Choosing local storage for your security cameras makes the footage a lot easier to access and saves you money. These cameras are also often easier to use. As far as storing your surveillance footage locally, in its broadest sense, you have two options. You can either store your recordings internally inside the camera or externally to a hard drive (generally inside a computer or CCTV DVR/NVR). There are advantages and disadvantages for both options.

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    Internal Camera Storage

    Internal camera storage generally houses footage within a microSD chip you place inside the camera. going to be a microSD chip inside the camera. Usually you would opt for this option if you don’t want to rely on internet access or wiring. Wiring an HD security camera can be difficult and transmitting video over the network can slow down your internet. Another advantage of local storage is going to be speed. Since the footage doesn’t need to transfer to any external storage, it’s available right away.

    When shopping for a microSD chip to insert in your camera, try to source one with ample storage space. This reduces the frequency of when you will need to replace the card.

    A big disadvantage of local storage is going to be its limited storage capacity. To work around this limitation, most cameras using local storage will only record video when it detects motion. Another disadvantage is its vulnerability. If someone steals your camera, for example, then you won’t have any footage to prosecute them because the storage is inside the camera.

    Similarly, internal cameras might not be the best option for homeowners looking to restrict the number of components tied to their security cameras. Why? Because the internal camera storage option not only requires a microSD chip, but it may sometimes call for a card reader  or card adapter.

    External Camera Storage

    External storage is a good option if you intend to record throughout the day. You can store large amounts of video at a relatively low cost, especially compared to online storage.

    One advantage of externally storing your camera footage is that it becomes difficult for someone to intercept your footage. At least more difficult than just removing the microSD chip.

    But before seeking cameras with external camera storage, consider your home’s bandwidth. The level of bandwidth in your home plays a role in the quality of footage from your camera. A stable and strong internet connection is vital for obtaining readable recordings.

    An outdoor security camera is installed outside of a dark grey house.

    Wired Camera Storage

    Hooking your camera to storage with a wire is going to save your network a lot of work. It’s also a lot faster, so you won’t usually experience any lag time if you’re watching live video. Usually you would have some type of hub that encodes the recording. Usually the wire will route to either a DVR (digital video recorder) or straight to a personal computer with a lot of storage space. Personal computers are usually the most convenient if you intend to edit the video.

    One disadvantage of a wired security camera is having a wire that can be severed. To get around this you would usually want to embed the wire through the wall and make sure the camera is mounted very securely.

    Wireless Camera Storage

    Wireless cameras can be the most secure, fuss-free and easiest to install. Usually you just plug it in, connect it to the network, and install some software. The footage would either route to your personal computer or an NVR (network video recorder).

    One disadvantage to a wireless security camera is that they tend to overload smaller home wireless networks. Not only does that slow down the internet, but it also causes a delay in the video feed. It would be kind of irritating if you were trying to see who was at your door only to find that your video feed is delayed by a minute. That would kind of defeat the purpose! So if you’re thinking about getting a wireless security camera, just make sure that your network can handle it.

    A white outdoor security camera is installed on a home's exterior next to a dark brown door with a silver 'Welcome' sign on the front.


    There’s no best way to store your video, but there are always key advantages to certain storage types that pertain to someone’s unique situation. If you’re just looking to make sure that no one steals your packages while you’re at work, then storing your video on a local microSD card is probably good enough. But, not everyone’s going to be satisfied with that. Fortunately, there are plenty of different options these days and new technology comes out every day. Some security cameras even offer both forms of storage. Regardless, it’s important you take your time deciding and make sure the one you choose works best for your family.