8 of the Best Security Cameras for Small Businesses | Review

seurity-camera-commercial-building

Security camera systems have often been associated with the old expression, “Big Brother is always watching”. It’s a quote lifted from the classic dystopian future novel “1984” by George Orwell (and it’s eerily accurate).

But hey, if Big Brother is protecting your stuff, do you mind? If you can’t get rid of him, then put him to work is what I say.

Security camera systems have become a necessity for small businesses and large corporations. They protect the company’s assets while also contributing to a safer environment for customers and employees alike.

Like any other product, there are a wide variety of security camera systems on the market. How can you decide which cameras are best for your business?

Before you bust out the company credit card, you need to know a few things.

Factors to consider when picking security camera systems

Security camera systems have many capabilities. Depending on the application, you may need some of these features. But others might not be worth your extra dough. For instance, do you need indoor cameras or outdoor ones? Is your property small or large? Are you monitoring a hallway, an entrance, or a wide parking lot? Do you need the ability to monitor remotely from a phone or tablet?

Knowing the answers to questions like these can help you pick the right security camera system for your business.

Capabilities of today’s security cameras

It’s been amazing to see the quality of cameras on our phones progress dramatically over the past few years. The ability to put little cat ears on ourselves aside, most of the new camera features have been awesome.

Security cameras have seen a comparable jump in features and quality as well, without the increase of cat-person selfies.

For instance, nearly all security camera systems available today shoot in 1080p HD format. This means you get a clear view of your property and any intruders, instead of a grainy blob. Many security camera systems are even available with 4K capability, for ultra-crisp picture.

Some of these camera systems feature night vision capability, ranging from 90 to 250 feet. A few of these utilize advanced color correction, allowing you to see the color of a car, or clothing even in the darkest conditions. Depending on the system you choose, you can even monitor your camera feeds remotely from a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

So as you can see, there are a range of security camera systems to choose from. Below we’ll show you a few of our favorites, ranging from the low end of the price range, up to the most expensive, robust systems.

Budget-friendly

nightowl wireless security camera systemNight Owl Security 4-Camera HD Wireless

Check here for current pricing and availability.

Night Owl is one of the most popular security camera manufacturers out there. In fact, their website claims they are the #1 Wired Security Camera Retailer in the US.

This particular model is a good entry-level wireless camera system. With a 300-ft wireless range, the cameras can be placed a good distance from the central DVR. The system also has its own wireless network, which means you don’t have to worry about an internet connection.

One weird quirk: The wireless cameras are not battery powered. Each camera comes with a 9-ft power adapter and must be connected to a power source. It means you won’t have to get on a ladder and replace the battery, but it also takes away from the “wireless” capability a bit. Keep this in mind when it comes to installation.

night owl wireless camera

Key Features:

  • 1080p HD Video Security System
  • Cameras equipped with two-way audio
  • 300 ft. wireless signal ensures maximum coverage
  • Secure wireless network with uninterrupted video transmission
  • View & playback footage directly from your Smart Device
  • Patent Pending Dual Sensor Technology reduces false alerts by up to 90%
  • 24/7 Technical Support

Potential downside:

  • 9-foot power adapter for each camera needs to be connected to a power source. May complicate installation and application.

Swann 8-Camera 8-Channel 1080p Full HD DVR Security System

Check here for current pricing and availability.

From its humble beginnings in Melbourne, Australia, Swanna has become a global leader in security monitoring technology. Our 2nd budget-friendly entry is truly a good-value option.

Utilizing a wired BCN connection, the Swann 8-channel system includes 8 1080p HD cameras. The cameras themselves are equipped with motion-activated spotlights, and motion and heat detection for accurate alarms. The cameras can see in the dark up to 100 feet, and in color night vision up to 32 feet. The free Swann Security app also allows you to monitor multiple camera feeds at once from any device.

swann hd spotlight camera

The Swann DVR included in this system includes a unique and priceless feature. You can search for movement in a certain area of your camera feed over hours of footage. For example, if your laptop was stolen, you can search the footage and find out exactly how and when it was snatched.

With these features and 8 cameras included, this is a big package for a small price.

Key Features:

  • 1080P HD video quality
  • Reliable 60-ft wired BCN connection
  • Built-in motion-activated spotlights
  • Smart Search playback makes it easy to find recorded security incidents
  • True Detect heat plus motion sensing for accurate alarms
  • Remote monitoring through Swann Security app
  • Works with Google Assistant and Alexa

Potential Downside:

  • No audio recording or speaker capabilities.

wired 5 mp security camera systemNight Owl Security 5MP Wired System

Check here for current pricing and availability.

This Night Owl wired security camera system delivers pretty good bang-for-buck. The 5MP Ultra-HD cameras aren’t quite 4K quality, but pretty close. And they boast features such as facial recognition and human recognition, which increases security and reduces false alarms.

A 2TB hard-drive means better storage capabilities. And thanks to a wired BCN connection, the signal is more reliable than wireless.

The cameras themselves use digital zooming rather than optical, which means a drop in quality if you zoom in. But overall, this is a great value system.

nightowl security hd spotlight camera

Key Features:

  • 5MP HD Wired Video Security DVR with 2TB Pre-Installed Hard Drive
  • 10 Wired Indoor/Outdoor Spotlight Home Security Cameras
  • Built-in Motion-Activated Spotlights
  • Human Detection Technology Reduces False Alerts to your Smart Device
  • Facial Capture and Recognition with Familiar and Unfamiliar Face Alerts
  • Remote Viewing with No Monthly Fees
  • Works with Google Assistant

Potential downside:

  • Digital-zoom rather than optical means you’ll lose some video quality when focusing in on certain spots.

Mid-range

lorex 6 camera metal wirelessLorex 1080p Wireless Outdoor Metal Cameras, 1TB Hard Drive

Check here for current pricing and availability.

Lorex is one of the most trusted security camera manufacturers in the world. They often receive high praise from customers, citing ease of use and high-quality products. On top of the high-quality construction, they offer an exclusive 2-year warranty free with all their products.

Their HD wireless cameras are some of the highest quality in the industry, and they’re the stars of the show here. Constructed with a metal housing, they’re vandalism resistant and fully weatherproof. The cameras boast a 450-foot range, and lithium-ion batteries that last for months at a time. Featuring heat and motion-sensing technology, they only record when the sensors are triggered, saving battery life.

lorex wireless focus zone

The camera lens has one of the widest viewing angles available at 140 degrees, plus, they have customizable focus. That means you can increase the motion sensitivity for certain parts of the frame.

Key features:

  • 1080 HD video quality, 140-degree viewing angle
  • 450-foot wireless range
  • 2-way audio capability
  • 1TB hard drive, expandable up to 8TB
  • Smart Search playback makes it easy to find recorded security incidents
  • Accurate heat plus motion sensing for accurate recording
  • Remote monitoring through the free Lorex Cirrus app
  • 2-year warranty free, 5-year warranty available
  • Works with Google Assistant, Alexa, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast

Potential downside:

  • Although it has night vision capability, at 65 feet, it has a comparably lower range than other cameras.

Swann 4-Camera 8-Channel 4K Ultra HD DVR Security System

Check here for current pricing and availability.

This entry gives us our first foray into 4K territory. The Swann 4K cameras offer 4x the resolution of 1080p cameras.

Like the Swann HD system discussed earlier, this DVR also has a Smart Search feature, making it easier for you to find security incidents. One additional feature of this particular DVR is the ability to upload video from up to 2 cameras – and stills from all cameras – to Dropbox, freeing up storage space.

swann security camera system

Although the system only comes with 4 cameras, an additional 4 cameras can be added to the system seamlessly, whether HD or 4K.

Key Features:

  • Crisp 4K video quality
  • Reliable 60-ft wired BCN connection
  • Smart Search playback makes it easy to find recorded security incidents
  • True Detect heat plus motion sensing for accurate alarms
  • Remote monitoring through Swann Security app
  • Works with Google Assistant and Alexa

Potential downside:

  • No spotlights or audio capabilities.

Lorex 16-Channel Security Camera System with 16 1080p Outdoor Cameras, 3TB Hard Drive

lorex 16-channel hd security camera system

Check here for current pricing and availability.

The Lorex 16 camera (yes 16) HD system with 4K 16-channel DVR is a fantastic value at its price point. You get 16 1080p HD fully weatherproof cameras, which feature one of the best night vision ranges in the industry at 130 feet. And although the cameras included are 1080p, the 4K DVR is capable of recording with 4K cameras should you choose to swap them out.

It also features a panic button that will activate all lights and sirens on the cameras simultaneously. Just like the Swann systems, this DVR features Smart Search during playback. And if 3TB of space doesn’t cut it, you can easily replace the hard drive with up to 10 TB of storage.

And again, for $99 you can upgrade the free 2-year warranty to 5 years. Quite simply, this might be the best value system on this list.

lorex 4k 3tb dvr

Key features:

  • 1080 HD video quality
  • 4K DVR with 3TB hard drive, expandable up to 10TB
  • Smart Search playback makes it easy to find recorded security incidents
  • Accurate heat plus motion sensing for accurate alarms
  • Remote monitoring through the free Lorex Home app
  • 130 feet night vision capability
  • 2-year warranty free, 5-year warranty available
  • Works with Google Assistant, Alexa, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast

Potential downside:

  • Night vision has a high range, but does not feature the color-boost technology of other cameras.

Top-of-the-line

lorex optical 4x zoom 4k metal cameras

Lorex 32-Channel NVR Security System with 16 Outdoor Metal 4K Cameras

Check here for current pricing and availability.

This security camera system by Lorex is top-of-the-line for a reason. Both the NVR (network video recorder) and the cameras are the most robust and feature-rich models you can buy.

The NVR itself is a 32-channel system, which means if 16 cameras don’t quite cut it, you can double the amount of cameras recording to this system. It comes with an 8TB hard drive, but has two hard drive slots capable of holding two 10TB hard drives.

There are also multiple recording modes to choose from when using this system.

 

For instance, you can customize each camera to record differently, whether it’s motion-based, scheduled, or continuous 24-hour recording.

On top of that, this system features adjustable regional motion zones. There may be certain areas of your property that you want to keep an extra eye on, such as the front or back door. Using the NVR, you can program specific motion zones for heightened sensitivity (the amount of motion needed to register that movement) and threshold (how much motion is needed before creating a motion “event”).

We’re not done there. Another unique feature included here is privacy masking. This allows you to block the cameras from recording certain areas of the screen. So for example, if you want to watch the front of a building but don’t want the camera to see through the windows, you can customize it so you’ll only see a black square where the windows are.

The cameras

lorex metal outdoor 4x optical zoom cameraOk, let’s talk about the cameras. Like the Lorex wireless cameras discussed earlier, the housing is made of metal, making them more durable. However, unique to any of the other cameras on this list, these 4K nocturnal cameras have 4x optical zoom, meaning you can zoom in on an area without losing any image quality.

They also use advanced color correction and noise filtering to produce the clearest night vision possible. At 250 feet, it’s nearly double the distance of other cameras on this list. Even the network is more powerful. Because they’re powered through ethernet rather than BCN cables, they are more reliable and can be installed up to 300 feet away from the NVR.

cuztomizable camera sensitivityKey features:

  • 4K video quality
  • 4K NVR with 8TB hard drive, expandable up to 20TB
  • Multiple recording modes for each individual camera (24/7, scheduled, and motion-controlled)
  • Fully customizable regional motion zones for heightened sensitivity
  • Privacy masking to black out private areas in the frame (windows, confidential materials)
  • Highly-durable metal construction
  • Remote monitoring through the free Lorex Home app
  • Power over CAT-5 ethernet for faster speeds, greater flexibility, and easy setup
  • 250 feet night vision capability
  • 2-year warranty free, 5-year warranty available

Potential downside:

  • It’s one of the pricier systems on the list.

Honorable mentions for Larger Facilities

Avigilon Security Camera Systems

avigilon security camerasCheck here for current pricing and availability.

Avigilon is one of the biggest of the big dogs when it comes to commercial video security cameras. Based out of Texas, some of their customers include casinos, airports, and stadiums, including Target Field in Minnesota, and King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia.

Their cameras are designed by some of the most technical folks in the industry. They have camera models for any application, and they can even be integrated with their access control systems. Their NVR’s can also store massive amounts of data, up to 196TB!

One of the most unique features of their camera systems is the utilization of deep learning artificial intelligence. Cameras are able to remember and recognize individuals and vehicles. When that happens, they will start recording and tracking them. This feature can also be used when searching for other events involving these objects of interest.

Depending on the number of cameras and the size of NVR needed, the price can go up considerably. But depending on your needs, these may be the system for you. For an accurate quote, contact the sales team at Avigilon.

Key features:

  • 1080p and 4K cameras available
  • 4K NVR’s with 24TB to 196TB storage spaces
  • Advanced features and access-control integration capabilities
  • Multiple camera models, from bullet cameras to domes with 360 degree visual
  • Intelligent AI learns specific individuals and cars
  • High-quality products made in North America
  • Power over ethernet for faster speeds, greater flexibility, and easy setup
  • Industry-leading 5 year warranty on their products

Potential downside:

  • Their cameras are pricey and are generally designed for larger spaces.

Genetec AutoVu 

license plate readerThis one is a little different from our other entries. But this unique security camera system can go a long way in increasing the boundaries of a company’s security presence.

The AutoVu™ automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) system automates license plate reading and identification, making it easier for law enforcement and for municipal and commercial organizations to locate vehicles of interest and enforce parking restrictions. Designed for both fixed and mobile installations, the AutoVu system is ideal for a variety of applications and companies.

For instance, the AutoVu system can be tailored to a wide variety of parking deployments with mobile or fixed cameras for on-street and off-street enforcement. The cameras feature wheel imaging technology for digital chalking and shared-permit enforcement.  This means you can capture valuable data to decrease ticket disputes and increase compliance. And at the same time, identifying any ticket-dodgers that frequent your facility.

The final verdict

Like any other product, a lot comes down to what you actually need. Small businesses and big businesses will likely have different needs. Have a look here at our camera system picks for large facilities.

With that caveat aside though, our top choice is Lorex Technologies. Because of their positive customer reviews, good construction quality, advanced features and warranty options, they edge out the competition. As a plus, most of their systems can be purchased with more or fewer cameras than we have listed, so they can be customized to your company’s needs, and budget.

Source list of camera systems we reviewed:

BeSafe Technologies Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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