How to Save on Batteries for a Wireless Camera

How to Save on Batteries for a Wireless CameraWe have seen several manufacturers introduce some nice products in the wireless home camera arena.  For this article, wireless means no A/C power cable and no Ethernet cable.  Most home security cameras handle wireless connectivity these days but only a handful do wireless power.  Those that do wireless power depend upon batteries and you can blow through these quickly.  We’re going to discuss how to save on batteries for a wireless camera.

Save on batteries takes on two avenues of attack.  First is the subject of reducing consumption.  Second is the subject of lowering the cost of getting more batteries.

On the topic of reducing battery consumption, there are several factors that suck up battery resources.  The primary means of consuming power is usage.  For cameras that support cloud recording, do it sparingly.  Constant cloud recording isn’t a good idea with battery powered wireless cameras.  Using motion detection can have a similar effect on battery life, albeit not as badle as continuous recording.

Environmental factors can also have a detrimental effect on wireless camera battery life.  Temperature extremes can drain your batteries faster than normal.

So you can effect the battery life by reducing usage, tapering recording and monitoring and keeping the cameras within normal climates.  Regardless of if you are successful on lengthening your battery life, there will be a time when you will need to replace those batteries.  This is the part where we discuss how to save on batteries for your wireless camera.

Most battery powered wireless home security cameras suggest using lithium batteries.  Makes sens as these types of batteries last longer than traditional alkaline varieties.  Sure, they cost more, but they often make up for it in cost savings.  Add to that the hassle of having to remove the camera from service to replace the batteries and lithium begins to make sense.

To keep things interesting, not all wireless cameras use the same size batteries.  Models such as the Arlo Smart Home Security Camera and ReoLink Keen use CR123A batteries.  A Blink Home Security Camera System uses AA lithium batteries.  There are a few other models such as the Canary Flex and Arlo Pro HD that use internal batteries that are rechargeable.

Some manufacturers permit use of rechargeable varieties as a way to save on batteries.  For example, Arlo like to recommend the Tenergy Rechargeable CR123 Batteries & Charger.  These are the only rechargeable batteries Arlo recommends.  Tenergy rechargeable CR123 batteries are designed for Arlo cameras. These batteries can be recharged up to 500 times.  You will save a lot of money over traditional lithium batteries.

ReoLink support has confirmed to us that rechargeable batteries with a voltage range between 3.7 and 4.2 volts are compatible.

Always check with the manufacturer to ensure rechargeable batteries can be used because you can’t just assume they will work fine.  Blink recommends not using rechargeable batteries in their home security camera system.  You never know, so check before embarking on the rechargeable route.

For those wanting to stick with the disposable lithium batteries, buy them in quantity to save on batteries.  Consider the Energizer 10-pack CR123A Lithium Batteries.  It’s got more than enough for a complete change out of the four batteries in a camera.   Those in need of AA batteries can consider the Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA Size Batteries – 20 Pack.  Since lithium batteries have a very long shelf life, it’s safe to buy them in quantities and store them away for later use.

It’s not difficult to save on batteries and not have them cost as much as the camera over the long haul.  Tapering usage with prudent purchase of batteries can go a long way to reducing cost of ownership of a battery operated wireless camera.

All of these articles are written by someone (me) that figured out how to do this stuff the hard way.  I have owned and tested dozens of cameras.  Manufacturer support varies.  There are a few good companies that provide timely answers when you have questions.  There are several that sell you the camera and seem to have little interest in post sales support (which leads me to finding out stuff the hard way).