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Get the Most Out of Your Home Security Cameras: 6 Quick Tips


Chris Monroe / CNET

Depending on your neighborhood, you may see more and more home security cameras popping up these days. That’s because these cameras have become ridiculously affordable in recent years and they provide a great, simple entry point to connected home security. Add in that these devices are easier than ever to install, and there are dozens of options on the market specifically tailored to your needs (including video doorbells, indoor and outdoor cameras), and suddenly you might be wondering why everyone does not have a smart camera.

But if you̵

7;ve bought a home security camera, the question remains, how do you get the most out of it? Home security cameras can have a lot of features to get lost in, so we’re here to help you find what’s really most useful to you.

Find the right place to put your camera

People invest in home security cameras for a variety of reasons. It could be because porch pirates stole your packages, or because you want to keep an eye on your kids when they’re home alone. So the question is, given your specific purpose, where should you put your security camera?

If you have a video doorbell, Ring recommends mounting it 48 inches (4 ft.) Above the ground. It allows you to capture the faces of potential visitors, as well as see packages left at the door. If you are primarily concerned with packet monitoring, it may be worth considering more expensive video doorbells with wider lenses, such as Arlo’s excellent appliances

If you are using a video surveillance camera that is not a video doorbell to monitor your entrances, it should be placed above a window or door frame, facing down to cover the area a few feet in front of the opening if you want to track deliveriesAlso check the range of your camera: you want the widest possible outdoor angle, and ideally an aspect ratio of 1: 1 as well.


Video doorbells provide useful monitoring if you’re concerned about porch pirates stealing your packages.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Indoor cameras can be used for a variety of purposes. Again, if you want to monitor the general activity of, say, kids in the house, putting a wide-angle camera in the corner should work. If you want to monitor entrances for security purposes, a device with a narrower lens, perhaps with night vision, is the best option.

Regardless, it’s a good idea to keep indoor security cameras away from private areas to avoid invasions of privacy.

Make sure to record

At this point you have probably understood that people have different motives for buying a security camera. Let’s talk about a reason that, unfortunately, is all too common. During the coronavirus pandemic (and even before), people had more parcels delivered than usual, and with it, there has been an increase in parcel theft. While a live stream can help you monitor the act in the process, submitting the evidence to the police won’t help you if it’s not recorded.

While it may seem like a cinch to make sure the footage your home security captures is recorded, many cameras simply don’t have cloud storage or a storage chip or SIM card. For example, if you’re using Ring or Arlo devices, you’ll need to purchase a $ 3 / month subscription along with the camera to access their cloud storage. Some devices, such as Wyze’s cameras, have slots for SIM cards.

Check your motion detection sensitivity settings

Nothing is more annoying than constant push notifications on your phone because the tree in your front yard is blowing in the wind. On the other hand, it would be incredibly frustrating to buy an expensive video doorbell just when a package is stolen right outside your door without any notice.


Many video doorbells allow you to select specific zones to monitor for motion and ignore others.

Chris Monroe / CNET

The home security video camera cannot work optimally just by recording and / or recording video. While these features certainly help in identifying a burglar, it doesn’t do too much to deter them from taking their intended actions.

Motion detectors are very useful on security cameras, if only to let you know that someone is walking to your door with a package. Some cameras only provide people alerts, package alerts, or a camera to view / address your pet. With ring cameras – and more – you can adjust the sensitivity of motion detection and set a schedule to turn off alerts when you know certain people are going in or out.

You can also customize your notification panel for many cameras so that you receive notifications when there is movement in front of your door, but not on the sidewalk behind it.

Set up (the correct) notifications

Motion detection is an important security feature on home security cameras, but different types of motion can mean different things. And sometimes you don’t want motion to buzz your phone. Planning, as mentioned above, is a good first step. But you may also want to receive certain types of notifications at certain times: you can have your phone more in the evenings, for example, but email notifications may be best during the day. Or different users in the same house can be at home for different parts of the day.

Depending on the type of camera you have, you can adjust these notification settings in the camera app.

Connect to other smart devices in the home

In most cases, all notifications you receive from your home security camera will be sent to your smartphone. But you can also connect your home security camera to other smart devices in the house, for example by calling up a live stream on your Amazon Echo or Nest Hub Max when someone rings the doorbell.

nest hub owl lamp desk

More security cameras than ever work with smart home devices, such as smart displays.

Dale Smith / CNET

Some cameras also work with voice assistants in other ways: uses Alexa for smart responses to visitors who ring the bell.

Find out more about the special benefits of your camera

Finally, to get the most out of your home security camera, do some research on the unique capabilities of your devices. While many home security cameras share features, most have something that sets them apart from the competition. Some of the common or less common features you’ll see include:

  • Night vision
  • Two-way conversation
  • Wide angle lenses or unusual aspect ratios (useful for video doorbells)
  • Floodlights
  • Integration with other smart home devices
  • Free cloud storage (although this is becoming increasingly rare)
  • Weather protection for outdoor equipment
  • Smart alerts (distinguish between packages, people, pets and other things)
  • Professional monitoring
  • Radar

If you haven’t bought a device yet, it’s also worth thinking about which features are most important to you. And if so, you can use it more efficiently by finding out what features are available on your existing device.

it comes down to

Home security cameras can be a great addition to your overall home security plan. By following the tips above, you can really get the most out of your home security camera along with the usual home security practices.

To learn more about your options, read about CNET’s Recommended video doorbells outdoor cameras and indoor cameras

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