Best PoE cameras in 2024: the best surveillance camera systems

Looking for the best PoE camera or the best surveillance camera system? This guide will help you find the Power-over-Ethernet camera (or cameras) to meet your needs - and help steer you to the best available price.

Best PoE Cameras: Quick Menu

PoE technology is simpler than older “Siamese cables,” while avoiding the need for regular battery charging. The range is limited only by the cable and not thick walls blocking Wi-Fi. An Ethernet cable can carry enough power to operate a surveillance camera and it goes without saying that handling a digital video via network is no problem. That’s why a lot of security camera systems are actually low-spec computers built with slightly different priorities when it comes to the ports (quite a lot of LAN sockets for the cameras, VGA or HDMI for the display, and a hard drive, but not too much else).

If you want to break things down into more detail, there is an FAQ below the main list, but the main thing to be mindful of is that this list covers systems – with drives and power boxes – and separate cameras. PoE also covers live streaming, conferencing, and broadcast setups, so we've not forgotten them, but you might prefer to check our best streaming camera and best PTZ camera guides. With a separate camera you will, of course, need a compatible system.

Top picks

The best PoE cameras in 2024

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Best PoE security system

(Image credit: Annke)

1. Annke H800 4K Dome system

Best dome-style PoE camera system

Specifications

Sensor: 1/ 2.7in CMOS
Video: 3840 x 2160 (8MP) @ 25fps
Recording format: : H.265+
Field of view: 123˚ (diagonal)
Night vision: Yes, 30m
Audio: Yes
Waterproof: IP67

Reasons to buy

+
Sony CMOS 
+
Smart person & vehicle detection
+
2TB storage 
+
Cameras have TF card slot

Reasons to avoid

-
Dome cameras have more wide-angle distortion 

Annke’s H800 eight-channel 2TB NVR is broadly comparable to the Reolink device seen above but offered here in a pack with four of the company’s C800 dome cameras. The NVR and cameras also support H.265 4K video compression, audio recording, remote access, and the other features you’d expect, and can connect to up to eight cameras.

The cameras 8-megapixel Sony CMOS performs especially well at helping you see into contrasty dark areas, with WDR and digital noise reduction. The device is also IP67, built to survive hot (60˚C/140˚F) or cold (-40C˚/-40˚F) for extended periods, and the metal construction is IK10 vandal proof according to Annke, and the dome can survive the impact of a mallet. The 100ft/30.5m range of their night vision works in conditions down to 0.01 Lux.

Smart motion alerts allow you to draw customized polygons around areas of a camera's view, so for example your drive or parking space. You can also tweak the sensitivity and disable motion detection by area if you choose, or even add a privacy mask via the NVR.

Best 4K PoE system

(Image credit: Reolink)
Best 4K security system with subscription-free AI

Specifications

Sensor: 1/ 2.49” CMOS
Video: 3840 x 2460 (8MP) @ 25fps
Recording format: : H.265
Field of view: 87˚ x 44˚
Night vision: Yes, 30m
Audio: Yes
Dimensions: 105 x 93mm (camera)

Reasons to buy

+
No Subscription
+
Smart person & vehicle detection
+
2TB storage 
+
Cameras have MicroSD recording

Reasons to avoid

-
‘Human’ rather than individual person detection

With four 4K cameras and 2TB of storage, this camera and NVR (Network Video Recorder) combination set is a powerful security system that will give you the power to monitor most properties without further investment – and you have the option to support up to 8 Reolink IP cameras if required.

Using the default H.265, the NVR can record four channels for up to 3 days at the maximum 8192kbps bit rate, but if you feel you need more, you can add 6TB internally (swap the hard drive) and 6TB externally (eSATA socket), for a total of 36 days, so there is plenty of flexibility. Even while you’re away, though, you can monitor what the cameras see via Reolink’s computer client which works on Mac, Windows, and the web.

The supplied cameras can all detect the difference between people and vehicles and you can name cameras, so the alerts you get on your iPhone or Android phone read something like “Person activity is detected by Side Door”; set up properly and you’ll know very quickly when your teens have borrowed the car without asking!

Best PoE Streaming Camera

(Image credit: ZowieTek)

3. ZowieTek NDI 30x

Best PoE camera for live streaming

Specifications

Sensor: 1/2.7in CMOS
Video: 1920 x 1080 (2.07MP) @ 60fps
Recording format: : H.265+
Field of view: 3.3-54.7˚
Night vision: 0.5Lux min
Audio: Via mic socket
Waterproof: -
Dimensions: 150 x 150 x 167 mm

Reasons to buy

+
20x Optical zoom 
+
Socket for Micro SD recording optionH.265 
+
⨁ iOS, Android, Mac and Windows apps

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 1080P, fine for livestreaming but 4K would be nice

Choosing a Pan / Tilt / Zoom (PTZ) camera isn’t an ideal solution for all CCTV situations; if you are leaving a system recording the camera can only be pointing one way at any one time and it might well cost a similar amount to position several fixed cameras more strategically. If you already have a system, however – especially one which uses smart alerts to draw your attention to suspicious activity – then a PTZ camera has a lot of appeal as a means of finding out more before taking things to the next level.

While it’s a shame that this camera is a bit over HD rather than 4K, the camera can be rotated an endless 360˚ in the same direction (if you choose) as well as a full 0-90˚ so homing in on a target and staying with them is a breeze. You can also set a ‘patrol’ of up to 16 preset positions as an alternative to covering your home with cameras. In either case, autofocus will keep the ƒ/1.6 optics sharp. All-in-all there are a lot of options here, well backed up with software.

Note: most NVRs support a limited number of these devices due to the power requirement.

Best PoE for DIY

(Image credit: Swann)

4. Swann Master-Series 4K system

Best 4K quad-camera system for cost-effective install

Specifications

Sensor: 1/ 1.7in CMOS
Video: 2560 x 1920 (5MP) @ 10fps (15fps 1080p)
Recording format: : H.265+
Field of view: 90˚
Night vision: Yes, 40m (10m color)
Audio: Yes
Waterproof: IP66
Size: 142 x 71 x 71mm (camera) | 235 x 310 x 53mm (box)

Reasons to buy

+
Complete DIY Install Kit
+
Alexa and Google Integrations
+
Local and some free cloud storage

Reasons to avoid

-
Maximum of eight cameras on NVR
-
Vehicle & pet detection requires subscription

Swann is a reliable brand, and this system, based on their 8-channel NVR-8580 recorder, comes with four cameras and leaves the option of adding another four. The video is upscaled to 4K from a 5MP sensor, which still turns out to give a lot of detail for review, and recording alerts are triggered by motion and heat. Prevention is better than detection, and the cameras all include bright LEDs and can be accessed quickly using Google Assistant, Chromecast, Alexa, and iOS apps. 

We also liked that while Swann’s system doesn’t force you into a subscription service, it will play nice with Dropbox and a Secure+ option should off-site storage be a priority. Admittedly a 90˚ field of view is at the lower end, but with judicious positioning, this system will serve you well.

We have tested a Swann Wi-Fi setup in our Swann AllSecure 650 review, which is an interesting alternative.

Best Conferencing PoE

Chris George with the Kandao Meeting Ultra

(Image credit: Future)
Best PoE powered conference camera

Specifications

Sensor: dual CMOS
Video: 1080P @ 60fps
Recording format: H.264 / MJPEG
Field of view: 360 horizontal
Night vision: No
Audio: Yes
Waterproof: No
Dimensions: 266 x 156 x 327 mm

Reasons to buy

+
Good balance of price and function 
+
360-degree coverage of meeting room
+
Dual monitors mean external displays not needed (though possible)
+
MicroSD card recording option

Reasons to avoid

-
At the expensive end
-
AI has a slight lag when the speaker changes

As if to prove the versatility of PoE as a technology, the Kandao Meeting Ultra replaces an entire conferencing room solution – display, computing device, microphones, speaker, and camera – in a single device. It can be portable, if you need it to be, though at 9 pounds / 4Kg it probably isn't something you'd want to move too many times a day.

Although it can do everything in one unit, there is an extensive range of connectivity options. In terms of network, there is Wi-Fi or Ethernet and, for the sake of tidiness, PoE is an option which is an elegant touch. It can be the only cable you use; the device is capable of using its built-in Android OS to host all the major conferencing platforms, and the screens can show both sides of the meeting table the other end of the call.

The 360-degree cameras can see the whole room, and the on-board software can crop on the current speaker (after a momentary lag, but with no human assistance at all). This is a high-end choice, at a price to match, though we do have some other options in our conference camera guide.

Best PoE Bundle

(Image credit: Reolink)
Best PoE dual camera pack

Specifications

Sensor: 1/1.7in CMOS
Video: 2560 x 1920 (5MP) @ 25fps
Recording format: H.265+
Field of view: 80˚ x 58˚
Night vision: Yes, 30m
Audio: Yes
Waterproof: IP66
Dimensions: 120 x 77mm

Reasons to buy

+
Good balance of price and function 
+
Motion alert systems & defined detection areas
+
Works with Google Assistant
+
iOS, Android, Mac and Windows apps

Reasons to avoid

-
PoE injector(s) required 

The Reolink RLC-410 twin-pack is a much cheaper way into home security than a full NVR system, though it offers much of the same functionality if choose to provide it using one of the wide range of 3rd party camera support programs they support or you could choose to add a Reolink NVR at a later date (or, indeed, another brand, though for some reason they’re less enthusiastic about that). Each camera also has its own MicroSD card slot for making recordings while motion is detected through filling these is optional.

Even though at 5MP, these aren’t the gleaming top of the line in resolution terms (4K is 8MP), the picture is sharp by day and night thanks to the 18 built-in IR LEDs. With more pixels than traditional High Def (e.g. Blu-Ray) there is certainly the detail needed for most purposes. 

Many will have enough Cat 5 or above cable lying around to install the cameras and begin experimenting with the software but you’ll need to supply power to a PoE injector like the 802.3af 48V  will be needed too (or a capable NVR).

Best PTZ POE

(Image credit: Reolink)
Best optical zoom PTZ PoE camera for CCTV

Specifications

Sensor: 1/2.7in CMOS
Video: 2560 x 1920 (5MP) @ 30fps
Recording format: H.265+
Field of view: 33-98˚
Night vision: Yes, 58m
Audio: Via mic socket
Waterproof: IP66
Dimensions: 97 x 119 x 119 mm

Reasons to buy

+
Socket for Micro SD recording option
+
H.265 
+
 iOS, Android, Mac and Windows apps. 

Reasons to avoid

-
Optical zoom could be longer 

Choosing a Pan / Tilt / Zoom (PTZ) camera isn’t an ideal solution for all CCTV situations; if you are leaving a system recording the camera can only be pointing one way at any one time and it might well cost a similar amount to position several fixed cameras more strategically.

If you already have a system, however – especially one which uses smart alerts to draw your attention to suspicious activity – then a PTZ camera has a lot of appeal as a means of finding out more before taking things to the next level. 

Reolink’s app-eal (sorry) comes in part from the control over the device which can easily be exercised via the company’s app. Other features, like two-way audio, are there too – just like the firm’s less powerful Wi-Fi PTZ camera – but the 5x optical zoom will let you see more. Timelapse and flexible recording modes can also be fun for photographers capturing sunrises.

Best for flexibility

(Image credit: Lorex)

8. Lorex Fusion Bundle 4K PoE System

Best PoE security system for flexibility – can even include doorbell

Specifications

Sensor: 1/2.5in CMOS
Video: 4K (8MP) @ 25fps
Recording format: : H.265+
Field of view: 108˚ (diagonal)
Night vision: Yes, 30m IR
Audio: Yes, two way talk
Waterproof: IP67
Dimensions: Camera: 175 x 73 x 73mm / Box: 324 x 249 x 60mm

Reasons to buy

+
Allows smart triggering for lighting
+
Face Detection, person detection, & left object options 
+
Amazon, Google & Apple TV integrations

Reasons to avoid

-
System might be more than you need
-
Only 8 PoE sockets (additional wi-fi sensors can be added)

The Lorex system is a good one not just because it uses true 4K cameras which results in the luxury of high-quality recorded evidence from camera positions, but because it’s designed to be paired with up to two compatible products like Lorex’s wi-fi cameras and doorbells, you can store video from these locations too. That gives your overall security system a more complete view.

Moreover, it is recorded as continuous video, even from the added wi-fi cameras, onto the included NVR, without the need for a monthly subscription. Thanks to the app, two-way talk is also an option and the on-the-go connection at least matches a wi-fi-only camera system.

The included cameras have color night vision and an especially durable metal housing that will survive in weather from -30˚C to 60˚ç (-22˚-140˚F), so that ticks of durability and flexibility. 

Best of the rest

(Image credit: Annke)

9. Annke C800 4K Zoom Bullet Camera

The best fixed PoE camera for active monitoring

Specifications

Sensor: 1/2.5in CMOS
Video: 4000 x 3000 (12MP) @ 25fps
Recording format: : H.265+
Field of view: 40-125˚ (diagonal)
Night vision: Yes, 50m
Audio: Yes
Waterproof: IP67
Dimensions: 297.5 x 93mm

Reasons to buy

+
Large Sony IMX226 CMOS 
+
Sophisticated AI systems
+
Optical zoom
+
Ultra 

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive for private buyers 

This is an incredibly versatile system that takes advantage of a Sony EXIR image sensor and 4x optical zoom – backed up with a 2.8-12mm varifocal (motorized) lens – for spectacular image quality which is still color in as little as 0.018 Lux.

This means a single camera can cover a large area while looking broadly like any other bullet camera to a passerby (it’s slightly bigger than some), and the field of view can be changed remotely on demand or by a timed program.

The camera includes all of Annke’s behavior analysis and AI systems, the latter of which include human recognition (to avoid pet or leaf movement alerts) and scene change detection and defocus detection which can alert you to camera tampering and can even be linked directly to the alarms.

The former of which looks for specific actions like crossing lines, intrusion into defined areas, leaving areas, and object removal – it even has a pricier sister 12K model (Annke B1200) which can spot unattended luggage, meaning “see it, say it, sorted” is getting close to being solved by bots.

(Image credit: Revotech)

10. Revotech Mini

Best budget PoE starter camera

Specifications

Sensor: 1/3in CMOS
Video: 2304 x 1293 (3MP) @ 20fps
Recording format: : H.265
Field of view: 65˚
Night vision: 0.1 Lux
Audio: Via mic socket
Waterproof: -
Dimensions: 30 x 30 x mm

Reasons to buy

+
Compact and discrete
+
Optional accessories including tele lens
+
Straightforward remote access via apps (Mac/Win/Android)

Reasons to avoid

-
No infrared 
-
PoE injector required 

If you want to start experimenting with PoE cameras, the tiny Revotech Mini is ideal. The tiny 30mm square, supplied with an adjustable-angle bracket, can be connected to a system as easily as most other PoE cameras, but costs somewhat less and can be tucked away even more subtly if you want to use it indoors.

Not only that, but the casing has been used by other manufacturers meaning there is a good supply of accessories; Revotech offers the camera with a 6-22mm telephoto (see at Amazon) allowing you to position the camera at a good distance from your target. It’s worth remembering, however, that this modestly priced accessory requires manual focusing – a PTZ camera might be more appropriate for serious security situations, as well as being more of a deterrent.

The NVSEE app the firm offer is available for both iPhone and Android, so real-time viewing of the camera’s feed is easy. You might well find this camera is all you need – it supports some extras to the ONVIF Profile, like motion detection.

(Image credit: Zosi)

11. ZOSI PoE CCTV Home Security System

Best sensibly priced plug-and-play kit with H.265+

Specifications

Sensor: 2MP
Video: 1080P @ 15fps
Recording format: H.265+
Field of view: 95˚
Night vision: Yes, 30m (100ft)
Audio: -
Waterproof: Yes
Dimensions: 229 x 43 x 229 mm

Reasons to buy

+
Accessibly priced system
+
Lower frame rate fills drive less quickly
+
App alerts to your phone 

Reasons to avoid

-
15fps limit
-
Shorter night-vision than some

The ZOSI NVR has the brushed gold styling of a retro hi-fi component, and while it doesn’t offer the latest specifications on the cameras it is sold as a complete set with 1TB drive and 4 1080P cameras for notably less than other setups. 

There is no slouch in terms of modern features either; H.265+ compression is supported so the drive won’t fill up too quickly and the Zosi app supports rich alerts and motion detection zones and privacy alerts, keeping pace with significantly more expensive systems. There is also a Zosi AVSS client for Mac and PC. 

There is room for expansion, too, in that the system has eight PoE ports and can handle video up to 5 megapixels should you choose to add higher definition cameras in the future. This, though, is a good start and – in many cases – enough for little more than the price of some wi-fi cameras, let alone their subscriptions!

(Image credit: Amcrest)

12. Amcrest UltraHD IP5M-B1186EW-28MM

Best bullet camera for a wide-angle view

Specifications

Sensor: 5K
Video: 2592 x 1944 px
Recording format: H.264, H.265
Field of view: 103˚
Night vision: Yes, 30m (100ft)
Audio: Mic
Waterproof: Yes, IP67
Dimensions: 166 x 69 x 69 mm

Reasons to buy

+
Wide angle view
+
Sensibly priced
+
Good low-light performance
+
Amcrest Cloud connects to Alexa

Reasons to avoid

-
Wide angle reduces detail at equal distance
-
No microphone

The B1186EW is a classic bullet camera – a shape that acts as an effective deterrent as well as a good camera housing – and in this case returns a crisp 5-megapixel image that can be viewed on a web browser or NVR.

The relatively wide field of view gives you the option of installing the camera with prevention in mind, but still monitoring a relatively broad area without the cost (and extra mechanics) of a PTZ system. Night vision is achieved through infrared and a low-lux image sensor and the 5-megapixel image offers a sensible balance between the data storage requirements of 4K and the lower resolution of 1080P.

We also liked the capability of storing video to an onboard MicroSD and can appreciate some might like Amcrest’s entirely optional cloud service.

(Image credit: Axis)

13. Axis P3248-LVE

Best zoom (or “varifocal”) camera for quality

Specifications

Sensor: 4K
Video: 4K @ 30fps
Recording format: H.264, H.265 or MJPEG
Field of view: 100˚ to 53˚ (4.3-8.6mm)
Night vision: Yes, 30m (100ft)
Audio: Mic
Waterproof: Yes, IP66
Dimensions: 149 x 149 x 104 mm

Reasons to buy

+
Image quality 
+
AI can detect behavior like loitering 
+
Built-in tampering alarm 
+
Axis platform supports third party apps

Reasons to avoid

-
High price
-
Machine learning might be more than you need
-
Two-way audio requires extra accessory

This camera offers significantly better image quality than many competitors, thanks not only to 4K but carefully optimized imaging algorithms that steer clear of excessive sharpening or contrast but do support a wide dynamic range.

Axis’s AI can be set up not only to detect motion in specific areas but to monitor behaviors like loitering. Indeed the Axis might be a bit much for the average install, given that users can install apps – like plug-ins – to extend the already extensive functionality; Axis’s gallery has over 100 functions like license plate recognition.

We couldn’t leave it off the list, though, because – despite the price – the varifocal lens (optical zoom) combined with color and infra-red night vision makes for an exceptional camera, one that also boasts multiple video streams and can record to a local MicroSD card. It might be pricey, but it certainly gives you options!

FAQs

PoE explained

PoE – Power Over Ethernet – is a system that channels power and data over the same computer networking cables. If you want to add Power over Ethernet to your existing computer network, you can. Depending on how your computers are set up at home, you might be familiar with the basics of computer networking, or you might just leave everything to Wi-Fi.

It’s common to have a cable modem (where your internet connection comes from) of some kind connected to a Wi-Fi router, but the modem doesn’t need a router at all. It’s possible that this router will have additional Ethernet sockets (but these are rarely PoE type). You might link these to devices that need more reliable connections – perhaps a TV or games console.

You can add additional connections using a box called a “switch”, and this is where you’ll need to find a PoE-capable one if you want it to power your cameras. Moreover, you should ensure it is powerful enough for the cameras you select; different PoE-capable switches have higher total amounts of power (a Watt budget) they can make available to devices like PoE cameras. Basic cameras are typically happy at 15W per port, while HD cameras prefer a little more.

What is the difference between PoE and Ethernet?

Both PoE, which stands for Power Over Ethernet, and ordinary Ethernet, use the same cables. Each is a bundle of smaller wires and PoE uses two of the lines to carry low voltage direct current power. That means a device connected to a PoE system only needs one cable for power and communications.

What kind of cable do I need for PoE?

Regular RJ45 connectors are used for normal and PoE networks, so, in theory, Cat 5E, Cat 6, and other cables will work just fine. Cat 6 is better as the thicker cables dissipate heat. To be absolutely sure the cable you get is PoE ready test it for resistance.

How do I add PoE to my network?

You can either get a router which supports PoE, and a network switch which does. Ethernet cables can be connected directly into these and draw power from them (make sure there is enough total wattage for all your devices). Alternatively you can get a PoE injector for each device, which separates the power and Ethernet parts of the cable.

What to look for when buying PoE

  • Understand your objective – PoE is a very flexible system, used in security cameras and live streaming systems. Know what you need.
  • Will you be replacing your power supply? – If you're installing cameras, make sure you already have, or will be getting, a suitable source of PoE power. If you're not buying in a bundle, check the number of watts each camera needs and the total output of your router or network switch.
  • Cable runs – It is possible to buy reels of Ethernet cable and cap it yourself, or to buy ready-made lengths. If you choose prepared cables don't forget you'll need to fit the whole RJ45 plug through any holes you've drilled, not just the cable.
  • Compression systems – Any camera you're adding, not just wired, and it is important to check the video compression format to ensure compatibility with your NAS or NVR.
  • Camera features – Don't forget to look at camera functionality like resolution, and any built-in night vision.
  • Camera style – Will turret or bullet shape better suit your purposes?

What we look for in PoE camera

We have a test facility with wired and wireless cameras, and endeavor to try camera systems in a real environment, connected to a real network. We have set up different lengths of Ethernet and PoE, and test cameras at night and day. Where we haven't yet been able to try a sample, we work on our experience of historical brand quality. Where we can, we sample systems in an appropriate setting like a real home, over a few days or weeks, to confirm promises about things like camera AI and system reliability.

Read more:

Best outdoor security cameras
Best indoor security cameras
Best floodlight camera
Best 360-degree outdoor security camera
Best PTZ camera
The best doorbell cameras
The best body cameras for personal security

Adam Juniper
Managing Editor

With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 


Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 


He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones, The Smart Smart Home Handbook, 101 Tips for DSLR Video and The Drone Pilot's Handbook