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Are you tired of people trespassing on your property? Do you have annoying neighbors who keep showing up on your doorstep unannounced? If that is something you are familiar with, you need an outdoor motion-sensor camera.
Trust me when I say I’ve been there. As soon as I moved into my new home, I started having problems. The house had apparently been vacant long enough for certain habits to set in around the neighborhood.
Not only did someone always park their car in front of my house, but local dogs kept ruining my new lawn. And the trouble was that I couldn’t catch the culprits in the act!
It wasn’t until one of the neighboring houses had been broken into that I resolved to get an outdoor motion-activated camera. I wanted to know what was going on around my property at all times. Buying a wireless security camera gave me all the control that I needed.
If my story is something you can relate to and if you are thinking about getting a security system yourself, then this article is for you. You may live in a crime-ridden area. Or maybe you are having issues with prying neighbors. Either way, you need a quality outdoor camera.
If you want to learn more about how security cameras work, just keep on reading. I share the know-how about what kinds you can get, how to choose the best one, and how to avoid false alarms.
What Is a Motion-Sensor Camera?
Motion-detection cameras are tiny devices that activate when they pick up movement within the perimeter that they cover. They are handy because they are small and can be set up anywhere, both inside and outside of your home.
Thanks to their size, you can either hide them around your property or set them up in plain sight. The best place to put a hidden outdoor security camera is under eaves, under a birdhouse, or near trees and brushes. Conversely, if you want to divert potential burglars, place it in the open. Some good spots are at the front door, in the backyard, or near the off-street windows.
Types of Outdoor Motion-Activated Cameras
From a technical point of view, outdoor motion-activated cameras come in two major types:
- Software-based motion-sensor cameras
- PIR-based motion-detection cameras
Namely, the software-based motion-activation camera works by comparing images to detect motion. If the camera’s software notices a pixel change between two frames in a row, the motion sensor is set off and the camera starts recording. That way, it is almost impossible for anyone or anything to escape it. So you can rest assured that you will stay on top of what goes on around your home.
On the other hand, the PIR (Passive InfraRed) motion-sensor camera, as its name suggests, works by picking up on infrared body temperature. Once the camera recognizes a warm body passing by, the infrared heat energy detection will activate the motion alerts. The camera will start recording immediately. Thus, you can be sure that any animal, burglar, or trespasser will be caught on it.
Also, PIR motion-activated cameras can cover perimeters of up to 30 feet. Thus, your yard, driveway, entrance door, and other areas will be perfectly safe even in pitch darkness!
How Are Motion-Sensor Cameras Powered?
Software motion-sensor cameras are the standard IP cameras for domestic purposes. They come in two modes, meaning they can record continuously or on motion detection. They also have features such as pre-recording (3–5 seconds) and video delay.
For this reason, they are usually PoE (power over ethernet) cameras. PoE-enabled cameras use a single network connection and get their power through that cable as well. But they can also be wireless.
Alternatively, there are PIR motion-activated cameras that are usually battery-powered IP cameras. Currently, there are rechargeable and solar-powered kinds on the market. Some of the features they could have are two-way audio, full HD video, and mobile remote access and control.
What’s more, outdoor motion-activated cameras can use the internet to give you a live feed. But they do not necessarily need a Wi-Fi connection. If you insert an SD card in the allotted slot, you will be able to save the recordings on it. That way, you can view them later on your mobile phone or PC.
How to Choose the Best Outdoor Motion Detection Camera
When it comes to picking out the best surveillance system for your home, there are several characteristics to keep in mind. Besides choosing a camera based on its physical properties, the key features to consider are:
- Wireless connection
- Battery power
- SD card storage
- Night vision
- Weather resistance
Step 1: Wireless Cameras Trump Wired Ones
There are plenty of advantages to choosing a wireless security camera over a wired security camera. First, there are no wires to get tangled up in. Although most wireless cameras do have a single cable to supply power to the device, some are entirely wireless.
What that means is that a wireless camera has an easier and less time-consuming setup. There is no drilling or wiring to do, as opposed to its wired counterpart. That is a perfect solution for you. That especially applies if you renting are planning to move soon. You don’t need to ask for the landlord’s permission to drill holes in his walls. When you decide to move house, you can simply take your wireless camera with you.
Another plus is that the installation is a breeze. For some models, all you need to set up the camera is to open the app and scan a QR code.
On top of that, these devices are particularly handy for keeping an eye on your remote holiday home. Equip it with a wireless security system and instantly get notifications about any irregular activity.
All in all, opting for a wireless security camera will give you lots of versatility unmatched by its wired counterpart.
Step 2: A Great Battery Is Essential
A battery-powered camera is a wireless security camera. It can have batteries that are either rechargeable or solar charged. So, it has the same properties in terms of mobility that I described above.
With a battery-powered camera, it is wise to consider the battery power and quality. The battery inside the camera will run out of juice eventually. Because of that, you’ll need to recharge it every couple of months, depending on the model. Also, the chances are that it will have a shorter lifespan than the camera itself. So it is prudent to get a device with a replaceable battery.
Likewise, a good quality battery will ensure that the video quality is up to par. Even if the manufacturer boasts with a 1080p resolution, a weak battery won’t be able to deliver on that promise.
Step 3: SD Card Storage Is a Fantastic Addition
Having an SD card slot in your security camera is a useful feature. It tops cloud storage as you won’t have to pay monthly fees for it or worry about hackers.
SD cards are also convenient because they can store a great deal of footage. For instance, a 32 GB SD card can save as many as 400 motion events! That means the camera can record for weeks or months without you worrying about storage.
Step 4: Night Vision May Prove Detrimental
The night vision feature is essential for outdoor motion-activated cameras. Most burglaries occur at night, and chances of having issues with disorderly or drunken individuals rise at nighttime. Just make sure to go for a camera that has excellent video quality, even in pitch blackness.
If your camera has night vision, it will alert you about any intrusions instantly. Then, you can act immediately and call the authorities, as you will have video footage as proof. Alternatively, you can give out a verbal warning to the culprit if your camera also has a two-way audio feature.
Step 5: Weather Resistance Can Make or Break a Camera
Whether a camera is weatherproof is another vital characteristic to keep in mind. No matter how well hidden or secluded your outdoor security camera is, it is still susceptible to bad weather conditions. That is particularly important if you live in an area that is prone to excessive rain, thunderstorms, hail, or blizzards. The best way to ensure the camera is weather resistant is to get one with an IP65 or IP66 rating.
How to Minimize False Alarm Alerts
If you have settled on a PIR motion-sensor camera, carefully consider where you will place it. Namely, this type of device works best and has the least false alarms when it records movement across its detection field. Thus, I suggest you put it so that any potential intruder doesn’t move toward it, but rather pass by it.
On the other hand, software-based security cameras allow you to set motion sensitivity values. These refer to different times of the day or different places within the detection field. That way, you can have better control of the camera’s sensitivity to light, shadows, and movements.
That rounds up everything you need to know about outdoor motion-activated security cameras. I’ve tried to do my best to make your quest for the perfect surveillance camera as easy as possible. Hopefully, now you know what kind of device to get, what features it should have, and how to install it. So you are all set to rid your house of any unwanted visitors.
All that is left for you to do while you sit back and enjoy your perfectly safe home is to leave a comment and tell me what you think. If you enjoyed this tutorial, don’t forget to share it with anyone else who may find it useful.