Best Home Security Camera System 2017: Reviews, Top Picks

When you set out to purchase a home security system you really don’t want to settle for anything but the best home security camera system. However, the qualities you are looking for might be a bit different from those of the next guy. It’s a huge market, and it’s not just different brands and levels of quality, but entirely unique concepts and strategies each with their own strengths and potential weaknesses.

This guide is all about making sure you understand those options and were going to cover a lot of ground here. Once we cover the basics I’ll get into more specific types of the best setups so that you can decide which best suits your needs or your living situation.

Product Comparison

Picture Home Security Camera System Hard Drive Remote Viewing Motion Sensor Outdoors
ZMODO 8Channel D1 DVR Security Camera System 500GB
Q-See QT228-8B5-5 500GB
Y-cam HomeMonitor Indoor Free Cloud Recording
Defender PX301-013 2GB SD card
Zmodo PKD-DK4216-500GB H.264 500GB
Logitech Alert 700e 2GB microSD card
Linksys Wireless-N Internet Home Monitoring Camera Networking capabilties

What is a home security camera system?

Logitech Alert 700e Outdoor Add-On HD Quality Security Camera with Night Vision

Logitech Alert 700e Outdoor Add-On HD Quality Security Camera with Night Vision

Best to get this question out of the way right off the bat, because even if you have a good idea of what video surveillance systems for the home are all about you might not have the whole story. It’s actually not that simple a question to answer, considering the varying needs of every individual. With so many different types of setups available it isn’t easy to simply list the defining qualities, aside from the cameras themselves.

In short, the high-quality systems comprise of a wide range of different ways to monitor or record any activity within your home. The main reason to purchase one is for your own peace of mind because criminals and unsavory behavior are very effectively deterred when one realizes there are cameras on the premises.

They are not just deterrents, however. In the event that something does happen within your home, say in the example of a break-in where important or valuable items are stolen from you, having all of that documented on film will make it infinitely easier to prosecute the guilty party, and this also makes it a lot more likely that you will be able to get your stuff back.

Once again, there are a lot of different features and options to pick and choose from, but almost any setup you can imagine is already out there on the market. Continue reading to learn why it is so important that you do the research to find the best fit for you, and then well do some of that research right here when we discuss what the differences are.

Why do we need to get the best?

You need to get the best because you care about your protecting yourself, your family and your possessions. This isn’t an area in which one is well served to cut corners or go with whatever is available for the lowest price because you get what you pay for and not all home security rings are created equally.

That said, you can definitely save money by knowing what your needs are and focusing in on a product that has those features, and no extras that you don’t really need. Not everybody needs remote control or the ability to watch the video stream from outside of the house, and adding an option for motion detection to cameras which already run at all times would seem like a mistake. Identify your needs, create the feature list, and then you can find the right fit.

When you do get to the purchasing stage, remember that this is an investment in your safety and security and that there are truly affordable options available for everybody, but it would be extremely unrealistic to expect to install a quality home video camera system for $20.


What different kinds of home security camera systems are there?

Y-cam HomeMonitor Indoor - Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Camera with Free Online Recording

Y-cam HomeMonitor Indoor – Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Camera with Free Online Recording

There are a great many variations on all of these different systems, but when we boil it all down it’s possible to group some features together and fit them into just a couple of categories which suit the most common and important applications.

Motion-Activated Video Cameras

These types of cameras don’t start running at all unless their sensors detect movement in the room in which they have been installed. This way you aren’t wasting tape or memory by recording at all times, but you can still be fairly certain that anything important will be caught on film. These can be very useful in a couple of different scenarios.

When you are away from home, say on a vacation, motion detectors can alert you to suspicious activity within your residence in real-time, by way of email or text message for example. This makes it possible for you to notify the authorities if necessary, even if you are half a world away. Since they record video when there is motion in their range you will have all of the evidence you need to bust the bad guys, and some of these types of cameras will even allow you to watch the video feed live on a computer.

These types of cameras are also very handy outside of your home, monitoring your front and back doors, your garage, or anything else you want to protect. Positioning your cameras outside of the home makes it possible to capture an even wider range of activities on film, and in some cases, you may even be able to help solve a crime which didn’t involve you at all but took place on the street within your camera’s range. Perhaps most importantly, visibly installed cameras on the outside of your home are warning signs telling would-be crooks to go someplace else.

One potential problem is that these cameras can have extremely sensitive motion detectors, and that can be a nuisance if they are being set off by birds flying past your window or a neighbor’s cat in your yard. Look for systems that include the ability to adjust the sensitivity so you can fine-tune them and decide for yourself what size of the object is worth your attention.

Total Indoor Surveillance Systems

If you really want to make sure the inside of your home is protected, and that anything which goes on under your roof is going to be documented, there are systems which go beyond the standard expectations and offer truly complete coverage.

The most important thing about these types of systems is that they run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Nothing is going to be missed by this type of system, making it the most reliable way to protect any property. The one caveat here is that, because they are always recording, they can eat through the available memory very quickly. This means you either need to have external hard drives to store your backups on or a camera which includes an option to record and store only a set number of hours before the oldest footage starts to be deleted to make room for more.

Additionally, a night-vision feature is almost indispensable in this case, because you can’t really call it 24-hour complete coverage if you can’t see anything that is going on when you review the video. Night vision cameras these days are very sophisticated and quite common for personal use.


Hidden / Covert Security Cameras

Defender PX301-013 Digital Wireless DVR Security System Receiver with SD Card Recording and 2 Long Range Night Vision Surveillance Cameras

Defender PX301-013 Digital Wireless DVR Security System Receiver with SD Card Recording and 2 Long Range Night Vision Surveillance Cameras

These have many different uses, some of which begin to enter a moral gray area, but you are certainly allowed to film within your own home and you are not required to notify anybody of that fact.

If you suspect a friend or even a family member of unscrupulous behavior, covert cameras are the only way to go once you have made the decision to spy on their activity. Many people are not comfortable with this idea, but I’m not going to tell anyone that they don’t have the right to know if somebody is stealing from them, cheating on them, or even relatively minor things like a teenager having a house party without permission. It’s up to you whether or not you have something you want to catch on film.

These systems are also useful as standard surveillance, and in some cases, there is a benefit to their being hidden, but in most situations that are actually a bad idea. A reason to own one of the many best home security camera systems is a deterrent, and you won’t deter a criminal from breaking into your home if they don’t know that the system exists.

Independent Breakdown of Features:

Live Video

Useful to monitor activity in real-time, and alert police or emergency services if it is necessary to intervene. You can save a lot of storage space if you have a live stream and no recorded video, or very little recorded video. I would recommend recording at least some video so you can save clips of anything which needs to be documented.

Recorded Video

The vast majority of available systems record video because it would sure seem useless to have seen something happens live but not be able to prove it after the fact. One thing to look out for is the hours of video your system is able to store because this can vary greatly.

Night Vision

If you want to be protected at all hours of the day, you need a night vision feature to make sure your video footage is clear and usable, and admissible in court if need be.

Cover Features

Cameras which are hidden away can be used to prove wrongdoing, but people should be careful about invading the privacy of others with this option because you wouldn’t want that done to you without just cause.


These cameras only record video when something triggers their sensors, which saves on energy as well as storage space for footage. In addition, they can be used to be notified of suspicious activity when you are not home.

Remotely Viewable

With a remotely viewable camera, you can log in on your laptop no matter where you are and be able to see what is going on inside or outside of your home. You can also find cameras which can be controlled remotely, allowing you to pan and zoom if there is something you want to look at more closely.