Closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras are the heart of any security system, providing constant surveillance and alerts. However, with various types of CCTV cameras available on the market, choosing the right one can get overwhelming.

In this comprehensive guide, we explore the different types of CCTV cameras, their features, pros and cons, and ideal use cases to help you decide which one to get.

Different Types of CCTV Cameras:

Before getting into the specifics, let’s take a quick look at the comprehensive list we will be discussing in this blog:

  • Discreet Cameras

  • Day/Night Cameras

  • 360 Degree Cameras
  • Infrared (IR) Cameras

Now, let’s explore each type in detail:

Dome Cameras

Dome Cameras

Dome cameras are called so because of their dome shaped housing, which makes it difficult for people to judge the direction the camera is facing. These cameras are often used for indoor surveillance, as their design allows for discreet monitoring.

Pros Cons

Discreet and unobtrusive design

Limited range of view
Vandal resistant PTZ functionality could be limited
360 degree coverage Very few models have IR capability

Ideal Use Case: Dome cameras are best suited for monitoring indoor spaces like offices, retail stores, and hotels, where a more inconspicuous surveillance solution is required. For instance, they can be placed in the corners of a room or on the ceiling to provide comprehensive coverage.

Bullet Cameras


Bullet cameras are named after their bullet-shaped housing. They are weather-resistant and can be used for both indoor and outdoor surveillance. The elongated design allows for a longer lens, providing a more focused and distant view.

Pros Cons
Weatherproof and durable Limited angle of motion for coverage
Long distance viewing Less discreet than dome cameras
Easy to install Features can be limited

Ideal Use Case: Bullet cameras are suitable for outdoor locations such as parking lots, driveways, and perimeters, where a focused and clear view is required to monitor specific areas.

PTZ Cameras (PanTilt Zoom)

PTZ cameras - cctv cameras

PTZ cameras offer the ability to pan, tilt, and zoom, providing extensive coverage and flexibility. They can be controlled remotely, enabling users to focus on specific areas or track moving objects.

Pros Cons
Wide coverage with remote access Generally more expensive
Zoom capability Require more maintenance
Good for changing surveillance coverage needs Less discreet

Ideal Use Case: PTZ cameras are best suited for large areas that require active monitoring, such as stadiums, parking lots, and industrial facilities.

IP Cameras (Internet Protocol)

what are ip cameras

IP cameras are modern CCTV cameras that transmit data over the internet or a network. They offer high-resolution images and can be accessed remotely through smartphones or computers.

Pros Cons
High resolution and latest features Require a strong internet connection
Remote access and monitoring More expensive than regular cameras
Easy to install and expand coverage Prone to cyber attacks

Ideal Use Case: IP cameras are perfect for businesses and homeowners who want remote access to their surveillance system. They are ideal for monitoring property and loved ones while away from home or the office.

Wireless Cameras

wireless cameras - cctv cameras

Wireless cameras offer the convenience of easy installation without the need for extensive wiring. They can transmit data wirelessly, making them flexible and adaptable for various locations.

Pros Cons
Quick and easy installation Prone to signal interference
Flexible and portable Require batteries or another power source
Suitable for temporary gigs Limited options available

Ideal Use Case: Wireless CCTV cameras are excellent for rental properties, construction sites, and other temporary surveillance needs where wiring is not feasible.

Thermal Cameras

Thermal Camera Fever Detection

Thermal cameras use infrared technology to capture images based on the heat emitted by objects rather than visible light. They are effective in lowlight and challenging weather conditions.

Pros Cons
Suitable for lowlight conditions More expensive than other cameras
Can generate heatmaps Limited color information
Can be used in harsh weathers Lower resolution and detail

Ideal Use Case: This type of CCTV cameras is widely used in areas where standard cameras may not perform well, such as in complete darkness, fog, or areas with harsh weather conditions. They are commonly employed for perimeter security and monitoring critical infrastructure.

Discreet Cameras


Discreet cameras, also known as hidden cameras or spy cameras, are designed to be covert and blend seamlessly into the environment. These CCTV cameras can resemble everyday objects, making them hard to detect.

Pros Cons
Unobtrusive and hard to spot Might cause privacy concerns
Various form factors available Limited features because of form factor
Useful for covert surveillance Not suitable for wider coverage

Ideal Use Case: Discreet cameras are employed when traditional cameras may not be suitable or when there is a need for covert monitoring, such as for investigating theft or employee behavior.

Day/Night Cameras

Night cameras - cctv cameras

Day/Night cameras are equipped with special sensors that allow them to capture high quality images in both well-lit conditions and lowlight or nighttime scenarios.

Pros Cons
Effective in all lighting conditions Cost more because of night vision
Ideal for round the clock surveillance Not discreet as most models have visible LEDs
Great for outdoor usage Lighting problems can cause issues with night vision

Ideal Use Case: Day/Night CCTV cameras are used in outdoor locations and areas with varying lighting conditions, where continuous monitoring is required.

360-Degree Cameras

360 cameras - cctv cameras

360 degree cameras offer complete panoramic views, covering a full circle in a single frame. They provide a comprehensive and immersive monitoring experience.

Pros Cons
Eliminates blind spots Require more memory storage and processing
Reduces overall number of cameras required Difficult to install
Ideal for large areas Footage distortion might occur at the edges

Ideal Use Case: 360 degree CCTV cameras are perfect for monitoring wide open spaces, such as warehouses, shopping malls, and large halls, where multiple cameras might be impractical.

ANPR/LPR Cameras

Key Considerations for Selecting an Automatic LPR Camera System

ANPR/LPR cameras are specialized cameras designed to capture and process license plate information automatically. They are widely used for security, traffic management, and access control.

Pros Cons
Easy automation More expensive
Greater resolution Require proper installation and positioning
Improved entry/exit tracking and security Might need additional software for processing

Ideal Use Case: ANPR/LPR cameras are commonly used for parking lots, toll booths, and entrances to restricted areas where automated access control and tracking are essential.

Infrared (IR) Cameras

Infrared (IR) Cameras - cctv cameras

Infrared cameras use infrared light to capture images, making them effective in lowlight conditions. They are often used in conjunction with standard cameras for better night vision.

Pros Cons
Excellent night vision Limited color range
Ideal for night monitoring More expensive
Can be used outside Visible red LEDs for infrared

Ideal Use Case: Infrared cameras are ideal for locations with minimal lighting, such as alleys, dimly lit areas, and outdoor spaces requiring night surveillance.

What Type of CCTV Camera Should I Buy?

Selecting the right CCTV camera for your specific needs depends on various factors. Here are some key considerations to help you make an informed decision:

  • Location: Determine whether you need indoor or outdoor cameras based on the surveillance areas.

  • Resolution: Higher resolution cameras provide clearer images but may come at a higher cost.
  • Connectivity: Decide between wired and wireless cameras depending on your installation preferences.
  • Night Vision: If you require 24/7 monitoring, consider cameras with excellent night vision capabilities.
  • Budget: Set a budget and explore cameras that offer the best features within your price range.
  • Features: Assess the need for specific features such as PTZ, audio, motion detection, and remote access.
  • Integration: Check if the cameras can integrate with your existing security system.
  • Future Expansion: Consider the scalability of your surveillance system for future upgrades.

Each type of CCTV camera has its strengths and ideal use cases, so selecting the right one requires careful evaluation. Investing in a CCTV camera system is a significant step towards improving security and peace of mind.

Assess your requirements, explore the various types of CCTV cameras available, and choose the one that best fits your needs and budget. If you need further guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert team for Click here.

Written by : Carlo Di Leo

At the age of 24, with no experience in the security industry or any money in the bank, Carlo quit his job and started Spotter Security from his parent's basement. Founded in 2004, Spotter grew from a single man operation into a multi-million dollar security system integrator that caters to businessess and construction sites across Canada.

Contact Us

Free Up Your Time To Get Back To Your Most Important Work