Wonder how to calculate the CCTV storage and the hard disk capacity for CCTV? Or you are confused by the different results of CCTV storage calculators online?

In fact, CCTV storage calculation as well as the hard disk storage calculation on your own can be quite easy.

In this post, you will learn a more precise CCTV storage calculation formula as well as the storage saving tips to maximize your CCTV camera storage capacity.

Bonus: If you want to learn about the CCTV bandwidth calculation formula, continue the reading about IP camera bandwidth calculation.

CCTV IP Cameras Storage Calculation

CCTV Camera Storage Calculation Formula

Yes, the CCTV storage calculator software online can give you quick answers to your CCTV camera recording capacity.

But the results are far from preciseness – different CCTV storage calculators can provide you divergent outcomes. More importantly, they don't apply to EVERYONE.

So, we have got this DIY CCTV storage calculation formula for you to calculate the hard disk capacity for CCTV:

Storage Space (GB) = Bitrate (Kbps) * 1000/8 * 3600 * 24 * Cameras * Days/1000 000 000

  • *1000/8 = to convert kbps to Bytes
  • *3600 = to convert from seconds to hour
  • *24 = to convert from hour to day
  • Cameras = total number of cameras
  • Days = total number of days you want to record

With the above CCTV storage calculation formula, you can now be off to calculate CCTV camera storage or the hard disk capacity for CCTV.

CCTV Storage Calculator Formula Example
If you have 2 cameras whose maximum bitrate is 1024 Kbps and want to record for 7 days nonstop, according to this CCTV camera storage calculation formula:

Required storage space = 1024 * 1000/8 * 3600 * 24 * 2 * 7/1000 000 000 = 154.8288 GB

You can also apply this formula to the CCTV storage calculation of different brands, including the Reolink IP camera storage calculator, CCTV storage calculator for Samsung, Hikvision, Panasonic, Axis, Hoenywell, HD-SDI, Auetura, Milestone, Bosch, etc.

Note that the results worked out by the above CCTV storage calculator formula may not be exactly the same with your actual storage needs, as the CCTV camera storage calculation is impacted by various factors.

So, What Impacts the CCTV Storage Calculation

Below we list the main determinants for CCTV storage calculation, which could affect your CCTV camera recording capacity.

  • Resolution – The high the resolution, the larger the CCTV camera storage capacity in days is required.
  • Compression – Video compression is a kind of technique that reduces the size of original video file formats and thus occupies less CCTV storage space than the original files.

The popular video compression formats include H.264, MJPEG and MPEG4. (Read the comparison between the H.264 and MJPEG security cameras).

  • Bitrate – Higher camera bitrate contributes to better video quality, which on the other hand, also means greater CCTV storage capacity required, as you can infer from the CCTV storage calculation formula above.

And it is also affected by the resolution and compression formats. Lower resolution and highly compressed videos will require less bitrate.

  • Camera – The number of cameras you use can also impact the CCTV storage calculation. If you use multiple cameras simultaneously, more CCTV storage space will be required.
  • Days – The longer CCTV recording retention period is, the larger CCTV storage capacity is required.

When you utilize the CCTV storage calculation formula, note that it is calculated by days, so you need to convert the hours to days if the camera records in hours.

On top of these, CCTV storage calculation can also be influenced by other factors, such as the audio recordings, recording modes (motion triggered recording or 24/7 recording), amount of motion activities, lighting conditions of the scene, etc.

Even if the IP camera or hard disk drive storage space doesn't meet the required CCTV storage capacity according to the CCTV storage calculation formula, there is NO need to worry!

Normally, the original videos will be overwritten by the new ones when the CCTV storage reaches its maximum capacity. Just remember to back up the important documents before they are overwritten.

Bonus: Wanna know how long your CCTV cameras can record with a certain amount of storage space, say, 2TB HDD, read this to figure it out.

Can't-Miss Tips to Maximize CCTV Storage Capacity

Now that you have grasped the CCTV storage calculation tool, the next question is how to maximize your CCTV storage capacity. These following practical storage-saving tips can do the trick to serve your purpose.

1. Choose H.264 IP Cameras

As mentioned above, H.264 video format can greatly affect the CCTV storage calculation.

Without compromising the image quality, H.264 format can reduce the size of a video by more than 80% compared with MJPEG format and 50% with the MPEG-4 format, thus optimizing the CCTV camera storage capacity.

Watch the high resolution video recorded by the H.264 IP camera, Reolink Argus 2.

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2. Go for PTZ Security Cameras to Cover More Areas

Instead of using two security cameras with relatively narrow field of view, why not simply employ ONE PTZ security camera?

It not only covers wider monitoring areas, but also allows you to zoom in to identify more details.

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Additionally, according to the CCTV storage calculation formula, you can also save the storage space with fewer cameras according to the CCTV storage calculation formula.

3. Adjust the Camera Resolution

In order to optimize the CCTV camera storage capacity, you may adjust the camera resolution based on the places you are going to monitor.

For the critical entrances with high traffic, higher resolution is required to record clear videos. While in the places of less importance, you can record at a comparatively low resolution.

4. Set up Proper Recording Modes

Since the recording mode is also a vital determinant of CCTV storage calculation, it is always best to set up the recording modes based on your needs.

For example, when you are at home, you can switch the camera recording mode to the motion-triggered recording instead of continuous recording. Or you can also choose to record only during the selected time.

5. Utilize External HDDs

What if the built-in hard disk drive of your DVR/NVR fails to meet your storage needs as per the CCTV hard disk storage calculator?

The way is simple: Expand your DVR/NVR storage with an external HDD.

Now many DVRs and NVRs on the market, such as Reolink NVR, allow you to install an external HDD for more CCTV storage space.

6. Disable Audio Recording If Not Necessary

In places such as parking lots, recording videos with audio is not a necessity. You can disable the audio recording in order to save the CCTV camera storage space.

7. Place Security Cameras in Low-Traffic Areas

Too many false alarms and unwanted motion-triggered videos will take up much security camera storage space.

To take full advantage of the CCTV storage capacity, avoid placing your security cameras in the crowded areas. Also, you may disable the security camera motion detection when it is not needed to CCTV camera recording capacity.

8. Back up Important Files Regularly

Though your CCTV camera storage capacity might be limited, you can regularly back up and transfer the important files to your computer, so that more storage space can be freed to save new videos.

Do you still have any questions about the CCTV storage calculation? Have I missed any useful solutions to optimize CCTV storage capacity? Feel free to ping me in the comments.

  • Yolanda

    Hi Jayant, thank you for reaching out. Generally speaking, the frame rate of a camera is not taken into account while calculating the storage capacity. Here is another formula for your reference, https://cdn.reolink.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/recording-time-calculatin.png. Hope this clarifies.

    • David Baxter

      Yolanda, Does your calculation assuming recording in MPEG, or H.264? If MPEG, what would I multiply the equation by to get the number of hours with H.264?

      • Yolanda

        Hi David, this calculation formula is for IP cameras with H.264 compression. 🙂

  • Yolanda

    Hi there, *1000/8 is the formula for you to convert kbps to Bytes. We have explained every detail of this formula in this part, https://reolink.com/cctv-storage-calculation-formula/#formula. By inputting the data required, you will be able to calculate the storage space required. Hope this helps.

  • Yolanda

    Hi jed, do you mean that you want to use the camera to record up to 60 days continuously? If so, you may to set up a large storage device to camera and back up the previous recordings from time to time so the recordings won't be overwritten. Hope this helps.

  • Siddhartha Dutta

    How much storage do I need for 5 cameras for 20 days 24*7 data?

    • Yolanda

      Hi, Siddhartha. For IP cameras with H.264 compression, you can apply the calculation formula mentioned above: Storage Space (GB) = Bitrate (Kbps) * 1000/8 * 3600 * 24 * Cameras * Days/1000 000 000, where you should provide the maximum bitrate of your cameras. Suppose the maximum bitrate is 1024 Kbps, the result should be 1105.92GB. You may refer to this link (https://support.reolink.com/hc/en-us/articles/360007011633-How-Long-Can-the-Micro-SD-Card-in-Reolink-Cameras-Record) to see how recording time and storage is influenced by the maximum bitrates of a camera. Notice that the calculating result may not be identical to the actual storage you needed, which is impacted by many other factors. Hope this helps.

  • Prakash

    I have 2 DVR's, one DVR has 16 cameras connected and the other one has 3 cameras.
    I want a recording of at least 30 days.
    I need to know how much storage space would I need?

  • Rex De Mesa Esteva

    good day i have 18tb HDD with 28 camera each camera 2MP how many day storage for this 18TB hdd..

    thank you

    • Rex De Mesa Esteva

      by the way all IP camera



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