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 PTZ Cameras in 2020
- Important Features to Look For
- How Do You Mount a PTZ Camera?
- 10 Key Benefits
- And the Best PTZ Camera is...
10 Best PTZ Cameras in 2020
Reolink 5MP High-Speed PTZ (Best For Outdoor)
Home 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 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.
- Full 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 functions you need, 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 phone app.
- 3x optical zoom
- Dual-band WiFi capabilities
- 355° pan, tilt and optical 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 a more precise playback, which may help if you ever need police or insurance footage. As the company is US-based, it may be easier to service its 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 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 pan tilt zoom 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 a PTZ 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 complete picture compared to traditional interlace scan.
This WiFi security camera works well with Amazon Alexa, allowing you to utilize your smart device anywhere you are to pull up the feed.
Many reviewers liked that the camera can get email notifications when detecting strange movements.
- Amazon Alexa compatible
- IP Camera with 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 controls 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 security cameras for outdoor use that we tested.
It is easy to install and works well with your other smart home devices through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
The company is not based in the United States and is located in China, making its customer service a drawback.
- 7 Days Free Cloud Storage
- Background noise reducing chipset
- PTZ camera with IP security
- 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 for a PTZ outdoor security camera.
The ZOSI 1080p comes with an eight security camera setup, four dome units, and four bullet units.
Each of these surveillance 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.
- Free Return for the First 60 days
- 8 PTZ units 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 camera. This surveillance camera has a 180-pan feature with both tilt and optical zoom, which is less than similar models.
It comes with a 1-year manufacturer's guarantee 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 tech support
- 1080p HD image quality
- Waterproof metal housing
- PTZ Outdoor camera with night vision up to 65ft
- Optical Zoom
- Add-on for existing home security setup
The Sunba Starlight is a wireless outdoor PTZ camera with a slightly larger body than other PTZ cameras.
Because of the larger frame, it comes with a faster rotation of a dual-motor system 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 controls.
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 an UltraHD image quality during playback with the 5x optical zoom providing great quality close-ups.
The SV3C 3MP is a wireless IP 66 waterproof PTZ security camera that can record using the internet connection using an SD card. Many users could attest that is free from issues and has a great coverage especially for business areas.
- Easy to set up and free from issues
- Supports up to 128GB SD Card
- 5x Optical Zoom
- UltraHD image quality
- Does not work with Amazon Alexa
Important Features to Look For
PTZ Night Vision
You must 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 would utilize low-light imaging for lower price models and IR illumination for a mid to high priced model. We found out that IR illumination to be an excellent choice for a PTZ security camera for outdoor use and low-light imaging acceptable for an indoor PTZ camera.
If you opt for an IR illumination PTZ camera, it will utilize IR 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 with these LEDs around the camera lens. 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 of PTZ Camera
The resolution will dictate how clear the image quality on your PTZ camera and how it would turn out. Low-resolution cameras often output poor quality that can be 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 on the scale 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.
Check our reviews of various security cameras:
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 well 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.
PTZ Cam Field of View
The field of view, also known as the viewing angle, is the area that a security camera can capture on video. The higher the viewing angle, the better. Especially if you are looking to purchase a security camera, for indoor and outdoor use, the 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 techs like in videos, movies, games, and computer monitors. The higher the FPS, the more smooth video will appear during playback, especially when slowed down. Lower FPS will result in choppy coverage.
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 in slow motion or during playback.
PTZ Security Cam Connectivity
How you connect to your PTZ camera is essential. The best PTZ security cameras can connect to the receiver via WiFi. You must take into consideration whether the WiFi security 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 security camera and its settings without messing 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 that you like, the manufacturer covers the cost of defects and replacement of parts. You may encounter some parts wearing out faster than others. We recommend you find a model with at least a two-year manufacturer's guarantee.
How Do You Mount a PTZ Camera?
How you mount a PTZ camera product will depend on the security device you purchased. 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 Key Benefits
There is a long list of benefits when it comes to PTZ cameras that include:
- Tracking (5)
- Multiple Security Alarm Systems
- Low-Light Options
- No Obstruction
- Tamper Resistance
- Weather Resistant
- Good Optimal Zoom Quality
- Panning and Tilting
- Auto Focus
- Remote Control
Aside from these benefits, the price of many Pan Tilt security cameras is also much less than the new top of the line CCTV security 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 functions.
PTZ stands for pan, tilt, and zoom. Pan is the horizontal sweep of the unit, while tilt is the vertical movement of the security camera. Optical zoom is the ability of the security camera to enlarge the field of view. Quite a few PTZ cameras can cover all angles with a 360° pan and 90° tilt.
PTZ cameras are controlled in a few different ways for added security features. Many of these security devices can be controlled through a mobile app or set using a product like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
But voice command devices do not come free with purchasing these PTZ cameras, and it must be bought separately. Each product can also be controlled through the CCTV receiver.
How far a PTZ security camera 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 the only one allows you to see far away truly.
The best PTZ cameras are the ones that have advanced functions. That's why I recommend the Reolink UltraHD as best for the outdoors. As for indoor use, the Reolink E1 Zoom has the features you'll need.
PTZ cameras are of good use, especially in wide properties, as compared to dome cameras that have a limited range of view. Since it can be operated using a mobile device, you can pan, tilt, and zoom it with the convenience of your phone.
The cost of a PTZ camera is like paying a fancy dinner for two. So the next time you go out on a five-course meal in a restaurant, make sure that you left your house protected with a PTZ camera.
The difference between a PTZ and dome camera is in the functions and controls. Like for example, a PTZ security camera can be zoomed, manually controlled, and you can move the field of view anytime. As compared to doom cameras that have a fixed lens, unable to pan, and zoom while in use.
A PTZ protocol information allows it to communicate with a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) in order to control the movement of the camera. The PTZ protocol information makes the operation on your mobile phone possible.
You can power a PTZ camera using the PoE (Power over Ethernet) technology. Since this type of camera has multiple built-in motors, more power supply is required than a traditional one.
A single Cat6 cable power supply from the PoE or NVR (Network Video Recorder) is required to power the and operate camera.
The PTZ speed is how fast a camera can move the whole unit and zoom when you are manually controlling it.
The pan and tilt in an IP camera is the term used when the movement of the unit can be controlled by the user over an internet connection. This includes functions like the horizontal and vertical movement, optical zoom, and to change the field of view.
The best outdoor PTZ camera must be able to cover a wide field of view and can stand out against harsh weather conditions the whole year. That's why my top choice is Reolink UltraHD because it even sends a notification on your phone whenever a suspicious activity is seen outside.
And the Best PTZ Camera is...
After extensive testing, we found the Reolink 5MP High-Speed was the best pan tilt zoom 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.