Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Security Cameras in 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 door step or your car broken into on your driveway, the likelihood of ever catching the thief is low. A great deterrent for any would be thieves out there are an outdoor security cameras, 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.
These rough and ready devices are built to withstand extreme weather conditions like snow, rain and sudden temperature drops and rises. The majority of the variations you can purchase can connect to your WIFI network and live stream video footage of the outside of your home directly to your smart phone and can be set up to send an alert when something is moving outside your house.
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 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
How is video stored?
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.
What you need to consider with outdoor security cameras
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.
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, however this does mean that it will need to be hardwired and there are far less make and models for you to choose from.
Where should I place my outdoor security camera?
In 2018, it was found that 74% of burglars entered through the front door, so placing a camera somewhere where it has view of the front door will be the most beneficial for security.
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.
How many outdoor security cameras do I need?
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.
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 burglars advantage?
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 gain entry into 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).
How many outdoor security cameras do you need to get the best protection?
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.
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.
The best security cameras out there
|Nest Cam Security Camera||Ring Spotlight Camera||YI Outdoor Camera||Arlo Pro 2||Netatmo Outdoor Security Camera|
|Video Resolution||1080p HD||1080p HD||1080p HD||1080p||1080p|
|Two way Audio||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Wide Angle Lens||130°||140°||110°||130°||95°|
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.
£168 on Amazon
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
£199.99 from Amazon
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
£79.99 from Amazon
Arlo Pro 2
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; weather resistant, a rechargeable battery, 2 ways 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
- 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
£679.99 from Amazon
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
£249.99 from Amazon
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
Best outdoor security cameras 2021
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 BaseStation 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.
Arlo Pro 3
The Arlo pro 2 was one of last years best outdoor security cameras, its sleek design and great features made it very popular. However the Arlo pro 3 is now on the market with a few more shiny features. The recordings are 2K, HDR compatible so your videos will be crystal clear. You could spend more and get a 4K resolution with the Arlo Ultra, but this is a great camera for the price.
Best Outdoor Security Camera Out There
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.