Guide to Buying the Right Security Camera for You

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Guide to Buying the Right Security Camera for You

Security cameras are not used much differently now than when they were first developed. While the intended use of security cameras has not changed, the technological advances have vastly increased the performance of security cameras as well as increased the range of options and features available. In addition to being used for crime prevention they can also be used to monitor traffic, industrial processes, and other purposes. They are used in homes, businesses, as well as government agencies. There is a security camera that is suited to each specific application depending on the user's needs. Therefore, the features a buyer should look for in a security camera needs to be matched to the user's intended purpose.

Security cameras can be purchased at electronics stores and through private security companies, however, eBay may provide a wider range of options, features, and prices than a traditional retail store. Prospective buyers should focus on narrowing their intended use of the security camera to determine which type and features are the most effective for them.

Types of Connections for Security Cameras

There are two main types of security camera, wireless security cameras and wired security cameras. Both types of cameras have different strengths and weaknesses. The type of security camera depends solely on what the buyer's intended use is.

Wired Security Cameras

A wired security camera is generally more reliable because there is virtually no chance of interference other than a physical cutting of the wire. Wireless security cameras provide high video quality, and are typically less expensive than their wireless counterparts. Also, since a wired security camera is physically connected to the monitor which it is displayed on, it typically does not require a local power source. One point to consider is that installation of a wired security camera can be more complicated than a wireless security camera because a physical wire must be run from the camera to the display. Depending on how far away the the camera resides from the display, this can present a problematic challenge.

Wireless Security Cameras

Wireless security cameras are more expensive but do not require the physical connection for the video transmission. In addition, wireless security cameras often require a clear line of sight in order to transmit the video back to the display and also have distance limitations. This means that the security camera must be relatively close to the place it is transmitting to as well as no physical obstructions between the wireless security cameras and the display. Also, although wireless security cameras eliminate the need for a physical connection between the camera and the display, they often require a local power source since it can not draw power from the display itself since it lacks a physical connection to it. Just as the wired security camera presents a challenge in terms of physically connecting the camera to the display, it may be equally as problematic to find a local power source for a wireless security camera. Other issues can include maintaining a clear line of sight as well as keeping the camera close enough to the display to avoid any interference with the signal.

Styles of Security Cameras

Some people prefer their security cameras to be highly visible and act as a deterrent for potential crime. In fact, if the intended use of the camera is to simply act as a deterrent, a "dummy" or fake security cameramay present the most effective option. In the case of fake security cameras, the buyer only pays for the camera body and none of the associated technology. This makes for a much cheaper option, but also sacrifices any actual security other than the potential deterrent effect. Other popular styles include CCTV security cameras, dome security cameras, ptz security cameras, and spy security cameras.

CCTV Security Cameras

CCTV stands for closed-circuit television, which simply means the broadcast signal is not openly transmitted and is only available on a closed circuit. Typically, CCTV security cameras are the largest and most obvious choice. CCTV security cameras may be the most familiar of cameras typically sold in retail stores. Due to their large size and appearance, they provide the same deterrent effect as fake security cameras while also providing actual video. Popular features of a CCTV security camera include infrared technology, wide angle viewing, high-definition video, as well as weatherproof and vandalproof options.

Fake security cameras and CCTV security cameras are used contemporaneously because they can provide the appearance of heavy security while only a few of the cameras may actually be recording. CCTV security cameras can also be referred to as "full body" and or "box" cameras and are commonly sold without a lens. Some buyers see this as an advantage because it allows them to select their own lens best suited to their intended use, while others see it as problematic because they prefer a more straightforward purchase. CCTV security cameras can be either wireless or wired.

Dome Security Cameras

Dome security cameras are nearly identical to CCTV security cameras except for one major aesthetic difference, which is that they are dome shaped. This provides much more flexibility and versatility in terms of where they can be placed, and they are also not usually as noticeable as standard "box" cameras. Dome security cameras are available with virtually all of the same features available to CCTV security cameras, making for a high quality and multi-functional device. Dome security cameras generally include a lens, and do not require mounting equipment since they are generally lightweight and can be placed virtually anywhere.

Point/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) Security Cameras

PTZ security cameras are similar to "full-body" CCTV security cameras in terms of appearance, but have the distinguishing feature of movement. Often used in applications requiring higher levels of security such as banks or casinos, PTZ security cameras can be moved and adjusted through the use of a remote control. This gives the operator a broader viewing range because they are able to manually direct the camera to point in a certain direction, tilt upwards or downwards, or zoom in or out.

Further, PTZ security cameras can be programmed to scan over a broad range by moving back and forth in a set pattern. In addition, some of the more expensive models are capable of motion detection, and track movements over and through a specified area if desired.

Spy Security Cameras

Spy security cameras are cleverly designed to be camouflaged from unknown viewers. There is no specific design across the board because spy security cameras generally require some level of customisation. Some of the more typical spy security cameras are coloured to blend in with their surroundings, but other more sophisticated models are built within children's toys, plants, or other common household items. Spy security cameras are also sold as a basic camera, which the buyer can then install in a variety of items.

Security Camera Features

Depending on what the buyer's intended use is, there are a variety of features that should be considered. Infrared security cameras allow the camera to see during both day and night. Some users may also want wide angle or an HD security camera. Buyers also need to decide if they need a colour security camera or if simple black-and-white will suffice. All of these features are available on all the different types of security cameras, however, depending which type a buyer chooses, these features greatly impact the overall cost of the device.

Infrared Vision

Infrared security cameras provide thermal imaging, which allows the camera to "see" equally well in both light and dark conditions. While this type of camera is optimal for use in high security applications with poor lighting, it also does not provide normal imaging. That is, the entire video can only be viewed as a thermal video which has poor resolution and alternative colouring compared to traditional video.

Wide-Angle Viewing

Wide-angle security cameras can cover up to six times the area of a normal security camera. While wide angle security cameras are typically more expensive, they can actually be more cost effective because you may only need one wide angle security camera to cover the same area as six traditional security cameras. Another consideration is that installing one camera is significantly less costly than installing six.

High Definition

HD security cameras provide the highest possible video resolution. High definition security cameras can be extremely expensive. However, buyers may find this option necessary if their intended surveillance needs to be highly detailed. This provides the clearest video and is often used to record extremely specific images such as license plates.


Colour security cameras provide colour video. At this point in time colour video is a fairly standard option, however black and white security cameras are still available at a reduced cost. A colour security camera allows the recording to be more detailed but again, may not make sense depending on what the buyer's intended use for the product is.

How to Buy a Security Camera on eBay

eBay is an ideal place to begin a search for the security camera that is right for you because of their wide and varied selection. Begin your search by typing "security camera" in the search box available on every page throughout the website. You can also type in different features that you find desirable if you have already narrowed down the features or type of security camera that best suits your needs. If you haven't narrowed it down, the search allows you to narrow the options by selecting different types, features, or price range.

There are also a variety of methods for purchasing products on eBay, which include buy-it-now and auction options. Finally, since most security cameras are relatively small, shipping is generally not overly problematic. However, it should also be determined which method of shipping is used in order to avoid any complications during the shipping process.


Security cameras are a great way to provide additional security and peace of mind to the buyer. They allow the user to not only record activity at a sensitive location such as their home or business, but can also provide significant deterrent effects for potential criminals. There is an extremely broad range of styles and features available on security cameras, which makes it critical that the user determine how the security camera is used before deciding on one to purchase.

Some of the more expensive models and features, while attractive, may not be practical or desirable for all users. Further, some features are necessary to be useful for certain applications. Security camera applications range from high-security areas such as casinos and banks to home surveillance and can even be used to monitor service-providers such as babysitters or other contractors. While traditional electronics retailers may provide a good introduction to the security cameras available on the market today, eBay has an impressive range of all types and features.

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