How to Install A Security Camera

Mindy Woodall
Contributing Writer, Home Security & Smart Home
January 24, 2023
7 min read

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How you’ll install a home security camera depends on which type of camera you choose and its power source. If you buy a wire-free outdoor security camera like the Arlo Pro 4, it will set up a bit differently from something like the Eufy Indoor Cam 2K, which is an indoor security camera that uses a power cord.

Either way, we'll give you insight on installation and the best way to place your camera.

If you’re not sure what type of camera you want, check out some of our other reviews to explore your options:

How much does installation cost?

If you install your security camera yourself, then installation won’t cost you a penny. If you prefer to have the pros do it for you, then you’ll need to drop some dollars on that service.

DIY security camera installation

If you can install a camera yourself, then it’s pretty much free after you pay for the equipment.

Most cameras these days are not only easy to install on your own, but also designed to be as pain-free as possible. Some you can set on a table, mount on a wall, or attach to a magnetic surface. However, not everyone is comfortable with drilling into their walls.

The easiest cameras to install on your own will be wire-free, battery-powered cameras like the EufyCam 2 or the Reolink Argus 3. If you have an indoor security camera, then those are also quite easy to set up yourself. You just need to put the camera where you want it and plug in the power cord.

Professional installation

If you get one of the professionally installed Best Home Security Systems we’ve recommended (namely ADT or Vivint), you’ll get an installation tech who will install everything for you, including your cameras. Vivint’s system installation fee is $49, but ADT’s fees are significantly more. You may pay as much as $199 for that pro installation.

If you want to get a whole network of home security cameras that integrate into your home security system, then it’s much easier to have a professional install those cameras for you. It’s also easier to have the pros install video doorbells, so you don’t have to mess around with electrical wires.

Both ADT and Vivint offer professionally installed doorbell cameras.

How should you position your security camera?

Not everyone has to deal with thieves and break-ins (thank goodness). Some of us just want to check on deliveries or see who visits our house while we’re away. Other people want a way to check on family members or pets.

Decide which purpose is most important to you and place your camera where it will best be able to see what you want to keep an eye on.

If you’re buying a camera yourself and want to have it professionally installed, then there are third-party services like HelloTech that are a great way to find local professional installation for security cameras. Plus it’s actually a decent bang for your buck compared to higher prices from CCTV companies.

How much you’ll pay depends on what type of device you have and potentially other factors as well, such as your location. But HelloTech does list starting prices for security cameras and video doorbells.

Smart security camera installation price: starts at $129

Video doorbell installation price: starts at $99

HelloTech installs devices from several major smart home brands, including Ring and Google Nest.

Indoors or outdoors?

The biggest difference between indoor and outdoor cameras is their ability to endure the weather. The last thing you want is for your new camera to quit in the first blizzard of the year, especially since you’ve noticed your snow boots have gone missing, too.

Check the operating temperature and approved use for the camera you want to buy. There are some models, like the SimpliSafe SimpliCam, that can be modified to work outside as well as indoors.

Where to install an indoor security camera

Installing an indoor camera can be as easy as finding the right spot, plugging it in, turning it on, and syncing it with your mobile or desktop app. While some may require drilling, most indoor cameras we’ve come across won’t require anything more than a screwdriver.

A good indoor camera should have a decent field of view, which you can get with a higher corner or shelf. The best places will have a clear view of the room, a place to hide the camera from thieves, and very little foot traffic (to avoid unplugging the camera or tripping on the cord).

Should you get a wired, wireless, or wire-free camera?

There are generally three power options for security cameras, wired, wireless, or wire-free. Although the terminology can get a bit confusing:

  1. Wired, which means the camera relies on wires to connect to both power and your internet.
  2. Wireless, which means your camera can connect to the internet wirelessly but requires a power cord. Sometimes these cameras are still called “wired” since they require a cord.
  3. Wire-free, where the camera runs off a battery pack and doesn’t need any wires at all. Sometimes these cameras are called wireless since they run without power cords.

With wired installation, you’re a little limited in terms of placement, but your connection will be more reliable and secure. Consider where you have to run the wire and how much length you need. You can always buy longer extension cables.

The most popular places for an outdoor camera are above the garage door or looking over a front or back porch. For a garage camera, make sure you have a large field of view. For a porch camera, make sure your camera is mostly looking at a driveway or walkway to capture all the action possible with a smaller field of view. You may want to consider a doorbell camera like the Nest Hello, the Arlo Video Doorbell, or the RemoBell S.

Steps for installing a wired security camera

  1. Find a stable spot on the wall.
  2. Some cameras may require finding a stud, while others will come with drywall anchors.
  3. Check for existing wiring.
  4. Mark and drill the appropriate holes.
  5. Thread the wiring back through the wall to attach it to the monitoring source.

Just make sure the hole you drill is big enough to pull the wire through but not so big that you can no longer mount the camera.

A big benefit of wire-free (sometimes still called wireless) cameras is being able to place them nearly anywhere. But you’ll still want to make sure you’re within range of your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or other wireless connections.

That said, if your outdoor camera needs a power cord, like the Nest Cam Outdoor, you should be able to drill easily through denser materials like brick or stucco if needed.

Make sure you place your security camera out of reach so a thief or guilty child can’t just grab it and leave. Tech installers recommend placing your cameras at least nine feet above ground—but just don’t go so high you can’t see what’s happening down below.

Should you choose local or cloud storage?

Most cameras today offer cloud storage as a way to prevent thieves from just grabbing the evidence and running, but some people still prefer local storage for its privacy and convenience.

Local storage options vary by camera, but may include these options:

  • microSD cards
  • USB drives
  • Digital Video Recorders (DVRs)
  • Network Video Recorders (NVRs)

If you’re going with local storage, you’ll have to place your cameras out of harm’s way, but somewhere you can access it when you need it. However, if you get cloud storage, you can view footage through your phone or desktop apps, and you can access footage regardless of the camera’s condition.

If you’re going with local storage, you’ll have to place your cameras out of harm’s way, but somewhere you can access it when you need it. However, if you get cloud storage, you can view footage through your phone or desktop apps, and you can access footage regardless of the camera’s condition.

Recap: How to Install a Security Camera

For most cameras we recommend, you can install them yourself. If not, there’s always a professional who can help— either from the security company itself or a third-party provider like HelloTech.

If you are going for DIY installation and need more specific instructions, some CCTV and surveillance companies have thorough walkthroughs and video tutorials on their websites:

Pseudo Home Security in America

Security systems and cameras are awesome if you’ve ever been unsettled by a prowler in your neighborhood or suspicious noises at night. But that stuff is expensive, and it seems like a hassle to set up something new. So what about fake security cameras? If they look just as real, they must be just as good, right? Or are they?

We took a survey of 500 Americans to see how people feel about real and fake home security measures, and if they think both are equally effective. Here are some of the most interesting things we found.

  • 15% have used a fake security camera.
  • 25% have used a fake or outdated security monitoring sign in their yard.
  • 24% have used a fake or outdated security monitoring sticker in the window of their home.
  • 24% have hidden a key in a fake rock.
  • 28% have hidden a key under their doormat.
  • 17% have placed a trick delivery package outside their house.

We asked America: How effective is fake home security?

  • 1 in 5 believe that fake home security systems are just as effective as an authentic system.
  • 1 in 4 believe that a fake home security camera is just as effective as an authentic security camera.
  • 17%  believe that a fake security alarm (audible) is more effective than an authentic alarm.
  • 17% believe that a fake security monitoring sticker is more effective than an authentic one.

Our takeaways

Plenty of people are using tactics like fake security cameras and outdated yard signs to protect their homes, and many think these measures are just as effective as the real thing.

But most people agree that the genuine article is better than any fake. When it comes to defending your property, the majority opinion is that real security systems and real cameras offer better protection. And we agree. A real security camera, with a livestream you can view through a mobile app and two-way audio you can use to yell at intruders, is always going to top some plastic replica.


We conducted an anonymous survey of 500 Americans over the age of 18 regarding sentiments about their usage and perceived effectiveness of both pseudo and authentic home security measures. Using the responses from our survey, we have highlighted the most common answers in this report.

Mindy Woodall
Written by
Mindy Woodall
Mindy has been writing about technology for seven years. She covers all things smart home for, and keeps track of the latest robot gadgets. Mindy attended the University of Utah and her work has been featured on the likes of, Digital Care, Hostfully, and more.

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