Successful home security starts right at the front door. And what better way to keep an eye on your property than installing a few cameras outside your house? A surveillance system is a good start, but unexpected guests certainly require a closer examination by a specialized camera, known as a peephole camera. By placing a small camera inside the door, homeowners on the inside can inspect visitors in true HD without having to first open the door. This is a considerable advantage, since it’s possible that brutish thugs might force their way in once residents have opened the door even an inch.
How Does a Door Peephole Camera Work?
Current peephole cameras consist of two parts. The first is the recorder that is embedded within the door itself, while the other is a monitoring panel that displays what the camera is seeing in high definition. There are some variations on this, of course, as certain companies only provide an internet-enabled camera that shares the footage via a smartphone app.
Installing the system is quite easy. All you need is an existing traditional peephole in the door, or a suitably sized gap in the door for the flange. Then it’s simply a case of putting the camera inside the socket, while the monitor can be mounted on the back end of the door, faithfully simulating the notion of ‘looking through’ the hole. In most cases, the camera remains in standby mode and is only activated when a button is pressed on the control panel.
It goes without saying that a good peephole camera comes with additional options, such as being able to zoom in on the visitor’s face or to activate night vision – which are both must-have features.
Why a Door Viewer Camera?
‘But why should I opt for expensive tech when most doors already come with a traditional peephole?’ you may ask. Well, door viewer cameras are superior in every possible aspect. First of all, they offer a bigger field of view, not to mention the picture quality is highly detailed – often to a better degree than a tiny slot in the door. Traditional peepholes use bended lenses to enlarge the visitor’s image, but they also distort the view to a considerable degree – but only in the best case scenario will you see the person’s face and upper torso. On the other hand, a camera is capable of capturing both the visitor and the environment surrounding them.
The presence of an advanced peephole camera in itself is a good deterrent, but the usefulness is further increased when it works in conjunction with other smart home solutions. For example, if a surveillance camera or a motion activated light picks up movement – therefore indicating a trespasser – the homeowners can take a look outside without having to open the door.
Recommended Door Peephole Cameras
There are several door viewer cameras on the market, each with varying degrees of quality and feature sets. The following products are definitely worth a peek.
Brinno Front Door PeepHole Security Camera
The camera is powered by four AA batteries that can be easily replaced in the back of the product. Since the screen only flashes up when the button is pressed, the device uses very little power and can last up to 3,000 triggers. Other than showing live events on a 2.7-inch LED screen, the camera can also record and play back footage if needed.
Greeter Digital Door Viewer & Doorbell
Since it has a display panel instead of a separate smartphone app, Greeter is easier for kids and seniors to use. Its convenience is further underlined by the fact that the product also incorporates a doorbell. By pushing the button on the camera bracket (the part that is on the outside of the door), the monitor plays a loud chime to notify residents about the visitor. For this reason, Greeter makes smart doorbells completely obsolete.
EZVIZ Lookout Smart Door Viewer
Of these three here, EZVIZ Lookout has the largest monitor with its 4.3-inch touchscreen that activates automatically when someone approaches. The fully rechargeable lithium ion battery also means it is easier to keep the power running in the device.
Smart Doorbells With Cameras
At first, peephole cameras seem to be inferior when compared to smart doorbells. The Ring doorbell camera, for example, only requires an easy setup that just takes five minutes, and since it connects to existing wires, there’s no need to drill a new hole at all. Additionally, it notifies the residents when a guest arrives, and also has a camera that streams the footage to the company’s app.
On the other hand, homeowners often find it tedious to boot up their smartphones just to see who pressed the doorbell. Sometimes it’s more convenient to take a glance at the monitoring panel on the door, especially since you’ll most likely need to go there to open it anyway. However, Ring, Nest and most other manufacturers don’t include an inside monitor with their smart doorbells, which is where peephole cameras have the upper hand.
Luckily there are products like the Eques Digital Viewer and the EZVIZ Lookout that marry the two features together, meaning you won’t need to choose between them.
Reinforcing Door Security
Showcasing a peephole camera on the front door might make criminals think twice before trying to rob the building. But bear in mind that there are other countermeasures that could potentially deter burglars, too. Strengthened door jambs, steel plating and a formidable lock all contribute to the image of a well-defended home.
The only major downside of a door viewer camera is that they are not portable and the installation is a bit messy for doors with peepholes. Those who don’t have the budget for a device like this can get roughly the same results by pointing an IP camera at the front door.
The Best Home Security Systems of 2020
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