A battery-powered security camera is usually the easiest way to monitor a place incapable of extending wired power. It is also handy where you want to surveillance discreetly or in a rental property. But then, how long do battery-powered security cameras last? Are they as durable as their wired power counterparts?
Quality is everything and should be the first factor to consider when looking to install either a wired or wireless security camera. The only problem is that most owners are cost-oriented (you can’t blame them in the current economy). But as good as the appearance look, many of the cheap products on the market tend to have an inferior build.
In our case here, the battery is usually most likely to fail before the other components of the security camera. And in this post, we’re going to look at how long that will take to happen.
The Build of Battery Powered Security Camera is Great, But…
Typically, you can get a battery-operated security camera in a variety of designs and styles. We have the category of the Trail camera and also miniature hidden cameras that will always come with a battery as the source of power. Then the regular indoor and outdoor selections that the market has a ton more than we need.
In many cases, dedicated indoor security cameras run on plugin power- perhaps since they’re easily accessible to wall sockets. Blink and Wyze, some of the bestsellers in the budget category, are perfect examples, and so are “premium” Eufy and Ring.
Sadly, all the battery-powered CCTV we’ve been able to go through, including our local brands, utilizes plastic for the housing. An while the material feels pretty tough, it may not withstand the harsh conditions outdoors as long as metal options.
Brands like Lorex have commercial-grade wired security cameras for outdoors with what they call IK10 vandal-proof construction.
IK10 rating means that the system can withstand a hammer impact of up to 20 joules, whereas the plastic option has no protection. Or do you know of any brand of a battery-powered security camera that’s IK10 vandal-proof?
As for the lens and electronic parts of the camera, what the brand has opted to use varies. And the better the quality of the components, the longer your device will last.
Battery Life vs Battery Lifespan of the Security Camera
The life and lifespan of a battery are two words seemingly similar, and we tend to use them interchangeably. However, they are a little different in meaning, and so is the answer to our question of how long battery-powered security cameras last.
When speaking about battery life, we often refer to the performance aspect: the total runtime on a full charge. But the term can also be used to refer to the capacity and lifespan of the electrical device.
Battery capacity is a measure of how much chemical energy the battery stores and converts into electricity. Then a battery lifespan is the overall number of charge cycles a battery has until it no longer charges.
To better understand how long battery-powered security cameras last, you should first learn the way the characteristics above relate to each other.
For instance, the performance (or total runtime on a full charge) of a battery depends on the capacity. A battery with a high capacity, say 6000mAh, will have a longer running time than one with a lower rating.
Meanwhile, as batteries age, the contained electrolyte and electrodes will gradually deteriorate until they can no longer produce the needed power. The wear time here is exactly what we’re referring to the battery lifespan/ longevity. And when dealing with rechargeable batteries, it is usually equivalent to the number of charge cycles until the device can no longer charge.
But since the chemical aging of the batteries is gradual, the amount of charge your device can hold will diminish gradually too. Hence, the reason you’ll need to charge wireless security cameras more often when old than when new.
In the case of non-rechargeable batteries, like in the Blink Outdoor security camera or trail cameras, they’re “not rechargeable”. Once they have fully discharged, you’ll have to replace them with a brand-new pack.
How Long Do Battery-Powered Security Cameras Last
As we’ve just mentioned, battery-powered security cameras have a finite lifespan. The body housing and internal components are usually tricky to tell how long they are going to last. But we have a percentage still with the Arlo Pro and Arlo Pro 2, half a decade since the launch. How so?
Arlo innovated the camera series with a quick-release battery and also has replacement pack readily available. The original battery, though, has an average lifespan of three years before it starts to discharge within minutes or fails to charge.
Surprisingly, most of the battery security cameras we have covered on our page also have three-year longevity. Eufy and Ring are some of the examples we can verify.
Nonetheless, the capacity lifespan of the rechargeable battery can drop as little as a few months in excessive chemical degradation. And the degradation is more or less related to the level and duration of stress inflicted.
In battery science, there is something known as depth of discharge (DoD), which explains the percentage of the charge discharged versus the overall capacity.
If the discharge rate is small (low DoD), the battery will have a longer run time and won’t need regular recharging. One of the basic facts about the depth of discharge is that the more often a battery is charged and discharged, the shorter the lifespan gets.
So, don’t be surprised when you mount your rechargeable camera in a high-traffic area and it ruins the battery within a year.
Other simple factors you didn’t know will affect how long your battery-powered security camera last include:
- A poor charging practice: charging the battery at a higher current than recommended also speeds up capacity degradation and also risks causing thermal runaway.
- Allowing the battery to fully discharge: speeds up degradation by corrosion of the electrode/ internal structure
- Too Hot operation environments: speeds up the degradation of the battery by speeding up the corrosion process of the internal material. Remember, high temperatures also impact the battery life (running time) by vaporizing the electrolyte
- Too cold operation conditions: speeds up degradation from frequent charging and discharging of the battery due to camera “overworking”
How long battery-powered security cameras last isn’t just about the capacity and quality. Yes, the two are the most important and lead all the other aspects. They simply control the whole battery efficiency and everything.
However, you’ll want to consider all the other factors if your system is to reach at least its minimum age (3 years). And this means you’re now to manage the factors we’ve just discussed accordingly.
For instance, always make sure you recharge your cameras before discharging to the maximum DoD: watch out for the battery low alerts. Then on the issue of working conditions, maintain a moderately cool temperature by keeping the device out of direct sunlight.
It’s worth reminding you that batteries usually continue to self-discharge while even not in use. And for that, always store your wire-free security cameras when charged to avoid them going flat, which we’ve seen will only accelerate degradation.