5 Of The Best 4K Security Camera System of 2020

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Security camera targeting detected intrusionWe live in a world where break-ins and theft are almost commonplace. Even though security system technology has grown in the past few decades, the criminals are getting craftier every day. That’s why I believe it’s extremely important to have a decent camera system at my house. But which type of system is the best? Well, 4K seems to be the way to go.

With the end of the year around the corner, I felt like sharing a list of the top-ranked products that will provide your homes with the safety you deserve.

In fact, the best 4K security camera system of 2019 might just be on this list. In addition, I’ve provided a handy buyer’s guide for a safe and beneficial camera system shopping. After all, one can never be too careful, even in modern online retail.


COMPARISON

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:


Best Security Camera Systems: My Top Picks 

1.  Reolink RLK8-800B4-4K/8MP Security Camera System

Reolink 4K PoE Security Camera System, 4pcs Wired 8MP Outdoor PoE IP Cameras, 8MP 8-Channel NVR with 2TB HDD Video Surveillance System for 24/7 Recording, RLK8-800B4 CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Reolink’s first foray into the 4K world is here, and it looks amazing. But then again, surveillance cameras should capture more than just videos — they should capture a few glances of admiration.

Of course, it’s not just about appearances. Reolink’s 4K option supports up to 8 4K IP cameras powered over Ethernet. Each camera is 7.6 in long and 2.4 in wide and it weighs a single pound. Personally, I love lightweight IP security cameras because they are less of a hassle to set up than heavy ones and they have more versatility.

And speaking of set-up, the PoE camera takes less than a few minutes to hook up to the NVR. The main NVR unit contains a 2TB HDD with the option of adding up to 8TB of external space. In other words, it’s perfect for 24/7 recording.

Finally, I love how clearly it records the surroundings. The 8MP image sensor can capture 4 times the clarity of a 1080p video. It also comes with a night vision option that covers an area of 100 ft. Whether you’re recording during the day or at night, you can see the videos on several different platforms. Those include smartphone operating systems like Android and iOS, browsers like IE, Firefox, and Chrome, as well as HDMI and HDTV monitor outputs.

Features I Love:

  • Spectacular video quality which covers a vast area
  • Smart motion alert lets the user know if there’s any movement
  • VGA and HDMI output support
  • Smooth mobile application for remote viewing
  • Amazing night vision clarity
  • Audio comes through a built-in microphone
  • Lots of HDD space for 24/7 recording

Features I Don’t Love:

  • It doesn’t support UltraHD video recording of 1920p quality

2. SMONET Wired Security Camera System

【5MP Upgrade】 SMONET Security Camera System,6X5MP(2560TVL) Weatherproof CCTV Cameras with 5MP 8Channel Wired DVR,Motion Detect Alerts,Clear Day&Night Vision,Free App&PC Remote Access (1TB HDD) CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Weatherproof cameras are always a good choice. Some of my close friends live in areas that have lots of rain, and water can really damage the mechanics of an outdoor security system. That’s why I was happy to find a product like SMONET Wired.

At 5MP, the bullet form camera of SMONET is clear and crisp, providing amazing video footage. The main DVR contains 1TB of space for 24/7 recording and it can support up to 6 different cameras. And I do mean 24/7; the cameras all have night vision that covers an area of 65 ft. Moreover, I can set up my own motion detection zones throughout the yard. For example, I can make the camera focus on windows and doors so that it records any movement and notifies me via e-mail. The coolest thing about this option is that the system avoids recording false alarm movements from animals, the wind, or even raindrops.

Of course, I can’t talk about raindrops without mentioning how good SMONET wired is in bad weather. This little camera has the weatherproof rating of IP66; it can withstand temperatures between -20°F and 60 °F. That’s especially important if you live in areas with cold winters or extreme heat.

Naturally, like all modern security camera systems, the SMONET Wired has lots of remote viewing options. While the DVR allows me to see the feed on my television set, I can just as easily use my smartphone. All I have to do is download the P6SPro app. The ingenious feature of this app is that I can view four separate cameras at the same time at my fingertips.

Features I Love:

  • 5MP camera that records clear, HD videos
  • 1TB of HDD space for 24/7 recording
  • Remote viewing on multiple platforms
  • IP66 weatherproof camera that can withstand extreme conditions
  • Amazing night vision clarity
  • Incredibly easy to set up
  • Customizable motion detector zones

Features I Don’t Love:

  • Offers less HDD space than other options on this list
  • Doesn’t support UltraHD video recording

3. ZOSI 4K Ultra HD 8CH Security System

ZOSI 4K Ultra HD Security Cameras System, 8 Channel H.265+ 4K (3840x2160) Video DVR with 2TB Hard Drive and 4 x 4K (8MP) Ip67 Bullet Weatherproof Surveillance Cameras CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

ZOSI’s 4K system has quite a few features to offer. In a lot of ways, I find it similar to the Reolink, but with a few key differences. For example, it uses a DVR instead of an NVR for image capturing. More importantly, it’s not a PoE camera system, which might make set-up a bit complicated.

However, once you install it, the ZOSI 4K system works like a charm. The DVR can connect to four separate bullet-shaped cameras and capture high-definition 1080p videos. Moreover, the night vision option can cover up to 100 ft of area, making it slightly more reliable than the SMONET.

But that’s not the only ZOSI feature that would make me recommend this system. Again, unlike SMONET, but similarly to Reolink, this system’s DVR can store up to 2TB of data. But interestingly, its  H. 265+ video compression allows it to store more videos than other popular options on the market.

At an IP67 rating, ZOSI cameras are incredibly weatherproof. Their outer casing is made of durable aluminum, making it perfect at withstanding rain, snow, hail, and other weather conditions. Of course, it’s not the most durable camera on the market, but I still found it to be strong against the elements.

The good people at ZOSI love remote viewing as much as I do, so they provided us with a handy ZOSI app. What makes this system stand out is just how clearly I can see all four cameras on my smartphone. Moreover, I can even set up different motion detection zones and get customizable alerts whenever something runs by. I found this feature to be great with SMONET as well, and for that feature alone I’d recommend ZOSI to anyone.

Features I Love:

  • 0MP camera that records HD videos 24/7
  • 2TB of HDD space
  • IP67 weatherproof camera with an aluminum casing
  • Remote viewing using the ZOSI app
  • Night vision covering up to 100 ft
  • Customizable motion detector zones
  • Spectacular video compression which saves HDD space and stores more videos

Features I Don’t Love:

  • Not a PoE camera system, so the set-up is slightly complex
  • Minor motion detection issues after prolonged use

4. Amcrest 4K Security Camera System 8CH 8MP

Amcrest 4K Security Camera System 8CH 8MP Video DVR with 4X 4K 8-Megapixel Indoor Outdoor Weatherproof IP67 Cameras, 2TB Hard Drive, 100ft Night Vision, for Home Business (AMDV80M8-4B-W) CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Four cameras, 8 channels, 2TB of HDD space — right there I knew that the Amcrest 4K is a system that would end up on this list. Each of the bullet cameras is beautiful to look at. Normally, I’d prefer black Amcrest products, but the metallic white of this system gives off a powerful vibe. Let’s see if that vibe matches Amcrest’s performance.

Now, the viewing angle is 87°, which is decent, but not quite as big as I’d want it to be. In addition, each camera is weatherproof with an IP67 rating, making them durable against both the heat and the cold. They’re extremely versatile and capture videos at an astounding quality. In fact, they actually support UltraHD videos.

Naturally, I was also pleased with how great nighttime recording went with Amcrest 4K. Personally, if a security camera covers under 100 ft, I really have to think twice before buying it. I want as much of my front yard in the shot as possible, and Amcrest 4k delivers that in more ways than one.

In addition to awesome cameras, the Amcrest 4K has a decent DVR with 2 TB of space for non-stop coverage. There are also USB slots for external hard drives, which I find to be useful if I need more space, but don’t want to delete old videos. Of course, with H. 265 Compression technology, most of the videos the Amcrest system takes are already smaller than regular HD videos tend to be.

Features I Love:

  • 0MP 8-channel camera that records in HD non-stop
  • IP67 weatherproof camera
  • Remote viewing using the Amcrest View Pro app
  • 2TB of HDD space
  • Supports UltraHD resolution recording
  • Night vision covering up to 100 ft
  • Amazing video compression

Features I Don’t Love:

  • The angle is not as wide as other brands out there
  • Customer service issues

5. Arlo Technologies Ultra – 4K UHD Wire-Free

Arlo Technologies Ultra - 4K UHD Wire-Free Security 2 Camera System | Indoor/Outdoor with Color Night Vision, 180° View, 2-Way Audio, Spotlight, Siren | Works with Alexa and HomeKit | (VMS5240) CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Arlo might not be a bullet-form camera like the others I listed, but the shape isn’t everything. In fact, Arlo’s Ultra 4K wire-free system stands out in many different ways.

The first, and by far the most interesting and eye-catching feature is the fact that Arlo is a wireless product. As much as I love PoE products that connect through a single cable, having no cables at all is an amazing idea. In fact, people at Arlo have made a name for themselves in the industry by creating lots of wireless products such as smart doorbells and alarm clocks.

Now, there’s a reason why I mentioned the lack of a bullet shape in the beginning. Honestly, just looking at an Arlo camera is calming. The smooth, white edges and a lack of sharpness make them stand out when you shop online for security systems.

But while an Arlo Ultra 4K camera might not look sharp, it’s durable and weatherproof. And most importantly, it’s a powerful capture device. With its 4K and HDR recording and full-color night vision, this camera is at least a few steps ahead of others.

But it gets better; the Arlo Ultra 4K has an integrated spotlight that can focus on anything that moves. Furthermore, it has a staggering 180° view. That’s wider than 90% of the products I normally find online and it’s one of the many reasons why Arlo Ultra 4K deserves a spot on this list.

To top it off, here are some other Arlo Ultra 4K’s features that I personally liked. First off, there are several different detection modes; the camera can differentiate between people, packages, vehicles, and animals. Next, there’s the amazing e911 option which makes automatic emergency calls and sends the responders directly to my house. Finally, there are the custom activity zones.

Features I Love:

  • Wireless connection with Wi-Fi linking
  • Weatherproof camera
  • Connects with other Arlo products seamlessly
  • Lots of space on Cloud for video storage
  • HDR recording and full-color night vision with a spotlight
  • 180° angle that covers a wide area
  • Amazing extra features including different detection, activity zones, and emergency 911 calls

Features I Don’t Love:

  • Some features cost extra
  • The camera can go offline if the Wi-Fi isn’t working properly

The Buyer’s Guide to Camera Security

Street security cctv camera

Getting the best 4K camera system isn’t easy if you’ve never shopped around for one. I remember how difficult it was for me to get something that would work within my house (and my budget). But after months of research, I managed to compile a list of everything I need for a solid security system. Let’s go through it right now and see what we ought to focus on with our 4K systems.

Is It Easy to Set Up?

Back in the day, security systems required ‘the man’ to come over and set it up. With the advance of technology in the early 2000s, the situation was, more or less, the same. If I wanted to set up a digital security system of cameras, I had to contact the right people and they would set it all up for a fee.

But in 2019, those issues are a thing of the past. Nowadays, all of the setup I have to do is at the click of a button. Each system comes with a DIY guide. More importantly, I can also find all of the relevant info online, in case the guide isn’t enough. I feel that easy set-up is an important aspect of a 4K system because it saves me precious time that I can use elsewhere.

Night Vision

a 4k CCTVVideo quality during the day is important, which I’ll cover in a bit. However, lots of illegal activity tends to happen during the night, when the cameras don’t show the same UltraHD clear picture. Murky nighttime videos will not help us if our house is being vandalized and we can’t see the perpetrator’s face.

Fortunately, lots of security cameras do come with phenomenal night vision capabilities. High-intensity IR lenses of modern cameras capture movements and images unlike any that came before. If you’re like me and live in a sparsely-populated neighborhood near a wooded area, night-vision is a must. In addition to intruders, it can also capture all of the wildlife that decides to take a walk in our front yards (or anywhere outside of the house).

Motion Detection

a 4k Security Camera That can detect motion at nightLots of modern cameras have quick and precise motion detection. Combined with night vision, this feature can help me notice anything that moves around my yard and alert me to what it can be. In short, I no longer need to worry about those stray cats that keep knocking down my porcelain gnomes. More importantly, the cameras can notify me if someone is sneaking around.

And speaking of someone sneaking around, a great addition to motion detection is facial recognition. With the powerful resolution of my camera, this feature will give me the exact face of the intruder. Interestingly, there are even some systems that match faces to the systems’ databases online. Thanks to that, I have the amazing opportunity to let the police know if a wanted criminal has decided to visit my neighborhood for some reason.

Alert Systems

Alert SystemsGreat modern security installations always notify the homeowner in one of a few ways. They can either send a direct message on my phone (via an app or regular SMS) or they can notify me by e-mail. That way, I can know if my home is being invaded at any point during the day.

Yet it doesn’t even stop there. After all, I’m talking about 4K UltraHD systems with strong video feeds. Conveniently, such a system can take a screenshot of whoever (or whatever) is moving in front of the camera. Once it does, it sends it directly to me on a smart device. I’m not aware if there are products out there that send short video clips of the intrusion, but that would be a good step forward in 2020.

Video Quality and Output

CCTV security camera on a wall blurred cityscapeIn the early days of security systems, the camera could only cover the basic video feed in front of the house. Even today, you can buy a low-res system and it would work fine enough. However, I always aim for a system that can give me HD recordings, so I can properly study the footage in case something goes wrong.

UltraHD security cameras are quite common now and I definitely recommend getting one. After all, these types of cameras allow you to zoom in and take in every single detail. But a regular HD camera can work just fine. All we really need is a camera that can move up to 120 degrees and record an area as wide as 100 ft.

In terms of output, a full system usually comes with a network video recorder (NVR) or a digital video recorder (DVR). These recorders show us the video feed on a monitor or a television screen. However, if I wanted to, I can also get a system that allows me to view the camera feed online, from a dedicated website. In addition, I can view the footage live from an app on my tablet or smartphone. The only real setback there is the lack of an internet connection when I’m outdoors, but all I need to do is find a decent Wi-Fi hotspot and I’m settled.

Plug and Play Connectivity

What does ‘Plug and Play’ mean in the world of security cameras, exactly? Basically, it refers to us connecting the system to nothing more than a basic Ethernet cable.

Old systems would usually come with a complicated set of wires, cables, and sockets. Of course, a stable cable makes a stable connection, but too many of them will cause tangling. Moreover, we can trip on them or yank on them by accident, and I speak from experience here. But an Ethernet cable connection solves all of these problems. I only really need to connect a single cable to it and I’m good to go. More importantly, there are far fewer opportunities for the system to fail or malfunction. A bundle of cables can short-circuit the system, but a single Ethernet cable is as safe as it gets.

easy to install CCTV

Single Camera or a Full System?

The question above might seem silly since I did title my article ‘best security camera systems’. However, I assure you that it’s quite an important aspect to take into consideration when buying security products.

While full systems using NVR and DVR are not difficult to set up, they do take longer than setting up a single-camera system. But is a single camera enough? Oddly enough, it is; I used to live in a small house with no backyard or backdoor, so the only real ‘danger’ came from the front gate. With that in mind, a single camera pointing in that direction was more than sufficient.

In order to decide whether we want a full system or just one camera, we need to take into account what we want from this system. Furthermore, we should take a good look at our home and decide where to place extra cameras, if necessary. Large homes would probably benefit from having three or four cameras, for example, while small houses or apartments can do with just one.

User Reviews

I’ll be brief here — a user review can be extremely useful when deciding on what to buy. And while I didn’t focus on individual reviews in this article, I highly advise my readers to do proper research into every system before purchase.

Additional Tidbits

What I’m about to list doesn’t have a whole lot to do with 4K systems, but it will improve home security nonetheless. Some of these methods are a bit high-tech while others only require a bit of ingenuity. But most importantly, a lot of them can be integrated with 4K security camera systems to give us the best security coverage possible.

  • Dummy Cameras

Dummy CamerasMost security cameras tend to have a recognizable shape. They are either oval, circular, or cylindrical. In fact, these shapes are so recognizable that someone who wants to break into our house also likely knows what they look like. Sadly, that also means that this person knows how to avoid such a camera.

Luckily, there’s a low-tech solution to this problem. For example, I used to install cameras that were invisible to the naked eye at crucial spots around my old house. However, I would also buy a set of fake dollar store cameras that look like the real deal. Once I set these up, potential criminals would avoid them, but their faces would be in direct line of sight of my hidden cameras.

But that’s not the only benefit of fake cameras. Some less determined burglars might spot a security cam and choose to leave instead. An illusion of safety can be a great way to prevent burglars and interlopers.

  • Smart Doorbells

DoorbellsI hadn’t heard of smart doorbells until a few years ago. After buying one, I can tell that they definitely work like a charm. A smart doorbell can actually send a voice message to the person at the door, letting them know that I’m not home. More importantly, once someone rings it, my phone receives a message letting me know that someone is at the door. Some doorbells even have the option of allowing the person to leave a message, like an answering machine. Others leave pre-recorded messages letting the visitor know where I am or even chasing away unwanted guests.

Interestingly, most smart doorbells are wireless. That’s an amazing option because it saves me the trouble of setting up a wired bell. But more importantly, if I own a wireless camera system like Arlo, I can integrate the bell with it. In fact, there are even wireless video bells out there, complete with motion sensors and video recording.

  • Smart Locks

smartlocksIt might sound a bit paranoid, but a decent smart lock with biometric signatures is great for preventing others from busting my door open. Honestly, I never owned such a lock since they tend to be pricey, but from what others have told me, it’s a great safety measure. Naturally, a biometric signature might be a bit too much. Therefore, a simple pin code combination of numbers can do the trick.

Editor Side Notes: Are you looking to protect your business with 24/7 security surveillance? Here is our guide on the best security cameras for business reviews as we have researched and studied hundreds of CCTV that works best for our business.


4K Camera Systems: Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Highest Quality Security Camera?

At the moment, the highest quality security camera is UltraHD, also known as a 4K camera.

How Many Megapixels Does a 4K Security Camera Feature?

A 4K security camera can capture imagery in an incredibly high resolution. It can either range between 3840 and 2160 pixels, or between 4096 and 2160 megapixels.

What Is a 4K IP Camera?

A 4K IP camera is a security system component that sends data to its base via the internet. Usually, these cameras would send videos onto Cloud or have specific websites linked to them. They require a local area network to function, but they don’t need a local recording device like a DVR.

What Is The Highest Resolution CCTV Camera?

Security camera CCTV footage can range from low-res to UltraHD. Right now, the lowest resolution for a CCTV camera is at 1 MP. In contrast, the highest resolution is 8 MP, and cameras that we call 4K record videos in this resolution.

Which Is Better For A Security Camera, a 4K or a 5 MP Resolution?

If you can afford it, always go for the bigger resolution of the two. Of course, 5 MP cameras will work just fine, but a 4K option is safer and it provides amazing zooming capabilities.

How Many FPS (Frames Rate Per Second) Are Good For a 4K Security Camera System?

The most optimal number of frames per second for a 4K security camera is 60.

What Does It Look Like When You Zoom In With a 4K Security Camera?

Most low-res cameras will have issues with the zooming. For example, a 2K security camera will have an extremely pixelated zoomed image with lots of visual tearing. On the other hand, a 4K camera allows you to blow the image up without sacrificing a single pixel.

Wireless Or Wired Systems — Which One’s Work Better?

In my experience, it’s always a good idea to go with wired 4K surveillance systems. To be precise, I always aim to get PoE surveillance cameras, since they are easy to set up, but reliable to maintain 24/7 recordings.

Wireless systems can be great. In fact, I even listed a wireless camera system above. However, those might be better used as indoor cameras. They offer great protection when the internet connection is stable, but as soon as there’s an issue, they go offline. In short, wireless technology still needs some tweaking when it comes to home security.

How Much Storage Is Enough and Should I Buy Extra?

Most of the security systems I come across have a few terabytes of storage. If my house only has one camera, a single TB is more than enough. But some people have large homes and they need anywhere between 4 or 8 cameras to cover everything. With that in mind, an extra hard drive can help a lot. I would also advise people to buy additional hard drives if they’re buying a new camera and plan to connect it to an existing system.

NVR or DVR?

An NVR system uses a network to connect the cameras. On the other hand, if I get a DVR system, I have to actually wire the analog cameras to it.

Some might think that NVR is the obvious solution, and they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. NVR security systems are easy to set up and just as simple to work with. They are far more versatile than DVRs, which is why most people tend to buy them.

However, I personally don’t discount DVRs. They do offer one feature that an NVR system doesn’t, which is linking to old security cameras. Because everything is done in an analog fashion, I can actually reuse some of my used devices and add them to the new ones. Not only is that convenient, but it also saves me money that I would have otherwise spent buying new cameras for the DVR.

What Happens if the HDD Is Full?

Most of the 4K security camera systems have a ‘failsafe’ in case the hard drive is full. Namely, they automatically start to override the old footage with new videos.

I don’t find that to be a problem, but I’ve met people who want to save as much footage as possible. In that case, I recommend buying an additional 2 TB hard drive. However, it has to be an external hard drive. Opening up the NVR/DVR case and hooking up a new HDD will void the warranty.

How Much Bandwidth Does a 4K System Eat Up?

Conserving bandwidth is important, which is why the vast majority of 4K security cameras (and their systems) don’t use much when they’re on. However, they will start using more bandwidth than usual if I start to access the cameras for live viewing. In addition, the internet connection can get slow if they are set up to send images or videos upon any motion detection.

Do I Need a 4K Monitor for 4K Footage Viewing?

The short answer to the question above is ‘no.’ Most systems will monitor in UltraHD, but if I were to watch it on my iPhone or a tablet, the resolution and the bitrate of those videos would go down.


A Few Words at the End

It wasn’t easy to list the best 4K security systems in 2019. But there’s still a lingering question: which one should you choose?

The answer really depends on your needs. For example, if I wanted an awesome wireless system, any Arlo product would do, so the Ultra 4K is the clear winner. But in terms of more traditional fare, I wouldn’t be so sure. DVR options are amazing if I’m looking to integrate my old cameras with them, so I’d definitely go with ZOSI. Still, ZOSI is not as versatile as Reolink or as good with motion detection as SMONET. Of course, the only product that captures videos in UltraHD of these five is Amcrest, so if image quality is my go-to reason, I’d pick it in an instant.

Naturally, there are other amazing options for 4K camera systems out there. With the technology ever-growing and expanding, we can expect even more powerful systems in 2020 for the ultimate protection of our homes.

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Hi, my name is Wayne A. Delvalle, and from all of us at Admit One Security — welcome! About ten years ago, I was running a retail store here in Philadelphia and had spent almost every waking hour worrying about it. I was terrified that it would get robbed, that someone would steal my merchandise, or worse. To help my peace of mind, I decided to install some security cameras all around the store. At first, I had no idea what I was doing or how to buy a system that was right for me. So I spent months researching and finally found some excellent products and installed them myself. After that, I realized that I had a huge passion for camera systems and wanted to share it with others. Now, I spend all of my time researching, testing, and writing about security cameras.