If you’re in the market for a new security camera system. You’ve probably stumbled across the brands Reolink and Hikvision (amoung others). Sometimes shopping for home security products can feel like a mine field of unfamilair brand names and feature sets.
In this article I talk you through my experience with both of these popular home security camera brands and then give you my recomendation for which one to buy depending on your requirements.
But for those in a rush here’s the quick answer…
Which should you buy, Reolink or Hikvision? Reolink offers cheaper but average video quality security cameras. On the other hand, Hikvision products are more expensive, but they have high-quality video cameras. Reolink offers one of the most affordable brands, but Hikvision beats them to quality.
That being said. There’s WAY MORE to it than a simple answer paragraph. So keep reading and I’ll lay out some of the features that both brands provide and what sets them apart from one another.
There’s some really cool features that I think will surprise you. So lets get started…
The Brands: Get to Know Reolink and Hikvision
Although Reolink had an unpleasant start when it was first established in 2009, the company grew, and it currently offers multi-level security cameras. Reolink now provides one of the best security cameras for its customers at an affordable price range. Their products range from battery-powered camera, PoE security camera, WiFi security camera to the home security camera system.
Currently, Reolink offers four security cameras, namely, Battery-Powered Security Cameras, Power over Ethernet (PoE) IP Cameras with Network Video Recorders (NVRs), WiFi Security Cameras, and PoE & Wireless Security Camera Systems. Some of these products allow WiFi access or are integrated with a 4G connection, enabling you to control the settings online.
Battery-powered security cameras are the easiest to install among the products since all you have to do is mount them on your walls. WiFi Security Cameras are required to be plugged into a power supply. However, they provide a more stable connection than most battery-powered cameras could offer.
On the other hand, PoE IP Cameras and NVRs are ethernet cable connected. These cameras are wired to the Network Video Recorder (NVR), which is then connected to your WiFi router. PoE cameras might be more hassle to install compared to the other two products. But among all the products, PoE cameras provide the most stable internet connection since it is hard-wired. This means that there will be little to no interruptions.
The fourth product, PoE and Wireless Security Camera Systems, are cameras that offer both wired and wireless connection for a reliable, uninterrupted 24/7 recording. The only downside to this product is that the cameras are only compatible with Reolink NVRs. However, these security cameras are quite easy to install since they allow magnetic mounts on the wall. Furthermore, in order to connect them to the WiFi, you only need to scan the QR codes located behind the cameras using Reolink’s mobile application.
Reolink’s products have built-in passive infrared (PIR) sensors that detect movements and trigger instant alerts to your phone or computer when it detects human motion. But the consumers can choose whether to turn it on or not. The sensors can be a little too sensitive, no matter how much you adjust them. This results in unnecessary push notifications, which can eventually drain the batteries attached to the security cameras.
In addition, some of their security cameras have two-way audio, which allows you to speak and listen to the people inside or outside your house. It even allows you to listen to the loud noise coming from a baby’s room or your daughter’s bedroom. Customers can also customize voice alerts in the camera to prevent potential threats. They also have a built-in siren, which alarms in case there is an intruder.
Some of Reolink’s security cameras have a spotlight feature that is useful during the night. With this added feature, the security camera’s night vision will no longer provide black and white clips. The spotlight feature automatically turns on when it detects a movement. This can startle and ward off strangers that wander outside your home at night.
Reolink Mobile App
Reolink also developed an app to support the special features of its products. With the mobile app, you will be able to receive motion alerts detected by your security cameras. You can also change the settings in the cameras like zooming objects, panning and tilting, adjusting the resolution of the video, and so on. Lastly, if you want to add voice control to your Reolink camera, Reolink is compatible with Google Assistant, which you can utilize as a third-party smart home option.
Reolink cameras cost around USD 52.99 to USD 271.99. The price varies due to the different quality and features offered by each camera. Note that these are the price range of the individual cameras only. Accessories, such as the cable and solar panels, are sold separately.
Since day one, Hikvision has been actively engaged in producing, developing, and selling security products. Through their Research and Development system, the company acquired deepened knowledge and experience in meeting the customer needs in various fields. They produced multiple products ranging from battery-powered cameras, PoE security cameras, mobile cameras, WiFi security cameras, and intelligent traffic cameras that are integrated into various security camera systems.
Hikvision produces a vast range of CCTV cameras and equipment, including IP cameras, HD analog cameras, portable cameras, thermal cameras, and management and analytics software. The digital cameras they offer are PoE IP Cameras and WiFi Security Cameras, which are both compatible with NVRs. They also have analog cameras that record images and then send these images to a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) through a coaxial cable.
Hikvision is known for their cameras with better image quality and higher resolution. Furthermore, they have incorporated other advanced features, such as Artificial Intelligence. They also have a wide range selection of lenses, such as Wide Dynamic Range (WDR), autofocus lens, and wide-angle fish-eye lens, which allows you to identify a person’s face from a distance of over 100 feet.
With WDR, images on the other side of our glass walls are clear because the added feature allows your camera to capture multiple images at different gain levels and average the result into one clear composite image. Some cameras also have a built-in siren and flashing light for immediate response in case of intrusions, and a powerful DVR with the capability to trigger accurate alarms.
Hikvision products also have a special feature called the intrusion detection function. This feature allows your security camera to detect vehicles, people, and other objects that loiter or enter a predefined virtual region in your area. Hikvision also has thermal cameras. Any object with a temperature above absolute zero emits a detectable amount of infra-red (IR) radiation, which are then projected to the security system as heat zone images.
Hikvision products are enclosed in stainless cases, which allow them to withstand harsh environmental conditions such as vibration, strong winds, heavy rains, falling objects, and varying temperatures. This leaves the cameras with little to no damages even after several years. The systems feature market-proven performance and keep forensic evidence for situations such as pickpocketing and traffic accidents.
Hikvision Mobile App
Hikvision also developed a mobile app that provides multi-device notifications and functions. The security camera’s front-end alarm usually warns and scares away intruders, while the back-end sends push notifications to your mobile devices.
Should an incident be reported that requires investigation, system operators can access footage wirelessly via cellular networks, directly from the mobile video recorders, and view any recorded footage instantly in a monitoring center. The records can also be exported to law enforcement agencies for further investigation.
The price of Hikvision products varies not only because of the vast range of security cameras they offer but also because their products are sold by different distributors that offer varying prices. But the most popular IP cameras that they offer have a price range that can run from USD 150 up to USD 350.
If you’re enjoying this article then consider reading Houshias article on the battle of the budget home security cameras:
The Pros and Cons You Should Consider
Compared to other brands, Reolink gives the best price for its product’s value. Once you purchase their battery-powered security cameras, you are left with only a one-step installation process, which is to mount them on your walls. They also provide full wireless capability both indoors and outdoors.
Furthermore, Reolink offers different options to suit your specific needs. You can choose from a battery-powered or a solar-powered camera. They also have an expansive suite of products and accessories. Reolink offers a 2-year warranty, a 30-day refund to unsatisfied customers, and does not require complicated contracts to avail of these remedies.
However, if you want to integrate the cameras into a wider smart home ecosystem, you might want to consider other products in your options. Reolink provides limited features. Unlike other brands, Reolink products do not have advanced motion detection and AI facial recognition. Furthermore, Reolink does not allow users to adjust the coverage of the PIR sensor. Moreover, it has no integration with smart devices for battery-operated cameras.
Hikvision has a vast range of features, including image quality and camera design. Their IP camera lenses have wider coverage compared to Reolink. This can save you up from buying multiple cameras just to cover an area. They are also known for their impressive image resolution. Their cameras have high megapixels, which allow you to zoom in and out on pre-recorded footage without worrying about the clarity. They also provide ultra HD videos up to 4K resolution.
The self-protection mechanisms of Hikvision’s cameras will prevent freezing and fog non-stop even for the whole year-round operation. Normal cameras can only withstand a ±10% voltage fluctuation, while Hikvision Thermal Cameras are specially designed to adapt to situations with up to ±20% voltage fluctuation and 5% packet loss. As for installation, Hikvision offers a friendly installation guide for its customers. So, you would not have a problem understanding the installation manual.
Hikvision may be a good product, but it also comes with a variety of drawbacks. The price can be costly because of the special features their products offer. There are also negative feedbacks from their customers, which you might want to consider before choosing a security camera.
One common complaint from their customers is that Hikvision’s contact support does not offer services to products that are not purchased directly from their distributors. Additionally, some reports claim that Hikvision’s analytic software can be difficult to understand due to the alleged poor translations. Furthermore, Hikvision’s official distributors do not offer their products worldwide.
Having all of this information, do we recommend Reolink for its budget-friendly price or Hikvision for their world-class quality? Well, it depends on your preference, specific needs, and financial capacity.
Both brands produce the same types of security cameras except analog security cameras and thermal cameras, which are only offered by Hikvision. Both brands provide different products with different features. Each claim advantages over the other.
Although Hikvision provides a more user-friendly installation guide, Reolink’s user manuals are not difficult to understand. Furthermore, Reolink boasts the one-installation step for its battery-powered security cameras. So, the manuals and installation are not essential in considering which brand of security cameras to choose.
Hence, the most significant factors left to consider are quality and price. However, these two come in pairs. If you have the money for it, go with Hikvision! It may be expensive upfront, but the cost of maintenance and the lesser need for replacement will save your money in the future.
Furthermore, Hikvision offers a wide range of security measures. It provides not only security cameras, but also intercoms, alarm systems, and more. Hikvision has drawbacks, but they may be offset by the advantages offered by their products.
Sure, it may be expensive, and it may be more hassle to contact their distributors than to purchase from a random distributor to enjoy Hikvision’s contact support. But at the end of the day, you will be assured with a high-quality security camera and great contact support. So, it can be worth every effort and penny.
However, if you are on a tight budget and feel like Hikvision is too much of a gamble, then Reolink is definitely for you. Reolink is relatively cheaper, but its products are efficient. It has its own disadvantages and limitations. But for the price that they offer, it is quite a good investment for your security that will last several years.
With the establishment of several companies offering various security products and services, consumers can now enjoy different kinds of security gadgets available in the market. Each of them provides a variety of features at varying price ranges.
Having several options can be a problem. But making up your mind won’t be difficult if you understand the features these products offer, the advantages and disadvantages, and other factors worth considering
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