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Outdoor Wireless Security Cameras (Ultimate Buyers Guide)

A CCTV Camera mounted on the concrete exterior wall.

There are a lot of options when it comes to outdoor wireless security cameras. Some surveillance devices have infrared night vision and 1080p HD video quality, while others can interface with IoT (Internet of Things).

IoT is the interconnectivity of lights, cameras, household appliances, security programs, locks, and more in your smart home. Picking which outdoor security camera is right for the household means there are some features the wireless camera should have and need to be factored into the final decision.

Home security is becoming more of an issue for the everyday homeowner than it was even a decade ago. Keeping a home safe and secure is not just about the big homes of the rich and wealthy being protected for their assets. A security system is about safety for those who are in any home as well.

Society is not more crime-ridden today than the past; homeowners are now just more aware of how they can protect themselves from break-ins and other crimes. Homeowners are looking for deterrence as much as they are the ability to catch someone in a criminal act. They want to protect themselves, families, homes, and contents and that can be as simple as installing a surveillance camera.

The Need for Outdoor Wireless Security Cameras

The home security camera has been around for a long time. It has been used through the decades with closed-circuit TV beginning in 1942 and the monitoring of commercial buildings in 1947. However, now they are compact, inexpensive, and easy to install compared to the ones of the past. It is much easier to keep an eye on the property than with the old surveillance camera and security system technologies of the past.

Video feeds have been effective in offering the ability to log, identify, and tag an offender. Beyond its basic functionality, they are great deterrents. People are less likely to try to gain access or cause property damage if they are aware of security cameras. They offer peace of mind to the property owner simply with their noted presence.

And with the option to save the recorded video feed in video storage, there is the potential for using facial recognition technology to help catch any criminals. This depends on the technology available and other aspects like the viewing angle, but the possibilities are vast.

Wireless Security Camera Technology

A man controlling the drone with a wireless camera.

Camera technology has improved immensely over the last decade or so. The cameras themselves have advanced in leaps and bounds. New security cameras are digital. This means it has a lens that focuses rather than is static. It does not use film or an analog light converter.

The digital camera has photosensitive diodes and transistors that change the light into RGB pixels. These pixels are then compressed and encoded to be video data or image files. Cameras can create both at the same time in some cases.

Pixels are what we talk about with any digital camera. The more pixels there are, the better the quality of the photo. This is an important factor to know when choosing a camera. Understanding pixels helps choose the quality of the security camera.

Wireless technology is the next big positive when it comes to security cameras. This technology is nothing new, but its method of use is. Wireless transmissions began with Tesla and Marconi around the turn of the 20th century. They used electromagnetism to do wireless transmissions, otherwise known as radio.

Transmitting means that electricity goes through an antenna, causing it to get rid of photons (light particles). These photons go at the speed of light with very little in their way. When they hit the antenna that is tuned to receive then, they go back to being electrons and reassembled into the signal needed. Old school radio is analog and when that type of signal is boosted the signal is clear and received.

With wireless cameras, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, the same process happens but there is an additional processing step needed before the signal will work. Understanding transmission can help in assessing which systems will work with home systems and linking everything together.

Both these technologies, pictures, and wireless, give us the wireless security camera system. Wireless digital cameras are mounted in appropriate places on the property and then transmit with an encrypted signal to a hub that stores and processes the data. The data can then be viewed by the property owners.

Some systems have cameras that are always on and recording, then the smart hub is responsible for updating and getting rid of old footage. Other cameras only record during set times when needed.

This reduces the need for extra storage. The third type of system is one that uses motion detection to turn on. These types save power, as well as reduces the need to have to scroll through hours of footage when the property owner is looking for something specific. How a camera record is important when deciding which camera to purchase.

Many of these systems allow the owner to access the hub from home computers, a smart TV, or a wireless device by using an app. They will notify the user if any movement is detected or the cameras are recording. Ease of access has to be gauged by the user. If someone is not technology-savvy, then the system does not need to be overly accessible, and professional monitoring may be a better option. But if the user is good at doing their own tech work, then hub access can be greatly beneficial.

Features to Consider

A white CCTV mounter on the exterior of the house.

One of the important features to look at is the range of vision that the outdoor camera has. Some have night vision which can be particularly important if the cameras are mounted in a low light area. This is especially true if the property is more rural and has little electrical light outside at night. Other outdoor cameras have infrared or UV spectra which will boost the night vision ability even more.

Having some sort of night vision is important, as chances are that crime will take place at night or in areas that are not lit in hopes of keeping the vision of the perpetrator to a minimum. If this is the case, then being able to make out people and activities in low light should be a priority. The choice will have to be around what type of night vision is right for the property.

An exterior security camera connected to the smart capabilities of the house.

A second feature that needs to be assessed is the camera’s ability to work with an IoT (internet of things). This means looking at smart house abilities. Interconnectivity between lights, cameras, locks, temperature as well as Google Home and Alexa are all part of this network. Not all cameras work well with this.

Interconnectivity is going to become more prevalent over time, so it is important to choose cameras that will work not only in the moment but in the future as well. However, if the user is only looking for outdoor cameras and has no intention of working with IoT, then there is no reason to spend any extra on that feature.

A woman looking at the security cameras on her phone.

Image quality is another feature that can make a significant difference when there are intruders or a need for clarity looking at an activity. These outdoor cameras are not going to be as good as the ones on a refined digital camera, but higher pixels mean a better image if one is needed. Make sure that the picture is clear and discernable.

A man sending the footages of the camera to the cloud storage.

Look at cloud storage and the costs of extra as needed. The cameras come with various storage amounts and abilities. Some use cloud storage and others have hubs that store a certain amount as well. The amount of storage needed is something to be considered when buying a security camera. How much camera tapes can affect this need as well.

The next feature that needs to be looked at is notifications. Whether the security cameras are professionally monitored or self-monitored, the property owner should get a notification in real-time when something important needs to be viewed.

A thief caught by the security camera.

This feature goes hand in hand with the feature of motion detection. Choosing a camera includes the decision on whether spot motion is wanted which marks incidents rather than a camera that is constantly on. When motion is detected, the camera with spot motion turns on and notifies the user. It targets the time, location, and suspicious activity seen.

One other feature is to make sure the outdoor wireless security camera has a good power source. Battery-powered is good if there is an easy way of charging them. Hard wired is good as well, so repeat charging is not an issue. Having both in one system is good as the hard wire reduces the amount of charging that has to be done, but cameras stay on when the power goes out since the batteries are charged. Both can be beneficial.

A small modern security camera with

Finally, make sure whatever camera is chosen is weather-resistant. Outdoor cameras need to be able to stand heat, rain, hail, snow, and whatever other weather might happen. Some come with skins to cover them and others have good outer shells.

Placing security cameras in locations that are more sheltered is good, but they need to have good sightlines, and the weather can always blow in wherever they are protected. Make sure the cameras chosen can be used outdoors and are not indoor specific.

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