How Much Does it Cost to Install Security Cameras?
Your security camera installation cost will vary depending on where you live. To give you an idea, I have included a price list that my company uses to install security cameras in New York, which is one of the most expensive states to live in.
How much does it cost to install security cameras in your home? The average cost to install four outdoor security cameras for your home is $999 to $1999. Many factors go into the final price, including the area of the country you live in, the degree of difficulty of installing the cameras, and the type of camera you want to have installed.
This is the price list that I use for all my customers
|One wireless camera||$125 for the installation, including traveling to and from your house. The customer buys the camera separately.|
|Up to four wireless cameras||$250 for the installation, including two hours for installation. The customer buys the cameras separately.|
|One outdoor camera||$450 for one camera. The price includes the camera and installation.|
|Two outdoor cameras||$400 for each camera. Price includes the cameras and installation.|
|Four or more outdoor cameras||$350 For each camera. Price includes the cameras and installation.|
|Four-channel digital video recorder (DVR)||$450 includes 2 T|
|Eight-channel digital video recorder with four terabyte hard drive||$650 includes 4 Terabyte hard drive|
|Sixteen channel digital video recorder with eight terabyte hard drive||$850 includes 6 Terabyte hard drive|
The 10 factors that determine the final cost of your security cameras
1. Wired or wireless cameras
3. The cost of indoor vs. outdoor installation
4. The type of camera, analog or IP camera
5. The degree of difficulty to installing the cameras inside and outside your home
6. The type of lens a camera uses: Fixed, varifocal, PTZ
7. The installation company that you hire
8. The quality of the installation
9. Are there monthly fees to record video footage?
10. How long is the warranty on your new cameras
1. Wired or wireless cameras?
Let’s start with wireless. You can only view wireless cameras over the internet. The term wireless refers to how the camera is connected to your home’s internet service.
Wireless cameras connect to your home’s WiFi and do not require a wired connection to your modem or router.
Because they are wireless, they can be mounted or installed just about anywhere you want.
There are two types of wireless security cameras:
- Cameras that are battery operated and are completely wireless.
- Cameras that get power from an electrical outlet.
Indoor wireless cameras:
Wireless security cameras have become so easy to install that most people can install them themselves within a matter of minutes without the need to hire someone for the installation.
Some wireless cameras don’t even need to be screwed to the wall. It’s as simple as placing them on a tabletop.
Nest, Ring, Reolink, and Arlo sell the most popular wireless cameras.
Outdoor wireless cameras:
You can install wireless cameras on the outside of your home. Battery-operated cameras are the easiest to install since they don’t need to plug into an electrical outlet, but you will have to replace the batteries every few months.
If you have access to an electrical outlet outside your home, then a plug-in wireless camera is much more convenient because you don’t have to replace the batteries.
Your home’s WiFi signal is one of the most important things to consider before you install your wireless cameras. A strong WiFi signal is required for all wireless security cameras to work properly. A wireless camera will not work if it is out of the range of your WiFi signal.
Don’t worry if you don’t have good WiFi coverage throughout your home. Boosting or extending your home’s WiFi range is as easy as plugging in a WiFi repeater into an electrical outlet.
This not only boosts the signal for your wireless security cameras but all your Wi-Fi-enabled devices throughout your home.
Wired security cameras:
Wired security cameras must have a category 5e or coaxial cable connecting the camera to your home’s internet network or a dedicated digital recording device (DVR) located somewhere in your house.
Professional security companies typically install wired security cameras because they are much harder to install than wireless cameras, and for this reason, they are much more expensive.
What are the components of a wired system?
- The camera.
- The cable that connects the camera to the recording device.
- The power supply.
- The recording device.
2. The cost of indoor cameras vs. outdoor cameras
Indoor cameras are not designed to be installed outdoors because they are not weather resistant.
The cost of indoor cameras is most often less than the outdoor version because they don’t need to be made to withstand extreme weather and temperature changes.
3. The cost of indoor vs. outdoor installation
There are very few reasons why you wouldn’t want to install wireless cameras with today’s wireless technology. They are so easy to install and have excellent video quality.
There is no need to drill holes in your walls and ceilings to run wiring throughout your house with wireless cameras.
You can install four cameras in less than an hour for $400. You can install them yourself or hire someone for $150 to install them for you.
Compare that to a wired system; to have four cameras installed, you will pay at least $1500 on average to have someone spend all day running wires throughout your home.
Depending on the design and layout of your home, outdoor cameras are generally more expensive to install than indoor cameras for both wired and wireless cameras for a few reasons.
- Outdoor cameras are generally mounted higher on the house requiring the installer to work on taller ladders.
- Heavier extension ladders need to be moved around and set up to get to the cameras.
- Wiring must be penetrated to the outside of the house, sometimes through brick or cement.
- Ever try installing cameras outdoors in July or January? I have, and it’s not fun. Extreme weather can slow down the installation two to three times than it would on a nice mild day.
Tip: If possible, don’t hire someone to install outdoor cameras in the middle of the winter or summer. Installers do a much better job for you when they are not freezing in the winter or sweating on a hot summer day.
4. The type of cameras, analog or IP (Internet Protocol) cameras
If you are hiring a security company to install security cameras, you will have the option to install either analog cameras or IP cameras.
Both analog and IP cameras give you the same high-definition video (up to 8 megapixels), but analog cameras are slightly cheaper to install than IP cameras of the same quality.
As an example, I usually charge $450 for each IP camera and $350 for each analog camera, and the price includes installation.
What is the difference between IP (internet protocol) and analog cameras?
The main difference between IP and analog cameras is that analog cameras have a video output that can only be connected directly to a video recorder (DVR). The DVR is then connected to the internet, allowing you to view the cameras remotely from your smartphone.
IP cameras are devices that connect to your computer network and can be viewed through a web browser on your computer or an app on your smartphone without the need for a recording device. They can also be connected to a network video recorder (NVR) or to the cloud to record the video. All wireless cameras are IP cameras.
In the past, analog cameras were lower in video resolution, but today you can purchase analog cameras in resolutions as high as 8 megapixels comparable to IP cameras.
Almost all of my residential camera installations are analog cameras because of the cost difference.
I have installed thousands of IP and analog cameras, and I cannot tell the difference between the two regarding video quality.
5. The degree of difficulty to install the camera in your home
Many factors increase the difficulty level for installing cameras in a house.
As someone who installs security cameras for a living, the perfect house for installing cameras is a single-level ranch-style house with a clean, roomy attic and an unfinished basement where I can run all the wires from the digital recorder to each camera.
But unfortunately, most houses are not that easy. These are some things that make a camera installation more complicated and will increase the overall cost of the installation.
- A multiple level house
- The size and layout of the house
- The height and the location to install the camera
- How cluttered is the house?
- Is there an attic to hide all the wires?
- Is there a basement, and is it finished or unfinished?
- What is the exterior of the house made of, brick, concrete, vinyl, or wood siding?
- Is the homeowner going to talk to me the entire time while I’m there trying to work?
- Does the homeowner want to help with the installation? I do not recommend offering to help with the installation no matter how handy you are, Installers generally don’t t want any help, having the homeowner helping them only slows them down.
6. The type of lens a camera uses
Security cameras are sold with either a fixed lens or a varifocal lens. The difference between the two is that you can zoom the varifocal lens in or out to give you a better shot of the area you want to view.
This takes some guesswork from placing the camera for the best coverage. It also allows for more flexibility because the camera doesn’t have to be installed in an exact spot, it can be mounted a little farther away, and you can zoom in the lens to get the best view.
Other cameras called PTZ cameras are made to pan from side to side using a motorized lens. PTZ cameras can cost up to ten times more than a fixed or varifocal camera.
7. The installation company that you hire.
Who installs security cameras?
- Your alarm company can install security cameras.
- You can contact the manufacture of the camera system, and they will recommend an authorized installer to come to your house to give your estimate.
- If you buy Your security cameras from one of the big box stores like Home Depot, Costco, or BJ’s, inside the box, you will find a card from a company called installernet that hires local installers in your area to perform the installation
You can go online and tell them how many cameras you want to have installed. They’ll ask you a few questions about the layout of your home, the degree of difficulty, and where you want to install the cameras.
After you answer all the questions, they will give you a fixed price for the installation, and they will send you one of their authorized installers to do the job for you.
Installation prices vary depending on your state, but this is a rough estimate of what they charge for installation. The cost of the cameras is not included:
- $600 for four cameras
- $1200 for eight cameras
- $2400 for sixteen cameras
Hiring a security company
When getting estimates for security cameras, you have a few options for the companies you can choose from.
- One person operation where the owner performs the installation by himself
- Large local company 10 to 20 employees
- Large nationwide companies like ADT or Vivint with hundreds of employees
Keep in mind that the bigger the company you hire, the more overhead they have, which directly affects the overall cost of your installation.
My recommendation as someone who installs security cameras for a living is to find a small local security company where either the owner of the company does the installation or does it with a helper.
This is the way I do it, and on average, I get the job 8 out of 10 times because I have low overhead and my prices are fair.
Security camera quotes
When getting a quote for your security camera installation, there are a few things to consider that will affect the price.
Keep in mind that there are differences between security camera systems. Going with the lowest price can often result in a big disappointment after the installation is complete.
For example, let’s say you want to install a total of four cameras on the outside of your home to see who’s at your front door, driveway, front yard, and backyard.
You may get a quote from one company for $1000 and another price for $2000 from another company. So why is there such a big difference between these two quotes? Let’s break it down:
Resolution of the cameras
Camera resolution is the most important factor in your camera installation. After all, what’s the point of installing cameras if you get a blurry image when the job is done. Camera resolution ranges from 1.3 megapixels up to 12 megapixels.
The higher the resolution, the sharper the video quality. Some companies install inexpensive systems using low-resolution 1.3-megapixel cameras to underbid the competition. Still, the quality of these cameras is not very good. Since most homeowners have no idea what options are available to them, they’re often disappointed with the quality of their new camera system.
I don’t recommend installing cameras under four megapixels. (2018).
Size of the hard drive
Digital video recorders record video onto a hard drive. For most homes and businesses, 2-4 weeks of video recording is usually satisfactory to the customer.
Hard drives come in different recording capacities measured in terabytes. A hard drive that is undersized for the number of cameras installed will result in only a few days of video recording.
You can extend recording time on an underside hard drive by reducing the recording quality, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
These are the hard drives that I use for my customers:
- 2 terabyte hard drive for four-camera system
- 4 terabyte hard drive for an eight-camera system
- 8 terabyte hard drive for a 16-camera system
Pay attention to the hard drive being installed for your system. The lower-priced systems will always include a smaller hard drive.
Analog or IP (internet protocol) system
Years ago, there was no such thing as an IP camera. All cameras were analog, but when IP cameras came out, they had much higher video resolution and became the preferred choice for professional security companies.
But today, the resolution of an analog camera is comparable to IP cameras, and the end-user will not notice any difference in the video quality of the cameras. Generally, analog cameras are slightly less expensive than IP cameras.
The location and placement of each camera can affect the number of cameras needed to get the job done. Sometimes we can cover an area with just one camera instead of two depending on the camera’s placement, angle, and height.
Not having to install one or two additional cameras can save you $700 to $1000
8. The quality of the installation
More than half of the cost of your camera installation will be for labor, and this cost will vary depending on the company you hire. Installation of wired cameras is not easy, especially in the hot summer and cold winter months since a lot of the work is performed outside and, in some homes, very difficult due to wiring restrictions.
For a clean and professional installation, you do not want any wires exposed in your home when installing cameras.
Some installers expose the wiring inside and outside your home, while others hide all the wiring in the walls and attic space, giving you a much cleaner installation. This will affect the overall price of your system.
The cost of labor can vary depending on the overhead of the security company that you hire. Still, as a small alarm company owner, I can tell you that I charge between $200-$300 for installing each wired security camera, depending on the amount of wire used and the total time it takes.
Larger companies can charge up to $400 to $600 just for the labor to install each camera.
9. Video recording monthly fees
This only applies to wireless security cameras; you can install wireless cameras with the option to record or not to record the video footage.
Most camera manufacturers provide you with the ability to record your security cameras to the cloud for an extra monthly fee. This fee is usually between $3-$5 a month.
10. How long is the warranty on your new cameras?
Security cameras come with either a one, three, or five-year warranty. In general, the longer the warranty, the higher the camera cost will be.
I would personally stay away from cameras that come with only a one-year warranty.
How long does it take to install security cameras?
On average, it takes about 2 to 3 hours to install a hardwired indoor or outdoor security camera for your home.
For example, a four-camera system usually takes a full day for installation for one installer.
Wireless cameras are much easier to install and can be installed by the homeowner in a matter of minutes.