Ever have the post office, UPS or FedEx tell you a package was delivered but it’s magically disappeared? Almost everyone has. Sometimes, it’s a delivery error, but sometimes it’s not. Wish you had a way to see if a package was really delivered (or even worse, if it’s been stolen)? There are several methods to do this using home security cameras.
There are also obvious security benefits of watching the action in front of the door. A bad guy sometimes rings the doorbell checking if someone is home. Any of these solutions, if positioned properly will capture video of a person approaching this area. A few solutions will even allow you to answer the door and speak to whomever is there.
Ways to Watch for a Package
There are three different methods to watch the front door area. A video doorbell replaces the existing fixture and it doubles as a camera. It’s a little more difficult to install versus the other two ways used watch out for that package. The second way to do this is installation of an outdoor camera. The last, but easiest way to watch the front door area is to point an indoor camera out a nearby window.
A good rule to follow on any of these choices to ensure that the home security camera has at least 110 degree field of view, preferably more. This will allow viewing of practically all of the entryway or stoop. That way, you can see anyone approaching the door and even a package that has arrived.
Select a home security camera that includes video storage that allows automatic archival of video events. Some use an SD card, others use cloud storage. Either will do, but a cloud storage plan means that if the camera is stolen, the video events remain available.
Video doorbells have become very popular. These home security cameras take the place of existing doorbells. Once installed, video doorbells are the best solution watching out for the UPS guy or postal employee. A few, including the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, allow you to answer the door from your phone and have a conversation with the person that range the bell. We reviewed the Ring Video Doorbell Pro awhile back and liked it a lot.
Installation of a video doorbell isn’t the easiest. Most use the existing power connection, but some older homes might be difficult as wiring was different way back. Measure the existing doorbell space before pursuing one of these. Some models are too wide for the slim mounting dimensions available for a doorbell. While those handy should be able to tackle the installation job, those less inclined might want to look at one of the other solutions.
Outdoor Security Cameras
An outdoor security camera can be mounted near the front door and can be used to monitor the area for package deliveries. We like to mount these above the door, preferably at least eight feet from the ground. This allows capturing video of the UPS, FedEx or USPS person while delivering the package. It’s also going to capture video if the package is stolen.
Select a security camera that is specifically manufactured for outdoor use. An outdoor camera is weatherproof and will withstand the winter and extreme weather events.
We like the Arlo Pro HD Camera for this purpose. Why? No wires. These battery powered cameras only need a charge every 4-6 months. The cameras are light weight and can be mounted using the included magnetic mount or using the tripod hole on the bottom of the camera. A generous free cloud plan is included to allow later viewing of motion events. This is one of our favorite outdoor cameras and we reviewed the Arlo Pro in detail.
Indoor Security Cameras
An indoor camera can be deployed through a window near the front door or wherever packages are typically left. Smaller form factor cameras like the Nest Cam Indoor are good candidates for this job. In fact, that’s what is used in the photo that accompanies this article. This is another camera that’s one of our favorites and we wrote a detailed review of the Nest Cam Indoor awhile back.
The key to using any indoor camera through a window is to turn off the night vision as well as the status light. Be sure to place the lens of the camera directly against the window pane (or at least as close as possible). It also helps to not have the lights on at night inside the room where the camera resides. We have an article with pointers for using a Nest Cam to see out a window that elaborates on all of this.
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).