Wired vs Battery Powered Security Cameras

Ring's Floodlight camera with motion alarm, two way talk and smartwatch notification replaces your existing floodlights. This floodlight camera covers this customer's entry door and driveway all the way to the street.

Completely wireless security cameras that worked on battery power alone weren’t even a thing a few years ago. Battery issues meant that you only got a few days worth of recording before a completely wireless camera conked out on you. That all changed in 2012 with security cameras that were introduced to give you up to a year of continuous use on battery power alone. Yes, there are security cameras advertised in the market as wireless but for those camera manufacturers to use the term wireless misleads consumers into thinking that there are no wires involved in their product’s installation. To install their cameras, you would still have to run a power cord to an outlet for it to work which isn’t convenient in most areas that you need a security camera.

Recently, wireless battery-powered security cameras have been heralded as a great substitute for wired security cameras, the early versions of these cameras, circa 2012-15, had a much lower resolution than wired security cameras which was fine as long as you were covering closely cropped areas like your front door or living room. Now that battery-powered cameras come in 1080p and offer motion and doorbell notification on your smartphone or smartwatch, you can get a great video representation of what’s going on in and around your home or small business without the high cost of installing wired security cameras but there are some caveats to using battery powered security cameras.

 

No wires for this battery-powered security camera with a built-in microphone that can last up to a year on one charge.

I happen to love battery powered security cameras. The top brands on the market are Arlo Netgear, EZVIZ Mini TrooperBlink and Ring (Ring carries both doorbell security cameras and completely wireless outdoor security cameras with 2-way audio). These battery-powered cameras give you a great view from hard to reach places for wiring that can be viewed from your mobile phone or tablet. Other great features in newer models include two-way talk capability and smart notifications when they detect certain types of motion. You can also receive notifications when someone rings the doorbell as in the Ring doorbell cameras. But here is where battery-powered security cameras can falter. You need to make sure that you have a good wireless connection from your Internet router to the location where your battery powered security cameras will be placed. If not, you can forget using a wireless camera that can produce 1080p in video resolution or high frame rate for a smooth video view. It will not have enough of a data stream to keep a steady connection. To tackle that problem, you will need to add a Wi-Fi extender or move your router to a higher location in your home or business to help cover a wide area with a stronger Wi-Fi signal. Wi-Fi signal can be a problem in congested neighborhoods or large homes where your wifi doesn’t extend very far, especially through thick brick walls but it can be accomplished. There used to be another factor to consider with battery powered security cameras and that was their viewing limitation. But now, just like with wired security cameras, you can easily view your surveillance video live from your mobile phone, tablet or computer when your cameras sense motion on video but keep in mind, you will not be able to view your battery-powered cameras on your television or a monitor continuously as you could with a wired system. Monitoring or keeping your battery-powered cameras on continuous view mode will drain the batteries of these wireless security camera within days.

Ring’s Floodlight camera covering the drive port with a built-in alarm and two-way talk capability is part of the wireless or partially wired security camera revolution since it replaces your existing floodlights.

Wired security cameras don’t have these limitations. Since they are wired, you will get a steady connected video at a much higher video resolutions up to 4K. That’s 8 times more resolution than most battery-powered cameras. At first glance, you may not notice that there is a difference in video resolution between a wired or a battery powered security camera but when you zoom in, you will notice that your high definition wired cameras will still show a much clearer and precise video than the battery-powered camera. That’s because a battery-powered camera has to compress as much video resolution within a wireless spectrum to compete in a busy Wi-Fi bandwidth environment.

The differences and cost between battery powered security cameras and high definition wired security cameras are blurring. The best way to know if your home or business can use a battery powered security camera or a mixture of both is to schedule a professional security camera installer to measure the bandwidth of your Wi-Fi around your home or business and to see if battery powered or wired security cameras are right for you.

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About Armand Lucas 82 Articles

I’ve installed security cameras and home automation systems for over 15 years. Now as a consultant, I Investigate and write about new technology as they emerge to help all of us to become more secure, independent and productive in our homes, businesses and vehicles.

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