We live in a generation where wires are often viewed as a nuisance. In the security camera industry, this trend has led to an explosion of battery-powered Wi-Fi dependent cameras. Yet there are clear disadvantages to battery-powered cameras including lag time and degraded resolution. For some, the solution is simple: PoE (Power over Ethernet). Though PoE is not a wireless solution, it does limit the number of wires needed, and the solution has several advantages.
The Advantages Of PoE
They say "two is better than one," but that's not true when dealing with wires. PoE combines the function of two wires into one Ethernet cable. In a PoE setup, the Ethernet cable is responsible for providing power to the camera and transferring data.
An electrical current is routed to the cable via a PoE Injector. Upon reaching the camera, the current will be used to power the device while the cable still serves the purpose of keeping your device internet connected.
Using PoE provides several advantages, including:
- A stronger and more consistent internet connection.
- Faster internet speeds for improved performance.
- One wire vs. two.
However, while installing a PoE camera indoors might be a touch easier, installing an outdoor PoE camera might make the process more challenging when compared to installing a battery-powered or even a wireless camera as the process requires drilling to find and connect to a CAT5/6 cable.
You should also keep in mind that though many cameras offer an Ethernet port, not many are true PoE cameras. Unless a camera is explicitly stated as supporting PoE, it probably doesn't. If you want to add PoE capability to your existing security camera, you will need to add an electrical component called a "picker" to the device. Doing so will void your camera's warranty.
That said, your best bet is to find a PoE-ready camera. Below you will find several options divided into three categories: indoor cameras, outdoor cameras, and doorbell cameras.
TOP INDOOR PICK: Arlo Q Plus
Arlo is best known for their wire-free cameras, but Arlo Q Plus is different. It's a wired indoor camera that supports PoE, has a 1080p resolution, night vision, seven days of cloud storage, and optional local storage. However, don't confuse Arlo Q with Arlo Q Plus; Plus supports PoE while Arlo Q does not.
Amcrest ProHD IP2M-841E
Amcrest sells a fleet of security cameras, and a good number of them support PoE. IP2M-841E is a pan-and-tilt camera with 1080p resolution, night vision, and two-way audio.
BUY NOW: $89.99
Like Amcrest, Hikvision offers tons of security cameras. One of the best PoE options to use indoors is the Hikvision DS-2CD2432F-IW. It features a 1080p resolution, night vision, and a PIR motion sensor.
BUY NOW: $89.99
TOP OUTDOOR PICK: Oco Pro Dome v1
Oco Pro Dome v1 is an older version of their dome-type outdoor camera. They recently launched Oco Pro Dome v2, which, unfortunately, no longer supports PoE. However, you can still purchase v1 from third-party retailers such as Amazon while supplies last.
Oco Pro Dome v1 is a weatherproof outdoor camera with a 1080p resolution, night vision, local and cloud storage, and motion detection. As a dome-type camera, however, your installation options are limited.
BUY NOW: $129.00
If hanging a camera from a ceiling or an eave isn't an option for you, take a look at EZVIZ Husky. The camera comes in both a bullet and dome version, and both support PoE. Both models offer a 1080p resolution, night vision, motion detection, and optional local storage via microSD.
Yet another Dome option, Cammy Spider offers a power-over-ethernet solution. The camera records in 1080p HD, offers night vision, is weatherproof, and pairs with the Cammy Hub to provide continuous video recording.
Cammy has a different model for pricing. To get started, you'll need to buy a kit which generally starts with their indoor camera and the Cammy Hub. You can learn more about Cammy by reading our hands-on review or by heading to their website.
Hybrid Indoor/Outdoor Models
TOP HYBRID PICK: Ring Stick Up Cam Elite
Coming soon, Ring plans to upgrade their existing Ring Stick Up Cam and split it into two versions: Stick Up Cam and Stick Up Cam Elite.
Elite will offer a FHD 1080p resolution, two-way audio, motion detection, motion zones, and mounting options that allow it to be used inside or out. The major difference between Elite and the other Stick Up Cam is that Elite is a wired camera. You can charge it using PoE or you can plug it into any standard wall outlet. Details on the camera are still scarce, but we will be keeping an eye on things.
TOP DOORBELL PICK: Ring Video Doorbell Elite
Ring offers several video doorbell, and their Ring Elite model caters to users who prefer PoE. Ring Elite is a doorbell that sits flush to your wall with features similar to other Ring doorbells. It will alert you if someone presses the doorbell or if motion is detected. It also supports two-way talk with live video streaming.
BUY NOW: $499
DoorBird Flush Mount Edition
Like Ring, DoorBird sells several doorbell camera models. Like Ring Elite, their PoE video doorbell sits flush with your wall. It also features doorbell alerts and motion detection, and is ONVIF-compliant.
BUY NOW: $599.00