Which IP camera suits your home use?
An wireless security camera, or smart webcam, is unlike a normal camera or webcam. So how do you know what type of camera will suit your needs for monitoring around the home? Whether it is an indoor cam or an outdoor cam, there are key factors that will decide which model is best suited for your needs. We test these cameras based on how you would use them at home. Our test scenario takes into account each camera's performance in normal and low-light conditions, as well as the all-important ease of installation and use.
All the tests and procedures described in this article are carried out by our professional in-house computer test experts, who take into account not just the technical performance of the wireless security camera but also how easy it is to set up and use.
Our overall score takes into account camera performance (60%) and ease of use (40%).
- Performance (60%) We test the cameras perform in daylight and low-light conditions, to assess how well they show clarity and contrast at close range (2m) and across the room (4m) and how well they show a person, objects and graphics/text. The clearer the quality, the better the score and images scored worse when the picture was highly blurred, patchy, or over-exposed.
- Ease of use (40%) The ease of set-up and use of a camera is determined by an evaluated installation (30%) and the ease with which motion could be reported to the user (recording and motion – 70%). A camera scores highly for installation if the steps to connect the hardware are simple (for example, just using a mobile app over Wi-Fi), and if no user intervention is required to access the cameras remotely over the internet.
Cameras also score highly if they send an email with a screenshot attached when they detect motion (up to 20%), but are also awarded points for plain alerts (emails and push notifications on smartphones – 15% and 10%, respectively).
We give points for manual image and video recording (5%), cloud storage uploads (20%), and auto-recording of images and video regardless of them being sent via email (15% for each, respectively).
CHOICE applies the following interpretation to the scores achieved in our tests. When we describe a result as "excellent", "poor" etc, it usually relates directly to a numerical score in that range.
- 0 – 24 Very poor
- 25 – 45 Poor
- 46 – 54 Borderline
- 55 – 69 OK
- 70 – 79 Good
- 80 – 89 Very good
- 90 – 100 Excellent
Ready to buy?
See our latest test results for wireless security cameras.