Wired vs. wireless security cameras – how to choose?
Home security cameras are an integral part of every home security system. They serve as a burglar deterrent, provide video footage that can serve as proof, and allow you to view the activity around your home while you’re not there. These are just a few of the reasons why home security cameras are usually a big component of almost all home security system ratings that you can find on the internet. Home security cameras come in all shapes and sizes, but only in two types: Wired and wireless. There is an ongoing debate involving wired vs. wireless security cameras, as there are good reasons to choose either type. In this article, we will provide you with an overview of both camera types, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
How to choose between wired vs. wireless security cameras
To choose the best camera type for your home security system, you need to ask yourself several questions:
- Do I need to perform a DIY installation?
- Is price a factor?
- Is my internet connection fast and stable?
- Am I comfortable drilling holes in my home?
- What kind of features do I need?
After you answer these questions, choosing the best camera type is going to be much easier. However, unless you know the pros and cons of each type, you may not know exactly which camera type is best to secure your backyard from intruders, for example. The best way to make an informed decision is to first understand the advantages and disadvantages of both wired and wireless cameras.
The way that wired home security cameras work is by transmitting an audio and video signal through a wire. The signals usually go to a central hub, where you can replay the footage at your leisure. Some wired cameras might provide local storage, however, eliminating the need for a central hub. Traditionally, wired home security cameras did not have access to the internet, making them much less susceptible to hacking and remote takeover. These days, however, most wired cameras also have an internet connection that you can take advantage of. Of course, you can always decide not to connect them to the internet and eliminate the associated vulnerabilities.
There are many different types of home security systems that utilize wired home security cameras. Even though wireless cameras feature newer technology, the reliability of a wired camera is still unmatched. That said, wired cameras do come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
First of all, wired home security cameras provide unmatched audio and video signals. No matter how good your Wi-Fi connection might be, it simply doesn’t hold a candle to an optic wire. Moreover, the presence of the wire makes the entire security system much more reliable, as signal drops are all but unheard of. The wire also provides a constant power supply to the cameras, eliminating the need for batteries. You may still want to have cameras that have batteries as an alternate power source, as that will allow them to continue functioning even if there’s a power outage.
The most important advantage of wired cameras, however, is that they offer unparalleled safety. They simply cannot be wirelessly hacked, provided that they do not have access to the internet. This is the primary reason why wired home security systems are still one of the hottest home security trends. When you want maximum protection, you choose wired cameras.
Despite their numerous advantages, wired home security cameras are not for everyone. They can be expensive to install, as you may need hundreds of feet of wire for a full installation. To make matters worse, the wire itself cannot be clustered, as you will want to spread your cameras around. Consider that an average home security system utilizes anywhere between four and sixteen cameras, and you will realize that wire connection can soon become a huge issue. If you want to improve your neighborhood safety, you may need to install even more cameras. Furthermore, most homeowners do not want to have wiring all around their walls, meaning that the wires need to go through the walls instead. That, in turn, means a lot of drilling and potential repair costs.
While it is possible to install wired home security systems on your own, it is not recommended to do so. Most professional home monitoring companies will not accept a contract if you have performed the installation by yourself. Needless to say, needing to bring in professionals will significantly increase the cost of installing a new home security system. Furthermore, moving your home security system from one location to another may not be the easiest thing in the world. If you happen to need to move house, it is usually cheaper to purchase and install a brand new home security system than it is to relocate the old one. That being said, if you are not planning on moving to another location, this disadvantage is not as important.
Lastly, you need to consider that most wired home security cameras will stop working if there’s a power outage. You can remedy this by installing a backup power source, but that will only solve the issue for a short while. When it comes to wired vs. wireless security cameras, the latter is actually designed to work on batteries from the get-go. The increased visual fidelity of wired security cameras also increases their power requirements, after all.
Wireless security cameras, as their name implies, do not require any wires in order to work. Similar to how wired cameras can be outfitted with an alternate power source, wireless cameras can also feature a power wire to minimize battery drain. Speaking of which, most newer wireless cameras have sensors that allow them to preserve energy and only record when they detect activity in their field of view. If you are looking to burglar proof your home on a budget, however, you may want to keep your wireless cameras as “barebones” as possible. Every additional feature inevitably increases the price, after all.
Wireless security cameras are slowly overtaking wired cameras due to their ease of use, low price point, and the fact that they seamlessly integrate with today’s mobile phones. They do come with some disadvantages as well, though. Let’s take a look at both their pros and cons.
The primary advantage of wireless security cameras is the ease of installation. Almost everyone can simply purchase a camera and set it up to their liking. There are no wires to consider; all you need to do is find a good position. Furthermore, it is supremely easy to relocate a camera from one position to another. Some wireless cameras may require to be near a power outlet, though, limiting their available positions.
The second advantage is that you can easily introduce more cameras to your home security system and improve the privacy of your home. There will be no additional installation costs, as your central hub is already set up. Coupled with lower camera costs, this makes wireless cameras ideal for a low-budget home security system.
Since most wireless cameras work on batteries, you don’t have to worry about a power outage compromising your home security system, either. Lastly, if you are looking to sign a professional home monitoring contract, you will not have to worry about professional installation costs.
The main disadvantage of a wireless camera system is the fact that it is reliant on your Wi-Fi connection. If your connection becomes “spotty”, your camera feed will suffer. You may get lower image fidelity, or your cameras might stop working altogether. Of course, if your internet connection goes down, so do your wireless cameras. Furthermore, being connected to the internet comes with its own set of security issues. Hackers can take control of your camera system over the internet without needing to be anywhere near your home. There are steps you can take to protect your camera system from hacking, of course, but they involve quite a bit of technical knowledge. You can always consult a security professional to improve the safety of your system, but that all but defeats the purpose of a budget system.
When it comes to wired vs. wireless security cameras, the latter also suffers from limited signal range. Your home appliances, walls, and various building elements can all interfere with the camera feed. Lastly, you will need to change the batteries from time to time. While this might not seem that big of a deal, the fact is that most homeowners simply forget to change the batteries from time to time. Failure to change the batteries on time may significantly compromise your entire home security system.
Wired vs. wireless security cameras – What to look for
Both wired and wireless home security cameras come with unique features. It may be best to consider your needs before you finalize your decision. Your choice will usually be tied to the function of the camera. Most of the time, the best thing to do is to combine both wireless and wired security cameras in a single home security system. For example, you may want to utilize wireless cameras to secure your backyard from intruders and wired cameras for all major entry points. If you are on a budget, however, you may consider installing wireless cameras only.
You may also want to consider having at least a few cameras with their own storage capacity. However, due to the fact that wired and wireless cameras process video differently, combining both types into one system may become problematic. If you are planning on a DIY installation, it is usually best to stick to one camera type.
Regardless of which camera type you ultimately go for, you will want to consider purchasing at least a few motion activation cameras that connect to the internet. That way, you will be able to get real-time alerts to any suspicious activity around your home. Wireless cameras are usually much easier to integrate with mobile apps, but wired cameras may have the same capability.
Additional features that you may want to consider include:
- Two-way audio capability
- Night vision capability
- Emergency connectivity
- AI (Artificial Intelligence) features
- Smart platform integration
Wired vs. wireless security cameras – The price difference
On average, wireless security cameras are cheaper than wired cameras. You can get a single wireless security camera of good quality for as low as $25. Good wired security cameras start at the $50 price point. That said, wireless cameras usually have additional costs associated with them, such as cloud video storage. A subscription for a cloud storage service typically costs anywhere between $3 to $10 a month, depending on the features that you are going for.
Depending on the situation, these additional costs may prove to be more expensive than a single lump sum that is required for wired security cameras. You can minimize the storage cost by purchasing Micro-SD capable cameras, however. Micro-SD cards are quite cheap and can serve as portable storage as well.
Another thing to consider when choosing between wired vs. wireless security cameras is monitoring. With a wireless system, self-monitoring is quite easy, as you will get alerts directly to your mobile phone. Home security systems that feature wired cameras usually require professional monitoring through a third party. This is not to say that wired systems are incapable of self-monitoring, but you are usually not going to compromise on safety if you are investing additional money in a wired system. When it comes to monitored vs. self-monitored home security systems, it is all about the safety-to-price ratio. If you are comfortable with spending a bit more to make your home secure, you will usually want to go with a professionally monitored home security system.
For more information on top home security systems, home security system components, as well as home security tips and tricks, Consumer Opinion Guide is your go-to resource! Our expert articles are there to help you maximize the safety of your home while minimizing the costs!