So you’ve decided to outfit your home with security cameras. How many do you need, and where do you install them? Should you monitor the interior of the house as well as the outside? And what about the legality of all this?
Home security cameras can introduce so many queries, it may be difficult to know exactly where to begin. To help answer some of these bigger questions, we spoke to numerous experts to guide you through the planning and installation process.
Outdoor Security Cameras
Experts agree that there’s no hard rule about how many cameras you should have outside, since every home and property is different. The key is to cover every realistic entry point to the home, both doors and windows, as well as anything you might need to keep an eye on, such as your car or RV parked in the driveway. For most homes, three or four outdoor cameras is usually sufficient without being cost-prohibitive.
One type of camera deserves special mention. “Doorbell cameras can be a big asset,” says Shane Hughes, smart home operations manager for AAA Smart Home, Northern California, who notes that these are the most popular cameras he is currently installing. “With all the packages being delivered and the ability to have two-way audio so you don’t necessarily have to answer the door,” doorbell cameras can do double (or triple) duty, notes Hughes.
Traditional outdoor security cameras can also serve multiple functions. While almost every outdoor camera sold today includes an infrared night vision mode, cameras are increasingly available with powerful floodlights built in, which can be set to shine when motion is detected. The camera itself won’t be visible at night (and thus not a deterrent), but a sudden blinding light may be enough to send a potential intruder running—while giving you a clearer look at what’s happening.