4 Things to Know Before Buying a Video Camera Doorbell System

Doorbell camera systems are becoming the latest craze in home security.  They can capture some interesting events taking place right out your front door.

For example, here is a recent video of a mailman from Port Neches, Texas dancing a little jig outside a woman’s home before delivering her mail.  Or check out this video on KHOU in Houston that catches a different kind of visitor, a rat snake that has slithered across someone’s front door!

These doorbell video camera systems do much more than capture dancing mailmen and late-night serpents, they are also helping to curb package thieves and other criminals lurking around your home.

In Dallas, a popular video doorbell system captured video of a couple package thieves.   It also sent out an automated alert across social media in order to help authorities find these two crooks. This is just one of many instances nationwide where a security camera is doing its part to keep homes safe.

If you are one of the millions interested in installing one of these systems in your home, we have four things we think you should consider before making a purchase.

1. Battery powered vs hard-wired.

Doorbell camera systems come in two types, battery powered or hard-wired.  There are a few that are hybrids of both.  The fully battery powered ones are simple to install by simply attaching them to the frame or wall just outside your front door.

Hard-wired ones on the other hand will require the doorbell to be installed into your home’s electrical.  Unless you really know what you are doing, we highly suggest you seek the help of a professional electrician to ensure the job is done correctly & safely.

2. What features does the doorbell camera have?

There are a lot of features that are currently available in doorbell cameras.  Designers and developers are working on more features every day, so it pays to pay attention to this evolving technology.

Some of the most common features include:

  • The ability to securely connect to the Internet and mobile apps so the homeowner can receive alerts and view the camera in real-time
  • Night vision. Some are more powerful than others, allowing you to see farther into the darkness.
  • Motion detection. Similar to night vision, the motion detection capabilities range between doorbell cameras.  Many allow you to adjust the sensitivity to fit your home’s security needs.
  • Audio features. One of the greatest benefits of doorbell video cameras is the ability to talk to whoever is at your front door using a microphone and speaker.  This two-way communication comes in handy when someone is at your front door, whether you are at home or not.
  • High resolution. Make sure the doorbell camera you choose is at least 720p. 1080p is preferred so you can capture good details in both daylight and night vision.
  • Wide field of vision. A doorbell camera with 180° field of vision can monitor to the left and right as well as what is right in front of it.  A camera with a narrow field of vision might allow a criminal to sneak in from the side undetected.
  • Recording & storage. Some video doorbell camera systems offer a continuous video recording (CVR) option and others only record when motion is detected.  How that video is stored can differ widely too.  Some cameras use internal memory cards to store the footage and others might store that video in a cloud storage.

3. Can the camera be stolen or damaged by weather?

If someone wants something bad enough they can probably steal it.  This goes for doorbell security cameras too believe it or not.  Check out this video of a thief with the solo intention of stealing a doorbell camera.  A quality installation will at least make it harder for thieves to steal one.

Weather can also play a big factor in your doorbell camera selection.  It is a good idea to check the system’s warranty and see if it covers damage caused by excessive heat or cold. Also make sure the device can operate in these temperatures.

4. Integrating with home security systems.

You may already have a home security system installed.  Some doorbell cameras do integrate with popular home security systems.  Make sure you check with your home security system provider to get a list of compatible doorbell video cameras.

A doorbell camera system is a simple and affordable way to increase your home security.  Just be sure to shop around and consider these four things when looking for a doorbell camera that is right for your home.


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