Battery Powered vs. Powered vs. POE

close up photo of batteries

This post is part of a series describing the different aspects to consider when choosing a security camera system.

What powers the camera? Why does it matter?

Battery Powered cameras are typically referred to as “wire-free” in marketing. They use a battery for a power source and some type of wireless for video. These are simple to install and do not require running any cables to the cameras. The major downside is charging the batteries.

Some wire-free cameras will allow you to leave them on charge constantly. This works well for indoor cameras and outdoor cameras, if they are close to an outlet. Most have solar panels as accessories which works well for outdoor cameras that receive good sunlight. The only other option is to take the camera down, or remove the battery, every couple months to charge it. This can be a hassle depending on how accessible the camera is. Also, you have to remember to charge the cameras prior to going on vacation.

Powered cameras are called typically called “wireless” in marketing. They use some type of wireless signal to transmit the video, but are powered from the wall rather than batteries. This is okay for indoor cameras, but for outdoor cameras, you would need to have an electrician run power to each camera location.

POE (power-over-ethernet) cameras require running an ethernet cable (CAT5e or CAT6) to each camera. This cable provides power to the camera as well as delivering video from the camera to the NVR. These are more difficult to install than wire-free, but are more reliable. There is no battery to charge, and no worries about weak wireless signal.

Additional posts in this series:

Cloud vs. Local Recording
Constant vs. Event Based Recording
– Wireless vs. Cellular vs. Wired
* Battery Powered vs. Powered vs. POE
System Ease of Use

4 thoughts on “Battery Powered vs. Powered vs. POE

  1. Great article! It’s always helpful to weigh the pros and cons of different power options when setting up a device or system. Battery-powered solutions offer flexibility, but they require regular maintenance. Powered options provide constant energy but might limit placement choices. POE strikes a nice balance, offering reliability and versatility. Thanks for breaking down the choices!

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