How do you choose an IP camera?
Choose an IP camera
When choosing an IP camera, you have to take all different kinds of properties into account. Because there are many options, it’s good to ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you going to place the camera indoors or outdoors?
- How do you want to store your camera footage?
- Do you want to view the footage from any location?
- Do you want to connect the camera wirelessly?
- How big is the space you want the IP camera to secure?
- Do you also want to record in the dark?
- Are you going to connect the camera to smart devices?
Are you going to place the camera indoors or outdoors?
If you want to hang your camera outside, choose an outdoor camera that is water and dust proof. You can mount these cameras to a wall, a fence, or even a tree. This way, you can keep an eye on the surroundings of your house, store, or office. Some outdoor cameras run on batteries while other cameras require a power cable. You can plug the power cable into a socket indoors, but in some cases you need to drill a hole first.
An indoor camera allows you to secure a space indoors, like the living room or an office. Indoor cameras usually have a stand. That way, you can place them on a cabinet or table so you won’t have to drill in any walls to mount the IP camera. An indoor camera isn’t suitable for looking outward from inside the house. Due to the reflection of the window, the camera won’t record images clearly.
How do you want to store your camera footage?
It’s useful to store the camera footage of an event after it occurred. For example, in the case of theft or damage to your property. You can store footage in different ways:
- Cloud: you can view footage via the app anywhere in the world. You don’t have to worry about storage space, but you do have to pay a monthly fee.
- NAS or PC: if your PC is always on, you can store footage on it. Another possibility is a NAS or DVR. This is a storage device that you can connect to the network.
- SD card: you won't need any extra devices since you only have to buy a memory card, but the storage capacity may be limited.
Do you want to view the footage from any location?
Also want to view live footage during working hours or when you’re on holiday? Choose an IP camera with an app for your smartphone or tablet. With these apps, you can see what’s currently happening at home from anywhere in the world. In some cases, you can also re-watch footage. You’ll get notifications via the app when motion is detected, so you can watch it live right away. As a result, you’ll always be aware.
Do you want to connect the camera wirelessly?
A WiFi camera connects wirelessly to your home network. You only need to set the password via the app. This means you don’t have to run any cables, but you do need a strong WiFi signal. A WiFi extender can help you with this.
- You can place your camera anywhere without having to run any cables.
- You’ll need a strong WiFi signal where you set up the camera.
Wired IP cameras have a network cable so you can connect them to your router. This ensures a stable connection. The disadvantage is that you need to run a network cable. A PoE camera is powered via the network cable, so you don't need to place it near a socket.
- Internet via a network cable is always stable.
- You'll have to run a network cable to your camera.
How big is the space you want the IP camera to secure?
The surroundings of the space that you want to secure are also important. Pay special attention to the viewing angle: the size of the field of view of an IP camera. The image quality is determined by the resolution. The higher the resolution, the more details you can see. PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) cameras can rotate towards the position you want to watch from. The disadvantage of these cameras is that you can only view a part of the room.
Which camera should you choose for which space?
- Door, entrance gate, or parking lot: Viewing angle up to 65 degrees, resolution of at least 1280x720.
- Small room, small garden, or a counter: Viewing angle of more than 65 degrees, resolution of at least 1280x720.
- Large room, medium-sized garden, or an office: Viewing angle of more than 90 degrees, resolution of at least 1280x720.
- Large garden, parking garage, or a large office: Viewing angle of more than 100 degrees, resolution of at least 1920x1080.
Do you also want to record in the dark?
Chances are that you'll want to watch your house or office with an IP camera during moments you're not around yourself. If that's during the day, there's enough natural light for any IP camera. If you want to record or view images even in the dark, choose a camera with night vision. These cameras are equipped with infrared lighting, so you'll be able to see any intruders even in the pitch dark.
Are you going to connect the camera to smart devices?
You can automate and set up more and more cameras to work with applications and smart devices. You can connect your camera to a weather app, for example, to have it switch on automatically after the sun sets. If you connect it to your thermostat, the temperature will go down when you leave the house. More and more cameras are suitable for these functions, such as Next or Ring cameras. Cameras compatible with the free service IFTTT are also suitable for these functions.