Best Light Bulb Cameras for Home Security Guide
Updated: 2 days ago
Why lightbulb security cameras are great for home security
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In the evolving world of home security, innovative solutions continue to emerge, and one such clever creation is the light bulb security camera. Blending the functionality and placement of a light source with the surveillance ability of a security camera, these devices have gotten a lot of attention for their discreetness, ease of installation, and effectiveness in safeguarding homes. This article will help you decide between the best light bulb security cameras on the market today.
This light bulb security camera review will explain the world of light bulb security cameras, which ones you need to consider, how to install them, and what elements you need to consider when picking one for your home.
Before making a purchase, it's smart to read reviews and comparisons of different ones to find the best light bulb cameras for your home. This will help you understand the features, performance, and reliability of various models, assisting you in making a better-informed decision.
What are Light Bulb Security Cameras?
From the name, we can infer that this is a camera that is compact and can be installed and hidden in a standard light socket. Light bulb security cameras offer a unique combination of illumination, concealment, and surveillance. At first glance, they appear to be regular light bulbs, but hidden within their unassuming exteriors are camera systems that provide a range of security benefits.
There are two distinct types of lightbulb security cameras: fixed position and pan and tilt. When blub cameras first came out, they were only available in fixed position. The camera angle was pointing straight down and offering a 360-degree view from overhead. These are great for indoor use with single rooms and outside on front porches over doorways. With these high resolution cameras, you can see an entire room in one shot.
As the technology developed, motion capability was added. These more advanced bulb cameras can pan and tilt meaning they move up, down, left, and right. They can track motion, zoom in, and offer different viewing angles. While they are larger and can make noise when repositioned, these are a great covert option for covering larger areas.
The typical light bulb security camera will have many of the same elements that a standard home security camera will offer. You can expect to get video footage allowing you to monitor your home in real-time or view the recordings later as they run on Wi-Fi. Some will come with a micro SD card for offline viewing.
Many cameras will come with an app that can be used on your mobile device. These apps can range in usefulness, but generally, you can expect to view, download, and delete footage and images on the app. Some blub cameras offer two-way audio which is used in the app. Another plus to blub cameras with apps is they offer motion detection alerts which can be helpful.
The strength of the light bulb security camera is the ease of installation and the viewing angle they offer. Putting one up is as easy as screwing in a lightbulb and connecting it to your wireless network. The socket will provide power to the camera meaning that you’ll never have to replace a battery, but you may have to keep the switch flipped on for it to operate. Because light sockets are in non-traditional surveillance camera locations, they offer a hidden and unique view of your property.
What can frustrate many home security camera users is the power needed for the camera to work. Popular cameras made by Blink require Lithium-Ion AA batteries that are very expensive to keep on hand. Wired cameras draw their power directly from the fuse box; however, most installations need to be managed by a professional. The lightbulb cameras draw power directly from the light socket, eliminating the need for cables and batteries.
If you have existing home security cameras, then a light bulb camera is a great addition. These will help you cover any blind spots for indoor use or outdoor use that your current cameras may miss. While they may not work on the same apps, that’s not a bad thing. If one system goes down, the other stands ready to help safeguard your home.
What many people may overlook with light bulb security cameras is the strength of your home Wi-Fi connection. While they may have SD card backups, the best features rely on the wireless network connection. A stable and secure Wi-Fi connection is crucial for optimal performance.
It does need to be noted that some light bulb cameras offer light in addition to video recording. However, the amount of light is not the same as a standard lightbulb. In essence, you can either have great light from a traditional bulb or a discreet security camera. You can’t have both. If you want a bright light source and video surveillance, then you may want to consider a motion-activated floodlight camera combo.
Why Are Light Bulb Security Cameras a Good Option?
Light bulb security cameras offer several advantages that make them a compelling option for enhancing home security and beyond. Installing traditional security cameras often requires complex wiring and mounting procedures. In contrast, the ease of installation does not require professional assistance or a lengthy set-up time.
Many times, renters want to have home security cameras, but may not have permission to install such a complex system. While traditional security cameras have their place, light bulb security cameras offer a unique advantage by blending into your home environment and using an already available power source. Plus, there are no hammers, screws, or dust involved in setting them up, which landlords usually oppose.
For security purposes, discreet blub cameras are less likely to raise suspicion and can be strategically placed for optimal coverage. Potential intruders, and landlords, are less likely to detect them, allowing you to gather video discreetly from your front porch light socket.
Another positive is that the blubs can be added and removed easily. It is just as simple to uninstall a blub camera as it is to install it. This means a camera can be placed for a few hours and then removed when you don’t need it.
This can be helpful in monitoring what happens when you are gone or to ensure that work is being done correctly in your home. They can record high-definition video, providing clear video for identification and analysis. It’s best to use them in this way during the day, indoors so that the lack of light from the blub cameras won’t be noticed.
These cameras are particularly well-suited for indoor use. Whether you want to monitor a specific room, keep an eye on your children, or check in on pets, a light bulb security camera can fulfill these needs without compromising aesthetics or looking obvious.
How to Install a Light Bulb Security Camera
Installing a light bulb security camera is extremely straightforward, even for those without technical expertise. The easy installation makes these cameras simple to move around from location to location. Of course, all models will vary but generally, they will follow the same progression:
1. Insert micro SD card
2. Screw into standard size light socket
3. Power up the camera
4. Use the mobile app to connect the camera to your 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi
5. Create user settings to your liking and you are done!
While this process is simple, don’t overlook some important details. Many light bulb security cameras only operate on 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi. Generally, this band can go further than 5 GHz Wi-Fi. So be sure to connect it to the correct Wi-Fi network band. A stable Wi-Fi connection is crucial for seamless video transmission and remote access. Make sure your camera is within the range of your Wi-Fi network and that the signal strength is sufficient.
An easy way to test your Wi-Fi signal strength is with your mobile phone or laptop. Take your device to the location where you want to install the camera. Open the Wi-Fi settings on the device and check the signal strength. But don’t look quickly and assume everything is fine. Try running a network speed test from that location to get more accurate results to ensure it will work for the camera.
If you have poor coverage in that area, don’t give up. If your camera has a micro SD card it can still be used in that area. Set it up and let it record video for several hours, then go back and remove the SD card and view the video files on your laptop to see what the camera has caught. This is a great option for outdoor use where Wi-Fi may not reach.
Mobile apps for lightbulb cameras will vary. Some will be robust as they work for a wide array of camera styles, but others will be very limited. Most manufacturers provide a dedicated mobile app that you can download and install on your smartphone. This app will serve as the control center for your camera, allowing you to access live feeds, adjust settings, and review recordings.
What to Look for in a Light Bulb Security Camera
Selecting the right light bulb security camera requires careful consideration of several key features. But even before that, you need to know how you want to use the camera. Is it for security purposes or just to watch your cats while you are at work? Knowing the purpose of the camera will better help you make your decision.
Here are a few of the elements you’ll need to consider when researching a light bulb home security camera:
Motion Detection: An effective camera should offer motion detection, even if it is a fixed-position 360 camera. This feature triggers recording when motion is detected, alerting you to potential intruders or unusual action.
Clear Images: Image quality is paramount. Look for cameras that provide clear, high-resolution video footage, enabling you to identify individuals and objects accurately. While many cameras will boast a high-resolution size like 1080 HD, the real number to look for is the megapixel size. The higher the number, the better the quality of the video. Don’t consider anything below a 3 MP camera for serious video recording.
Two-Way Audio: Some models offer two-way audio communication, allowing you to both listen and speak through the camera. This can be useful for communicating with family members or even deterring intruders. However, it may be awkward for people to talk into a light bulb, so keep that in mind.
Micro SD Card: Cameras that support microSD card storage offer a convenient way to store recorded footage locally. This can be especially useful if you prefer to use the camera outdoors or out of range of Wi-Fi.
Mobile App: The quality and usability of the mobile app play a significant role in your overall experience with the camera. They are not all made the same. A well-designed app should offer intuitive controls and easy access to features.
Image Quality: Adequate image quality, especially in low-light conditions, is essential for accurate surveillance. Look for cameras with advanced sensors and night vision capabilities.
Live Footage: The ability to access live feeds when you are away from home is a core feature of light bulb security cameras. Ensure that the camera's live streaming is smooth and responsive. Of course, this is dependent on the strength of the Wi-Fi signal to the bulb and to your smartphone.
Cloud Storage: Many cameras offer cloud storage options for recorded footage. This provides a secure backup in case the camera is tampered with or damaged. Most likely there will be a free trial period, then there will be a monthly fee.
Low Light Conditions: Cameras that perform well in low light conditions are essential for around-the-clock surveillance. Look for models with advanced low-light sensors. Infrared (IR) lights are crucial for capturing clear footage in complete darkness. Check if the camera has IR lights to ensure reliable night vision.
Best Pick for Light Bulb Security Camera
LaView 4MP Bulb Security Camera
With a reputation for home security cameras, this LaView offers a 2K resolution with a 4MP with a 12x digital zoom. This is a solid PTZ camera that has tons of great reviews.
Budget Pick for Light Bulb Security Camera
This fixed position 360° light bulb camera offers great coverage at a lower price point. This hidden camera is great for indoor use and can be used without being connected to a wireless network.
Honorable Mention for Light Bulb Security Camera
SEHMUA 2K Light Bulb Security Camera
The SEHMUA Light Bulb Security Camera makes the honorable mention because of its resolution and quality. Priced less than then LaView, it’s a great choice for a bulb camera.
In conclusion, light bulb security cameras offer great flexibility, easy installation, and privacy when monitoring your home. These make a great addition to an existing home surveillance system and make a great alternative for renters who can’t install a complex system. Overall, a lightbulb security camera is a great investment in your home’s defense and your peace of mind.
If you are curious about adding a trail camera to your property for home surveillance, then you may want to read this article I wrote on the subject.