- Surveillance cameras are must-have security devices for your smart home
- Power over Ethernet (PoE) simplifies the installation and makes cameras easier to manage
- We explore some PoE basics to understand the main factors you need to consider when selecting best PoE smart IP cameras
- Our test facility reviewed over 15 devices and give you recommendation on the best PoE security camera systems in 2019
- The best PoE camera under $100 is Amcrest IP4M-1026E due to value for money and build quality while Swann NHD-885MSFB has more robust IR and detection for extra $50 costs
- Also, check out our recommendation on the best PoE NVR to record and store you surveillance video feeds
Our Top Pick
- Why you should use PoE Camera Systems?
- Overall Best PoE Security Camera System under $100 Amcrest IP4M-1026E
- Top PoE Camera Over $100 Swann Thermal Sensing NHD-885MSFB
- Best PoE Camera up to $150: Phylink PLC-335PW
- Best PoE Surveillance Camera over $150: Reolink RLC-423
Why you should use PoE Camera Systems?
PoE works by combining power supply and network connection into one Cat5/Cat5e/Cat6 cable. PoE can be used to power a number of devices including security IP cameras, access points and even Voice over IP phones. To inject electricity into Ethernet cable you need to use one of the PoE compliant devices either PoE injection that you use on top of your Ethernet cable or have a PoE compliant router that already injects power into the cable.
From a technical perspective, you need to be aware of two main specifications. PoE (or 802.3af) works with a maximum of 15.4 Watt per each port. PoE+ (or 802.3at) on the other hand goes up to 25.5W. The majority of PoE surveillance IP cameras will use well under 15.4 Watt so PoE is enough. The only exception is PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) security IP cameras which require more power to move the lenses around. You can learn more in our guide to PoE Power Supply Devices
- More cost effective for larger networks
- Simple cabling which reduces the installation cost
- Easy maintenance (power functions like switch on and off available)
There are not many. One that comes to mind is if you go PoE route there will be another device to a house somewhere and look after. Also in the unlikely case of the PoE power supply failure, you will lose all your cameras while a separate power supply per camera would potentially be more resilient.
How To Start Using PoE with Your Surveillance Cameras?
You can inject the PoE into your cable using three PoE power supply devices
- PoE injector – a small device for one or two devices. Our top pick is single Gigabit port injector by TP-link
- PoE switch – provide a power source for multiple PoE consumers. Our top pick is 4 port switch by Netgear
- PoE NRV – can power and record your IP surveillance cameras. Our top pick is 8 channel NVR by Amcrest
You can get more details in our practical guide on how to choose best PoE Injectors, PoE Switches
Overall Best PoE Security Camera System under $100 Amcrest IP4M-1026E
- Wide 118° viewing angle
- Night vision up to 98 ft
- Intelligent digital zoom
- Easy to setup
Our top pick is Amcrest IP4M-1026E. It is a small-bodied 4k surveillance camera that works both for indoor and outdoor installation. They are easy to setup, very reliable, and provide good quality of the picture. ONVIF compliance means that you can connect to the devices of other brands such as network recording devices or phone applications with no complications
Compared To Competition
- Amcrest IP4M-1026E is a solid camera and sometimes might be an overkill for your purposes. Amcrest IPM-723B is similar but have lower resolution and more affordable price.
- For slightly more money you can get a better lens, sensor and WDR functionality with Hikvision 4MP DS-2CD2042WD-I ($90.00 )
WHAT WE LIKED
- Best value for money
- Great customer support
- Good iPhone and Android applications
- ONVIF compliance
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE
- Live view only works with the Internet Explorer
- Instructions might be improved
- Oversensitive night mode
- Small viewing angle
Installation and Use
The camera comes with the standard kit and includes a camera itself with the power supply cable for PoE as well as the conventional power supply jack. There are also you have a weather sealed cable and a connection sleeve. It was noted that you won’t be able to thread existing plug through the connector and either cut the plug and install the connector again or buy another connector.
Installation is quick if you already sorted PoE cables. Plug in PoE cable into the camera and use your phone or PC for the initial setup. Amcrest provides a very good “Amcrest IP configure” application which we recommend to use for configuration. Do not forget to immediately change the initial password
Next, you will need to configure camera monitoring parameters. Make sure to set up the motion detection areas, notifications and specify the recording mode. We recommend using SD card slot as the secondary recording option.
Using camera is usually more light touch than configuring it. Depending on the preferred way to access your camera you just need to make sure that you configure your phone, NVR or PC accordingly.
Armrest Cloud is a good option to never lose the video feed, but it will cost you some money. The current price minimal plan for seven days of recording is $6 per month per camera which includes the unlimited streaming.
Top PoE Camera Over $100 Swann Thermal Sensing NHD-885MSFB
- True Detect thermal Sensing motion detection
- Two-way audio and siren
- Audio adds another layer of evidence
- The powerful infrared night vision (up to 150ft (45M))
There are a number of reasons why you should invest into more this expensive PoE CCTV camera.
- Infrared throw – at around 40 feet any black and white images in darkness are are quite clear up
- Manual controls of the camera LEDs . You can also activate them at the motion detection
- Two-way audio – with mic being sensitive enough to hear conversation from about 20 feet away. You can communicate back using the speaker
Basically, this can be a more wholesome solution compared to “video doorbells” which don’t record locally and you also will not be able to see very far. Additional benefits are that you do not need to pay any monthly fee.
Note: you can save up to 15% if you buy it as the bundle: Swann 6 Camera 8 Channel 4K Ultra HD NVR ($899.99 )
- 1080p high resolution with night vision of 30ft
- 60 Degree viewing angle
- Can also connect using wifi
- IP66 weatherproof rating and comes with a waterproof junction box
- Comes with microSD slot
Mid-range PoE security camera systems have a better video resolution so can be installed to cover larger indoor or outdoor areas. They will be able to provide you with fine details and help law enforcement agencies to identify criminals if required.
Our top pick is Phylink PLC-335PW. Phylink is a relatively new hardware brand that is gaining popularity due to the solid quality of the products and great customer service. Phylink PLC-335PW is part of the family of PoE cameras under each price segment with outstanding video quality and well-thought design.
WHAT WE LIKED
- Well build and reliable camera
- Extremely responsive support team
- Great for outdoor installation
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE
- Stock PC software is slow
- Setting up the camera requires you to go online
- Phylnik is mainly hardware company so you will not be able to find cloud or accessories
Installation and Use
Hardware installation is similar to the process we explained above for Amcrest camera. You will need to ensure that Ethernet cable (and PoE power supply) is provided first. Use the junction box to make sure that the connection is weather protected.
Next step is to install the mount for the camera – you need securely attach the mount to a wall or ceiling. The last step is to adjust the positioning and the sunshade as required.
Software installation is also straightforward. You can do it by using applications on iPhone or Android or by using the Phylink camera live PC installation application. Wifi connection can be configured using the same applications, or you can use WPS on your router.
- 5MP 3072*1728 Super HD resolution with long range IR
- Pan-tilt-zoom has endless 360˚ pan & 90˚ tilt & 4x optical zoom leaving no blind spots
We struggled to justify the bullet camera with the over $175 price tag taking into consideration two options from mid-range above (Reolink RLC-411S and Phylink PLC-335PW). The only viable options in our opinion that worth extra money is PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) cameras.
PoE PTZ cameras offer much more flexibility in covering larger areas and also offer one of the most useful functions called “cruise path”. Reolink RLC-423 is a high-quality camera with the outstanding build quality and reasonable price for functionality provided. Cruise Path is something everyone should use. It lets you set multiple locations for the camera to look
Frequenly Asked Questions
What are the main advantages of using PoE Cameras?
PoE protocol allows you to use a single cable for both wired ethernet connection to your surveillance camera and power supply. This means easier installation with less cable and drilling to install your PoE CCTV Camera.
What type of PoE camera should I use?
Use the best PoE surveillance camera type that would work the best for your circumstances. Dome cameras are more secure, bullet cameras usually cheaper and PTZ cameras cover more ground.
Is PoE CCTV Cameras more expensive than normal IP cameras?
Yes, in the majority of the cases PoE cameras are more expensive compared to similar cameras of the same brand. This is due to more complicated internals requried for PoE standard.