Home security cameras are a quick, easy way to add peace of mind to your home. Today’s cameras are small, wireless, and unobtrusive, meaning you won’t feel like you’re living in a reality TV show when you look around your home.
But where should you place your cameras? After all, they have a job to do, whether that’s monitoring the comings and goings of tradespeople or your kids, or watching over the area in case there’s ever a break-in.
Before we get to the best places for a home security camera, let’s start with a short list of the places you should not opt for a security camera: The bedroom and the bathroom.
Placing a camera in the bedroom is a terrible idea for obvious reasons: It’s where some of our most intimate moments take place, and we’re not just talking about those moments. We dress and undress in the bedroom. We sleep, and yeah, we do other stuff too. Those are not the kind of things we want recorded on video and stored on the cloud. While you might be thinking “Yeah, ’cause hackers,” it could actually be a family member, friend, or partner who might be more likely to access some of that footage, sharing it innocently (“Haha! She’s getting dressed and she trips over the dog! Watch!”) or nefariously (think revenge porn).
For these same reasons, a camera should never be placed in the bathroom. Think about all the things you do in there with the door closed and how mortified you’d be if someone posted any of that to the internet.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s find the locations in your home and property that are ideal for a home security camera.
To evaluate where a video camera should go, let’s think about how these cameras are most often used.
Many parents have cameras somewhere in the home to keep an eye on the kids, and if you need to keep tabs on what time they’re coming and going, having wireless home security cameras at the main doors to the home is essential.
Monitoring comings and goings
Depending on your situation, and whether you own or rent, you could install a video doorbell outside the home, or use a wireless, battery-powered camera just inside the door. Ensure the camera has a wide view of the door and it’s not obscured by the door itself opening in front of the lens. This lets you see that the kids have arrived safely home from school, or that your babysitter is letting her boyfriend in. It’s a good idea to cover all the significant doors in your house since you never know where someone unexpected may enter or leave from.
Keeping tabs on a large room
Perhaps you want to keep watch over children or pets in a playroom, rec room, or basement. Placing a small home security camera in a corner of the room can provide a wide field of view over all that’s happening. Perfect if you want to see who really started it, or you’re about to go viral because your flat-screen TV tipped off the dresser, bounced on the toy trampoline, and shattered into a million pieces, missing your toddler by inches.
Keeping valuables and vehicles safe
The garage is loaded with valuables: Vehicles, bicycles, and pricey toys or tools. Adding a camera to the garage just makes sense. A camera can give you an inside look so you can check if you did really remember to close the garage door on the way out, it can see who used that rake last and who really took the beer out of the beer fridge, or provide video evidence of a prowler snooping through your stuff. As above, place the camera high up in a corner and ensure it also captures any doorways, not just the large garage door.
Watch over windows
Windows are a common source of break-ins, particularly in warmer weather when we leave them unlocked or just plain open. While a camera doesn’t actually prevent someone from using that opportunity, it can capture evidence. Or if you’ve got a camera that also ties into your home security system, like the Ring Alarm system, you can have your cameras send audible alerts when they detect movement.
Placing a camera to capture windows can be a challenge, since most of us won’t have the budget to buy a camera for every window. In this case, placing a camera outdoors, under the eaves, and lining it up so it can see most of one side of your home can be helpful. If you are using an indoor camera, you can also install it on the ceiling in a room and point it directly at the windows. It’s also possible, by the way, to use an indoor home security camera to keep tabs outside by sticking it in a window frame and pointing it out the window; just make sure the lens isn’t looking through a screen, which will blur the video, making any footage useless.
Many home security cameras have a wide field of view so it’s easy to use them to capture a large area if you’re on a tight budget. Ensure doors and windows are part of the video picture so you’ll always know what’s happening at your house. Lastly, if you’re monitoring the area outside your house, keep in mind that where you place your cameras may affect your neighbors: If you’ve got a camera monitoring your backyard that also has a direct view into the neighbors’ bedroom, that’s not cool and could actually get you into some trouble, so spare a thought for what else your camera might be capturing.