Security camera buying guide: Compare systems from Arlo, Swann and more

Everything you need to know about buying a security camera.

Security cameras can give you the peace of mind that everything is OK when you’re away from home. The latest cameras make monitoring your home easier than ever, but if you want to monitor your entire home or property, costs can add up quickly. A single camera costs anywhere from $50 to $600 depending on the features it includes.

Our guide will walk you through the different types of security cameras and help you narrow down the options to find the best security solution for your home or business.

Compare some of the best security cameras

Data obtained November 2018. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
Name Product Average Price (AUD) Type Maximum Resolution Night Vision Storage Purchase Today
Kogan Wireless IP Camera
Kogan Wireless IP Camera
$59
Indoor
480p
Yes
MicroSD
Kogan's Wireless IP Camera will record footage directly on your mobile phone or a MicroSD card.
TP-Link NC250
TP-Link NC250
$84.35
Indoor
720p
Yes
Cloud
The TP-Link NC250 HD cloud camera can record up to 5.5 metres away in complete darkness.
Swann SWWHD-INDCAM
Swann SWWHD-INDCAM
$119
Indoor
1080p
Yes
Local and Cloud
The Swann Indoor Security Camera has thermal sensors that alert you when it detects warm objects, such as people.
Foscam C2
Foscam C2
$175.95
Indoor
1080p
Yes
MicroSD
The Foscam C2 offers discounts for purchases of 2 or more cameras.
D-Link DSH-C310
D-Link DSH-C310
$229.95
Indoor
1080p
Yes
MicroSD
The D-Link DSH-C310 has a 180-degree wide angle view, two-way communication and a night vision setting.
Ezviz Mini Trooper
Ezviz Mini Trooper
$241
Indoor/Outdoor
720p
Yes
MicroSD
Get up to 9 months of battery life and 128GB of storage with the Ezviz Mini Trooper to help keep your home secure.
Uniden App Cam Solo
Uniden App Cam Solo
$279
Indoor/Outdoor
1080p
Yes
MicroSD
Uniden's App Cam Solo is easy to setup to monitor events around your home or business.
Reolink Argus
Reolink Argus
$464.73
Indoor/Outdoor
1080p
Yes
MicroSD
Reolink's Argus is a full HD smart camera with weatherproofing and two-way audio.
Nest Cam IQ
Nest Cam IQ
$479
Indoor
1080p
Yes
Cloud
The Nest Cam IQ offers facial recognition and doubles as a Google Home speaker.
Netgear Arlo Go
Netgear Arlo Go
$636.90
Indoor/Outdoor
720p
Yes
MicroSD
The Arlo Go camera used 4G LTE ito give users mobile flexibility and even more robust security.

Compare up to 4 providers

Pros and cons

Security or IP (Internet protocol) cameras can help protect your loved ones, property and belonging. The latest cameras offer modern features that allow you to interact with those on the other end of the camera, receive alerts and store footage in a variety of ways.

Security cameras are commonly used to do the following:

While security cameras can be an effective way to protect your home or business, they aren’t foolproof. Consider the following drawbacks of using security cameras:

  • Safety and protection are not guaranteed.
  • They can be disabled, disconnected or hacked.
  • Privacy laws dictate how you can use video footage and where you can direct a camera.
  • They can be costly, especially if you need more than one.

What types are available?

Security cameras come in one of two forms: standalone or as part of a monitored system.

Monitored

  • You will typically purchase monitored security systems directly from a security company that will help you choose the right cameras for your space, install the cameras and monitor them. Pricing for monitored security systems is usually subscription based and depends on the number of cameras, storage capacity, features and the amount of surveillance the security company provides

Standalone

  • Most people looking for home or workplace security cameras choose standalone cameras. Despite the name, standalone cameras can connect together to form a network. Modern cameras come with a wide range of features to help you easily control the camera, connect to other smart home devices and keep an eye on your home or business.
Surveillance cameras

The term surveillance camera or webcam is generally used to refer to cameras that passively observe or record. They offer little to no interaction whereas security cameras can send alerts, set off alarms, pan across a field of view, detect motion and more.

How to compare security cameras

Security cameras typically cost between $50 and $600 per camera, depending on the brand and the camera’s features. Depending on the camera, video storage may come at an additional fee.

Before you buy a security camera, consider how you will be using it.

  • Will you keep it in one location or move it around? Do you want to keep an eye on your pets while you’re at work or watch for burglars while on vacation?
  • Do you need to record footage and if so, how do you want to access it
  • Do you need high-resolution video?
  • How much do you want to spend?
  • Do you want to be able to control the camera from your phone or another smart device?

Once you’ve thought about how you want to use your camera, look for the following features:

Storage options

Security cameras offer two main options for storing video footage: cloud storage or on a local device. Most models only offer one or the other but a few cameras, including the Swann Indoor Security Camera and Foscam C2, offer both options.
Cloud storage

Local storage

  • Local storage devices include microSD cards, hard drives, flash drives, PCs and DVRs. These devices hold a limited amount of video and can only be accessed using the physical device. If the storage device is lost or stolen, the footage will also be lost. Many security cameras offer some form of local storage.

Which security camera is best for me?

The right camera for you depends on how you want to use it, your budget and the features you want. To make it easier to help you find your ideal security system, we’ve compared five popular camera models below:

The goodThe bad
Swann SWWHD-INDCAM Indoor Security Camera
  • Offers both local and cloud storage
  • A thermal sensor alerts you when people are within range
  • Only includes limited storage, additional storage is available with a subscription plan
  • The thermal sensor can trigger false alerts
Netgear Arlo Go
  • 4G LTE-enabled and not reliant on home Wi-Fi
  • Includes a solar charging option
  • Requires an ongoing mobile subscription
  • High outright price
Reolink Argus 2
  • High-quality video
  • Includes a speaker and microphone
  • No cloud backup
  • Some users find the app to be difficult to use
Uniden Guardian App Cam Solo
  • Features a sensitive motion tracker
  • Includes voice speaker
  • No cloud backup
  • Motion detector can be triggered by false alarms
Foscam C2
  • Discounted pricing when buying multiple cameras
  • Offers both local and cloud storage
  • Cloud storage comes at an additional cost
  • Some users report blurry images of moving objects

If you’re interested in buying a security camera to protect your home or business, start browsing today.


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Sarah Brandon is a writer for Finder. She has a degree in Psychology from New York University and loves learning about why people do what they do. Sarah has researched and written about a wide range of topics, from pool fences to private jets to personal loans. But no matter the subject, her number one priority is figuring out what information our readers need to make the best decisions.

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