Comparing camera system pricing is like

Quite often people ask me what the cost of a camera system is. I want to respond with "How much does a car cost?" Which is really the exact same question because without comparing the brands, features, warranties and specifications you can't give an accurate price.

Can you compare something like this if you don't know what it is?

1. How long would you like to store the video? 7 days, 2 weeks a month? This will be a large factor in the price of the system especially if you get a professional system with commercial redundant drives that are backed up.

2. High Definition mega pixel cameras allow you to zoom in after the fact getting a very clear and detailed picture where analog cameras often fall short. A 2.1 MegaPixel camera can have 3 to 5 times the resolution as many analog cameras.

3. A camera that sees in the dark (Day Night) costs more than one that does not have that feature. (The big box cameras with the little LEDs see about 15 or 20 feet in the dark but this is not a true day/night camera)

4. A camera that has an outdoor heater blower costs more than one that does not have this feature.

5. A camera that has a verifocal lens that adjusts from 2.8 to 10mm normally costs a bit more than one that is just a fixed lens. Do you need to recognize that there are people there or do you need to identify them?

6. A vandal dome or vandal resistant camera costs more than one that is not vandal resistant.

7. The IP66 weather rating give you the assurance that the camera is weather resistant compared to a camera that does not have the rating.

8. Choosing the proper lenses is very important even when using megapixel cameras. Combined with camera placement it can make all the difference in the world. Even dropping the camera below a light fixture in a warehouse using a piece of EMT can make quite a bit of difference in your picture and view. South facing cameras should be avoided when possible. There are many features that you can get depending on your needs for back light compensation etc....

9. The price of the system will also be affected depending on if the company needs to drill through walls, rent a lift to do work up high, mount cameras to poles etc....

Once the companies that are bidding have a complete list of your expectations, budget and needs then you can get a good idea of what a system should cost.

Now I will mention that you can go to a big box store and purchase a camera system for a very low price but you need to know that these cameras are not the same as quality commercial cameras. Even within commercial and industrial levels of cameras there are different grades of equipment with different price levels.

Here are a few of examples:

We have analog cameras as low as $140 each which are 600TVL

We have good quality analog camera that is 700 TVL 5-50mm for $500

Peak Alarm has a nice analog PTZ that is 26X zoom for just under $2,000

Other PTZ cameras with auto tracking from Bosch cost over $6,000 each

An 8 channel 2TB DVR is as low as $1000 dollars

Then power supplies, cable, wall penetrations, lift rental and labor needs to be added to the camera cost. We can also add an extended warranty when that fits your needs. We can offer leasing options for a lower initial investment although it will cost more in the long run.


Peak Alarm has Mega Pixel cameras as low as $230 dollars each

A nice Vandal outdoor rated 2.1MP dome with the IP66 rating and 65' IR range and SD card is only $569

Peak Alarm offers a wide range of NVR units to meet your recording needs

starting at $455 dollars for the 4 channel unit that is 2TB.

A great quality 16 channel NVR with 8 Poe ports and 6TB is only $1,812

Adding labor, cable and the equipment often you can have a great quality system installed for around $1,000 dollars per camera depending on how many cameras you need and the package.


Years ago when I first started selling camera systems we would sell a good quality analog camera that was 320 TVL for $400 dollars, the labor to install it was $200 dollars and the cable was $30 or $40 dollars and the by the time you added a recorder, power supplies and everything else you were up to around $1,000 per camera installed and that was 20 years ago with analog systems.

The cost of storage has come down and the quality of the cameras has increased. I would still advise against purchasing the $50 dollar cameras because you do get what you pay for.

We do have higher end systems as well where the entry level NVR starting cost is just over $5,000. We have gate keeper Axis cameras that will zoom in automatically on your gate to see the plate number on the car and when any other movement occurs in your lot the camera zooms back out to see the full view. This is just one of the many features you can get with the AXIS cameras. A great quality Axis 5MP IP camera that is 2.5 to 12mm and vandal resistant is only $1,794 so the $140 dollar camera really should not be compared to the $2,000 dollar camera because it is like comparing apples to oranges, it just doesn't work well.

When your alarm company designer knows your budget and your needs he or she can help you design an incredible system that will last for many years that is expandable. If they are only concentrating on LOW BID then you won't get the best system but you may get the cheapest system which never is the best option.

We have some very good hybrid systems that will allow you to use your old analog cameras and the coax and begin to replace them with IP/High Definition cameras.

We have a friend that got our advice of which cameras to install and he bought them off of the internet (often B stock or refurbished) and he installed them himself and they are not working well at all and now he is complaining about the type of cameras. We pointed out that he should have had the installation done professionally and purchased the cameras from a reputable source because we have a great deal of those same cameras installed and working perfectly. There are tricks to the trade when installing and when you guess or try to do it yourself often errors are made and the system will not work properly. We found owners that installed the wrong cable even cable TV cable for their cameras and if the runs did not go over 100 feet the picture was ok but if they used the aluminum RG6 cable on cameras often the picture was horrible when they should have used the RG59 (95% copper) cable which costs quite a bit more but is made specifically for analog cameras.

If you decide to buy a cheap system through a big box store buy two or three of the systems because you will need those replacement parts soon. Peak Alarm is not out looking to be low bidder nor are we looking for companies that want the least expensive system installed. When you need a system done properly and you need quality equipment please call us. My number is 801 428 1384 and my email is our web site is

Peak Alarm has been in business for over 45 years, has an A+ rating with the better business bureau and five offices to serve you in Idaho and Utah. Peak Alarm has the only UL listed Central Station in Salt Lake and we offer full service guard and patrol as well.

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