‘Continuous recording’ is a security camera’s ability to record footage nonstop. While some security cameras do allow footage to be saved continuously to local storage, it’s a feature that’s missing from most security camera apps.
Read on to learn more about what continuous recording is and whether it’s a feature you need, and find out which cameras support it.
What Are Continuous Recording Security Cameras?
How Long Do Home Security Cameras Record?
The amount of time that security cameras record for continuously depends on the model. Many don’t offer this feature and only record in small ‘events’ (usually 30 seconds) triggered by motion detection.
Most brands do offer premium subscriptions that increase storage space on the cloud. Check out the most popular ones below.
|Brand||Maximum Length of Continuous Recording (local)||Maximum Length of Continuous Recording (cloud-based)||Maximum Length of Continuous Recording(subscription)|
|AlfredCamera App||8 hour loop (240p for free users)||No continuous recording||8 hour loop (720p for Premium users, local storage)|
|AlfredCam||Unlimited (microSD)||No continuous recording||Unlimited playback of locally stored footage for Premium users via the app|
|Google Nest||No continuous recording. Up to 30 seconds per clip. 8 minutes of local storage.||No continuous recording||Unlimited footage when 24/7 Video History is enabled (Nest Aware Plus)|
|Wyze||2-8 days depending on quality and storage size (microSD card)||No continuous recording||Unlimited footage for up to 14 days (Cam Plus)|
|Reolink||Unlimited (NVR or PC)2-8 days depending on quality (microSD card)||No continuous recording||7 days and 1GB storage (Basic)30 days and 30GB storage (Standard)30 days and 80GB storage (Premier)|
|Ring||No continuous recording||No continuous recording||No continuous recording. Up to 120 seconds, 180 day storage (Basic and Plus)|
|Blink||No continuous recording||No continuous recording||No continuous recording|
Top 5 Continuous Recording Security Cameras
Available from within the AlfredCamera app. From $34.99.
- 8 hours free continuous recording even when internet cuts out
- Footage wipes itself once CR limit exceeded
- Super affordable
- Quality depends on the chosen camera device
- Low light filter isn’t as robust as true night vision
What others are saying…
‘My internet isn’t the best, and when multiple people in the house are using it, it can get really sluggish. You can record continuously with AlfredCamera so that even if the internet drops out, it keeps recording, and saves it to the phone.’ – AlfredCamera user.
Eufy Solo IndoorCam C24
- Super sharp 2K resolution
- 24/7 recording to microSD
- Cloud storage struggles to support 2K recordings
- Data usage is high if not recording to microSD
Who said buying on a budget means giving up super high quality? The Solo IndoorCam C24 is well regarded for its impressive 2K resolution, which produces crystal clear footage, in spite of its low price tag.
Eufy’s cameras are also among the few that support true continuous recording. Users simply need to insert a microSD and have the device save footage to it. It can then be used to record 24/7 until memory is maxed out. There’s also great AI-based person/pet detection, two-way talk, and decent night vision.
What others are saying…
‘The Eufy Solo IndoorCam C24 is an affordable home security camera that offers lots of features for the price including sharp 2K video, voice control, and intelligent motion alerts.’ – John R. Delaney for PC Mag.
Arlo Ultra 2
- Crisp 4K footage looks fantastic
- Built-in spotlight is useful for monitoring outside the home in detail
- Continuous recording is well-designed and intuitive
- Extremely expensive
- Continuous recording requires a very expensive subscription
- Requires a Smart Hub
Many Arlo cameras are compatible with continuous recording. Of all of them, the Ultra 2 is a real juggernaut of a device, supporting 4K resolution, 180-degree field of view, and featuring a built-in spotlight and siren.
To record continuously, users must purchase a ‘CVR Subscription’ from Arlo. This gives users access to either 14 or 30 days of continuous recording, which can be scrubbed through easily. It works a charm, but there’s no denying that $19.99 for 30 days of CVR is a painfully tall order for a device that already costs so much.
Reolink E1 Pro
Available on Amazon. From $54.99.
- Fantastic 2K image quality
- MicroSD support for continuous recording
- Affordable for 2K
- Reolink NVR sold separately
- 2K footage will max out SD quickly
- Motorized panning is somewhat wasted since it can’t track movement
Reolink’s cameras provide the option for a more old-school approach to saving and viewing footage using their NVR or PC. Of course, the E1 Pro supports microSD saving, so users can also use this.
TP-Link Kasa Spot Pan Tilt
Available on Amazon. From $29.99.
- Motorized 360 panning with AI-based tracking
- Continuous recording up to 128 GB via microSD
- Super affordable
- MicroSD card not included
- Works best when mounted on a ceiling
Similar to Reolink’s E1 Pro, the Kasa Spot Pan Tilt is a motorized panning camera that supports continuous recording. This is done by inserting a microSD, which, thankfully, can be as large as 128 GB.
How to Get Security Cameras Record All the Time?
If a camera model doesn’t support continuous recording, there is unfortunately no means of having it record 24/7.
If continuous recording is important to the user, it should be factored into the decision making process when buying a security camera. As a rule of thumb, devices that support microSD, DVR, or NVR storage will allow footage to be recorded continuously.
This will be either until the device’s memory is full (after which the device may begin to wipe itself or require the user to manually delete footage) or once the length of the recording has reached a set threshold.
Continuous Recording vs. Motion Detection
Many IP cameras incorporate some form of motion detection technology, usually instead of continuous recording. It’s useful in avoiding large files, but it can be risky if the camera’s motion detection is hit-or-miss or overly sensitive.
Likewise, if the motion detection doesn’t incorporate other features, like facial recognition or animal detection, the camera could easily begin filming unnecessary movement.
We weighed up some of the major differences between motion detection-based surveillance and continuous recording below.
|Motion Detection (MD)||Continuous Recording (CR)|
Get notified only when movement is detected.
|High Traffic Visibility|
MD is useless in places where there is constant movement. There’s no point being notified every few minutes as someone passes by. CR avoids this nuisance.
|Capture What Matters |
Sifting through hours of footage can be mind-numbing. With MD, cameras can be assigned to record only when something appears.
Avoid signal drop out by simply capturing everything, at all times.
Less footage means less demand on broadband, meaning cloud storage can be used easily from anywhere in the world.
Local storage (SD cards) allows users to save potentially huge files with no fuss, freeing up bandwidth.
When Do I Need 24/7 Continuous Recording?
Stores require continuous recording when they are open and closed. Traffic will be high at some points during the day, meaning motion detection, which tends to limit the length of clips to a default setting and is subject to a ‘cool down’ period once triggered, won’t provide useful or reliable surveillance.
Much like a store, an office is likely to have significant movement all day, making motion detection pointless. Continuous recording is reliable.
Warehouses are subject to much stricter health and safety regulations than other workplaces, and since they can be dangerous, surveillance needs to be 24/7 to be reliable.
4. Locations Prone to Signal Dropout
For houses, farms, and construction sites with occasionally poor Wi-Fi, continuous recording can be a good way to ride out signal dropouts without losing any footage. AlfredCamera’s continuous recording feature can still record even when the internet connection drops out.
How to Turn an Old Cell Phone into a Security Camera with Continuous Recording
‘We noticed that some users shared concerns about signal dropouts,’ says the product team. ‘Rather than ignoring the problem, we got to work combating it. AlfredCamera continuous recording solves the issue.’
‘AlfredCamera cloud storage allows free users to store clips for up to 7 via the internet, while a Premium subscription provides 14 days. Continuous recording records for 8 hours and loops back on itself, deleting the oldest footage first.’
In the camera’s settings, scroll down and turn on ‘Continuous Recording’.
To view footage, tap the ‘Playback’ icon in the bottom left corner on the camera menu.
From here, users can tap and drag a timeline to view footage recorded at a specific time (the red bars indicate when motion was captured, making finding relevant footage much easier).
Do security cameras record all the time?
Most modern security cameras do not record all the time. Using motion detection is a more efficient way to avoid large file sizes and only record relevant footage.
Do I need a camera that records all the time?
How to turn an old cell phone into a security camera with continuous recording?
Can wireless cameras record continuously?
Yes, some wireless cameras can record continuously, but most will require being plugged in to maintain charge. Even if they aren’t, it’s a good idea to do this since the battery will drain significantly faster than when using motion detection alone.
Which camera has unlimited recording?
Reolink’s E1 Pro can be connected to a branded NVR or a PC for a more conventional way of recording and viewing footage, while Eufy’s IndoorCam is a great option for those wanting to record to microSD. Ultimately, neither promises ‘unlimited recording’; eventually, footage will need to be deleted to free up space.