Outdoor vs Indoor cameras: Which to use?

UPDATED: 26/09/2023

In doing research about CCTV systems, you will have undoubtedly seen the terms outdoor and indoor thrown around in relation to cameras. Obviously an outdoor camera is designed for use outside. And vice versa for indoor cameras. But what is the actual difference? What makes each one suited for their intended use?

Weather Resistance & Durability

illustration of cctv camera handling extreme cold, extreme heat, rain/hail and tampering

Ah, outdoor cameras, the unsung champions of the CCTV universe! These trusty guardians are like the superheroes of your security setup, always ready to take on the wild forces of nature. Let’s break down why they’re the go-to choice when you need to tackle the elements:

  • Rain and Snow: When the skies open up and pour down, or fluffy snowflakes start their dance, outdoor cameras stand firm. They’ve got this rugged, no-nonsense attitude that says, “Rain, snow, bring it on!” These weather warriors are all about durability, designed to thrive even in the most relentless precipitation.

  • Extreme Heat and Cold: Whether it’s a scorching summer day or a frosty winter night, outdoor cameras don’t flinch. Their exteriors are like a suit of armor, protecting them from the blistering heat and the bone-chilling cold. It’s as if they’ve mastered the art of staying cool in a heatwave and cozy in a polar vortex.

  • Wind and Hail: Howling winds and hailstorms may try to mess with your security, but outdoor cameras just shake it off. Their tough exteriors can handle the strongest gusts and even hailstones. It’s like they have a force field that keeps the elements at bay.

  • Tampering: Not only do these cameras tackle the weather, but they’re also skilled at thwarting tampering attempts. With their beefed-up shielding, they send a clear message to potential mischief-makers: “Don’t even try.” Your security stays intact.

Now, if you’re in a zone where acid rain or salty sea spray likes to join the party, there’s an extra layer of defense you can enlist: corrosion-resistant cameras. These heroes are like the secret agents of the CCTV world, specially equipped to battle corrosive foes and ensure your security remains unscathed. So, whether it’s a downpour, a blizzard, or a sneak attack by corrosive villains, outdoor cameras are your trusty allies, standing strong to safeguard your property.

Lighting Conditions

security cameras perform under the sun

When it comes to outdoor cameras, the spotlight is on their exceptional ability to adapt to various lighting scenarios. They’re like the versatile actors of the security world, ready to perform under the sun, the moon, and everything in between. Here’s how they tackle the tricky issue of lighting:

Bright Sunlight:

 Imagine a scorching summer day with the sun blazing overhead. Outdoor cameras aren’t fazed by the brightness. They’re equipped to handle the harshest sunlight without breaking a sweat. It’s like they have built-in sunglasses to keep their vision sharp. By managing exposure levels, they maintain a clear video image.

Complete Darkness

Now, picture the pitch-black of night, where ordinary cameras would struggle to see anything. This is where outdoor cameras pull out their night vision goggles, figuratively speaking. They harness the power of infrared light to see in utter darkness. It’s like they have a secret night-vision mode, revealing what’s hidden in the shadows.

Everything in Between

But life isn’t just about extreme conditions; it’s a mix of bright days, dim evenings, and ever-changing lighting. Here’s where adjustable IR cut filters come into play. These filters are like the camera’s own lighting chameleons, adapting to shifts in brightness. They ensure that no matter the lighting rollercoaster, your outdoor camera keeps recording without a hiccup.

So, whether it’s the scorching sun, the pitch-black night, or the dynamic lighting dance in between, outdoor cameras are your reliable storytellers, capturing every detail with finesse. With night vision and adjustable IR cut filters in their arsenal, they’re like the cinematographers of the security world, ensuring your footage is clear and crisp, no matter the lighting conditions.


Indoor & Outdoor Cameras

Let’s dive into the dollars and cents of choosing between outdoor and indoor cameras. It’s not just about picking the one that suits your needs; it’s also about understanding the financial side of the equation:

  • Outdoor Cameras: These security titans may be a tad heavier on the wallet. Why? Well, it’s all about that sturdier build. They’re like the armored knights of the CCTV realm, built to withstand anything nature throws their way. That extra durability comes at a cost. Think of it as investing in a heavy-duty car that can handle rugged terrain – it might cost more upfront, but it pays off in the long run.

  • Indoor Cameras: On the other hand, indoor cameras tend to be the more budget-friendly choice. They’re like the trusty family sedan; reliable, cost-effective, and perfect for everyday use. Their thinner exteriors and simpler design often make them more affordable. If you’re looking for a basic security setup without breaking the bank, indoor cameras are the economical route to take.

Now, let’s talk about the bells and whistles. The presence of advanced features in outdoor cameras can also nudge the price higher. These features could be anything from extended range capabilities to specialized weather-resistant technology. Think of it as choosing a smartphone with all the latest gadgets; it comes at a premium. But, it’s worth noting that this investment can pay off with better performance and enhanced security. So, when deciding between indoor and outdoor cameras, consider your budget and what kind of security firepower you need. It’s all about finding that sweet spot between cost and capability.

Can I use an indoor camera outside?

If you are running on a tight budget, you may be tempted to save by using indoor cameras everywhere. Is it possible to use indoor cameras outdoors? In theory: yes

However, we do not recommend it, and if you have read this far you will understand why. Indoor cameras sit in a nice comfy environment with no rain, wind, or other harsh environmental factors. They will not last nearly as long outdoors, and may not even survive the temperature depending on your geographic location.

Overall you may end up paying more to maintain/repair these misfitted cameras, or wholly replace them.


two security cameras; one black, one white

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