There is still much to do. Here are the details you need to make the most of your security cameras.
First things first: Selecting the Right Cameras
It is a common error to buy security cameras without deciding where they should be placed. Security cameras can be installed in different ways so make sure you choose a brand that has different styles and methods. These brands are our top recommendations.
Where to Install Security Cameras
First, you need to decide where your security cameras should be installed. Below is a list of Placing Security Cameras and Using home security cameras.
- Ground floor doors and windows: Home intruders have the same access to homes as homeowners: through the doors or windows at the ground floor. You should have cameras installed on all ground-level windows and doors, inside and out.
Vivint Outdoor Cam Pro Camera Positionment and Video Quality
- Main stairs, hallway: Every central area burglars could use to gain access to your home should be monitored. This is usually a hallway or stairway on the first floor.
- Common areas – You might also want to protect areas you use often, such as your living room or kitchen.
- Driveway – This is another place where thieves can sneak in to your home.
FYI: Considering installing an indoor camera to monitor the outside? PIR-sensitive motion detection indoor cameras don’t work through glass so you won’t get any motion notifications or people. Instead, you can use outdoor cameras to monitor the outdoors.
- Yard – Secure your front and backyard with outdoor cameras. These can be great hiding spots for thieves, especially if you have a lot of landscaping.
- Second floor: Do jewelry and other valuables get stored upstairs? We don’t recommend placing cameras inside bedrooms or bathrooms, but it is a good idea to have an indoor camera in the main hallway of your second floor. It can be used to record more evidence in case you are involved in criminal investigations.
- Basement – Although it is less important to monitor the basement than the ground, it might be worth adding a security camera if you have valuables.
- Garages and detached buildings: Make sure you have a camera in your garage, especially if you have expensive motorized equipment. You can either buy a range extender, or use a camera without Wi-Fi such as the Reolink Go (more information in our ReolinkGO review).
What to Avoid When Putting Security Cameras
While security cameras can be useful for monitoring your home, you should not monitor other areas. This is both for privacy and legal reasons.
- Viewing a neighbor’s property: It may or not be legal to inspect another person’s property, depending on the laws in your state. Your home should be the focus of your security cameras, not your neighbor’s.
- Bedrooms – Although valuables may be kept in your bedroom, it is best to keep your privacy and leave security cameras outside.
- Bathrooms – The same applies to bathrooms. It’s unlikely that a burglar would gain access to your bathroom, so it’s a low security risk leaving them unmonitored.
After you have decided on the rooms you want to secure, here are some other things to consider when installing your cameras.
- Hidden vs. visible : There is some debate in the home security industry about whether cameras should be kept hidden or visible. A survey of 86 burglary inmates revealed that burglars had different opinions about whether a security camera would deter them from robbing their homes. Some said they wouldn’t rob a house with visible security cameras. Others thought it was a sign of wealth. 1 You’ll need to decide how prominent your cameras should be.
- Durability – Outdoor cameras need to be aware of the weather conditions they will encounter, particularly if they are not covered. Your uncovered outdoor cameras should have adequate temperature ranges and IP ratings to protect them from liquids. Check out our list of the most durable outdoor cameras in 2023.
- Glare and reflection: Be aware of the potential for glare and reflection in brightly lit rooms or areas with mirrors. These can greatly affect the quality and image quality of your camera’s footage. We recommend that outdoor cameras have HDR (High Dynamic Range) to reduce the sun’s glare. To learn more about outdoor cameras with HDR, read our Arlo Pro 3 review and our Nest Cam IQ Outdoor. Indoor cameras should be aimed at areas with indirect sunlight, rather than direct sunlight. More information on this later.
- Total number of cameras: If your family uses Wi-Fi, you need to consider how many cameras will impact your Internet speed. A second router may be worth the investment for security cameras. Trust us, your teenagers will appreciate it.
- Closeness to valuable objects – Burglars will look for the most valuable items in your home, so it is important to consider where your security cameras should be placed. What is considered the most valuable object? It’s not your 1980s wedding dress, no matter how precious it is to you. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 34% of burglars stole household appliances and portable electronics like TVs. Another 31% took personal items such as keys, jewelry, furs and briefcases. Guns and collectibles were also popular targets.