For anyone looking into buying their first home security system, it often comes as a surprise to discover that home CCTV installation costs are generally much less than they might imagine.
Sure, you could still find yourself paying anywhere from $300 to $1,000 for the camera system with just as much money going on professional installation, but that is a small price to pay when you consider the long-term benefits that such a setup affords.
Not only do home security cameras help to significantly reduce your home insurance costs, there’s the obvious advantage that they help keep you, your loved ones, and your valuable property, safe.
Even a single, low-cost camera strategically placed at a point of entry can serve as a powerful deterrent against would-be intruders, while higher-priced, higher-resolution models can pick out facial details with exceptional clarity, a feature which proves incredibly useful in all manner of home security scenarios.
In today’s guide, we’ll help you set a budget for your CCTV installation by looking at the different options available to you, weighing up the pros and cons of each, and outlining the typical costs involved.
Most CCTV installations can cost between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars depending on the type of system, the number of cameras required, and whether or not you opt for a professional installation
How Much Does it Cost to Install CCTV at home?
Smart home security cameras which can be monitored remotely tend to cost more to buy but less to install
In the United States, a professional home CCTV installation costs $1,400, though prices can vary from as little as $685 to as much as $2,200+.
As we’ll discuss later on in this guide, wireless security cameras tend to work out as the least expensive in terms of professional installation, costing around $100 – $150 camera compared to $175 – $250 per camera for a wired setup.
Still, we get it:
There’s a huge difference between these figures, a difference that isn’t exactly helpful if you’re trying to put together an accurate budget.
So, let’s start looking at all the various factors that come into play when choosing the best CCTV camera setup for your home, and how these factors will ultimately influence your budget.
The Key Factors in Determining Home Security Camera Costs
As you can imagine, the size of your home plays a big part in determining the size of your camera system. If you have a large home with an expansive outdoor space, for example, then you’ll need more cameras than you would in a small, two-bedroom property with a basic backyard.
While the latter may only require two or three cameras, the former could need as many as seven or eight to provide adequate coverage. With the average price of a camera ranging from $100 to $250, this could mean a difference of $500 – $1,000+ in the overall cost of your installation.
It’s also worth noting that large areas will generally need better quality cameras, including those with a greater field of vision and higher resolution to deliver a decent recording quality across your property. If that’s the case, you’ll need to be considering cameras at the higher end of the price scale.
If you have a shed, garage, or other outside building where valuable possessions are stored, it’s always worth ensuring they’re well covered by your CCTV
It isn’t just the size of your property that determines how many cameras you require.
If you store expensive tools in your garden shed for example, then you may want to install an extra camera to cover that area. The same goes for your garage, summer house, or anywhere that you believe needs additional security.
It also pays to think about any cameras you might need inside your home, too.
While some homeowners may only need a few cameras outside the property to deter intruders, families with young children may also want to think about adding a few indoor cameras to help keep an eye on them, especially in their nursery or bedroom.
Again, this could potentially make a difference of anywhere from $500 off the total cost of your project.
DIY vs. Professional Installation
It should come as no surprise that avoiding professional installation fees will dramatically reduce the overall cost of your project, often by as much as $750 – $1,000.
The DIY approach is often better suited for wireless, plug-and-play systems like this complete two-camera long-range video surveillance system from Sequro.
These tend to be very easy to install, requiring very little technical know-how and basic tools like a standard drill for fixing your tools in place.
For more technical setups, especially those involving hard-wired cameras, you may prefer to hire outside help. Though professional installation could cost as much per camera as the camera itself (effectively doubling the price of your project), it’s always a worthwhile investment if you’re not 100% confident in your DIY skills.
What’s more, professional installations often come with a guarantee, optional support and maintenance, and, of course, a whole lot of time saved.
Wired vs. Wireless Security Camera Costs
Wireless security cameras offer much greater flexibility and are better suited for DIY Installations than hard-wired set-ups.
One of the biggest determining factors in the cost of your new camera system is whether you go for a wireless or hardwired system, though it isn’t necessarily a clear-cut case of one type being less expensive than the other.
Wireless Cameras – $150 – $250 per camera (equipment) | $75 – $150 per camera (installation)
Wireless systems tend to work out at around $100 – $250 per camera to buy off the shelf, and come with the aforementioned advantage that they’re well suited for DIY installations, meaning you save a small fortune on professional fees.
There are other advantages too.
Wireless systems tend to offer seamless integration with other smart home products such as wireless doorbells, enabling you to create a full home security system without necessarily being tied into one brand. Ultimately, this means you can pick and choose from the best products to create a bespoke system.
If Brand X has the best CCTV camera and Brand Y has the best wireless doorbell, for example, you could put the two together, rather than buying all of your smart home security products from one brand who may do cameras pretty well but fall short when it comes to other essential equipment.
What’s more, wireless cameras are easy to move around, so if you first set up and then later discover a blind spot, it’s no trouble at all to take a camera down and put it in a better position.
The final tick in the win column for these types of cameras is that you’ll rarely find one that doesn’t offer remote access. In other words, even if you’re miles away from home, you can still check in with your security camera feeds via an app on your smartphone or tablet.
Despite all this, wireless systems aren’t without their limitations.
For one thing, they’re entirely dependent on your home’s WiFi network. So, if you live in an area with sub-par signals or you’re concerned about network connectivity problems, this might not be the way to go.
For another, wireless systems are also far more susceptible to external hacking. While it may be unlikely that a criminal would want to steal your camera footage or -worse yet- invade your privacy, a talented hacker would find that much easier to do than they would with a hardwired system.
Wired Camera Systems – $75 – $200 (equipment) | $175 – $250+ (installation)
With a wired system, you’ll find that the equipment is generally much less expensive to buy but that installation fees run much higher due to the greater level of expertise required.
Not that this should entirely rule them out.
After all, there are a lot of advantages to a hardwired camera setup like this four-camera, 1080 HD video surveillance system from Jennov.
First up, there’s the benefit of having an in-built power source and not relying on temperamental WiFi systems. As such, even if your home internet goes down, you can be sure that your cameras will keep on rolling.
They’re also virtually hack-proof, at least as far as remote access goes.
On the downside, once a hardwired CCTV camera is installed, it’s difficult, if not impossible to reposition it, at least not without a lot of mess and added expense.
Another drawback is that wired systems tend to take up much more room, requiring a space to store a physical hard drive and other essential equipment.
Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that not all hardwired systems come with remote access. Though the Jennov system we mentioned earlier does (providing you’re hooked up to the Internet), some lower-priced systems leave out these very useful features.
IP Systems vs. Home CCTV Installation Costs
Most people tend to think of CCTV as a generic name for all security camera systems, but the truth is that this simply isn’t the case.
CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) is a specific type of system which is usually -though not always- of the hardwired variety. CCTV systems are most common in commercial premises where they can be monitored on-site by a security team, though they can make a valuable addition to domestic properties by saving recorded footage on a Digital Video Recorder (DVR).
CCTV setups can cost anywhere from $100 to $500 per camera. Add in the cost of the DVR, wiring, and additional storage, and it soon becomes apparent that this is far from the most affordable option out there.
A less expensive option may be to go with an Internet Protocol (IP) system which averages between $75 – $300 per camera. As the name implies, these are almost exclusively wireless-based systems. Some utilize a local Network Video Recorder while others utilize cloud-based storage or even a system whereby video footage is sent directly to a security company.
These are often a better choice for anyone with a limited home security budget or those who simply want a powerful camera set-up that doesn’t take up much room in the home.
Monitored vs. Unmonitored CCTV Costs
CCT monitoring can cost up to $80 per month but may be worth the investment for that additional peace of mind
Next, let’s look at how a monitored security service may affect your total budget.
As a general rule, most camera setups are unmonitored, meaning the onus is on you to review your footage and manage your system on your own. While this is fine in most cases, anyone thinking of integrating their new CCTV cameras into a wider home security setup may want to consider opting for a home security monitoring service.
As you may have guessed, these services allow your chosen security company to monitor your property 24/7, constantly on the lookout for intruders and suspicious activity. If you also have a smoke and/or a C02 alarm, your monitoring service can also keep an eye out for fires, C02 leaks, or other dangers.
If they suspect there’s a problem, the monitoring team can alert both you and the authorities, ensuring the problem is dealt with as quickly as possible.
Security monitoring services tend to cost between $50 and $200 to set up, though some brands will offer free setup as part of their package deal. After that, expect to pay between $15 and $80 per month in ongoing fees.
Indoor vs. Outdoor CCTV Installation Costs
Adding exterior CCTV cameras to a property like this one can ensure all entry points are covered and serve as a powerful intruder deterrent
It may not come as much of a surprise to learn that outdoor cameras tend to be more expensive than their indoor counterparts.
External cameras need to be weather-resistant as well as requiring a greater field of vision and higher resolution in order to capture footage of sufficient quality.
This means that you may end up paying $100 – $500 for external cameras compared to $75 – $250 for internal options.
On the plus side, it is entirely possible to combine both types of cameras into one system, so you won’t find yourself buying one DVR for your internal cameras and a second one for your outdoor devices.
High Resolution vs. Low-Resolution CCTV Camera Costs
Much as with your TV, your laptop and your smart devices, the higher the resolution, the better the picture quality and, yes, the more money you’re likely to pay.
High Resolution Cameras – $75 – $500
In this day and age, a high-resolution camera is considered to be any model that boasts 1080p definition, sometimes listed as 1920 x 1080 px, 2K, or simply as Full HD. These types of cameras are much more affordable than they used to be, often costing between $75 – $200 per camera depending on the brand.
This usually proves to be worth the cost as 1080p cameras can pick out much more detail than those of a lower resolution. If you’re unfortunate enough to have your home broken into, for example, then a conveniently placed high-resolution camera will not only show a clear picture of the intruder’s face but also pick out key details such as the license plate of the vehicle they’re driving and other key features.
If even that’s not enough for you, you can also buy 4K UHD cameras like this outdoor security camera from Amcrest which offers even greater picture quality.
Low-Resolution Cameras – $40 – $150
So, if high-resolution cameras are so affordable these days, why would anybody bother with a lower-resolution model?
First of all, there’s the obvious cost factor.
If you’re on an extremely tight budget but still need some level of home surveillance, then a lower-priced 720p camera is certainly better than none at all.
Then there’s the fact that not everybody needs high-resolution in the first place.
If you’re only buying CCTV cameras to keep an eye on the kids when they’re playing in their bedrooms, or as a precaution when a nanny or housekeeper comes to work in your home when you’re not there, then you don’t really need clear images of a person’s face or other essential details. In that case, you could save yourself a lot of money by opting for a camera with a lower resolution.
CCTV Camera with Audio Recording Costs
CCTV cameras with audio recording functionality are ideal for indoor use, but do come with legal limitations
CCTV cameras with audio recording functionality are an excellent choice for an internal system, especially if you need it for monitoring children, childminders or people working in your home.
The good news is that they aren’t much more expensive than standard CCTV cameras that don’t have audio. As a rough guide, budget an extra $15 – $40 per camera for those with audio recording capabilities.
The bad news is that you may have to be careful about the legal implications of audio surveillance. In the majority of US states, you’ll need to gain consent from anyone visiting your property in order to record audio of them.
Home Security Camera Types and Their Costs
Hidden cameras could be easily installed in a room like this one to monitor any staff working in your home
Dummy Cameras – $20 – $30 each
Dummy cameras are exactly what they sound like:
Realistic-looking (but ultimately fake) CCTV cameras which are designed to act as a deterrent only. They don’t have any recording capabilities but can be enough to make opportunistic criminals think twice about invading your property.
Though these are a worthwhile option if you don’t have the budget for an actual system, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that fake cameras rarely fool sophisticated criminals, thus a real system is always a better option.
Dome Ceiling Cameras $100 – $150 each
Dome cameras are generally used for indoor use and can attach to ceilings to offer a complete, panoramic view of the whole room.
Hidden Security Cameras $100 – $200 each
When most people think of hidden cameras, they think of covert surveillance. The truth is that they can be used in this manner. In the majority of US states, it is perfectly legal to use hidden cameras in your home without gaining the consent of the people you’re recording.
The exception to this rule is in places where a person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as a bathroom. If you’re using hidden cameras to monitor a live-in nanny, then this expectation of privacy would also extend to their bedroom.
Alternatively, you could simply use a hidden camera as an high-tech alternative to the standard peephole on your front door, allowing you to see who’s at the door without getting up.
Frequently Asked Questions About Home CCV Installations
A wireless CCTV system may consume a lot of data depending on how many cameras you have and the resolution of those cameras
Is it Legal to Record Audio on My Home CCTV System?
This depends on two things:
Where you are, and how you go about it.
The majority of US states have what’s called an all-party consent rule when it comes to recording audio. This is exactly what it sounds like:
All parties involved in a conversation have to give consent to it being recorded. In other states, however, it’s OK to record audio as long as one person involved in the conversation gives consent.
The easiest workaround for this is to place signs on your property alerting any visitors that audio recording is taking place on the premises. As long as those signs are clearly visible, many states will accept that a person who sees that sign and still approaches your property anyway is giving their full consent to being recorded.
All in all, if you’re considering buying CCTV cameras with audio recording functionality, then your best approach would be to first consult your local state laws and ensure that any surveillance system you set up is legally compliant.
How Long Does it Take to Install CCTV?
This largely depends on the type of CCTV system you buy and whether you’re doing the work yourself or hiring a professional.
An experienced security camera installer should take no more than three to four hours to install a standard four-camera home CCTV setup. Larger and more complex systems could take as long as a typical working day, or even up to a day and a half.
If you’re taking the DIY approach, you might find that it takes at least a few hours longer.
What Happens if My CCTV Installation Stops Working?
Nine times out of ten, there’s a simple solution to solving most common problems with faulty security cameras.
If your home CCTV system isn’t working, the old fashioned ‘turn-it-off-and-on-again’ approach shouldn’t be underestimated and will usually eliminate a good majority of minor problems.
Alternatively, it might be a good idea to check your settings. For example, if you expected your camera to record 24/7 but find that it only recorded for twelve hours, it could simply be a case that you haven’t enabled that particular setting during the set-up phase.
Likewise, a lack of storage space, limited data, or out-of-date software are all problems that can be easily solved.
Of course, if you’re not the most tech-savvy person in the world, there’s no reason why you have to fix such problems yourself.
Most CCTV installers will offer some kind of ongoing maintenance and support plan. Though these typically cost extra, they are often worth the expense to ensure the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ve always got expert support on the other end of the phone should something go wrong.
Do Wifi Security Cameras Use a Lot of Data?
On average, expect a typical four system of four, 1080dp security cameras to consume at least 60GB of data transfer per month, assuming that they’re recording 24/7/365.
That said, it is possible to significantly reduce that amount. Using motion-detector cameras that only record when they sense movement could minimize your system’s data usage to around 15-20GB per month while turning your cameras off when you’re home during the day could save even more.
How Many GB of Storage Do Home Security Cameras Use?
These days, it’s not uncommon to buy a camera set up in which all of the recorded footage is stored off-site by the home security company you bought your system from. This completely eliminates the need to worry about buying any kind of video storage device.
However, if you’re buying a system that requires you to store your footage on your own property, then storage is something you’ll need to consider.
According to video surveillance experts IPVM, storage requirements range from anywhere between 600 GB to 6 TB. The latter is really only necessary for the super high-performance MJPEG megapixel cameras, while the standard home security system could get away with using no more than 600 GB for a month of continuous recording.
With that in mind, you might want to invest in a 1TB hard drive for recording your surveillance footage. In most cases, this should ensure that you have more than enough storage available.
The Best Way to Save Money on Home CCTV Camera Installation
If you’ve read this far, you’ll have just about all the information you’ll need to make an informed decision about which type of CCTV installation is best for you and your home.
You know, for example, that if you simply need a low-cost solution to help you monitor people within your home, then an inexpensive, low-resolution wireless setup will do the job just fine.
You also know that if you’re more concerned with break-ins and thefts, then a hard-wired, high-resolution system with cameras placed at strategic external locations may be the better option.
Still, even if you’ve worked out which system you need, that still leaves one important question:
How can you get that system installed without spending over the odds?
The easiest answer is to simply forgo professional CCTV installation fees and do the whole job yourself. In some cases, this could reduce the entire cost of your project by as much as 50%. In others, it will at least knock a few hundred dollars off the overall total.
In addition, you’ll get the most value for money by thinking carefully about how much home surveillance you really need.
If you live in a small property with limited entry points and no outside buildings (such as sheds or garages to monitor), then do your really need that all-singing, all-dancing eight-camera setup, or might you be able to reduce your budget by investing a more affordable, four-camera wireless option?
As well as your immediate home security needs, you might want to consider any long-term changes you might be making too. If you don’t have an outdoor shed right now but you’re planning to build one in the future, then it might prove more cost effective to buy an extra camera now than to try and integrate one into your system down the line.
Likewise, if you’re thinking of starting a family, installing a camera in the room that will eventually become their nursery now is likely to be much more efficient than adding an extra one in a few years time.
In other words, with a little forward-planning and strategic thinking, you should find that a CCTV installation costs far less than you first thought.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.