Installing CCTV cameras in one’s home used to be a luxury only the wealthy could afford. However, the growing smart home industry has commoditized security and surveillance technology, allowing almost anyone to own a camera.
Smart security cameras are affordable and plentiful, whether it’s a set of home security cameras on the exterior of your property, a video doorbell on the front door, or a simple indoor camera for keeping an eye on the dog while you’re out. According to a recent home security survey conducted by security site Safety.com, one out of every five US homes has a home security camera installed.
Not all home security cameras, however, work in the same way. Some cameras record continuously, while others only record when motion is detected. If you want peace of mind, cameras that record continuously are ideal. You can check what happened in your home at any time.
Do security cameras continuously record?
Some security cameras can record continuously, but it comes at a cost. In most cases, this means paying for an additional subscription service, while in others, it means the camera must be powered by a power source rather than a rechargeable battery, which may limit where you can install it.
Arlo is one of the most well-known names in home security cameras, and some of its models, including the top-of-the-line Arlo Ultra 2 and Arlo Ultra, the Arlo Pro 4, Arlo Pro 3, and Arlo Pro 2, as well as its entry-level Arlo Essential Indoor Camera, Spotlight Cam, offer continuous recording, but at a cost.
A Continuous Video Recording (CVR) subscription is required, which costs $9.99 / £6.99 / AU$12.99 per month for one camera with 14 days of recording and $4.99 / £3.49 / AU$6.49 per month for each additional camera.
This is a separate plan from Arlo Secure, which ensures that footage captured when motion is detected is stored online and can be reviewed at a later time. It costs $2.99/ £2.79/ AU$4.49 per month for one camera or $9.99/ £8.99/ AU$14.99 per month for unlimited cameras.
While Arlo’s base station does provide local storage, it is only for motion-triggered recordings and does not support CVR. For CVR to work, Arlo’s home security cameras must be powered by the mains.
For those who want it, Google’s Nest home security cameras, such as the Google Nest Cam (battery), offer continuous recording. When motion is detected by Nest cameras or the Nest Doorbell, users will receive an alert, and the footage can be viewed for up to three hours after it is detected at no additional cost.
To enable continuous, 24/7 video recording, which is saved in the cloud for 10 days, you’ll need a $12 / £10 / AU$18 Nest Aware Plus subscription. In other words, you can watch continuous footage from your Nest cameras that was recorded up to 10 days ago.
Another smart camera company that provides continuous recording is Eufy. It’s not a feature the company promotes, and it’s only available on wired cameras like the Solo IndoorCam C24, but recording to an SD card allows for 24/7 video capture. This makes it one of the few home security camera brands that does not require a subscription in order to record continuously.
Finally, some Reolink security cameras can record continuously. This applies to the Reolink C and E series cameras, but not to battery-powered cameras, as continuous recording would deplete the battery far too quickly. Reolink cameras that are compatible can be set to record continuously to an SD card.
Is it really necessary to have a camera that continuously records?
To summarize, while continuous recording isn’t a feature that many companies tout, it is possible with a variety of smart home security cameras, but is it something you need?
Continuous video recording isn’t required for most homeowners, and a home security camera that records only when motion is detected (and, ideally, only relevant motion, such as an unknown person, not a cat or a bag blowing in the wind) will suffice. This makes it much easier to locate specific events in the camera’s timeline.
Continuous video recording, on the other hand, may be a wise investment if you want a home security camera that functions similarly to CCTV or if you want true peace of mind.