Security cameras are a valuable resource in your overall home security plan. However, inadvertently installed security cameras can create blind spots or erode the video signal, leaving you unprotected. By following this security camera placement guide, you will be sure that your system will provide maximum coverage for your property and you.
1. Choose Wired Or Wireless Cameras
If you’re still buying a home security camera system, you’ll have to decide if you want wired or wireless security cameras. Your choice affects almost all aspects of camera placement
Wired security cameras transmit the signal to the central hub via coaxial or PoE (Power Over Ethernet) cables. Cameras can be placed anywhere cables reach, although cables must run through walls or ceilings.
Wireless security cameras transmit a signal to the hub using wireless signals. Without transmission cables, wireless cameras have greater flexibility. But they still need wall power or batteries.
2. Monitor key areas
Every area outside the home is a potential entry point for intruders. But you’ll want to narrow these entry points down to those where intruders are most likely to enter. According to the commercial NACHI group of home inspectors, more than 34% of intruders enter through the front door. Therefore, direct your security cameras to monitor these areas, in the following order of importance:
- Front door
- Upstairs window
- Back door
3. Position The Cameras Perfectly
The monitored areas do not necessarily have to be the same places as the cameras.
Indoors, it usually makes sense to place the camera in the same room. Corners work best because they provide the widest view of the room.
When monitoring a location outdoors, it is best to place the camera indoors. Protecting the driveway may mean placing a camera in the kitchen window. To have a wide view of the yard, placing the camera on the bathroom window sill can provide the best angle.
4. Know Your Power Source
All security cameras need power. Wireless cameras offer the greatest freedom of placement as they have built-in rechargeable batteries. Wireless security cameras must be within 6 feet of an electrical outlet as each camera requires its own power source.
Wired security camera systems often receive electricity through a PoE cable: a single cable that combines video, audio, and power into one.
5. Consider Signal Transmission
Along with the power source, decide how the security camera will give its feedback to the central hub, whether the hub can be a digital video recorder (DVR), network video recorder (NVR), or Wi-Fi.
Wireless security cameras send a clear, reliable signal through open areas or through thin, less dense walls or floors. If the camera is to pass the signal through masonry walls, the signal may not be reaching the hub.
Wired security cameras use physical PoE cables or coaxial cables to transmit the signal back to the hub. The signal should be perfect and clear. However, you do need to plan how the cable will run through the walls, ceiling or under the floor.
6. Choose The Perfect Height
Tall mounting positions work best as they keep the security camera out of the reach of intruders, curious children, or curious animals.
For outdoor installation, mount the security camera approximately 8 to 10 feet above the ground. Avoid places that are too high, such as at the top of a mountain peak, as the camera will not be able to capture fine details. In addition, cameras placed too high are more difficult to clean and maintain.
Inside, mount the camera above the height of the door or window. Point the camera slightly downwards.
7. Install The Camera Correctly
Security cameras can be installed in many different ways. Free-standing cameras rest on window sills, on the kitchen tops of wall cabinets or on refrigerators. They are easy to assemble, but can also be easily manipulated by intruders.
The most durable security camera mount uses two or three screws to attach the camera base directly to a dowel, exterior siding, or to drywall with anchors.
8. Use Hidden Security Cameras
Would an intruder know that home security cameras are so common these days that they search for and disable cameras? Possibly. That’s why many homeowners take the next step and install hidden security cameras.
Some of these hidden cameras – let’s call them spy cameras – are no bigger than an ice cube and send video and audio to your smartphone. While they’re not as robust as full-fledged security camera systems, they win because they’re so small they’re hard to spot.
Some homeowners even go a step further and install a larger fake decoy camera in the same room as the hidden camera. If the intruder disables the fake camera, the real camera continues filming.
9. Aim Carefully Through Windows
One of the disadvantages of targeting an external (internal) security camera is that infrared light technology blurs the image when it is pointed through the glass.
Experiment with different angles. Try turning off the infrared or night vision function. Or, cover the camera with a small towel to keep light from the room from reflecting off the glass.