Man with facial recognition technology overlay.

Security cameras can be a great way to protect your home or business and restore peace of mind. However, these devices dont come cheap. You dont want to buy one only to find that it's poor quality or doesn't suit your needs. So, it's important to research, shop the market and know exactly what you're looking for. Here are just 6 of the essential features of security cameras to look out for:

Night Vision

If you're buying a surveillance camera to protect your home or business against burglary, vandalism or theft, you will need it to have night vision. These crimes tend to occur under cover of darkness, so if your camera cannot see in the dark, it's simply not fit for purpose. Another useful feature is low light viewing, ensuring your camera can cope even when street lights or garden lamps emit dim light.

The last thing you want is an outdoor camera that cant adjust to changing light levels and only provides a clear picture in either broad daylight or the blackest night. When investigating low-level light and night vision, look for the camera's lux rating (the lower, the better for night vision) or speak to your camera supplier about it.


You won't realise how much of a fantastic feature motion detection is in a camera until you start using one. It is a time-saver, saving power and battery and making recording more efficient. To illustrate this, consider a camera that is constantly recording. It remains powered every second its on, which can drain its battery or bump up your energy bills, and when it comes to viewing the footage, you will have to trawl through hours and hours of blank footage where nothing happens to get to the good stuff.

The alternative, motion-activated recording cameras, only switch on when movement is detected. This means a fraction of the power is used, and you save yourself hours of staring at the same motionless scene when reviewing footage. It essentially puts together a highlights package for you, only filming when something happens. With motion-activated spy cameras, it is very important to look at the sensitivity of their detection sensors and whether they can be adjusted.

If they're too sensitive, the camera will switch on and record a neighbourhood cat or a breeze moving leaves in a tree. If not sensitive enough, you may not get any footage, which could be disastrous if burglars target your home.

Real-time alerts

Surveillance cameras nowadays are very clever and can even send you alerts via email or SMS when motion is detected, and the camera begins recording. This means you will be alerted if a burglary attempt is in progress or if something else is happening as it happens. You receive an instant alert on your phone, tablet or laptop, enabling you to check the camera feed immediately and alert the police if needed. This feature is handy for your peace of mind, as you know you can leave the premises to go on holiday and will be alerted if anything happens, and it could even be a real lifesaver.

Secure Wi-Fi connection

The fewer wires you must deal with when installing your new security camera, the better. However, you can go one step further than this and get a Wi-Fi surveillance camera with no wires to worry about. These cameras have many benefits, including being cheaper than other types and simple to set up without specialist technical knowledge.

However, the main benefit of having one is that you can access a live feed and all footage from your camera from any internet-enabled device. So, you can check in on the feed on your smartphone while you're on the bus or review footage on your laptop on your lunch break it's completely up to you. As well as convenience, this also provides peace of mind, as you can check in on whats going on anywhere in the world, provided it has an internet connection.

One thing to remember is that Wi-Fi-connected devices need to be made secure. Without the right protections, your cameras could be vulnerable to hackers or others with malicious intent. Remember, if you can access the footage via Wi-Fi, so can someone else. If you're unsure what to do, a specialist in surveillance cameras, such as the team from Online Spy Shop, can offer expert advice on keeping your network and camera as secure as possible.

Picture quality

So many people buy the cheapest camera on the market without considering picture quality. Its unfortunately only when something happens that they realise how poor picture quality is on their device compared to others on the market. For example, what if the police need to identify faces on your footage after a break-in, or do you need to use the footage as evidence of another kind? As with most things, you get what you pay for, so getting a camera with slightly higher specifications is always worth spending more.

Weather resistance

This is another no-brainer, but home and business owners still replace weather-damaged cameras far more often than they should. You need to look for outdoor use surveillance cameras designed to withstand all that the great British weather can throw at them and still perform exceptionally. Many manufacturers will offer guarantees of weather resistance if the product is marketed as an outdoor-use camera. These are most definitely the ones to look for.