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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

Wireless Or Wired Security Cameras: Which Is Better?

by Taylor December 12, 2022

How safe is your home?

What kind of anti-burglary measures have you implemented? What’s stopping anyone from coming inside and taking your things? The answer is, of course, your home security.

You probably have good locks on your front door, but how is the rest of your security? And have you considered upgrading it further?

A security camera is a great way to keep your home safe. It’s hard to be a sneaky thief when you know someone’s watching, and most burglars balk at homes with visible cameras.

Security cameras come in two varieties – wired and wireless. It’s easy to look at the two and conclude that wireless cameras are more high-tech and, therefore, better, but there’s more nuance to them than that. There are reasons that either wired or wireless security cameras would work better for you.

Here’s an overview of the pros and cons of wireless or wired security cameras. After looking over your situation, you should be able to determine which one is best and make the right camera purchasing decision.

So what’s better? Wireless or wired security cameras? To answer that question, we will cover a few different aspects of the following topics:

  1. Wired Cameras
  2. Wireless Cameras
  3. Choose Your Camera

Wired Cameras

When it comes to choosing wireless or wired security cameras, wired cameras are a solid option. Wired cameras are older technology but are overall known for being robust and reliable. They come with some variations in setup and use.

Wired cameras use ethernet or coaxial cables to connect to the internet. They usually plug right into your DVR or NVR. The DVR uses the coaxial cable and a second ethernet cable to connect to the internet, while the NVR only needs the ethernet. The NVR cameras are generally of higher quality and can include features like two-way audio and motion detection.

Some wired cameras are charged through outlets, while others must have cables hardwired to your home’s electrical. You often download an app to view your camera footage, which typically records everything 24/7.

Pros

  • They’re more reliable since they’re not subject to fluctuating WiFi signals.
  • Due to this stronger connection, they tend to have higher video and audio quality.
  • Hackers can’t target them.
  • When it comes to the price of wireless or wired security cameras, wired cameras are cheaper (although there’s a caveat, discussed below.)
  • Some have alarms that go off when the wire’s cut by a criminal.

Cons

  • Generally outdated and can’t do things like connect to smart hubs.
  • Wired security cameras are far more expensive to set up.
  • They can’t cluster together because they’ll have an impeded view and tangled wires. This makes the setup more complicated.
  • They tend to struggle during power outages. They do often have backup batteries that last a few hours after power cuts off, but after any extended time, the batteries will stop working.

Wireless Cameras

The term “wireless” doesn’t necessarily mean that it has no wires – it just means it has a wireless connection to the internet. Some still plug into outlets, while others, called “wire-free” cameras, use batteries.

Wireless cameras can store their footage over the cloud or use a local SD card. They usually only activate when they sense motion or sound, as they have limited power and can’t be on all the time. That said, some of the ones that are plugged in do record 24/7.

Wire-free cameras need their batteries replaced regularly, although some will notify you when the battery is low. Others use rechargeable batteries, so you don’t need to buy a bunch of batteries.

The features wireless cameras come with vary. Many of them use two-way audio, meaning you can both hear and communicate through them. Night vision is also standard. You can often connect to smart hubs and control them with your voice. They also sometimes come with two-factor authentication for extra security, although some insecure ones don’t even come with encryption features.

Pros

  • When installing wireless or wired security cameras, wireless is much easier to install. You can basically put these cameras anywhere. Some can even sit on top of your desk.
  • Extremely portable. Great for renters and other people planning on moving eventually.
  • They sometimes come with eco-friendly solar panels for outdoor camera use.
  • You can cluster them together easier.

Cons

  • You often need to pay monthly fees to access your video.
  • Bad connections mean lower video quality. You sometimes need to have them set up close to a router to ensure a strong enough connection.
  • When it comes to the reach of wireless or wired security cameras, wireless lacks a lot. The signals don’t reach very far, sometimes going less than 150 feet.
  • While WiFi signals can pass through drywall and wall studs, brick and other more solid surfaces stop them.
  • Power outages can still take down wireless cameras that are not wire-free.
  • Devices like baby monitors can interfere with their signals.

How To Choose Between The Two

So, when it comes to wireless or wired security cameras, which is better? Which should you ultimately choose?

The camera you go with depends on how committed you need to be. Can you shell out a lot of money for a security system? Or is this more of a temporary thing? How mobile does your security system need to be? You need to ask these before getting wireless or wired security cameras.

If you own your residence and can afford a large expense in the short term, go for wired security cameras. They’re generally more reliable and ultimately worth the intensive installation process.

If you can’t commit to that investment, wireless security cameras work well too. If you’re only renting your place or can’t afford expensive installation, picking up a portable wireless security camera will do fine. But remember that monthly payments on those will eventually add up.

Overall, both types of cameras are great security options. Wireless security cameras have better technology and can save data on the cloud rather than locally, so they can’t be attacked physically like wired cameras. On the other hand, wired cameras have a more reliable signal and quality and aren’t vulnerable to digital attacks like wireless cameras.

There’s no clear superior winner – if you need camera security, both do the job just fine. Consider your circumstances and whether wireless or wired security cameras fit them better.

FAQs

Are wired or wireless security cameras cheaper?

Wired security cameras are less expensive than wireless, but you must factor in the installation process. You can install a wireless camera quite easily, but wired security camera installation gets pricey – it can easily be in the thousands of dollars.

Another factor to consider is that wireless security cameras often include monthly storage payments, while wired cameras are typically a one-time purchase. Overall, though, wireless cameras are cheaper.

Which is better, wired or wireless security cameras?

Wireless or wired security cameras both work for different needs. Wired security cameras have better video quality and are immune to hackers, but they’re also expensive and nearly impossible to move around. You probably shouldn’t get a wired system if you’re a renter.

On the other hand, wireless systems are much cheaper and easier to move from place to place. They also have features like smart hub compatibility. The downside is that they’re prone to hackers and often have spotty video quality.

What is better for keeping away burglars, wired or wireless security cameras?

You can use both to burglar-proof your home. Some thieves may know how to cut the wires on wired security cameras without setting off alarms, but this usually just activates their backup battery and doesn’t disable it.

Tech-savvy burglars can hack into wireless cameras, but a vast majority of burglars won’t know how to do this and won’t be able to use it to their advantage. Wireless or wired security cameras are both pretty good at stopping burglars.

Conclusion

It can be hard to decide between wireless or wired security cameras. You have to consider many different factors and figure out how each of these factors applies to you.

What kind of installation can you afford? How about energy usage? How many need to come together in one place? Are power outages a risk? Do you need to connect to a smart hub? If so, get a wireless camera. Wireless cameras have a much easier installation process, solar-powered options, power-outage resistance, the ability to be clustered, and smart hub connection.

Do you need to avoid regular monthly fees for your video? How important is quality? How far do you need your cameras spread out? Will walls surround the cameras? Are there devices that might interfere with a WiFi signal? Is hacking a risk? If so, get wired cameras. Wired cameras have no monthly fees, high-quality footage, wide range, work even when surrounded by walls and WiFi devices, and can’t be hacked.

These are some considerations to make when choosing wireless or wired security cameras. Rest assured, there are so many options that you’ll likely find a camera that works best for you and your home. You’ll have a more secure home in no time, and burglars will think twice before trying to steal from you.

Category: Safety & Security, Smart Home

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