drops or goes out, they are left useless. Although not connected to a power source, if the power goes out so does the WiFi, ergo no connection for the security camera.
2. Limited Size
Often holding smaller storage, video cannot be stored for as long meaning that you could lose something important if you don’t back up the data.
What are Wire Free Cameras?
Wire free cameras are cameras that are completely wireless. They are very similar to wireless cameras that give you the option to be wire free or wired in some way. Often wire free cameras are referred to as wireless but it is always worth double checking the product description.
The Best Wireless Outdoor Security Cameras for 2021
1. Ring Spotlight Cam Battery
With the Ring Spotlight Cam, you can protect every corner of your home, its wire free and boasts a HD camera that lets you hear and speak to anyone on your property, from your phone or PC. You can set instant motion activated alerts, that send a notification to your phone when ring senses someone is on your property. The built in spotlight is what makes the Ring stand out from the crowd, the light means you get sharp image quality through the night. It does also have night vision, if you don’t want the light to come on at night. If you do spot an intruder, you can remotely set off a 110 decibel alarm, to help scare them away. It’s also weather resistant and can survive in temperatures as low as -28 degrees and as high as 50 degrees, so you won’t have to worry about it.
The device runs off a battery there are no wires, meaning you can pretty much install it anywhere. The battery is detachable, so you don’t have to move the entire camera when it needs a charge. This might be a downside for anyone buying the Ring Spotlight Cam, the camera will be out of use when the battery is charging.
Ring has just been brought by Amazon, so it’s a huge company. Meaning if you have any problems with your camera, you’re more than likely going to be able to get it sorted.
- Advanced motion detection
- Custom motion zones and scheduling
- Instant motion-activated alerts
- Motion-activated spotlight
- Infrared night vision
- 110-decibel siren alarm
You can either purchase a single camera for £89, 2 for £159, 3 for £229 or 4 for £299, through the Ring Website.
2. Arlo Ultra 2 Spotlight Camera
This sleek second generation product might be on the pricier side but from this camera you’ll get HD 1080p video with the ability to highlight areas in your cameras view where you would like to receive motion and sound alerts. This means a reduce risk of false alerts. Other great features of this product include 180o wide angle lens with a zoom capacity of up to 12x, weather resistant, 6 month rechargeable battery life, 2 way audio and a smart siren that is +100 decibel which is triggered either remotely or through movement. This system can also link wirelessly to your smart control, giving you complete control no matter where you are. It can also pair with an Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant, so if you are someone who loves technology that can pair together this is the system for you! The only downside to this system is that it only stores the last 7 days of recordings, so if you want to store video for longer you need to purchase a storage plan.
- 1080p HD Video
- 180o wide angle view
- Enhanced Night Vision
- Highlighted areas for motion detection
- Weather resistant
- +100 decibel security alarm
- Pairs with smart devices like, Google assistant and Amazon Alexa
- Live video feed directly to your smart phone
Sold as a packaged deal, you can get the security starter pack which contains 2 Arlo Utlra 2 Spotlight cameras, 2 rechargeable batteries, a smart hub the magnetic mount all for just £629.99 on the Arlo Online Store.
3. Anker eufyCam 2
The Anker is a good midrange option for those looking for an affordable outdoor security camera. It comes with loads of features and doesn’t require a monthly subscription fee. The camera is almost completely weatherproof, and the camera has a IP67 rating, what’s really impressive is that it has a 365-battery life, which means you won’t have to worry about changing the batteries every couple of weeks. All your recordings will be stored on the Base Station that can sit in your living room; they are all encoded meaning all your clips are protected from prying eyes.
This system is great for people looking for a low maintenance outdoor camera that does what it says on the tin, if that’s you then this is the one to go for.
Find it on Amazon for £249.00
Outdoor Security Cameras FAQs
Do Outdoor Security Cameras Record all the Time?
Some cameras start recording when activity is detected to save battery life and storage space, on the other hand you can get outdoor security cameras that continuously record. Different models and brands will have different features and recording times.
How Far Back Do Security Cameras Record?
Depending on the make, model and storage capacity of your outdoor security camera, some cameras can storage footage for up to 30 days, however in most cases for longer storage periods you may have to pay a small monthly subscription.
Are There any Outdoor Security Cameras that Don’t Require WiFi?
There are cameras out there that don’t require WiFi but they will still need to be connected to the internet via an ethernet cable to enable remote access. If you don’t want a WiFi outdoor security camera, you would need to look for one that is hardwired and be aware that there are far less makes and models for you to choose from.
Questions to Ask Yourself for How Many Cameras You Will Need:
- What areas do you want to be visible on cameras?
- What is the angle of view of your outdoor cameras, how much space do they cover?
- Do you have any weak spots on your property?
- Do you have a concealed or blind spots that could be used to a burglar’s advantage?
How Many Outdoor Security Cameras Do You Need to Get the Best Protection?
As a general rule, 2-4 outdoor cameras will be enough to cover the outside of your house, obviously if your house and grounds are large, then you may need a few more to cover all security angles.
There are a few things to consider before purchasing a number of security cameras, the size of your home and property for one, the type of camera you plan to buy and the amount of bandwidth you have.
What Else Can I Do to Secure My Home?
With so many different aspects of home security it can be hard to know how to secure all of them. An outdoor security camera is a great place to start but there are even more things you can do to make sure you home stays safe, and the first step is to read our ultimate guides to home security!