What to Know About Outdoor Security Cameras

The outside of a modern Utah home in winter with snow on the ground.

Look for These Key Features

One of the best ways to monitor and protect your home and property is with outdoor security cameras. Previously this month, we discussed three essential features of home security cameras. This month, we want to discuss some of the differences between indoor and outdoor cameras. To be fair, they are going to be quite similar. But you might be swayed by easy-to-install DIY camera systems with a long list of features. Some features are useful, but a few core ones might be missing. After all, if your camera takes a break and doesn't capture an important event, how does it help?

Keep reading to learn what you should look for in outdoor cameras for your Salt Lake City, UT, home.

SEE ALSO: Monitor Your Home from Anywhere with a Security Camera System

Outdoor IP Ratings

Outdoor cameras need to stand up to the elements, be they heat, cold, rain, dust, or snow. In Utah, you have to worry about extremes in all these areas. Most cameras fall into standard IP (ingress protection) ratings of IP65 to IP67. The first 6 means it is dust tight, while the second number, like 5, 6, or 7, represents its protection from water intrusion. 5 means it can withstand a water jet like a hose with limited intrusion, 6 can withstand heavy rain or jets, and 7 means it could take a dunk underwater for up to 90 seconds. Naturally, the higher the rating, the better, but cameras vary depending on where they are designed to be installed. At a minimum, you want an IP65 rating or better. 

High Resolution and Night Vision

Higher resolution may be more important outdoors versus indoors. You may be monitoring a wide area with each camera, and detected movement might be farther away. With a high-resolution camera, you capture more detail in the recording and can zoom in clearly to identify a person, vehicle, or object. 

Night vision is essential for outdoor cameras. Some cameras have IR detection for night vision, and the best outdoor cameras employ special sensors that are better at capturing images in low light. For commercial-level night vision, thermal cameras can see even in foggy, hazy, or smoky environments where other cameras falter. 

Wired Connections

Battery-powered wireless cameras with Wi-Fi connectivity are hugely popular in DIY consumer solutions. It's easy to see why; they can be installed anywhere without needing power or network wiring. We strongly recommend against them. 

First, batteries need to be replaced or recharged routinely, and some camera locations will be hard to access. Second, battery-powered cameras don't work well for continuous recording—batteries simply wear out too quickly. Third, Wi-Fi connections are not a good idea for outdoor cameras or security cameras in general. Professional cameras are installed with one ethernet cable that can provide both power and network connectivity. A wired connection offers more robust connectivity and continuous power with no batteries to wear out. What happens with a power outage? You can have your whole system on a battery backup (including the network video recorder) for a solution that keeps working to protect your home. 


Want a higher level of security and protection for your Utah home? Get started by contacting the experts at Show & Tell AV Solutions today! We would love to work with you.

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