Hi, my name is Amanda and I would like to offer you a huge welcome to my website (hopefully you’re using a secure internet connection)! Just so you know a little bit about me before we get into the contents of the following pages, I would like to let you know that I worked in the security industry for a good many years.
The company I worked for designed, installed and maintained CCTV systems for the retail trade, and I have seen quite a bit of footage during this time. Seeing the lengths people will go to just to lay their hands on something that doesn’t belong to them has left a lasting impression, which is one of the reasons you see this creation before you today.
I have spent many months researching what I think are some of the best stand-alone and whole security systems there are on the market and I have also made sure my website is completely safe to use, no pop-up or annoying banner ads for you.
Already Have an Idea of What You Need?
I understand that not all of you have the time (or the inclination) to read through everything I have written here, and it could also be that you already have a good idea of the type of video monitoring or security system you would like.
In which case, I have taken the time to add a comparison table for you. If you click on this link you will immediately be taken to a no nonsense page so you can easily see which type of system, camera or even baby monitor I have reviewed for you. From here, you will easily be able to see various quick and to the point facts so you can make a decision from there.
If you do happen to come across something that you hadn’t intended to consider, I’ve also added a link at the end so you can go straight to my review.
Elaborate or Cheap and Cheerful
Just before I get going with a short explanation on each of the surveillance systems I have reviewed, you may be wondering what type you need. Although you will find more detailed information within each brand/type it is worth noting a few points that might help you decide.
Of course, it does all depend on your needs. If you have a business, the chances are you will probably want to monitor both indoors and outdoors, in which case a full security system is possibly the best answer. On the other hand for homes, a one camera system is ideal if you have a particular weak spot such as your front door, or if you would like to keep an eye on what goes on in your child’s bedroom
Price is obviously important, and it goes without saying the more elaborate systems will be more expensive. It’s just worth remembering how much the initial outlay could save you by keeping your valuables (and the family) safe or protecting that all important stock you have stored at a business premises.
So, on with the reviews you will find on my website…
Surveillance Camera Systems
Best Security System Overall – Q-See QT5682 960H
Ok, the name and modelnumber you see above may seem like you’re about to enter a whole world of “technical”, and to some extent you are.
However, I couldn’t help but include this surveillance system on my website. If you’re looking for the perfect permanent security camera system, this (in my opinion) is the model you should at least take a look at.
You can choose to buy the DVR alone, but if you add the Q-See cameras you have a perfectly tuned all-in-one 4 or 8 camera CCTV system. The included cameras are weather proof due to the metal housing, and it’s packed with features such as night vision (up to 100 feet), remote monitoring, and a whole host of others you will find in the review.
It’s also very reasonably priced given what you get for your money, and it will suit both businesses and homes alike. In fact, for business I could barely find anything to fault it. Imagine being able to sit in the front of your store whilst keeping an eye on your stock room AND recording what your customers are up to at the same time? This CCTV system has it all! >> Read more
Best Budget & Starter System – Swann DVR4-2550
I think the Swann DVR4-2550 is a great “starter” kit for people who would like four cameras and then might want to expand to six or eight.
However, one of the best things about this video surveillance system is the fact the manufacturer has thought about ease of installation.
You get a very simple “plug ‘n’ play system which means pretty much all the technical work is done for you, and the cameras can be mounted outdoors.
Although, do bear in mind the cameras are not wireless so once they’re installed, there they stay! >> Read more
Best Wireless Security Camera System – Defender PX301
If you’re looking for a professional CCTV system, this probably isn’t the answer (these are usually wired).
However, if you want to protect areas around the home like a long driveway or front and back entrances at night and during the day, this surveillance system is a great place to start and it won’t break the bank. In fact, the wireless cameras have great night vision of up to 40 feet.
It’s relatively easy to set-up with automatic DVR and camera connection which means there is no need for manual configuration (something that sends a lot of people into a spin). You can choose from one or two cameras (with the option to expand to four) and you can control them remotely.
The system includes a 2GB SD card for recording, and if you choose the configuration with 7 inch LCD monitor you can also use it as an intercom. >> Read more
Best Wireless Entrance Level Monitoring System – NETGEAR VueZone
What could be better than being able to view live video, record what you’re watching or even take a snapshot when you’re not at home? This is exactly what you get with this system from NETGEAR and it will work with all types of mobile devices including iPhone, Android and iPad.
The cameras are completely wireless and the whole system can be up and running in as little as 10 minutes. Oh, and if you’re a serial “camera mover” don’t worry about it because these attach to their mount magnetically. The basic system comes with one or two cameras but you do have the option to expand to as many as 15. The possibilities with this system are pretty much endless simply because of the flexibility you have with being able to view the footage. >> Read more
Best One Camera Monitor – Dropcam Pro Wi-Fi
This is just one camera, however it’s perfect (in my opinion) for keeping an eye on pets and children when you’re not at home. It’s also great as a baby monitor (more of those here). You can even set it up to keep an eye on who comes in and out of your front door. It’s entirely up to you.
Set-up can be done within minutes and you can view live video from an iOS mobile or your computer. However do bear in mind that if you want to record (which uses a Cloud system) you will have to subscribe, which carries an additional charge. You should also be aware that this camera is for indoor use only. There are plenty of features though and my favorites are the 2 way audio and night vision. >> Read more
Best Budget Pan & Tilt Network Camera – Foscam FI8918W
I’ve included this camera because for me, it’s the perfect answer for anyone who is “dipping their toes in the water” with video surveillance. It’s a very neat looking camera that comes in either black or white, and you’ll be surprised by some of the features. Not just because of the price but because of its size as well.
It connects to the receiver wirelessly (or wired), but you will have to make sure you have a power supply to the actual camera. It has motion detection and the manufacturer has cleverly included an alarm with this feature so I think it makes the perfect option in a child’s bedroom or in a barn if you keep animals outdoors. Plus, the night vision is surprisingly good given the price bracket. The range is up to 350 feet during the day but this will be reduced at night.
If you’re looking for a camera that will help you spot troublesome “bumps” in the night and you are not technically savvy, I think this is a great camera to start with. >> Read more
Zmodo PKD-DK4216-500GB H.264
One of the best features about this surveillance system is the H.264 compression technology which allows you to compress the amount of data saved (it seems this manufacturer didn’t think a 500GB hard drive on the DVR was enough). It comes with four cameras that all have night vision capability however, if you’re looking for a system that will enable you to make out a person’s features from a distance this one might not be for you.
You also have the ability to view your footage over the internet using various mobile devices, or you can connect it to a PC or TV. Like the system above, this one is pretty easy to install but you will need to wire the cameras in. >> Read more
Defender 21030 Sentinel 8-Channel Smart Security DVR
There are two things you should know about this CCTV system. The first is the included 4 cameras are for outdoor use only, and the second is the cameras are not wireless. However, since they will be mounted outdoors, the manufacturer has used tamper proof wiring.
This system is great for small businesses that need round the clock surveillance overnight because the night vision pictures you receive are better than average for this price range. As with many other CCTV systems these days, you can view live footage over the internet using a PC or mobile device. This system also uses H.264 compression and you get a 500GB hard drive. In fact, it is possible to store up to 2 years worth of footage which for some businesses is incredibly important.
Whilst the review here centers on the 8 Channel 4 Camera systems, there are several other channel and camera options open to you depending on what you need. >> Read more
Lorex LH014501C4F Vantage 4-Channel DVR
This system is just great for both the home and business. The reason it’s great for a business is that it’s possible to connect the cameras to more than one monitor which means you can keep an eye on everything whether you’re in the office or on a cash desk.
The cameras can be installed both inside and out but do remember they are termed as weather “proof” and not “resistant” so this is something worth thinking about. The system is not wireless, but this might suit some of you because there is less chance of interference with the signal, and you can view live footage remotely from a PC, MAC or Smartphone.
If it’s memory you’re after with a surveillance system, you’ve got no worries with this one because the hard drive is 500GB with the option to expand to 1TB. Plus, you have many channel options ranging from 4 cameras to 16. >> Read more
Swann SWDVK-430004-US TruBlue
What’s most impressive about this surveillance system, which incidentally you can buy as a four or eight channel, is that the hard drive is already 1TB in size. Because of this, I think this one will suit business owners who don’t want to check footage all the time but still want the peace of mind that what your cameras capture is being stored.
I also think this is a great idea for those of you who want a CCTV system in the home and are away a lot. In fact, you can get up to 60 days plus on the 4 camera system (if you’re recording from all of them). The cameras do have to be wired in so think about position before you “go for it”.
The cameras can be used both day and night, and the night vision is better than most in this price bracket with a range of up to 65 feet in the dark. Of course, it goes without saying that you can make use of the remote viewing option which is both 3G and 4G enabled. >> Read more
SVAT CV502-4CH-002 Web Ready 4 Channel
I could mention the fact you get 4 cameras and a 500GB hard drive with this surveillance system. I could also mention the fact that you can view footage remotely, your cameras are weather proof and you have night vision because it has all of these features.
However, what I really want to tell you is that in my humble opinion this 4 camera system is one of the best out there for those of you who don’t have a lot of IT knowledge.
The manufacturer has done a great job with the tutorials included which comes in the form of a coaching menu. This takes you step by step through everything you need to know and even if you are a novice, setting this system up is one of the simplest I’ve come across. It’s perfect for both residential and commercial properties and has rated very highly in longevity. >> Read more
Personally, I think this surveillance system is great if you have a fairly large outdoor space. It comes with 8 cameras all of which are weather “resistant” and have PTZ capability , an added bonus for a system in this price range. The hard drive is 500GB and you have the benefit of H.264 compression so more recorded footage can be stored.
Day and night monitoring is available with very crisp night vision at up to 30 feet away. It’s compatible with any PC or monitor and you can also view live images from a wide range of mobile phones. If you’re looking to protect a large parking area or the perimeter of your home or business, this surveillance system will definitely help keep those vandals and thieves at bay. >> Read more
D-Link Wireless Day/Night Network Surveillance Camera
If you want to be at home when you’re not at home this surveillance camera is definitely worth considering. Although, because of its compact size I think it serves better as a way of keeping an eye on your pets, watching activity from your front or back door or for use as a baby monitor.
The 2 way audio is particularly useful for pets and babies, however, if you’re expecting top-notch sound quality you’re not going to get it in this price bracket. That said both day and night picture quality is very good and at night the range is a little over 16 feet.
If you have minimal knowledge with wireless camera connections, this one makes life a lot easier. You can view live feeds using just about any type of mobile device or computer that’s connected to the internet and the manufacturer has also included a large number of features that even surprised me. >> Read more
Additional Home Security Reviews
Whilst the information above is there purely to help you decide which surveillance system or camera will suit your needs best, security doesn’t stop there! Cameras can do a great deal to help deter thieves and vandals, they can even help with nuisance neighbors. However, there are other dangers in the home and workplace that cannot be detected by a camera (or if they are it might already be too late).
For that reason, I have researched a number of other security measures you can take to help make the world around you feel a lot safer.
The following two sensors will act as an additional security measure to your current system, or work as a stand-alone option.
If you would like to find out more about how the above sensors work and what other types there are on the market, feel free to take a look at my informational page on different forced entry detection sensors or read the reviews.
The next in line for this section deals with threats that are not necessarily caused by humans. In fact, there are a good many items around the home and workplace that could be a potential hazard to your life.
Again, if you would like to know more about how the above safety measures can help your “indoor” life far safer, take a look at my informational page on different threat detection sensors or read the reviews.
Going Back to Security…
I have also thought about those of you that don’t necessarily feel the need for a whole surveillance system or indeed, only want to protect certain precious things in your life. For that reason, you can find some useful reviews on the following:
- Home Safes (reviews here)
Perfect for valuables such as important documents, jewelry and money.
- Baby Monitors (reviews here)
The reason behind these reviews is obvious, because nothing is more precious than a child.
- Dummy Cameras (reviews here)
These are a very cheap alternative to the “real” thing and you’ll be surprised at just how much of a deterrent they can be.
I know not everyone who visits my website will know exactly what they’re looking for. In fact, you could just be a little curious about the whole world of video surveillance and all things “security”. So just for you, I’ve added a few informational pages that will hopefully help enlighten you or indeed, help you decide what type of security system you need.
- Why CCTV Is Important – For everyone who cannot understand why this industry is booming.
- Common Sense Security – Once you’re read through this section, you might find you won’t need certain products you have been thinking about purchasing.
- Home Security Facts – If you’re not convinced there is any need for at least one or two additional security measures around the home, perhaps these facts will help you understand.
- Wireless Vs Wired – This can be a bit confusing for people who are new to this type of security so hopefully the information here will help.
- Different Types of Security Camera Again, this can be confusing if you’re not “in the know” so the information here might help you decide which type of camera will suit you best.
A Final Few Words
There is a LOT of information to take in here, and I completely understand if you’ve literally whizzed through parts of my homepage instead of reading everything. However, as you’ve probably gathered the subject of security is wide and varied and I have done my best to include both products and information that will suit everyone.
All that’s left to be said is that I hope you at least come away from my creation with more of an insight into the dangers that lurk in our everyday world and what you can do to help stop various undesirables from ruining your week.
Enjoy – Your fellow security “nut” Amanda.