The 9 Best Security Cameras for Small Businesses of 2020
Have eyes everywhere with these picks
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The best security cameras for small businesses give you a balance between video quality, value, durability, and functionality. Some systems require a hardwired connection between cameras and a base station, often meaning you'll have to hire a professional to install it and safely run cables to prevent trip hazards and other dangers. Others use wireless connections like Wi-Fi or cellular data to have cameras communicate with your mobile devices, cloud storage services, or base recording stations; this is perfect for smaller storefronts where wires could be cumbersome or for outdoor installation. Many camera systems record in 1080p HD or even 4K UHD to capture as much detail as possible; clothing logos, facial features, and even license plate numbers are critical information in the event of an emergency, and you need high-definition video feeds to capture them. If you want 24/7 recording, it's best to choose a camera system that has built-in infrared lighting or integrated spotlights for recording in dim, dark, or even pitch black environments.
Not all camera systems are created equal. This means that it's important to check if the system you're interested in is rated for indoor, outdoor, or mixed environment use. Outdoor cameras often feature water, dust, and tamper resistant housings to prevent damage from the weather or vandals while indoor cameras may only have tamper resistant housings. Storing video files is another important factor to consider when shopping for a security camera system for your small business. Some systems come packaged with pre-installed hard drives for local storage while others have on-camera microSC card slots for video storage. Higher end systems often include the option for cloud storage so you can have almost unlimited space for video and remote access to files from almost anywhere and any device. Whether your business is downtown or run out of your basement workshop, there is a security system built to fit your needs. We've gathered up our top picks, and we'll break down their features to help you decide which is right for you.
Best Overall: Arlo Pro 3 2K HDR Security System
Whether your business is home-based or in a dedicated storefront, having a good security camera system is important to keep your employees, customers, and inventory safe. The Arlo Pro 3 system is one of the absolute best available on the market. You can choose a starter pack that includes 1 to 6 cameras and a base unit; subscription plans support anywhere from 16 to 60 cameras, allowing the system to cover almost any size store or warehouse. Each camera is capable of shooting video in 2K with HDR support for clean, clear images. An integrated spotlight makes night recording much easier, and motion detection automatically starts recording when anyone or anything comes into frame. Each camera has a rechargeable battery with up to 6 months of life on a single charge and a 160-degree viewing angle. The entire system is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Homekit voice controls for hands-free commands and recording or playback.
With the dedicated app, you'll get instant notifications and direct video and audio feed to assess risks and either remotely sound an alarm to scare off intruders or call the authorities to handle dangerous situations. You can also set up package detection alerts to prevent theft and create custom activity zones to focus on high-traffic areas like loading bays or entrances and exits. Subscription plans include 30-day rolling cloud storage of all your video feeds so you can easily review weeks of footage whenever you need to. With either magnetic or threaded security mounts, the entire system is easy to install and sets up quickly so you can spend less time messing with camera angles and more time running your business.
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Best Multi-Camera: Swann 16 Channel 12 Camera Security System
If your business has a large storefront or warehouse with lots of blind spots, the Swann 12 camera security system is the perfect choice for monitoring both indoors and outer perimeters. With 16 recording channels, you can add up to four extra cameras to monitor a wider area. Each camera records in 1080p HD, allowing you to make out details like license plate numbers, logos on clothing, and even facial features. For night recording, each camera is capable of seeing up to 100 feet while recording in black-and-white and up to 32 feet when recording in color. The cameras are equipped with built-in spotlights as well as heat and motion detection controls for on-demand recording. The body and case of each camera is made to be weather and water resistant, ensuring long-lasting durability and operation.
A dedicated smartphone or tablet app can be used to set up push notifications as well as to remotely monitor live video feeds; an on-site system base can store up to 1TB of video, and it is compatible with cloud storage services like Dropbox for off-site storage to keep evidence safe and available in case the system is tampered with or stolen. The security system is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant voice controls as well as Chromecast so you can use your favorite smart speaker to control the cameras or stream live video feeds to your TV to review footage.
Best Outdoor Camera: Blink XT Outdoor Security System
Security systems, including video surveillance, can be expensive and come with additional costs in the form of monthly or yearly subscription plans. Thankfully, the Blink XT2 offers itself as an affordable option for anyone looking to keep their business and employees safe. The single camera kit sells for around $75 and doesn't surprise you with extra costs or fees, making it perfect for keeping an eye on an entrance, exit, delivery location, or point-of-sale. The camera can be used either indoors or outside, and the weather resistant body keeps out moisture, dust, and insects. With tool-free installation, setting up the camera is quick and easy; and with a battery life of up to two years, you'll never have to worry about a dead camera.
The lens lets the camera record in 1080p HD for clear images, and with infrared night recording, you can keep an eye on your business even late at night. You can access live video feed and two-way audio when you connect the Blink XT2 to your smartphone or tablet. This allows you to instantly assess suspicious situations and warn potential intruders. The Blink XT2 has motion detection for on-demand recording and works with Alexa voice commands for hands-free controls over video playback and recording. Free cloud storage of footage is included with the system, so you never have to worry about running out of space on a local recording station.
Best 4K: Arlo Ultra 4K UHD Security System
When reporting an emergency, every detail is important. The Arlo Ultra security system records in 4K UHD resolution so that faces, clothing details, and license plate numbers can be easily and clearly seen, day or night. You can choose a starting package that includes one to four cameras, as well as a subscription plan that allows you to add anywhere from 12 to 56 extra cameras to cover every possible angle and blind spot. Each camera has an integrated spotlight and smart siren that is activated by motion and sound detection or can be triggered remotely via the dedicated app. Each camera also has a noise cancelling microphone and integrated speaker for 2-way audio, letting you remotely communicate with delivery drivers or to warn unwanted visitors and intruders.
The lens allows for color night vision for superior video quality at night as well as automatic zoom and object tracking to focus on people, vehicles, and animals that come into frame. The included magnetic mounts allow for fast and easy tool-free setup and installation, and a swivel hinge lets you set custom angles to cover blind spots and problem areas. Each camera features a weather resistant housing to prevent damage from moisture, dust, and pests. With the app, you can set custom activity zones to have the cameras focus on particular locations like entryways or delivery drop-off spots, and you can even set up a custom location to send first responders and law enforcement when you make emergency calls. The system works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Homekit so you can use your favorite virtual assistant for hands-free controls.
Best with Local Storage: Reolink Video Surveillance System
While many video surveillance systems offer cloud storage options, having plenty of local storage is important for preserving video feeds and being able to offload files for evidence in case of an emergency. The Reolink system comes with a home base equipped with a 2TB hard drive, allowing you to store days worth of video; you can also set up the system to automatically overwrite previous files for continuous recording. The back of the base station features a USB port for quickly offloading files to a flash drive or external hard drive when you need to make space or save particular files.
The system includes four cameras that record in 1440p HD for crystal clear video, and it supports a maximum of 8 cameras; you can mix and match different models from Reolink for a custom configuration. Each camera has a durable metal housing to keep out moisture and dust, making them great for outdoor placement. They also have integrated microphones for audio recording and built-in infrared LEDs to give you up to 100ft of vision at night. With the dedicated app, you get remote access to video and audio feeds and the ability to set up motion-activated recording and custom detection zones for personalized monitoring of your business.
Best Compact Camera: Panasonic WV-S3131L Dome Camera
Reolink makes many top quality surveillance devices, but this camera can actually record and surveil what’s going on up to 100 feet away with 36 infrared LEDs. The viewing angle is a significant 80 degrees. You can schedule motion detection, so it doesn’t interfere during normal business hours, and it will send you a motion alert when the detector is activated.
The camera can be positioned indoors or out, and you can set it to run continuously or just when motion triggers it. The RLC 410 requires only one Ethernet cable, no power cord or adapter necessary. Tell the camera what you want it to do via e-mail if you’re not on the premises, or with a smartphone app. This camera is compatible with just about everything — iPhone and Android, Mac and Windows. The system will support up to eight cameras.
Best Outdoor: D-Link Vigilance DCS-4605EV
If you need to keep an eye on the exterior of your business, you need a camera system that can stand up to the elements. The D-Link Vigilance features a camera housing that is not only water and dust resistant, it is also designed to prevent tampering and sabotage; the domed lens cover is also designed to prevent condensation build up in high humidity or during temperature changes. The camera can operate in temperatures ranging from 32 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, letting it record in almost any weather all year long.
The camera records in 1080p HD and uses wide dynamic range technology to digitally enhance video feeds for better detailing. Built-in infrared LEDs allow for recording up to 65 feet, even in pitch black situations. With the included management software, you can set up motion detection for on-demand recording and control the pan and tilt of the camera for the best recording angle. The camera has an on-board microSD card slot that supports cards up to 128GB to store days worth of video before you need to offload files.
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Best Indoor: Google Nest Cam IQ
Keeping the inside of your business safe is just as important as keeping an eye on the outside. The Google Nest IQ camera is one of the best indoor security cameras available. With the ability to record in 1080p at up to 30 frames per second, you'll get crystal clear video to monitor points-of-sale, entrances and exits, or high traffic areas. The camera is capable of automatic zoom and tracking to capture intruders as well as 2-way audio to warn them that you've contacted authorities. The built-in infrared LEDs give you up to 20 feet of night vision so you can keep an eye on registers, safes, and stock even in the dark. The camera body itself is dust, moisture, and tamper resistant to protect components from vandalism.
You can connect the Nest IQ to other Nest devices as well as Alexa and Google Assistant for voice commands, and even Hue devices for recording-activated lighting. With the dedicated app, you can look at a three-hour snapshot history to keep tabs on employees and customers, and with the available subscription plans, you can get up to 60 days of snapshots and 10 days of 24/7 recording history.
Best Easy Installation: Ring Stick Up Cam
The Ring Stick Up Cam is designed to be super simple and quick to install and set up. The camera features an adhesive mount that securely attaches it to almost any interior or exterior wall of your business, and the swivel hinge allows you to set up a custom recording angle to cover high traffic areas, doorways, or delivery areas. It records in 1080p HD for clean, clear video, day or night. The camera is battery-powered, meaning you won't have to run dangerous and clunky wires through your business, and you'll get up to 30 days of recording on a single charge, protecting your business all month before needing to recharge your camera.
With the Ring app, you can connect the camera to other Ring devices like video doorbells to create a safety network for your business as well as access live video feeds and use the 2-way audio to talk to delivery drivers or warn intruders. You can also set up motion detection to save battery life and custom notifications to alert you to anything happening at your business. The camera can also be connected to Alexa for hands-free controls and live video monitoring via the Amazon Echo Show or communicated with strangers via Echo and Echo Dot speakers. The Ring Protect plan is available via subscription, which gives you access to up to 60 days of snapshot history so you can monitor patterns and offload clips for evidence in the event of an emergency.
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Meet the Expert
Taylor Clemons has over three years of experience writing about games and consumer technology. She has written for Lifewire, Digital Trends, TechRadar and her own publication, Steam Shovelers.