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Best security camera 2021: Secure your home or office

Storage, flexibility, quality recording, and easy installation are some of the important factors to consider when deciding on a work-safe security system. Our top picks for commercial properties will help secure the workplace for small and large businesses alike.

Security, in both the physical and digital sense, is imperative for companies to deter trespassers and would-be thieves and to protect valuable equipment crucial for businesses to operate successfully. 

A robust security setup can take the pressure off existing security staff and give business owners peace of mind out-of-hours. Luckily for organizations, the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, mobile connectivity, apps, and cloud technologies has radically changed the security landscape and made it easier than ever to set up multi-room and on-premise systems.

The possibilities are endless: cloud or local feed storage, customizable or automatic alerts and alarms, smartphones and tablet connectivity, wired or wireless, battery-powered or mains options, video capture, night vision, audio feeds of varying quality, and the ability to check-in, in real-time, are all on offer and can be tailored depending on the requirements of your business. 

To make navigating the variety of hardware and vendor ecosystems available to today's company owners less of a challenge, we have assembled our top ten picks for businesses. 

Ring Stick Up Cam Solar

Flexible, mobile security solution without spending a fortune

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Ring

It was once the case that to protect a business premise, heavy-duty, wired surveillance systems were the only options available. Times have changed and with the explosion in mobile solutions and the increased bandwidth offered by broadband and 4G/5G, there are mobile-friendly options for SMBs seeking a budget-conscious security option. 
 
The benefit of the Ring camera range, including indoor, outdoor, stick-up, and floodlights, lies within its flexibility. Each camera can be connected to the same account and accessed via smartphone, alerting users to motion from all areas. 
 
Of particular note are Stick Up Cams, which can be placed inside or outdoors and on flat surfaces or walls. Battery and wired options are available, as well as devices that come with a solar panel and backup battery pack. The Spotlight and Floodlight models, too, are of interest given their inbuilt security sirens.  

As there are a variety of different cameras users can pick from, a mix-and-match set up to protect a premise is possible.

Pros:

  • Flexible and quick setups
  • Professional monitoring available
  • Bolt-on ecosystem additions available including outdoor cameras

Cons:

  • Long shipping time
  • Multiple camera costs are high

Google Nest Cam

Discreetly keep an eye out for intruders outside of hours

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Nest

Google Nest cameras will be of interest to business owners already in the Nest ecosystem -- including users of the Nest Thermostat, Nest CO2 alarms, as well as Nest X Yale Locks. 

The Nest Cam Indoor and Outdoor cameras are mobile options for on-premise security. They are best suited for budget-friendly users that need basic security measures in place. The cameras can record footage in 1080p HD, and when it comes to the outdoor version, this quality is maintained at night through infrared LEDs. 
 
Both versions have inbuilt speakers and will alert users via their mobile devices if suspicious activity or visitors are detected by motion and noise sensors. Once the app has been installed and an account has been set up, monitoring begins. 
 
The Nest Aware and Nest Aware Plus services will record everything 24/7 on a monthly or annual subscription basis.
 
Nest Indoor cameras are priced at $129.99, whereas you can expect to pay $199 for an Outdoor camera. However, if you want a cheaper alternative, Google is set to roll out more budget-friendly, wired options.

Pros:

  • Easy setup
  • Mobile device monitoring and access
  • Data analytics implemented to monitor hot spots

Cons:

  • Wired options not yet available
  • Expensive for single cameras

Wyze Cam v3

A cheap home security camera

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Wyze

If you want to dip a toe into the world of IoT and intelligent home security devices, you may want to consider the Wyze Cam v3, one of the most affordable options on the market today.

The Wyze Cam v3 is a $35 internet-connected camera offering 1080p recording, IP65 quality for indoor or outdoor use, a CMOS sensor designed to improve nighttime vision, a siren, and two-way communication.

The camera can be part of a wider Wyze security ecosystem including outdoor cameras, motion sensors, leak sensors, keypads, and entry monitors. 

Pros:

  • Additional security products on offer to create a wider security network
  • Small, compact design

Cons:

  • Only 14 days of cloud storage included (rolling), unless subscribed

Arlo Pro 4

Wireless monitoring for the workplace

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Arlo

Another option is the Arlo Pro 4. This slimline, business-ready option can be used either in or outdoors, being a weather-resistant model with a variety of mounting options that can detect both sound and motion.
 
The Arlo Pro 4, available in black or white, can work as a day-to-day camera on the shop floor; a discreet camera placed outside to act as a night watchman, or as a part of a full network of cameras in a large workplace. A spotlight to improve low-light recording is included alongside object scanning and detection.

Arlo's camera is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit.
 
Users will receive real-time alerts whenever motion or sound is detected and footage is captured in up to 2K HDR resolution. The vendor has also implemented Activity Zones which can be set to reduce unwanted or nuisance notifications.

Pros:

  • Six months of battery life
  • Magnetic mounts

Cons:

  • An Arlo Secure subscription is required for premium features 

Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera

Protection for multiple outdoor zones

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Netatmo

The Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera should be considered if outside security is the priority for your business. 
 
This option is a weather-resistant camera substantial enough to be seen -- and may potentially deter unwanted visitors by its presence alone -- and does not purely rely on night vision. Instead, the camera is equipped with a floodlight that can be remotely enabled, disabled, or set to power up when motion is detected. 
 
Users can also set up specific zones for immediate alerts and snapshots are taken to give users the option to check in further.
 
The camera is compatible with iOS and Android, Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. In addition, there is no subscription fee as users can choose to store recorded HD footage locally.

Pros:

  • Customizable alert preferences, useful for pets
  • No subscription required

Cons:

  • Some users have reported long-term weather exposure issues

D-Link Vigilance DCS-4605EV

360-degree, panoramic coverage of your business premises

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D-Link

The D-Link Vigilance DCS-4605EV will suit business users who want panoramic security coverage of the shop floor. 
 
This camera is best suited for businesses concerned about vandalism as the camera has been specifically housed in a rugged casing to prevent tampering or damage. Another advantage of this camera is how weatherproof it is; being able to operate in a range of conditions and temperatures from 30 degrees C to 50 degrees C.
 
The D-Link Vigilance includes a fixed 5-megapixel lens with a focal length of 2.8 mm and is able to record Full HD 2560 x 1920 pixel footage at a 20-foot range.
 
Each camera can be connected to D-ViewCam, free surveillance software to manage a network of up to 32 cameras simultaneously. The camera also supports Power over Ethernet (PoE), to make deployment possible with a single cable. 
 
The D-Link Vigilance is currently on offer for $256.

Pros:

  • Customizable video compression formats
  • Rugged casing

Cons:

  • Wired only

Scout DIY security system

A must for do-it-yourself fans

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Scout

Scout should be considered if you are a DIY fan and want to apply your hobby to home security.

The company's DIY system allows customers to pick the components they want -- such as a hub, door panels, access and motion sensors, indoor cameras, and water detection devices. In addition, you can pick the color and finish suitable for your home (black or white) as well as the level of remote support you want. 

Scout's product line is focused on mobility. Users pick their components, connect them to their mobile device, and then you're good to go. Features include remote real-time access to activity feeds; false alarm checks; arming and disarming, and choosing how the DIY system reacts in different situations -- such as how you want to be notified of motion at your front door. 

Packages range from a $229 starter kit containing a hub, door panel, one motion sensor, two access sensors, and two key fobs, to a large $549 package offered with a hub, door panel, one motion sensor, four access sensors, two key fobs, a smart lock, and glass break sensor. 

Customers can also pick-and-mix different components if they prefer.

A 4G backup system is in place if home Wi-Fi cuts out and subscription-based professional monitoring is also available. 

Pros:

  • Flexibility
  • No hard-wiring required

Cons:

  • Expensive start-up cost

SimpliSafe security systems

Best for small homes and apartments

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SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe is another worthy addition to our list and would suit users who need a flexible solution for smaller homes and apartments. 

SimpliSafe is a Wi-Fi-connected security solution backed by real-time monitoring in remote centers. While wired, in the case of a blackout, devices in the SimpliSafe range have backup batteries. 

The basic 'Essentials' package, starting at $181 (currently on sale), includes a base station, keypad, three entry sensors, and one motion sensor. At the time of writing, a free HD camera is also included in the bundle.

Other packages and bolt-on options include panic buttons, freeze and water sensors, smoke detectors, and sirens. 

Pros:

  • No drilling required
  • Stylish, discreet design

Cons:

  • Assistance on offer for setup, but priced at $79

How did we choose these security cameras?

The requirements of home and business security cameras vary: the average consumer may lean toward an easy-to-install, budget-conscious product, whereas a company may be more inclined to invest in a more powerful alternative to protect valuable assets. In each case, we have considered as many aspects of a security system as possible, including recording capabilities, environmental use, and cost -- both upfront and due to ongoing subscriptions.

Which is the right security camera for you?

When you are selecting your home security camera, you should consider the pain points at home or at your business location. What areas are the most important when it comes to monitoring? What assets do I need to protect? When might my home or premises be most vulnerable?

If you're working from home, for example, you might forgo constant video capture and a subscription, settling instead for clips and the ability to check-in while you're away. However, if there is valuable stock in an office that is shut at night, you might pivot toward an option including night vision and constant video/audio feeds.

Are there alternatives worth considering?

While our top picks have included a variety of functions and uses, the below are still worth consideration.

Is it necessary to subscribe to a monitoring service?

No, but technology services now -- ranging from streaming to IoT -- will not usually stop at hardware: revenue models are pivoting to subscriptions, too. If you want constant monitoring and footage to be stored beyond a specific period of time, you may need to sign up.

Do I have to connect my camera to assistants like Amazon Alexa?

This bolt-on integration is usually added to make products more appealing and for the convenience for users, but you do not need to connect your home security system to anything else in your IoT ecosystem.

Will pets trigger alerts on a home security camera?

This was once a common problem with earlier forms of IoT and smart cameras, but vendors are constantly improving false-positive rates through improved object detection and the implementation of features such as 'activity' zones. 

Best security cameras in 2021: Keep your home and business safe