Pros and Cons of Door Cameras

Door cameras offer the ability to keep an eye on things, but they require an investment of time, energy, and money. Here’s a look at different types of entrance monitors, with some of their pros and cons.

Door Camera Types

Doorbell cameras - These two-in-one devices offer the convenience and security of a camera alongside a standard doorbell. There are a range of designs with varying features.

Peephole cameras - This style replaces your peephole with a small camera. It may run constantly or activate if it detects motion.

Mounted Security Cameras - Surveillance cameras can be mounted anywhere near the door to provide a visual of your porch area, or any other part of your property you want to watch.

A security camera pointed at a house

Pros:

Peace of mind - The biggest benefit of door cameras is the comfort they offer you and your family by allowing you to keep an eye on your property, even when you’re away from home. With the right setup, you can decide when and what to record, and check in on any activity in real time.

Motion detection - Many of these systems use software to notify you when someone approaches your door. You can set the sensitivity and target area so you don’t receive alerts about people just walking by.

Viewing area variety - You can choose how much space to cover, from a narrow field all the way up to a full 180 degree circle.

Night vision options - Some models can capture a clear image even after the sun goes down.

Smartphone access - Many camera options connect to an app, giving you easy access to your security information all day long. You can monitor when the kids get home, check that a package is delivered, or keep tabs on a stranger mulling around near your property.

Audio communication - Some models offer an audio feature that allows you to communicate verbally with people near the camera. You can use this to tell a delivery driver where to leave a package, invite a guest inside, or tell an unwelcome visitor to buzz off.

Wireless options - Many designs are wireless for easy installation and flexible use. These battery powered models are easy to deploy and relocate, while their hardwired equivalents are more reliable but require a little more work up front.

Security footage - Some systems will store footage, a useful feature in the case of theft or vandalism. Some can save your recordings in DVR format, others use standard video files on a home computer network.

A woman's face on a door camera screen

Cons:

Varying camera quality - Not all home security video is high quality. Some models only offer 480p, a fairly low and grainy resolution.

Lighting challenges - Many cameras don’t adjust to lighting when taking a picture, so they may not work well at night or in bright sunlight.

Complexity - Some models are not sold individually, requiring the expense of an entire system.

Poor tech support - Challenges during setup are common complaints for some types of cameras.

One way audio - Some audio options limit the conversation to one speaker at a time, like a walkie-talkie rather than an open telephone line.

Expensive - Security camera systems can become pricey very quickly, especially when attached to a monthly service fee.

Difficult installation - Setting up hard-wired cameras can require drilling through exterior walls.

Wi-Fi requirements - Configurations that rely on wireless internet may need a booster to get a strong enough signal.

Limited storage - Storage capabilities are limited on some models, whether they feature cloud storage or rely on an SD card slot built into the device.

Invading neighborhood privacy - Friends, neighbors, and family members might feel your camera is an invasion of privacy when they are involuntarily and unknowingly recorded.

Costs

All types of cameras come in a range of options, so you’ll have to consider your overall goal. If you just want a single camera to gather evidence in case a package is stolen, you can go with a less expensive model. A comprehensive home security system, on the other hand, can run into the thousands of dollars.

As of this writing, most peephole cameras average about $140. The doorbell style starts around $140, but mid-range models are closer to $200. Mounted cameras can run around $175 each.