Lorex vs. Swann Home Security Cameras

Which big-box camera is right for you?

By
&
Aliza Vigderman
Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Aug 12, 2021
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on Aug 12, 2021
Lorex vs Swann

Lorex Camera System

  • Exceptional video quality up to 4K
  • Commercial-grade quality and construction
  • Several custom recording options
Editor's Rating
9.6
/10

Swann

  • Innovative heat-sensing technology
  • Wired, wireless, and wire-free cameras
  • Integrates with Alexa and Google Assistant
Editor's Rating
8.1
/10

Although Amazon is known as the “everything store,” Costco is a runner-up. It seems like there’s nothing you can’t get in this big-box store, from hot dogs to home security cameras. On your bulk-shopping day, you may have noticed two security camera brands in particular: Swann and Lorex. Of course, Costco isn’t the only place that sells these cameras; we bought some online and tested them out to see which ones are better.

Key Similarities

Since Lorex and Swann both sell dozens of different cameras and even more packages, you’re sure to find cameras with nearly identical specs between the two brands. The truth is that there are not many major differences between these brands. Here’s what these best security camera picks have in common.

Video Quality

Both Swann and Lorex have cameras with video resolutions ranging from 1080p HD to 4K and beyond. 1080p HD is the current industry standard, while 4K cameras are a bit more advanced (and expensive). However clear you’d like your video to be, there’s an option for you from either company.

Fields of View

Unfortunately, most Lorex and Swann cameras have pretty narrow fields of view of around 100 degrees; we prefer 120 degrees or more, allowing us to do more with fewer cameras. However, as we said, there are so many options from each company that a range certainly exists.

Zoom

Most Swann and Lorex cameras have digital and not optical zoom. What’s the difference? Well, with digital zoom, you’re only zooming in on the existing image, while with optical zoom, the actual camera moves closer to an object. Optical zoom is much better than digital zoom, but unfortunately, most Lorex and Swann cameras have the latter.

Lorex Camera - Mounted
Lorex Camera – Mounted

Infrared and Color Night Vision

In the same vein, you can find cameras from Swann and Lorex with infrared night vision, color night vision, or both. Typically, we prefer infrared cameras over cameras with spotlights, as spotlights make cameras very conspicuous. Of course, bright lights on security cameras can deter crime, so it’s really a personal choice.

Audio

Some Lorex cameras have two-way audio (i.e., speakers and microphones), and some do not. The same goes for Swann cameras. We always recommend you get a camera with two-way audio because it lets you talk to the person you’re livestreaming, from yelling at package thieves to greeting guests when you’re not home. In this way, two-way audio helps to protect against home invasions before they happen.

Smart Home Integrations

Some Lorex cameras work with both Alexa and Google Assistant, neither voice assistant, or one or the other, and the same is true for Swann. If you already live in a smart home, choose a camera that works with your existing ecosystem, be it part of an Alexa security system or a security system for Google Home. This way, you won’t have to remember which voice assistant controls what, and you can create convenient home automation with your new security cameras.

Artificial Intelligence

To repeat ourselves, some Lorex and Swann cameras have person detection and some do not. We recommend cameras with person detection so that you’ll only get an alert when it actually matters.

Local Storage

Most Lorex and Swann cameras come with local storage through hard drives, micro-SD cards, or hard disk drives. The hard drives are typically 1 or 2 TB, which means that they can hold 500 to 1,000 hours of HD video1. For cameras that don’t need Wi-Fi, local storage means that the camera can record directly onto local storage without connecting to cloud storage.

No Professional Monitoring

Want a security system with no monthly fees? Lorex and Swann don’t offer professional monitoring of any kind; we monitored the cameras through their respective apps. Sure, we didn’t have that additional layer of security, but at least we weren’t signed up for yet another monthly subscription.

DIY Installation

Not one Lorex or Swann camera offers professional vs. DIY home security installation. We installed all of their cameras ourselves, saving on our home security camera costs.

Wired and Wireless Options

Looking for a hardwired security camera system or wireless home security cameras, maybe even outdoor wireless cameras? Lorex and Swann both offer a ton of reliable wireless home security options. Learn more about how wireless security cameras work and whether wireless security cameras need the internet.

Indoor and Outdoor Options

Both Lorex and Swann offer indoor cameras and outdoor cameras. If you want to install your security cameras outside or even hide your outdoor security cameras, either option would work.

Wide Price Ranges

Although both Swann and Lorex have huge price ranges, from under $100 to thousands of dollars for big packages, neither one of them offers the cheapest home security cameras on the market. No, that accolade goes to Wyze, which offers the $19.99 Wyze Cam v2. If budget is a huge concern for you, learn more on our Wyze camera pricing page.

TIP: If you need a security system for a large home, take advantage of Swann and Lorex multi-camera packages, which are discounted in comparison to individual cameras.

Key Differences

Lorex and Swann’s main differences lie in their apps. Although they have similarly low ratings, the apps’ interfaces differ significantly.

Apps

Both Swann and Lorex have different apps for different cameras, which is more than a little confusing. For the Lorex Wireless 2K camera, for example, we used the Lorex Home app, while with the Lorex LNK782C2D2KB 4K PoE camera, we used the Lorex Cirrus app (and no, we’re not just misspelling “circus”). There’s also another app, Lorex Cloud, for cloud storage.

With the Swann Dome Camera, we used the HomeSafe View app, while we used the Swann Security app with the eight-channel PoE camera system. Another app, AlwaysSafe, works for NVW-485, NVW-490, and SWWHD-PTCAM cameras.

These companies are the only ones we know of that have different apps for different cameras, but unfortunately, most of them aren’t super easy to use.

App Brand compatibility Model compatibility iOS rating Android rating
Swann Security Swann SWIFI-ALERTCAM, SWIFI-SPOTCAM, SWIFI-FLOCAM2, SWIFI-PTCAM2,SWIFI-TRACKCAM, SWIFI-CAM, DVR-4480V*, DVR-4580V*, DVR-4680*, DVR-4780V*, DVR4-4980V*, DVR8-4980*, DVR16-4980*, DVR-5580*, DVR-5680*, and NVR-8580* series DVRs, NVRs, and cameras

*Must use HomeSafe View desktop app for remote viewing from a computer

4.5 4.4
HomeSafe View Swann DVR-1590, DVR-1600, DVR-4480, DVR-4575, DVR-4580, DVR-4780, DVR-4980, and NVR-7450 series DVRs and NVRs 1.9 2
AlwaysSafe Swann NVW-485, NVW-490, and SWWHD-PTCAM cameras 1.7 2.3
Lorex Home Lorex L871T8 series, AY41TR sensor hub, N841/N842, N861/N862, D861, D861B, D841, D841B, D241, D441, D231, L222A8, B451AJD and LNWDB1 doorbell, V261LCD-E floodlight, W281AA, W282CA, W261ASC, W261AQC, LNWiHD, and LNW16XF 4.7 4.6
Lorex Cloud Lorex N881, N882 series, NR810 series, NR900 series, LNR6100 series, DV900 series, and LHV5100 series 1.6 2.8
Lorex Cirrus Lorex L222A8 series, LHB926/LHB927 series, and LHWF1006/LHWF1007 series 2.8 2.9

However, Lorex’s apps, on average, are better than Swann’s apps, especially the Lorex Home app.

NOTE: If you have to buy a camera from either brand, buy one that’s compatible with the Lorex Home app or the Swann Security app, the only ones that have good ratings.

Cloud Storage

When it comes to cloud storage, Lorex and Swann cameras differ not only from each other but also within their own product lines. For example, with the Lorex Super HD 4MP camera, we got two days of cloud storage for free, while there was no free cloud storage with the wireless 2K camera. Meanwhile, the Lorex FLIR FX cameras have their own cloud storage plans.2

FLIR cloud plans FLIR Cloud Basic FLIR Cloud Premium
Maximum days of cloud history 2 30
Maximum GB of cloud storage 10 Unlimited
Maximum number of RapidRecaps per month 3 Unlimited
Maximum length of RapidRecap videos (in hours) 8 12
Number of days of RapidRecap storage 2 7
Cost per month $0 $14.99
Cost per year $0 $149.99
Monthly cost with the yearly plan $0 $12.50

FYI: For Lorex cameras bought after Aug. 22, 2019, RapidRecaps are no longer available. If you bought the service after May 2019, you will get a refund.

Similarly, the Swann Dome Camera lacks cloud storage, but the Swann thermal-sensing camera has a Dropbox for pictures only. With some Swann cameras, though, you can pay for cloud video storage for up to 10 cameras.

What the plans include ExtraSecurity CompleteSecurity
Maximum number of cameras recommended 1 10
Length of free trial (in days) 100 100
Length of cloud recording (in days) 60 60
Vehicle and pet motion detection Yes Yes
Notifications with screenshots Yes Yes
Length of extended warranty (in months) 36 36
Replacement with a valid police report Yes Yes
Exclusive offers/promotions on Swann website Yes Yes
Cost per month $4.99 $14.99
Cost per year $49.90 $149.99
Monthly cost with the yearly plan $4.16 $12.50

Although the cloud storage pricing is the same, Swann gives you 60 days, while Lorex’s plans are capped at 30. Take cloud storage into account when you choose a camera from Lorex or Swann, as not all of the cameras offer it as an option.

Swann-Camera

Summary

It’s hard to compare two companies when there are so many cameras to choose from, but overall, we’d go with Lorex over Swann. On average, Lorex has more user-friendly apps, which is key with self-monitored cameras. We recommend pairing Lorex cameras with the Lorex Video Doorbell to prevent package theft.

Still not convinced? Compare Lorex to other top home security cameras in our breakdowns of Lorex vs. Arlo, Lorex vs. Reolink, Lorex vs. Night Owl, and Lorex vs. Ring. Night Owl is another big-box retailer that you can find in stores like Costco, while Amazon owns Ring, an incredibly popular home security brand. Reolink and Arlo produce some of the best-quality cameras on the market, although they are both lesser-known brands.

To dive deeper, read our Arlo cameras review, Reolink cameras review, or Ring cameras review. With any brand, you can find affordable cameras that you can monitor from anywhere through their apps, although some work better than others, as you can see above.

Citations