Are you considering adding wireless solar security cameras to your home but not knowing where to start? In this buyer’s guide, we’ll outline the top 10 things you should know before purchasing a wireless solar security camera.
Is the lack of access to a power source forcing you to compromise on your security?
This is inconceivable in this modern era when every problem has at least one solution, if not more. Yes, you read it right. You can install a security camera without access to a power source.
Solar power can come to your rescue here.
By choosing solar-powered surveillance cameras, you can monitor your property even if it is an off-the-grid remote location or too spread out with too many outbuildings. You can also save some serious money on utility bills in the process.
Wireless solar security cameras can also come in handy when an electric point is not close to where you want the camera. No wires, easy installation, and eco-friendly are some of the benefits of solar-powered security cameras over regular ones.
However, you need to be aware of its pros and cons besides the points to remember when buying a solar security camera. Read on to learn more about solar-powered home security cameras. This buyer’s guide can help you find the best outdoor solar security cameras for your property.
Pros and cons of wireless solar security cameras
You may have reasons for not switching to solar power for the entire property. But you can still have solar-powered installations for many outdoor applications such as lights, water heaters, and security cameras.
Let’s find out the advantages and disadvantages of installing a wireless solar security camera.
Pros of Wireless Solar-Powered Security Cameras
- No need for a power source: As the solar panel generates electricity for its needs, this is one of the main selling points for a solar security camera. And, this also helps you avoid snaking electric cables.
- Easy installation: For all practical purposes, a solar security camera is ready to use right out of the box. Even with a minimal amount of DIY expertise, you can manage to set it up by yourself.
- Works round the clock: One of the major benefits of going solar is that it is not affected by power outages. With enough sunshine to power the battery, it will give you trouble-free performance 24×7.
- No additional burden on utility bills: As these solar panel security cameras don’t draw electricity from the grid, no utility charges on this account.
- Low maintenance: Once installed, these solar cameras rarely need any attention or maintenance. The battery needs to be replaced after 3-5 years.
- Friendly to the environment: As no grid electricity is being used, the carbon footprint of the solar camera is minimal.
- Offers the advantage of Cloud: Typically, these cameras allow access to live as well as recorded footage from anywhere using any device. Most of its functions can also be controlled remotely through apps via the Cloud.
- Easy to scale: It is a simple task to add more solar panel security cameras for surveillance and integrate them into a common user-friendly interface.
Cons of Wireless Solar-Powered Security Cameras
- Dependent on sunlight: This is true for all solar-powered devices.
- Battery: The functioning of the camera is affected when the battery runs out of charge due to lack of sunlight or the battery’s inability to retain the charge. The battery needs to be replaced every 3-5 years and this translates to additional expenditure.
- LED lights not bright enough: As power is drawn from the battery, solar security cameras use LED bulbs to illuminate the area at night. This is not as powerful as regular security lights.
- Dependent on the range of wireless: A solar security camera uses WiFi connectivity or 4G LTE technology to provide all its functions. If the location of the camera is too far away, it may face weak WiFi signal, signal interference, or unstable WiFi connection.
As is evident from the pros and cons listed here, the pluses far outweigh the minuses.
Top 10 things to consider when buying wireless solar security cameras
As with any purchase, if you are looking for value for money, you need to invest some time in understanding the various aspects and features of the product. This couldn’t be truer than for a solar security camera.
1. Capacity of the solar panel
Some outdoor solar security cameras come with a large solar panel with high efficiency, while some others have a smaller panel. A smaller panel will do the job if you live in a sunny location with fewer rainy or cloudy days.
However, if you have more sunless days, you should choose one with a larger high-efficiency solar panel. This will help produce more electricity so that the battery can store more energy for cloudy days.
2. Size of the battery
Again, the availability of sunlight plays a huge role in deciding the battery size. If the sun shines brightly almost the entire year, a regular battery would be sufficient.
However, if your location has more cloudy/rainy days, you may want to go in for a larger battery. This will be able to retain enough charge to run the show until the sun comes out again.
In case, none of the models have a large enough battery for your needs, you may even opt for a backup battery.
3. Recording device
If it is live streaming alone you are interested in, this is not of much concern. However, if you want to retrieve the camera footage at a later date, you should pay attention to where and how the camera saves the video.
Most outdoor solar security cameras offer two choices – microSD card and Cloud storage. Cloud storage is the preferred choice as it allows you to access the footage from anywhere using a mobile device. However, you need to use a specific app that may require a subscription for this. Some manufacturers offer only limited Cloud services for free.
If you are looking for a less expensive option, an SD card would be the right choice. Again, you can use your mobile device to view the footage. However, the storage capacity of the SD card is limited.
Choosing a wireless solar security camera with both would be the ideal choice.
4. HD resolution
The higher the resolution of the camera, the better the quality of the image and the more details about the area surveilled you will have. An HD-quality display resolution of 1280×720 pixels is the recommended minimum resolution for good video quality.
However, choosing a security camera with higher resolution means the size of video footage will be larger. You need to account for sufficient storage space before making this choice.
5. Field of view
This refers to the area covered by the camera. Naturally, the wider the field of view, the more area the camera can cover. This means you will need fewer outdoor security cameras to cover a large property.
However, if the camera comes with panning and tilting options, together with its field of view, it would be able to cover a much larger area.
6. Motion sensor
A solar wireless surveillance camera with a motion sensor can detect the presence of movement within its field of view and send alerts to the control panel, which in turn will send alerts to the linked mobile device. The outdoor security cameras are also equipped with sound alarms which are automatically triggered by movements.
This feature is useful to keep your property safe as well as safeguard the camera from theft.
7. Night vision
Outdoor solar security cameras with night vision offer color images when light is available. However, when the light is low or not available, they still manage to capture images using infrared light, which is also known as thermal radiation.
As all living things emit infrared radiations, outdoor security cameras are equipped to capture and process them. Many cameras with night vision have tiny LED infrared lights located around the camera. As the motion sensor detects movement in the field of vision, the infrared light is activated and the image captured. However, the image would be in black and white.
8. Two-way audio
This is a useful feature in a security camera for communicating with the person in front of the camera. Together with the video, this can keep you safe and secure. Adding this feature to the security camera can eliminate the need for an intercom.
9. WiFi connectivity
If you want real-time alerts or want to view live footage on your mobile device, a security camera offering WiFi connectivity is essential. You also need to ensure that the position where the camera is installed receives a good wireless signal.
However, if this is not feasible, there are outdoor solar security cameras in the market with SIM card slots. They work on 3G or 4G-LTE networks to offer a seamless service even without a WiFi connection.
10. Cost of the device
A solar-powered camera for outdoor use costs more than a regular one but the device pays for itself with a few years’ use. As the lifespan of the solar panel is 20-25 years, the rest of the period, you get to enjoy the security camera for free.
If you want more information about the best wireless solar security cameras to buy, check out our review of the best wireless solar-powered security cameras for outdoor.
Tips for wireless solar security cameras installation
You can get the best out of your purchase by choosing the right position for its installation. If you live in the northern hemisphere, positioning the solar panel to face the true south will help maximize exposure to the sun.
You can also take steps to ensure that the solar panel is not shielded from the sun by overhanging tree branches or neighboring buildings.
Being outdoors, the surface of the solar panel accumulates dirt, dust, and even bird droppings. Periodical cleaning with water can help in raising the efficiency of the panel.
After reading this article, you should be convinced to go ahead with the purchase of a solar-powered security camera. They offer everything a conventional outdoor security camera offers – high resolution, wide field of view, night vision, and even two-way audio. In addition to all these features, it also allows you the freedom to choose a position for it without bothering about the availability of an electric point or running a long electric cable to access the power supply.
When looking for the best solar-powered security cameras, you should consider various factors and pay attention to their numerous features. By following the top 10 tips listed in this article, you can be sure to find the perfect wireless solar security cameras for your needs.