Where to Install Home Security Cameras (Full Guide)


The best way to keep intruders away from your home is to install a security camera. Installing a security camera can be different for each model depending on what power source it uses.

For example there are plug-in cameras that require electrical power, but there are also battery and solar powered cameras that don’t. Installing plug-in electric  cameras typically involves drilling a small hole in the wall to pull through a cable and plug it into an electric outlet. While other cameras are rechargeable so they allow for more flexibility when you’re choosing the location.

So flexibility is the main difference. But the question still remains: what’s the best place to install your security cameras to catch intruders or scare them away?

Before we talk about the main locations, I want to share with you a pro tip you can implement: dummy cameras. A dummy camera is a non-functional camera that’s very cheap, and it’s mounted on a visible area. It can be used alone, but it’s best to have a real camera hidden and monitoring the same location. If someone tries to destroy the dummy or cover it with a piece of cloth for example, the real camera will capture the entire event.

If you don’t have the proper logistics for this tactic, my best advice is to place the real camera out-of-reach (possibly high above the door or window it’s monitoring.

5 best places to install home security cameras

There’s no cookie-cutter explanation for the best security camera locations. It’s best to walk through your home and locate the entrance points that a burglar could use to break in. Some examples are: a basement window, a french door, ground-floor window, the front door, the back door leading into the yard, garage doors etc.

Front door

An estimated 34% of all burglars enter homes through the front door, so placing a camera there can definitely be of value. To protect the camera from being toyed around with, place it high above the door. You can also place mesh wiring to protect it from rocks and other weapons that could be used by an intruder.

Alternatively, you can install a peephole camera. This way you’ll know who’s knocking before opening the door and it will capture everything that’s going on directly outside the door.

Regardless of the type of security camera, make sure that it has night vision. If you plan on installing it outside, it should be labeled as an outdoor camera and be weatherproof.

Back door

Another 22% of home burglars enter through the back and side doors according to the latest survey with convicted burglars. It’s really important to upgrade the security of each exterior door with a camera. If you only monitor the front door, what’s stopping the intruder from simply using a different one? Again, make the effort to place your camera out of reach, or to protect it from anything an intruder might throw at it.

Off-street windows

Rear windows are particularly vulnerable because they’re less visible. Any off-street windows should be monitored if you plan on securing your home properly.

Since this is a place where you wouldn’t expect much movement to occur, it’s best to install a camera with motion detection technology and wireless connection. If there’s any strange movement happening by the window, the camera will send an alert to your mobile phone or computer.

Backyard and side gates

Do you have any expensive machinery in your backyard? Maybe bikes, or even a car that can’t fit inside your garage? A camera with night vision planted in the back yard can be a major stress relief. Make sure that it also covers the entrance gate if your backyard is fenced in. Or you can install a second camera for the gate.

You could place a camera in a visible spot or hide it. My recommendation is to place a visible camera or a dummy at the entrance gate. But if the intruder still decides to come in, then they’re a bigger player. In that case, having another, hidden camera inside the backyard can also be of immense value

Another effective security measures are floodlights with motion-sensors. If anyone tries to sneak into your backyard they will be exposed by a bright light illuminating the entire area.

Basement window/stairs

Does your basement have a small window, but just big enough to crawl through? Well, don’t forget to secure it! You don’t necessarily need to be place a camera on the window itself. You could place it inside the basement, on the stairs leading to your home.

Make sure that the camera has night vision and motion detection sensors to alert you if anyone is sneaking around in the basement. Unlike outside areas where motion detectors can go off even if it’s just a larger animal running through the area, if the basement camera goes off you’ll know that something’s up..

4 Things to know before installing a camera

Installing a security camera might seem like a lot of work, but it’s really not. Especially with simple home security cameras.

The main benefit of installing it by yourself is having the chance to move it all over the place and see which angle you prefer. It also allows you to get used to all the features available. Nothing’s worse than recording an event on a security cam and then not being sure how the system even works and possibly deleting the footage.

When you install a cam by yourself, things like that don’t happen. So here are 5 things to know beforehand:

  1. Find the entrance points where you want to place cameras – This way you’ll know how many cameras you need to buy. You’ll also have a rough idea of the type of cameras you need (outdoor/indoor/peephole).
  2. Have the proper installation tools – If it’s a plug-in camera you might need a drill to make a hole to pull through the cord. You’ll also need a drill to make the holes for the screws to mount the camera, and a screwdriver as well.
  3. Test the camera before mounting – Turn it on, try to record, test the night vision if it’s available, try different modes, adjust the video quality if it’s adjustable etc.
  4. Decide where to mount it – You’ll have to decide whether you want the camera to be visible or not. Sometimes you won’t have a choice and it has to be visible. But other times you can place it on a nearby tree or in a dense, thorny shrub for example. And additionally use a dummy camera in a visible spot to trick the intruder. This is something you’ll have to decide for yourself as there is no perfect solution for every location.

How many cameras should you have?

Again, entirely circumstantial. It depends on how many entrance points you want to monitor, the viewing angles of a camera (wider or narrower), and whether you want to use indoor cameras to monitor rooms inside your home as well.

There’s also the question of surveillance channels. A multi-channel system allows you to monitor multiple cameras at the same time. So if you have more than one camera, you’ll wan to get this system. If you plan on using only one camera, you don’t need a multi-channel system and can use a single channel system instead.

What’s the best viewing angle?

Wider angle lenses can cover a wider viewing area and narrower lenses cover a narrower viewing area. At the same time, winder angle will make objects seem smaller and vice-versa. For outdoor areas it’s best to use cameras with wider view, and outdoor cameras are typically designed for this purpose. Whereas indoor cameras have narrower angle lenses simply because they’re used in smaller, indoor spaces.

But what if you’re not sure between these two options? Then it’s best to get a camera with a varifocal lens. They can be adjusted to a smaller or larger field of view.

Important features to look for:

Different cameras offer different features. You probably don’t need all of them, but here are some useful features to consider:

  • Live monitoring – If a camera has internet connectivity and live monitoring feature, you can easily check it’s view through a mobile app or a web browser.
  • Night vision – Being able to see everything in the dark is an indispensable feature for newer security cameras. Definitely make sure your camera has this feature before buying.
  • Real-time alerts – These can come through email, text, notification through an app or a phone call in case of any potential danger.
  • Cloud storage – Some security companies provide cloud storage for the recorded footage. Since the camera will be working long hours, the footage can take a lot of space and would be hard to contain in a regular computer or server. You’d have to delete the old footage to make room for the new. But with cloud storage it can be placed there indefinitely and easy to access and share in case anything happens.
  • Zooming and panning – This is a really cool feature if you can access the camera online. You can then zoom, pan and tilt to look around more closely.
  • Voice communication – Especially useful for front doors, especially if you don’t feel like confronting the person directly. Two way voice communication allows you to say what you want and have the other person respond, and vice versa. It allows you to hear what’s going on wherever you place the camera, in a room or outside your home.
  • Multi-channel system – It allows you to record with multiple cameras at once, and observe everything on one or multiple screens at real time if the cameras have WiFi connectivity.
  • Tamper alerts – If anyone tries to move the camera around, it sends an alert.

Should you get a professional installation?

Installing a security camera involves:

  • mounting it at the correct spot
  • drilling hole(s) through the wall to plug it on a power outlet (if it’s a plug-in camera)
  • adjusting the angle to get good visibility

It’s pretty straightforward. The only difficulty could be climbing on a ladder to install it above a door or a window on a hard-to-reach place. If you’re afraid of heights or would simply rather pay someone to do the installation for you, it’s certainly possible.

The top home security companies usually offer free installation or free equipment if you sign up for their home monitoring services. You could also hire an installer as a one-off job and pay them a one time fee.

How much does it cost to hire a professional installer?

The cost can really vary from free installation to a couple of hundred dollars. It depends on the type of system you’re installing, the location and the amount of cameras. If a lot of climbing, especially dangerous climbing is involved to mount the cameras, it can also be a pricing factor.

Final Word

Installing home security cameras is pretty simple. The most important part comes first: figuring out where to install them. Hopefully this article has given you some valuable ideas. Before you start installing a camera, I recommend watching this useful video tutorial to avoid common mistakes:

Peter Boné

Chief editor of Security Latest with 5 years of real security work experience. I'm also a family man with wife and two sons. When I'm not turning homes into fortresses, the Boné family is usually on the Nintendo or on California's best hiking trails.

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