While it’s certainly true that wireless security cameras have become a practically ubiquitous part of our daily lives, it’s also essential for you to understand that not all cameras are created equally. Technology is nothing if not malleable; the term “security camera” can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Because of this, it is imperative for you to never assume that any particular model will do everything you need it to. Doing so only puts you in a position where you might buy something that doesn’t actually meet your expectations, let alone your requirements.
Wireless Security Camera

But thankfully, all hope is not lost. It is possible to find the right wireless security camera that lines up with your short- and long-term goals. There are just a few key questions you’ll want to answer before you make that purchase.

Buying a wireless security camera: What you need to know

Maybe the most important question to ask before you buy a wireless security camera is, “How, exactly, does it get power?” As is true with all of the items on this list, what you’re planning on using the camera for will ultimately dictate what the answer to this question should be.

If you’re buying a camera for inside your home that will be permanently fixed in one location, you should probably go with something that can be hard-wired into your electrical system. This will make sure that you don’t have to worry about changing any batteries. But if you’re worried about power outages or plan on moving the camera around, you should invest in a unit that can run for days or even weeks without a recharge.

Another key question to ask boils down to, “What type of video resolution are we talking about?” Generally speaking, higher resolutions are always better, and you should never settle for anything less than 1080p high-definition. These cameras tend to do better in poor lighting conditions, which makes your unit particularly valuable at night. But if someone breaks into your home and you capture it on camera, you need to be able to see who that person is. With a low-resolution camera, you may be able to determine that someone is there, but the video may lack the quality necessary to actually confirm that person’s identity.

Along the same lines, you’ll also want to inquire about the field of view of the camera — something that will also be dictated by how you plan on using it. Field of view is a term that refers to how much the camera can see to the left and right of whatever object it’s pointed at. Typically, cameras with a 120- to 130-degree field of view are very common at the high end of the market, and for most cases, this will suit you just fine. If you’re planning on putting a camera outside of your home and want to be able to see as much of the surrounding area as possible, consider something with a field of view as close to 180 degrees as you can get it.

Finally, you’ll want to ask if the camera you’re about to buy has any useful perks that may help extend its overall lifespan, its convenience or — hopefully — both at the same time. Sometimes when you buy a wireless security camera, you’re getting precisely that — a camera. Other models, however, come with features such as magnetic bases that make mounting and even moving the camera easy without using any kinds of tools.

Depending on your intentions, you may also want to invest in a camera with motion alerts. You don’t have to always worry about turning the camera on and off, as it will do that automatically if motion is detected. Likewise, live streaming and free cloud storage may be things that you’re interested in. Even if you’re not at home when recording begins, you can always pull up a live feed of the camera and review any recorded videos directly from your smartphone or tablet. Not all wireless security cameras offer this, which is why it’s such an important thing to think about.