Looking to upgrade your home security system from stationary fixed cameras to security cameras that offer you more coverage and more control? PTZ cameras may be the solution for you.
PTZ cameras have the capability to pan, tilt, and zoom (thus the name PTZ). They have special mechanical parts that allow the security camera to move and focus on a specific spot, and their entire motion can be manually controlled through software or a controller device.
PTZ security cameras can be controlled remotely by apps or other controllers. They also have preset viewing tours to move and focus on different objects in their field of vision.
People love PTZ cameras due to their wide area of coverage that greatly surpasses that of other camera types. In smaller areas, their pan feature can give 360 degrees of coverage; you only need to swivel the camera left or right or tilt up and down to monitor any area you want.
PTZ cameras have many other benefits, including:
- PTZ cameras can be programmed to follow a specific pattern on a schedule
- PTZ cameras are used to cover areas that are impossible to cover with fixed cameras.
- These cameras can be connected with other devices, such as motion detectors.
- PTZ cameras work well even when the lighting is low as they typically have strong night vision capabilities.
Top 5 PTZ Security Cameras
If you are planning to upgrade your indoor and outdoor surveillance system, these are five high-performance PTZ security cameras to consider. They have the ability to keep an eye on every nook and cranny of your house, inside and out.
Amcrest PTZ Poe Camera, Waterproof
The Amcrest PTZ is a home security IP camera, which means it can be connected to the internet and work as a smart security camera, keeping an eye on things even when you are not at home. Its mobile app (available on iOS and Android devices) lets you play back the recordings or watch your home and family members in real time.
Amcrest’s waterproof housing is another great feature, making the camera suitable for outdoor use. Whether it rains or shines, the camera is protected. Its heavy-duty metal housing makes it resilient even in severe environmental conditions.
The developers of this camera didn’t just introduce the weatherproof feature as a gimmick; they tested it against hurricane-level winds and rain, too. Its airtight housing protects against dust and moisture that can potentially seep in behind the lens and fry the internal processor. So it doesn’t matter whether you are living in the deserts of Arabia or face the hurricanes of Florida—this PTZ security camera will weather the storm and always keep your property protected.
This model features a secure SSL/HTTPS connection that ensures your footage is stored safely from unauthorized access, which is a valuable feature, as unsecured data can open your system up to hackers or malware. The SSL/HTTPS connection also receives regular firmware updates to give extraordinary security to you, your loved ones, and your property.
The Amcrest PTZ is powered by PoE+ power, giving you security surveillance around your home 24/7. Having backup rechargeable batteries would be more ideal, but those aren’t easy to find.
With this PTZ camera, you get crisp and rich 1080p images with sharp color contrast. In addition, it offers resolution at 30 frames per second. This video quality makes it one of the best PTZ security cameras on the market.
What we like:
- Stunning 1080p HD image quality
- App available on both Android and iOS
- Motion detection system sends an alert directly to your smartphone
- Waterproof housing performs well in severe environmental conditions
What we don’t like:
- No rechargeable battery option
- Warranty restricted to US customers
Reolink Indoor Camera for Home Security
Reolink’s PTZ indoor camera is perfect for people who don’t want to risk missing a second of the action. It is solidly built and affordable, and people from all walks of life trust this camera’s performance when it comes to home security.
All you need is an available wall socket to deploy this camera anywhere in your home. It gives a crisp picture with a resolution of 2560p by 1440p, comparable in image quality to DSLR cameras. The camera captures super HD videos that work well in the night vision mode too, though its range extends to only 40 feet out.
Getting this camera up and running without a professional technician is rather simple. If you have a bit of knowledge about PTZ security cameras and have connected one of them to your Wi-Fi before, you can easily install it in minutes—no messy cabling is involved. The camera has its own dual Wi-Fi antennas that ensure no signal loss and interference.
Unlike most other PTZ security cameras that secure the footage to a micro SD card, which can be removed or deleted, this Reolink camera adds all the images and videos to the FTP server.
Another great feature we love in this Reolink product is its motion sensitivity. It sends you alert emails and push notifications at once if any motion is detected. This feature is available in other PTZ cameras too, but the Reolink camera is unique in its motion detection sensitivity options that allow you to detect certain types of motion, which is especially useful if you have pets at home. This reduces false alarms and gives you peace of mind.
If you are using more than one PTZ security camera, a Reolink NVR would be a wise investment as it saves all the recordings locally. Most offices and corporations count on the NVR to make their multiple cameras work efficiently round-the-clock. Though, keep in mind, the Reolink POE NVR is only compatible with the Reolink PTZ security cameras. If you have security cameras from other companies, they may not work with the Reolink NVR as intended.
What we like:
- Wide 355-degree rotating angle
- Remote access anywhere
- Ultra HD image quality
- Easy to set up
What we don’t like:
- NVR required for 24/7 recording
- SD card isn’t included
SUNBA 20x Optical Zoom PTZ Security Camera
The SUNBA 20x Optical Zoom PTZ Security Camera has a large variety of features. We have tested many PTZ cameras, including top-rated expensive ones as well as economical ones; this model is somewhere in the middle. The SUNBA PTZ camera gives great performance at a reasonable cost.
The SUNBA’s dome-shaped, compact design might look small, but it has a diverse feature set. For example, it has a 20x optical zoom—something you don’t find in the most expensive PTZ security cameras.
But this extraordinary zoom isn’t only for the daylight; it works well at night too. The developers of SUNBA have introduced a powerful infrared LED that gives a night vision up to 800 feet, compared to most other PTZ cameras that only have a range of around 40 to 50 feet.
The only downside to the SUNBA is its lower resolution relative to other models in the market. If you’re looking for ultra HD quality, this isn’t the camera for you. That said, its 1080p Sony CMOS provides crystal clear details on images, even with the 20x optical zoom.
If you haven’t used a PTZ security camera before, no problem. The SUNBA is beginner-friendly and so easy to install. Its user manual will tell you everything you need to know about installing it.
The SUNBA PTZ camera has a memory card slot that you can store up to 64 GB of footage in; however, this memory card can only be accessed by removing the lens, which is inconvenient.
What we like:
- Superior night vision capacity
- Rotates 360 degrees horizontally and 90 degrees vertically
- Waterproof and made from commercial-grade aluminum
- Works with a real free desktop VMS client
What we don’t like:
- Hard to access the memory card slot
- No two-way audio option
JideTech PTZ Outdoor Security Camera
JideTech PTZ camera gives you total control over your premises’ surveillance. It has a motion detection system that alerts you immediately. With this feature, you can create specific motion detecting zones and adjust their sensitivity to reduce false alerts.
It is one of the smallest PTZ cameras (4.3 by 4.3 by 3.9 inches) in the market with a 1080p standard resolution. The video works at 18 frames per second and has a 4x motorized zoom lens. The company says the camera gives an excellent image even in the pitch black, but we aren’t impressed with its night vision quality.
Despite this, we still think it’s worth it to recommend JideTech for the responsiveness of their customer service team. Initially we were confused about trying to get their multiple apps to be compatible and set up alerts, but after reaching out to their team, the whole process went smoothly.
Within a few minutes, the JideTech customer support team not only resolved this issue but also helped us receive alerts on the laptop too, so that multiple users can keep an eye on a home and stay in touch with their loved ones.
You shouldn’t choose a product solely because the company behind it has good customer service, but it’s comforting to know that your issues will be taken care of by a reliable team.
What we like:
- Multiple ways to watch remotely
- Waterproof aluminum housing
- Works well with security monitor softwares, like VLC and iSpy
- 4x motorized zoom lens
- Great customer service
What we don’t like:
- Night vision capability isn’t good
- 4x zoom becomes foggy at night
Amcrest ProHD IP2M-941B PTZ Security Camera
This surveillance camera from Amcrest is notable for its extra wide viewing angle, which allows you to see every angle of your property. The camera’s 4x zoom lens also adds extra layers of security, but not at the cost of image quality. Whether it is day or night, the 4x zoom capability doesn’t compromise any detail in the image.
In addition, the night vision of Amcrest’s ProHD IP2M-941B is exceptional and functions up to 98 feet with built-in IR LEDs. You won’t have any problem monitoring your property for potential intruders even in pitch darkness.
Amcrest promises top-notch video quality, but the top-notch video quality is only available when this camera is used in the highest settings. However, using this camera at the highest settings may cause stability and reliability problems. Even if you have the best Wi-Fi network, the video won’t work well.
Furthermore, the highest settings eat up a ton of data, making 24/7 surveillance less appealing. And if you lower the settings, the video quality drops off quickly.
That said, the lens quality in this model is great. If the target is within the zoom limit, the IP2M-941B lens makes sure all the images are crisp. You will get proper image quality even during rough conditions like rain or fog.
This camera is EU and FCC certified, which means it fulfills EU safety and environmental protection requirements and is approved by the Federal Communications Commission in the United States.
What we like:
- Impressive IR LED night vision
- Supports Safari, Chrome, and Firefox on Amcrest Cloud
- Despite low price, image quality is still decent
- Records all motion for 30 days on Blue Iris security software
What we don’t like:
- No audio capabilities
- You can face IP conflict issues on your home Wi-Fi network
PTZ Security Camera Buying Guide
This buying guide section will help you decide on the best PTZ security camera for your needs.
Think About Your Needs
Don’t buy expensive cameras with extra features if you are trying to cover a small area around your home. Big cameras with 360 degrees of coverage are used in large stores or warehouses.
Usually, only large corporations invest in such sophisticated security measures. For home security, a small camera with a 4x optical zoom will likely be enough to fulfill your requirements.
Great Night Vision
Night vision capability is a must-have, and this feature varies significantly from camera to camera. Budget cameras often cut corners on night vision capability. Effective night vision can pick up intruders around your home even at night with its infrared LED night vision capability.
Make sure the camera you are buying comes with the best nighttime surveillance so that your home is protected when it’s dark.
The 1080p resolution has become the industry standard for camera resolution. Don’t buy any product that offers less than 1080p resolution, even if it has many other good applications.
For PTZ cameras with 1440p or 4K resolution (which has marginal benefit over 1080p resolution), you need to spend significantly more money and—unless you are tech-savvy—hire a professional technician to install and set up those cameras.
Good Customer Service
If the camera manufacturer doesn’t provide good customer service, you will experience significantly more frustration in the future. Camera systems are great when they work fine, but as with any electronic device, you will have times when you need to troubleshoot problems with your camera.
Things like the Wi-Fi connection, installation process, changing camera settings, and compatibility all have potential for problems. If you are installing a PTZ camera on your own, or if you have problems with it, a good customer support service can resolve your problem quickly and eliminate any frustration.
FAQs About PTZ Security Cameras
Let’s address some of the most frequently asked questions about PTZ security cameras.
How do you connect the PTZ camera to the security system?
How you connect a PTZ camera to your security system depends on the model you are buying and your security system. Usually, you need a system that includes CCTV or DVR. Companies also give clear guidelines in their model’s instruction manual about how to connect the camera to a security system.
Are all cameras vandal-proof?
Though all companies claim their PTZ cameras are vandal-proof, this may not necessarily be the case. Manufacturers tend to focus on weatherproofing with sturdy materials over tamper-resistance. They can’t prevent a burglar from smashing the camera lens with a blunt instrument, for example.
The best way to protect your cameras is to place them high off the ground. Install your cameras at least 10 feet above ground level to minimize the risk of them being tampered with.
Does the zoom quality matter?
Zoom quality is not the most essential feature when it comes to PTZ cameras installed in residential settings because you’re unlikely to ever really make use of it. However, if you need your camera to pick up details further away, a higher zoom quality could make a difference.
What is the difference between optical zoom and standard zoom?
Optical zoom preserves the image quality and records the video clearly. On the other hand, standard zoom diminishes the video quality because it simply enlarges the existing image, ruining its quality. Always buy PTZ security cameras that have optical zoom.
With a PTZ security camera, it is now easier to monitor many areas of your home or business. If you are planning to buy the camera for outdoor security, focus first on how weatherproof the camera is.
For outdoor units, the weather is a bigger threat than professional burglars tampering with the camera. If the camera isn’t weatherproof, it won’t last long, and you’ll be back to square one looking for a PTZ camera to protect your home.