Only 12.9% of home burglaries in the United States are ever solved according to FBI data. Security cameras increase the odds of recovering your valuables and seeing suspects brought to justice. With this in mind, my team tested the best PTZ security cameras on the market so you don’t purchase a substandard product.
- 10 Best Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras in 2020 (Outdoor & Indoor)
- Features to Look for in PTZ Security Cameras
- How do you Mount a PTZ Camera?
- 10 Benefits of Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras
- FAQs: Pan Tilt Zoom Camera Systems
- Our Choice For Best PLZ Security Camera Is...
10 Best Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras in 2020 (Outdoor & Indoor)
Reolink 5MP High-Speed PTZ (Best For Outdoor)
Security cameras with poor video quality are worthless. You need to be able to make out tiny details such as faces and identifying markings.
The Reolink 5MP is an UltraHD pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) dome camera with a resolution of 2560x1980. That’s 2.4x the resolution of regular HD cameras.
Our favorite part of the Reolink 5MP is that you can monitor the feed through a phone app.
It even sends alerts via push notification when suspicious activity is detected. If something is happening, you can save evidence to a remote server for insurance and police.
- Super HD video quality
- Full 360° pan and 90° tilt
- Night vision up to 190ft
- Reolink offers regular discounts
- Professional install might be required
Reolink E1 Zoom (Best For Indoor)
For indoor security, there are a few extra features you want, such as two-way audio and motion detection. These may help you to protect your family better while you’re away and more thoroughly monitor your home.
The Reolink E1 series has features that include night vision and motion detection for a complete surveillance system.
The camera has a 3x optical zoom with a 10 LED infrared system for recording both day and night. As with the Reolink 5MP, the E1 system can be viewed remotely through the Reolink mobile app.
- 3x optical zoom
- Dual-band WiFi capabilities
- 355° pan-tilt-zoom
- Remote mobile access
- Multi-step install
LaView 4MP IP Motorized Dome Camera
The LaView 4MP IP camera has both indoor and outdoor capabilities. This unit solves one of the major complaints we came across during our research, complicated installation.
The LaView 4MP has a simple plug and play setup that you can do in minutes. One thing to note is the pan and tilt are noticeably less than both Reolink models.
For wide spaces, this may necessitate more than one camera to cover the full area.
The camera has 4k output for clear playback, which may help if you ever need footage for police or insurance. As the company is United States based it may be easier to service their products.
- Suitable for use both indoors and outdoor
- 4k UltraHD recording capabilities
- Vandal-proof protective dome
- Onboard Micro SD card slot
- Less range of movement
Amcrest ProHD Dome
Out of all the best outdoor PTZ cameras we tested, the Amcrest ProHD Dome had one of the best night vision systems.
The camera is capable of filming in night vision in an area up to 328ft. It also comes with a 12x optical zoom for more precise viewing at close range.
One feature praised by many users is the ability to back up files to the Amcrest Cloud service, located in the United States.
The manufacturer notes that their PTZ units are kept secure by an SSL/HTTPS connection to help prevent intruders.
- 12x optical zoom
- Weatherproof and tamper-proof dome
- Six built-in IR LED system
- 360° pan covers every angle
- Cloud backup requires subscription
Amcrest Ultra HDC
The Amcrest UltraHD has every feature we like to see in an IP camera, including two-way audio and dual-band WiFi.
As with many modern security cameras, the Amcrest uses progressive scan technology to provide a clear and complete picture when compared to traditional interlace scan.
The camera works with Amazon Alexa, allowing you to utilize your smart device anywhere you are to pull up the feed.
Many reviewers liked that the camera may be set so you can get email notifications when it detects strange movement.
- Amazon Alexa compatible
- Night vision up to 32ft
- Cloud backup storage
- Dual-band WiFi for a stable connection
- Only 120° pan viewing angle
The Foscam R4 has the advantage of being the most affordable IP camera we tested.
It has the basic features we expect to see, including two-way audio, night vision, and remote mobile access.
One thing we like is that it has 350 pan rotation and 180 tilt, which is more than some of the expensive indoor IP cameras we tested.
It is easy to install and works with your other smart home devices through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
The company is not United States based and is located in China so customer service may be a drawback.
- 7 Days Free Cloud Storage
- Background noise reducing chipset
- AI intelligent human detection software
- 13 IR LEDs built-in
- Lacks optical zoom capabilities
If you are looking for a way to set up a complete security system on a budget, this could be a good option.
The ZOSI 1080p comes with an eight security camera setup, four dome units, and four bullet units.
Each of these cameras connects to a single eight-channel DVR receiver that you can fit with a 3.5 inch SATA hard drive of your choosing.
During our research, we noticed many people had trouble using the remote viewing app on Android and iPhone devices.
- 2-year warranty and 60-day money back
- 8 PTZ surveillance cameras included
- Customizable motion detector alerts
- Night vision up to 100ft
- Some user complaints surrounding mobile app
This is an add-on security camera meant to work with an existing home security setup. You will need to have an NVR already in place that you can hook this into.
It’s a 1080p image quality outdoor PTZ IP 65 camera. The camera has 180 pan with both tilt and zoom, which is less than similar models.
It comes with a 1-year warranty but has lifetime technical support for added assurances. This PTZ camera also comes with a high gain microphone to pick up both audio and video.
- Lifetime technical support
- 1080p HD image quality
- Waterproof metal housing
- Night vision up to 65ft
- Add-on for existing home security setup
The Sunba Starlight is a wireless outdoor PTZ camera with a slightly larger body than other pan tilt and zoom cameras.
Because of the larger frame, it comes with a dual-motor system for faster rotation and a Sony IMX 307 Starlight lens module with 20x optical zoom.
The IMX 307 is designed to take bright and full-color shots in dark environments. This, paired with the 20x optical zoom, makes this a powerful outdoor PTZ camera.
- 20x Optical Zoom
- 360° pan and 90° tilt
- Power of Ethernet (PoE) capable
- 800ft range day
- Some reviews noted issues with autofocus
SV3C 3MP HD
The SV3C 3MP HD outdoor PTZ IP camera came in as a nice mid-range security camera in terms of both pricing and features.
This product comes with a 5x optical zoom and night vision lens for clear monitoring in dark, low light, and daylight environments.
The image resolution is 2304x1296 for a clear UltraHD image quality during playback with the 5x optical zoom providing clear close-ups.
The SV3C 3MP is an IP 66 waterproof PTZ outdoor security camera and can record using a wireless setup or via an SD card.
- Easy WiFi camera setup
- Supports up to 128GB SD Card
- 5x Optical Zoom
- UltraHD image quality
- Does not work with Amazon Alexa
Features to Look for in PTZ Security Cameras
You want to make sure that any PTZ security cameras you buy have night vision. Just know that not all night vision is created equal. There are three primary methods that PTZ security cameras can use to film in night vision, low-light imaging, thermal imaging, and infrared illumination.
Many PTZ cameras utilize low-light imaging for lower price models and infrared illumination for a mid to high priced model. We find infrared illumination to be an excellent choice for a PTZ outdoor security camera and low-light imaging acceptable for an indoor PTZ camera.
If you opt for an infrared illumination PTZ camera, it will utilize infrared light-emitting diodes (IR LEDs) to help with surveillance in dark environments (1). When selecting the right pan tilt camera, you want to look for one that has these LEDs around the lens of the camera. For an outdoor PTZ security camera, we recommend finding a product with at least five larger lights or ten smaller lights that you like.
A PTZ camera offers a lot of benefits over normal fixed cameras. It provides an easy installation with a 360° plane and greater flexibility.
- E. Komagal, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Velammal College of Engineering and Technology (2)
Resolution will dictate how clear the image quality on your PTZ camera turns out. Low-resolution cameras often output poor quality that may make it difficult to distinguish details such as faces or license plates. High-resolution images, on the other hand, will output high-quality video making that is more useful.
High definition is in the range of 1920x1080 pixels. It is possible to find a higher ratio than this, and in fact, many of the best PTZ cameras on this list do have a better ratio. But, 1920x1080 should be the absolute minimum you want to look for when selecting a PTZ camera to add to your home security system.
Zoom Quality: Optical vs. Digital
There are two ways that PTZ cameras can zoom in to an image, but only the optical zoom retains the quality. Digital works by enlarging the picture and cropping out the sides, similar to how your computer enlarges an image. The main issue is the pixels are all made large, so the quality of the image is less.
Optical zoom is much different and works with an actual zoom in camera lens (3). The camera lens can focus on objects further out depending on the zoom number, measured as 3x, 5x, etc. This method helps to retain the quality and won’t blow out the pixels as with digital zoom.
Field of View
The field of view, also known as the viewing angle, is the area that a camera can capture on video. The higher the viewing angle, the better. Especially if you are looking to purchase an outdoor security camera, for indoor home security cameras, the field of angle is a bit less critical so long as it’s enough to cover the room you will install the camera in (4).
Frames per Second
This is a measurement of how many consecutive images, known as frames, are recorded in a single second. You will find this term applies to any type of tech involving video from movies to games to computer monitors. The higher the FPS, the more smooth video will appear during playback, especially when slowed down. Lower FPS will result in choppy video.
For PTZ security cameras, we recommend 30 FPS minimum. If you purchase a unit that is less than 30 FPS, it will appear slow and choppy, especially if you slow the video on playback.
How you connect to your PTZ camera is essential. The best PTZ security cameras can connect to the receiver via WiFi. You will also want to take into consideration whether the WiFi camera offers remote viewing through an app.
If something does happen, such as a break-in, wireless remote viewing will allow you to connect and see what is happening. You can also immediately save any evidence remotely to the cloud for later.
One last point with connectivity is to look for a PTZ camera that will connect with your other devices, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Using Amazon Alexa will allow you to control the camera and its settings without needing to mess with the receiver.
Customer Care and Warranty
As with any other tech product for your home, it’s essential to make sure that it comes with a solid warranty that will protect you and customer care that is helpful. A PTZ Security camera is something that you rely on to protect your family. If anything breaks down, you don’t want to be stuck with a broken camera.
Make sure when you buy a PTZ camera you like that the warranty covers not just manufacturers defects but also parts replacement. Especially for an outdoor IP camera, you may encounter some parts wearing out faster than others. We recommend you find a model with at least a two-year warranty.
How do you Mount a PTZ Camera?
How you mount a PTZ camera product will depend on the device you purchase. With an indoor dome camera, you can install the product into a corner of your home and then utilize the wireless connection to the receiver. Conversely, you can set it on a table in the corner of a room.
When it comes to an outdoor PTZ camera, the product should be installed at least 10 feet off the ground. The reality is that many outdoor PTZ cameras are made to be waterproof but may not be tamper proof. Installing your outdoor PTZ security camera higher up is an easy way to keep it from getting vandalized.
10 Benefits of Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras
There is a long list of benefits when it comes to Pan Tilt Zoom cameras that include:
- Tracking (5)
- Multiple Alarm Systems
- Low-Light Features
- No Obstruction
- Tamper Resistance
- Weather Resistant
- Good Zoom Quality
- Panning and Tilting
- Auto Focus
- Remote Control
Aside from these benefits, the price of many Pan Tilt cameras is also much less than the new top of the line CCTV systems you might find in businesses. More to the point, quite a few modern PTZ cameras are wireless and can be installed without wasting a lot of time stringing wires throughout your home. PTZ cameras can quite often be a good balance between price and features.
FAQs: Pan Tilt Zoom Camera Systems
PTZ stands for pan tilt zoom. Pan is the horizontal sweep of the unit while tilt is the vertical movement of the camera. Zoom is the ability of the camera to enlarge the field of view. Quite a few PTZ cameras can cover all angles with a 360° pan and 90° tilt.
You control PTZ cameras in a few different ways. Many can be controlled through a mobile app or set using a product such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Each product can also be controlled through the CCTV receiver.
How far a PTZ unit can see will depend on the specific product you get and the optical zoom specifications. It is essential to distinguish between optical zoom and digital zoom as only one allows you to see far away truly.
Our Choice For Best PLZ Security Camera Is...
With so many burglaries happening in the United States and other countries, it’s crucial you and your family feel safe in your home. After extensive testing, we concluded the Reolink 5MP High-Speed is the best PTZ camera you can purchase right now. We like that it has wireless capabilities and can be controlled from your phone via WiFi.
We also like that the product is waterproof and tamper-proof, making it great for home security. Many reviews noted the price is quite attractive when compared to many other CCTV systems. We agree with other reviewers who believe this is the right product to get for the price.