Are Wireless Home Security Cameras Any Good?

Wireless Home Securities are all the rage right now.   One of the most popular questions we get is “Are Wireless home security cameras any good?”   There are a ton of brands and their features range from a simple camera and an app to a full home security system.   We thought we’d ask our readers what they thought.

As with this process it’s a good idea to review the critieria of what you want.  As we did in our post, 3 questions to consider before for DIY security in 2018. 

Two of the most popular brands are Nest and Logitech.  Both brands have great cameras and claim to offer everything you’d ever want.  However, their app reviews are lacking and leave you wanting more.

For the unitiated, the app reviews say that the apps freeze or don’t load up at all.  There area several complaints on this.

One reader was adamant about the Nest line, however, saying,

“I will say I am blown away by the NEST Q so far. It has a super wide angle lens and clarity has been great. Today I used the Away Assist feature which uses your cellphone to know when to turn the cameras on or off, otherwise you get notifications of yourself all day. I left the house and the cameras turned on, I came back and it captured my entrance then turned itself off. I then went online to see my video clip.” Jean Campbell of Davenport Florida.

One of the biggest factors in how well these will work is the amount of wireless network traffic in your neighborhood. Performance will be affected greatly by interference from other WiFi signal sources. In addition, they will consume significant radio bandwidth.  So in essence you could be protecting your home but blocking your wi-fi.  The more cameras you have, the more frequencies they’ll occupy and because of that, the more likely they are to interfere with your ability to connect other devices to your WiFi network.

One brand to consider is Foscam.   One reader says this,

“Foscam cameras and have three of them at the moment. I use my own server to record using dedicated software. They’ve been running for about 5 years now. That is the brand I would recommend.” – John Dixon, San Antonio Texas

Another brand is Arlo systems, but they aren’t cheap.  Arlo systems carry a premium price because they truly are fully wireless. They’re also weather resistant so can be used outdoors. Besides the issues and bugs there’s the disadvantages of having to continually replace the batteries and you’re stuck with recording to their cloud service. That should be offered as an option but not the sole means because any downtime with the cloud service and you have no recordings. Also the first version had horrible delay in triggering the recording. So bad that often what triggered it is long gone.

Arlo gives you 7 days free storage while Nest’s cheapest package is $5 per camera per month for 5 days of storage. Other longer options are also available.

Ring is another popular option but outside of the doorbell and an outside camera, it’s not a true wireless home security system.

Simplisafe was mentioned when we went to create this post but at the time Simplisafe didn’t offer any specific camera hardware for their wireless system.

Our final review is for one called “Abode.”

What I like about this system is that there are NO MONTHLY FEES. The system is considered “self-monitored” meaning that if the alarm is tripped, all parties are notified on cell phones. You can monitor the cameras right from your phone.  It’s then up to you to decide what to do from there. If you want central-monitoring you can get it from Abode or from others, making it a good choice here in Saskatoon.  They will also provide central-monitoring for short periods of time, like if you’re going out of town for a week.

You can have interior motion detectors with cameras on them so you can see who set off the alarm. You can also capture stills from any of the cameras at any time and download them to your phone. Of course, you can also have all the doors and windows protected with switches as well. You can customize notifications to alert you to doors opening or closing, if there is motion detected, alarms, and more. It’s all configurable and totally up to you. The system also has automation features so you can automatically lock the doors and arm my system when you leave the house, disarm the system and open the garage door when you return home, turn certain lights on when an alarm is tripped or if a given door is opened, etc.

Of course, most of this equipment must be purchased and installed like any other system.

There are also integration capabilities with Nest, Amazon Echo, Z-Wave, Zigbee, IFTTT, and more. The system also has 3G cellular backup (optional, monthly fee). The system includes a built-in battery backup so that the alarm system will remain online in the event of power outage for up to 10 hours.

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