Best security camera for businesses and home use in 2021

December 28, 2020

 


Security, in both the physical and digital sense, is imperative for companies to deter trespassers and would-be thieves, as well as to protect valuable equipment crucial for businesses to operate successfully. A robust security setup can take the pressure off existing security staff and give business owners peace of mind out-of-hours. 

Luckily for organizations, the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, improved mobile connectivity, apps, and cloud technologies has radically changed the security landscape and made it easier than ever to set up multi-room or premise systems with easy installation and constant monitoring. 

The possibilities are endless: cloud or local feed storage, customizable or automatic alerts and alarms, smartphones and tablet connectivity, wired or wireless, battery-powered or mains options, video capture, audio feeds of varying quality, and the ability to watch in real-time are all on offer and can be tailored depending on the requirements of your business. 

To make navigating the variety of hardware and vendor ecosystems available to today's company owners less of a challenge, we have assembled our top ten picks for businesses, large or small, including outdoor, indoor, and hybrid security offerings. 

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It was once the case that to protect a business premise, heavy-duty, wired surveillance systems were the only options available. Times have changed and with the explosion in mobile solutions and the increased bandwidth offered by broadband and 4G, there are mobile-friendly options for SMBs seeking a budget-conscious security option.  Ring began as a smart doorbell containing a camera for live feeds and a microphone, enabling users to speak to visitors remotely. Amazon saw the potential and acquired the company in 2018, resulting in a new range of accompanying products including cameras.  The benefit of the Ring camera range, including indoor, outdoor, stick-up, and floodlights, lies within its flexibility. Each camera can be connected to the same account and accessed via smartphone, alerting users to motion from all areas.  Of particular note is the new Stick Up Cams, which can be placed inside or outdoors, and on flat surfaces or walls. Battery, wired, or solar-powered options are available. The Spotlight and Floodlight models, too, are of interest given their inbuilt security sirens.  

Users can set up their Ring devices to feed alerts directly to their mobile phones. Alternatively, Ring offers protection plans for professional monitoring with emergency services on speed dial.  As there are a variety of different cameras users can pick from, a mix-and-match set up to protect a premise is possible. Indoor cameras begin at $59.99. Stick-up cameras -- available as battery, wired, or solar-powered options -- can be purchased for $99.99 and up. A single spotlight camera will set you back $199, and floodlight cameras begin at $249.

$130 at Monoprice Discreetly keep an eye out for intruders outside of hours12.jpg

Google Nest cameras will of interest to business owners already in the Nest ecosystem -- including users of the Nest Thermostat, Nest Protect fire and CO2 alarms, as well as Nest X Yale Locks. 

The Nest Cam Indoor and Outdoor cameras are mobile options for on-premise security. They are best suited for budget-friendly users that need basic security measures in place. The cameras can record footage in 1080p HD, and when it comes to the outdoor version, this quality is maintained at night due to the use of all-glass lenses -- giving users a clear picture if anyone is sneaking around in the darkness.  Both versions have inbuilt speakers and will alert users via their mobile devices if suspicious activity or visitors are detected by motion and noise sensors. Once the app has been installed and an account has been set up, monitoring begins.  A 30-day service, Nest Aware, will record everything 24/7 for free, but after this period expires, users must sign up if they want full video histories and not just real-time alerts. It is also possible to create surveillance zones for important areas -- such as where tills or safes are located -- for immediate notifications.  The Nest Indoor cameras are priced at $129.99, whereas you can expect to pay $199 for a basic Outdoor camera.

$129 at Best Buy Wireless monitoring for the workplacecamref2.jpg

Another option is the Arlo Pro 3. This slimline, business-ready option can be used either in or outdoors, being a weather-resistant model with a variety of mounting options that can detect both sound and motion. The Arlo Pro 2 suits a variety of purposes; as a day-to-day camera on the shop floor; a discreet camera placed outside to act as a night watchman; or as a part of a full network of cameras in a large workplace. Alerts are sent to linked mobile devices and Amazon Alexa, Arlo, Google Assistant, and Samsung SmartThings are supported. 

An interesting feature of this camera is the improved night vision capabilities in comparison to the Arlo Pro 2, in which night recordings are captured in color.  Users will receive real-time alerts whenever motion or sound is detected and footage is captured in up to 2K HDR resolution with a 160-degree field of view. Alternatively, cloud storage plans are available for users if they wish to secure continual monitoring and recordings. An inbuilt siren can be triggered remotely.

You can purchase the Arlo Pro 3 as a two-pack camera kit for $299.99, or a four-pack for $499.99.

$299 at Best Buy Compatible with a variety of smart hubs14.jpg

The Logitech Circle 2 is a motion-based camera which can be used at home or in the workplace.  Offering a 180-degree field of view, 1080p recording, and automatic day-to-night recording changes, the weatherproof system can be used in or outdoors and is best suited for those who want peace of mind without an overcomplicated CCTV setup.  The cameras connect to an Android, iOS, or Internet-based application. After sign up, users can check in on their devices at any point and will receive alerts for any suspicious activity detected through motion sensors. The free period for storing recordings is 24 hours, or subscriptions can be purchased to keep footage for up to 31 days. Logitech's wired camera is also compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Amazon Echo Show, and Logitech POP. However, the wireless version is not compatible with Apple HomeKit. With low usage and an estimated two daytime events per day, you can expect the wireless option to last up to 90 days. Medium usage, based on seven-day events and three-night events every 24 hours, will reduce battery life to 60 days, whereas usage deemed high -- up to 27 daytime events and 13-night events -- may reduce battery life to 30 days before a recharge is needed. 

The Circle 2's starting price begins at $179.99 for the wired option, rising to $199.99 for a wire-free alternative. A combination pack containing two wireless cameras with a spare rechargeable battery can be picked up for $399.99. Accessories including mounts and extra, rechargeable batteries can also be purchased.

$179 at Logitech Protection for multiple outdoor zones15.jpg

The Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera should be considered if outside security is the priority for your business.  This option is a weatherproof camera substantial enough to be seen -- and may potentially deter unwanted visitors by its presence alone -- and does not rely purely on night vision. Instead, the camera is equipped with a floodlight that can be remotely enabled, disabled, or set to power up when motion is detected at up to 20 feet.  Users can also set up specific zones for immediate motion alerts. The camera is compatible with iOS and Android, as well as Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. In addition, there is no subscription fee as users can choose to store recorded HD footage locally, backup videos via an FTP server, or link their account to a Dropbox account.  A single outdoor camera with a floodlight is priced at $299.99, while versions equipped with a siren are priced at $349.99. 

$299 at Amazon Expansive wireless surveillance across your premisescamref1.jpg

The Spyclops SPY-NVR4720WB wireless camera system is a more traditional option for business users.   The Spyclops SPY-NVR4720WB is a Wi-Fi-enabled, four-channel network video recorder (NVR) able to facilitate up to four cameras and is best suited for companies that require around-the-clock security.  The NVR comes with 1TB internal storage and input from the included indoor/outdoor cameras is sent wirelessly to the NVR, eradicating the need for additional cables. Each bullet camera, using a 3.6mm fixed lens, can record in 1280 x 720p resolution. While a video monitor is not included, a mobile app on the Android and iOS platforms are available for remote viewing, and a mouse has been thrown into the package for controlling the surveillance system via its Linux-based GUI. The Spyclops camera system is priced at $499.99. At the time of writing, however, the kit is on sale for $349.

$329 at Crutchfield 360-degree, panoramic coverage of your business premises17.jpg

The D-Link Vigilance DCS-4605EV will suit business users who want panoramic security coverage of the shop floor.  This camera is best suited for businesses concerned about vandalism as the camera has been specifically housed in a rugged casing to prevent tampering or damage. Another advantage of this camera is how weatherproof it is; being able to operate in a range of conditions and temperatures from 30 degrees C to 50 degrees C. The D-Link Vigilance includes a fixed 5-megapixel lens with a focal length of 2.8 mm and is able to record Full HD 2560 x 1920 pixel footage at a 20-foot range. Each camera can be connected to D-ViewCam, free surveillance software to manage a network of up to 32 cameras simultaneously. The camera also supports Power over Ethernet (PoE), to make deployment possible with a single cable.  The D-Link Vigilance is currently on offer for $259.99.

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The Panasonic WV-S3131L is an alternative dome camera option for enterprise players.  Equipped with a 2.8mm fixed lens able to record 1920 x 1080 pixel footage at 60fps, Panasonic's offering comes with a 108-degree field of view, a built-in microphone, and color night vision. The camera utilizes AI-based algorithms to improve recording quality when moving people or objects are in the device's field of view. After detecting motion, alarms can be set to respond in different ways; simply to record, send an email notification, or to transfer images in real-time via FTP. Privacy "masks" for up to eight zones can also be enabled to stop the camera from recording particular areas of corporate sensitivity.   Recorded content is encrypted and each camera comes with an onboard memory card slot for up to 64GB storage. PoE is supported, as are ONVIF profiles S and G.  The Panasonic WV-S3131L can be purchased for $396. 

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The Hikvision ColorVu turret camera is a weatherproof model suitable to keep track of outside movement on business premises.  Equipped with a 4mm fixed lens and a spotlight, the camera can record 2688 x 1520 pixel footage at 30fps. In addition, the ColorVu is encased in a rugged shell to protect against vandalism, can be rotated 360-degrees, and a range of image settings can be changed including contract, brightness, and white balance. Users can set their device to trigger an alarm when motion or tampering is detected, as well as when unauthorized logins are noticed.  The ColorVu also comes with a built-in microphone for audio recording and a memory card slot for up to 128GB local storage. PoE is enabled and ONVIF profiles S and G are supported with up to six channels of simultaneous viewing. Users can also download an Android or iOS app to manage their systems.  Hikvision's ColorVu is currently available for $302. 

$302 at B&H Versatile surveillance network with local storage facilities20.jpg

ZOSI's 1080p CCTV system should be considered by companies that want a more traditional surveillance setup but have a budget to consider.  To install, the cameras must be wired and connected to a television or monitor. Video feeds, which can be set to begin when motion is detected whether day or night, record at 1080p and footage can be both stored in an internal hard drive or transferred to a USB storage device. HDMI and VGA outputs are available.  These weatherproof cameras can also be accessed in real-time through an accompanying Android or iOS mobile application.  The ZOSI 1080p four-camera system comes in at $159.83, complete with a 1TB hard drive. An upgrade to a 4K wired system with eight cameras will set you back $299.99 with the same level of storage.

$159 at Amazon A must for do-it-yourself fanscamera1.jpg

Scout should be considered if you are a DIY fan and want to apply your hobby to home security.

The company's DIY system allows customers to pick the components they want -- such as a hub, door panels, access and motion sensors, indoor cameras, and water detection devices. In addition, you can pick the color and finish suitable for your home (black or white) and the level of remote support you want. 

Scout's product line is focused on mobility. Users pick their components, connect them to their mobile device, and then set you're good to go. Features include remote real-time access to activity feeds; false alarm checks; arming and disarming, and choosing how the DIY system reacts in different situations -- such as how you want to be notified of motion at your front door. 

Packages range from a $229 starter kit containing a hub, door panel, one motion sensor, two access sensors, and two key fobs, to a large $549 package offered with a hub, door panel, one motion sensor, four access sensors, two key fobs, a smart lock, and glass break sensor. 

Customers can also pick-and-mix different components if they prefer.

A 4G backup system is in place if home Wi-Fi cuts out and subscription-based professional monitoring is also available. 

$229 at Scout Best for small homes and apartmentscamra2.jpg

SimpliSafe is another worthy addition to our list and would suit users who need a flexible solution for smaller homes and apartments. 

SimpliSafe is a Wi-Fi-connected security solution backed by real-time monitoring in six centers. While wired, in the case of a blackout, devices in the SimpliSafe range have backup batteries. 

The basic 'Foundation' package, starting at $137, includes a base station, keypad, entry sensor, and motion sensor so you can monitor your doorway and one other area, such as a window. Moving up the product range, users can also purchase the $155 Essentials kit, containing a base station, keypad, motion sensor, and three entry sensors. 

Other packages and bolt-on options include panic buttons, freeze and water sensors, smoke detectors, and sirens. 

The vendor has a variety of different subscription models available.

At the time of writing, SimpliSafe is offering an additional $99 camera for free with package purchases.

$137 at SimpliSafe

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