Bullet vs. dome vs. PTZ cameras, which one is better?
What are the differences between bullet, dome, and PTZ cameras?
Bullet cameras vs. dome cameras for outside?

Anyone new to the video surveillance field may have questions like this. And today you'll figure out all these issues in this passage.

Specifically, you will learn the definitions of bullet cameras, dome cameras and PTZ dome cameras, and compare the differences (bullet VS dome, bullet VS PTZ, dome VS PTZ camera) so that you can choose the most appropriate one for your home and business.


Bullet, Dome & PTZ Cameras Definition

Before we dive into the differences between dome, bullet, and PTZ cameras, let's make it clear about what a dome camera, bullet camera and PTZ camera is, and their own advantages in home and business monitoring.

What Is a Bullet Camera?

A bullet camera is a type of video surveillance camera with the shape of a rifle bullet. Bullet security cameras are usually small (2 to 8 inches long) and the smaller ones are oftentimes referred to as lipstick cameras specially. Bullet IP cameras have a fixed or variable focal length lens with a strong point for specific spaces.

Bullet VS Dome VS PTZ Cameras

Major Benefits of Bullet Cameras:

  • Cheaper in general (Check the best budget pick)
  • Obvious at where it is pointing (sometimes you want this)
  • Easy to install (Plug and play)

What is a Dome Camera?

Dome cameras are named for its dome shape. A dome camera is usually mounted on the ceiling, under the eaves or the soffit, indoors and outdoors. A vandal proof dome security camera usually has a solid metal base and poly-carbonate plastic cover to protect it from vandalism or tampering.

IP Camera Bullet VS Dome VS PTZ

Major Advantages of Dome Cameras:

  • Lower-profile
  • Can't be redirected
  • FOV unknown from a distance
  • Vandal resistant

What is a PTZ Camera?

A PTZ camera (pan-tilt-zoom camera) is a speed dome camera that is capable of remote directional and zoom control. PTZ security cameras can pan left and right, tilt up and down, and zoom in and out. The PTZ dome cameras are usually larger in size for outdoor uses with super high resolution.

PTZ Security Camera

Major Advantages of PTZ Cameras:

  • 360° pan, 0°~90° tilt to provide a larger field of view
  • Optical zoom to see far-away objects clearly
  • Most PTZ dome cameras capture high quality images

Differences Between Bullet Cameras, Dome Cameras, and PTZ Security Cameras

Bullet cameras, dome cameras, and PTZ security cameras can all be applied in home and business surveillance, and support similar features like IR night vision, remote viewing, motion detection, waterproof design for outdoors, etc.

However, they still have differences. And the major differences between bullet camera and dome camera (including the PTZ speed dome cameras) mainly lie in the installation, mounting location, view range, night vision, visibility and more.

Difference 1. Location

Are bullet or dome cameras better for outdoor use?

The installation location plays a center role in the dome vs. bullet camera battle.

Here is a chart showing the differences between the common and best installation places of bullet, dome, and PTZ dome cameras.

PTZ vs. Bullet vs. Dome IP Camera in Installation Location

Comparison Common installation locations
Bullet cameras The walls of the front door, backyard, off street windows or anywhere outdoors
Dome cameras Under the ceilings indoors, and under the eaves or the soffit outdoors
PTZ cameras The second floor outdoors, construction sites for a wider view or very large indoor areas (supermarkets, airport, etc)

To put it into details:

Compared with bullet cameras, dome cameras are more commonly used for indoor purposes because they are sleek and not extremely intrusive. They fit in with most decors and have more of an aesthetic appeal.

However, some IP66 rated and vandal proof dome security cameras, like the Reolink RLC-522, are also very popular for outdoor uses, since it's hard to tell their direction and they can be well protected from the natural elements, spider webs and vandalism.

A bullet type would be the best choice for an outdoor security camera. Most bullet video cameras are weatherproof and have a better range, which makes them better for things like large backyards or parking lots.

PTZ security cameras are typically used outdoors or in very large indoor areas since they do much better at catching a wide field of vision than other cameras. They can be put in house front yards, backyards, living rooms, offices and etc.

Whether you choose bullet or dome cameras, it is very important for you to plan the security camera placement ahead, so they can do the best job.

Difference 2. Field of View

PTZ vs. bullet vs. dome security cameras, which one has a larger viewing field?

Typically, PTZ cameras are made to view larger areas, since they support 360 degrees of horizontal and 90 degrees, or even 180 degrees of vertical rotation. And generally, the bullet cameras and dome cameras have a fixed field of view of about 80°.

Bullet vs. Dome vs. PTZ CCTV Cameras in FOV

Comparison Camera view
Bullet cameras 70°-100°
Dome cameras 70°-100°
PTZ cameras 360° endless pan & 90° tilt

Actually, the range and view of dome camera, bullet camera and PTZ camera result from many factors, including sensor chips, type of lens, resolution, and more. So it's advised to refer to the camera specifics to learn the accurate viewing field.

Difference 3. Camera Visibility

CCTV bullet vs. dome cameras (PTZ cameras included), which one is easier to hide?

Comparing the size of the dome, bullet and PTZ CCTV cameras may give you a clue.

PTZ vs. Bullet Type vs. Dome Camera in Size

Comparison Camera size
Bullet cameras 2-8 inches
Dome cameras About 4 inches
PTZ cameras About 8 inches

Generally, bullet cameras are the most visible and obvious to people walking by, which is better if you are looking to discourage thieves or vandals. But note that they can be damaged by burglars once they are determined to invade your home.

So it's advised to place the camera out of reach, and generally, 9 feet above the ground is sufficient to stop a person of around 6 feet (1.82 meters) tall or less from bashing a camera.

Dome cameras are a little harder to see and makes them a better option if you are trying to keep people from noticing them.

PTZ cameras are usually larger in size and placed high so they get a larger view. So they are usually out of other people's reach or notice.

Click to learn more about how to hide security cameras indoors and outdoors here.

Difference 4. Night Vision

Another difference between dome and bullet IP cameras is the night vision.

PTZ vs. Bullet vs. Dome Surveillance Camera in Night Vision

Comparison Night vision range
Bullet cameras 100ft
Dome cameras 100ft
PTZ cameras 190ft

Although most bullet, dome and PTZ surveillance cameras have infrared LEDs to create their own light when there is none, the night vision cameras vary from short night vision distance to long one.

Compared with bullet and other dome type cameras, PTZ dome cameras are exceptional in doing long range night vision, with more LED lights.

Difference 5. Installation

Bullet and PTZ cameras are easy to install. They usually come with a mounting handle and bracket, helping attach them to the wall. Once installed, they can be moved to cover any area you need them to.

Dome cameras are generally a lot more work to install than a bullet camera. You can first of all unscrew the camera from the mounting house, place the housing on the wall, and lastly screw the dome camera in the wall.

But some high quality dome security cameras, like Reolink RLC-522, have made the installation as painless as they come with the self-holding screws and the dome being linked to the camera base.

Buying Guide: Bullet Cameras VS Dome Cameras VS PTZ Cameras

After seeing the differences between bullet cameras, dome cameras and PTZ cameras, you may ask what is best, a dome camera or bullet.

Here is an overview of the difference between the PTZ and fixed cameras (dome and bullet type) to help you reach a final decision.

PTZ vs. Dome vs. Bullet Cameras

Comparison Bullet cameras Dome cameras PTZ cameras
Installation location On the wall Under the ceilings, eaves Higher places like the second floor level
Camera view 70°-100° 70°-100° 360° endless pan & 90° tilt
Night vision About 100ft About 100ft About 200ft
Visibility (size) 2-8 inches About 4 inches About 8 inches
Indoor or outdoor Mostly outdoors Indoors or outdoors Mostly outdoors

You can choose the most appropriate type depending on your needs:

Would you like to install it outdoors, or indoors? Do you use it for home office? What about the light conditions? How large is the detected area?

Think about these questions before making the decision of bullet or dome IP cameras.

And here I'll recommend the best pick in each category if you want a quick decision.

Best Bullet Security Camera: Reolink RLC-410

As one of the best selling cameras, the mini bullet camera Reolink RLC-410 is the top choice if you want to mount it on the wall to watch your front door, backyard, garage or the driveway area.

Best Budget Pick

Reolink RLC-410

Best Bullet Surveillance Camera

Ranked No. 1 on the top five outdoor security cameras for under $150 list, recommended by the REVIEWS.org.

Check the price

Key features:

  • 4MP/5MP super HD, much clearer than 720p and 1080p
  • Excellent IR night vision to capture thieves in low-light night vision
  • Smart motion detection alerts you if anything happens
  • Easy to install (plug and play)
  • IP66 waterproof rating for outdoor uses

Best Dome IP Camera: Reolink RLC-522

If you prefer a less obvious video monitoring indoors and outdoors, the dome camera RLC-520 may suit you better.

Best Budget Pick

Reolink RLC-522

Best Dome CCTV Camera

If you specifically need an optical zoom camera and want to keep the costs low, this is excellent...decent performance and a 3x optical zoom give it an advantage over competing options. – Mighty Gadget.

Check the price

Key features:

  • 5MP super HD images to capture sharp videos
  • 3X optical zoom to see distant details clearly
  • Painless installation with self-holding screws
  • IP66 waterproof rating for outdoor uses

Best PTZ Surveillance Camera: Reolink RLC-423

Featured in many top tier media, including the VueViell, Androidpit, SecurityBros, etc., the Reolink RLC-423 has got recommendations from them all as an affordable and quality PTZ camera.

Best Budget Pick

Reolink RLC-423

Best Outdoor Dome PTZ Camera

I am very excited that Reolink has launched such a high quality PTZ camera at such an affordable price point. This is the first affordable PTZ IP camera that I can recommend without any reservations. – VueVille review

Check the price

Key features:

  • 5MP resolution offers the best chance to see every image details
  • 360° endless pan and 90° tilt
  • 4X optical zoom to see far-away objects clearly
  • 190ft long range IR night vision
  • IP66 waterproof rating for outdoor uses



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