6 Things You Should Check Out Before Buying Cheap Security Cameras

6 Things You Should Check Out Before Buying Cheap Security Cameras

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.

3. Features

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.

More by this author

Junie Rutkevich

Game Developer of iXL Digital

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals



    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.



      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.


      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.



          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.


            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.


            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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