In several of our topics, we’ve mentioned Swann security cameras and how you can make the most from them. However, we’ve never had the time to put the brand under our big microscope on its own. Hence, the reason we’ve decided to do this comprehensive Swann security camera review.
As you may know, Swann is more on home security camera systems, in particular for DIY enthusiasts. Nonetheless, you can also shop for a nice CCTV kit for your grocery store, or any other business place at reasonable pricing.
In any case, this Swann Security cameras review is not all about the good things the brand advertises to you. We’ll also go through some of the hidden flaws and pains that they may not like us to talk about, but we’ll mention them, anyways
Are Swann Security Cameras Made in the USA?
Overall, Swann is present in not only the American market but also other parts of the world. According to their website, the company now has offices in Australia, USA, UK, Russia, China, and Hong Kong, plus retail distributors in over 40 countries.
If you can remember our previous talk on Reolink and Swann, we mentioned Swann to be born in Australia. The company had operated as a family-owned business in Melbourne for about 26 years before the Infinova Group, a US surveillance manufacturer, acquired it in 2014.
Earlier, Swann was only in the consumer market, but the new deal allowed it to now join the high-end market. And we could say it has paid off considering it has even appeared on the recent Global Industry Analysts Inc. report on Alarm monitoring.
Types of Swann Security Camera Systems
As you’ll come to notice, security companies like Eufy and Arlo or even Ring are more into smart home automation. That’s to say they mainly innovate security systems that you can pair with other home devices to created one automated ecosystem that’s easier to manage.
When it comes to Swann, the company mostly focuses on expandable security camera systems with DVR or NVR boxes. However, you can also get battery-operated wireless security cameras for wire-free installation, albeit in limited options.
Furthermore, the manufacturer tried to get into Trail cameras, whereby they released the Swann (SWVID-OBC140) OutbackCam. Sadly, however, the product didn’t receive the warm reception they were expecting here in the U.S. So, major retailers like Amazon stopped restocking it, though, you can find it in the Australian market.
All in all, the other types of Swann security camera systems are doing pretty well, mostly from their reasonable pricing. The following are a few selections based on the recommendations from past users.
|Swann Security camera Brand||Type of CCTV System||Video Quality||Environment|
|Swann SWDVK-845808V||DVR Kit||1080p Full HD||Indoor/ Outdoor|
|Swann (WDVK-855808WL)||DVR Kit||4K Ultra-HD||Indoor/ Outdoor|
|Swann SWIFI-PTCAM232GB-GL||Standalone/ WiFi||1080p Full HD||Indoor only|
|Swann SWNHD-886MSD||PoE add-on camera||4K Ultra-HD||Indoor/ Outdoor|
|Swann SWNVK-886804FB||NVR Kit||4K Ultra-HD||Indoor/ Outdoor|
Key features: 8-channel DVR, 1080p full HD videos, 90-degree field of view, preinstalled 1TB hard drive, and True Detect (heat motion sensing).
Key features: Up to 8 channels, 4K ultra-HD recordings, colored night vision, built-in motion-activated spotlights, and preinstalled 2TB hard drive,
Key Features: Wireless (WiFi) connectivity, 1080p HD videos, 355° panning & 60° tilt, Two-way talk, integrated MicroSD slot, and compatible with Amazon Alexa/ Google Assistant
Key Features: Metallic construction, up to 4K Ultra-HD recordings, 93-degree field of vision, one-way audio recording, person detection, and line crossing detection
Key Features: 8-channel recorder, digital PoE connection, up to 4K Ultra-HD, colored night vision, active deterrence, face recognition, two-way audio, and preinstalled 2TB hard drive
How Long Do Swann Security Cameras Last?
When it comes to the question of durability, there are three factors you have to consider: type of housing, waterproofness, and construction. And this applies for not just to Swann cameras but to any other brand as well.
If we start with the housing, most Swann cameras feature hard plastic housing. You can also find those with metal housing, but they’re few and limited to dome designs as with the model THD-V28(W).
When it comes to waterproofness, all Swann outdoor security cameras are designed to withstand even rain and severe sun. However, the devices will have either IP66 rating, which features operating temperatures of -22°F to 122°F. Or IP65 rating, with an operating temperature of 14°F to 113°F.
Note, the cables that come with the Swann CCTV kits are also weatherproof to protect against water and sun exposure. So, you can continue to monitor your property for over five years without doing any external maintenance.
Also, Swann supports their surveillance camera system with a full 12-month warranty. So, you should get a free replacement in case you have any issues within the period.
Swann Security Camera Video Quality
At the time of this post, Swann has up to to 4K surveillance systems, but only in the expandable (DVR and NVR) category. That includes 4-channel. 8-channel, and 16-channel wired surveillance system kits. You can even get a 4K color night vision security camera like that we were talking about a week ago. So, you can now enjoy benefits like reading license plates, tattoos, and other important details of objects at farther distances.
If the pricing for the 4K Ultra-HD systems is beyond your budget, Swann does have 5MP (2K Super-HD) and 1080 full HD systems as well. The latter is the best-selling category of all as it’s relatively cheaper, with an 8-channel kit going for even two hundred seventy dollars.
But again, 1080p means your security camera will be capturing with lesser clarity than the 4K Ultra-HD and 5MP super-HD systems.
Swann Security Camera With Audio Recording
Indeed, you can get a security camera system with audio from Swann. Of course, many are models without the function, but having the feature can truly come in handy.
For instance, a video recording that has audio lets you hear what the potential culprits are up to. In the court, it can also help convince the council that the suspects were at the crime site, though you’ll have to be careful. Why?
Each US state has its regulations when it comes to audio surveillance. And these laws on surveillance cameras don’t just apply in public places, but also in private neighborhoods.
Anyway, back to Swann security cameras, you can find systems with either one-way or two-way audio functions. The one-way audio’s where a CCTV can only record videos with audio. Then, the two-way audio comprises a system that can record videos with audio, as well as support two-way talk. Hence, allowing you to communicate with the person facing the camera without having to be physically present.
The Swann SWIFI-CAMB-GL wireless camera and Swann SWNVK-886804FB PoE NVR kit are perfect examples with audio recording.
How To Set Up Swann Security Camera
As was mentioned earlier, all Swann security cameras have a DIY (do-it-yourself) setup. In short, this means you necessarily don’t need to hire a professional for installation. But again, remember Swann mostly deals with surveillance DVR kits. So, you’ll have cabling to deal with and maybe some drilling.
More on that, DVR systems usually connect with analog security cameras. So, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll give each camera power.
In any case, here’s a quick guide to help you set up your Swann security camera.
What you need:
- A Swann DVR Kit: recorder, cameras, power adapters, and BNC extension wire cord
- Monitor with HDMI/ VGA cable
- Accessories: Mouse, Ethernet cable,
What to do:
- The first step to setting up your Swann security camera system is gathering everything you need in one place.
- After that, start the process by connecting one end of the BNC extension cable to the camera. Then, plug the other end of the cable into one of the video inputs of the DVR (located at the rear)
- Repeat Step (2) for all the cameras you want to use
- Get the power splitter and connect all the camera cables. Then, connect the power adapter and plug it into an electrical outlet
- Connect all the other accessories accordingly: mouse, monitor, and router. Then, connect the DVR to a power adapter and plug it into an electrical outlet
- Once the DRV powers on, the monitor will automatically display the “startup wizard”, which you’ll use for the setup process. Choose the language you want for the menu. Then, click the “Next” button.
- Create the new password you want to use with your security camera system and hit the “Next” button
- The system will open a new window for the general configuration. Use it to set the appropriate video format, resolution, time zone, and preferred date and time format. Then, hit the “Next button”
- Here you need to confirm the Email address that you’d like to use to be receiving alerts or perform password resets. We recommend creating a new one (from your phone/ PC browser) that’s only for the DVR. Note, Swann only accepts Gmail or Outlook addresses for now.
- After successfully creating the Gmail/ Outlook account, you can now complete the Email Configuration for your system. In the window shown on the monitor, check the “Email” box. Then, set each of the settings accordingly as shown below
|Email Configuration Setting||Set To|
|username||(email that you created for the DVR)|
|password||(email password created for the DVR)|
|Sender||(Name of the DVR)|
|Receiver 1||(email that you created for the DVR)|
|Receiver 2 (Optional)||Second recipient email to be receiving alerts|
|Interval||Select the time duration until you receive the next activity alerts|
- Next, click the “Test Email” button to test if you’ll receive a notification or not.
- If the Email Test was successful, select the “Next” button, which will now take you to the NTP configuration. Click the “Update Now” button to sync your DVR date and time settings with the system serves. Then, press the “OK” and “Next” buttons.
- After that, set the daylight savings time (DST) configuration. In case the setting doesn’t apply in your region, leave it disabled and check the “ok” tab. If the DST does apply in your place, “Enable” it, then select the amount of time the daylight has increased, followed by the “Start- and End Time”
- Finally, select the “Finish” button and click “Okay” to confirm. The startup wizard will close and the monitor will display all the cameras connected to the DVR.
How To Set Up Swann DVR For Remote Viewing
Like many brands today, Swann security cameras support remote viewing while away. You just need to connect the DVR to the router (if you haven’t already), then download the Swannview Link app and configure your system. That’s:
- On your smartphone/ tablet, go to the respective app store, then download and install the Swannview Link app.
- After successful installation, tap the app to open. Then, click the bold “Add new device” button
- Tap the QR code icon shown, then hold your device over the QR code sticker of your DVR (usually located on top). If the phone correctly scans the code, you’ll hear a beep from your mobile device and the UID of the DVR will be automatically entered
- Tap the “Device Name” and enter the name you’d like to use for your Swann DVR system. Next, enter the username and password, then click the “Save” icon on the top right of the app
- After the app verifies your details and connects to your DVR, click the “Start Preview” button to live view all your connected cameras.
How To Playback Swann Security Camera
That’s an easy one, considering the Swann security camera is recording in the first place. If, yes, it’s recording, you can playback the videos by:
- Right-click your mouse, select the menu tab, and go to the search bar
- On the new search window, click the calendar icon and choose the date of the recordings you want to view
- Next, choose a file type, followed by the stream type of the recordings you want to view
- Then, select the channels (or otherwise cameras) you want to playback and click the PLAY button
How To Reset A Swann DVR
In some cases, a Swann representative might tell you to reset your DVR in an attempt to solve an existing issue. Similar to most brands, Swann DVR systems don’t have an external hard reset button. So, to factory reset the DVR:
- Make sure the machine is off and disconnected from the power plug
- Take off the back and side screws of the case cover to remove it
- Locate the small black “reset” button on the motherboard
- While the case cover’s still off, carefully plug the power back into the unit
- Wait for the unit to fully boot up. Then, press the black “reset” button
- After the DVR completes resetting, unplug the power cable, then replace the case and screws
- Plug the unit back to power and wait for it to switch on. It should be back to factory default settings.
Does Swann work with Alexa?
Well, various 8 channel Swann wireless cameras and even expandable systems are compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant devices for hands-free control. Few examples are Swann PT indoor camera, Swann SONVR-168580T NVR kit, SWDVK-855804B2FB DVR unit.
Key Takeaway: Common issues with Swann Security Cameras
Despite everything else we’ve mentioned, Swann security cameras have their drawbacks as well. The major ones include:
- Glitchy app: quite a number of people have complained about the Swann app crashing or lagging, especially after performing a recent update
- Too many false alerts: the PIR motion sensor of some Swann security cameras isn’t always accurate. Thus, leading to far too many email alerts each day
- Flimsy mounting brackets: Similarly, quite a handful of people have complained of poorly designed mounting brackets of some Swann cameras.
- Poor tech support: many users have complained of not getting hold of the Swann support team on phone calls or email.
If you can shop wisely, the Swann security camera can help you monitor your property while present and away. However, the brand has an extensive array of products, with varying resolutions, camera designs, and extra features. In the few examples that we provided, you’ll notice the two PoE systems even has video analytics to give you a smarter and monitoring experience.
In any case, we hope Swann will find a permanent solution on its mobile and computer software. It makes no sense for customers in 2021 to keep complaining of an issue users from 2017 had also raised. Also, we’d like to see more cameras with video analytics as the feature is currently limited to only a few wireless and NVR systems.