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Wireless vs. Wired Home Security Cameras

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You’re shopping around for home security cameras. And you’re overwhelmed because there are so many options to consider. With advancements in technology, there are now two popular options to consider: wireless and wired home security cameras.

Both have pros and cons, so it's crucial to grasp the distinctions before deciding. This article will explain the differences of each type so you can choose the one that suits you best.

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What Are Wireless Home Security Cameras?

Wireless home security cameras connect via WiFi or a cellular network. Now, here comes the confusing part.

Some wireless cameras actually do have wires if they need to plug into the wall for power. Other wireless cameras use some other form of power, such as solar power and/or battery power. When a security camera is "wireless," it means it connects to an app for viewing footage.

What Are Wired Home Security Cameras?

In the past, security cameras had to be connected with wires because WiFi and cellular networks didn't exist. Wired home security cameras are hardwired, meaning, they must connect via physical wires. You’ve probably seen them in old movies or even out in the wild. Wired home security cameras can only transfer their footage through the wire.

Two wired surveillance cameras mounted on a gray wall.

Differences between Wired and Wireless Cameras

In most aspects, wireless and wired cameras are pretty similar. They each view a specific area, detect motion, and alert you in pretty much the same way. But there is one big difference between wireless and wired home security cameras, and that is how they connect to show you footage.

Wireless connects via WiFi or cellular network, and wired connects via wires. Because of this, there are pros and cons to each.

Wired Security Cameras: Advantages

Reliable. Because a wired security camera has a cable, it doesn’t have connectivity issues. In that way, it’s always reliable. No need to worry about the WiFi or cellular connection.

Power included. Since it’s already wired for connectivity, typically a wired camera is also hardwired to power. So you’ll never have to worry about charging it or changing the batteries. (Some wireless security cameras are also plug-in.)

Installed by a professional. If you’re not open to installing your own system, the wired system may be the better option. Since the wired system can not be installed without a team, you won’t have to worry about installing it.

Not as hackable. Anything is possible, but generally a hardwired security camera’s footage will stay private.

Consistent video quality. Due to not relying on a signal, you can count on the video quality of a wired security camera to be the same most of the time.

Wired Security Cameras: Disadvantages

Installation cost. Because it’s more complicated to install a wired security camera, you must pay a professional to do it for you. That comes with a cost.

Stuck in place. Since the alarm system is wired, it is difficult to move. If you need to move it for whatever reason, you won’t be able to without the installation team. So, if you’re not living in your forever home, a wired system might not be the best option for you.

Susceptible to blackouts. Since the system is powered by the electricity in your home, if your home has a power outage, so will the alarm system. This is concerning for people who live in areas that often have power outages since they won’t have protection during that time.

Limited access to remote monitoring. Most wired security systems have professional monitoring but do not have access to remote monitoring. Since the system is more like a landline than a cellphone, the system is not able to connect to an app on your mobile device. With a wired system, you will be relying on your security company instead of being able to check up on your home yourself.

little girl waving at indoor camera

Wireless Security Cameras: Advantages

Easy installation. One of the most frustrating parts of installing a wired home security camera is installation. Most people can’t do it themselves, so they have to hire a pro, and that means extra cost plus extra time. On the flip side, a wireless camera is easy to install. With zero wires to worry about, all you need to focus on is pairing it with the app, then deciding where you want to put it. Once you know where you want it, you can set it up in less than 10 minutes.

Inexpensive. When purchasing a wired or wireless security camera, the devices are pretty comparable in cost. However, when you look at installation costs, a wireless camera costs you $0 to install, while you have to pay a pro to install a wired camera.

Convenient. You can move wireless cameras with you. Since they are wireless, you just need to pick them up and move them.

Remote monitoring. One of the best features of the wireless security cameras is access to remote monitoring. Remote monitoring allows you to view the camera on your mobile devices and add "smart" features like Alexa or Google devices.

Wireless Security Cameras: Disadvantages

Must have access to Wi-Fi or a cellular connection. A wireless camera needs a wireless network to function. If the connection is slow, the camera footage will be glitchy or freeze completely. The camera can work without wi-fi or a cellular network. However, you cannot view it remotely.

Privacy concerns. There have been isolated incidents of security footage being hacked or viewed by people who weren’t given permission.

To keep your footage more secure, you could create a separate local wireless network that doesn’t broadcast to the internet. Also, be sure to change the default passwords, and turn on end-to-end encryption. Encryption keeps the camera company and law enforcement from viewing any of your footage, unless they get a subpoena.

Possibly needs a cloud storage subscription. If this is the case, figure out if the cost is something that’s worthwhile to you.

Which Type of Security Camera Is Better for My Home?

Now that you know more about wireless and wired security cameras, it's time to choose the best one for you. They each have their pros and cons. So which type appeals to you the most? If you’re still having trouble deciding, here are a few more considerations.

  • If you rent, choose a wireless security camera. It's portable and can go with you.

  • If your Wi-Fi is unreliable, using a wired camera instead of a wireless one will prevent frustration with a poor connection.

  • If you want the best video quality possible, go for a high-resolution wired camera.

  • If you prefer good night vision and spotlights, consider wireless or wired security cameras. Check reviews and resolutions.

  • If you need more than one camera, consider looking at a whole home security system like Cove. Not sure if you need a wired or wireless security system? Read our article to walk you through the pros and cons of each. Also check out 10 Advantages of a Wireless Security Alert System.

cove system devices

Consider Cove Home Security

If you’re leaning toward wireless cameras, check out what we offer at Cove. As for wireless cameras, we have an outdoor camera, an indoor camera, and two doorbell cameras. All of them are inexpensive and easy to install. In addition, we have window and door sensors, glass break sensors, a smoke detector and flood detector, plus our touchscreen control panel that puts it all together.

Take our quiz to customize your security system and see how inexpensive a comprehensive home security system can be. Since it’s all wireless, you can easily install it yourself, saving on install costs. Both of our monitoring plans include 24/7 professional monitoring for less than $1 per day, so you’ll always be alerted as potential threats are happening, and authorities with be dispatched within seconds in the event of a true emergency.

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