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When it comes to protecting yourself, your loved ones, and your property, a surveillance camera is the first line of defense. Not only does a surveillance camera mounted in an obvious location act as a deterrent for potential thieves and other criminals, it also allows you to react—issue warnings, call police, prepare to defend yourself—before trouble starts. And if you’re not home, surveillance cameras will record a video of any criminal or trespasser, which you can then give to authorities.

Home surveillance cameras can also provide valuable household services, such as monitoring babies from the other room, pets from another town, or even an infirm elderly person from another state. You can keep an eye on a business or a second home. Often, you can do this monitoring from a cell phone or computer.

Camera and motion-sensor technology has advanced to such a degree that home surveillance cameras are more affordable than ever—under $100, and in many cases less than $50. There are several different types of home surveillance cameras available, each with its pros and cons. What type is best for you? Here’s a look at the three most common types.

Great Price

This can see up to 30 feet in darkness using six infrared LEDs. Wyze

These surveillance cameras are powered by a standard 110-volt outlet, which gives them the ability to do many things: tilt up and down, pan a room or a backyard (some cameras can turn completely around), and zoom to get a better look at someone or something. A few have the ability to pan automatically to predetermined waypoints, so you can view a large section of a room or a property without manipulating the controls provided by the camera’s app. Some also have the ability to record and store video, which is triggered by a motion sensor. Look for a camera that will send alerts to your phone when the video function is enabled.

Extra Security

You can view the livestream or recorded video on you PC and mobile phone. YoLuke

The advent of solar panels allows you to mount a surveillance camera and, providing there is enough sunlight to charge the battery, monitor any area from afar. These are especially useful for people with large land holdings or businesses that aren’t wired, and want to monitor their property or keep an eye out for thieves or trespassers. Some also have audio ability, which allows you to communicate with people or issue warnings.

Also Consider

This one has two-way audio and will send an alert to your phone when it detects movement. Meco

A video doorbell is a motion-activated camera with a wide-angle lens designed to video-record anyone and anything outside your front door. Developed to thwart porch pirates—thieves who steal packages left outside front doors by delivery services—some of these cameras also provide many practical functions, such as allowing you to view the area outside your front door in real time, and communicate with anyone outside.