Businesses spend tens—sometimes hundreds—of thousands of dollars on quality surveillance equipment, because they understand that the investment more than pays for itself over time.
Most of us obviously can’t afford to install that kind of equipment, and we don’t have to. Even cheap security cameras can vastly improve your home security, but it’s all about careful shopping and meticulous placement.
Before you grab any old camera on eBay, bear in mind these important considerations.
1. Cheap vs Cheap
Let’s clarify something right out of the gate. There is cheap, and there is cheap. The former represents price, while the latter represents quality. The real trick, then, is finding value in cheap security cameras without getting stuck with cheap security cameras.
So how do you do it? Be cautious, and don’t make your purchase until you’ve considered plenty of reviews and recommendations from trustworthy sources. You’ll have to do a bit of homework, but it will be more than worth it in the end.
2. Already Have a Security System?
Your decision will also be influenced by whether or not you’re expanding an existing system. For instance, if you have a PowerMax security system installed in your home, you might expand it with a reasonably priced CAM3100 wireless network camera. Find out if any cameras are compatible with your existing system, and compare prices.
You can derive tremendous value from integrating cameras into your home security system because most of these cameras will respond to security breaches and immediately begin filming a crime in progress. Many will even send the footage to your smartphone.
Remember what I was saying earlier about cheap vs. cheap? Well it’s important to bear that distinction in mind when browsing the features for your new camera. Any worthwhile security camera will have night vision and tamper-resistant construction, so read the specifications carefully.
Depending upon your needs, you’ll also want to pay attention to the amount of memory (does it contain a built-in DVR?), the resolution and the mobile capabilities (but more on that in the next section).
4. Go Mobile
Okay, so perhaps we’ve crossed out of the realm of cheap security cameras by discussing hyper-specific capabilities like mobile integration and built-in DVRs. After all, your camera deserves the best, so don’t settle for anything less than Infrared LED, 700 TV lines, close-up recognition, anti-glare technology, and the ability to fire lasers at intruders.
Okay, so maybe that’s all a bit much for a camera on a budget, but believe it or not, you can find a mobile-ready camera at a great price. For instance, you can choose from a wealth of sophisticated IP cameras, like the CAM3200, which offer professional-level surveillance at a consumer-level price.
The advantage of mobile integration is that you can monitor your home from anywhere in the world. All you need is an app or Web browser.
5. Consider a Bundle
If you have a bit more to spend, but are still looking for value, consider bundling. By and large, you can save a fortune by investing in larger camera kits.
By combining a series of dome cameras and bullet cameras with a multichannel DVR or NVR, you can acquire everything you need for a fraction of what it would cost you to buy the kit component-by-component. For anyone looking to build a high-end surveillance system, bundling is definitely the way to go.
6. Go with Trusted Brands
Finally, when shopping for cheap security cameras, take a quick look at the brand. Certain brands just deliver time and time again. Look for names like Avemia, Camstar, DSC, Lorex and Visonic.
If you have never heard of the brand, or if the camera seems like a knockoff, do a bit more research before making your purchase. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to secure your home; you just have to be savvy about it.