Outdoor Security Cameras Vs Indoor Security Cameras: All You Need to Know

security camera

Outdoor security camera are exposed to greater threats and cover a different setting altogether compared to indoor cameras. On the other hand, places like offices, retail outlets, and cannabis dispensaries might need indoor cameras with much better image quality compared to those of regular outdoor cameras to capture fine details of the surveilled spaces.

People asking “Can I use indoor security cameras outside?” often get conflicting responses. That’s because certain cameras are good for both indoors and outdoors.

But the vast majority are specifically designed either for indoor or outdoor security surveillance. The differences in the milieu and physical factors of both environments require different types of camera designs and functionalities.

Key Differences between Indoor and Outdoor Cameras

Here are some of the major areas where indoor security cameras differ from their outdoor security camera counterparts:


This is the first area we’ll touch on because it’s one of the most critical – but easily overlooked. That’s because, while types share a lot in common in this area, their differences can be highly critical, especially under certain circumstances.

For instance, you might need your outdoor security camera to work with motion sensors that set off alarms when an intruder crosses the line, whereas you don’t need that for indoor cameras mounted in the corner of a room.


This is the most obvious area of difference between the two types of cameras. Many indoor cameras come with plastic covers, but most high-quality outdoor cameras are made of steel or other metals. Whereas indoor cameras are usually safe and shielded from the elements, outdoor cameras are exposed to the elements and even worse.

The best outdoor security cameras are designed to withstand exposure to rain, snow, windstorms, and extreme weather. They’re also tamper-proof, made with a heavier build that’s resistant to impact, in case vandals and intruders try to tamper with them.


Another obvious difference between indoor and outdoor cameras is their appearance. Because they’re supposed to be more durable, outdoor cameras usually come with a sturdier, heavier, waterproof build. However, indoor cameras are supposed to blend into whichever corner they’re tucked into, hence they usually have a subtler appearance.

The bulkier appearance of construction security cameras also makes them obtrusive in their space to remind everyone, including potential threat actors, that they’re being recorded and watched.

Light Control Features

The lighting dynamics of the outdoors are much more complex that those indoors. As such, outdoor cameras usually come with superior dynamic lighting features. Outdoor cameras usually have infrared vision and other low-light capabilities to see clearly in the dark. They’re also capable of quickly adjusting to changes in light levels to maintain good image quality constantly even during events like blackouts.

Many modern indoor cameras also come with complex light capabilities that allow them to also capture clear images in poorly-lit environments.


Outdoor construction site security cameras come with more complex installation requirements needed to set them up to withstand exposure to the elements and vandalization. They must be mounted much higher on the wall and bolted permanently in place.

On the other hand, many indoor cameras are lightweight, battery-powered, and portable. You can move them around easily without having to deal with transmission cords or power cables.

Can You Use Indoor Cameras Outdoors and Vice-Versa?

On a general note, you can consider using outdoor cameras indoors, but it’s a bad idea to use indoor cameras outdoors. That’s because outdoor cameras can also sit well indoors, so long as their appearance doesn’t bother you that much. Whereas many indoor cameras may not withstand a few downpours or the constant siege of dust and wind gusts.

But thankfully, you can still find outdoor models that come with desirable qualities of indoor models. For instance, you can find outdoor cameras that aren’t bulky and can blend into space for covert outdoor surveillance purposes.

Models such as dome cameras and PTZ cameras are an excellent choice for both environments. They’re sturdy, tamper-proof, and shoot with high resolutions, but they’re also inconspicuous. Dome cameras are about the size of an average fist. ajority are specifically designed either for indoor or outdoor security surveillance. The differences in the milieu and physical factors of both environments require different types of camera designs and functionalities.

They can be spotted meters away, but they make it nearly impossible to determine the angle the camera is covering. As such, they’re not obtrusive in indoor settings, and outdoors they can also deter people from thinking they can sneak around without getting noticed. Dome cameras also come with extra protective casing to preserve them outdoors.

Tips to Consider When Choosing Indoor or Outdoor Cameras

Outdoor surveillance

Here are a few important questions to ask when choosing either indoor or outdoor cameras:

What are the picture quality requirements?

Depending on your unique construction surveillance needs, you might need to ensure that your camera captures clear details from a certain distance and under different lighting conditions.

Do I need wired or wireless cameras?

You can use both wired and wireless cameras in both environments, but it’s more advisable to use wired outdoors to avoid cyber threats that outdoor Wi-Fi connections may be exposed to.

Do I need live streaming or motion detection cameras?

Live streaming cameras are usually more ideal for outdoor surveillance where you need to constantly monitor and record events happening outdoors. Motion detection cameras only start recording when they detect movement in the surveilled space, and can be great indoors where you only need to monitor a space during certain periods like when your kids are back from school or when a package is delivered to your doorstep.


Now you know exactly what to look out for when choosing either outdoor or indoor cameras. Outdoor cameras must have a sturdier, heavier build. If possible, you should opt for cameras with good IP-ratings, which indicate how tight their waterproof or impact-resistance qualities are.

However, you don’t need to adjust your surveillance needs in line with this major dichotomy between the two main camera types – there’s wriggle room between the two categories. You need to find cameras that match your unique surveillance needs, whether it’s for indoor or outdoor surveillance.

If you’re still finding it challenging to choose cameras for your indoor and outdoor surveillance needs, you can always reach out to Aclarity for professional recommendations. With our steep understanding of cameras and camera systems, we can help you pick and install cameras that are the best fits for your unique surveillance needs.

In this guide, we’ll show you all you need to know to choose the best cameras for indoor and outdoor surveillance. We’ll show you the major differences between the two, as well as models designed for both environments. We’ll also provide a quick guide that you can reference when choosing either type of surveillance camera.

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