What makes for the best indoor security camera 2015?
Ridiculously massive resolutions, super-fast wifi connectivity and the night-vision of a high-developed owl are all great to have, but what do you really need for your indoor security camera usage?
Applications for an indoor security camera
Since prices have dropped on dedicated indoor IP cams in 2015 and manufacturers have realised the demand for cameras in our connected homes. what kinds of applications do you want to get out of your device?
Depending on your needs, you could save money, or may need to bump up the budget to get the security camera features your require for in your home.
Indoor security cameras can be useful for passively monitoring your property, such as:
- Rooms inside your home or business
- Out-buildings like sheds, garages and stables
- Holiday residences like caravans and cottages
- Watching outside areas like your garden or porch, but through a window
Do remember that any security camera has got to be secondary to your regular ‘target hardening’.
So good locks, strong windows and doors, great lighting and a decent alarm system should be in place before considering your indoor security camera options.
A very popular option for baby monitoring these days is to go all-out and get a camera system too.
Whilst there are a few baby monitors with cameras available, indoor security cameras can offer the same suite of features, and potentially much more bang for your buck.
Some baby monitor manufacturers have been a bit sneaky and hobbled their dedicated devices with meagre resolutions or ho-hum connectivity options.
Take a look through the indoor security camera market, and you may be surprised that you can get 1080P resolutions, high-quality 2-way audio and remote viewing options.
And then you can re-purpose the baby monitor as a surveillance cam for the house when your kids grow up, and start getting sneaky.
Elderly family members
Indoor security cameras can really offer huge peace-of-mind when it comes to elderly family members.
Perhaps you have a mum or dad living on their own and coping with a long-term health condition. Being able to remote view an area of their home can be a big reassurance if you’re worried about them falling over or getting into trouble.
An indoor IP cam can even give them independence for longer, knowing that you can check on them if need be.
Indoor security cameras to watch an elderly family member naturally need the homeowner’s permission, and visitors should be made aware that you might be recording. This is especially true if care assistants are dropping by, although simple surveillance cameras have been shown to encourage better behaviours when people know their being watched.
What does your dog or cat get up to all day when your at work?
Pet cameras or pet cams are perhaps more popular across the Pond in the States than they are here in the UK. However British pet owners are cluing on to how easy it is to buy an indoor security camera and keep dabs on their pets when their at work.
If your stuck for a present and you know their a pet lover, an indoor IP camera can make a great, fun gift. And best of all, you can get some indoor security cameras with two-way audio, letting you call your pet and chat to them when needed.
Down off that sofa!
And with a sick pet, a camera trained on their bed through the night or when you go out in the day can be a good way of supporting your dog or cat when you just can’t stay in the house.
Positioning an indoor security camera
Do have a little think about exactly where you want your indoor camera to go.
Most are wireless cameras but you still need a power cable plugged into the back to keep the device juiced.
If you’re looking to capture footage for security purposes, consider pointing the camera away from a window or directly at a light source, to get a more consistent picture.
Indoor security cameras come with a range of different stands and mounts too. If positioning your camera above a baby’s cot is a priority, consider a model that has wall-mounting options.
Features to look for in an indoor security camera
It may seem like there’s a bewildering number of features and options to choose from on these indoor cameras, but the basic elements are like many digital cameras:
- Resolution : measured in megapixels, this is the number of individual pixels making up a single shot or movie frame from the camera. A horizontal pixel count of 640 is poor, 720p is common, and good cameras can push 1080p high-definition or better
- Wireless : almost all the indoor camera cameras you can buy, barring the dome cameras, will be wireless. Look for the Wifi standards supported, as the N and AC wireless cameras starting to emerge to give you a more robust network connection, and can push through data faster
- Audio : want to listen and talk back to whoever’s in the camera field-of-view? Check for audio options, and 2-way audio with a mic if you need it
- SD card recording : some indoor security cameras will have the option to record to an onboard memory card – very useful if you’re using your IP cam for surveillance
- Remote viewing : the market is very fragmented in terms of remote viewing options on indoor cameras. Some manufacturers are opting for a subscription model, others for live streaming to an app only, and other models support recording to a network target like a NAS
Your indoor security camera and the law
Broadly speaking, on your own property you can do what you like with an indoor security camera.
But there are a few points of law you should consider.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has highlighted that cameras facing at, and recording footage from, a public area are likely to fall under the remit of the Data Protection Act. Therefore ICO suggests that, in keeping with European Law, it is not within your rights to surveil a public street from your own house using a camera.
Inside your own home is a different matter. Home IP cams setup for security purposes, in case of burglary for example, are fair usage. Likewise if staff or visitors to your private premises understand they may be captured on CCTV, this is acceptable.
A sign or notice is sufficient, and a private individual is not required to release footage under the Data Protection Act.
However you are not entitled to secretly film people if the law will consider this to be harassment or voyeurism.
Our favourites for an indoor security camera
Sleek, elegant and powered by Google, the Nest Cam is a fantastic indoor security camera, but it isn’t cheap at £159.99 RRP.
Sporting 1080P video resolution captured at 30fps, the image is wonderful, the wireless is rock solid, and the two-way audio lets you listen and talk via the camera – read more in our Nest Cam review.
Setup is painless thanks to a companion Nest Cam app for your phone and a bit of Bluetooth wizardry. Recording is supported via a reasonable subscription model, so if you can’t bear the thought of opening ports on your router and fiddling with IP addresses, the Nest Cam is worth the money.
Like the Nest Cam aesthetics but don’t like the price? Get a Foscam C1 instead.
The resolution is more than enough for an indoor security camera at 720P, it’s wireless, and for less than £60 RRP the price is much more appealing – read our Foscam C1 review.
You can get apps for playback, changing motion alerts and initial setup. Best of all, the Foscam C1 has an onboard micro SD card slot, so while you can’t save to the Cloud, there are no hidden charges for recording.
Now the Netgear Arlo is a fancy IP camera. The price for the two camera kit is an eye-watering £279.99 RRP but you get two Arlo cameras and a wireless camera hub for the price.
The cameras can be used indoors or outside (they’re waterproof) and because their battery operated, there are no wires dangling around the place – read our Netgear Arlo review.
The Netgear Arlo uses super low-power consumption Wifi to stream video footage from camera to hub, and the price includes Cloud recording.
These Netgear Arlo’s are more for recording on motion triggering than live-streaming, but if it’s an All-In-One, totally wire-free solution you want, the Arlo delivers.
The D-Link DCS-935L is based around the wireless N standard, so you get more bandwidth and a better connection with this indoor security camera.
Priced around £70 RRP, the DCS-935L does 720P, has decent night-vision, and has a built-in microphone for listening in.
D-Link bundle some pretty good apps with their devices, so setup is easy and viewing your video stream is simple to achieve – read our D-Link DCS-935L review.
Belkin Netcam HD
An tidy package, the Belkin Netcam HD is a very simple to setup and has great support from networking giants Belkin.
720P, recording to Cloud, two-way audio, there’s lots to recommend the Netcam HD for £80 RRP.
Like many indoor security cameras, Belkin obliges you to create an account to access their Cloud services, so if you’re looking for extensive customisation and flexibility, the Belkin Netcam HD may not appeal to everyone – see our review.
Samsung SmartCam HD Pro
The Samsung Smartcam HD Pro is very similar to the Nest Cam and Foscam C1 above.
It can record at 1080P to the onboard micro SD care slot, supports two-way audio and has a nice wide-angle lens to maximise the field-of-view.
It’s not cheap at £130 RRP but with push notifications to the phone apps, the Samsung Smartcam HD Pro makes a good choice as an indoor security camera.
Annke Sparkle 1
Compared to other indoor security cameras, the Annke Sparkle 1 is King of Features, and it only costs £49.99.
Records at 720P, wireless or wired connectivity, remote viewing, onboard memory card support AND motorised pan-tilt via a web browser – the Annke Sparkle 1 has it all.
The apps to control the camera are great, setup is a doddle via the quick-code, and lots of owners are very happy with their Annke Sparkle 1.
D-Link’s take on a baby monitor, the D-Link DCS-825L adds a bit of colour and style to the indoor security camera market.
The D-Link apps let you receive push notifications and view your video stream live, and two-way audio let’s you speak via the camera if needed.
A popular pet cam choice, although the slight lag inherent in all wireless IP cameras means that some parents find they want more for a baby monitoring solution than the D-Link DCS-825L can offer.
D-Link DCS-5222L Pan-Tilt-Zoom
Looks bit like a dalek, the D-Link DCS-5222L is a fully motorised Pan-Tilt-Zoom indoor security camera.
Wireless N with onboard micro SD card recording, you can set this camera to scan and pan areas looking for activity – read our D-Link DCS-5222L review.
Control is all via a web browser, the D-Link DCS-5222L is pricey at £130 RRP but is going to appeal to small businesses looking for a surveillance monitoring solution.
Hikvision DS-2CD2132 Dome Camera
Finally, a proper dome camera from Hikvision, the DS-2CD2132 is a 3MP, wired IP cam for a serious monitoring option – read our review.
Night-vision capability is fantastic, Hikvision software let’s you customise surveillance options until the cows come home, and you can stream to any NAS, server or NVR you like.
The Hikvision DS-2CD2132 costs about £130 but you can use it indoors or outside, and once installed, will last you for years.