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Types of Security Cameras: A Complete Overview

Flora Luo12/6/2023
Security Camera Types

Security camera types evolve very fast to meet your every possible security need in all situations: No WiFi, No power, No cable, front door, backyard, garden, garage, driveway, you name it. But at the same time, you may get lost in the endless types of security cameras. Selecting the correct type of security camera is vital for the optimal application. This article will introduce different cctv camera types and specifications.

Note: Apart from the security camera types classified by Internet connectivity, the rest only touch the IP camera world and leave out the old analog cameras. Check out our comprehensive home security camera buying guide to help you make the right choice.

Security Camera Types By Internet Connectivity

Security cameras can be divided into analog and IP cameras depending on the connectivity technology used by different models.

Analog Cameras

Analog security cameras capture video signals in an analog format and transmit them over coaxial cables to a recording device, such as a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) or a video monitor. Compared to modern IP cameras, analog cameras often lack advanced features such as motion detection, two-way audio, or video analytics. They are primarily focused on basic video recording.

IP Cameras

IP cameras, also known as network cameras, utilize digital technology. They encode and transmit video data over an IP network, such as the Internet or a local network. They do not require a separate DVR for recording, as they can often store footage on-board or in a network-attached storage device.

Types of CCTV Cameras By Placement

Security cameras can be classified into different categories based on where they are best suited for installation.

Indoor Security Camera

Indoor security cameras are designed to monitor the interior of a building, such as homes, offices, retail stores, etc. Most models can capture video footage and sometimes audio within indoor spaces. They are often compact and can be strategically positioned to observe various areas.

Outdoor Security Camera

Outdoor security cameras are more suitable for outdoor environments. They can withstand weather conditions, including rain, snow, dust, and extreme temperatures. Most outdoor cameras, like IP 66 or higher, have a high IP rating. A higher IP rating indicates increased resistance to harsh outdoor conditions.

Video Doorbell

Video doorbells combine a doorbell, a built-in camera, and an intercom system. As a particular type of security camera, it allows homeowners to see and communicate with visitors at their front door remotely through a mobile app or a connected device.

Reolink Video Doorbell (PoE)

Smart 5MP Video Doorbell with Chime

5MP Super HD, Person Detection, Power over Ethernet, 180° Diagonal Viewing Angle, Two-Way Audio, High-Quality Night Vision.

Different Types of Security Cameras By Wiring

Its wiring options can classify security cameras into wired and wireless security cameras.

Wired Security Camera

Wired security cameras are physically connected to a recording or monitoring system through cables. They use physical cables, typically Ethernet (Cat5e or Cat6) or coaxial cables, to transmit power and video signals. Most modern wired security cameras are PoE IP cameras.

Wireless Security Camera

Wireless security cameras, or WiFi or wireless IP cameras, do not require physical cables for data transmission. They use WiFi or other wireless communication protocols (e.g., Bluetooth or Zigbee) to connect to a local network or router. Batteries or power adapters typically power wireless cameras.

Reolink Argus 3 Ultra

4K 8MP Standalone Wire-Free Camera

4K 8MP; Smart Detection; 5/2.4GHz Dual-Band WiFi; Battery/Solar Powered; Color Night Vision; Alerts Without Subscription.

Types of CCTV Camera By Shape

The most common classification criteria for security cameras is the shape.

Bullet Camera

Bullet security cameras are the most common security camera type you can see on the street, in the supermarket, and in the neighborhood. They get the name for their rifle bullet shape and are also known as lipstick cameras. The CCTV camera bullet type usually has a strong point for specific spaces, and they cannot pan or tilt unless you adjust it yourself. Bullet security cameras typically use two types of camera lenses: fixed lens and varifocal lens.

Dome Camera

As the name suggests, the Dome IP camera is a security camera with a dome cover. The most significant advantage of this CCTV camera type is that dome cameras are somewhat deceptive about where they are looking. You can never tell by looking at it from a distance. However, the dome security camera type has a fixed viewing angle, just like the bullet cameras, offering a panoramic and distorted view.

Turret Camera

A turret camera sets it apart from other types with a distinct shape and design. Its defining feature is cylindrical housing, which generally has a flat front face that protects the camera lens. Turret cameras are sometimes called "eyeball cameras" because of their appearance.

Fisheye Camera

A fisheye camera uses a lens that captures a highly wide-angle view, often exceeding 180 degrees. This camera type can capture a hemispherical or panoramic image. Fisheye lenses distort straight lines near the edges of the frame and create circular or bubble-like image effects, similar to how a fish sees its surroundings.

Here is a picture of the Reolink's fisheye camera.

Fisheye camera


Pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras stand out for their ability to pan, tilt, and zoom manually and automatically. PTZ cameras come in various shapes and sizes but typically have a motorized base for flexible movement and positioning.

Security Camera Types By Recording Methods

Recording methods also differ from one camera type to another.


NVR (Network Video Recorder) means recorders to record videos from the network directly using Cat5 or Cat6 Ethernet cables with RJ45 plugs. NVRs are compatible with IP cameras. There are two types of network video recorders: PoE NVRs, generally with Ethernet ports to connect to PoE cameras, and WiFi NVRs, which wirelessly connect to WiFi cameras.


DVR stands for digital video recorder, meaning that DVR recorders process uncompressed videos with coaxial cables and compress them to a digital signal before sending them out. The DVR system works with analog cameras.

Cloud Recording

Camera users can skip using a central management device for video recording, where cloud storage cameras come into play. A cloud storage camera, often called a cloud or cloud-based camera, can store recorded video footage and images in the cloud, a remote server, or a data center accessible via the Internet.

Types of Outdoor Security Cameras: How to Choose

Choosing the best security cameras for outdoor use depends on your specific needs and the places where they will be installed. Some popular types of outdoor security cameras include bullet cameras, dome cameras, PTZ cameras, wireless cameras, etc. When choosing the outdoor camera types, consider the following factors.

Weather Resistance

The importance of waterproofing in outdoor security cameras cannot be overstated, as it directly impacts the camera's performance and long-term effectiveness. The Ingress Protection (IP) rating system is an international standard used to define the resistance level of electronic devices to dust, water, and other foreign objects. It is generally applied to electronic devices, including outdoor security cameras. Look for cameras with high IP ratings, like the IP66 or higher, for optimal performance.

Tamper Resistance

Tamper-resistant refers to features and design elements that make it difficult for unauthorized individuals to interfere with or damage the camera. A tamper-resistant design ensures the camera remains operational and maintains its surveillance capabilities even in the face of potential vandalism or tampering. In outdoor environments, use cameras encased in rugged, vandal-proof housings made of sturdy materials such as metal or polycarbonate. You can also conceal the wires to avoid being cut or accessed by others.


Installation is also essential for outdoor security cameras. You need to identify the specific outdoor areas you want to monitor and determine the required coverage area. When installing the camera, carefully adjust its distance and angle and minimize potential blind spots. You can use a cellular camera if the outdoor space you want to monitor is out of your home WiFi range or far away from the router. But if you prefer a local network, you can hire a professional installation team and wire the camera to the router.

Resolution and Night Vision

When installed outdoors, the video quality of security cameras can be compromised due to external factors. You can opt for high-resolution cameras, like 4K or higher, because they provide clearer footage. If you need 24/7 surveillance, choose cameras with effective night vision capabilities. For example, infrared and color night vision cameras are great for outdoor use.

Latest Innovations in Security Camera Types

With the advancement of technologies, many innovative security camera types can not be classified by the common criteria we've mentioned above.

Floodlight Camera

As a brand new security camera type, floodlight security cameras combine a high-intensity floodlight with an integrated security camera. This type of security camera is ideal for outdoor security by providing powerful illumination and video monitoring capabilities. The motion-activated floodlight can effectively deter intruders and improve visibility in the dark.

Dual-Lens Camera

Also known as dual-camera or dual-sensor cameras, dual-lens security cameras employ two lenses to capture different angles simultaneously. Both lenses create two separate images through a wide-angle lens with a broader field of view. With the combination of two lenses, dual-lens cameras can boast improved video quality and have better night vision performance.

You can check out the broad field of view captured by the Reolink dual-lens camera, DUO 2 PoE.

Solar-Powered Camera

Solar-powered security cameras utilize solar panels to harness energy from the sun and convert it into electrical power. These cameras usually come with one or more solar panels (mounted on the camera or a separate panel bracket) to make the conversion happen through photovoltaic cells. Solar-powered security cameras often have a built-in rechargeable battery or capacitor. Excess solar-generated electricity is stored in this battery or capacitor. When the battery is drained, solar energy can be a power backup.

Home vs. Business Security Cameras: Which Type is Better?

Different scenarios require distinct security camera types. For example, the best choices for home and business cameras depend on several factors.

Best Security Camera Types for Home

You can choose the best type of security camera for your home according to your needs, budget, and preferences. Some popular kinds of home security are as follows:

  • Wireless security camera: For homeowners without expertise in installation, wireless security cameras are an excellent choice. They are easy to install and can be placed in various locations around your property. Many wireless cameras offer remote access, motion detection, and two-way audio.
  • Indoor camera: You can use compact indoor security cameras for indoor spaces. These cameras can help you monitor the interior of your property, keep an eye on pets, or check in on family members.
  • Doorbell camera: Doorbell cameras are the best choice for monitoring the front entrance of your home. They provide two-way communication and are particularly effective for package theft prevention and visitor verification.
Reolink E1 Zoom

PTZ Wireless Smart Home Camera

Smart, Powerful and Affordable All-Round Home Protection. 355° Pan and 50° Tilt; 5MP Super HD, 3X Optical Zoom, Two-Way Audio, 2.4/5 GHz WiFi, with Google Assistant Integration.

Best Security Camera Types for Business

The size and layout of the business can significantly influence the choice of business security cameras. Some types of security cameras commonly favored for several business settings include:

  • Security camera system: For retail stores, offices, or other large indoor spaces, business requires more than one security camera. Users can consider using an NVR and several PoE cameras to manage all the devices at the same time.
  • PTZ camera: PTZ cameras are excellent for businesses that require flexible monitoring. They can be remotely controlled to pan, tilt, and zoom, allowing users to adjust the camera's field of view. PTZ cameras are ideal for larger warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and large retail spaces.
  • Fisheye camera: Fisheye cameras are ideal for businesses with large, open spaces. They offer a 360-degree view and can reduce the number of cameras needed to cover a wide area.
Reolink RLK8-800B4

4K 8-Channel PoE Security System

4 pcs 4K Ultra HD Security Cameras; 2TB HDD 8-Channel NVR for 24/7 Recording; Person/Vehicle Detection; Plug & Play; 2 Network Solutions.


How many types of security cameras are there?

There is no specific amount of security camera types available in the market. Different criteria can classify security cameras into different kinds. Typical criteria include Internet connectivity, wiring options, shape, recording method, location, etc.

What types of cables are used to wire security cameras?

Several cables are commonly used to wire security cameras, each with its characteristics and applications. Twisted pair cables, such as Cat5e and Cat6 Ethernet cables, are commonly used for network IP cameras, while coaxial wires are widely used for analog security cameras. Security cameras also connect to monitoring devices via USB or HDMI cables.

Do security cameras record all the time?

No, it depends on the type of camera, the recording mode, and the settings. Some security cameras can be set to record continuously, but they result in a significant amount of stored video data. Other models can be configured to record only when motion is detected within their field of view. Users can also set schedules for when the camera should record.


Security cameras can be divided into different types according to various criteria. Whether you want to safeguard your home, business, or any other property, understanding the different kinds of security cameras is essential for making a better choice. We hope this article can be helpful for you. What types of security cameras do you use? How do you like them? Let us know your experience, and please share this article with your family and friends!


All Comments Are Welcome

Flora is an editor with a deep passion for smart home gadgets and loves the idea of worry-free life. She smiles a lot, enjoys hearty food, movies, traveling, and her latest obsession is cooking. You can share your ideas with her in the comment section.