Network video recorder (NVR) equipment is slowly but surely becoming a staple in properties all over the USA. Whether you want to set up your security system outside to record any potential threats, or inside to see what your pet is up to — you’ll need an NVR.
But, finding one that won’t betray you by deleting your footage or crashing all the time can be tricky. Thus, I have embarked on a journey to find the best NVR for home use. After all, I certainly don’t want you to waste your time or money on subpar recorders.
Crime rates are constantly on the rise in the US, and sometimes, there’s little the police can do to help you. However, when you have your own recording equipment, you can make their job easier. By recording the outside of your home, you can show the perpetrator to the police and help them make an arrest.
By getting the best NVR for home use, you can even protect your home from any potential threats. Because many criminals choose their victims on the spur of the moment, a security system is a great deterrent.
Think about it. Which house do you think a criminal is more likely to try and rob — the one with or without a visible NVR system?
NVR kits also come in handy when you’re building your own DIY security system, as they’re arguably the best solution for a home CCTV system. They are more reliable than DVRs because they require you to save your video recordings on a physical device (such as a hard drive) or cloud storage. NVRs are also able to track objects just as well as infrared (IR) sensors, but their video feed can’t be blocked that easily.
If I have convinced you that investing in an NVR system is one of the smartest things you can do for your property and family, let’s go into more detail.
The Best NVR for Home Use: Final Comparison
|1. Amcrest NV4108E-HS||Amcrest NV4108E-HS allows you to record simultaneously with both wireless and PoE cameras. It is quite reliable and has a USB backup feature.||Prime||CHECK FOR PRICE|
|2. Amcrest NV4108-HS||Amcrest NV4108-HS has a quick response time, an intuitive UI design, and a USB backup feature. However, it doesn’t come with a PoE port.||Prime||CHECK FOR PRICE|
|3. Ubiquiti Networks Network Video Recorder UVC-NVR-2TB||Ubiquiti’s NVR features beginner-friendly software and allows you to record footage from up to 20 cameras at once. Still, it’s not compatible with any other camera brand.||Prime||CHECK FOR PRICE|
|4. Reolink RLN8-410||Reolink RLN8-410 comes with a built-in 2TB hard drive and offers continuous 24/7 recording. However, the browser support needs work, and you can only use Reolink’s cameras with it.||Prime||CHECK FOR PRICE|
|5. ZOSI 720p DVR||Zosi offers a DVR with different recording modes and precise motion detection. Still, there are some issues with remote connectivity the company should address.||Prime||CHECK FOR PRICE|
What Is an NVR and Who Is It For?
Network video recorder (NVR) systems consist of a network of IP cameras that operate via a system of switches, routers, WiFi signals, and Ethernet cables. They use hard drives to preserve the recordings from the cameras.
What attracts most homeowners to NVR home surveillance systems is how convenient they are. They are easy to set up and access, not to mention able to send push notifications to let you know when someone or something triggers the alarm.
NVRs can assist you in both active and passive monitoring. They do so by alerting you in case of movement and by recording footage, which you can later use as evidence. So, to answer your question — home NVRs are for anyone and everyone!
But, a few questions remain. Should you get the best NVR for home use or a DVR system instead? What’s the difference between the two anyway?
DVR vs. NVR
A DVR is a piece of electronic equipment commonly used for recording and encoding footage. In contrast, NVR records video footage from an IP camera and stores it on a physical device without altering it in any way.
Still, let’s go into a bit more detail to see which one would be more practical for you.
You can easily fix, upgrade, and replace an NVR within a couple of minutes. However, the same can’t be said for DVR equipment. When there’s an issue with your DVR, you have no choice but to contact your provider to seek help.
Boosting a DVR’s performance is also complicated and expensive. The process requires purchasing additional components, which are typically sold exclusively by the manufacturer. And, even if you do manage to boost its performance, a DVR still has its limits and will likely never match the overall quality and accessibility of an NVR.
NVRs, however, are easy to work with, and you won’t have to wait for an expert to fix the issue at hand.
NVR software can act as low-powered NAS (Network Attached Storage) and is less resource-hungry than a DVR. Upgrading an NVR is easy — the constant improvements in the field allow for better performance overall. Finally, an NVR can both receive and decode images without modifying them or causing them to lose quality.
As I mentioned, NVRs are easy to set up and allow for a better user experience overall. Additionally, the maximum resolution of a recording is unlimited and depends on the IP camera. Hence, if you purchase a camera with a resolution of 1080×720 pixels — you’ll be able to watch your recordings in HD.
In contrast, setting up a DVR by yourself can be tricky, so you’ll probably have to hire someone to help you. Another major downside is that the resolution quality is extremely limited. Because it depends on analog camera technology — the image will often be grainy and blurry.
So, now that you know what an NVR is, as well as how it works and compares to a DVR, let’s talk about the features you should expect from the best NVR for home use.
Editor’s Side Note: Looking for a fitting security camera system package that fits well with this NVR recommendation? here is our guide on the 8 channel wireless security camera system and 16 channel security camera systems as we have uncover multiple key points that let’s you skip the hard part “research and test” as we make sure that you answer and help you decide which product works best for you.
Shopping for the Best NVR for Home Use
The Number of Channels
When it comes to NVRs, you will usually get to choose between a 4-channel (4CH) and an 8-channel (8CH) device. Logically, an NVR that can handle a large number of cameras simultaneously often comes with a higher price tag. That said, I recommend investing in the best NVR for home use now, instead of having to purchase a new one every time you want an upgrade.
Even if you need fewer cameras now, you might change your mind and want twice as many in the future. When that happens, you’ll be forced to buy a new NVR system with more PoE ports.
So, even if you want only four cameras (4CH), an 8-channel (8CH) NVR might be a wiser choice. You could also go all out and get a 16-channel NVR system.
Power over Ethernet (PoE) is what lets you use only one cable for network connection and as a power supply. As such, PoE makes the process of setting up an NVR system easier — but it carries some additional costs.
If you want to run a PoE NVR, you have to purchase an IP camera system or a PoE-compliant switch to power up your Ethernet cables.
Although PoE is typically a part of standard network video recording equipment, you can live without it. Moreover, you could still have the best NVR for home use — even if it doesn’t have Power over Ethernet.
The best NVR for home use should have enough storage to keep up with your needs. Yet, when it comes to storing your footage, there are two main factors to take into account.
The first one revolves around the quality and quantity of your footage. The amount of storage should be based on the number and resolution of your cameras, as well as how long you want to keep the footage. Additionally, you should consider whether you want the cameras to record on a schedule, constantly, or only in case of movement.
There’s also the matter of redundancy, which is linked to securing your video feed. In the NVR world, redundancy relates to having several physical copies of the same footage on different HDDs. Although it costs more to invest in additional components — you won’t run the risk of losing all of your footage.
However, keep in mind that many companies don’t sell an integrated HDD with their NVR, so you’ll have to purchase one.
You should also pay attention to the maximum footage capacity your NVR can handle. The best NVR for home use ought to be able to keep more than a few days of footage safe.
Nowadays, there isn’t an NVR on the market that isn’t capable of simple motion detection — to some extent. Still, a simple glitch in the algorithm might cause your alarm to go off every couple of minutes.
This is especially true for those who have an outdoor camera and live in a busy area. So, to avoid that, high-end NVRs feature advanced motion detectors, dwell and intrusion detection, as well as line crossing to ensure more accurate responses.
Line crossing is great for monitoring parking areas and fences since it allows you to “draw” a line. When someone crosses it — the line will trigger an alarm. You can also set up intrusion detection to get an alert any time a person enters a designated area.
Still, the dwell detection feature is arguably the best one. It lets you determine how long someone is allowed to stay in an area before an alarm sounds off.
The best NVR for home use should have all of these features, and they should ideally work without any major issues. However, always make sure to test out your equipment in a safe environment before completely relying on it to protect you.
Super HD vs. Regular HD
Choosing a super HD vs. a regular one depends mostly on your viewing preferences and needs. Are you planning to connect a massive TV to your NVR and stream the feed all day long? If you are, you need to invest in a Super HD HDMI output so that you don’t compromise the image quality when streaming on a big screen.
If you’re planning to use a smaller TV, though, and don’t have any plans to watch the footage 24/7 — you can save some money by getting a regular HD.
In the end, super HD is great to have because it gives you a clearer image and allows your NVR to react with more precision. If you truly value your security and want the best NVR for home use that money can buy — invest in a super HD.
When it comes to your viewing experience, the cameras you use with your NVR are arguably the most important factor.
Unfortunately, some companies limit their NVR systems to work only with a certain brand of cameras. Some NVR kits come equipped with a camera that is typically made by the same company that makes the system. On the other hand, there are kits that allow you to create your own security camera system and choose between wireless and IP cameras.
Before purchasing your own CCTV system, make sure to check all of the specifications of your NVR system to avoid any misunderstandings. Ideally, the best NVR for home use should allow you to customize your setup and buy any camera you want.
An external alarm is one of the nicest features you can usually only see in high-end NVRs. Devices that include this feature are able to connect to an external alarm, which, in turn, tells the cameras to start recording.
That is quite an advanced feature, as it allows you to have more control over your system without constantly having to monitor it. However, although this add-on is nice to have, it’s not a must. What’s more, you probably won’t miss it if you configure your motion detection system properly.
All NVR brands have their own unique mobile and browser apps for their systems, and most of them look the same. Nevertheless, the quality is not consistent across the board. It’s important to take into account how reliable and intuitive an NVR app is before purchasing the brand’s home surveillance system.
The company LaView, for example, has an excellent surveillance system, and an awful app — which is why many users stay away from it.
Also, some companies will only allow you to use their app through a certain browser. Although that technically isn’t a major issue, let’s not kid ourselves — no one wants to have to use Internet Explorer only. So, to avoid getting stuck with a lousy app, you can check it out in the app store beforehand.
NVR and Privacy
With the rising concerns over privacy policies in general, it’s important to consider where your data is going, who’s using it and for what. Unfortunately, there’s a risk that an NVR poses but a DVR doesn’t.
Because an NVR needs to access a network, it could expose you to potential threats and cyber attacks. However, if you always use a safe connection — you’ll be able to steer clear of trouble.
Editor’s Side Note: Do you want to have a wireless CCTV that keeps protecting your family 24/7 with good quality surveillances? here is our guide on the best wireless camera system for home use that we made sure that we have tested each products to deliver you what’s the most reliable home use cctvs.
My Top Picks for the Best NVR for Home Use
#1. Amcrest NV4108E-HS
Amcrest specializes in making top-of-the-line security and tracking systems — and this model is no exception. NV4108E-HS is a top NVR because of the level of security it provides.
About the Product
Amcrest NV4108E-HS supports hard drives up to 6TB and features playback and live view, 8CH recording, and up to 1080p/8MP resolution at 30fps. It also uses H.265 technology to compress your footage without compromising the video quality.
The technology allows you to record for longer by saving on storage space. Additionally, the NVR lets you view and record footage in super HD and supports simultaneous recordings on both wireless and PoE cameras. On top of that, the software is user-friendly and easy to set up.
This model comes with many advanced features and also a couple of free goodies (a network cable, a USB mouse, and a quick start guide). It also lets you access all of your footage remotely by using any standard Windows or Mac browser and is CE and FCC-certified.
Great Video Quality
With a throughput of 80Mbps, you will be able to watch HD footage in real time. Also, because it is so fast, Amcrest NV4108E-HS won’t make you wait for the picture to load.
This NVR has a USB backup feature that prevents you from losing your footage — and gives you some peace of mind. Additionally, the hard drive allows your device to resume normal function almost instantly after a power outage. That will especially come in handy if you’re using remote monitoring.
The playback, backup, and intelligent search functions work perfectly and add to the already great user experience.
I was also quite happy with the performance when I tried out the exact search and motion detection event functions. These are vital parts of any NVR because they are responsible for triggering the alarm in case of an intruder.
You can also set up custom recording modes (such as scheduled, manual, and motion detection), and record in intervals ranging from 1 minute to 2 hours.
Motion Detection and External Alarm
I enjoyed being able to schedule and trigger multiple events and alarms at the same time. However, that did cause image quality issues at times, and the NVR even stopped sending notifications altogether at one point. This is a bit worrying, of course, but it’s probably just a glitch that is not going to repeat itself and hasn’t done so thus far.
- USB backup feature
- 1-year guarantee
- CE and FCC-certified
- Video feed sometimes crashes
#2. Amcrest NV4108-HS
Amcrest NV4108-HS just might be the best NVR for home use because of how intuitive its app is. It’s quite easy to set up and has an incredibly quick response time. Additionally, the NVR comes with a 1-year warranty.
About the Product
The Amcrest NV4108-HS is one of the best 8-channel NVRs the market has to offer. It supports 4K IP cameras, at a resolution of 1080 pixels and 30fps. You can use it with a hard drive of up to 6TB. But, for this model, I recommend getting a 4TB one to avoid a laggy video feed.
This model features the H.265 technology that allows you to compress the files in your storage and record for longer. The setup is also quite easy, and in case you get stuck, the company’s tech support is ready to help you out.
Although it’s slightly smaller in size than NV4108E-HS, NV4108-HS takes the best features from that model and adds a couple of unique ones. This one experiences little to no issues at all while streaming footage. You also get some of the extra equipment for free, so you’ll save some money as well.
However, I personally take issue with the levels of noise that the NVR’s fan produces, although that could be remedied simply by investing in a new fan. Also, It doesn’t have PoE ports, so if that’s a dealbreaker — Amcrest NV4108-HS might not be right for you.
Truly Compatible With Other IP cameras
The Amcrest NV4108-HS is ONVIF-compatible and plays well with IP cameras that are not made by Amcrest (which is a true rarity).
Keeping a home safe is typically quite costly, so I always enjoy getting free stuff. You can cut down on the overall cost of an NVR system by purchasing Amcrest NV4108-HS. The company will give you a network cable, a USB mouse, an NVR power supply, and a SATA cable for free.
Ability to Send Out Warning Signs
Amcrest NV4108-HS also scores highly because of the warning lights it uses to alert users when there’s something wrong. Although some might think this is counterintuitive, I think it’s great that this NVR can let me know when there’s a problem with the system.
- The image loads quickly
- Good UI
- USB backup
- 1-year guarantee
- Noisy fan
- No PoE
#3. Ubiquiti Networks Network Video Recorder UVC-NVR-2TB
The Ubiquiti Network NVR can record up to 700 hours of footage at 1080p. It comes with a pre-installed UniFi software and features quick and simple deployment. Additionally, the NVR will stream everything to your free cloud app and has 2TB of built-in storage as well.
About the Product
Ubiquiti’s NVR supports up to 20 UniFi video cameras and comes with H.264 compression and up to 1920×1080 resolution. However, what I like most about this NVR is that the software features advanced motion detection. It allows you to select an area where you want to record or set up an alert.
Unfortunately, the NVR is compatible only with UniFi Ubiquiti cameras, so if you have already purchased a different one — you’re out of luck. Also, it’s not PoE-compatible and features a single Ethernet connection to link your NVR with the network.
Still, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It could even work in your favor if you’re not someone who has a lot of experience in setting up NVR equipment. But, realistically, this NVR can’t compete with more advanced security systems.
This is a plug-and-play NVR, so you can be sure it is quite easy to configure. To make the process even speedier, the software comes pre-installed and will automatically detect any camera nearby.
This NVR can manage and record footage from up to 20 cameras at once. However, if you decide to set up that many cameras, I recommend purchasing additional external storage (such as a USB drive, or a hard drive). If you don’t need quite as many cameras, you will survive with 2TB of built-in storage.
- Supports up to 20 UniFi cameras
- Built-in storage
- Not compatible with other brands of cameras
#4. Reolink RLN8-410
Reolink RLN8-410 might be the best NVR for home use if you’re new to the technology or want something you can set up quickly. It allows you to view eight channels, but you have to use Reolink cameras exclusively.
About the Product
Reolink RLN8-410 offers continuous, uninterrupted recording 24/7 and comes with a built-in 2TB hard drive, which you can upgrade with an HDD to up to 4TB. Additionally, it comes with a PoE system so that you don’t have to bother setting up wires and cables.
The NVR features automatic motion detection, and the alarms and push notifications seem to work seamlessly. Also, given that it offers plug-and-play detection, the cameras will pop up instantly — you won’t have to search for them at all.
It’s easy to set up and use the Reolink NVR app on both desktop and Android devices. Perhaps the biggest drawback is that the surveillance system currently only supports the IE browser. However, the company claims it works with all the major ones.
Another downside is that their NVR kits can only be used with the brand’s cameras.
Reolink’s NVR is great if you need non-stop recording or want to manage multiple IP cameras. This NVR could be perfect for you if you want to leave your camera on for longer periods of time and monitor your property throughout the day.
Good Alarm System
This NVR comes with quite a few useful functions, such as real-time video and playback, instant alerts, and motion events. You can also choose to schedule recording times within four predetermined time slots (00:00–06:00, 06:00–12:00, 12:00–18:00, 18:00–24:00).
The NVR is best suited for beginners, as its software is quite intuitive and basically does the job for you.
- Great features
- Supports Reolink cameras only
- Almost no browser support
#5. ZOSI 720p DVR
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Unlike other models I have mentioned so far, Zosi offers a DVR rather than an NVR system. The DVR allows you to monitor and control your CCTV locally or remotely via an app.
About the Product
Zosi lets you stream on eight channels at a maximum resolution of 720p. Even though this is pretty good for a DVR, it can’t match the resolution of any of the NVRs I have listed in this article.
However, Zosi does have some redeeming qualities, such as the hybrid recording capability. You also get free lifetime tech support and a 90-day money-back guarantee. So, if you’re on a budget or don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with an NVR system — Zosi might be the perfect choice for you. The company also offers great customer support, which will reply to all your questions within 20 hours.
Still, I did have some issues with Zosi’s remote connectivity feature, as it sometimes wasn’t able to stream live footage. Also, this model is nothing to write home about, and its features can’t truly rival most NVRs I have mentioned so far.
Great Motion Detection
Zosi’s motion detection is easy to customize and control in order to prevent false alerts. I also quite appreciate getting push notifications and emails at the exact moment when the CCTV detects an intruder on my property.
Zosi offers four different recording modes: on motion, on schedule, continuously, and recycle record. You can also customize the angle and set up a different recording mode on each individual camera.
It’s incredibly important (and not to mention rare) for a DVR to have these qualities, which is why I have included this model as a contender.
- Different recording modes
- Precise motion detection
- Reliable push notifications
- Issues with remote connectivity
Final Thoughts on the Best NVR for Home Use
NVRs have great capabilities (especially compared to DVRs), but identifying an NVR that’s best suited to your needs is a bit tricky.
One of the bigger issues is that companies, as usual, tend to oversell their products and hide behind fluff words. But, you have to learn how to look beyond that and figure out the features you should expect in the best NVR for home use.
First and foremost, an NVR should be quick and reliable. You will depend on it to stream real-time footage, and not randomly delete it. It should also have 4–8 channels at least and come with as many PoE ports as possible.
Speaking of PoE, it’s one of those things that’s nice to have but is not a must. Although I personally prefer having Power over Ethernet — you could save some money by buying an NVR without it.
A product that combines these features, along with excellent storage space, great motion detection, and super HD capabilities, is the Amcrest NV4108-HS. In my opinion, although it doesn’t support PoE, no other model can match the security that this NVR provides.
I consider it to be the best NVR for home use because it takes the greatest features of Amcrest NV4108E-HS and amplifies them. There haven’t been any major issues with the model’s software, and it’s quite reliable. You also get a lot of extra equipment for free — which allows you to save some money instantly.
Overall, it’s an NVR that will let you keep your home safe at all times and take a lot of the pressure off. You won’t have to worry about potential intruders as much, and even if someone dares to trespass — you’ll have them on tape.
Editor Side Note: Is this article recommendation not for you? here is our review on the best self monitored home security systems with cameras that may perhaps fill the gaps of what you are looking for. This article is all about self monitoring system that gives you a hands free effort in monitoring your home with a good surveillance.
Last update on 2019-12-13 at 20:29 / Affiliate links / Ratings / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API