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Best Night Vision Security Cameras - Read This Guide Before You Buy One

Best Night Vision Security Cameras - Read This Guide Before You Buy One

Finding a best night vision CCTV security camera for your house is not that easy. You may have read lots of night vision security cameras reviews, but still get puzzled:

Do the security cameras you are looking for have the best night vision? Should you buy wireless outdoor night vision security cameras?

Color night vision vs white and black night vision, which one to choose? Or shall you install the outdoor security camera with night vision through glass windows inside your house (does it work)?

Read this post to figure all out. If you have more questions about night vision security cameras, leave them in your comment below this post.

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Part 1. Do the CCTV Security Cameras Have Real Night Vision? How to Tell

Can IP cameras see at night?

Definitely, yes.

There are many top outdoor security cameras with night vision for sale. However, it's not surprising many wireless cameras are not night-vision compatible.

Do check all and ensure the security & surveillance IP cameras have a good night vision before you purchase them.

Methods are as below to find if it's a top night vision CCTV security camera:

#1. Check the specifications to see if there is night vision in the list or IR distance info.

#2. Ask the manufacturer to provide night vision video samples.

#3. Watch night vision footage shared by any other customer.

#4. Read media reviews of outdoor security cameras with night vision.

#5. Google to see if you can find more customer reviews of the product's night vision.

A high quality security camera from top CCTV camera brands would offer long range IR distance night vision, say up to 100 feet and even 190 feet, which helps you to monitor day and night (24/7) your house, your front yard, your back garden, your garage (vehicles or cars), and anywhere you want.

Below is a long range night vision image sample captured by Reolink RLC-423.

Night Vision Security Camera

Reolink RLC-423

PoE Waterproof PTZ Security Camera

5-Megapixel Super HD; 360° Pan & 90° Tilt ; 4X Optical Zoom; 190ft Infrared Night Vision; Smart Motion Detection; Remote Live View & Control.

Part 2. How Do Outdoor Security Cameras with Night Vision Work? The 101 Basics

The most common night vision type used in CCTV security cameras is infrared (IR) night vision, which relies on infrared lights.

Such outdoor night vision cameras have built-in small LED bulbs (when looking at the camera lens, you will find them set inside around the lens), and an IR cut filter, which is used to detect daylight and to block out the light falling on the image sensor during the day in order to keep color in daytime looking accurate.

Starlight Night Vision Image

Besides, infrared light is completely invisible to our eyes, but visible to the security IP cameras with night vision.

When it's pitch black outside, the LED lights turn on and act as a floodlight of sorts, and the filter automatically gets removed. So the security cameras can see clearly at night and capture high resolution images and videos, even in the place that's totally dark (without any lighting).

Part 3. Why Is It Black and White? How About the Color Night Vision

High quality outdoor night vision security cameras can capture black and white night vision videos, yet what most people do not know is that they can also produce color night vision.

Black and White Night Vision

Why is my outdoor CCTV security camera black and white at night?

Most infrared outdoor night vision security cameras capture footage in black and white, because human eyes can differentiate between black and white better than in other shades of colors.

And with higher resolutions, say 4MP (4-megapixel), 5MP (5-megapixel) - Reolink RLC-410, for example, these cameras capture much clearer videos with more details.

Below is a black and white night vision video footage shared by Wes G, a user of RLC-410.

Video Transcription

A burglar attempted to break in a house from the front door. However, he did not realize that he was caught on a night vision security camera for home.

Color Night Vision

Qualified outdoor CCTV security cameras, as mentioned above, can offer color night vision. By default, they would offer you black and white night vision, but you can change the default settings to make the full color night vision applied.

Take Reolink RLC-410 as an example. You can access the camera via Reolink Client, head to "Basic Settings", "Image" and choose "Color" in the "Day/Night" column.

Nevertheless, in the security camera market, when we say color night vision, the first concept that comes to mind for most people is starlight night vision.

Indeed, starlight night vision always produces images in colors even in very low-lit locations, thanks to the powerful starlight image sensor.

Starlight Night Vision Image

So if the outdoor CCTV security camera uses a starlight image sensor (we also all this kind of cameras starlight security cameras), it offers color night vision, such as Reolink Argus 2. If you want to know more, read this color night vision cameras guide.

Here is a color night vision footage shared by Chris, a user of Reolink Argus 2.

Color Night Vision Image

Part 4. Color Night Vision Security Cameras VS Black and White Night Vision Cameras, How to Choose

Should I choose a color night vision security camera instead of a white and black night vision camera?

There is no "right " or "wrong" answer to this question.

You may watch this video telling the basics of security camera night vision, and explaining how color night vision really performs.

And you need to know 5 important factors below when choosing the best outdoor night vision IP camera:

#1. Image Quality

High quality CCTV night vision cameras can capture black and white videos, as well as color footage, as mentioned above. However, black and white night vision in those cameras is always much better than full color night vision in image quality.

If the camera has a starlight image sensor, things would be different. Normally, the starlight image sensor could offer much better color night vision than others. See more in: starlight security camera guide.

#2. Storage Space

Color night vision footage has more elements than black and white, so it would occupy more storage space. Therefore, if storage is a concern for you, black and white night vision may be a better choice.

Hold Up: Click here to find more practical ways to store night vision security camera recordings.

#3. Long Range Night Vision

Obliviously, black and white night vision covers longer range than color night vision. For example, at 100 feet distance in the monitoring area, black and white mode would capture clear images, white color mode fails.

#4. Price

The price of the starlight image sensors is always higher than the normal ones. Therefore, security cameras with starlight image sensors may cost a little more than the ones that do not have a starlight sensor.

Still, there are some in reasonable prices, Reolink Argus 2 and Reolink Go, for example.

#5. Installation Scenarios

In some scenarios, you may need color night vision rather than black and white night vision. Below are the most common installation spots of night vision security cameras:

  • Large scale enterprise
  • Shared footprints spaces
  • Hotels
  • Resorts
  • Driveways
  • Living rooms
  • Passages in the front door
  • Front yards
  • Back yards
  • The entrances of a store

Part 5. Best Outdoor Wireless Night Vision Security Cameras? How to Choose

Many factors would affect your final choice. But do remember, a top high quality outdoor wireless security camera with night vision would have the features showed below:

High resolution. The security camera resolution should at least reach 1080p (1920*1080). The higher resolution the night vision camera for security has, the more details and clearer footage it would record, including facial details and license plates.

Weatherproof. Rain or shine, hot or cold, an outdoor CCTV WiFi IP camera must brave it all. So its IP code at least reaches IP65. See more in IP65 and IP66 Definition and Recommendation.

IR range. This indicates how far the camera with night vision could see at night. A long range night vision security camera should see at least 30 feet. In our test, the night vision range of Reolink Argus 2 and Reolink Go is 33 feet, RLC-410 100 feet and RLC-423 190 feet!

3D DNR. This will help to remove image noise in both daytime and nighttime videos, and it's a basic tech that should be used in a high quality camera with night vision.

Wide field of view. The larger viewing angle of the surveillance camera has, the more it would capture, and the less dead spot you would have.

Top Picks of Outdoor Night Vision Security Cameras

If you want a quick buying guide on the best wireless outdoor night vision security camera, I'd like to recommend Reolink Argus 2 and RLC-410.
100% Wireless Outdoor Security Camera with Night Vision - Reolink Argus 2

This wireless security camera with night vision is the star product of Reolink. With a starlight image sensor, it offers 2 night vision modes: color night vision, as well as black and white night vision.

Best Pick
Reolink Argus 2

Wireless Outdoor Night Vision Security Camera

Featured in top media, including TechRadar, PC Magazine, Digital Trends, MakeUseOf, ZDNet, Android Police, etc.
Have a Look

Key features:

  • 100% Wire-free - so you can put it anywhere, with no cords and wiring.
  • Based on 2.4Ghz WiFi - strong WiFi signal for live streaming.
  • Rechargeable battery operated - no electricity power outlets needed.
  • Works with a solar panel - eco-friendly and money-saving; and most importantly, helps get non-stop power.
  • Starlight night vision - much clearer footage even in no light conditions.
  • 1080p full HD - high resolution both for color night vision mode and white-black night vision mode.

If your place has no WiFi covered, Reolink Go is your best security camera with high resolution and full color night vision.

Check out the video clips below captured by this night vision CCTV camera.

Day time video example

Night time video example (in color)

Note: This outdoor night vision security camera can also record nighttime videos in black and white mode.

Weatherproof Night Vision Security Camera – Reolink RLC-410

This long range CCTV night vision security camera is one of the best sellers. By default, it captures white and black night vision at dark in very high quality, and this is one of the favorable features for all its users.

Best Pick

Outdoor Long Range Night Vision Security Camera

Featured in top media, including PCWorld, TechHive, TweakTown, etc. for its long-range high-quality night vision.
Have a Look

Key features:

  • PoE (Power over Ethernet) - just one cable for both stable video and power transmission.
  • 4MP (megapixels) - it's 1440p super HD, much clearer than 1080p Full HD and 720p.
  • 100 feet long range night vision - up to 100 feet night vision without any lighting.
  • With audio - it has a built-in mic and will record sounds; you can turn off it at any time.
  • IP66 waterproof rating - you can put it outdoors or indoors, no matter how the weather conditions are.

Day time video example

Night vision video example (in black and white)

Bonus: Wireless Night Vision Security Cameras vs PoE Night Vision Security Cameras

The determining factor in choosing a wireless security camera or a PoE security camera with good night vision depends on your needs.

We have also discussed PoE and wireless (WiFi) security cameras, which is better for your home in the previous post and you can check the post out as a reference.

Also, if you have any question or idea, feel free to leave them in the comment section.

Wireless and PoE
Note: All the night vision security cameras introduced above have motion detection and remote monitoring functions.

Part 6. CCTV Security Camera with Night Vision Through Glass Windows? Read This

As mentioned above, all night vision CCTV security cameras feature infrared sensors, and most of them come with LED lights, which are intended for better lighting to record clear footage even in the dark.

Pointing the camera with night vision for security towards a glass window intending to look outside may result in a poor image because of glare and lighting conditions inside and outside the house. Therefore, it's not suggested to use security camera night vision through glass windows.

We've also covered this topic in the specific post: Do Security Cameras Work Behind a Glass Window. For more detailed discussion and guideline, you may click to see it.

Part 7. Night Vision Security Camera Not Working? Troubleshooting

Your home security cameras are on but the night vision not working at all? The infrareds are not showing in "night vision"? The cameras work in daytime but videos are lost in the night time?

If you are suffering night vision security and surveillance camera not working and not recording, try to:

  • Check all the cables to ensure there is no problem.
  • Swap the cameras to a different port on the NVR (if the cameras are working with a NVR).
  • Make sure the cameras are power on, especially the wireless security cameras.
  • Check if the infrared sensor in the camera is working (see if the infrared sensor has red lighting when it's in the dark).
  • Contact the seller who you buy the night vision security cameras from.

And you may click here to find more useful tips to tackle security camera issues.

Part 8. How to Keep Spiders & Bugs Away from Security Cameras with Night Vision? Solutions Here

A high resolution night vision security camera may become blurry at night.

One of the possible reasons is that insects like spiders and other bugs are attracted to your outdoor CCTV cameras by the infrared lights.

To protect your night vision surveillance cameras from spiders, you may take the following tips into account:

• Use insecticide or spider spray around the housing/covers of your security cameras

• Plant citrus, peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender near your cameras as natural repellents

• Clean the lens cover with micro-fiber cloth from time to time

Note: Take a look at this post and learn more practical ways to protect your outdoor night vision IP security cameras.


All Comments Are Welcome

Yolanda is an editor of Reolink, and also an independent writer showing great interest in technology and art. She has studied home and business security issues for years, and always shares useful tips and tricks with her fans.