How to Choose the Right Surveillance Camera for Your Home

It’s decided, you are going to install a surveillance system to protect your home! But which model to turn to? In this guide, we help you understand the technical sheet of a surveillance camera so that you can make your choice according to your criteria.

What type of surveillance camera to choose?

Wired or wireless

Wired cameras are more reliable and efficient because the cable connection enhances the stability of flow and image. However, their installation is more complex, less flexible, and often requires work. Wireless cameras, for their part, are connected by Wi-Fi. They are more mobile, more affordable, and easier to install. However, the quality of the signal then depends on the Wi-Fi connection and may be degraded compared to a wired installation.

Analog or digital

Most surveillance cameras are digital cameras connected by Wi-Fi or by Ethernet cable. They offer a very high definition of image, unlike analog cameras, which are formerly very common and now rarer. These are connected to a monitor screen via a cable. However, their picture quality is poorer. Today, they are often equipped with HDCVI (High Definition Composite Video Interface) technology which allows high definition display.

Day and night

A conventional camera can only shoot during the day in good light conditions, which is not ideal for video surveillance. Infrared cameras are capable of filming at night, thanks to LEDs to detect heat waves. The day/night camera automatically switches from one mode to the other depending on the ambient light.

Fixed or mobile

While some cameras are stationary and can only shoot straight ahead, there are motorized cameras that you can aim at a distance to monitor different viewing angles. There are also portable cameras, small in size, battery or battery-operated, so you can move them easily and place them in any room.wireless surveillance camera

What quality of image and sound capture?

The objective and the focal length

The focal length of a camera determines the width of its viewing angle, and therefore the optimal distance at which you can position it in relation to the area to cover. For example, a 2.1mm focal length can shoot a scene 14 meters wide at 6 meters away, while a 3.6mm focal length films the same width at 10 meters away. For those afraid of making a mistake, the easiest way is to opt for a variable focal length camera.

The Luminosity

The luminosity, expressed in “lux,” indicates the luminosity threshold below which the camera will be unable to film. For effective video surveillance, it is, therefore, better to turn to night vision cameras, which can film in total darkness, i.e., up to 0 lux.

Definition and resolution

Usually expressed in pixels, the definition of a surveillance camera varies between SD (480p), HD (720p), Full HD (1080p), and 4K/Ultra HD (3840p). Depending on your use (personal or professional, day or night), this criterion will be more or less important, although the best image quality is always preferable.

Image Optimization

Pay attention to terms such as “image optimization” or “image enhancement.” These cameras benefit from software algorithms or hardware features that compensate and improve the image quality in unsuitable conditions, such as backlighting or in very dark places. They thus make it possible to display an exploitable and uniform image, even in these poorly exposed areas.

The mic

Although almost all surveillance cameras have one, they have the reflex to check the presence or not of a microphone for the audio capture. Also, pay attention to the quality of the latter.

What specific options and features?

The “baby monitor” function

If the primary use of a surveillance camera is to protect your home, you can also use some models as a “baby monitor” to monitor the baby’s naps or the activity of a pet left alone at home. For this, the camera must be able to capture the incoming sound but also to broadcast the outgoing sound: this allows you, from a distance, to talk with your baby or your animal to reassure him, or even to play music – a lullaby, for example.

Motion detection

As its name suggests, the motion detection camera reacts to movement. It can automatically record or send you an alert when it detects the presence of an intruder. Associated with an alarm, it can also trigger an audible siren. While this feature is very effective, pet owners will need to turn to a camera that can isolate certain areas, such as low to the ground, to prevent the dog or cat from triggering the motion detector.

Voice assistants

Some cameras are compatible with your voice assistants (Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, etc.) or with your home automation solutions. This can be useful for activating or deactivating your alarms by voice or for automating certain actions (closing shutters, for example) in the event of intrusion detection.

What types of alarms and alerts?

The sound level of the alarm

This is in decibels: the higher it is, the more powerful it is… and therefore effective. A high-intensity alarm has a deterrent effect for the possible intruder and alerts neighbors in the vicinity.

The application for smartphones

You can synchronize some connected cameras with an application on your smartphone or tablet to stream the video stream remotely and live, with the possibility of zooming or even controlling the camera’s movement. You can also configure the sending of a notification in case of motion detection.

The paid subscription

Some video surveillance manufacturers offer paid subscription offers. These services include, for example, calling a telephone advisor in the event of an intrusion, responsible for monitoring the situation, and alerting the authorities if necessary.

What storage capacity for the recordings?

File format

Depending on the quality you choose, the weight of the files will be more or less heavy, and the storage necessary for their conservation more or less substantial. For personal use, choose compressed and medium-quality files. Also, make sure that you can configure the camera to save videos only when needed (manual or automatic activation in case of intrusion) to save on storage space. For professional use (surveillance of warehouses, offices, etc.), it is better to opt for “raw” files and continuous storage – with the investment in a substantial memory.

Local storage

The first option for file storage: locally, via internal memory, or via the addition of an external device (usually a MicroSD card). Its storage capacity is in gigabytes or terabytes. Being limited by nature, you will have to optimize storage regularly and overwrite the oldest data to save new recordings.

Cloud storage

The second alternative is cloud storage. Often paid, it has the advantage of offering synchronization to the Internet (which allows you to retrieve video files anywhere) and more storage space.choosing a surveillance camera

What characteristics in terms of installation?


In addition to wired cameras that connect to the mains, wireless cameras can operate on batteries, etc. Or even with solar panels. These points should be kept in mind because they can be decisive in your installation, depending on the configuration of your house or your garden.


This is indicated by the IP standard, followed by two digits. The first indicates resistance to dust (between 0 and 6). The second is water resistance (between 0 and 8). For an outdoor camera, it is better to bet on an IP53 standard, at least.

What accessories with your surveillance camera?


Depending on the type of camera, you will sometimes need brackets for fixing to the walls, ceilings. Check if they are part of it or if you have to get them separately so as not to end up (literally) at the foot of the wall.

The badges

When your surveillance system has an alarm, it is important to know how to activate and deactivate it, particularly whether it has badges – and if so, how many? As a reminder, badges are small sensors that make it possible to prevent the alarm from triggering each time a member of the household enters.

Memory cards

This allows you to expand the storage of your camera. Check compatibility first as not all cameras have a MicroSD port, and not all of them require the same card format or formatting.

The packs

There are many “all-in-one” packs combining the surveillance camera with other accessories. Camera packs with alarm and opening detectors triggering the alarm when a door or a window opens, lots of several cameras working simultaneously. These packs are useful for starting an installation in your home from scratch.

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