Home security cameras come in all shapes and sizes. From the smallest, cheapest hidden video cams to the most expensive wall-mounted cameras for industrial use, there is something for everyone. How do you find the best home security cameras for your needs? How do you break through all the marketing fog to find what really is your best option?
The proliferation of home security equipment over the last 5 to 10 years has been both good and bad. It has been good in the sense that more brands mean more devices, and more devices mean more choices for consumers. But it’s bad in the sense that consumers can feel overwhelmed with too many options.
As someone who has spent years writing about home security, here are my recommendations for finding the best cameras for your needs:
Start With Professional Reviews
Arguably the best place to start are professional reviews published by organizations like CNET and Consumer Reports. Professional reviews are written by people considered experts in the field. In the case of something like Consumer Reports, reviewed products are actually tested prior to writing. You are not getting a generic review from someone who has only read marketing literature.
One of the keys to finding the best home security cameras is being able to compare one product with another. So when digging around for professional reviews, home in on those that offer product comparisons.
Read Industry Guides
Another good source of information are industry guides. These might be published by security industry trade groups, distributors, installation providers, or the brands themselves. They are a wealth of information in terms of things like product specs and features.
You can find a great example of an industry guide on the SF Gate website. It is a guide to home security cameras sold by Vivint. It doesn’t discuss competing products, but at least you get a full dose of product information from Vivint.
Read Customer Reviews
Professional reviews and industry guides can tell you what you need to know from a technical and marketing aspect. But if you want to know what actual consumers think about a particular brand or product, the best place to look are customer reviews. You can find them all over the internet.
The one thing to remember with customer reviews is that they are entirely subjective. They are based solely on consumer experiences which, as you probably know, may not be indicative of what a product or brand is truly like. The point is to take consumer reviews with a grain of salt.
Talk to Friends and Family Members
Finally, your search for the best home security cameras could lead you to friends and family members who already have security systems installed in their homes. They could very well be your best source of information for the simple fact that they have firsthand knowledge.
Ask them what they think of their equipment. Ask them about their brand impressions, their thoughts on system features, whether they think they paid a fair price, and so forth. You will learn pretty quickly the brands you should stay away from as well as those you should look into.
Here is one final piece of wisdom: do not get caught up in the idea that there is an absolute best home security camera. ‘Best’ is a relative term. Your goal is to find high-quality equipment that does what you need it to do, day in and day out. If you can find it at a price point you can afford, you’re golden.