Security cameras are high-tier defense solutions that are recommended for every homeowner who values the safety and protection of themselves and their belongings. Yet in many cases when spotting the price tags of such systems, the shopping cart is immediately abandoned. You see, professional security systems typically come with a hefty fee and cost more than all other alarms or sensors combined.
The high price is derived from numerous aspects. A camera is obviously an advanced piece of electronics, even if you buy a standard one. Opting for a device with features such as night vision, motion detection or facial recognition further increases the cost. And don’t forget that one camera is far from enough; a full-fledged surveillance system requires at least four units, plus a DVR.
And the list goes on, since purchasing the devices is one thing. Commonly home security companies charge more for monitoring the camera system, further increasing your expenses. And so, if you wish to arm your house with video recording capabilities for an affordable price, then there is a lot you must first understand about the pros and cons of a low-cost security system.
Wireless Security Cameras
Wired security systems are becoming more and more obsolete with each passing day, and for good reason. A wireless camera is so easy to set up thanks to its DIY nature that even inexperienced homeowners can do it. Such devices only need to be connected to a power source, otherwise it’s simply a case of placing them on any surface or mounting them on the wall.
Because wireless cameras ditch the concept of being physically linked to a server, they either store the footage on a micro SD card or stream the video onto a cloud server. This excuses homeowners from having to mess with cables, and saves them a lot of money in the process. In the past, the installation was done by the company’s technician, which cost the customers both time and money.
In the long run it doesn’t pay to save money by sticking to old-fashioned wired cameras. They might be cheaper, but often you’ll need to pay for the professional installation, and the device swiftly becomes outdated feature-wise.
Best Home Security Systems of 2018
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Professional or Self-Monitoring Service
Professional monitoring is an integral part of every home security service. Companies hire teams of monitoring agents who provide round-the-clock supervision for homeowners. In these cases, the main hub of the security system forwards the alarm signals to the company headquarters. The agents are trained to respond to any burglary attempt in a professional manner. They can dispatch a local police patrol to the area, and if the security hub has two-way communication they will attempt to intimidate the robbers by warning them through the speaker.
Professional monitoring grants peace of mind, but for a price. Even though the operators act on your behalf, the service is only available for a recurring monthly fee. On top of all that, certain companies, such as Frontpoint Security, have multiple monitoring plans. And it doesn’t come as a surprise that the option where the agents watch the camera feed alongside the alarm signals is the most expensive.
Homeowners who feel vigilant enough to keep an eye on their home can rely on live camera streaming that can be accessed via a smartphone. Reolink, for instance, is a home security company who includes a free app for self-monitoring with every camera purchase. It’s riskier since missing an alert may give the thieves a chance to escape with your belongings, but it’s the easiest way to save thanks to the lack of a monthly fee.
How Many Security Cameras?
Being unsure of how many recorders you need for your home is completely understandable. There are several factors that need to be considered before making a purchase. For example: how big is your home? Does it have more than one story? How many rooms have valuables in them worth protecting? And what about the backyard?
You should understand that monitoring every inch of the building with cameras is not only extremely pricey but redundant, too. Instead, focus on key locations. The front and back entrances definitely need a camera pointing at them from the outside, though the garden and the driveway can be protected with a cleverly placed sensor. Inside the house it is best to prioritize motion detectors and glass break sensors, with an IP camera set up in the living room. Even better, consider installing a hidden camera, a recording device disguised as a common household object like a smoke detector but otherwise functions just like a regular IP camera.
Affordable Camera Security Systems
Examining the camera-related offers of a home security company should be a priority for all customers, but the following three companies are definitely worth considering.
GetSafe offers 24/7 professional monitoring as part of the standard deal, but homeowners receive a free app to also check on the cameras themselves. The app in itself is useless for monitoring the camera feed unless you also subscribe to the additional cloud storage, which increases the monthly fee.
If you are on a tight budget and can’t afford the latest innovations then iSmartAlarm proposes several cameras with modest specs. Additionally, they have a bundle offer that features the company’s main hub, basic sensors and the iCamera Keep Pro. And if you have access to the Alexa smart voice controller, then you’ll welcome the news that all iSmartAlarm systems can be controlled hand-free via voice prompts.
Blink XT isn’t the only recorder in the company’s bag of tricks. They also developed a compact video doorbell that can eliminate the need for setting up a front entrance camera. It’s weatherproof, senses movement and connects seamlessly to the smartphone app. So not only do you receive snapshots or live footage of the visitors, but through the doorbell’s two-way communication it is possible to talk to them as well.
Surveillance Camera System vs Home Security System
Bear in mind that having a standalone surveillance system consisting only of cameras isn’t the same as a versatile and robust home security system. Having more cameras will ensure superior video coverage of the entire building, but deploying cameras in numerous locations both indoors and outdoors is a huge tax on your budget. To add salt to wound, even high-quality cameras can be blinded by flashing a laser pointer at the lens.
Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, it’s recommended to install numerous and varied home defense products. As mentioned earlier, using motion sensors in the driveway and monitoring the front entrance with an outdoor camera is one option. But inside the building it’s smart to use security devices that are less visible. Try concealing motion detectors in a shadowy corner, setting up hidden cameras, or opting for a very loud siren. Cameras are great deterrents and capture proof of a crime, but they cannot interrupt a crime, unlike the high-pitch screeching of an alarm.