by Bryce Whitty
started ProtectFind to help people get the right security system for their goalsBryce is a registered Security Advisor who started ProtectFind to help people get the right security system for their goals.
What are the Best Security Camera Brands?
This is probably the most asked question about security cameras.
And the answer is: "it depends on what you want to achieve". It is a little bit like asking what car is best.
Do you want a racecar? a people mover? or a truck?
Do you want a cheap and unreliable car? or do you want to pay extra for something super reliable?
It is the same with security cameras. There are different cameras for different markets to meet different price points.
- Consumer brands are often cheap and easy to install, but poor reliability can be a problem
- Prosumer brands (professional consumers) are usually wired, cost more to install, but are more reliable
- Professional brands are where reliability and good visuals are paramount, and the price is less so
Security Camera Brand Grades
While most security camera companies have low-end and high-end offerings, they have market positions they are generally known for. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it contains most of the brands you will see in Australia.
Consumer-grade are basically home security cameras, you will mostly find these in large electronic or hardware stores.
Prosumer-grade you will see on many new house builds. If you called a qualified security installer to install cameras at your residential property, it will likely be one of the Prosumer brands. They can also be seen at smaller businesses.
Professional-grade cameras you will generally see at large businesses such as tourist attractions, shopping centres and government buildings.
Consumer-Grade Security Camera Brands
Consumer-level brands are most peoples first foray into security cameras. They serve the under $1000 part of the market for home security cameras, which people are more comfortable with when they don’t know what to buy.
There isn't any consumer-level brands I would recommend. The build quality and image quality isn’t there yet compared to a “Prosumer” level camera, and the wireless battery ones have too many problems.
While some consumer-level wireless security cameras have their place, like in rentals and apartments where you can’t install any wiring, they don’t perform anywhere near as well as the wired prosumer-level brands.
Arlo is a popular security camera brand that you can find in most electronics retailer. Arlo was originally a sub-brand by Netgear, which make networking products, but then became a standalone brand in 2018.
They are popular due to the ease of their wire-free installation. However, Arlo devices require a monthly subscription fee to make use of their best features.
China / Chinese
Concord is a security camera brand sold mostly by Jaycar Electronics. Concord Communications appears to be Jaycar Electronics custom branded hardware from other OEM's (Original Equipment Manufacturer). Concord brand's many of the same products as Swann, which use the OEM Raysharp, a Chinese company.
Eufy is a popular (but not quite as popular as Arlo and Ring) electronics company that make security cameras, smart lighting and Robo-vacuums. They are a division of another electronics company called Anker. One of their unique selling points is that they can run without a monthly subscription.
Reolink is a chinese owned company that started in 2009 and have been devoted in creating security products for customers and business owners.
Ring is a home security brand owned by Amazon. They make video doorbells, stick up cams, and complete security systems.
Swann is a security camera brand found in most Australian electronics retailers. They generally target the sub-$1000 price point. They make indoor and outdoor cameras, both wired and wireless.
Swann was initially founded in Melbourne, Australia until purchased by an American/Chinese company called Infinova. The majority stakeholder for Infinova is a Chinese company.
UL-Tech is a generic, white-labelled security system brand commonly found at Myer's, Dick Smith, and various clearance websites. White-labelling means companies take generic hardware and put their logo on it.
UL-Tech hardware is generally inexpensive but also low quality with almost no technical support.
Uniden is an electronics brand found in many Australian electronics retailers. It was founded in Japan and is well known for radio scanners and cordless phones. In 2014 they started releasing wired and wireless surveillance products but had a limited range compared to other brands.
Prosumer-Grade Security Camera Brands
It is at this point where you start to get a highly reliable security system suitable for home or business.
Dahua Technology is one of the biggest names in security cameras. They sell security camera hardware under their brand and are also an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). This means they manufacture their hardware, unlike other brands like Swann, who put their logo on hardware made by others. Dahua is priced competitively for the quality and features they provide. Dahua can be found at online security websites and from CCTV installers.
Dorani is a private-labelled brand of security products in Australia. However, the cameras are made by the Chinese company Uniview (UNV).
Hikvision is also one of the biggest names in security cameras and is also an Original Equipment Manufacturer. Hikvision is well priced competitively for the quality and features they provide. They can be found on online security websites as well as from CCTV installers.
Tiandy is taking aim at security camera giants Dahua and Hikvison. Tiandy is a top 10 security camera manufacturer in China. Their product line is comparable to Dahua and Hikvision, and you will mostly find Tiandy sold by websites and CCTV installers.
Ubiquiti is an American company primilary focused on networking products. They have a small range of security cameras that intergrate into their UniFi ecosystem.
Uniview is similar in price and quality to Hikvision and Dahua but has a limited product range. You can find Uniview (or UNV, as you'll see on their cameras) sold mainly by installers.
Professional Grade Security Camera Brands
Axis is a Swedish based security camera manufacturer. They are high quality, reliable, but expensive. Being one of the few brands that manufacture in the west, they are frequently installed in government locations. Primarily due to national security fears of Chinese made products. They lag slightly in regards to new technologies like AI and analytics.
Bosch is a German-based security camera manufacturer. They are of high quality with excellent video analytics but are expensive. They are a common choice in government locations due to not being made in China.
What Makes a Camera Consumer or Professional Grade?
Professional Grade security cameras generally start with asking the question "What is needed to get the job done?". The camera will have the right camera sensor to achieve those goals.
It will have the right amount of Infrared LEDs to see as far as the camera needs to see, and it will use a metal housing to protect it all. The price will then be calculated based on the cost of those parts, whatever it end's up being.
Consumer Grade generally works the other way and is designed to meet a price point. They might be targeting people willing to pay $299 for a camera setup, or $499, or $899.
Once they choose a price point they want to market to, manufacturers design and build the electronics to fit into that price point.
They remove features or lower the quality to get the price point down. Common cost-cutting changes are using plastic camera housings instead of metal, making the lens plastic instead of glass, and using a cheaper sensor that doesn't see as well at night.
These changes also make the camera lighter, which makes it cheaper to ship around the world.
Customer support is an area that can have high support costs. So support staff can be offshored into countries with cheaper labour costs. They can also use less qualified staff by training them to follow a troubleshooting script, rather than having actual troubleshooters who can solve any problem.
IMOU and Hilook are good examples of reducing quality to meet a price point. These brands belong to Dahua and Hikvision respectively, who are usually known for Prosumer grade cameras.
What is in a Brand?
While there are hundreds or even thousands of security camera brands, there are only a few manufacturers of security cameras.
Some brands have hardware and software unique to their brand, and only the manufacturing is handled by one of the few manufacturers.
Other brands take an existing camera and only change the logo on it, this is a process known as "White Labelling" which I will explain more below.
Then there is a mix of everything in between, such as using pre-existing hardware but writing their own software.
The two biggest manufacturers in the world are Hikvision and Dahua. Here is a list of the brands they manufacturer cameras for:
White-labelling is the extremely common process of taking an existing product, slapping your own logo on it, and marketing it as your own. There may be software differences, but the hardware is usually identical.
Some brands may target the the cheaper end of the market and send it to you in a plain brown box with minimal support. While other brands may have it beautifully packaged and offer an "Apple like" unboxing experience with excellent support.
Here is an example of five brands white-labelling a Hikvision doorbell.
There is nothing misleading about white-labelling, most products you'll find at a shopping centre are white-labelled from somewhere. A $90 high-end branded shirt is possibly a $10 Kmart shirt with an extra label.
Does a Security Issue Affect You?
In technology and security, white-labelling can obscure security problems. There may be a new exploit that affects Hikvision doorbells and you may believe you are safe because you don't have any Hikvision hardware. But it is likely that the exploit affects hundreds of other brands using the same software.
Hikvision may even release an update the fixes the vulnerability, but the white-labelled brand may never passes the patch onto their customers.
Avoiding Banned Brands
In the US, Dahua and Hikvision are banned in US Government facilities as part as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). You may think you are avoiding these by choosing another security camera brand, however, it could still be the same banned hardware.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any Australian Made Security Cameras?
There are security camera setups that are assembled in Australia, such as site cameras containing a pole, solar panel and battery. However, Australia doesn't have the facilities to manufacture the fine electronic parts in the actual camera.Additionally, some security camera brands say they were founded in Melbourne Australia, but are actually entirely Chinese owned and manufactured today.
Hopefully, that clears up some of your questions about security camera brands. If you still have any additional questions, you can email us here, and I'll be happy to answer them.
Of course, the brand you choose is only a small part of the overall picture.
Be sure to check out our Security Camera Buyers Guide.