Is It Easy to Install an Outdoor Security Camera?

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While security systems provide a number of benefits, some people struggle with installing security cameras. You probably want to know, “Is it easy to install an outdoor security camera?”

In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to protect your home and family. Installing an outdoor security camerae system is a great way to help keep your family safe.

install an outdoor security camera

Is It Easy to Install an Outdoor Security Camera?

It can be relatively east to install a security camera system by yourself. The process is not very complicated. But it can be time consuming, especially if this is your first time installing an outdoor security camera. Running the wire is the most time-consuming and physically demanding component of installing a security camera system.

There are two different kinds of security camera systems, IP (internet protocol) cameras and analog cameras. Both types require running wire for power and network connection.

Benefits of Having an Outdoor Security Camera System

An outdoor security camera system can provide a number of benefits for your home. A recent study shows that nearly 45% of millennials have security systems installed in their homes. Here are just a few of the many benefits that come from installing an outdoor security camera:

Peace of Mind

Knowing that you have eyes on your property at all times can give you a sense of security and peace of mind.

Deter Potential Break-Ins

The sight of a security camera is often enough to deter would-be criminals from attempting a break-in or other crime.

Gathering Evidence

If a crime does occur, having an outdoor security camera can help gather evidence that can be used to identify and catch the perpetrator.

Monitoring Activity

You can use your outdoor security camera to monitor activity around your home, such as who is coming and going, or to keep an eye on children or pets while they are outdoors.

Remote Access

Many outdoor security cameras now offer remote access via a smartphone or tablet. You can check in on your property even when you are not there.

Types of Outdoor Security Cameras

Whether indoor or outdoor, there are many types of security cameras. IP and analog are the two primary categories of security cameras, within which there are several types of cameras that can use either IP or analog connections. The most common types outdoor security cameras are bullet cameras, dome cameras, and turret cameras.

IP Cameras vs. Analog Cameras

IP cameras require a network wire, such as cat5e or cat6. Analog security cameras require Siamese coaxial cable, which is coaxial cable plus a pair of 2/18 gauge electric wires.

A big difference between the two types cables is that IP wired cameras can be on your computer network and accessed via the internet, whereas Analog cameras work on a local network. Since IP cameras can be accessed online, they have many benefits that Analog camaras do not.

For example, you can access your cameras from a smart phone with an IP wired system. All you have to do is login to your network from anywhere in the world and access your DVR via the network. You can also give network commands and remotely review saved video footage.

For an Analog system, you’d need to be on site and physically connected to the DVR to see what your cameras are recording.

However, one benefit that Analog cameras have over IP wired cameras is that they don’t require nearly as much set up and are therefore usually less expensive up front. But keep in mind that down the road you’ll likely end up spending more money on an Analog system because it will become outdated.

Outdoor Bullet Cameras

Bullet cameras are small, rifle-like security cameras that resemble a bullet. Because of their form, they’re called “bullet” cameras. Bullet cameras are about the most popular type of outdoor camera.

bullet cameras

One advantage of bullet cameras is that they’re very easy to install. All you need are some screws and a mount plate, and you’re good to go. A bullet camera can easily be installed anywhere on a wall, ceiling or underneath a roof overhang.

Not all bullet cameras are small though. IR bullet cameras need a larger housing to make room for the IR LEDs that help see in the dark.

Bullet cameras also have a relatively wide field view, so they can cover a large area.

Outdoor Dome Cameras

Dome cameras are very popular in retail stores and restaurants. They get their name from their dome-like shape. Dome cameras are also relatively easy to install.

dome camera

They can be surface-mounted or flush-mounted. Surface-mounting is when you screw the mount plate to the surface. Flush-mounting is when you cut a hole in the surface and drop the dome camera in.

Dome cameras have a wide field of view, but not as wide as bullet cameras.

An advantage that dome cameras have over bullet cameras is that they’re more difficult to vandalize. Their dome shape creates a stronger, less breakable housing and they have no exposed wires that would be easy to cut.

Dome cameras can also be discuised by dark or reflective covers, making it difficult to see which direction the camera is facing.

Outdoor Turret Cameras

Turret cameras are similar to dome cameras, but they’re taller and have a more cylindrical shape. The ball-like camera can pivot in any direction within its socket mount, which is where the name “turret camera” comes from.

turret camera

Like dome camers, turret cameras are available in surface-mount and flush-mount versions. Because these cameras are generally small, turret installation is usually quick and easy.

Turret cameras have good image quality a generally wide field of view, nearly as good as bullet cameras.

Turret cameras are also more difficult to vandalize than bullet cameras but not as vandal-proof as dome cameras. But because they don’t have the dome covering like dome cameras, turret cameras are less likely to suffer from IR glare in low-light.

Wired vs Wireless vs Wire-Free Outdoor Security Cameras

The last factor to consider when choosing an outdoor security camera is whether you want a wired, wireless, or wire-free system.

motion activated camera

Wired Option

Wired systems are physically connected to your home’s electrical system and send data through a network cable.

Wired systems are generally more reliable than wireless or wire-free because there’s no risk of signal interference. However, wired systems are also more difficult to install because you have to run the network cable to each camera.

Wireless Option

Wireless systems transmit data wirelessly, either through WiFi or a cellular connection. Wireless might be a little misleading, though, because each camera still needs a power cable. Being wireless refers to how data is transmitted from the camera to the network storage device.

Wireless systems are easier to install because there aren’t any network cables to run. However, wireless systems are subject to signal interference from things like WiFi routers, microwave ovens and even trees. If you live in an area with a lot of interference, you may need to consider a wired system.

Wire-Free Option

Wire-free systems don’t use any wires at all. Wire-free cameras are battery powered, and their data is either stored on a memory card or transmitted by WiFi or cellular signals to network storage.

Wire-free systems are the easiest to install because there are no network or power cables to install. However, wire-free cameras are more expensive than wired or wireless cameras, and battery life is always an issue. If you choose a wire-free system, make sure to get one with long-battery life or good solar charging features.

How to Install an Outdoor Security Camera

Now that you’ve chosen the type of camera you want, it’s time to install it. The installation process will vary depending on whether you have a wired, wireless, or wire-free system.

Make sure your security camera is placed high enough that a thief or anyone else can’t simply grab it and go. Nine feet or higher is a general guideline. Just be sure to not go so high that you lose sight of what you want to see.

install an outdoor security camera

Wired System

With a wired system, the first step is to run the network cable to each camera location. Be sure to use cable rated for in-wall use when running the cable through an attic or crawl space.

Once you’ve run the cable to each location, mount the camera in place and connect the cable to the camera. If you’re using a surface-mount camera, you can just screw it into place. If you’re using a flush-mount camera, you’ll need to cut a hole and secure the camera with the provided mounting bracket.

Wireless System

For a wireless system, start by mounting each camera in your pre-planned locatons. After mounting the cameras, connect each camera to its power source and pair them with the network base station. Finally, connect the base station to your router and sync the cameras.

Wire-Free System

For wire-free systems, start by mounting each camera. Once the cameras are mounted, connect the power source (i.e. batteries or solar system) and pair the cameras with the network base station. Finally, connect the base station to your router and sync each camera.

How to Position an Outdoor Security Camera

Here are a few general guidelines for positioning your outdoor security camera:

-Mount cameras 8-10 feet off the ground.

-Angle the camera so it has a clear view of the area you want to monitor.

-Avoid direct sunlight if possible, as it can wash out the video image.

-Make sure your camera are not pointed directly into a bright lights at night, as this will also wash out the image.

-Position the camera so that trees, fences, or other objects don’t block its view.

-Decide if your camera will be hidden or out in the open

-Keep the camera safe from rain, dust, and other weather conditions. 


Installing an outdoor security camera is not difficult. With some simple planning and considerations, you can get your system up and running in no time. By following the tips in this article, you can be sure to get the most out of your outdoor security camera.


Do I need an outdoor security camera?

While there is no definitive answer, most people believe that an outdoor security camera provides an extra layer of protection for their home or business. If you are considering an outdoor security camera, be sure to weigh the pros and cons before making a final decision.

Are outdoor security cameras worth it?

This is a difficult question to answer. While an outdoor security camera may deter some criminals, it is not a guarantee that your property will never be vandalized or broken into. According to statistics, security cameras have a significant impact in preventing crime and providing you with peace of mind. Ultimately, you will need to decide if the benefits of an outdoor security camera are worth the cost and effort of installation.

How many outdoor security cameras do I need?

This will depend on the size and layout of your property. For most people, we recommend at least three outdoor security cameras. This will allow you to cover the fron porch and the most common entry points to your home or business. If you have a larger property, you may need more than three cameras. Be sure to consider the blind spots in your camera’s field of view when deciding how many cameras to install.

How often do you have to charge wireless security cameras?

This will depend on the type of battery you are using. Most wireless security cameras come with either a lithium-ion battery or a lead-acid battery. Lithium-ion batteries typically need to be charged every few months, while lead-acid batteries need to be charged every few weeks. If you have a solar-powered system, the batteries will need to be charged less often. Battery life also varies among different brands and is affected by the working environment.

How long does a security camera last?

Security cameras can last an average of ten years, but with advances in technology you should probably upgrade your cameras faster than that. As technology progresses, security cameras should be changed-out about every five years.

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