Pros and Cons of Cellular Security Cameras | Cove Security
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Pros and Cons of Cellular Security Cameras

Before wireless security cameras, homeowners had to rely on wired systems for their home security protection. Wired systems present hassles that most homeowners want to avoid. The messy wires, high installation costs, and clunky equipment introduced more obstacles than solutions.

Now we can even control,store, and transmit the data of home security systems through a cellular connection. With cellular security cameras, homeowners are given all the benefits of home security without the hassle of wires. However, a cellular system might not be the best option for all homeowners. Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of cellular security cameras.

How Cellular Security Cameras Work

A cellular security camera is not the same device as a wireless security camera. Both devices are completely wireless; however, they function differently. Wireless security cameras connect to the wireless network in a home. Through the wireless internet connection, the camera connects to an app on your phone. The app allows homeowners to have access to live streaming, two-way audio, and other smart features.

A cellular camera is comparable to a cell phone. Rather than relying on an internet connection, the camera uses cellular connection. The cellular camera is paired to a security panel with a cellular node. Similar to a cell phone, the panel is able to send messages and notifications across a mobile network to home security monitoring stations. Cellular cameras use 3G/4G/5G networks and need to be installed with a cellular data plan.

Depending on your needs, cellular cameras can be installed with a solar panel or batteries. For more remote needs, a solar panel will ensure that little maintenance is needed—since the sun never runs out of energy. Batteries are better for areas that get limited sun (such as Washington or Oregon).

Pros of a Cellular Security Camera

Cellular cameras can be great options for those looking for an independent camera. The camera is easy to use and doesn’t rely on wifi. Because it doesn’t rely on the internet, it can be used in a variety of places.

The pros of using a cellular security camera are:

1. Can Be Used as a Trail Camera

Since the camera is completely wireless, the cellular camera is a great option for trail cameras. Trail cameras are often used for watching wildlife in their natural habitat (either for hunting or photography). Hunters use trail cameras to keep an eye on the tendencies and habits of animals. Trail cameras help hunters to know when herds have migrated to salt licks or when they are nearby streams. Since animals often develop patterns in their behaviors, trail cameras can be used to establish when and where game animals will be.

Cellular cameras can also be used for photography. Wildlife photographers can set up cellular cameras near bird’s nests, rivers, and other locations to watch wildlife in their natural habitats, without worrying about interfering with nature. When using a solar panel to power the cellular camera, the camera can be left for months watching and recording wildlife activity. With the right data plan, photographers will be able to stream live footage from the camera.

Most cellular cameras come installed with night vision, motion detection, and cloud storage to ensure that every moment is caught on video.

2. Uses Cellular Network Instead of WiFi

The cellular camera is completely wireless and relies on either batteries or solar panels. Because the camera is wireless, homeowners don’t have to worry about the mess and hassle of hiding wires. Wireless means that the surveillance cameras are easy to install and are user-friendly. This also means that homeowners can contact their cellular provider for cellular backup or insert an SD card for additional storage.

By using a cellular network instead of wifi, the cameras can be used away from home. Cameras that use wifi are tethered to the wifi network, often limiting their placement (though this isn’t an issue for home security cameras). Because the surveillance cameras use cellular data instead of a wifi network, the cameras can be used as driveway cameras, trail cameras, and for all other outdoor security needs.

3. Easy Setup

Because there are no wires, there is less of a hassle for homeowners. Similar to installing a wireless camera, a cellular camera can be installed in just a few steps. Cellular surveillance cameras don’t require professional installation and can be set up from the comfort of your home. Simply insert a SIM card into the camera, download the camera’s app, and place the camera where you want it to be.

Compared to a wireless camera, the cellular camera does involve the additional step of setting up a cellular network. However, if you need to use a security camera in an area that doesn’t have wifi, the cellular camera is going to be your best option.

4. Better Security Features

Cellular cameras are meant to provide automatic security remotely. To better ensure the quality of the camera footage, the cameras are installed with a wide-angle lens. The wide-angle feature allows the camera to see more, ensuring that the homeowner has complete control over their home security. Wide-angle cameras are commonly used for wireless security systems because they give better protection to homes. Other cameras only see 90 degrees, limiting the footage of the camera. It’s important that your camera will be able to fully protect your home by giving you better recording angles.

In addition to having a wide-angle lens, the camera also comes equipped with motion detection and night vision to give homeowners more secure protection. Cellular cameras are fully stocked with features that make them the perfect camera for remote security.

5. Remote Viewing

Although the camera is independent, you can use cellular cameras as surveillance cameras by logging into the camera’s app. The app allows homeowners to access live video footage at any time. We call this “remote viewing,” which essentially allows homeowners to watch the camera footage remotely.

This feature is a great security feature that is often included with wireless security cameras. However, because the cellular camera relies on a cellular network, homeowners will need to pay more for a cellular data plan that is compatible with your needs.

Cons of a Cellular Security Camera

The cellular security camera isn’t meant for everyone. In fact, for some homeowners, the camera might be more of a burden than a blessing.

The cons of a cellular security camera are:

1. Expensive

Cellular cameras are significantly more expensive than wireless camera systems. There are two main factors that make cellular cameras more expensive than wireless cameras: cellular data and remote technology.

Of course, since you will have to buy a separate data package for your cellular camera, the data package will add an additional fee every month to the camera system. If you have more than one cellular camera, you will need to pay two extra fees for the cameras. Most cell services will offer data plans for cellular cameras, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

The second reason why the cameras are more expensive is because of the technology used. The cameras have the ability to connect to solar panels (which are extremely expensive) and are meant to be completely weatherproof. Due to the durability of the cameras, they can cost nearly triple the cost of a regular wireless camera.

2. Short Battery Life

In some states, solar panels might not be the best choice. For homeowners living in the Northwest and Mideast, homes receive 15 percent less sun than other areas in the United States. Because Washington, New York, and Pennsylvania get significantly less sunlight, solar panel security might not be the best option.

However, since the camera is streaming live footage through a cellular network, the battery life of these cameras is extremely short. You should expect to replace the batteries of a cellular security camera weekly.

3. Hackable

Cellular security cameras are hackable, compromising their security benefits. Although they are harder to hack since they aren’t connected to the internet, it’s still a possibility. To hack a cellular camera, the hacker would need to first access the camera directly. However, since most cameras are used for remote locations, it’s possible to get close enough to the camera to alter the setting before the hacker is caught. To prevent hacking, homeowners will need to pay close attention to the camera and respond immediately if they suspect a threat.

4. Lack of Video Quality

Since the cameras rely solely on a cellular network, the video quality of streaming will fluctuate depending on the availability of connection. On stormy days, the streamed video footage will be grainy and out of focus due to poor cellular connection. Often, some areas will have limited access to a cellular network and limit your access to HD video footage.

Due to inconsistencies in video quality, cellular cameras are not recommended for those who are looking for consistent video footage and quality. Instead, those looking for consistent quality should defer to wired or wireless video cameras.

5. Not Ideal for Home Security

Cellular cameras are not the best choice for simple home security. The cameras often do not have access to professional monitoring and can only be monitored through a mobile app. Although it’s beneficial to have remote access, the lack of professional monitoring may leave your home vulnerable. The cameras are also incredibly expensive, making the cameras ill-suited for protecting the home.

Best Uses for a Cellular Security Camera

Although cellular cameras might not be the best choice for home security, they are perfect options for remote security. Cellular cameras work best when you need security (or monitoring) in a location that doesn’t have access to wifi. When the area has access to wifi, it’s best to use a wireless security camera. However, locations such as wilderness retreats, boats, and Airbnbs likely won’t have access to quality wifi. Here are the best locations to use cellular security cameras.

Construction Sites

Construction sites should always use security cameras. Due to the dangerous nature of construction sites, cameras should be used to properly record incidents to protect both the construction company and the workers on site. However, it’s impractical to set up wired security cameras in a temporary construction site. The wires will inhibit the flexibility of the construction site and become a hindrance for the workers. Wireless wifi cameras are also impractical since the cameras rely on a wifi network. Construction sites rarely have access to a stable wifi network.

Because construction sites are volatile, the best option for security is a cellular camera. Since the cameras are wireless, they can be moved to monitor active construction sites, making them flexible enough to work with the construction workers rather than inhibit them. The cameras rely on cellular networks, making them ideal for an area that doesn’t have access to stable wifi.

Boats and Docks

Boats are extremely transient. Some people live in their boats, while others use their boats for weekend outings. Obviously, a wired system on a boat is impractical, if not impossible. Some boats have routers installed, while others do not. In cases where the boat has a router, a wifi security system may be a good option for boat security. However, for the most part, cellular security cameras will be the best protection for the boat.

The best protection for docks is a cellular camera with a solar panel. Since the cameras are wireless, they can be installed in a variety of places on the dock. Additionally, dock owners can completely avoid camera maintenance by using a cellular camera with a solar panel.

RV Security and Campsites

RVs often need additional security. However, without access to wifi, RVs have limited security options. This is why one of the best security options for RV owners is a wireless cellular camera. The camera will be able to protect the RV from burglary and break-ins while still providing the RV owner with easy, convenient, and hassle-free security. If you are living for an extended period of time in RV, a wi-fi camera can be a good option as well.

Campsites also benefit from cellular cameras due to the low maintenance needs of solar cameras. Since the cameras don’t need to be wired and won’t rely on wifi, they are the perfect option for protecting campsites.

Wildlife Studies

Cellular cameras are the perfect option for nature lovers. The cameras (when connected to a solar panel) won’t rely on wires or batteries, ensuring that they can film independent of human intervention in the wild. They can be set up and installed, and then left alone for weeks. The footage can be collected remotely, and the camera owner can stream live camera footage to a mobile device. For wildlife enthusiasts, the cellular camera is the best option.

Barns and Ranches

Barns and ranches benefit from having security. Whether you want to prevent strangers from sleeping in your barn or stop foxes from antagonizing chicken and turkeys, cellular cameras will get the job done. Remote barns and ranches can have the benefit of full protection without having to worry about wires, batteries, or internet connection.

Remote Cabins

Using a cellular security camera will be one of the best options for protecting and securing a remote cabin or summer home. Rather than leaving your wifi on for months while you’re away, you can protect the home with a cellular camera. Though the camera is expensive, it is a great way to protect remote buildings.


Airbnbs have become increasingly popular over the last several years. Travelers use Airbnbs around the world because the rooms are less expensive than hotel rooms. However, the owners of Airbnbs may not feel comfortable letting people use their homes without first ensuring that the home is protected. Cellular cameras can help Airbnbs feel safer and more secure. Also, since there are no wires, the system can’t be shut down manually. Cellular systems give more control to Airbnb owners.

What to Look for in a Cellular Security Camera

If you need a cellular security camera for protecting your boat, RV, or Airbnb, you’ll find that the market is flooded with possible options. To help make the process easy for you, we’ve collected a list of necessary features to look for in your cellular security camera.

  • Motion Detection. The first thing that you should look for in a cellular security camera is motion detection. Motion detection allows you to know when the camera is recording something important. If the camera has remote access, you will be able to pull up the live video footage when someone (or something) is in the camera frame, allowing you to be more aware of the situation at all times.
  • Night Vision. With night vision, the camera will record during both day and night. The best night vision cameras will use infrared detection to detect when there is something worth recording. If possible, look for cameras with enhanced night vision.
  • Live Updates. The best cellular cameras will send live updates to your mobile phone. If the motion sensor is triggered, the camera should send you a notification to alert you. This ensures that you are up-to-date and in control.
  • Remote Access. Remote access is one of the most important features of a cellular camera. Since the camera is expected to be used remotely, remote access allows you to access the live camera footage from a mobile app. This means that you can see what the camera sees at any point during the day.
  • Solar Panel. Every good cellular camera should have the option of being connected to a solar panel. Since batteries won’t last long on a cellular camera, it’s important to have a second option. The solar panel is also the best way to power a cellular security camera since the sun won’t run out of energy.

When looking for a cellular camera, do not accept a camera that lacks one of these five features. These five features ensure that you’re getting the most out of your camera. A camera that lacks night vision or live updates won’t be worth the cost.

Are Cellular Security Cameras Worth It?

Cellular security cameras are meant for a niche group of homeowners. They’re not necessarily made for home security and aren’t made to be used for business security. Instead, cellular cameras are specifically designed to provide monitoring services in areas that only have access to cellular networks. Because the cameras are meant to meet specific needs, the cameras will be worth the cost for those who need it.

However, if you are considering the cellular camera for a different purpose (such as business or home security), the cellular camera is more expensive than it is worth. Rather than paying steep fees for a cellular camera, a wired or wireless security camera will be a better fit for your needs.

Best Cameras for Home Security

If you’re looking for a camera to protect your home, the cellular security camera is not the right option for you. The cellular security camera is meant to protect remote locations, not homes and families. Instead, the best option for home security is the wireless security camera.

The wireless security camera is similar to the cellular camera in the fact that it won’t require professional installation. However, instead of relying on a cellular network, wireless camera systems connect to a wi-fi network. They also possess most of the features we listed in the “What to Look for in a Cellular Security System” section of this article. Through the wi-fi network, wireless security systems are able to protect homes from the front door to the back door.

One of the best security systems for homeowners is Cove Security. Cove offers fully-equipped security systems that include motion sensors, door and window alarms, indoor security cameras, and more. The system is created for the modern family and offers easy installation, professional monitoring, and remote access. While most security systems cost hundreds of dollars every month, Cove is only 15 dollars a month. Cove Security is the most affordable security system on the market.

The cameras that Cove uses are called YI cameras. The cameras have two-way communication, remote access, HD resolution, night vision, motion detection and are completely wireless. They can be set up hassle-free on your own time (easy DIY design) and are compatible with smart home systems.

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