Security Tips

RAC Blog

What Security Cameras Should I Buy?

If you’re looking into purchasing security cameras for your home, your first question is probably, “What kind of camera(s) should I buy?”

The answer? Well, it depends on:

  • Where you want to install cameras
  • What level of imaging you need
  • Whether you want live or recorded video

We’ll explain the factors above then point out which features/cameras to look for based on your needs.


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Factor #1: Where you want cameras installed (indoor or outdoor)

To monitor events inside your home (i.e. child arriving home or pet activity) consider:

  • A smart home video surveillance system- This kind of system will send notifications to your smartphone when activity is detected inside of your home and allows you to view live footage of what’s happening.
  • Cameras that provide two-way audio- Depending on what you want to monitor (pets, kids, etc.), you may want to get a system that offers two-way audio so that you can communicate with those in your home while you're away.
  • Stationary cameras- If you’re monitoring events inside of your home, you probably don’t need a camera that moves. When you set up your cameras, you can set them up to view an entire room/area, so there is no need for them to adjust based on motion in the room.

To monitor activity outside your home (i.e. your front door/porch), consider:

  • A smart doorbell like SkyBell- The SkyBell doorbell will alert you as soon as there is motion detected at your front door/porch, allowing you to see what’s happening via live video footage on your phone and speak to them through a two-way communicator.
  • Waterproof cameras- Since outdoor cameras may be located in unprotected areas, they need to be durable and withstand rain and snow.
  • Cameras with night vision- If you want to be able to monitor events outside your home at any time, having a camera with high-quality night vision is important.
  • Cameras with pan, tilt and zoom capability- Beyond capturing as much area as possible, a camera that can adjust per movements provides a “scare-factor” for potential burglars because it “follows” someone’s movements outside of your home.

Factor #2: Level of imaging needed

The resolution level of the cameras you purchase depends on what you want to monitor.

  • If you want a security system for general surveillance (i.e. child arriving home), we suggest investing in at least a 1080p camera. This level of imaging is good for daily check-ins but won’t pick up every small detail.
  • If you want a security system to monitor details, (i.e. the license plate of a suspicious car/driver), you’ll need a much higher definition camera. If you have the budget for it, we suggest investing in a 4K Ultra HD security camera. These security cameras are extremely high-definition and will pick up small details.


On a budget but still want high-resolution cameras? Consider a 1440p Super HD camera. Although not as clear as a 4K camera, a 1440p camera is still a great option and will provide images that are much cleaner than 1080p and 720p cameras.

Factor #3: Live video or recorded video

If you want the ability to see live video, we suggest any “smart” security camera. These cameras allow you to view live footage, no matter where you are, via Android or iOS devices.

From there, you can choose a camera based on how often you want to view live footage. Some smart cameras allow 24/7 access to live footage via “live streaming” capability. Other cameras will provide live footage only when motion or other security sensors are tripped.

If you want a camera that provides both live time viewing AND recorded footage, you will need a security system that is paired with a video storage systems such as:

  • An SD card- Can only be paired with cameras that are compatible with SD cards and is normally only used for motion-activated recordings
  • An NVR (Network Video Recorder) or DVR (Digital Video Recorder)- This option can provide 24/7 video surveillance recording, but these recorders normally only support cameras from the same brand.
  • Cloud storage- Most modern smart security systems are paired with cloud storage and can provide unlimited video storage for a certain cost-per month.

The type of video storage system you want will depend on what kind of camera you have and how much video you want to store.

Need professional advice on security cameras?

Just ask the experienced pros at Richmond Alarm Companies.

We start the process by simply chatting with your about your video surveillance needs. Then, if needed, we can set up a free home assessment and give you an estimate on a customized home surveillance system.

No pressure, no obligation—just free and knowledgeable advice!

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