Last updated: September 26, 2020

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In a world where everyone is under surveillance, where we are constantly surrounded by cameras of all kinds, IP cameras are one of the best tools to protect your home or business. Their direct connection to the Internet allows you to access their content anytime, anywhere in an instant.

Most frequently used for video surveillance tasks or to watch a baby or pet, there are currently two main types of IP cameras: models for indoor use or those for outdoor use. However, many other criteria come into play when the time comes to buy your very own IP camera.

Key Facts

  • IP cameras are digital electronic devices that record and send video and audio in real time over the Internet, independently from and without the need for a computer.
  • These cameras are completely secure. You can easily configure their access using a user and a password to prevent unauthorized persons from viewing the images recorded by the camera.
  • How you plan on using your IP camera is the very first factor that you should evaluate. In that regard, remember that there are indoor and outdoor cameras. You should also consider whether you want your camera to be fixed or mobile. Finally, you will want to pay attention to other criteria, such as connectivity and compatibility.

Our Selection: The Best IP Cameras on the U.S. Market

In the following section, you will discover our own selection of the best IP cameras currently available on the market. We have searched for both indoor and outdoor cameras, all of which are from quality brands that offer real bang for your buck.

Best-Selling IP Camera

The Wyze Cam is a high-quality, affordable IP camera that will allow you to keep an eye on what is going inside your home at all times. With Full HD image quality and a microSD card slot, this device is Amazon’s Choice in the category for good reasons. Its night vision system features 4 infrared LEDs to record images in the dark, while its motion detector automatically records a video clip when there is movement or noise.

Best Dome IP Camera

Dome-shaped models are ideal if you want your device to go as unnoticed as possible, and this is exactly what YI’s IP camera does. With a sleek and compact black design, it offers a full 360-degree viewing angle for enhanced security. Other key features of this IP camera include Full HD image quality, motion tracking, and a baby-crying detector. If you want to feel safer, YI also offers a monthly emergency response service.

Best IP Camera Surveillance Set

If you’re looking for the ultimate IP camera kit to watch over your home or business, HeimVision’s HM241 is what you need. Featuring 4 HD cameras and a wireless network video recorder, this set is compatible with PC and mobile devices. What’s more, the cameras are fully weather-proof, so you can set them outside with peace of mind. Easy to set up and mount, the HM241 devices feature night vision and motion detection systems.

Best Budget-Friendly IP Camera

Are you looking for a very affordable IP camera to watch over your pet or children while you’re away? Then look no further. Compatible with clouds and microSD cards, this model is Alexa-ready and comes with an easy-to-use application for mobile devices. One of its most interesting functionalities is its two-way audio system that allows you to communicate with your family. This IP camera offers real bang for your buck!

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About IP Cameras

There are several essential points that you need to be familiar with in order to purchase an IP camera. Keep in mind that there is a wide variety of products out there, all of which are tailored to specific uses and offer distinct features. In the section below, we have answered the most frequently asked questions regarding IP cameras to help you make the right decision.

Safety is a crucial aspect of buying a new home.
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What are IP cameras exactly?

These digital video cameras let you record and send video and audio over the Internet. This way, you can view the footage live from anywhere in the world. Much like computers, these cameras have their own IP address that allows them to connect to a network independently.

What are the advantages of IP cameras?

These devices offer a wide range of benefits. First of all, they can directly connect to the Internet, unlike webcams that require a computer to establish the connection. Additionally, IP cameras are much easier to install and configure than CCTV surveillance systems.

As if that wasn’t enough, you can watch the video in real time from anywhere around the world once your IP camera is installed and configured. The vast majority now offer applications to control them from your smartphone. We have listed their perks and drawbacks in the table below:

Advantages
  • They can connect to networks independently
  • You can watch video in real time from anywhere in the world
  • They are much easier to install and configure than CCTV systems
  • Many include applications to control them from your cell phone
Disadvantages
  • Fixed models require installation

For whom are IP cameras useful?

There are many reasons why you may want to install one of these devices. Many people decide to install them to protect their homes, while others want a surveillance system for their business. IP cameras are also a perfect alternative for monitoring a baby. You can indeed use them in a wide variety of situations.

What types of IP cameras are there?

As we mentioned earlier, the most important criterion to classify IP cameras is the location for which they are designed. We can identify two main types: exterior and interior models. The former tend to be fixed cameras, while the latter are mobile devices. We summed up their main features in the following table:

Outdoor cameras Indoor cameras
Installation They are generally fixed. Most are mobile cameras.
Design Since they are designed for outdoor use, they are resistant and waterproof. They are usually shaped like a dome or lamp.
Price  They are more expensive. Most of them are very affordable.

Are IP cameras secure?

These devices are fully secure since you can configure their access to be restricted by a username and a password. This means that only you and the people you authorize can view the content of the camera. That being said, you can make your content available to everyone online if you so wish.

The various uses of IP cameras offer many advantages.
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How do IP cameras work?

These digital devices transmit their signals using two main channels: directly via the Internet or using a computer. This is all made possible thanks to their processing system that compresses the images so that they can be sent over the Internet. Virtually every IP camera uses the MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) compression format.

You need a software to access and control the camera. They generally come with the camera, but you can also get them separately. In fact, the vast majority of IP cameras now offer applications with which you can control the device or view images from a smartphone or tablet.

Buyer’s Guide

If you are seriously considering getting an IP camera for your home or business, there is a series of essential factors that you need to analyze first. We want to make this whole process easier for you, so we have detailed those key criteria in the section below. We hope that this will help you choose the right model with the best possible value for money.

Intended Use

How you want to use the IP camera is naturally the very first question you should answer. You won’t need the same device to watch over your baby or to monitor access to a large industrial building. In the same vein, you cannot use the same IP camera indoor and outdoor – the latter application requiring weather-resistant models.

It is equally vital that you determine the location(s) of your camera since this will influence its viewing angle. Keep in mind that it will generally vary between 120º and 160º. If you are purchasing an IP camera for a bar, discotheque, or parking lot, you may be interested in a camera with a vandal-proof system.

More and more parents are now using these devices to watch over their children.
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Fixed vs. Mobile Device

Directly linked to our first criterion, the choice between a fixed and a mobile IP camera is crucial. Fixed models are widely used in stores to monitor access to the cash register. Mobile cameras, on the other hand, are often dome-shaped to look like a lamp or spotlight.

This allows them to offer a 360-degree view. Also, most feature with a dark dome that makes it impossible to see in which direction the camera is recording. Some models even present designs specifically designed to go unnoticed. The main perk of this type of camera is that you can use it in various locations.

Image Quality

The maximum resolution of your device is what you want to focus on when looking at image quality. You will notice that the cameras currently on the market offer either high-resolution HD or Full HD images. We recommend that you pay close attention to the overall quality of the zoom, too – be it digital or analog.

Connectivity & Compatibility

As you now know, the two main options to connect your device to the Internet is either using an ethernet cable or a Wi-Fi connection. The second option is naturally much more convenient, but it can be more unstable.

Make sure you check what type of Wi-Fi networks your IP camera is compatible with. Some models only operate with 2.4 GHz networks.

In addition, you should also look into which operating systems your camera and its software are compatible with. Many people also find it particularly interesting to have the possibility of controlling their device remotely using a cell phone or tablet. Nowadays, some cameras even support 3G and 4G network connections.

Storage Space

IP cameras are specifically designed to send the data gathered over the Internet. That being said, you can find models with their own internal memory or a microSD or SD card slot. This allows them to store the content they record content. Many IP cameras are also compatible with cloud storage services.

Did you know that some indoor IP cameras feature Full HD resolution, Wi-Fi connectivity, and even night vision systems?

Microphone

Whether the model you are interested in has a microphone or not could be a decisive factor in your purchase. If the IP camera does have a microphone, you will want to check its range. Also, keep in mind that certain models integrate sound recording activation systems. If you are looking for a camera to monitor your baby, you may want one with a built-in speaker.

Additional Features

IP cameras with zoom allow you to look closer into the images that you are recording, which can come in very handy. You may also find the motion-activated functions interesting while opting for an infrared camera is essential if you want to set it in a nighttime environment.

Summary

Designed for surveillance and monitoring tasks, IP cameras connect directly to the Internet to allow you to access their footage through various mobile devices. Since their images are password-protected, they provide complete security and privacy. We can classify these cameras into two groups: indoor and outdoor models.

Nowadays, most of them integrate night vision and motion activation systems, with some even having microSD card slots to store the images. Others offer the possibility of storing the data directly on the cloud. Make sure you take into account essential criteria such as installation, configuration, and compatibility to choose the right product.

If you found our guide on IP cameras useful, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below. You can also share this article on your social media!

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