IP Cam: Review & Recommendations

Welcome to our big IP Cam Test 2020, where we present you all IP Cams we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and also added a summary of the customer reviews on the net.

We want to make your purchase decision easier and help you to find the best IP camera for you.

You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer you interesting test videos. Furthermore you will find some important information on this page, which you should pay attention to if you want to buy an IP Cam.

The most important facts in brief

  • An IP Cam offers many advantages. They are usually easy to install and control, offer protection against uninvited guests and you are always informed when something happens in your home. Even when you are on the road.
  • Basically you can distinguish between IP cameras for indoor and outdoor use.
  • Indoor and outdoor network cameras differ in their functionality and design. The choice for one of the alternatives should be made according to the application and desired functions.

IP Cam Test: The Ranking

1st place: WLAN IP camera

The KAMTRON IP camera is an indoor camera with a resolution of 1280x720P. The camera has a pan, tilt and zoom function and can be easily controlled via app.

Integrated is also a high-precision motion detection, which sends a notification to the mobile phone indicating when, where and what motion has been detected.

Due to the two-way audio function and the high video quality even at night, the camera is also suitable as a baby monitor. The recordings can be stored on an SD card or via cloud. This model is very popular with its buyers – they especially appreciate the easy installation and operation of the camera.

2nd place: Wansview WLAN IP camera

The Wansview WLAN IP camera offers an image resolution of 1920x1080P and a frame rate of max. 30 frames per second. The camera is waterproof and weatherproof, making it suitable for outdoor use.

Using the app, the live recordings can be viewed from any location. Continuous recordings are stored on a local hard disk.

Night vision up to 12 m is possible thanks to 36 infrared LEDs. So even in total darkness solid images are created. The camera also has motion detection and sends push messages with alarm photos to your mobile phone or e-mail.

Customers of this IP camera especially appreciate the good price-performance ratio.

3rd place: YI IP home camera

The YI surveillance camera is designed for indoor use and delivers high resolution video. A 180° wide angle lens with distortion correction allows a full panoramic snapshot. The recordings can be conveniently viewed via app, even when you are on the move.

With the infrared LEDs and two-way audio technology, security at night is guaranteed. The camera has motion detection and a special baby cries detection is also integrated.

The crying of a baby is detected and a push notification is sent to your mobile phone. Customers especially appreciate the easy handling of the IP camera.

Advisor: Questions you should deal with before you buy an IP Cam

What is an IP Cam?

An IP Cam is a network camera for a self-contained system and is usually used as a digital surveillance camera.

The abbreviation “IP” stands for “Internet Protocol”. This means that the recorded photos and videos can be accessed by other end devices such as a PC, smartphone or tablet.

The IP camera is connected to a router via a network cable or WLAN to connect the camera to the Internet. This eliminates the need to additionally connect the camera to a computer.

Thus an IP Cam offers the possibility to access the data with different devices from all over the world.

An IP camera can also be made available to multiple users. The network camera can be set to send the recordings live to an app or any online portal, for example.

This distinguishes the IP Cam from the conventional webcam. It can be regarded as the predecessor of the IP Cam. A webcam requires a connection to the computer. The recorded data can then only be accessed via this PC.

How does an IP Cam work?

For the installation of older IP cameras, computer and Internet skills were still required. Meanwhile the use of IP Cams is very easy and can be implemented by basically any person.
The IP Camera has its own network interface and power supply. The user interface is independent and can be accessed quickly and easily from any device with a browser.
To use Android or iOS devices to retrieve the data, apps are provided by the manufacturer. These apps contain the current video and image recordings of the IP Cam. All settings can also be made via the user interface.
Network cameras have an input and output contact point that works on a digital basis and can be connected to other components. For example, an IP Cam can be connected to an alarm or other sensors.

The camera then sends a warning or a picture via SMS or e-mail, for example, if the property is entered by unauthorized persons. Depending on the compression, resolution and frame rate, recordings of a whole month can be stored.

However, many users do not want the network camera to be in constant operation. Therefore, there is also the possibility to control the camera depending on events or time, for example, via motion or noise sensors.

Which functions does an IP Cam fulfil?

The main function of a network camera is the monitoring function. However, it is also increasingly used in commercial areas such as tourism to show a “live stream” of hotels, beaches or towns.
But also on construction sites an IP Cam can help to keep a better eye on progress. An IP Cam also helps to protect the environment. It is used by foresters or conservationists to observe game or general processes in the forest.

First and foremost, the camera remains a problem solution in the field of surveillance and theft protection. To ensure this, IP Cams often have several functions:

Motion detection

Integrated motion detection combined with a professional warning system is one of the most important features of an advanced network camera. This basic function is used to detect and record moving people or objects and to alert the camera owner.

Night vision

Most crimes occur in the dark. Therefore most IP Cams are equipped with a night vision function. This produces razor-sharp images even in total darkness.

Intercom function

Many IP cameras have an integrated microphone and speaker function. These features enable bidirectional communication.

Weather protection

Weather protection plays an important role especially for outdoor cameras. Weather protection ensures clearly recognizable image and video material despite rain, snow or fog.

What does an IP Cam cost?

There is a wide price range between the different IP Cams. Depending on the wishes and requirements of the camera and depending on the manufacturer, model and the respective functions, the cost varies.
The range for network cameras for private use can be from about 15 to 350 euros. Cameras for professional use such as in banks or museums are in higher price ranges.
The price differences of IP cameras for private use can be explained logically. Outdoor cameras that have to withstand weather conditions are much more complex in design and manufacturing and therefore more expensive than indoor cameras.

There is no upper limit to the price of the Outdoor Cams. Indoor cameras in the high price segment are available for 200 Euros.

Where can I buy an IP Cam?

IP cameras are available in specialty stores and department stores, as well as in many online shops. The most important information can be found in specialist magazines or on special Internet platforms.
The advantage of buying an IP camera from an online shop is that the dealers usually provide detailed information about the different models and you can read customer opinions about the products.
According to our research, most network cameras are sold through these online shops:

amazon.com
avware.com
pearl.at
hornbach.com
obi.de
ebay.com

All IP Cams that we link to you on our site have a link to at least one of these shops. If you have found a camera that fits your needs, you can start right away.

What do I have to consider when buying an IP Cam?

Before you buy and install an IP camera, you should think about what tasks the camera should perform. Only when you are clear about the intended use and the desired functions, you can search for a suitable IP Cam. The choice of models is very diverse.

There are very small and unobtrusive network cameras, often camouflaged. These cameras are often used indoors. But there are also slightly larger network cameras.

These are mostly used outdoors and serve the purpose of deterrence. The burglar is informed by monitoring the property.

Many IP Cams have an integrated motion sensor. The refresh rate should therefore be taken into account when purchasing and should be at least 12 frames per second. This means that the smallest movements can be captured or the face of a certain person can be easily recognized.

When using IP cameras, you must also always observe the legal regulations that extend into private rooms.

How secure is an IP Cam?

An IP Cam is connected to the network. To avoid the risk of an unauthorized person gaining access to the camera, protection should always be installed.
When buying a network camera, most manufacturers offer a password that protects against such dangers.
Another alternative is to encrypt all image and video material of the IP camera via SSL or TLS. SSL is the abbreviation for “Secure Sockets Layer”. This system is now improved by “Transport Layer Security” and secures the data transfer in the net.
Third parties are not able to read or manipulate the data of the camera.

What alternatives are there to the IP Cam?

There are different types of surveillance cameras. Each model has its own advantages and disadvantages. The following surveillance cameras can be seen as alternatives to IP Cams:

Webcam
PTZ camera
Mini Camera
Security camera dummy

In the following section we will give you a brief overview of the alternatives to IP Cams.

Decision: What types of IP Cams are there and which one is right for you?

Another decisive factor is the choice between an IP camera for indoor and outdoor use, as the functions of the devices and their design differ.

If you want to purchase an IP camera, there are two alternatives you can choose between:

  • Outdoor IP Cam
  • Indoor IP Cam

What distinguishes an outdoor IP Cam and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The two camera types differ in their construction. Network cameras for outdoor surveillance are purely functional and almost without exception designed for wall mounting. For outdoor surveillance cameras for private use, models with a motion motor are rather rare. This is mainly for legal reasons.

Only private areas may be filmed with outdoor cameras and even there a sign must point out the surveillance.

IP cameras for outdoor use are normally weatherproof. This means that these cameras can withstand rain, storm or even large heat waves. Outdoor IP cameras are therefore a popular choice for people who use the camera for burglary protection at home. However, most outdoor cameras are also suitable for indoor use.

For IP cameras that are mounted outside, please note that depending on the distance, the signal of the surveillance camera can be affected. Normally, an IP outdoor camera should not be more than 60-70 meters away from the router. For longer distances, quality losses must be accepted.

A constant frame rate of 25 frames per second is achieved when there are as few obstacles as possible between the camera and the router. A bush, trees, a car or the canopy can have a noticeable effect on the image result.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that the air line between the IP outdoor camera and the domestic WLAN router is as free as possible. In outdoor areas, it is often necessary to cover wider areas or areas that are difficult to see.

For this purpose, it is advantageous if the outdoor camera can be swivelled, can be oriented differently and the viewing angle and direction can be changed. Some models also offer a remote control for this purpose, so that the camera can also be steered individually.

Advantages

Can be installed both inside and outside
Weatherproof
Some models offer a remote control to control the camera individually

Disadvantages

Camera is designed purely functional
Obstacles can have a negative effect on the image quality
Usually more expensive than Indoor IP Cams

What distinguishes an indoor IP Cam and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The two camera types differ in their construction. Indoor cameras are often available with a tiltable head and in an attractive design.

These cameras are suitable both for installation and for mounting on the wall or ceiling. Due to the lack of weather protection, indoor cameras cannot be mounted outside.

Anyone who owns an indoor IP Cam must bear in mind that even within their own four walls, all persons passing through must be informed about the use and location of the surveillance cameras.

Many use indoor IP surveillance cameras to deter intruders and protect their homes from potential break-ins. But some parents only use them to keep an eye on their children at all times.

Advantages

Available in attractive design
Camera can either be set up or mounted on the wall
Mostly also usable as baby monitors

Disadvantages

Cannot be mounted outside
Even in one’s own four walls, legal aspects must be taken into account

Purchase criteria: You can compare and rate IP Cams based on these factors

In the following we will show you on which aspects you can decide between the multitude of possible IP Cams.

The criteria you can use to compare network cameras include

  • Resolution
  • Type of data transmission
  • Audio transmission
  • Night vision
  • Motion detection
  • Storage medium
  • Focal length and viewing angle

Resolution

The resolution of an IP camera is important because it determines how sharp the recorded images or videos are and therefore how many details are visible on them.

The color settings are also different due to the resolution. If you use the IP Cam for surveillance purposes, you should choose a resolution from 720p. A HD resolution is also always advantageous so that the pictures are even sharper.

Devices with VGA level (resolution of 640 x 480 pixels), are rather unsuitable and no longer up to date.

Type of data transmission

The IP Cam can be connected to a router either via a network cable (LAN) or WLAN. This eliminates the need to additionally connect the camera to a computer.

WLAN offers the advantage of a wireless connection with the router. When connecting via WLAN, only a power cable is required. Data transmission via a network cable requires two cables. One cable to the router and one for the power supply.

Audio transmission

It is mainly the Indoor IP Cams, which are equipped with a microphone and speakers. Thus, these cameras have a functioning intercom system, with which bidirectional communication is possible. They usually also have a convincing sound quality.

With the help of a microphone, for example, rooms can be monitored. The speakers can be used to address someone. However, the possible applications are quite different.

For example, a warning can be issued to the uninvited visitor, but a baby can also be comforted and calmed. This function therefore proves to be useful and provides a plus in safety.

However, special attention must be paid to legal standards. The legal requirements should therefore be observed. The use of an IP camera is subject to the BDSG.

Night vision

Nowadays almost all IP Cams, whether for indoor or outdoor use, are equipped with a night vision function. This function also allows monitoring in the dark.

A conventional IP camera for private use allows convincing image quality at night even at distances of 8 – 12 meters. In most cases, this radius is perfectly adequate.

This is made possible by the infrared light diodes with which these cameras are equipped. The infrared light sources are activated by the motion detector or by remote control and illuminate the surroundings.

The infrared radiation is not visible to the human eye.

Motion detection

If an IP Cam has motion detection, you will be informed about events on your own property by a warning or a picture via SMS or e-mail. This is especially useful when you are not at home.

Manufacturers often offer here different possibilities how an IP Cam reacts. Users can also set that a hazard sound or lights on the property should be switched on when motion is detected.

With good cameras, the user can also exclude critical areas from the sensitive area so that, for example, animals on the ground are not detected.

Storage medium

The recordings of an IP Security Camera can be stored on different media. However, this is not the right choice. The decision for a storage medium depends entirely on your preferences.

These storage options are at your disposal:

  • SD memory cards
  • Hard disk of the NVR/DVR
  • PC/Laptop
  • NAS
  • Nuvem

Security cameras with SD card recording function is a very popular option for homeowners who want to monitor places that do not require 24 hour recording.

One advantage of SD recording is that all recordings are safe and protected from unauthorized eyes. This is especially important when unexpected events occur.

If you want a surveillance camera with a long recording time, such as 24 hours of uninterrupted storage, or you want to store the recordings of more than three IP cameras on one hard drive, NVRs and DVRs are recommended as an external solution.

Saving the pictures and video from your security camera on a PC is the cheapest way to do this. If you don’t want to buy an additional recorder, you can try using free software to save the IP camera recordings to your PC.

If you want to save the recordings to a computer that is not on the same network, you can save the recordings to an FTP server.

If you want to record and store the IP camera without a PC, recording on NAS is the best solution for you. After you add the IP Cam to the NAS, the recordings of the camera will be automatically stored on the NAS.

More and more cloud service based IP cameras are entering the market. Cloud-based storage is convenient and relatively secure. However, cloud storage requires a monthly subscription fee.

Focal length/angle of view

The focal length and angle of view of the camera play a crucial role in the blind spot and the space the camera covers.

The shot is wider-angled, i.e. wider and higher, the shorter the focal length. This means that objects recorded appear smaller on the monitor. If the focal length is longer or longer, the camera’s angle of view is narrower and the recording area correspondingly smaller. This makes the recorded objects appear larger.

Short focal lengths are suitable for monitoring large areas such as gardens, warehouses, streets and generally for overview shots. Long focal lengths are suitable for shooting from a greater distance when the object being photographed needs to appear large on the screen.

A possible solution are also lenses with motor zoom. Their focal length can be changed via software or app. Thus they cover a whole focal length range.

IP Cams with adjustable viewing angle have become widely accepted. These are hardly more expensive than cameras with fixed viewing angle. This means that the distance ranges only need to be known approximately, as the camera can be adjusted:

Local area

Close-up range is called everything within a distance of 1 to 10 meters. Wide-angle surveillance cameras with 30 – 100 degree viewing angle are suitable for this. They are installed directly in front of the video-monitored area.

Remote area

The long-distance range covers everything within a distance of 9 to 30 meters. Here we recommend a camera with a 15 – 30 degree viewing angle.

Super long distance

The super long range is then at a distance of 20 to 100 meters. Here we recommend tele-surveillance cameras with 5 to 15 degree viewing angle. These tele-surveillance cameras film “in the tunnel

This means that borders, fences and paths can also be captured if they are placed appropriately. Depending on the viewing angle of the installation height, the first 5 to 30 meters in the close range are not or too narrowly detected.

With a viewing angle of less than 100 degrees, an entire room can be captured from a corner.

Trivia: Worth knowing facts about IP Cam

How do I set up my IP Cam correctly?

Depending on the model of the camera, installation is either via WLAN or a network cable.

    In order to install an IP camera, it must first be connected to an existing power supply.
    The camera should then be positioned to capture all areas that need to be monitored.
    Next, a connection to an IP network must be established. This is possible using a network device that connects the camera with a network cable. The network cable is usually part of the delivery. The Ethernet port of the camera is then connected to the Ethernet port of a network device. Network devices include the modem, computer network cards, router, or switch.
    Once all devices are connected, the IP camera can be set up.

WLAN offers the advantage of a wireless connection. When connecting via WLAN, only a power cable is required. With Ethernet connection, two cables are required.

To give you a better idea, we have selected a suitable video for you. The video also offers an insight into the possible functions of an IP camera.

What to do if I have forgotten the password of my IP Cam?

If you have forgotten the password of your IP Cam, the easiest way is to reset your network camera to factory defaults.

Most IP cameras have a reset button, which is usually slightly recessed in the housing. In order to press it, you will need a pointed object, such as a ballpoint pen or toothpick.

Depending on the camera model, this button has to be pressed for different lengths of time. Usually the camera must also be connected to the power supply for this to work.

If the camera is reset to factory defaults, you can remove the password and user name from the manual. Sometimes these data are also on the bottom of the network camera.

What can I do with my IP Cam and what is forbidden? (Legal aspects)

When using IP Cams, there are many legal regulations that you must observe. It is allowed to film your own property with the IP Camera. Public areas such as the sidewalk or the neighbor’s property may not be easily monitored.

The recordings may only be used for private use. As a resident of a condominium, for example, you may not monitor the entrance area used by several families.

An exception is when the community of owners agrees to monitor a specific area. Monitored areas must be marked with informative signs and placed at eye level.

Once pictures of identifiable persons have been captured, they are protected by copyright. Taking pictures with persons in public is strictly prohibited. If you have captured a thief or rioter with the IP Cam, you may only make the material available to the police.

Filming inside your own apartment or house is allowed, but affected persons such as cleaning staff, babysitters or guests must be informed. These persons may only be monitored with express permission.

An exception is when there is a strong suspicion, for example because cash has disappeared.

How can I transfer the picture of my IP Cam to the TV?

You have several possibilities to transfer the data of your IP camera to your TV.

NVR

  • Step 1: Connect your surveillance camera to NVR via Ethernet cable.
  • Step 2: Connect the NVR to the TV via HDMI cable.
  • Step 3: Connect the NVR to the power supply
  • Step 4: Open the TV and you can see the live image of the IP camera on the TV.

All that is needed is the IP Cam, an NVR, a TV and some cables, which are usually already included with the surveillance camera. Connecting your surveillance camera to the TV via NVR is definitely the easiest and most reliable method.

IP-Cam-zu-HDMI-Konverter/Decoder

With the so-called NetcamViewer Monitor, any IP network camera can be transmitted live to the TV or broadcast. The IP camera is simply connected via an Ethernet cable to this device and to the HDMI port of the TV.

Then you can switch the channel to show the livestream of the IP Cam on TV.

DLNA Server on the PC

It is also possible to set up a DLNA server (Digital Living Network Alliance) on the PC and then stream the IP Cam data to the TV monitor.

Normally, network cameras compress the video data into MPEG, MJPEG or H.264 codecs. However, TV sets cannot decode and transmit such videos over the local network. Therefore, the TV must be DLNA-capable and the IP camera must be able to transmit data via RTSP/RTP.

Then the data from the IP camera can be successfully transferred to a TV set using a PC and the “Serviio” software.

Google Chromecast oder Apple TV

Google Chromecast or Apple TV can be a good solution if you don’t want to connect a cable to your TV. Furthermore, the streaming app of the IP Cam must support Google Chromecast or Apple TV.

How do I connect my IP Cam directly to the mobile phone?

Most IP Cams can already be controlled via the smartphone. It is also possible to access the recorded data from the mobile phone.

Manufacturers usually offer a corresponding mobile phone app for the IP Cam.

    Download the surveillance camera app to your phone.
    Launch the app and add your IP camera.
    Then click on the IP camera that was just added to the app to see the live view.

How can I reset my IP Cam?

Basically there are two possibilities here. Either you reset the camera to factory defaults via the menu or by pressing the reset button.

If you still know your password and you can log in to the IP Cam, you can reset the camera to factory settings via the menu (Reset Settings). Depending on the manufacturer, the menu looks a little different.

If you have forgotten your password, you can reset the camera using the reset button. This button is usually slightly recessed in the housing.

How do I find out the IP address of my IP Cam?

Refer to the instructions

In the manual of the IP Cam you will find the IP address which, if not changed, is assigned to the device by default. If the IP address has been changed, this does not help us.

Reset IP camera

Each network camera can be reset to factory settings. After resetting, the IP address will return to the IP address specified in the manual.

Check the router

Some routers display the IP addresses of connected devices. The IPs of the individual devices can then be read from a list. To do this, the IP Camera may need to be connected to the router with a cable.

Scanning the network

It is possible to scan the own network for devices. This is made possible by various online scanners. You can find two free online scanners on these websites.

To give you a better idea, we have selected a suitable video of the network scanners for you here:

How can I set up e-mail notifications for my IP Cam?

First open the e-mail settings in the web interface of the IP camera. There you have to enter some data:

  • SMTP server: Enter the SMTP server of your e-mail provider here. Most of the time you can find the data on your email provider’s website.
  • SMTP Port: Specify the port used by your e-mail provider. Normally this port is 25, 465 or 587.
  • Encryption: Enable this option if your account uses SSL encryption.
  • Username: Enter the username of your e-mail account.
  • Password: Enter the password of your e-mail account.

Many IP cameras have a pre-selection of this data, which can be selected in the pre-selection menu. This will automatically fill in these fields.

Then save all settings with Confirm. Then switch to the Recipient tab to enter your personal e-mail address, an e-mail subject and text. Confirm your entry and click on Test.

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