Security cameras and their costs to install
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More than ever before, surveillance systems are available in a variety of types and prices to provide a feeling of safety and security to a wide range of homeowners. The average cost of a security system and installation is $1,381. Due to the variations in types and quality of cameras, the installation typically ranges between $723 and $2,072. Wired systems cost less for parts but more for installation, at $150-$200 per camera, compared to their wireless counterparts. The good news: installing any type of system can save costs on home insurance.
There are two choices to make: wireless or wired IP cameras, or CCTV cameras. However, many other factors contribute to the final setup. Most systems have multiple cameras with either cloud (NVR) or on-site (DVR) storage. Sometimes they include motion detectors, improved resolution, professional monitoring, and night vision capabilities. Increased options mean increased complexity, and increased costs. Ultimately, your needs and preferences are going to dictate the final bill.
On This Page:
- Installation Costs
- Security System Equipment Prices
- Camera Types
- Other Price Factors
- Indoor vs. Outdoor
- Field of View
- Motion Detection
- Night Vision/Infrared
- Audio Surveillance
Over the years, security camera prices have plummeted, making them an affordable necessity. An average security system installation will cost about $1500. But the price for professional installation can vary drastically depending on system type and number of cameras. On top of equipment costs, each camera will range between $100 to $200 for professional installation. A system designed for DIY installation will cost you nothing but time, if you have the tools. Whether you end up going the DIY route or hiring a pro, an initial consultation will help you understand your exact needs based on the requirements of your home. A consultation is usually free. The size and type will depend on many factors:
- The Size of Your Home: The more area, the more cameras needed. You’ll also need higher quality with better resolution and field of vision for larger areas.
- Security Needs: Ranging from a couple cameras to monitor your children to 360-degree coverage both inside and outside your home to deter criminal activity.
- External or Internal: Internal cameras don’t need to be weatherproof and are often less expensive than external varieties.
- Wired or Wireless: Wires make for a much tougher install. Professional help is recommended.
- Monitored or Unmonitored: A security service adds to installation complexities but provides 24-hour monitoring and other upgrades at a monthly fee.
Which should you go with and where should they be placed? Consulting with a professional can help you understand what works best for your home, family, and budget.
Wired System – $150 – $200
Though the installation runs higher than wireless averaging about $150 to $200 per camera the elements of wired systems are more affordable. Because holes will be drilled, wires added, and conduit put in place, hiring a contractor is typically necessary. Beyond the upfront expenditure, the only real drawback is fixed locations. The pros may outweigh the cons. Wired systems cannot be hacked remotely, jammed, and have power built in often with battery backups for power outages.
Wireless System – $100
Wireless systems are easy to install, making them the choice for DIY projects. A DIY install will run you $0 with professional work only about $100 per camera. They’re also easy to move and almost always offer remote access. Drawbacks include no direct power source and must be installed within your home’s wireless network range to function correctly. They often have lower resolution than wired counterparts and can be hacked remotely. Wireless models are also subject to signal interference.
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Security System and Equipment Prices
Do you want NVR or DVR to record the video in your home? Would you like your system monitored or unmonitored? That depends on whether you go with a CCTV or IP system and the type and quality of cameras you end up purchasing.
Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) about $70 – $300
This is a system that typically works independently of the internet cameras record video and store it in a location. These are either monitored locally or store video on a physical Digital Video Recorder (DVR). CCTV packages start out as little as $70 to $340 per camera depending on additional features, like high definition and larger digital storage. Large homes and businesses often us CCTV. You can connect the DVR to the internet which allows for remote viewing but also opens it up to hacking.
Internet Protocol (IP) – from $60 to $300
IP cameras are almost always wireless and connect directly to the internet, making them the choice for DIY installations. They broadcast video over your local network and usually store video digitally on a Network Video Recorder (NVR). However, this makes them susceptible to both hacking and internet outages. IP systems are easily configurable and expandable and often come with better features, like high resolution and night vision.
Types of Security Cameras
Camera type will affect the final cost equation. You may need different styles depending on location and security requirements.
|Dome||$100 – $150||
|Hidden||$100 – $150||
|Box||$100 (includes installation)||
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Other Factors That Affect Cost
Upgrades are often needed to meet security requirements. What good is a security camera that can’t see? These will often increase cost, but leave you with a system that works. Unique angles, lighting, and coverage areas create a need for different types of cameras, increased resolution, night vision, motion detection, and other upgrades.
Placement determines necessary equipment upgrades like wide angle lenses, night vision, weatherproofing, and concealment. More cameras with higher resolution will require larger DVRs and NVRs. Know what you need before you install. Research which includes consulting a licensed professional installer provides the clearest understanding of what you’ll need and where you’ll need it.
Indoor vs Outdoor
Price varies between indoor and outdoor video surveillance. Indoor types don’t need to be weatherproof and often have a limited range and resolution. They are often of the smaller variety, usually using hidden, bullet, or dome styles. External types often need better visibility and durability both deter possible criminal activity. Typically, cameras used outside the home can see farther and have better resolution costing an average of $100 each vs. their indoor counterparts starting at $60. Both will need an additional average of $100 each to install.
Security camera resolution is measured in television lines (tvl) though are often advertised by the more common 480p, 720p, and 1080p resolution terms. The higher the resolution, the higher the price, the clearer the image. What resolution you need depends on how you’ll use your system.
- Low Resolution – $100 anything below 1080p definition. These run around $100 each. These types are useful for areas where details, like faces and writing, aren’t really necessary. For systems set up to monitor what kids or a housekeeper are doing, low definition is the choice.
- High Resolution – $100 – $300 those at or above 1080p definition add an additional $100 to $300 to a standard low definition camera. When you need a clear picture of a person, license plate, or another identifying mark, go with a higher definition (HD). These are recommended for any entry points to your home. Higher resolution also means more bandwidth and larger file sizes, requiring more significant investments in video storage. If you’re not sure what resolution you need for your system, it’s best to call a pro or default to HD to avoid having to upgrade later.
Field of View
Depending on the layout of your home, you may need wide-angle cameras in some areas and narrow in others. There is no real cost difference in buying a wide-angle camera vs. a narrow angle. Since wide viewing angles are typically used for covering large areas, like an open yard or parking lot, you’ll need fewer cameras. Wider fields of view allow a camera to capture more but at the cost of object size. Objects in wide angle lenses appear to have a fishbowl effect. making them appear smaller and slightly distorted. When picture quality is an issue, using multiple units with a narrow viewing angle is more appropriate. A smaller field of view is better for specific targets, like doors, gates, and windows.
Motion detectors are often a part of a comprehensive security system. They reduce power requirements and can be used to alert you and a monitoring service of a potential problem. A typical motion detector camera will cost less than a standard one, running about $15 to $150before installation costs. A standalone motion detector costs between $20 and $50. When hooked up, they allow recording only when motion is detected reducing power usage and data storage needs. They can also be connected to lights and alarms both inside and outside your home. External motion sensors often get tripped accidentally by blown debris and animals. Some cameras with integrated motion detecting don’t start recording quickly enough, missing possible intruders.
Night Vision and Infrared Illuminator
Standard night vision is the amplification of available light, like moonlight and streetlights. Infrared (IR) imaging uses the infrared light given off by heated sources. This light isn’t visible to the human eye, but an IR camera sees it and converts it to the visible light spectrum. Infrared illuminators, those little red lights, emit IR light. IR cameras give a higher quality picture than standard night vision. You can go one step further and purchase a separate IR illuminator to flood a larger area. These run between $15 to $90.
Monitored Security Services
Monitored services range from $30 to $65 monthly with initial setup fees ranging from $0 to $200. These services add an additional layer of protection to your home security system. Most current monitored systems are wireless and provide smart home features, like remote lighting, heating, and even door lock controls. For this additional monthly charge, your home will be monitored 24 hours a day, alerting you and the authorities to any disturbance including fires.
Cameras with microphone setups are only a few dollars more than those without audio capabilities. Adding them after a system is already installed is usually easy and inexpensive. They run between $10 to $30 each. A few states have two-party consent laws for recording conversations. These laws require either the consent of the person you’re recording or visibly posting that audio recording is occurring on the premises. Check with your local and state laws before installing any audio equipment. Speak with a professional to make sure you add the correct legal equipment to your system.