2019’s Best Security Camera Systems for Small Business
A jaw-dropping 80% of theft occurs in businesses with less than 100 employees.1 So if you’re running a small to mid-sized business, investing in a video surveillance system may be just the deterrent you need.
Best OverallMonitoring availableComplete security solution
Budget Pick$99.99 starting priceIndoor/outdoor versatility
Best Outdoor SystemFunctionality between -40°F and 113°FNight vision up to 50 ft.
Best Wireless SystemSolar-powered camera optionsSmart siren
Best for Small OfficesGreater security against hacking16-camera capacity
If you’re like most small businesses, you can’t afford having your assets stolen, vandalized, or tampered with. That’s where commercial-grade security camera systems can come in handy.
With a video surveillance system, you can use your camera’s motion detectors to prevent employee theft before business hours. You can record customer interactions to catch potential shoplifters during the day. And you can check in via your mobile device after closing time to make sure your office is locked up tight.
You’ve worked hard to build your business—now it’s time to protect it. Fortunately, we’ve made it a bit easier for you by sifting through the many security camera options on the market. Here are our favorite surveillance systems for small businesses.
Best business surveillance systems at a glance
|Features||Two-way voice communication, video monitoring, scalable security options||Less hackable hardware, 16-camera capacity, digital zoom in both live and playback modes|
|Starting price||$99.99+ $14.99+/mo.*||$299.99|
|Storage||Unlimited cloud storage (up to 1,000 clips)||500 hrs. DVR storage|
|Max. night vision capability||50 ft.||130 ft.|
|View Plans||View Prices|
Why aren't Hikvision's EZVIZ systems on our list?
EZVIZ is a bit like the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. When we first researched EZVIZ systems, we were like, “My, what great video resolution, night vision, and weatherproofing you have.” Turns out, those perks may have been all the better for spying on American businesses with. So until the US government has officially dropped investigations into Hikvision’s use of its camera systems, we felt it best to leave EZVIZ systems off our list.
Frontpoint: Best surveillance camera system for small businesses
|Indoor Camera||Doorbell Camera||Premium Indoor Camera||Outdoor Camera|
|Features||Two-way voice communication, 113° field of view, adjustable motion sensors||Two-way communication, omnidirectional microphone, 8 ft. motion detection range||Two-way communication, 180° field of view, built-in Bluetooth speakers||77° field of view, adjustable motion sensors|
|Storage||Unlimited cloud storage (up to 1,000 clips)||Unlimited cloud storage (up to 1,000 clips)||Unlimited cloud storage (up to 1,000 clips)||Unlimited cloud storage (up to 1,000 clips)|
|Night vision capability||50 ft.||40 ft.||15 ft.||40 ft.|
|View Plans||View Plans||View Plans||View Plans|
Our top pick for small-business video monitoring systems is Frontpoint—mostly because Frontpoint doesn’t just provide high-definition cameras.
Because Frontpoint is a security company (not just a hardware manufacturer), you can get all the security options you need to outfit your business. We’re talking smart light controls, smart locks, keypads, motion sensors, carbon monoxide detectors—anything and everything you need to make your workplace safe, efficient, and comfortable.
Of course, Frontpoint also offers excellent equipment options for your security camera system. Most Frontpoint cameras include 1080p video quality and two-way voice communication, and the Premium Indoor Camera features the widest viewing angle of any camera on our list. Plus, you can DIY install all your equipment—no extra fees for CCTV camera installation.
We also like that Frontpoint offers monitoring to go with your system. But word to the wise, that doesn’t mean a Frontpoint employee is going to sit in front of a screen and actually watch your video surveillance system for you. Instead, the system will detect anything out of the ordinary and alert you via push notifications on your phone, tablet, and other devices. You’ll then have to use the remote viewing feature on Frontpoint’s mobile app to determine if there’s a legitimate security threat and notify the authorities yourself.
To be fair, the same is true with all the other systems on our list. But with Frontpoint, the $14.99-per-month self-monitoring fee is mandatory—kind of rough considering all the other options on our list include alerts and at least a little bit of storage for free.
Blink XT2: Most affordable security camera system
|Blink XT2 Camera|
|Features||Free cloud storage, 110° field of view, two-way communication, 2-year battery life, weatherproof housing|
|Storage||1 year cloud storage (clips only)|
|Night vision capability||20 ft.|
|One Camera System cost||$99.99|
|Two Camera System cost||$179.99|
|Three Camera System cost||$249.99|
|Five Camera System cost||$379.99|
The Blink XT2 video surveillance system lets small-business owners enjoy high-definition recording for less.
The Blink XT2 line is by far the most affordable option on our list, with single-camera systems starting at just $99. But don’t let the price fool you—the Blink XT2 camera also brings the heat in terms of quality.
Blink XT2 cameras are multifunctional, meaning they can be used both indoors and outdoors. They’re also fairly resilient when used outdoors, as they can operate in anything from -4° weather to scorching 113° heat waves. And the mobile app (available on iOS and Android) makes it easy to find your system’s remote viewing options from whatever device you use.
Of course, that’s not to say that the Blink XT2 system is flawless. While the cloud storage for your video recordings is free, you can only store clips—the short recordings triggered by motion in front of your camera. That’s a little disappointing considering Nest, Arlo, and Lorex all offer continuous recording options.
What’s more, many Blink customers report that the battery on the camera lasts much less than the advertised two years, and the night vision range on the camera leaves something to be desired.
On the whole, though, if your small business is on a tight budget and you need only a few cameras, you can’t go wrong with the Blink XT2 system.
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor: Best video surveillance system for outdoors
|Nest Cam Outdoor||Nest Cam Indoor||Nest Cam IQ Indoor||Nest Cam IQ Outdoor|
|Features||Weatherproof housing, intelligent alerts*, up to 8x zoom, two-way audio, 130° viewing angle||Intelligent alerts*, up to 8x zoom, two-way audio, 130° viewing angle||Intelligent alerts*, smart zoom and follow*, facial recognition*, two-way audio, 130° viewing angle||Weatherproof housing, intelligent alerts*, smart zoom and follow*, facial recognition*, 360° pivot, two-way audio, 130° viewing angle|
|Storage||Up to 30 days cloud storage (24/7 recording)*||Up to 30 days cloud storage (24/7 recording)*||Up to 30 days cloud storage (24/7 recording)*||Up to 30 days cloud storage (24/7 recording)*|
|Resolution||1080p||1080p||1080p HDR||1080p HDR|
|Night vision capability||20 ft.||20 ft.||50 ft.||50 ft.|
|Single camera cost||$199||$199||$299||$349|
|2-camera system cost||$298||$398||$498||$598|
|3-camera system cost||$497||$397||$797||$947|
|4-camera system cost||$586||$596||$996||$1,196|
|5-camera system cost||$785||$645||$1,295||$1,545|
|6-camera system cost||$864||$794||$1,494||$1,794|
|View Systems||View Systems||View Systems||View Systems|
There’s a lot to love about Nest security camera systems—especially if your business needs a few weatherproof outdoor cameras.
Nest cameras feature top-notch weatherproof housing that can withstand cold temps down to -40°F and hot temps up to 113°F. So basically, they can handle outdoor surveillance in both frigid Alaska temps or the punishing Arizona heat. And the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has a decent night vision range of 50 feet.
Nest was also the only provider we found that offered 1080p picture quality with high dynamic range imaging (HDR). Basically, this allows your Nest Cam IQ device to shoot videos with multiple exposures, then digitally combine the images to create a more true-to-life video. This prevents your high-definition video from looking grainy or washed out—even when your device is exposed to direct sunlight—which ultimately makes it easier to detect and identify intruders.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is Nest offers only three hours’ worth of cloud storage for free. You still get remote viewing capabilities on the Nest mobile app, but the system only stores clips (not continuous recording). If you want more, you’ll need to sign up for a Nest Aware plan.
Here are Nest’s storage plan options and starting prices:
- 5-day subscription: $5 per month (or $50 per year)
- 10-day subscription: $10 per month (or $100 per year)
- 30-day subscription: $30 per month (or $300 per year)
You should also consider that each additional camera in your system will cost an extra $3 per month (or $30 per year). So if you want a three-camera system with continuous recording, you’ll wind up paying $11–$39 per month (or $110–$360 per year), depending on the plan you choose.
Each plan includes 24/7 recording plus intelligent alerts that filter out cars and other objects. And if you pair a Nest Aware plan with a Nest Cam IQ device, you also get facial recognition, smart zoom and follow, and the ability to set activity zones (which helps prevent false alerts).
We think those features make the storage upgrade worth the extra cost, but it is totally optional. Without a plan, you’ll still get a quality camera with a great viewing angle. And you’ll still be able to catch major alerts from your iOS or Android device as they come in.
Arlo Pro 2: Best wireless security camera system for businesses
|Arlo Pro 2|
|Features||Solar-powered cameras, built-in smart siren, local storage options, 130° field of view|
|Storage||Up to 60 days cloud storage* (clips only, or 24/7 recording with additional fee)|
|Night vision capability||25 ft.|
|Arlo Pro 2 Smart Security System with 1 Camera cost||$299.99|
|Arlo Pro 2 Smart Security System with 2 Cameras cost||$479.99|
|Arlo Pro 2 Smart Security System with 3 Cameras cost||$679.99|
|Arlo Pro 2 Smart Security System with 4 Cameras cost||$799.99|
|Arlo Pro 2 Smart Security System with 6 Cameras cost||$1,099.99|
Don’t want to deal with intense installation on your surveillance system? A wireless system might be your best bet. And our favorite wireless security camera system has to be the Arlo Pro 2.
We absolutely love that the Arlo Pro 2 can use a solar panel for power. That means lower power bills, less money spent on AA batteries, and greater reliability (since you don’t have to worry about your wireless cameras running out of juice). And the Arlo Pro 2 packs a punch with built-in alarm systems that can go off anytime your smart surveillance system notices anything out of the ordinary.
The Arlo Pro 2 also offers decent picture quality: 1080p high definition comes standard, and the camera has one of the widest viewing angles on our list (130°). And like most surveillance systems, Arlo offers a mobile app for iOS and Android so you can enjoy remote viewing on your mobile devices.
Of course, the system does have some drawbacks. The night vision range is only 25 ft. (a fifth of the range on Lorex systems), though some users report the infrared on the Arlo Pro 2 is so sensitive they often can’t get night-time pictures that extend that far.
And then there’s Arlo’s pretty poor storage options. You only get a week’s worth of recordings, and old recordings are automatically deleted. If you want more storage, Arlo offers additional space, though business plans can cost as much as $59.99 per month for 60 days’ worth of storage. Here’s what they offer:
- Premier plan: $12.99 per month ($129 per year); includes 30 days of cloud recordings and supports up to 10 cameras
- Elite plan: $18.99 per month ($189 per year); includes 60 days of cloud recordings and supports up to 15 cameras
- Advanced Business plan: $14.99 per month ($149.04 per year); includes 14 days of cloud recordings and supports up to 16 cameras
- Professional Business plan: $29.99 per month ($299.04 per year); includes 30 days of cloud recordings and supports up to 24 cameras
- Enterprise Business plan: $59.99 per month ($599.04 per year); includes 60 days of cloud recordings and supports up to 40 cameras
Keep in mind, though, that none of these plans include continuous recording. That costs even more:
- 14-day continuous recording plan: $11.99 per month, per camera ($119 per year, per camera)
- 30-day continuous recording plan: $23.99 per month, per camera ($239 per year, per camera)
- 60-day continuous recording plan: $34.99 per month, per camera ($349 per year, per camera)
In other words, it’d cost at least $48.96 per month ($486 per year) to support continuous recording on a three-camera system. That’s almost five times more than you’d pay for a comparable Nest plan. In fact, Arlo plans cost significantly more than Nest plans even without continuous recording. So if you plan to use your system for more than the occasional motion-based recording, you’re probably better off going with a Nest system.
Lorex: Best surveillance system for small offices
|LBV2531 + DV900|
|Features||Less hackable hardware, 16-camera capacity, digital zoom in both live and playback modes|
|Storage||500 hrs. DVR storage|
|Night vision capability||130 ft.|
|4-camera system cost||$299.99|
|8-camera system cost||$429.99|
|16-camera system cost||$699.99|
Lorex is a top-notch brand that offers quite a few CCTV camera systems. But when it comes to cost and adaptability for small office spaces, we like the LBV2531 camera model, paired with the DV900 DVR.
Lorex’s LBV2531 cameras are analog, which means you don’t have to connect them to the internet. This makes them more secure and harder to hack. The drawback, though, is they have to be hardwired to the system DVR via coaxial cable. Coax cable is stiffer, doesn’t transmit audio or power, and has a range of only about 300 feet before the image quality begins to degrade.
Translation: the Lorex LBV2531 system can connect cameras over only a short distance, but it’s vastly more secure than its cloud-based counterparts.
Even though the Lorex LBV2531 camera is analog, it still delivers 1080p high-definition picture, digital video features (like digital zoom on both live feeds and recordings), and the biggest night vision range on our list at 130 feet. It’s also got a decent temperature range if you decide to use it outdoors.
Plus, you’ve got to love that 500 hours of recording space. That’s over 20 days’ worth of continuous recording you can fit on your DVR—certainly nothing to sneeze at. And even though Lorex systems use hardwiring and DVR storage, you can still connect your system to the web if you want to take advantage of remote viewing capabilities on the iOS and Android mobile apps.
FAQs about small-business surveillance systems
How many cameras does my business need?
That depends on a few factors.
- Power usage
Some cameras use more power than others, and we’re not all made of money. Make sure you don’t get so many cameras that it overwhelms your budget (or your circuit breaker).
- Office size
The larger your workplace, the more cameras you need to cover every square foot. Of course, if you’re only looking to monitor specific areas (like the cash register or safe), the size of your workplace may be irrelevant.
- Field of view and pan tilt
If you get a camera with a narrow viewing angle, you should consider getting more cameras to monitor every area of your business. However, if your camera has a narrow viewing angle but a wide pan tilt, you may be fine to scale back your number of cameras (as long as you frequently pan the cameras to take in every corner of the room).
- Frame rate
Frame rate refers to the number of frames per second captured by your camera. If your camera of choice has a low frame rate, more cameras may be a worthwhile investment to help lower your chances of missing an important incident.
Do I need a video surveillance system if my building already offers security?
If your building offers security, you might not need your own video surveillance system. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea.
Office security systems can include guards, 24/7 video monitoring, door controls, or any number of fancy features. In that case, getting your own surveillance system within your office suite isn’t a necessity—though it would still be valuable if for no other reason than giving you remote monitoring capabilities.
Alternatively, your building’s security system could consist of nothing more than a couple bubble cameras that only monitor hallways and office entries. Businesses with this type of building security should definitely consider getting their own CCTV setup to provide adequate protection for their assets.
In the end, installing your own security system will do wonders for your peace of mind, and you can’t put a price tag on that.
What’s the difference between DVR and NVR?
DVR stands for digital video recording, whereas NVR stands for network video recording. What does that mean? Basically, it comes down to where and how your system’s videos are recorded and stored.
In a DVR system, cameras have to be hard-wired to a DVR device. When your camera captures video, it’s sent to the DVR via coaxial cable. The DVR then processes the image data and saves it as a video recording on its hard drive.
Because DVR systems must be hard-wired with coax cable, they’re not as versatile as NVR options. Coax is stiff, larger than other cables, and incapable of transmitting audio, so DVR systems often have to run large amounts of cabling through walls and ceilings to connect each camera to the DVR.
NVR systems, on the other hand, can be wired or wireless. NVR cameras capture images, process them, then transmit them to the NVR—either via your Wi-Fi network or an ethernet cable. The NVR then saves the already-processed video. Alternatively, NVR cameras can save video images to their own internal storage using a microSD card.
If connected by ethernet cables, NVR systems tend to be easier than DVR systems to install (since ethernet is smaller, more flexible, and capable of transmitting audio). However, NVR systems that connect via Wi-Fi are a bit more susceptible to hacking, as hackers can intercept and control camera signals simply by accessing the network.
In the end, both DVR and NVR systems are great options for your surveillance system. The right choice just depends on your workspace and privacy preferences.
To sum up
There are tons of commercial security camera systems on the market, but our overall favorite is the robust Frontpoint system, which you can mix and match with other security system devices. Plus, Frontpoint offers monitoring—though you’ll still have to keep tabs on your system yourself using the mobile app.
For businesses on a budget, we recommend the Blink XT2, which starts at just $99.99 for a single-camera system.
We also prefer the outdoor capabilities of Nest systems, the solar panel and other wireless perks of the Arlo Pro 2, and the hard-to-hack DVR storage included with the Lorex LBV2531 system.
Looking to build out your business security system? Check out the pros and cons of the top providers in our guide to the best business security systems.
At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don’t guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.