When it comes to my home and my family, safety is my number one priority.
A home security DVR system is the most cost effective way to protect your home or office. Using high quality cameras these devices can record hours of footage and set your mind at ease. Advances in technology and competition has also made it easier to find a good security camera DVR on a budget.
I picked the top 5 HD DVR systems based on their features, ease of use, capabilities and dependability. I have years of experience using residential and commercial DVR products, and I put that to good use here. To help you out I prepared detailed reviews of the top rated DVR security kits available.
- Best Security DVR Comparison Chart
- Best Surveillance DVR Buyer’s Guide
- Best CCTV DVR Cameras Questions / FAQs
- What is a security DVR / What is a DVR security system?
- What is a DVR for CCTV?
- How do DVR security systems work/ How does a CCTV DVR work with security cameras?
- What is a car DVR camera?
- What is better NVR or DVR?
- Which security DVR is the best on the market / What is the best Security DVR brand?
- Where to install security DVR?
- How do I install a DVR security camera systems
- Where can I hide a security DVR?
- Can I use a security DVR to record TV?
- How do I connect security DVR to internet?
- How do I backup my CCTV DVR?
- How can I reset a security DVR?
- Are all security cameras compatible with all DVRs?
- Do I need a DVR for security cameras?
Best Security DVR Comparison Chart
No time to read the reviews and want to buy a DVR kit now? See the the comparison chart below.
Pre-installed 1TB HDD
Supports up to 6TB
Pre-installed 2TB HDD
Supports up to 4TB
Pre-installed 2TB HDD
Supports up to 1TB
Pre-installed 1TB HDD
Supports up to 3TB
Pre-installed 1TB HDD
Supports up to 4TB
1. ANNKE Home Security Camera System – 8 Channel
The ANNKE is s versatile DVR system that’s suited for indoor and outdoor use. With its simple installation, weatherproof cameras and instant notification you’ll be updated right away. Playback controls are also intuitive and there’s remote access via your mobile device.
The ANNKE DVR is built using the latest technology to provide crisp, clear video resolution. The entire system is used mostly at home but they’re capable of servicing business establishments too. Its compression mechanism reduces data size but without compromising quality.
You can download the app from iTunes or Google Play. With it you have remote viewing access via your smartphone or tablet. There is 1CH RCA/ 1CH RCA for audio input/output and 8CH BNC/ 1CH VGA, 1CH HDMI for video. The interface is RJ45 10/100M.
- The DVR offers 1280 x 720p resolution with H.264+/H.264 compression.
- 8 outdoor weatherproof IP6 CCTV cameras are bundled.
- Alerts and notifications are immediately sent by SMS and email.
- 1 TB HDD is pre-installed and can be upgraded to 6 TB.
- The 8 cameras can record 24/7 or upon motion detection.
- You can conduct surveillance from your smartphone or desktop computer.
- The H.264+ technology allows the DVR to hold 600 hours of continuous recording.
- There is lifetime email and telephone support provided.
This is plug and play so installation doesn’t pose any problems. The package includes a couple of splitter cables, power adapters and 60 ft BNC cables. All the stuff you need are right there and you just install the software CD to get started.
Encoding is good for up to 8*[email protected] and with a resolution of 1080p, the video and recordings are clear. It works with different types of cameras, not that the built in ones aren’t any good. The 8 cameras are IP66 rated weatherproof for outdoor and indoor use.
Video resolution is 1280x720p and is among the best in its class. Even with compression the quality is still better compared to typical mini bullet cameras. There’s a 1 TB hard drive but it can be upgraded to 6 TB. With multiple input options like TVI/AHD/CVI/CVBS/IP there shouldn’t be an issue with compatibility.
Coaxial video transmission range is up to 66 ft. Day or night you’ll see a lot due to the wide viewing angle. Playback controls are pretty good and it is even more convenient to use with your smartphone. There’s also a smart search that makes it easy to locate incidents. You can also customize the DVR to minimize false alerts.
2. Q-See QC958-8Y5-2 8 Channel DVR Security System
The Q-See is the DVR system for those who don’t want to compromise. This 8 channel /8 camera / 8ch system offers high resolution video and plenty of storage. You also get an app for remote access anytime, anywhere.
The DVR looks like any typical recorder, but what sets it apart are the 8 cameras. The system includes several ports for your convenience and greater flexibility. The system is built for use with desktop / laptop computers and mobile devices.
- The DVR comes with HDMI, USB, VGA, PTZ, power input, video in, audio in, audio out and network ports.
- An HDMI cable, mouse, power splitters and 8 BNC cables are included.
- The DVR has 720 recording resolution.
- 8 HD bullet weatherproof cameras are bundled.
- The camera range is good for 100 feet in ambient conditions and 65 feet total darkness.
- The companion Q-See mobile app is available for the iOS and Android.
- The QC958 has a 2 TB preinstalled hard disk drive and is expandable to 4 TB.
Most DVR recorders for warehouse and commercial use are hard to set up, but the Q-See has a start up wizard that simplifies the process. Set up is straightforward for the MAC and PC. With its Scan and View it only takes a few steps to configure the DVR for your computer or smartphone.
There are a couple of 60 ft cables included, and with ports for HDMI, VGA, USB and others you can configure the DVR to suit your specific requirements. The supplied cable may be too short for some, but it’s all right to get a longer cable and it will still work. In case there is a power outage you can manually restart it. The auto mode is for rebooting only.
The first thing you’ll notice is the resolution quality. At 720p it is crisp and clear whether viewed from a computer or smartphone. The quality is excellent during the day and even at night time it is also good.
The 2 TB is a nice touch as most DVR kits only have a TB of storage. Doubling that capacity makes a huge difference, and you can even expand it up to 4 TB. Since the HDD is pre-installed so no need to tinker with it. Streaming is consistent and the app runs smoothly. You’ll want to update the software regularly to avoid glitches however.
The system isn’t prone to false alarms, and email notifications are sent in case of failure or there’s an alert. This DVR also lets you record motion detection or continuous, and making adjustments is easy on the menu. You’ll be able to store more data if you set it to motion detection, but with 2 to 4 TB there’s plenty of space either way.
3. Amcrest ProHD 720P 4CH Video Security System
The ProHD offers HD resolution for detailed feedback, and it is easy to set up. With four four channels and 4 cameras you get real time feedback with no lag and plenty of detail. Apart from providing notification, the ProHD can be configured to prevent false alarms.
The ProHD uses the HDCVI’s closed-circuit system, providing a safe network. Its plug and play system simplifies installation, and all the components are compact so they don’t consume a lot of space.
One of the highlights is the design is the customizable motion detection sensor. The design allows you to configure the perimeter and what sections of the grid will be activated. You can customize the DVR to arm/disarm and set the schedule.
- The ProHD has 1280 x [email protected] resolution for clear images and recording.
- The unit has 4 channels and four cameras, two 1MP security dome and two 1MP bullet. These are IP67 cameras with 75 degree wide angle viewing, and 3.6 m lens.
- You can use the ProHD on the MAC, PC, iOS and Android devices.
- Its USB allows you to back up data.
- Every component is FCC and CE certified.
- The cameras are waterproof, weatherproof and made from metal.
- The cameras have IR-LED night vision.
- Its hard drive has a 1 TB capacity.
The DVR is plug and play so installation is straightforward. Because it supports coaxial and CCTV designs you don’t need to do a lot of tinkering. For remote viewing you simply download the app and use it on your iOS or Android device. Just scan the code and you get the Amcrest View app.
The ProHD can record up to 360 hours on its 1 TB HDD at [email protected] Recording works seamlessly whether you schedule the recording or use its motion sensors. The transmission range is good up to 500 m / 1640 feet from the recorder to the camera.
The ProHD has a 1 TB but supports up to 4 TB. Depending on the settings you choose you can record 360 hours / 15 days or up to 50 days. No matter what recording option is chosen you get full control of all the cameras.
With its HDCVI system the ProHD can handle input from the four cameras at the same time even at 720p. The data is uncompressed so you don’t lose detail. Transmission is in real time and without latency.
Once you’ve configured the settings, ProHD runs according to your preferences. Once the DVR is triggered you’ll be notified by email and other notifications. Each of the cameras is encrypted so it is tamper proof. The HDCVI system works seamlessly whether you use web browsers on your desktop or mobile.
4. EZVIZ FULL HD 1080p Outdoor Surveillance System, 4 Weatherproof HD Security Cameras
The EZVIZ is a high end surveillance kit that can be used anywhere. This HD DVR offers reliable motion detection not found in a cheap brand, and the EZVIZ is not only reliable but has safeguards built in.
The EZVIZ DVR has a compact,4 channel/ 4 camera / 4ch design. Each weatherproof camera can withstand not just rain but also, thunderstorms, snow and sunny weather. Once you’ve set up the DVR you can monitor the recordings with the unit or the smartphone app. Both app and direct viewing offer excellent controls.
Because the cameras are so durable the EZVIZ system is often used outdoors, but the design allows its use indoors, home and business. Firmware updates are provided so you’ll just need to press one button to update the DVR.
- The EZVIZ comes with four 1080p HD weatherproof bullet cameras.
- The DVR has a 1 TB HDD built in that can record hours of footage. It can be upgraded to 2 TB or 3 TB.
- Motion detection sensors can be configured to cut down false alarms.
- Instant alerts notify you if the cameras detect unusual movements.
- The DVR has voice control and smart home ready.
- Its 3MP cameras offer 1080p resolution.
- The range is 65 to 100 feet in darkness and 100 feet in ambient light.
The EZVIZ has four 60ft siamese CCTV BNC cables for simple, straightforward video and power connections. It’s easy to connect the DVR to your cameras so it’ll be up and ready in no time. The EZVIZ app is available for free download on the iOS or Android and for direct viewing you’ll need a VGA or HDMI input.
With a 75 degree wide angle and 1080p resolution, the EZVIZ home DVR offers clear, crisp resolution. Even if it’s not at max settings the quality is comparable to a high end IP camera. The night vision is good up to a hundred feet and even in complete darkness the range is 4 feet.
Its 1 TB HDD means you’ll be able to store a lot of data and it has ability to work at various temperatures. Whether you opt for wireless or Ethernet the performance is reliable and consistent. The EZVIZ app is easy to use be it on your smartphone or tablet and you can tweak the sensitivity level to prevent false alarms.
Once you’ve wired the DVR it’s just a matter of choosing the options you want for home or business monitoring. The supplied cable is 60 feet and may not be long enough for some, but you can use longer cables and it won’t have a detrimental effect on the recorded image. Daylight or evening the quality is clear and setting up parameter zones is easy.
5. ZOSI H.264 HD-TVI 1080P Lite Video DVR
The ZOSI is a standalone CCTV DVR kit that is built for convenient monitoring on your PC or smartphone. With a spacious storage system and a QR code scan you’ll be able to use the DVR the way you want.
The HD-TVI 1080P DVR system is compatible with TV1, AHD and analog cameras. It uses H.264 technology that compresses data without sacrificing quality. The design also allows the DVR to access the web using different connections like 3G/4G and so on. You can also install up to 8 analog cameras here.
- The 8 channel H.264 has support for 1080p resolution.
- Its USB port allows you to back up your data to a flash drive.
- There is built in support for 960h cameras.
- Its Secu365 app is compatible with Ethernet, wireless and other types of network access.
- Its motion detection activates pus alerts and notifications so you’ll never be caught unaware.
- A 1 TB hard disk is pre-installed, and it can be expanded up to 4 TB.
- Quick remote access is integrated for PC or smartphone.
- The DVR can record up to 12 days at max resolution or 30 days if you use motion detection.
Installation is straightforward. With plug and play you literally just plug the DVR in and it’s ready to use. Its QR code scan makes the process even easier. The Secu365 app is available for Android and iOS devices so just download the app and you’ll be able to view from your mobile.
The design makes the DVR easy to use. Basically you just connect the camera to the DVR and connect the DVR to the network. Scan the code and it will start downloading the app. Input the QR code and you can start using the app.
The DVR operates smoothly on a display or mobile device. The Zosi View app has complete playback control and data is streamed in real time. Unlike other wired DVRs, the Zosi is compatible with 2G, 3G, 4G and other Internet networks. So even if you don’t have Wi-Fi you can still use the DVR.
The HD resolution provides clear video, and you can choose from various inputs – BNC, VGA, HDMI – and it’s set to go. Like other top rated DVR kits you can set the Zosi for continuous recording or when motion is detected.
The HDD can hold up to 12 days’ data of continuous recording. If you opt for motion detection, which is what most go for, the hard drive is good for up to 30 days. If the 1 TB HDD is insufficient you can upgrade to the 4 TB model. The DVR also lets you customised record modes.
Best Surveillance DVR Buyer’s Guide
All DVR security systems will say they’re the best, but they’re not made equal and your needs may differ from another person. Even so there are some general guidelines to consider.
Cost is always a factor but it must not be the only one. Don’t settle for the cheapest DVR as you have to consider the features. It’s better to buy a more expensive DVR kit that settle for a cheap unreliable one.
Most DVRs have 4 or 8 cameras installed. Some units are standalone while others offer room for more, i.e. 4 cameras are bundled with the package but can support up to 8.
Connectivity refers to the number of ports, audio input, video output and Internet connection. A good DVR system offers Ethernet, cable and wireless Internet support. They also have BNC, TVI, AHD, USB, VGA, HDMI and other types of video/audio input. PoE means the cameras can be powered over Ethernet.
Do not settle for anything less than 720p. Most if not all major DVR brands have HD cameras. The high resolution is especially important for night vision and if you want to capture photo or video evidence.
The greater the field of view the more you’ll be able to see. Most DVR cameras have wide angel views in the 70 to 80 degree range, but others are even higher. The most ideal situation is to have 4 to 8 wide angle cameras to cover critical areas.
Pan, tilt and zoom are essential for cameras as it gives you more control. By tilting, panning or zooming you’ll be able to take a closer look at what the camera captured and analyse it.
Most DVR units have the same basic shape, but the difference lies in the number of ports and connectors they have. The more ports supported the better and the same goes for the inputs and outputs. The cameras should also be compact and can be set up discreetly and easily.
Most DVR recorders have a 1 TB HDD pre-installed, though some offer 2 TB. You’ll also find that most can be expanded up to 6 TB or more. These drives also use compression technology to reduce the data size.
Whether it is a 2 channel / 2 camera / 2ch or a 16 channel/16 camera /16ch system, there’s bound to be night vision. What you should look for is the range which should be 65 to 100 feet.
The capacity varies from system to system. Most solar and electrical DVR units can record hundreds of hours. It really depends on what type of recording you do, i.e. continuous or not.
All outdoor DVR security systems are weatherproof to some degree. Look for the IP designation like IP65, IP66, IP67 etc. The higher the rating the better.
DVRs come with a CD software that are updated regularly, and they’re compatible with MAC and PC systems. For greater convenience look for those with companion apps. With an Android or iPhone app you’ll be have remote view and access.
Why isn’t the camera working anymore? Why does the software always crash? Why is the image fuzzy? These are questions customer support must answer. And if there’s a need for repair, check if it’s still under warranty. Most DVRs have a 1 year warranty while others last for 2 years.
This feature is a must, and many buy a DVR solely for this purpose. With a motion detection the camera senses and records the incident. Recording only when motion has been detected is going to conserve storage space on the drive.
Audio support is also necessary if you want to hear what’s going on. It is not built into all DVR kits so you have to check first.
Since your DVRs will be running continuously, it makes sense to get one that is energy sufficient. This isn’t something a lot of buyers are concerned about, but it can make a huge difference when it comes to saving up on energy.
Best CCTV DVR Cameras Questions / FAQs
What is a security DVR / What is a DVR security system?
A security DVR digitally records and stores footage. Modern DVR systems can be hooked up to PCs or MACs for viewing. Many also allow for remote viewing via smartphone apps.
What is a DVR for CCTV?
A DVR is a digital form of CCTV (closed circuit television). It is possible to upgrade your CCTV and turn it into a DVR. All you need to do is replace the VCR with a DVR.
How do DVR security systems work/ How does a CCTV DVR work with security cameras?
The process varies, but the general steps are the same. You connect the cameras to the DVR first. You then hook up the DVR to your network and the camera will start recording video on the DVR HDD.
The camera will keep recording until your HDD is full. After that the DVR either overwrites the old data or stop recording. You can view the data on your computer or view real time footage form your computer or mobile device.
What is a car DVR camera?
A car DVR or dash cam works like a DVR except it records from the perspective of your car’s windscreen. It is a handy tool to have just in case you get involved in an accident as it can show the court what really happened.
What is better NVR or DVR?
Both have their pros and cons. The biggest difference between the two is is that an NVR (network video recorder) uses IP cameras while a DVR uses analog CCTV cameras.
An NVR usually more flexible cameras with a higher recording quality. The setup is also easier. However an NVR uses more bandwidth and is more expensive. DVRs have more stable signals and is also compatible with more systems.
Which security DVR is the best on the market / What is the best Security DVR brand?
The best DVR home security system is the one that meets your needs. Make a list of the features that you’re looking for and use that as a guide to help you choose the appropriate DVR.
Where to install security DVR?
Your DVR should be installed in a safe and discreet location. It should also be stored near power sources as you’ll need to run the cable. You could also get extension cables of course. In any event, the master bedroom closet, cupboards or any place that people don’t usually visit.
Position the cameras strategically such as stairways, porches, driveways, windows, near the gate etc. The rule for indoor and outdoor camera positioning are the same: choose the spot where there is the most likely security threat.
How do I install a DVR security camera systems
- Sketch where you want the cameras to be installed. Select a discreet, high spot at last 10 ft high so intruders won’t be able to knock it down.
- Mount the camera in your chosen location and connect it to a power outlet.
- Wire the camera to your DVR. If you’ve got wireless cameras, use the accompanying software to link it up to your computer.
- Use HDMI or coaxial cables to connect the monitor to a DVR.
- Turn the unit on and test the feed. If you want remote access, download the accompanying app to your mobile device.
This is just a general guide to installing a DVR security camera system. You also need to check your owner’s manual for more specific details as DVR units have different specs and features.
Where can I hide a security DVR?
Place the DVR somewhere people won’t be able to tinker with it. If you’ve got remote access you probably won’t need to tweak the DVR that much since you can control it from your mobile.
While you want to keep the DVR in a discreet location, it shouldn’t be to such an extent you’ll have a hard time finding it.
Can I use a security DVR to record TV?
Yes. Majority of CCTV DVRs have a VGA, HDMI or video output. Connect the appropriate output to your television set and it should run fast. An Internet connection is not needed.
To record TV shows on the DVR.
- Turn the DVR off.
- Remove the screws on the RF input coaxial cable.
- Pull the video cable out if you don’t see an RF input. The video cable is at the input labeled composite video.
- Screw the coaxial cable end on the composite video or RF input. Use the remote to the cable on. Now you can start recording.
How do I connect security DVR to internet?
- Turn your DVR on and login.
- Go to the external device setting, choose TCP/IP setup and chose DHCP. Choose detect IP.
- Go back to the TC/IP screen and enter the IP address that was detected earlier.
- Download your DVR web service.
- Once you’ve connected the DVR to your local area network, you’ll need to configure port forwarding on your router. Your DVR owner’s manual has instructions for this.
- Go to your router. Change the setting so it designates the same IP to your recorder.
- If you’ve got a dynamic IP address you’ll need to configure that on your router so it works with your DVR.
- The last step is to set up your Internet connection so it works with the DVR. This information will be in your DVR owner’s manual.
How do I backup my CCTV DVR?
Most DVR security systems have USB port that can be used to back up the data on a USB drive.
- Go to DVR menu and choose backup.
- Select the backup schedule (month, day, hour) and select a format if you like.
- Select the camera that want to back up. A progress bar will appear as the backup process begins.
The backup feature on DVRs allow you to choose which parts of the footage to select. The time it takes to back up depends on the file size.
How can I reset a security DVR?
- Turn your DVR off.
- Press and hold any button on the remote or unit.
- Turn the unit on while still pressing that button.
- You may hear a beep or several beeps depending on the DVR model you’ve got.
- After the DVR reboots you’ll have to supply the password. Enter the username and password and change it if you want.
Are all security cameras compatible with all DVRs?
If your current security camera is an analog CCTV it should be compatible with your DVR. If your camera has a yellow connector then it’s probably a CCTV camera and should be compatible. You can also check the back of the camera if it has a TVL rating which states NTSC or PAL. If it does, it is an analog CCTV camera.
Do I need a DVR for security cameras?
Yes, because the DVR has the hard disk where the camera records and stores the footage. The DVR also has ports and inputs so you’ll be able to back up the footage, record TV and so on.
It can’t be stressed enough how important security is for your home and/or business establishment. The five DVR security systems were chosen here because they’re dependable and capable. But if I have to pick out a winner it’s the ANNKE HD DVR system.
The DVR has some of the clearest video resolution in the market, and its night vision is pretty good. Being able to upgrade up to 6 TB is another plus and the app is simple to use. For home or business security, the ANNKE delivers.