What Is A Good CCTV Camera for Outdoor Use? [Features and Top Picks]

Many individuals have different needs for their CCTV systems. Sometimes it’s a basic system just to protect a few views of the front of our homes, and sometimes it’s more complicated than that. It just depends. With that in mind, one thing doesn’t change. Consumers always need the ability to install quality systems for outdoor use and the applications they can be used for are potentially endless.

When I’m looking for my own devices and hardware, I often see comments in communities and forums that are specific in nature. What is a good CCTV system for outdoor use? With plenty of money spent on these systems, and a fair amount of trial and error, here is what I can tell you.

So, what is a good CCTV system for outdoor use? Finding the best CCTV cameras for outdoor use comes down to several factors. First, you want a CCTV camera that can display high-quality video. Additionally, power sources are a big concern for outdoor use. Lastly, you want a camera that has a field of view good enough to cover and visually see the property needing to be protected.

This is only a tiny piece of the pie when it comes to finding the best CCTV camera systems for outdoor use. More needs to be considered. Items such as price, storage options, and even notification alerts can make a big difference.

Let’s cover the factors involved, and I also want to give you my top 3 CCTV cameras I recommend for any outdoor function or application.

Perks and Factors Need to Be Considered First with CCTV Camera Systems

To start things off, please don’t think I’m bashing any other websites or business owners for the way they review CCTV cameras. They do a great job as well. What I think is essential that it is hard to find online is someone who tells you why we are shoving the product in your face for a specific use.

With that in mind, I want to include the factors and perks that your CCTV camera system needs to include before recommending any related products or letting you spend any money. Remember as well, we are only focused on outdoor use for the sake of this post.

Lastly, a quick way for you to see top factors I recommend in general, make sure you visit my other post here.

This will include all perks and budget-friendly options to consider when purchasing CCTV systems. Just keep in mind that this post does also include perks to include for indoor use, and that’s not our focus here today.

7 Specifications, Functions, and Perks All Outdoor CCTV Cameras Need to Include

CCTV Camera Perk #1- Weather Proof and Supports Various Climates and Temperature

Obviously, we need something that’s weatherproof for this application. Surprisingly enough, not everyone makes sure to cross this off the list when looking for quality outdoor CCTV systems.

You want a system that’s not only weatherproof against the elements but can also support low temperatures and temperatures that can range up to 110 degrees. Sometimes even higher.

Sitting in the sun all day in warmer climate states can really wreak havoc on this hardware, so it’s important to be sure to cover this perk and purchase a system that’s going to withstand these issues.

CCTV Camera Perk #2- Wide Angle Lenses Only for Best Results

This can serve 2 huge purposes for you. First, a wide-angle lens is going to provide a larger viewing area and, in most cases, higher quality. Looking for a camera that can cover roughly 104 degrees of movement and cover a considerable distance such as 40 plus feet is ideal.

Not only will the camera provide the better viewing space but it’s also going to limit the number of cameras you need to purchase all together.

Let’s assume you are placing the cameras to give you protection and a visual of a large backyard. An outdoor CCTV camera with a wide-angle lens may be able to take care of this with high quality with using only 1 device.

Would you rather pay for 2 low-end devices that may need replaced in the future or let just 1 camera get the job done for you?

The choice is yours.

CCTV Camera Perk #3-Power Sourcing Options, Battery, Solar, Hardwire

This comes into play with nearly every CCTV system. It should. It’s perhaps the most critical factor to consider. I mention in other posts how I really like the CCTV cameras to have multiple capabilities.

Sometimes this a dual combo of hardwired plus battery back up in case the power goes out or even in some situations you will see the solar-powered options with batteries that can be used in case the solar function didn’t perform.

When making sure you have a functioning CCTV system that has no issues being used outdoors, hardwired is ideal for secure power, stable power, and reliability. However, this comes with a cost as well.

I’d lean towards the dual combo as mentioned previously or if you really can’t install or yourself or afford professional install, lean on battery-powered options only.

Even in the event, you are running low, most systems will notify you through the mobile app or an SMS that they need to be replaced or charged. The main takeaway is that having your system fail due to a power issue defeats the entire purpose. Consider power sourcing options strongly before purchasing.

CCTV Camera Perk #4-Night Vision and Illumination Options

Outdoor CCTV cameras also need the ability to use night vision to provide the fullest range of benefits. I like going with a camera with infrared technology, color night vision and LED illuminators to get the job done but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the path that you have to choose to take.

You have many options to choose from, and the budget will also come into play.

The important takeaway is that for stunning quality and no fear of poor video footage due to lighting conditions, I recommend purchasing a CCTV camera that has these functions built in from day 1.

I don’t think it’s a decision you will regret in the long run.

CCTV Camera Perk #5- Highly Compatible with Several Platforms

This is going to be hard to find a camera that’s not highly compatible with multiple platforms because the manufacturers understand this is a huge pressure point and buying factor for individuals. Most of these CCTV cameras are going to use mobile apps to give functionality to the system and allow you to have specific controls at your fingertips.

I’d make sure to only spring for outdoor CCTV cameras that are compatible with iOS, Android and Desktop PC’s. This includes Windows and Mac. This will make sure that regardless of your preferred device you will still have full control and functionality over the system.

CCTV Camera Perk #6- Motion Detection Capabilities

Motion detection is a toss-up for me. I personally wouldn’t want a camera that’s not capable of using motion detection hardware and software, but you could certainly get away without this feature. Any decent midline-to high-end CCTV camera will most likely include this function.

It’s going to help protect against tampering and vandalism and can conserve energy by only recording after the motion is detected.

This is a setting you can alter by turning on and off but let’s say you chose to go with battery powered outdoor cameras. Extending the battery life can be accomplished much easier if the camera is only doing work while you are manually controlling it via the app or after sensing motion.

A nice additional perk to include with your outdoor CCTV camera purchase.

CCTV Camera Perk #7- Color Only, Black and White is In the Past

Yes, black and white CCTV cameras for outdoor use will undoubtedly get the job done and still provide protection. However, it is 2019 now, and I personally would like full 1080p and color resolution out of my system for the most bang for my buck.

It’s not going to save you much money, in the long run, using a system that’s only capable of black and white mode so if it was me, I’d highly recommend just getting full-color resolution.

This includes a full-color display for night vision as well.

3 Quick Recommendations for Outdoor CCTV Cameras

We have now covered 7 small perks to look for with your CCTV cameras but what we haven’t covered is a few cameras that can accomplish all these tasks or at least most of these tasks. We want to mention 3 outdoor CCTV cameras that can certainly handle your needs and check off as many boxes on our list of specifications to look for.

Let’s check them out briefly.

Top Pick and Outdoor CCTV Camera Option #1- The Nest Cam Outdoor

This is my top pick for a fantastic outdoor CCTV camera. I have a few reasons for this as well. First, it does use a direct power source which is never a bad thing outside of install cost. It removes that fear of other items such as batteries running dead on you.

Another excellent feature about the Nest Outdoor cam is the way microphone that will allow you to communicate with a visitor or whoever it may be lurking around your property.

Motion Alert with Nest

This is a unique feature. What I like I about this camera is it’s active non-stop due to being connected to the main power source. However, when motion is detected, it will take a quick still image of whatever set off the motion detector and send it to you live time. Pretty cool feature if you ask me.

Nest cameras also meet our criteria for being tough and durable. The Nest Outdoor is a camera you can count on working rain or shine. This coupled in with clear night vision quality, and 1080p resolution is what makes Nest our number 1 pick for an outdoor camera if given the option.

Lastly, the price point can’t be beaten. This camera is easy to find under the 200.00-dollar price point. For the quality and durability, we don’t think that’s a product that can be matched currently.

Runner Up and Outdoor CCTV Camera Option 2- The Zmodo Wireless

The Zmodo wireless made our top three list for a few different reasons. First, it’s one of the only cameras you are going to find with this quality under 100.00. That’s a price that even if you need several of them, you aren’t going to break the bank to go out and purchase.

Additionally, the Zmodo is WI-FI capable and removes the need for any hardwiring or professional install which is going to save you even more money in the grand scheme of the purchase.

This camera does only have the 720p quality which could be considered a downfall, but the range is reaching up to 65 feet helps bring this camera into my top rankings.

This camera nails the test for being weatherproof and durable through rough temperatures and climates. The Zmodo can work and be fully functioning anywhere between 14- and 122-degrees F.

The Zmodo is also compatible with smart home hubs such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home and it has IR Night vision which is two huge positives in my book.

Couple these features into a price point that allows you to purchase 4 of these cameras for under 125.00, we don’t think you can find a much better value. It’s a great option in my book.

Third Place and Outdoor CCTV Camera Option 3- The Ring Spotlight Cam

The Ring Spotlight cam is a newer addition to the Ring CCTV camera lineup. It’s boasted about its ability to get stunning and crisp footage during the night even in the darkest of conditions. The Ring Spotlight cam also comes with a unique alarm feature that allows you to sound a 110-decibel alarm to scare away anyone lurking around the property.

If you are looking for a sure-fire way to deter criminal activity with a CCTV camera, I can’t think of a better way of doing so other than this. This is another wired camera which we have already covered the pros and cons of this in depth in this post.

The Ring spotlight cam also meets our requirements of being compatible with smart home hubs and iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows. With live time alerts, stunning quality and an affordable price point, we don’t think you can go wrong choosing this model.

Let’s also not forget that Ring is one of the biggest names currently in the CCTV and home security industry so you can trust you are working with a well-known and well-recognized brand.

A Side Note and Final Word on Choosing Cameras

While I do have a deep liking and interest for CCTV cameras, I’m sure it’s possible that someone out there has a more in-depth knowledge of products and features. I’m not necessarily trying to steer you one direction or another.

I’m just a guy who has purchased CCTV equipment and wants to recommend what I believe to be quality products that are not only affordable but have the features that I would want in a reliable CCTV system.

Plenty of other great CCTV cameras are on the market. Some cheaper and some more expensive. That’s the specific reason why I chose to give you 7 of my grading criteria’s before recommending any of these cameras to you.

The Choice Is on You

Ultimately, you must decide which system will serve your needs the best. Maybe you don’t need nor care about compatibility, power sourcing or even night vision, but you care more about the brand name on the box. That’s fantastic, and you have that option when shopping for your system.

I merely want to point out that I don’t believe any of the recommendations above would ever steer you in the wrong direction purchasing a CCTV system, but I do think it’s necessary for you to do your own independent research and diligence on the topic. I just hope to be one of your resources when doing so.

To Sum Things Up. Do Your Own Due Diligence but Buy A CCTV Camera That’s Up to The Challenge

Well, you have now seen not only some of the small perks that we recommend shopping for when purchasing your CCTV camera, but we also tried to lay out some of the basic options you can consider. CCTV cameras don’t only provide protection to our families but also provide us with peace of mind.

With how fast the world is advancing especially in the technology arena, it’s always important to shop for features that perform the task at hand first and then let budget become a factor if necessary. With outdoor cameras battling high and low temps and the weather elements, it’s even more important to shop quality, durability, and affordability.

What do you recommend to individuals searching for the best outdoor CCTV camera? Do you think any perks or specifications need to be added to our “must have list”? Be sure to drop a comment below.

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