Sometimes it may seem as though you can find just as many different types of security cameras on the market as home alarm systems themselves.

Some surveillance cameras require complicated installation while others are simple enough to set up on your own as part of a DIY home security project. Many newer models can even interface with your smartphone.

Although certain types of security cameras may offer more features than others, your main goal should be finding one that meets your individual security needs. Don’t let bells and whistles determine the type of security camera you choose.

Which type of security camera do you need?

In addition to choosing between wireless and wired security camera types, there are quite a few different models that have different functionalities and purposes. Some types of security cameras can be used inside or outside, or offer features like high-definition lenses and the ability to provide streaming video.


  • Bullet – A cylindrical-shaped camera that can be mounted on walls or ceilings for easy concealment. They can cover a wide viewing area but may not have pan or zoom capabilities.



  • Dome – Dome cameras cover spacious areas and capture images at multiple angles by moving in different directions – zoom (lens focuses on images closer or farther away), pan (left to right), and tilt (up and down). They are encased in a dome-shaped covering and function on a swivel, which can either operate on its own or be controlled manually. The visibility of a dome camera may increase its deterrent effect.



  • Hidden/Covert – Hidden cameras are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. They are small enough to be placed in a discreet area or concealed inside another object.



  • Decoy/Fake – Available in various shapes and sizes, these decoys create the illusion that an area is being monitored. Some of them are made using parts from real cameras to make their appearance more convincing. Decoy cameras can also be used in conjunction with authentic security cameras, making the surveillance seem more comprehensive than it actually is.



  • Day/Night – Mainly for outdoor use, these devices are designed to function in different light conditions without less pronounced effects on image quality.



  • Varifocal – Equipped with a lens featuring variable focal length, meaning it can maintain focus on an image while zooming in and out.


Wired vs. wireless

Two of the main categories of surveillance cameras and other security equipment are wired and wireless. Varying factors between wireless and wired equipment include price, functionality and installation.


Hard-wired cameras can cost less than the wireless version, but they’re also a more permanent fixture in a home or apartment and may require an expensive installment process. Wires are placed behind walls and through ceilings to connect the camera to other components. The wireless type of security camera offers greater portability.


While wireless types of security cameras generally cost more than hard-wired cameras, they also have added conveniences and an easier installation process. Wireless home security cameras can be moved to different locations without the hassle of disconnecting and reconnecting wires. Wireless cameras can easily be added to existing home alarm systems as long as they have compatible hardware and software. Purchase the type of security cameras you want from the same manufacturer as your home security system to avoid compatibility issues.