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The Lack of Value Buying Cheap Security Camera Kits

It's hard not to find a store selling security cameras these days.  Home Depot, Sam's Club, Costco, Menards, Best Buy and other stores are selling all inclusive packages.  But I want to discuss whether buying these do-it-yourself kits make sense.

Before you say, "Of course you are going to say don't buy the kits.  You are a direct competitor." While that is true, it is not beyond me to be objective.  After all, we install many customer's self purchased camera systems and usually end up getting more business from these customers in the long run.

Here are reasons to buy kits:

  • Great value
  • All inclusive
  • Usually plug and play meaning little or no special tools required

Here are the reasons not to buy:

  • Wiring is often sub par and will not give the full HD image the camera is capable of when compared to professional wire - our professional grade wiring allows the full HD signal to be recorded and viewed
  • Lower quality wire can deteriorate quickly if used outdoors - we use professional grade wiring that lasts for decades
  • Wiring is too short and requires patch cables to reach locations.  Or it can be too long and can cause lots of excess wire to deal with.  Our wiring is cut to the exact requirement
  • Security camera kit does not include outdoor gang boxes that are required to protect the camera connections outside. While these can be purchased, many times it becomes difficult to get the pre-made wires ends into the purchased gang boxes
  • DVR kits offer only a 1 year warranty while we offer 3 years on our security cameras, DVRs, NVRs and hard drives
  • Hard drive is usually not a security grade - we only use Western Digital or Seagate Security grade hard drives with 3 year warranties. A regular hard drive is not designed to work inside a DVR
  • DVR often times is not intuitive and the interface is not designed well compared to our DVRs
  • Power supply box may be underpowered.  We see this all the time where the cameras are powered off of the DVR with insufficient power causing the cameras to prematurely stop working. Many people don't realize that under-powering CCTV cameras can lead to shorter life for cameras while overpowering will never cause harm
  • Lack of choice - kits have all the same cameras which may not make sense.  We recommend and install the cameras you need for the specific location.  You don't demolish a house with a screw driver and you don't crack an egg with a jackhammer
  • Insufficient tech support - unless you consider calling the lumber or produce department as the technical support. Our support is available 6 days a week from 9am - 6pm

This is a perfect example of getting what you pay for.  I cannot tell you how many people invest in a cheap DVR kit only to call us up after a year and ask for it to be replaced.  The long term value of a professionally installed system is well worth the extra money.  Especially when you consider all of the added value highlighted above.