Security Cameras with Local Storage

Have easy access to your security footage.


September 22, 2020

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Choosing local storage for your security cameras makes the footage a lot easier to access and saves you money. 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.

Internal camera storage

Internal camera storage generally houses footage within a microSD chip you place inside the camera. You would typically opt for this if you don’t want to have 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 into 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 its limited storage capacity. To work around this limitation, most cameras using local storage will only record video when they detect motion. Another disadvantage is its vulnerability. For example, if someone steals your camera, you won’t have any video footage to use to prosecute him or her with 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. The internal camera storage option not only requires a microSD chip, but it may also 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 footage at a relatively low cost, especially compared to online storage.

One advantage of externally storing your camera footage is it becomes more difficult for someone to intercept your footage.

But before seeking cameras with external film 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.

Wired camera storage

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

One disadvantage of a wired security camera is the risk of having a severed wire. To avoid this, you can embed the wire through the wall and make sure the camera is mounted very securely.

Wireless camera storage

Wireless cameras are secure, fuss-free, and easy to install. Typically, you plug it in, connect it to the network, and install the necessary software. The footage would either route to your personal computer or an NVR (network video recorder).

One disadvantage to a wireless security camera is 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. When considering this type of camera, check that your network can handle the addition.


There’s no right way to store your video footage, but there are always key advantages to certain storage types that pertain to your 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 sufficient. Fortunately, there are plenty of different options to choose from. It’s important you take your time deciding and make sure the one you choose works best for your family.

Krista Bruton is a DFW-based writer who covers smart home security and consumer protection.

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