What is the best dome surveillance camera?

Safety & Security

Zoom can be either optical or digital. Optical zoom works via the lens and always provides better image quality than the digitally enhanced alternative.

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Which dome surveillance cameras are best?

The dome surveillance camera has one big advantage over directional or “bullet” models — the ability to look around. They provide a far fuller picture than even wide-angle fixed models, so you can get greater security coverage with fewer units. We’ve been looking at their features for this concise report, and we’ve made a few recommendations. Our favorite, YoLuke’s Security Surveillance Dome Camera, has the high specifications you need to protect your home or business and can alert you to activity wherever you are.

What to know before you buy a dome surveillance camera

Vision and control

So, having said you can get a better view of what’s going on, you’ll want to look at just how extensive that view is. Many dome surveillance cameras offer both pan and zoom, but the amount varies — and insufficient rotational angle can leave you with blind spots. Some can see up to 355 degrees, and from the horizontal plane down through 90 degrees, but many offer less flexibility, so you’ll need to check. Likewise, 4X zoom is widely available, though up to 12X is possible.

As a dome surveillance camera is generally used for security, night vision is an important aspect. Most only provide black and white images (the technology is cheaper) but color night vision is available if you have the budget. The other thing you’ll want to consider is distance. Many quote “up to” 100 feet (in ideal conditions), but a 300-foot range is possible.

Image quality depends on two things: camera resolution and frame rate. The first is generally 2MP or 1,080p HD at a minimum. 4MP and 5MP (sometimes called Super HD) are common among better cameras, and superb 12MP or 4K UHD can be found on a few. Ideally frame rate should be 24 fps (frames per second) or higher, but data is often not provided.

Motion activation is usually offered, and sensitivity should be adjustable — so you don’t keep recording the neighbor’s cat!

Audio functionality can sometimes be overlooked, and quality isn’t always great. On the other hand, it’s perfectly possible to find models that not only record decent sound, but also give you the ability of two-way conversation.

Installing and operating

Almost every dome surveillance camera is called “wireless,” but it’s a confusing description, because few of them are! The term is used to describe their image transmission — usually over WiFi — but many either need wiring to a power source, or cable for PoE (Power over Ethernet). The only truly wireless models are battery powered. If you’re choosing one of the others, cable routing will need to be planned.

Control of camera operation is frequently via convenient smartphone app, which allows you to adjust zoom, view images remotely, etc. In most cases you can store to cloud (a subscription may be required), to SD card within the camera, or to another connected device within the building. Motion activation will automatically start recording, and also alert you via text message or email.

How much you can expect to spend on a dome surveillance camera

The cheapest dome surveillance cameras are around $30 but are little more than nanny cams, for indoor use only and with modest features. Models we’re comfortable recommending start at around $50, but you can spend over $300 for high-end models.

Dome surveillance camera FAQ

Are there any legal restrictions on using dome surveillance cameras?

A. You’re allowed to place surveillance cameras anywhere around your home or business premises. There may be privacy issues if you record activity beyond those boundaries — particularly if you share those images.

How do I know if the dome camera is really waterproof?

A. Look for an Ingress Protection (IP) number. It’s an international rating for levels of dust and water prevention. Full details can be found online. If it doesn’t have one, you only have only the manufacturer’s word for it.

What’s the best dome surveillance camera to buy?

Top dome surveillance camera

YoLuke’s Dome Surveillance Camera

YoLuke’s Dome Surveillance Camera

Our take: Superb image quality and great flexibility for any situation.

What we like: 5MP images exceed 1,080p HD standard day and night, with 4X optical zoom and 115-foot night vision. Multiple control and recording options. Intercom mode offers two-way audio. Waterproof to IP66.

What we dislike: Works with 2.4 Ghz WiFi, but not 5 Ghz.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top dome surveillance camera for the money

Reolink’s PoE Surveillance Camera

Reolink’s PoE Surveillance Camera

Our take: Very affordable device offers surprisingly comprehensive specifications.

What we like: High-quality Super HD images, with up to 100-foot night vision. Adjustable motion activation with alerts. Android or iOS app supports up to eight cameras without subscription. Wired connection possible. IP66 waterproof rating.

What we dislike: Some reliability and connectivity issues.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Foscam’s Outdoor PTZ Security Camera

Foscam’s Outdoor PTZ Security Camera

Our take: Offers excellent range of features and particularly impressive night vision.

What we like: High definition images and night vision at up to 196 feet. Pan and zoom control via app. Motion activation with phone or email alerts. Multiple storage options (cloud requires a subscription). Waterproof to IP66.

What we dislike: Quite expensive. Flaky WiFi. Owners are critical of support.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Bob Beacham writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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