If you’ve ever considered adding a home security system, there is no better time than now. Technology has evolved to the point that many camera features might feel next-generation, but without the high price tag you might expect. Modern camera systems are also easily accessible. Almost anyone can order and install them. However, not all systems are made the same. Know exactly what you are getting by understanding all the sophisticated features available.

Field of View

First, look at the field of view, this is the range of sight the cameras have. Low-end or inferior security cameras will only offer around 90 degrees, which is pretty narrow. For reference, most people have a field of view that measures in around 135 degrees, so 90 degrees is like having blinders on. That may be okay for an entrance or a hallway, but you will either need a wider field of view or more cameras to keep an eye on larger tracts of land. Better systems have a field of view that is closer to 140 degrees.

Motion Detection

Keep an eye out for camera systems that offer motion detection. This feature means that the field of view is constantly being swept, but the recording doesn’t happen until there is an actual movement. This helps you in two ways. First, you don’t have to review hours of video to find a particular incident, because your system will only record when something happens. Second, your camera will use less power because it is only on when something moves.

Night Vision

Also, pay attention to whether or not your security camera offers night vision. While you may not require this feature in all circumstances, like monitoring a well-lit hallway, it is a good idea in most cases. With night vision, you can see what is happening on your property without lighting. Or better yet, opt for a system with color night vision, which gives you full-color recordings in low-light conditions. This is a great option for monitoring the exterior of your home.

Power Source

Consider your power source as well. There are wired, wireless and wire-free systems. Wire-free systems are battery powered, which may make installation more convenient. Wireless systems, while not wired to a receiver, still need to be plugged into a power source. Depending on your needs or the places you plan to mount your cameras, there is an option for you.


Security cameras vary wildly in the resolutions they offer. Some have resolutions as low as 480p. These lower resolution devices will use less memory space, but you may not be able to see the vandal, thief or trespasser clearly. Other systems offer 1080p or 4K resolution, giving you enough detail to identify a person.

Two-Way Audio

Modern camera systems can do more than detect motion and record activity; some also offer two-way audio. This feature is surprisingly useful. Imagine being able to tell a delivery person to leave a package at the door or to sound an alarm when someone is detected on your property. Think of two-way audio has a value-added capability.

Modern security camera systems are more accessible and sophisticated, but not all of them meet the mark. Pay attention to the field of view and resolution available as well as features like power sources, motion detection abilities, night vision and two-way audio. These features make the difference between robust camera security and grainy recordings.