Security Cameras

Best Security Camera Systems (CCTV) Reviewed: Lorex vs Swann vs Reolink vs Annke vs Zosi vs Defender & More

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Gray security camera (caption: Security Camera System Reviews)Have there been a lot of burglaries in your neighborhood? Perhaps you just had a new baby and are looking for ways to protect your growing family? The best security camera system can help give you peace of mind.

Protecting your property is essential, but you also want to keep your family safe, so a camera may be the perfect solution for your needs. Take a look at our home security camera system reviews to find the best security camera system for your home or business.

However, if you want a more comprehensive security option, read our reviews on the best home security systems.

What’s Better, WiFi Or CCTV?

Man setting up an Arlo security camera outside (Caption: Best WiFi Security Camera)In recent years, we have seen many all-in-one WiFi security camera “systems” enter the market. They are much easier to install and often more affordable than CCTV (which stands for Closed Circuit television).

They will not work for everyone, but if you have a smaller apartment, condo, or home, you may find them to be a consideration for you. Read more in our home security camera reviews, including Nest, Canary, Arlo, and more.

Best Security Camera System Reviews

What differentiates a “system” from a home security camera? These systems are designed specifically for multiple cameras to work together. Is it possible to create a similar effect with a bunch of say, Ring cameras? Yes, but you won’t get the consistent recording footage that you do with a CCTV system.

We don’t think that any of the systems stand out from the others enough to be named best overall, so we have reviewed them based on how they excel in five categories:

Night Vision | Business | Large Home | Small Home | Outdoor

Best For Night Vision: Lorex Review

Lorex Weatherproof Indoor/Outdoor Wire-Free Home Surveillance Security SystemView on Amazon

The Lorex Weatherproof Indoor/Outdoor Wire-Free Home Surveillance Security System is an easy-to-install solution for those of you who don’t want to mess with wiring at home. You can use it with WiFi for real-time viewing and motion detection alerts or without WiFi for simple recording (the recorder has 1TB of hard drive storage).

The 1080p full HD cameras have a wide 140° field of view and come with rechargeable battery power packs that you can remove without taking the entire camera unit down. This system has an excellent night vision range of 150 feet, which is why it’s our pick for those of you looking for a solid system with long-distance night vision.



  • Weatherproof for indoor and outdoor use
  • Easy installation
  • Motion detection alerts
  • Wide 140° field of view
  • 150-foot night vision
  • Two-way audio
  • Smartphone access
  • Camera operating temperature: -4°F to 122°F
  • Only expandable up to 6 cameras
  • Some users complain about poor customer service


Best For Small Business: Zosi Review

ZOSI 4K 8MP Ultra HD Security Camera SystemView on Amazon

The Zosi 4-Channel Security System is an amazingly affordable option. This model includes four 1080p cameras and a DVR with 2TB hard drive. It also has customizable motion detection zones and alerts. 

You can view your security camera footage remotely via Internet Explorer on your PC or your smartphone. We chose this system as the best for small businesses because of its affordability and because you have the option of adding additional dome or bullet cameras.



  • Very affordable
  • Weatherproof for indoor and outdoor use
  • Easy installation
  • Motion detection alerts
  • Customizable motion detection zones
  • Smartphone and PC access
  • Night vision only up to 65 feet
  • Some complaints about image quality
  • Several users said the cameras stop working after a year or so


Best For Large Home: ANNKE Review

ANNKE 8CH Security Surveillance SystemView on Amazon

This affordable ANNKE Security System has eight channels and comes with eight 2 MP 1080p HD bullet cameras. It has a 1TB hard drive, and the cameras have an 82° field of view. This CCTV system allows you to view your cameras’ footage from your smartphone.

The cameras are good quality, but some customers report that they don’t perform as well after several months of continuous use. ANNKE is our pick for large homes because it includes 8 cameras at a very affordable price, and you can access footage on your smartphone.



  • Weatherproof so they can be used indoor and outdoor
  • Easy installation
  • Motion detection alerts
  • 100-foot night vision
  • DVR has H.264+ video compression (can record 4x longer than H.264)
  • Comes with 8 cameras
  • Smartphone and PC access
  • Camera operating temperature: -4°F to 140°F
  • Some complaints about poor customer service
  • Field of view at 82° (not as wide as Lorex)
  • Some customers say the cameras aren’t very durable


Best For Small Home: Swann Review

Swann 4 Camera 8 Channel 5MP Super HD NVR Security SystemView on Amazon

This Swann wired system is an 8 channel HD NVR that comes with 4 cameras (expandable up to 8 cameras). The hard drive holds 2TB of video storage, so you can record continuously for months at a time. Some of its standout features include motion-detected notifications, night vision up to 130 feet, audio range up to 16 feet, and Google Assistant integration.

The system works in all weather conditions, and the cameras have excellent image quality at 5 megapixels (2.4x better than 1080P full HD). Take note that the product description says it has 2-way audio, but customers say it doesn’t. 



  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • Motion detection with notifications
  • Real-time streaming on PCs and mobile devices
  • Night vision up to 130 feet
  • Audio range up to 16 feet
  • All-weather cameras
  • High-quality footage
  • Users say it’s easy to set up
  • On the pricey side
  • No zoom, pan or tilt
  • Some user complaints that the apps are buggy


Best For Outdoors: Reolink Review

Reolink 8CH 5MP PoE Home Security Camera SystemView on Amazon

The Reolink security camera system we are reviewing is the 8 channel 2TB 4K UHD weather-resistant cameras. Included are 4 security cameras that can be used indoors and outdoors. It’s expandable up to 8 cameras, and customers state it’s easy to install. The cameras have a digital zoom capability, but only an 80° field of view.

For less than $500 this system will cover a good-sized area. When adding additional cameras, you can choose from a wide variety of Reolink products. We chose this system as the best for outdoors because of its operating temperature at 14° to 131° F and its superb video quality.



  • 4K UHD, best in this article
  • Indoor or outdoor use
  • Easy to install
  • Up to 100-feet night vision
  • H.264+ video compression
  • High-quality, clear picture
  • Responsive customer service
  • Camera operating temperature: 14° to 131° F
  • On the pricey side
  • Field of view at 80° (not as wide as Lorex)


Read Our In-Depth Reolink Review

What’s An NVR?

In this article, you may notice that we mention an NVR for a few of these security camera systems.

NVR stands for network video recorder. An NVR is a software program that records the video captured from your cameras to a digital format. Don’t confuse these with a DVR (digital video recorder), as a DVR’s input is from a direct connection to the video camera, whereas an NVR connects over a network like the internet.

Fails Caught On Home Security Camera Systems

Statistics show that having a business and home surveillance cameras reduces the amount of crime in some areas. Possibly one of the best parts about owning a security camera system is that you’ll probably get a good laugh or two from the footage it captures.

Whether it’s you tripping, a stranger doing something silly, or a cat going crazy, you’re bound to crack up laughing. Check out some of these priceless moments from America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Looking For Alternate Security Options?

CCTV cameras aren’t for everyone, which is why we’ve also written this article on the best indoor security cameras. These WiFi cameras are surprisingly inexpensive and can help scare off thieves. If you are more concerned about the exterior of your home, check out our outdoor security camera reviews.

Looking for a whole-house security solution or want to find out more about home security options in general? Check out our comprehensive home security systems guide.

Kimberly Alt

Kimberly is our home security expert and has been writing about security and safety since 2013, covering everything from security systems and home automation to identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems, and more. She has personally tested hundreds of system components and interfaced with dozens of home security companies to find out what’s happening behind the scenes. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post. In 2018, she had her first child, which opened up a whole new avenue of security experience with baby gear. She wanted to purchase the safest items for her family. Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing, and personally testing products and services.
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