Best Outdoor Lights With Cameras (Reviews) - 2019 Buying Guide

Looking for a security light with a built-in camera (and recording)? Read our guide to the best available.

Often, beefing up security around your home means investing in more than one tool. Outdoor security lights are some of the most prioritised security tools in most homes. They will not only help you see clearly at night, but they also complement your security cameras.

Picture this; you've installed a CCTV camera outside your home. You have a solid fence and a strong gate to protect you. On a dark night during the summer, you hear some scuffling in your front yard. Your car alarm goes off and you can hear footsteps running toward your front door. Unfortunately, it's really dark and you can't see clearly even if you drew the living room curtains. You can't tell whether the intruder is a human being or the neighbour’s dog and neither can you tell if they're gone or trying to break into your home. It's definitely an uncomfortable situation which can be remedied with security lights. But how do you choose the right fit, especially if you're using them alongside security cameras? Below are a few options to consider;

Lights + Camera + Recording

As technology advances, it's becoming easier to get your solution in one package. If you want to catch the thief in action and secure good footage with identifiable images to hand over to police officers, you could invest in outside light built in camera and recording. This is a three in one package whereby your camera records everything as the lights give an unforgiving glare to intruders. The camera and the lights are connected and cannot be separated, meaning what the bulbs light up, the camera capture as well.

Advantages

  • Synchronised operation, whereby the lights will not end up lighting objects that are not within the camera's field of view.
  • The recording feature attached to the camera is also beneficial, especially if fitted with a good memory card to record longer hours. This feature helps you capture everything even when you're away or when you're too tired to peep outside every time there's is an alert.

Disadvantages

When the camera is attached to the lights, you might end up securing a limited radius which means security may be compromised. You may, however, counter this problem by installing more lights in different parts of the home.

Lights + Camera + Motion Sensors

Motion sensing lights have become quite popular among homeowners. These are lights that only come to life when they detect motion within a certain radius. They act as a surprise to intruders who might be taking advantage of your 'laxity' only to receive the shock of their lives when the lights flood the area with unbelievable brightness. The motion detection feature will either be attached to the camera, the lights or both. Other times, the manufacturer will give you the freedom to set your motion detection angles by tilting the lights. It's important to ensure the detection feature is synchronised if both the camera and the lights can detect motion, to avoid lighting object that are not within the camera's range.

Advantages

  • This pair is discreet enough to mislead intruders, meaning they can't plan to avoid your security lights and camera beforehand because they're either unaware of their existence or they can't tell when they'll light up.
  • They can help you save energy because the bulbs only light up when they detect motions. Therefore, they don't consume energy all night as in the case of ordinary security lights.

Disadvantages

  • If the camera and the lights are not in sync, you may end up with motion detection alerts without footage. The camera may also end up recording objects in low light if the bulbs do not light up at the right time, thus affecting the footage quality.

Separate lights and CCTV security camera

If you don't like the idea of a 3 in 1 package, you also have the option of purchasing security lights and a camera separately. They could be from the same brand or different brands depending on your preference. This means the lights will work independently while the camera records everything in its field of view regardless of whether the lights are on or off. This package is suitable if your home is designed in a manner that makes it difficult to focus on one area. For instance of your porch is hidden from your driveway and you want to secure both, you might want to invest in this kind of package. Also, if your house has too many corners that make it difficult for light to penetrate, this arrangement will work for you. With separate security lights, you can install several of them in different positions. In return, they will provide enough lighting for the camera to record footage.

Advantages

  1. The field of view is not limited because the lights and the cameras cover different grounds at the same time, meaning intruders cannot escape both of them. If an intruder escapes the camera's field of view, they will most probably end up in the lights' field of view.
  2. They are flexible for irregularly designed homes which often attract intruders due to blind spots within the compound.

Disadvantages

  1. The installation process can be somehow cumbersome and consuming. Establishing the right angles for each tool is not an easy task. In addition, when the lights come separately, you might have to invest in wiring and installation of switches.
  2. If you fail to choose the right angles for each tool, you might end up with two tools that do not complement each other as they should.

Other factors to consider when choosing outdoor security lights:

- First, there are various types of lights which include; floodlights, LED light panels and light beams among others. Each of these lights is shaped differently and their shape affects their coverage. Light beams, for instance, may cover a bigger radius but they shed limited beams on each spot. , on the other hand, will cover a small angle but as the name suggests, they flood a lot of light on the selected spot. Therefore choose the lights according to your home's size and security needs.

- The source of light is also a major concern. There are electricity and solar-powered lights. Electricity is a more powerful source but if you live in an area where power blackout is common (especially at night), consider investing in solar powered lights. However, you may want a backup during the winter season when sunlight is a rarity.

- Consider buying lights with additional features such as an alarm and phone alerts whenever an intruder is detected.

- Lastly, outdoor lights can either be fixed or tilted. Fixed lights are great if you only have one small area to cover. However, if your outdoor space is expansive and irregularly shaped, you might want to invest in lights that tilt. These will help you adjust the panels or beams whenever you discover new blind spots or if the light rays are not covering enough ground after the installation process.

- Overall, survey your home thoroughly before choosing a package. Such a survey will help you establish your needs, common threats and angles that need coverage.

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