Dome Camera Buying Guide (And 3 Best Dome CCTV Cameras)

by | May 8, 2019 | Security Cameras

There are a number of different types of cameras to choose from when buying a surveillance cameras. A  dome camera is a great choice for both indoor and outdoor use for a number of reasons:

  • Security – the design of the cameras means they are more protected compared to bullet or standing cameras, especially with the armored option to protect it from being tampered.
  • Ease of installation – installing a dome security camera at your home is simple and enables you to monitor a wide range of area, while adding to your home décor with its elegant and sleek design.
  • Advanced functions – night vision and an advanced varifocal option that allows the lens to focus in a particular direction and see in the night.
  • Flexibility – an auto tracker and PTZ abilities in some cameras would allow you to cover a wider area with a single camera

However, with so many options available out there, it could be a little difficult to find the one that caters to your need as there is no comprehensive guide available.

This article, we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide on dome cameras. We’ll take you through the types of dome cameras and what you should know about these before buying a one. Lastly, this guide has an in-depth review of the best dome cameras, with which you can easily find the perfect camera for your property.

ALSO READ: Best PeO Cameras

With extensive research, we’ve shortlisted seven PoE dome cameras in various categories. The camera that topped our list is Amcrest IP8M-2493EW. With an amazing field of view with a 112-degree viewing angle, this camera delivers ultra HD 4K videos with amazing night vision as well. With all the features a camera should have, this is the best you can have with a great brand name.

Another great option is Reolink RLC-420-5MP that delivers 5MP super HD footages and features a wide viewing angle. The aluminum body makes the device waterproof and best suited for outdoor uses. If you’re looking for an affordable camera, you can go with SV3C Full HD 1080P Dome POE IP Security Camera that also delivers full HD 1080P.

What is a Dome Camera?

Dome camera, as the name specify are circular and dome-shaped. This camera is encased in a transparent protective dome.

Dome cameras are widely used outside and inside the home, on the ceilings, in hotels, retail stores, etc. The dome shape of the camera makes it impossible for intruders and thieves to tell which direction the camera is actually pointing at.

Moreover, dome cameras are more durable, and vandal proof as the camera lens is protected. The design and shape of this camera allow you to monitor a wider angle.    

Where Dome Cameras Are Preferred Over Bullet And PTZ Cameras?

When compared to bullet cameras, PoE dome cameras are more suited for indoor purposes because they are sleek and extremely intrusive. If you want a camera with more of an aesthetic appeal, the dome camera is for you.   

Besides, some dome cameras are vandal proof and IP66 rated that can also be used for outdoor uses since it’s hard to tell their direction and they can be well protected from extreme weather and vandalism.   

What are main Dome Cameras types?  

There are four types of dome cameras:

  • Indoor Dome Cameras: These dome cameras are for indoor use only, since they are not protected within a weatherproof housing. Most indoor domes cameras are encased in plastic housings.  
  • Outdoor Dome Cameras: Outdoor dome cameras are weatherproof and can be used for indoor or outdoor use. These cameras have a metal base and polycarbonate plastic cover.
  • Infrared Night-Vision: If you want a camera with night vision, you should consider an infrared dome camera. The infrared night vision enables the camera to see in darkness.  
  • Vandal-Proof Domes: If your area is susceptible to tampering or vandalism, make sure you buy a vandal dome camera. The vandal resistant casing feature of dome cameras allows for protection against tampering, and light blows, making them perfect for high traffic areas like an apartment or school hallways.
  • Varifocal Dome Cameras: This camera gives you the flexibility to adjust the focal length of the camera lens when you need it. You can easily adjust it to attain the best angle of view.

Factors to Consider When Selecting PoE Dome Camera

There are many factors you should keep in mind while buying a PoE dome camera to see whether the security is worth purchasing or not. The main factors to look for are:  

1. At least 1080 Resolution

The very first thing you should look for in a camera is its resolution. Higher the resolution, sharper will be the images. If you want the best view, you’d need a 1080p or higher resolution.

If you want an outdoor security camera, it’s recommended you go with a 1440p camera as these cameras can easily capture clearer images with accurate details such as car license plate number, the face of the humans, etc.

For a better understanding, you need 20 pixel/foot for general surveillance, 40 pixel/foot for face recognition, and 80 pixel/foot for details such as reading logos, etc.     

It means, if you need general surveillance for indoor places, you’d need 1MP to 2MP but if you want to recognize faces, go for 3MP to 5MP. To cover large areas, go for higher resolution, i.e. 5MP to 4K.  

2. Night Vision is a must

Night vision is yet another factor you should not ignore while buying a security camera. Dome cameras with night vision or infrared mode allow the users to see clearer images in low light conditions and even complete darkness.  

So, to get the best and brightest night view, buy a camera with infrared technology. The number of IR LEDs in a camera determines how far your surveillance camera will be able to show what’s outside your house. Consider a camera having about 100 feet of night vision.

Some models even have a built-in IR cut-switch that automatically disables and enables the IR technology depending on the lighting conditions.  

3. On-device storage is good, but not the  most secure

Storage space also plays an important role if you want to record 24/7 or monitor large indoor and outdoor areas.

Besides, there are various online tools that help you determine the hard drive storage you’ll need for your surveillance camera. You can use this tool to calculate the storage space.   

4. ONVIF helps to connect to NVRs and record videos

ONVIF is the main standard for NVRs and IP cameras. Generally, if the camera is ONVIF compatible, it will be able to communicate with an ONVIF-compatible NVR. This means that you are sure to get a video output from each camera to the NVR. But in many cases, all the features of the video camera will not be available directly via the NVR.

Also, poorly optimized ONVIF or non ONVIF cameras may not always work with a new NVR. Many NVRs let you add a custom protocol to include the RTSP stream. RTSP (Real-time streaming protocol) is the pure audio and video feed coming off NVRs, IP cameras or networked DVRs. It will enable your security camera to work with the new NVR as a basic video feed. But, RTSP doesn’t transmit VCA or motion, which means only basic 24/7 recording is available.  

5. Save costs on HDD with H264 compression

Compression is used to eliminate redundant data from footage transmitted to your VCR, saving space. MJPEG and H.264 are two of the most commonly used compression techniques for high definition video. You can also use MPEG4, but the quality tends to be lower than the other two techniques. You can select the compression method according to your needs.

Our Top Dome Cameras Picks

ModelTech SpecsProsCons 
Amcrest IP8M-2493EW Amazon Reviews: ● 4K Ultra HD 3840x2160
● 112° Angle
● 6x Digital Zoom
● Easy to install
● Great night vision
● Bad technical supportBest Amcrest Dome Camera $129.98 on Amazon
Reolink RLC-420-5MP Amazon Reviews: ● 5MP(2560 x 1920)
● 80° Viewing Angle
● Easy installation
● Top-notch video quality
● Works with only Reolink NVR Complaints about false alarmsBest Reolink CCTV Security Camera $107.99 on Amazon
SV3C D03POE-3MPL-A Amazon Reviews: ● HD 1920x1080
● Viewing Angle 70-90°
● 3.6mm 3MP HD Lens
● Sturdy design
● Upgraded firmware with no issue
● Night vision not up to the mark
● Bad tech support
● Minimal web interface
Best SV3C Dome Surveillance Camera $45.99 on Amazon
Dahua IPC-HDW4433C Amazon Reviews: ● 4MP (2688 x 1520)
● 79° Viewing Angle
● Vertical:42.4°,Diagonal:92.8°
● 3.6mm fixed lens
● Excellent video qualityBest Dahua Surveillance Camera $65.99 on Amazon
HIKVISION DS-2CD2142FWD-I Amazon Reviews: ● 4MP
● 2.8mm Lens
● Waterproof casing
● Tampering alarm to deter intruders
● Excellent image quality
● A bit fish-eyed pictureBest Hikvision Dome CCTV Camera for home $149.99 on Amazon
Amcrest IP8M-2454EW Varifocal Lens Amazon Reviews: ● 4K (8-Megapixel) 3840x2160
● Viewing Angles - H: 110°~40°, V: 58°~23°
● 4x Optical Zoom
● Varifocal Lens
● Well built and easy to install
● Great image quality
● Can’t run reliably at above 1.3MPBest Varifocal CCTV Dome PoE camera $279.98 on Amazon
"GW Security GW5071" Amazon Reviews: ● 5 Megapixel 2592 x 1920
● 3.6mm Megapixel HD lens
● Great quality
● Amazing night vision
● Easy installation
● Metal casing
Best GW Security Dome Camera $99.00 on Amazon

Best Overall Dome Camera: Amcrest IP8M-2493EW

Amazon Reviews:

  • Resolution: 4K Ultra HD  3840x2160
  • Zoom: 16x Digital Zoom
  • Brand: Amcrest
  • Viewing Angle: H: 112°
  • Supports micro SD card
  • User manual

What We Liked

  • Easy installation
  • Two-way audio
  • Amazing image quality & night vision
  • Compact size

What We Didn’t Like

  • Bad tech support
  • Does not zoom
  • Gets warm to touch

With functionalities like motion detection, mobile viewing, and amazing night vision, Amcrest UltraHD security camera is the best camera offering ultra HD video quality with the latest Sony STARVIS IMX274 CMOS image sensor and the Ambarella S3LM chipset.

READ: Also consider buying NVR for your cameras. Amcrest NVRs: Ultimate In-Depth Review of 8 Channel Amcrest CCTV NVR systems

This device tops our list because of its high resolution, which is better than all the cameras of our list. It delivers high-quality 8MP videos that makes it ideal for both outdoor and indoor use.

The security camera is equipped with intelligent digital zoom that allows you to capture close details. Also, the camera features H.265/H.246 compression that allows for maximum encryption with the latest technology.

Engineered with IK10 vandal resistant dome and heavy-duty IP67 weatherproof housing, the camera can perform quite well in extreme weather conditions. Also, the device is entirely airtight against dust and can withstand hurricane level rain and winds. With 18 built-in IR LEDs, the camera achieves the low light capability and 98 feet night vision.

Moreover, the device lets you view, record and playback videos from your smartphone with Amcrest cloud app or Amcrest View Pro. With multi-view feature, you can view up to 16 cameras at a time.

Furthermore, the camera comes with a 1-year US warranty and lifetime support from Amcrest.

Best PoE Dome Camera: Reolink RLC-420-5MP

Amazon Reviews:

  • Resolution: 5MP(2560 x 1920)
  • Zoom:
  • Brand: Reolink
  • Viewing Angle: H:  80°, V: 58°
  • ONVIF Compliant :
  • Audio:
  • Supports micro SD card
  • Working temperature: -10℃~+55℃
  • User manual

What We Liked

  • Easy installation
  • Top-notch video quality
  • Works well with both Windows and Android

What We Didn’t Like

  • Complaints about random freezing and stuttering of camera
  • Works with only Reolink NVR
  • Complaints about false alarms

Delivering 5MP super HD footages and wide viewing angle, this camera is ideal for capturing sharper and clearer images for hallways, driveways, etc. Along with its wide viewing angle, the camera features 18 infrared LEDs that deliver amazing night vision of up to 100 feet.

Although it doesn’t offer high resolution like our top pick – Amcrest UltraHD 4K (8MP) Camera, it is definitely better than SV3C Camera that just delivers 2MP videos. Also, the device features an aluminum body that makes it waterproof and perfect for outdoor use. It comes with a built-in microphone and offers an audio range up to 15 feet.

This model comes with a Micro SD card slot that supports up to 64GB for recording motion detection triggered events. The user can also remotely access the camera to get live streaming using Reolink’s app.

So, if you are looking for multiple IP cameras or want 24/7 recording, you can get a PoE NVR that works well with cameras for 24/7 monitoring and recording.

Best Affordable Dome Camera: SV3C D03POE-3MPL-A

Amazon Reviews:

  • Resolution: HD 1920x1080
  • Brand: SV3C
  • Viewing Angle: 70-90°
  • Supports micro SD card

What We Liked

  • Sturdy design
  • Upgraded firmware with no issue

What We Didn’t Like

  • Night vision not up to the mark
  • Bad tech support  
  • Minimal web interface

Delivering full HD 2-megapixel video quality, the camera comes with a 3.6mm fixed lens and advanced 3D dynamic noise reduction technology.

The camera comes in a strong-build aluminum case that is IP66 weatherproof and vandal proof. Equipped with 15 Pcs IR LEDs, the camera offers great night vision of up to 10M-20M.

With advanced PoE technology, the user can use a single network cable for both power and video transmission, which makes the wiring simpler and installation easier.

With 1/3″ 2 Megapixel CMOS sensor, the camera delivers amazing videos. The H.264 compression technology compresses the files without any difference in the video quality and thereby saving a lot of storage space.   

Equipped with IP66 weatherproof rating, the camera is suited for the extreme weather conditions. Also, it features 15 Pcs IR LEDs to provide coverage of up to 10-20M at night.

Moreover, the device is compatible with multiple third-party software such as Ispy, Blue Iris, Security Spy and more.

Comparing to other cameras, this camera is the most affordable one. If you’re looking for a decent picture quality without spending too much, this camera can meet your needs.

Best ONVIF Dome Surveilance Camera: Dahua IPC-HDW4433C

Amazon Reviews:

  • Resolution: 4MP (2688 x 1520)
  • Brand: Dahua
  • Viewing Angle: Level:79°,Vertical:42.4°,Diagonal:92.8°
  • ONVIF Compliant : Yes
  • Audio: Yes

What We Liked

  • Excellent video quality

What We Didn’t Like

 

With 1/3″ 4 Megapixel progressive CMOS image sensor, the camera delivers the best video quality in both day and night with a resolution of up to 2688 x 1520. The camera offers functionalities like night vision, noise reduction, and smart detection.

The camera is equipped with a 3.6mm fixed lens that lets you experience close details. Moreover, it features the 1/3″ 4 Megapixel progressive CMOS image sensor, which delivers striking super HD 4-megapixel at 20FPS videos.

The camera has an IP67 weather-proof rating that protects it from most weather effects. Be it sunlight or rain; it can undergo extreme weather conditions. Besides, it is encased in an airtight heavy-duty metal housing to keep out water, dust, and air. The camera features IR LEDs that are designed to provide coverage up to 50 meters in the dark and ultra-low light.    

The camera features a 3D noise reduction technology that effectively reduces the redundant noise in static images and image with movement.

Offering a wide viewing angle, this camera can add an extra level of security to your home. The H.265 compression technology compresses the files without any difference in the video quality and thereby saving a lot of storage space.    

This camera is another great option if you’re looking for amazing picture quality with genuine pricing. With a variety of features, this camera will be perfect if you want a functional device for your home.

Alternative Top Dome Camera: HIKVISION DS-2CD2142FWD-I

Amazon Reviews:

  • Resolution: 4MP
  • Zoom:
  • Brand: HIKVISION
  • Viewing Angle: 106°(2.7mm), 83°(4mm), 55.4°(6mm)
  • ONVIF Compliant : Yes
  • Audio:
  • Supports micro SD card
  • Working temperature: -30 °C – 60 °C
  • User manual

What We Liked

  • Waterproof casing
  • Tampering alarm to deter intruders
  • Excellent image quality
  • Great web interface

What We Didn’t Like

  • A bit fish-eyed picture

With features like night vision, noise reduction, and exceptional video quality, HIKVISION DS-2CD2142FWD-I is perfect for recording high-quality footages at both day and night. With 1/3″ Progressive Scan CMOS, the camera is ideal for capturing the best and brightest videos outside your home.   

This Ethernet powered outdoor security camera features a 4 Megapixel lens and boasts full HD resolution. The camera comes with a micro SD card slot that supports up to 128GB of onboard recording.  With a wide angle of 106° along with 2.8mm wide lens, this camera covers a wide area.

Moreover, the camera is equipped with H.264+ compression to promote highly efficient footages that save storage space and gives smooth video output. With smart motion detection feature, you can get motion alerts via the app.

The camera is equipped with an IP67 weather-proof rating that protects it from the extreme weather conditions. The camera features infrared LEDs and auto switch to provide coverage up to 30 meters at night.

This device also features 3D digital noise reduction, which seems to be a positive point of this camera as most of the cameras lack this feature.

Best Varifocal Dome Camera: Amcrest IP8M-2454EW Varifocal Lens

Amazon Reviews:

  • Resolution: 4K (8-Megapixel) 3840x2160P
  • Zoom: 4x Optical Zoom
  • Brand: Amcrest
  • Viewing Angle: H: 110°~40°, V: 58°~23°
  • ONVIF Compliant : Yes
  • Audio: Yes
  • Supports micro SD card: Yes, up to 256 GB
  • Working temperature:
  • User manual

What We Liked

  • Well built and easy to install
  • Great image quality

What We Didn’t Like

  • Can’t run reliably at above 1.3MP

With the latest 8MP progressive scanning CMOS image sensor and Ambarella S3L33M chipset, the Amcrest UltraHD 4K Varifocal PoE Dome Outdoor Security Camera delivers striking ultra HD 8MP at 15FPS videos.

The camera has an IP67 weather-proof rating that protects it from most weather effects. Be it rain or the sunlight; it can undergo extreme weather conditions. Besides, it is encased in an airtight heavy-duty metal housing and IK10 vandal-resistant dome to keep out water, dust, and air. The camera features 2 IR LEDs that are designed to provide coverage up to 164 feet in the dark and ultra-low light.    

With H.265 compressions technology, the camera allows the files to be compressed without affecting the video quality. The camera also features advanced zone detection features, which will enable you to customize what you’re monitoring thoroughly.  

Along with the Amcrest Cloud, this camera can also record to an FTP server, to a Micro SD card, onto your local computer and even to any Amcrest NVR.

Furthermore, Amcrest ensures you get a 30-day money back guarantee along with a 1-year replacement warranty.

Best high-end Dome Camera: “GW Security GW5071

Amazon Reviews:

  • Resolution: 5 Megapixel 2592 x 1920
  • Zoom: Digital zoom
  • Brand: GW Security
  • Viewing Angle:
  • ONVIF Compliant : Yes
  • Audio:
  • Working temperature:
  • User manual

What We Liked

  • Great quality
  • Amazing night vision
  • Easy installation
  • Metal casing  

What We Didn’t Like

  • none

The Camera is equipped with the advanced 1920P super high resolution and the latest image sensor that provides the best image quality in both day and night with a resolution of up to 2592 x 1920.

This camera can record real-time 1080p and 1536p resolution at 30 FPS, for smooth and clear playback of recorded footages. Moreover, the even higher definition of 5MP offers more viewing pixels recorded in near real-time 15 frames per second for incredible detail and superior face recognition.

The 3.6mm Megapixel HD lens along with 48Pcs IR Light Emitting Diode illumination allows you to record videos up to 130 Ft at night with a single cable.

With plug and play design, the camera is easy to install and setup. With waterproof and vandal resistant housing, this dome camera is suitable for most indoor and outdoor installations. Among other cameras, this offers 5MP high-resolution videos and offers great coverage for night time recording.