Important Features When Buying Security Cameras

Security cameras add surveillance, security, and protection to any residential or commercial establishment. Video-based footage is a solid piece of evidence during criminal investigations. It can become the fail-safe proof of incident reports. 

Installed security cameras with top-notch features act as crime deterrents and evidence collectors in an area. When buying security cameras, look for features that guarantee your safety. 

What Key Features Should I Consider When Looking for Security Cameras?

Security cameras have evolved their technology from how they were built before. Wireless technology leaves these cameras with efficient storage, versatile use, and convenience. When installing security cameras in your home or business, the following are some of the top features of security cameras.


● High-resolution (HD) video capture

● Remote monitoring

● Two-way audio

● Night vision and low-light recording

● Cloud storage

● Motion sensors

● Wireless system

● Alarm-triggered activation

● Wide dynamic range


High Resolution (HD) Video Capture

The security cameras of yesteryear once considered 720p a high resolution, but nowadays, 720p is just the baseline resolution for most advanced security cameras. Instead, choose a high-definition (HD) resolution of 1080p or a 2-megapixel camera. 

An HD resolution video recording allows you to see clearer images and videos. It helps you zoom in on details like license plate numbers or people's faces.  

For those who still want an upgrade, you can check out 4K resolution or 8-megapixel, otherwise known as ultra-HD. Higher resolution means clearer, finer, and better quality images and videos. 

Remote Monitoring

Modern security cameras easily connect to the Internet. With this feature, you can easily monitor live video surveillance from your phone, tablet, or computer. It is viewed with a companion app and gives you several levels of control. Even if you are away on vacation, you can still check on your home, kids, or office. Remote access also enables you to activate or deactivate the security cameras from your mobile device.

Alongside remote monitoring, this feature also offers you control over how and where you access your security system. This feature is usually combined with other smart home devices, allowing you to turn on your air conditioner or dim the lights from the same app.   


When buying outdoor cameras, consider their temperature range and IP rating. If you live in a place with temperatures between 0 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you must consider that your camera can handle those temperature fluctuations.  

A camera’s IP rating refers to the degree of protection it has against solids and liquids and is represented by a two-digit number. The first digit refers to solids; the second refers to liquids. The higher the number, the stronger the protection against the elements. For example, a security camera with an IP rating of 68 is completely dust-tight and can withstand full immersion underwater.


IP Rating: 0: First Digit- Intrustion Protection: None; Second Digit- Intrustion Protection: None

IP Rating: 1: First Digit- Intrustion Protection: Solid objects over 50mm, like hands; Second Digit- Intrustion Protection: Water trickling down from above

IP Rating: 2: First Digit- Intrustion Protection: Solid objects over 12mm, like fingers; Second Digit- Intrustion Protection: Water trickling down from a 15-degree angle

IP Rating: 3: First Digit- Intrustion Protection: Solid objects over2.5mm, like tools or wires; Second Digit- Intrustion Protection: Water sprays

IP Rating: 4: First Digit- Intrustion Protection: Solid objects over 1mm, like wires and nails; Second Digit- Intrustion Protection: Water splashes

IP Rating: 5: First Digit- Intrustion Protection: Protection from dust; Second Digit- Intrustion Protection: Low-pressure water jets 6.3mm and below

IP Rating: 6: First Digit- Intrustion Protection: Dust-tight; Second Digit- Intrustion Protection: Powerful water jets 12.5mm and below

IP Rating: 7: First Digit- Intrustion Protection: N/A; Second Digit- Intrustion Protection: Immersion up to 1m

IP Rating: 8: First Digit- Intrustion Protection: N/A; Second Digit- Intrustion Protection: Immersion over 1m 

Security cameras may claim that their products are waterproof, weatherproof, or weather-resistant, but the proof of the pudding is in the IP rating and operating temperature. Take the claim seriously and check the label to match your outdoor camera requirement.  

Checking the operating temperature is crucial, especially if placing the camera in an area where temperatures drop below zero. 

Two-way Audio

Security cameras also have a speaker and microphone for a two-way audio feature. Think of it as a convenient intercom system that also saves you the cost of having to install one. You can easily see and talk to a visitor or a courier handler without going all the way to your door. You can also talk to your pet or soothe your crying kid even if you are away at work.  

However, note that not all locations can have an audio recording. Installing security cameras with audio inside your home is acceptable as it is a security function, but putting them in places where privacy is expected is not allowed, such as bedrooms, toilets, and dressing rooms.

When installing security cameras in public places, consider what state laws require. In several states, the law requires all-party consent before security cameras can record sound legally.  

Night Vision and Low-light Recording

Nighttime is the most vulnerable time on your premises. You want to ensure your security cameras are up to the task and challenge of recording everything, especially when fast asleep. Look for security cameras with night vision or low-light recording features. They enable you to record clear images in the dark.  

Cameras with night vision utilize image intensifiers to increase whatever background light is in the image. However, some night vision cameras still cannot deliver clear images in the dark. For this, your next best option is advanced camera systems using infrared or heat-vision cameras, which capture images in complete and total darkness. Infrared cameras are designed to work all hours, day and night, and can automatically switch modes.

Infrared cameras are more advanced and suited for commercial establishments like convenience stores or banks. For homes, night vision cameras offer great video captures in low-light settings.  

Cloud Storage

Traditional security camera systems use local storage as an SD-card or external hard drive, like a DVR. The footage is directly stored in local storage. The problem with local storage is it can easily be swiped, and there is no backup of data available.  

As a solution, modern security camera systems are now wireless and connect to the Internet. Surveillance and footage are automatically uploaded to a cloud storage service, which means you can easily increase the size of your storage space. Aside from that, this feature allows you to view your camera feed wherever you are as long as you have an internet connection. Storage of your surveillance is more secure as it is not visible to intruders. 

The downside to cloud storage is that you incur monthly or annually recurring fees, depending on your subscription package. Normally, the upfront cost of one SD card is equivalent to around one to three months' worth of cloud storage subscription.  

Some people, as a matter of preference, choose cameras with both local and cloud storage. If one storage fails, they still have another as a backup.  

Motion Sensors

Those looking to save on storage space, local or cloud-based, can benefit from motion-activated features. Motion-activated cameras help you conserve space through the use of motion sensors. The footage is only recorded once there is movement on view. When the feed is static, it will not keep on recording. 

Aside from saving storage space, this smart feature conserves internet data as it requires fewer cloud backups.  

Additionally, more advanced motion sensors come equipped with motion tracking. These cameras can turn and follow a person walking. You can also program the motion sensors to trigger alarms, notifying you if there is an intruder. 

Some motion sensor cameras can trigger security system false alarms. These cameras use technology that compares image pixels between frames. The passive infrared (PIR or PID) detector is a smart upgrade. PIR cameras use heat energy detection, thereby reducing false positive alarms. 

Wireless Systems

Camera installation used to be tedious as you needed to estimate and spend on wiring and power cords. You also have to consider the setup for outdoor cameras, whether you will use a weatherproof cord or install an indoor outlet. Once installed, you can no longer move the cameras in place. If you want to add more cameras, you must re-wire and add to your existing camera setup. There is also the risk of wiring malfunction–rats can chew on the wires, or someone with malicious intent can cut the wires.  

Modern camera systems offer wireless solutions, giving you flexible placement options and easy installation. These wireless systems come integrated with a remote feed and control system. You can monitor from your device anytime and connect it to an alarm system, using advanced encryption to protect your signal. 

The downside of using wireless cameras is the lifespan of the batteries used. Usually, it takes one year before you need to replace the batteries. There are rechargeable batteries available, but these also need to be replaced often. Also, a pro tip on outdoor cameras with rechargeable batteries is they are sensitive to temperatures exceeding 55°C and-10C°. As mentioned earlier, IP rating and operating temperature are important when looking for outdoor cameras. 

There are also outdoor wireless cameras that come with solar panels. They require no battery charge. Of course, upfront costs are higher, estimated at around 50% more than the usual wireless cameras. 

Alarm-triggered Activation

You can integrate your security camera into a smart home alarm system and automate features such as triggered activation. Once an alarm sensor is triggered, cameras will be activated.  

For example, you might set the alarm for monitoring your back door. Anytime there is a movement at your back door, the alarm sensor will be triggered, and cameras at the back door will start recording.  

Wide Dynamic Range

Wide dynamic range (WDR) refers to the security camera feature of balancing bright and dark color tones to capture clearer images. Without WDR, images tend to look too washed out or too dark. A wide dynamic range balances the light in videos, improving the quality of freeze-frame captures. 

There are two types of dynamic range in the camera industry–high dynamic range (HDR) and wide dynamic range (WDR). The difference between these two is the processing technology that they use. 

WDR is a hardware processing technology, while HDR is a software processing technology. WDR works on dynamic images or videos; HDR is primarily used on static images. With high-speed digital signal processing (DSP) support, WDR handles dynamic images and videos very well compared to HDR cameras, which only work well with still images and videos. They do not process subjects that move very fast.  

WDR technology utilizes two processors–one is a light image processor, and the other is an image processor which captures dark areas. With these two processors, WDR cameras deliver clear and sharp images. This feature corrects intense backlight surrounding subjects or illuminates images captured in dark areas, ensuring your need for security. Best of all, WDR cameras are cheaper in terms of installation and purchase cost than HDR cameras. 


When buying security cameras, look for the best features that provide ease and security at night. Keep an eye out for modern features which are convenient and efficient. You want to ensure the cameras you buy will stand for the occasion. They should not only be able to record pieces of evidence but can act as crime deterrents by themselves. 

Take note of these features when buying security cameras as they ensure clear images, flexibility, efficiency, and smart adaptability. Modern security cameras have improved features compared to their earlier counterparts. These features include high resolution (HD) capture, remote monitoring, tougher durability, two-way audio, night vision and low-light recording, cloud storage, motion sensors, wireless system, alarm-triggered activation, and wide dynamic range.  

Consider these features' pros and cons and evaluate your top priorities. That way, you can get a great deal and a good night's sleep once your security camera system is installed and up and running.