How Many Security Cameras Do You Need?

·8 min read

Adobe Stock - Jason

A crucial part of any home security system is that of security cameras. Given the wide range of surveillance cameras and the variety of important areas to cover, you may be asking yourself: How many security cameras do I need? You have to consider how many outdoor and indoor cameras you might need. You also have to consider what type of camera you need for each location.

The process of installing security cameras can be difficult, but in order to make this process easier, our review team has provided a detailed account of the types of security cameras and how many you might need to help protect your family and home.

Which Areas Do You Need to Cover?

There are many factors to consider when thinking about where to install your security cameras. Not only do you want to make sure you have enough cameras to effectively cover the most important areas, but you also want to make sure you have security and surveillance over the most vulnerable areas of your home.

You might think intruders would only want to enter from the rear or sides of your house, but the front door can be a significant place to monitor. Placing a camera at the front door also helps you keep track of anyone coming and going from your house: family members, children, babysitters, maintenance workers, and delivery people.

The same goes for any back doors you might have and any other exterior doors and windows. This allows you to have full knowledge of anyone entering your house, whether they were invited or not, from any angle. You want to consider your garage and driveway when thinking of outdoor cameras as well. This can help make sure you keep a watchful eye on not just your vehicles but also any tools, appliances, packages, and sports equipment.

Though it may seem like you would only want to cover the exterior of your house, it is highly beneficial to install security cameras indoors as well. Consider covering areas such as your kitchen and living room. This can help you monitor any children in the home, household helpers like house cleaning crews or babysitters, and also any pets you own. Another important area to cover indoors would be any main stairwells or hallways. This makes it difficult for anyone to move throughout your house undetected.

Outdoor Cameras vs. Indoor Cameras

Outdoor security cameras and indoor security cameras serve the same function of providing you and your family safety, but their features can vary depending on you and your home's needs. When looking at outdoor cameras, you want to consider if they have night-vision, if they are weather-proof, if they have an auto-recording function, if they have motion detection, and if they have HD resolution. The field of view is highly significant for outdoor security cameras as well. Be sure to look for a surveillance camera with a wide-angle lens for the best coverage.

Indoor cameras will have many of the same features you want—especially the field of view—while having some slightly different ones to keep in mind when shopping for security cameras. You may also want night-vision, motion detection, HD resolution on your indoor cameras alongside other important features such as two-way audio, app availability, and Wi-Fi capability. These features will not only provide better safety and monitoring capabilities, but they will also make installation and maintenance easier as they generally involve a simple mount your drill into a wall.

How Many Outdoor Cameras Do You Need?

The number of security cameras you need outdoors will depend on your home's exterior. You want to make sure that you are able to cover any door or window, as well as your yard, driveway, and garage. Think of anywhere outside that you may need to monitor for activity, deter intruders, or potentially gather evidence. Keeping those outcomes in mind, purchase enough outdoor cameras to cover those important areas. Depending on the size of your home, you will likely need three to five cameras to cover all those areas.

How Many Indoor Cameras Do You Need?

The number of indoor security cameras you need depends on similar factors to that of outdoor cameras. Keep in mind that you want them to serve the same purposes as outdoor cameras while monitoring your living room, kitchen, stairwells, and hallways. Provide enough cameras to cover important areas such as those, and you will be able to easily increase your home's security. Once again, three to five cameras to cover those areas should be efficient.

Types of Cameras You May Need

A wide variety of cameras exist that you may need to fulfill your task of increasing home security. Once you have an understanding of how many cameras you need to efficiently monitor your home, you have to consider which cameras may be right for the job.

One choice is that of wired surveillance cameras. Wired cameras can be used indoors or outdoors, and they are typically connected through either coaxial cable or ethernet cable. One issue you may run into with wired home security cameras, though, is that they often require professional installation.

A great choice of home security cameras would be wireless cameras, which are sometimes called Wi-Fi cameras or IP cameras. These cameras typically have app availability and Wi-Fi capabilities. Installing these security cameras is also relatively easy given that they can transmit video wirelessly, but they may still need to be plugged into a power source. They also typically need enough space for a wall-mount of some kind. Outdoor wireless cameras often have a better field of view than their wired counterparts as well—roughly 130 degrees or more.

You can also get wire-free outdoor cameras. These have motion detection and only record when detecting movement. Wire-free cameras often have similar features to wireless cameras, but they cannot record continuously due to being battery-powered. Their batteries are often rechargeable as well.

Floodlight cameras are another great addition for outdoor home security. These cameras can either be hardwired to already existing lights, or they come with a large floodlight. Floodlights will be turned on through motion detection recordings that light up whatever the camera is on, so you can be certain that you capture whatever comes across the view of the camera. These cameras are often wireless.

A popular type of camera for home security is that of a doorbell camera. These cameras replace standard doorbells with one that can record motion-detected video. They also start recording with two-way audio when someone rings the doorbell. You can typically access them through any smart device, which allows you to communicate with whoever may be there. Most video doorbells will have to be hardwired into your existing doorbell, but some also can be battery-powered.



Cost of Home Security Cameras

Home security camera prices typically range from an upfront cost of $100 to $599. Monthly services then generally range from $10 to $50. Keep in mind that the cost will vary depending on which areas you have decided to cover based on the information above.

Verdict & Recommendation

How many security cameras you need will vary depending on how many areas you need to surveil. A good rule of thumb, though, is to have three to five cameras indoors and three to five cameras outdoors to cover any windows and doors.

The cost and monthly maintenance of home surveillance cameras can be a great concern to some consumers. Luckily, our research team has a couple of our top recommendations here to help guide you through the process of deciding which home security company is right for you and your family.


ADT provides its customers with peace of mind that their home is safe at all times with 24/7 professional monitoring and over 140 years of experience in home security. ADT also has wonderful app integration that allows you to arm and disarm your security system with ease. Visit ADT to learn more about your options or call the company at 888-285-6952.


SimpliSafe offers a highly affordable, no-contract alternative to traditional home security systems. The company offers a three-year warranty with a 60-day money-back guarantee alongside one of the easiest home security installation processes. SimpliSafe is perfect for the DIY type and for renters given that installation doesn't require you to drill into walls or doors. Visit SimpliSafe to learn more about your options.

Do I need Wi-Fi for security cameras?

You will need to be connected to the internet for your wireless and IP security cameras to function properly. Wi-Fi is also required for cameras that have features such as live streaming, motion detection alerts, application integration, and other smart device functions.

Which is better, wired or wireless cameras?

Typically, wireless cameras offer easier installation, and they are usually easier to use. They also have cloud storage options and can be integrated into other smart devices you have. Wired cameras, on the other hand, tend to be more reliable and more secure, and they have a lower monthly cost as they do not require the cost of cloud storage.

How long do batteries last in wireless cameras?

Batteries in wireless cameras tend to last anywhere from one to three years.

How long does it take to install home security cameras?

The amount of time installation takes depends on how many cameras you want and what type of cameras you get. A simple CCTV installation with a few cameras may take only a couple of hours. A larger job, which might require a professional to install them, may take a week or two.