Smart security cameras: do you really need them?

Are smart security cameras a necessary purchase? We assess the pros and cons to help you decide if you need smart home security

smart security cameras: Ring Indoor Cam
(Image credit: Ring)

Are smart security cameras a necessary purchase? And will they really help enhance your home security? While home security was once a luxury only required by the rich and famous, evolutions in technology and falling price points mean that security cameras are now much more accessible to everyday folk, like us. But does that mean we need to buy them?

TechRadar's Gerald Lynch looks at why you might want smart security cameras, cutting through the jargon to deliver you the facts. Decided they're the homes security solution for you? We've written a guide to the best security cameras to help you find a solution that fits your requirements.

Why might you need smart security cameras?

1. Smart security cameras allow you to keep an eye on your home from any location

Thanks to smart technology, it's now possible to connect your smart security cameras to your smart phone, allowing you to keep an eye on your home from any location. 

And advances in connected mobile technology make their key features incredibly attractive and versatile – most camera systems can detect movement, sending their owners a mobile notification of unexpected activity.

Along with the mobile notification comes a live video feed of what’s going on direct to a smartphone. This can act as a ‘silent alarm,’ allowing you to contact the police without the intruder being aware.

2. Smart security cameras act as a deterrent 

Research suggests that security cameras – whether smart or otherwise – can actively deter criminal opportunists from committing crimes. In fact, some police forces have even been known to hand out security cameras in a bid to help reduce crime rates.

So, if you're concerned about crime in your local area, or want to protect your home as best as possible, investing in security cameras is an option worth considering.

3. Smart security cameras give you immediate control

'In the past, if the worst happened and your home was broken into while you were away, you had to hope the alarms were working properly, and that a friendly neighbour would notify the police,' says Rob Wells, VP of Arlo Technologies, which makes security camera systems like the Arlo Pro 2 and Arlo Q.

But now, smart camera systems are enabling homeowners to take control of their own security, sending immediate alerts and footage to their phone or tablet so they can make a quick decision about the best follow-up course of action to take.

4. Smart security cameras can capture video evidence

Capturing video footage of your home means that, should you be burgled, you can rest assured that you've got video evidence of the crime, and the potential to identify the criminal.

That’s before considering other uses, like tracking the arrival of a delivery while you’re at work – the best video doorbells are perfect for this – or even keeping an eye on pets and local wildlife too.

How much do smart home security cameras cost?

As the prevalence of high resolution camera equipment has spread over the past decade, the price of these systems has fallen dramatically too. As a guide we'd suggest you can expect to pay the following amounts:

  • For less than a hundred pounds, you can invest in a single camera or video doorbell to monitor your home from one perspective.
  • For a few hundred pounds you can have a 24/7 feed of your entire property, in HD video quality, with systems so easy to install that you can set them up yourself without a pricey installation fee.

What you will have to consider, however, is a fee for the video service itself. Most smart cameras store your video in the cloud over the internet to protect it from data loss or damage, and depending on whether you want a few days or a few months' worth of recordings stored online, charge a monthly fee accordingly.

What are the best smart security cameras?

Picking out the right smart security cameras for you is essential if you're serious about protecting your home from potential intruders. Find our favourite options below, including video doorbells, stick up cameras and more.

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Gerald is Home Tech Editor for the UK's largest tech site, TechRadar. When he isn't writing about the latest tech he is living it and can often be found gaming (but only on a 4K HDR screen with 7.1 surround sound of course...)