A wireless home security camera is designed to keep an eye on your home when you're not there. But how do you know what type of camera to buy? Whether it's an indoor camera or a weatherproof outdoor camera, there are many factors that can help you decide which model best suits your home monitoring needs.
We test these cameras based on how you'd 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.
In this article:
All the tests and procedures described in this article are carried out by our professional in-house computer testing 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% of the total score)
We test how 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% of the total score)
We test the ease of use of both the set-up and the use of a camera. The ease of use score is made up of:
- An evaluated installation (30% of the ease of use score).
- A recording and motion assessment (70% of the ease of use score).
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 score highest on the recording and motion assessment if they send an email with a screenshot attached when they detect motion, but are also awarded points for plain alerts emails and push notifications on smartphones. We give points for manual image and video recording, cloud storage uploads, and auto-recording of images and video regardless of them being sent via email.
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
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.