Consumer Reports: Shopping For Home Security Cameras

Published Monday, January 6, 2020

Looking for the best sound bar on the market? Need help choosing between two different cars? Check out Consumer Reports! Consumer Reports gives Edwardsville Public Library cardholders access to ratings and reviews for a plethora of cars, household gadgets, appliances, and much more. Comparison shopping has never been easier!

You can find Consumer Reports on the “Resources” tab on the library’s website at www.edwardsvillelibrary.org. Please ask library staff if you’d like any more tips for using this wonderful database. We’re happy to assist you.

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There are a number of reasons you might want to outfit your home with security cameras. A video doorbell helps you keep an eye on packages delivered to your front doorstep. Indoor cameras allow you to watch your pets while you're at work or your sleeping toddler while she sleeps in another room.

In addition to product ratings, Consumer Reports provides Buying Guides that introduce consumers to various product categories. Here, I'm looking at the Home Security Camera Buying Guide.

Buyingguide

Factors to Consider

The Buying Guide explains the difference between video doorbells and security cameras and goes into the different factors to consider when selecting a camera:
1. Choose Your Camera Type
Do you need wired or wireless? Will it be used indoors and outdoors? Certain cameras are suitable for different placement.

2. Pick Your Power Source
Battery-powered wireless security cameras and video doorbells offer the most flexibility in terms of placement in and around your home.

3. Compare Cloud Storage Plans
Without cloud storage, if you miss an alert for a potential intruder you’ll have no idea whether someone tried to break in. Many of these cameras also won’t let you download clips to send to authorities unless you pay up.

4. Consider Your Privacy
Does the camera system you're looking at offer two-point authentication for more secure logins? Camera systems could be susceptible to hackers getting into your camera feed.

Ratings

When using Consumer Reports, sometimes you can just head straight to the product ratings. They've tested dozens of products and ranked them based on the criteria to the far right of the chart. The criteria used for security cameras are video quality, response time, data privacy, data security, and Smart IQ.

Smartcameras

Looking at these rankings and after talking to co-workers that have the same setup, I'm leaning toward buying Arlo cameras. They're compatible with the Apple Homekit software, which works for my family that is invested in the Apple ecosystem. The Nest Cameras also look appealing, but they seem to benefit those invested in Google's ecosystem.

One issue I've run into with the product ratings in this search is that Consumer Reports did not include Arlo's video doorbells in the video doorbell ratings. The brand that is ranked the #1 in their Security Cameras category has been (up to this point) overlooked by Consumer Reports staff. I'd rather buy a single brand of cameras rather than mixing and matching, especially if I have to pay for cloud storage of footage for each manufacturer.

So, I still think I'm going with Arlo cameras and an Arlo video doorbell, but I couldn't come to that conclusion solely using Consumer Reports.

About the Author

Jacob has worked at Edwardsville Public Library since 2001. He moderates the library's monthly book discussion group. Jacob enjoys literary fiction, general non-fiction, and dabbles in sci-fi.