Looking for a wireless security camera to protect your home or business?
Easy installations, remote access, and fewer wires dangling all over the place are a few reasons to pick a wireless security camera over their wired brethren. And besides – wires are so old fashioned, right?
Think again – there are circumstances where you may want to consider a wired IP camera for a security system.
Make sure to read our upcoming review of the best non-wireless security camera options too, because you may find another wired IP cam that meets your needs.
Easy installation with wireless
Wireless security cameras are attractive options if you’ve decided on a surveillance system.
The main appeal is an easier installations because you won’t need to run an ethernet cable into the back of the camera.
Outdoor security cameras will normal be mounted high up on an external wall. If you’ve already got security lights or other lighting on your building exterior, any electrician will be able to run another electricity cable to feed your shiny new security camera.
Ethernet cables are another proposition all together, especially if you have an older property that doesn’t have a Cat5 cable system routed internally. Wired cameras need an ethernet cable run right to the camera, so if you don’t fancy long cable runs inside AND outside your building, wireless is the way to go.
Wireless IP cameras will also save you a few quid if you don’t have suitable network switches, long ethernet cables, and the tools for crimping cables.
Remember though, you do still need AT LEAST a power cable to feed your cameras. Many users are opting for Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) cameras in 2015 as they give you a tidier installation and the benefits of a hard-wired camera.
Check out some of our PoE IP camera reviews and you may find something that suits your security purposes.
Wireless security camera networking made easy
Once your wireless security camera is up and running, you can connect the device to your existing Wifi network and start viewing.
Many manufacturers have realised that IP cameras have never been as easy to setup as they should be. Messing about with router settings, checking your ethernet cables are actually working, troubleshooting DHCP problems – older cameras could be a pain to initialise.
Wireless cameras offer you some nifty tricks to make setup a little easier. Many security camera manufacturers like Hikvision and TRENDnet offer mobile apps to make camera setup and control much easier.
Connect to your wireless security camera with the appropriate app, add the device to your Wifi network and you can start viewing your feed.
To some extent you can do this with hard-wired IP cameras, but wireless security cameras have these simple Wifi setups baked into their design. They are built to be installed and controlled wirelessly, and in 2015 many wireless surveillance kits can be run without even touching IP addresses, web logins or opening ports on your Firewall.
Remember there are weaknesses to wireless security cameras
Let’s not pretend there aren’t some weaknesses to wireless security cameras. We’re talking about your home or business that is going to be protected here, so you need to understand the disadvantages.
Primarily, your wireless IP camera is only as reliable as your Wifi network. If you suffer from Wifi dropouts, signal weakness in outdoor areas, or have a wonky router that struggles with multiple wireless clients, then beware.
If you choose a high-definition wireless security camera, these devices in 2015 can stream A LOT of data each day if set to continuous recording mode. Most buyers will have very good routers either from their UK ISP or purchased aftermarket, so high end Netgear and TP-Link routers will happily handle your juicy HD security footage.
Add your wireless security camera to an inadequate Wifi network and you’re heading for trouble. Don’t make this mistake, because you’ll either end up reluctantly running a network cable to your (supposedly) wireless camera.
Or you may have to overhaul your Wifi network hardware, an extra expense you may not want to fork out.
Features to look for in wireless security cameras
If a wireless security camera is what you need, you like the idea of a simpler, tidier installation AND your Wifi network can handle the data volumes, bear in mind a few features to look out for when buying.
Most wireless IP cameras are still shipping with 802.11b/g protocols for wireless connectivity, which will run data at rates up to 54MBit/s. However some IP cams now support the newer standards like 802.11n and even 802.11ac, so if future-proofing matters to you, keep an eye on the Wifi protocols in the camera specs.
Design and weatherproofing
If you want an outdoor wireless security camera, you can either get a dome camera or a bullet camera. Both serve slightly different purposes, with domes offering a bit more vandalism protection and bullet cams being more conspicuous. Outdoor cams should IP66 rated to survive the rainy UK seasons, so make sure you aren’t buying an indoor camera instead.
Usability and ease-of-use
There are wireless security camera manufacturers that are trying hard to bring their devices into the domestic market. Cheaper cameras are cheap for a reason, and usually it’s because their software is poorly designed, or worse still, insecure and broken. Check out the apps and support for your preferred security camera, as you could save yourself many hours of frustration if you buy from a bigger name.
Our pick of wireless security cameras for 2015
So, here’s our pick of the best wireless security cameras you can buy in 2015. They cover all sorts of price-points, so there are options for the economical buyer to those of you looking for the absolute best in wireless camera surveillance.
All these cameras cost much less than a break-in or vandalism to your property would cost, so even a pricier camera offers value-for-money versus the price of a crime.
Hikvision Wireless Dome IP Camera Model DS-2CD2532F-IWS, RRP £159.99
Hikvision aren’t a name you may have heard of, but they make high-spec IP cameras for many of the brands like Swann and TRENDnet.
This tiny dome camera is one of the few Hikvision IP cameras which is wireless, and the quality and form factor are really outstanding. Hikvision makes some great software to go with their cameras, and this little monster will stream wireless surveillance footage at 2048×1536 so BETTER than HD.
It has an onboard SD card slot for recording footage if the camera is knocked off the wireless network, and it has PoE as an alternative wired options.
Great camera from Hikvision, not cheap but it looks well classy on a wall when compared to other dome cameras.
Also, this is one of the few true wireless dome cameras you can buy, so if you want a dome, check out the Hikvision.
Zmodo Mega-Pixel Indoor / Outdoor HD Wireless Network IP Camera, RRP £69.99
A cheap bullet camera from a lesser-known manufacturer, this Zmodo can stream 720P footage straight to your iOS or Android handset using the Zmodo apps.
Installation is very easy, the camera is weatherproof and the mounting system makes it very easy to adjust the field-of-view.
Zmodo support isn’t the best, and this wireless security camera doesn’t support saving direct to a NAS or network video recorder (NVR) out of the box.
But for this price – who cares? Buy two and you still have change over the Hikvision 2CD2532F-IWS.
D-Link Outdoor Cloud Camera 2332L/B, RRP £190.00
D-Link are better known for their routers and switches, but they also make some user friendly outdoor wireless security cameras.
This D-Link Cloud Camera 2332L/B has an interesting design for an outdoor camera. Despite the looks, the unit is sealed from the elements with some tidy rubber seals over all cable entry points.
It does 720P, you can loop record to the onboard SD card, and the D-Link apps aren’t bad for setting up your motion alerts. On the downside though, D-Link servers for their Cloud service are flakey, and the night-vision on this wireless security camera is meagre.
If dome and bullet camera options don’t push your buttons, the D-Link 2332L/B is cosmetically interesting and D-Link to give good support.
Foscam FI8904W External Wireless IP Camera, RRP £64.99
Classic, brutish looking bullet camera in gun-metal grey from Foscam. Wireless protocol 802.11b and g with email alerts, web interface for changing settings, and image snap to an FTP target.
The Foscam FI8904W is a popular wireless security camera, but users do report struggling with setting it up. Remember to wire it via ethernet to your router BEFORE wireless setup, in order to setup your camera’s Wifi settings.
The FI8904W is one of these cameras that comes with a bundle of silly wires sticking out the back, so installation requires either a big hole, or a waterproof junction box. A little annoyance, and an extra expense.
Software-wise, the Foscam is mediocre. If you can get past the interface, the settings do work, but dropouts and unreliable features makes this camera more of a deterrent than a 24hr active monitoring option.
Foscam FI9900P 1080P External Wireless IP Camera, RRP £99.99
Foscam updated their lineup in 2015, and the FI8904W has been replaced by this snazzy FI9900P.
Installation is better, with the cables tidied up and the camera mount updated. The camera housing is smart and sleek, and this wireless security camera now does 1080P.
The viewing angle is wider, so you get more in your camera’s field of view. Foscam have added 801.22n to the Wifi protocol, so that HD content has more bandwidth to use.
The FI9900P is a great update for the mid-range market, and for less than £100 this camera is going to start appearing on lots of walls soon.
Foscam FI9803P 720P HD Outdoor Camera, RRP £69.99
Another Foscam variant, you can read our FI9803P review for further details.
Again, a solid camera spec-wise from Foscam, but you’ll find it easier managing this IP cam using Blue Iris or Synology Surveillance Station.
Not a bad camera, but the FI9803P spec is looking a little dated, despite the low-ish price.
Netgear Arlo Smart Home HD 2 Camera Kit, RRP £279.99
The Netgear Arlo is the only truly wire-free security camera you can get, aside from odd trail cameras.
The cameras run on batteries, you need to get the wireless hub for the kit to work, and the clever magnet mounts mean you can stick these cameras in lots of interesting places.
Note that these wireless security cameras are designed as passive monitors, snapping pics and emailing you alerts rather continuously recording footage.
The price is high for a Netgear Arlo, but the technology packed into these units is amazing, and the Netgear apps and servers are rock solid.
D-Link DCS-5222L Pan-Tilt-Zoom Camera, RRP £200.00
In the crowded indoor wireless security camera, the D-Link DCS-5222L stands out with a super feature-set.
Onboard recording, pan-tilt and zoom via remote control apps, 720P resolution and 802.11n wireless connectivity makes the D-Link DCS-5222L a super-charged baby monitor or general indoor wireless IP cam.
Nest Cam, RRP £159.99
If you’ve got the money and you want a wireless security camera for in the house, just get a Nest Cam.
If time is precious and you don’t want to spend a weekend up to your elbows in your router’s settings, this is the IP cam for you.
Sleek, stylish, and with Google-tech running in the background, the Nest Cam remote access is superlative.
Works perfectly, great images in light or darkness, 2-way audio communication – fantastic stuff.
It does require a small monthly subscription, but it’s worth it for a hassle-free installation and remote storage taken care of – the Nest Cam is a wonderful indoor wireless security camera.
Foscam C1, RRP £59.99
If you like the look of the Nest Cam, but don’t like the price, save a hundred quid and get this Foscam C1.
Plain but stylish, Foscam have improved the setup on their 2015 range. The picture is really not bad considering the cheap price, you can save to the onboard SD card slot, and it will email you motion alerts.
We’ve got more information in our Foscam C1 review so if you can drop a few bells and whistles, the C1 is a great, economical indoor wireless security camera that is new for 2015.