6 tips for choosing the right CCTV camera for your home

The mind-boggling choices of CCTV surveillance cameras can make it difficult for you to pick and choose one that is best suited for your home.

© Vasin Leenanuruksa/ 123RF

As surveillance technology advances, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) is no longer just a camera and recorder. These days, it offers a higher level of security by giving you features like audio, face detection and infrared, as well as high-quality night-vision footage. With vast options, specifications and price ranges, you will be spoilt with its many designs and capabilities. Hence, picking the right surveillance camera that fits your needs is important as you could optimise its profound benefits.

Here, we have unwrapped the 6 basic things you should consider before investing in a CCTV system.

1. Why do I need a CCTV?

It is crucial for you to evaluate your needs before investing in a surveillance system. Ask yourself – why do I need a CCTV and what do I want to see on camera? Do I install it indoor or outdoor? How much does it cost? ­Also, you need to consider the type of CCTV that suits your home. Every CCTV has unique features – some might work best for your home while some might best fit business premises.

2. What type of CCTV suits my home?

Infrared enables night vision feature in a CCTV camera. The more the number of red lights, the clearer the footage will be. © Wit Olszewski/ 123RF

Before choosing the best CCTV for your home, you need to consider the camera, lens, resolution, zoom and even infrared night vision.

  • Camera

There are three types of CCTV cameras for you to choose from. Analogue cameras are more affordable compared to High Definition (HD) cameras or Internet Protocol (IP) cameras. Even though the image resolution is low, it is good enough to detect people and monitor areas.

The HD and IP cameras are at the top end of the market as they provide high-resolution images. These cameras are perfect for identifying numbers, characters and­ evidential recording for legal purposes. Business premises usually opt for IP cameras or high-end Turbo cameras.

You might also want to check if the camera can turn around, pan and tilt, 360-degree view, as well as having zoom capabilities.

  • Resolution

A crisp high resolution ensures a highly enhanced image and footage. It determines how far a camera can see and monitor. Not just that, it allows the CCTV camera to retain high image quality even though it has been digitally zoomed in. IP cameras have the highest resolution of about 8MP, mid-range cameras have a resolution of 5MP to 8MP while lower range cameras’ resolution is around 2MP.

Also, the size of the area that you are monitoring will determine the resolution that you need. A larger area requires a higher resolution camera as it will prevent the image or footage from being pixelated, fuzzy or distorted. A static camera is good enough for a smaller area like your living room as it does not require a higher resolution image.

READ: 5 essential features to include in a modern home security system

  • Infrared night vision

The infrared night vision feature enables the CCTV camera to see at night. Just like camera resolution, it also determines the focal length. The more the number of red lights, the clearer the footage will be. Some pro CCTVs are equipped with the ability to capture detailed images and footage in darkness. If you are installing one, make sure not to place it behind a window or any type of glass as the infrared lights (IR) might cause IR reflection or glare.

  • Zoom

Another important component of a CCTV camera is its capability to zoom in and zoom out. There are two types of zoom – optical zoom and digital zoom. This is determined by the type of lens that your CCTV camera is equipped with.

Digital zoom can be done on live or recorded footage and it is limited by the camera’s resolution. Optical zoom, on the other hand, acts like a pair of binoculars. It can see farther with clearer images compared to the digital zoom as it uses a real zoom lens.

3. Do I install the CCTV indoor or outdoor?

© Elnur Amikishiyev/ 123RF

Well, again, you need to decide where to place the CCTV. If you want to place it outdoor, you might want to install a CCTV that is durable and weatherproof. For example, a CCTV that operates in an extremely cold environment has a built-in heater that enables it to operate despite the intense condition. For a tropical climate like Malaysia, you need to choose a CCTV camera that protects the electronics from rain and moisture.

Usually, a CCTV camera is installed near an entrance like the front door or gate. It can also be installed in the darkest areas of your home. This is to set an entire perimeter that cannot be breached by intruders. If you’re covering a larger space, a pan-tilt camera allows the lens to follow a moving object when monitoring the area.

4. Do I need a large data storage for my CCTV?

There is a wide range of data storage for your CCTV. You can go from 16 GB up to 1 TB. Not just that, the storage capacity can be increased by adding an additional hard drive or by attaching your CCTV to an unlimited network storage device. Also, keep in mind that high-resolution cameras require large data storage. Thus, memory cards alone will not be sufficient.

5. Do I need a wired or wireless CCTV?

A wired CCTC camera is sold at a much lower price compared to a wireless CCTV. On top of that, connectivity is better as the wires are connected to DVR through a coax cable. It makes it more reliable than a wireless camera.

On the other hand, a wireless camera is mobile which makes it easy to install and carry. Since it is portable, you can also change its position if needed. Nevertheless, it needs maintenance from time to time since it is battery operated. You also need to ensure that your internet bandwidth can support the camera. On the bright side, it will still function if the electric power is cut off. With a backup battery system, it maximises your home security if there is an intruder.

Another feature that is worth considering is its ability to live stream. It allows remote monitoring where it sends a signal to your mobile, portable devices or computer for live viewing.

6. Get professional help and advice

© Elnur Amikishiyev/ 123RF

It is always good to seek a bit of professional advice when choosing the right CCTV for your home. Get them to assess your property and recommend the different types of cameras, features, and prices. It is also important to ask questions about the installation cost, maintenance, and other expenses before you decide to commit.

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Now that we have unpacked the 6 tips for choosing the right CCTV camera for your home, you should be able to find the best surveillance camera that fits your needs. You can be blinded by the main choices and functions, but it is worth it as it keeps your home and entire family secure. Good luck!

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