Wired vs wireless security cameras, which one is better?

Here we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of both wired and wireless security cameras and systems, and help you pick the most suitable one within several minutes!

You can also check the frequently asked questions on wired and wireless alarm security cameras.

You’re Gonna Read:
Part 1. Wired Surveillance Cameras: Meaning, Pros and Cons
Part 2. Wireless CCTV Cameras: Definition, Advantages & Disadvantages
Part 3. Wired vs Wireless Security Cameras: With Videos & Comparison Table
Part 4. Wired & Wireless CCTV Security Camera Recommendations for You
Part 5. Wired vs. Wireless Security Cameras” Frequently Asked Questions
Wired vs. Wireless Security Cameras

#1. Understand Wired CCTV Security Cameras

Wired security cameras, such as PoE IP cameras and hard-wired analog cameras, need wires to realize video transmission and power supply.

Wired PoE IP security cameras typically use Cat 5 or Cat 6 Ethernet wires to communicate with your home network router or NVR. In other words, you can just use an Ethernet cable to connect to your router or NVR for both data and power transmission.

If you wanna dig further into Cat 5 or 6 security cameras, you can read this blog written by Olivia, an experienced tech editor of Reolink.

Traditional hard-wired analog security cameras need 2 cables, one for power and one coaxial cable connecting to the DVR for data transmission.

While wired PoE security cameras can work standalone, analog surveillance cameras need to connect with the DVR. The images of PoE security cameras are much clearer than that of analog type.

You can get more details about wired security cameras in this post (written by Jenny, Reolink’s top editor, who has 10-year experience in wired security camera field).

You’ve got the 2 main types of wired security cameras. Let’s view the positives and negatives of wired CCTV security IP cameras.

Wired security camera pros:

  • No interference from nearby devices
  • More stable data transmission
  • Ideal for several zones of protection, good for large homes

Hard-wired CCTV security camera cons:

  • More challenging to install
  • Drilling holes needed to run wires throughout your home
  • Less portable

#2. Introduction to Wireless (WiFi) Security Cameras

Wireless security cameras are typically divided into 2 types: battery or solar powered wire-free security cameras and traditional wireless security cameras.

The video transmission of both security camera types is totally wireless. The biggest difference between them is the way in getting the power supply.

Battery or solar powered wireless security cameras are powered by batteries or solar panel, which makes them zero wire. This type of security cameras is the most portable and easy-to-install home smart security cameras.

Traditional wireless security cameras need to be plugged in to get power. The communication between the camera and your home router is also through the wireless signal.

Just like wired surveillance security cameras, wireless residential and business security cameras have their strengths and drawbacks.

Wireless security camera advantages:

  • Easy and quick to install.
  • More flexible
  • More portable

WiFi security camera disadvantages:

  • Possible WiFi interference from nearby devices
  • Risks of being hacked
  • More expensive

Now you are equipped with basic knowledge of pros and cons of both wired and wireless security cameras, please read on to view the comparison of the 2 kinds of surveillance security cameras.

You’ve got the differences between wireless and wired surveillance security cameras, and the basic knowledge of pros and cons of both security camera types.

Please read on to view the comparison details of the 2 kinds of surveillance security cameras. And check the advantages of wireless IP cameras over wired security cameras (and vice versa).

#3. Wired or Wireless CCTV Security Cameras: Which One to Choose

You can buy suitable wired or wireless security cameras based on your specific needs. We compared the 2 types of security cameras on the below 4 aspects:

We’ve also summarized the details about “Wired vs Wireless Security Cameras” in the table below.

1. Buy Wireless Security Cameras for Easy Installation and Flexibility

Wireless surveillance alarm security cameras take less time to install and require less drilling or wiring work compared with traditional hardwired security cameras.

When it comes to wiring work, battery-powered wire free security cameras should top your list.

When it comes to wiring work, battery-powered wire free security cameras should top your list. You don’t need to do any drilling or wiring job at all. Just place the camera to the position you want, and you are good to go.

Let’s take Reolink Argus® 2 wireless battery powered security camera as an example. You can simply install the camera with 3 simple steps: Launch the App on your phone -> Scan the QR code of the camera -> Start live streaming.

In terms of wired security cameras, because of trailing cables, wired security cameras cannot be easily moved or re-positioned after they have been installed. In this aspect, wireless security cameras are better than traditional hard-wired security cameras.

For your reference: With the progressive technology, many security camera companies adopt PoE (Power over Ethernet) to power wired security cameras. Thus the installation process becomes easier than those traditional wired security cameras (such as analog cameras). If you prefer wired security cameras, remember to get DIY PoE IP security cameras.

2. Purchase Wired (PoE) Security Cameras for More Stable Network Signal

Since wired security cameras are directly connected to your home network router, you don’t need to worry about the Internet loss or interference. While wireless security cameras depend on WiFi signal to work, it is inevitable that sometimes the WiFi signal is weak or influenced by the environment, such as thick wall and weather.

If you want extremely stable network signal, you can buy wired PoE IP security cameras. This type of security cameras only need a Cat 5/6 cable to realize both power and data transmission, so it’s also very easy to install and set up.

3. Pick 100% Wire Free WiFi CCTV Security Cameras for Perfect Aesthetics

Basically, one of the biggest differences between 5MP,4MP (1440p) and 2MP (1080p) wired and wireless security cameras is in friendliness and aesthetics. The problem of most traditional wired security camera systems is that they create a hog of wires, which is not appealing visually.

With wire-free battery operated security cameras, you can remove them at any time without leaving any damage to your property.

A wireless security camera installed inside your home would not stick out too much, so your guests or friends would not feel invasive when visiting your home. If you want to disguise your wireless security cameras, you can use the skin suits to make them more hidden.

You can just place the 100% wire-free security cameras anywhere you like without drilling holes or running wires. Just place and go, and all is done.

4. Wire-Free vs. Wired Security IP Cameras for Areas Without Power & Internet

When you need to protect your farm, barn, garage or other remote areas without power supply and Internet access, wire-free video surveillance security cameras are your only option.

Battery powered wireless security cameras enable you to get motion videos when there are motion events. You can play back the recorded videos to see who and what triggered the alarms. If there is a thief, you can keep the videotapes as the evidence to catch the bad guy.

You can buy a battery powered wireless security camera with local memory card storage, so you don’t need to pay monthly fees for the cloud storage.

Some high-quality battery powered WiFi security cameras, such as Reolink Argus® 2, can support up to 64GB SD card storage, which enables you to store several hundreds of motion videos. You won’t miss any important moments.

Both wired and wireless security cameras have their own pros and cons. You can get your perfect match via the above comparison details. If you have any questions, don’t forget to leave them in the comment below! We can work them out together!

You can get the overall impression on “Wired vs Wireless Security Cameras” in the below table.

Security Camera Types Wired Security Cameras Wireless Security Cameras
Pros
  • No interference from nearby devices
  • More stable data transmission
  • Ideal for several zones of protection, good for large homes
  • Easy and quick to install.
  • More flexible
  • More portable
Cons
  • More challenging to install
  • Drilling holes needed to run wires throughout your home
  • Less portable
  • Possible WiFi interference from nearby devices
  • Risks of being hacked
  • More expensive
Installation More challenging Quite easy
Price More favorable More expensive
Network Signal More stable Possible signal interference

In order to save your time in searching for the best wired and wireless outdoor or indoor security cameras, you can check the below security camera recommendations. Now start your shopping!

Part 4. Outdoor Wired and Wireless Home Security Cameras & Systems Top Pick for You

Check the best picks below to see which one is your favorite (all security camera types are included).

1. Try Reolink Argus® 2 Battery Powered Wireless Outdoor Security Camera

If you need a wire-free security camera without any subscriptions or monthly fees, go get Reolink Argus® 2.

This camera uses rechargeable battery and adds solar power option, which offers you flexible power options. The starlight night vision also makes this camera unique and invincible in the battery-powered security camera market.

You can watch the review video by a humorous tech Youtuber so see how impressive Reolink Argus® 2 is.

2. Get RLC-422W Traditional Wireless CCTV Security Camera

RLC-422W is a 2.4/5 GHz dual-band WiFi, offering you more WiFi band options. You can simply install this camera by plugging it into the outlet.

With 5MP high definition, you can check the below video and image to get its amazing clarity.

Watch the stunning video captured by RLC-422W 5MP camera. (The video is shared by a customer).

3. Pick RLC-410 Wired PoE IP Security Camera

If you want a wired security camera, try this one. RLC-410 is one of the start products in the market.

You can check one of RLC-410 customer’s reviews to see its charming points.

“I own three RLC 410 cameras and must say they are easy to setup and use making them great security devices for novices and experts alike. The cameras are well built and have handled temperatures as low as negative 40 degrees over the last couple of weeks here in Alaska. What I like most about these units is the clarity of the video images they produce. Reolink support has been outstanding, they are very responsive and provide answers to my questions the next day. I look forward to expanding my security system with Reolink products.”

You can also check the below video captured by RLC-410 (shared by a RLC-410 fan) to see its excellent image quality.

Both wired and wireless security cameras are available on security camera online shop, Walmart, BestBuy, eBay, Amazon, etc. You can find your best wired and wireless security cameras for your home/business on these websites. No matter which country you are, US, UK, Canada, Australia, Thailand, Japan or other countries, you can get your wired or wireless security cameras just by the click of a mouse.

Below are some hot FAQs about “Wired vs. Wireless Security Cameras & Systems”. You can add more to this list!

#5. “Wired vs. Wireless Security Cameras & Systems” Hot Q&As

You’ll get the detailed answers to the “Wired Versus Wireless Security Cameras” frequently asked questions.

Q 1. Are Wireless Security Cameras As Good As Wired Cameras?

Is wire or wireless security system better? Are wireless security cameras better than wired?

A 1: Both security camera types have their own pros and cons. You can choose the most suitable one based on your specific requirements.

You can get some insights about “wireless security cameras versus cable security cameras” and pick the best type in Part 3.

Q 2. Do Wireless Security Cameras Need Power?

A 2: Traditional wireless security cameras need to be plugged into a power outlet to get power supply.

The power source of advanced wireless security cameras is using batteries or solar panels, making the cameras truly wireless from the top to the bottom.

You can get more details in this post to see how security cameras get power.

Q 3. Are Wireless Alarm Systems Reliable?

A 3: When it comes to Internet reliability, hardwired security cameras would be much more reliable than the wireless type.

If you install the wireless security cameras in the place with strong WiFi signal, this type of security cameras can offer you reliable Internet connection.

Q 4. What Is a Wireless Security Camera?

A 4: Wireless security cameras are a kind of CCTV surveillance camera type that relies on WiFi to realize audio and video transmission.

Q 5. Do You Need Internet for Wireless Security Cameras?

A 5: You can still get wireless security cameras work even without Internet.

Cellular security cameras operate over 4G/3G network, which enables you to get remote live streaming even without Internet access.

All-in-one wireless security camera systems can connect with each other based on their proprietary network. They can offer you 24/7 video surveillance for your rural home, farm, barn and other remote areas without Internet connection.

Q 6. Is ADT Security Cameras Wired or Wireless?

A 6: ADT provides both hard-wired and wireless security cameras & systems. However, you are gonna need to sign a contract with the company and pay monthly fees for using the systems.

ADT company staff will take back the camera systems once the contract ends. And monthly subscription fees will be costly in a long run.

DIY wired and wireless security cameras without contracts would be a much more cost-saving option.

Q 7. How Long Do the Batteries Last in a Wireless Security Camera?

A 7: The battery life in a wireless battery powered security camera varies greatly among brands, settings, environmental conditions.

Some wire-free security cameras only support about 1 or 2 months. And other advanced security camera companies use the power-saving technology, which makes the wireless battery operated security camera battery life last about 6 months.

You can take a look at Reolink Argus® 2 wire-free security camera. It’s powered by a rechargeable battery, so you don’t need to buy replacement batteries in a daily basis.

You can also get the solar panel to charge this camera for non-stop power supply.

Q 8. How to Hardwire a Wireless Security Camera?

Can WiFi CCTV camera be hard wired? How to convert wireless IP CCTV cameras to wired IP CCTV cameras?

A 8: If you want to get the combination of wired and wireless security camera systems, you can try the below steps to add a WiFi security camera to a wired CCTV camera system.

Here we take RLC-422W WiFi security camera and RLK8-410B4 PoE outdoor wired security camera system as examples.

There’re two ways for you to connect a Wi-Fi camera to the PoE NVR:

  • Connect the Wi-Fi IP Camera to PoE NVR directly via an Ethernet cable.
  • Connect the camera to the same router which the NVR connected, network topology is shown as below:

Step 1. Log in to your NVR, and go to IP channel.

Step 2. Select Auto Add, and click Scan so that all the cameras in the same LAN can be automatically shown on the list.

Note: the number of cameras that can be added to the NVR could be different, depending on the channel numbers of the NVR.

Step 3. If you never changed the password of the IP cameras (i.e. the password of the IP camera is the default password) and there are enough channels for all the cameras, you may press Apply to finish adding the new WiFi IP cameras.
Auto Add

Q 9. How to Turn Your Wired Surveillance Security Cameras into the Wireless Type?

How to convert wired security cameras into wired surveillance cameras?

You may follow the steps to turn a wired security camera into the wireless type.

Components you’ll need for the “Convert-Wired-Security Cameras-into-Wired-Type” DIY project:

  • A CCTV camera
  • The “Wired-to-Wireless-Camera” Converter (such as an Access Point)
  • Your computer
  • Power adapters
  • Power cables
  • Network cables

Step 1. Change your computer’s IP address to the same network prefix of your IP camera.

For example, if your IP camera IP address is 192.168.177.100, you’ll need to change your computer’s IP address into 192.168.177.X. The number for “X” ranges between 2 and 254.

Make sure the IP address of your camera is static.

Step 2. Set up the converter (the access point). Configure your access point with an IP address that is compatible with your IP camera.

Step 3. Connect the access point (converter) to the PoE injector, and then connect the injector to your home router with the network cable.

Step 4. Log into the converter by entering the default user name and password of the converter, and configure the WiFi band of it.

(There should be a quick start guide for the setup process.)

Step 5. Disconnect the access point from the network. Connect the access point to your camera simply by plugging the camera into the PoE injector using the PoE cable.

Step 6. Connect the access point from your computer via WiFi.

Now it’s your turn to add more Q&As to this list!

  • JnDplus3

    Wait – Did it not say that WIRELESS still have a power line to them?? So you still have to drill holes?? So how is it easier to move – Because the wire only has to go to a power spot and not all the way to the reciever?? BIG deal holes is holes!

    • Thank you for your comment!
      “Wireless” refers to the transition of video/audio. Compared with those hard wired security cameras, wireless security cameras only need power wires. You can install them near the outlet. If you need to run wires for wireless security cameras, it is much easier to do so since your home would have many outlets. In some cases, you don’t have to drill holes.

      • Brian Ankeny

        To my knowledge not many homes have outlets near the roofline where most cameras would be installed. This would require the wireless cameras to also have cabling installed. Furthermore, while there may be battery powered cameras on the market I can’t imagine how those would be considered a viable or reliable option for home security. I know very few people who would remember (or be willing) to climb a ladder for changing the batteries in multiple cameras around their house every few weeks. I think that this article is somewhat misleading to those who may not understand this point.

        • Hi Brian, thank you for your comment! As you may know, the Reolink Argus battery powered security cameras can support up to 180 days in standby mode, so people don’t need to change the batteries frequently!

          Check the Reolink Argus here:/product/argus/

  • Albert Azarias

    What is the best wired camera system to get that has 24/7 recording, can be accessed through a phone app, is weatherproof, and does not rely on internet?

    • Hello Albert,

      You can try Reolink RLK8-410B4 PoE wired security camera system that offers 24/7 recording: /product/rlk8-410b4/. The cameras are all waterproof.

      However, you have to connect the security camera (no matter it’s wireless or PoE) to the network in order to get remote viewing via your phones.

      • Albert Azarias

        Thanks for the reply. I intend on using Internet for remote viewing, but if Internet is disconnected, will the cameras still record?

        • Yes, the cameras will still record. The NVR and the cameras of RLK8-410B4 will automatically connect to each other on its own proprietary network and start to communicate with each other without Internet access (without connecting to users’ routers). No Internet is needed.

          • Albert Azarias

            Does it eat up bandwith? I want something that does not drain the internet. I want something similar to the RLK4-210WB4 wireless security camera video system except a wired version.

          • Don’t worry. It won’t eat up bandwith.

          • Albert Azarias

            Ok perfect I will be making my purchase shortly. I’m taking your word on the fact that it won’t be taking up bandwith. Thank you!

          • FYI: When you are using the RLK8-410B4 to record videos, it won’t take up your bandwith.

            However, when you get remote access and receive push notifications and emails (when motion events are detected), it would use your bandwith.

          • Albert Azarias

            Ok am I able to turn off push notification, etc.. if I want to have faster Internet and to turn it back on at my convenience? Also and I able to use the app to see the cameras from anywhere around the world as long as I have Internet access or can I only see video footage when I am home?

          • Yes, you can turn on/off the push notification as you want.

            As long as you make sure that your cameras and NVR are connected to the Internet, you can get remote access wherever you are with your smartphones connecting Internet. (But you need to remember your UID).

          • Albert Azarias

            There are options for these cameras and one is all bullet cameras and the others are 2 bullet and 2 domes. What are the benefits of these domes over bulletproof and vice versa? Also will you ever have a call line?

          • Well, dome cameras are suitable for ceiling, while bullet cameras are suitable for eave and wall. The only difference between this 2 type cameras is the installation places.

            You can add my Skype: elviapan (more convenient to send you instant replies.)
            Besides, you can leave your phone number, and we can call you when you need any inquires and supports.

          • Danny Templeton

            Hi, what does NVR stand for and mean? I got lost in the acronyms at some point in time.
            Thanks

          • Hi Danny, NVR stands for Network Video Recording. It’s used for video recording and storage.

      • TheAce

        Hello Albert,
        What about the night vision. is it ok.?
        thanks in advanced.

  • Larrry

    Excellent write-up and comparison, but what I never see are security consideration beyond the camera systems. As a former juvenile probations officer, I learned a lot from the kids – like easiest way around a locking gas cap is an ice pick. Specific questions I never see addressed:
    1) 911 is a local system. Is there, or how do you obtain a local number to 911 that can be added to your phone contact and called from anywhere in the world if you see a break-in (or other emergency) in progress on live viewing.
    2) Due to fire regulations – before they put water on a fire, home power is easy to disable from the outside. Obviously, you can’t (or shouldn’t) put a lock or anything stronger than a zip tie on the master switch, should you look at backup battery supply to plug NVR, network router and other critical components into.
    3) Network. Most homes are either cable or phone based systems with vulnerabilities similar to power as they enter the home. While all cameras would pick up action throughout the property, and one the act of disruption, all it requires is unscrewing the cable at the ground attachment, or ‘snip’. Should that be hardened with enclosing the cable in conduit or something?
    4) Backup. Off-site is preferable, particularly if the NVR with hard drive is taken. Understandable, at the current time you don’t offer ‘cloud’ but give FTP protocol instructions. Unfortunately, the instructions are how to input the FPT address into your software. Could you consider an “FTP 101” instruction page covering from IP provider on to essentially design your own personal cloud system and/or personal website. Building an FTP from scratch (vs adding to an existing site) could actually cost less than commercial cloud services and be far more flexible. Also caution with any IP provider they choose, check their Terms of Service (TOS) to be sure they allow FTP storage, as I think mine that supports multiple websites, Bluehost, put restrictions on it. While I don’t use FTP transfer/delivery for any of my sites, vaguely remember a blog notice from IP about it and will have to research.

  • Dr. Daniel Kester

    I already have my router pretty maxed out. Which system, wired or wireless, is less taxing on my router? It seems to me that the wireless might be more taxing, especially if there are several cameras all set at high resolution. Does the wired system eliminate all that bandwidth by using a DVR to capture the video? I want a system that I can access via my iPhone with notifications of motion. 4 cameras would be plenty. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Dr. Daniel, you can try a PoE security camera system. The videos will be recorded to the NVR. And the NVR and cameras will connect to your router directly. You can use your iPhone to view live streaming and get push notifications when there are motion events. You can check this system for your reference: /product/rlk8-410b4/

  • Taylor Wu

    Thanks, Elvia for sharing most important information about Wired Security Cameras and Wireless Security Cameras. At present days Security Cameras are using to protect the home, office and college, institute and park etc. The main reason is to protect their property from thieves people are using this camera. Now various types of Security Cameras are available in the market. Before 6 months I was confused that, which type camera should I buy for my home. Finally, I decide and bought a Wireless IP TT525PW camera through online shop “titathink.com”. Now my I can say that my house is safe.

    • Hi Adelia, thank you for your comment!
      Security cameras do play an important role in protecting peoples’ properties.
      That’s the main reason why there are more and more different types of security cameras offering versatile features.

  • Hi Flip, if you have any ideas concerning IP cameras, please share with us!

  • AJAY DUBEY

    Hi Elvia . Thanks for this informative article . I am a security system installer in Bangalore , India . As I am little hesitant to recommend battery powered wifi cameras to my client owing to the doubt that how much the battery will last if running 24X7 . As a security system should work at 100% all the time . Can you put some light on this .

    Ajay Dubey
    Brickwood Security Systems
    http://www.brickwood.co

    • Hello Ajay, thank you for your comment!

      The Reolink Argus battery powered CCTV security camera will only wake up when there are motion events or when you access the cameras for live streaming.

      When this camera is not in its working status, it will get back to standby mode at once, which can save battery power.

      If you have other insights, please tell us!

    • NorceCodine .

      That must be a very good job these days!

  • Hello Santosh, the data consumption depends on multiple variables. You can take a look at the below example to how much data will a 4MP IP camera produces when it records one day.

    Example: 4MP camera, Record 1 day , 1 Channel(normally 4MP Bitrate is 6144kb/s)
    6144/8 x 3600 x 24 x 1 x 1 = 63.28G

    You can check this FAQ to get more details: /faq/how-long-can-a-2tb-hdd-record/
    If you have other questions, please post them in the comment!

  • NorceCodine .

    So, for those of us who need a more plebeian introduction to wireless security cameras, if I have a wireless battery-powered camera, how do I watch the recording after an event has occured? Do I need to install some specific software on my desk-top computer? (I am assuming one type has cloud-recording, the other type is entirely self-contained).Thanks.

    • Hello NorceCodine, you can download the customized software, including app and client, on your computer and smartphone to access your wireless battery powered security camera.

      The motion recording videos typically will be recorded to an SD card, or other storage devices. You can play back the recorded videos via the app or the client.

  • Elvia

    Both video storage options are safe as long as the security cameras are secured by reliable encryption.

    Both video storage methods can provide video surveillance. Typically NVR/DVR HDD recording is for 24/7 surveillance while SD card storage is for motion detection recording, so you still can get video tapes when there are motion events.

  • Adam Danischewski

    Physical security of the camera should be considered too. If you use WiFi an attacker could sit in a parked vehicle and sniff it out, but if you use Ethernet they could potentially physically access the camera disconnecting the ethernet connection at the camera and plug in a laptop. From there hopefully you changed the default router password, otherwise the attacker could modify router settings and glean the WiFi passwords.

    • Elvia

      Hello Adam, thank you for your comment. The camera will record the motion videos/images when there are any motion events. You can still see the clear images of the attackers even if he or she jams the Internet connection of the cameras.