Lorex Security Camera Review
Tough as nails, professional-grade security cameras for home use.
What We Like
- No Required Monthly Fees: Lorex cameras record locally using DVRs and NVRs, which means cloud subscriptions are optional.
- High Video Quality: Lorex offers a wide range of cameras, some of which have a 2K or 4K resolution.
- People and Vehicle Detection: Artificial intelligence improves the motion detection of Lorex cameras, allowing them to reliably detect people and vehicles, while ignoring other moving objects.
What We Don't Like
- Installation: The installation process is left entirely to the user, and the way the cameras are setup often requires running cables throughout the house.
- No Professional Monitoring: Due to privacy concerns, Lorex leaves the monitoring to the user. That means if the cameras detect motion, it’s up to the user to check and verify the alert and also call for help if necessary.
- Customer Service: While Lorex does offer support to customers, it’s available only on Mondays through Saturdays between 11:00 am and 10:00 pm EST.
Bottom LineLorex makes good, solid cameras. Period. With video resolutions ranging from 1080p to 4K HD, superb night vision, and on-location video storage through DVRs and NVRs, you’ll enjoy professional-grade home security equipment without the high monthly fees.
- Lorex offers a wide variety of security cameras with features ranging from simple 1080p HD video to 4K UltraHD resolution.
- In general, Lorex cameras record continuously, ensuring you don’t miss any important events.
- Some Lorex cameras lack advanced smart features offered by its rivals. If you’re after those, check out our Nest Cam (battery) review. Its Familiar Face alerts feature is pretty impressive.
Lorex has been a trusted security camera brand for the last few decades, and it continues to offer some of the most advanced — not to mention toughest and most rugged — security cameras.
Lorex provides a range of security cameras with enhanced features such as smart motion detection aided by artificial intelligence and UltraHD 4K resolution, all at an affordable price point.
That being said, Lorex may not work for everybody. It favors local video storage using DVRs and NVRs over cloud storage, which may pose a risk in the event of a damaged recorder. Additionally, Lorex simply offers such a large number of options that can be overwhelming for some shoppers.
Nonetheless, Lorex is a must-see security camera brand, especially because it offers every security camera type imaginable and because many of its products are affordable. But just how effective is Lorex? We tested some of their best-selling cameras to find out, and here’s everything we know.
Pro Tip: With stunning video quality, see how our #1 pick SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera is a better alternative to Lorex.
Lorex cloud storage features
|Free cloud storage||10 GB|
|Recording type||Motion-activated recording|
|Free plan extra features||3 RapidRecaps per month|
|Lorex Cloud Premium monthly plan||$3.49|
|Lorex Cloud Premium yearly plan||$34.99|
- Exceptional video quality up to 4K
- Commercial-grade quality and construction
- Several custom recording options
Our Video Review
Of course, writing about a camera’s video and audio doesn’t really do it justice. For this reason, we made a video review of the Lorex 4K camera system, showcasing its video display throughout the day and night as well as its audio, smart platform integrations and more.
Check out another camera system from Lorex; this one shoots in 2K instead of 4K.
The Beginning of Our Process
When it comes to home security, we like having options, but when we checked out Lorex, we felt a bit overwhelmed by the number of options available — there were thousands! We thought you might feel the same, so before scouting Lorex, we recommend familiarizing yourself about security cameras in general. You should, for instance, know the difference between wireless, wire-free, and IP cameras. Our security camera guide is a good place to start. We also recommend reading up on the worst security cameras you should avoid, just so you know what NOT to look for.
Fortunately for us, we have lots of experience with security cameras, so once we figured out what type of camera we wanted to test, we were able to filter through Lorex’s options. In the end, we decided to go with the Lorex 4K Ultra HD 8-channel security camera system. It was being offered at a bargain price, so we wasted no time and bought it.
The checkout process went smoothly, and it shipped out within the next day. The package arrived about a week later and it contained:
- A One TB Hard Drive
- Four 4K Cameras
- Four 60 Foot BNC Cables
- Four Mounting Kits
- Five Power Adapters
- One Ethernet Cable
- One HDMI Cable
- One Mouse
- One Security Decal
- One Quick Start Guide.
We unboxed and tested it out, and here’s what we thought of the system’s features.
Storage With The One TB Hard Drive
One of the primary concerns when buying security cameras is video storage. Most people want storage options that can keep days or possible weeks worth of videos.
That’s not a problem with Lorex. Most Lorex systems come with either a digital video recorder (DVR) or network video recorder (NVR), both computer boxes to which cameras will connect to send and store videos. Lorex DVRs and NVRs typically come with at least 500 GB of available space; ours had one TB.
In our experience, the one TB hard drive can store about 500 hours (about 20 days) of continuous video. Of course, that will be shared among all your cameras, so you can easily get almost a week’s worth of recordings if you have three to four cameras.
If you need more storage, you can actually expand the DVR storage space. Most DVRs have slots to which you can hook-up up to three more hard drives. Of course, hard drives aren’t cheap, so expanding your DVR’s storage can drive up the total equipment cost. Keep that in mind when studying Lorex’s pricing.
Aside from expanding the storage, you can also connect more cameras to the system. Ours came with four cameras, but since the DVR has eight channels, we could add four more to make it eight. Lorex also offers DVRs with 16 and 32 channels, but those are usually reserved for business security applications. For a mid-sized home, an eight-channel system is probably enough.
But is DVR storage the best type of storage for security cameras? That depends. Having your videos stored locally means there’s lower risk of hacking compared to videos that go to a cloud. There’s also no on-going cost associated with using DVRs. However, since your videos are stored on a device, there’s a possibility of losing important clips if the device is damaged or stolen.
With cloud storage, you’ll pay a monthly fee to store videos, and yes, there have been instances of videos stored in the cloud leaking. However, you’ll have access to your videos 24/7, and cloud storage also serves as backup in case your camera is stolen.
Pro Tip: While hacking security camera cloud storage isn’t rare, most cases can be attributed to poor password habits. Some users don’t change the default password of their security cameras, which enables hackers to access their cameras and storage without much difficulty. Here are other bad password habits to avoid if you’re considering cloud storage for your security cameras.
Our recommendation is to have both: A DVR for your main storage and cloud storage for backup. Fortunately, Lorex offers such an option. The cloud cost depends on the DVR used, but generally, it’s about $10 per month.
4K video is all the hype these days, and Lorex is riding the wave. Of all the brands we’ve reviewed, Lorex seems to have the widest selection of 4K Ultra HD cameras. But what exactly does having 4K cameras mean to consumers like us?
Well, the most obvious significance of 4K cameras has to do with their video quality. Images from a typical 1080p HD camera consist of about two million pixels, while with a 4K camera, that figure quadruples to about eight million. Usually, more pixels equals greater picture quality.
From a security perspective, a better image quality results in more detailed videos. You know how in movies they can zoom in a camera’s feed and read license plates of fast-moving getaway cars? It’s kind of like that with Lorex. Since the 4K camera contains more pixels, you can digitally zoom in several times and still identify smaller details.
We’ve proven that in our tests. Unfortunately, the 4K resolution didn’t fully translate when we snapped the screenshot below, but during our live testing, the camera’s video quality and zooming ability impressed us.
That being said, 4K is not for everybody. Higher-quality videos take up more storage space, and with Lorex’s limited storage, you’d only be able to store a couple of days’ worth of video in 4K. Cameras with 4K resolution also consume bandwidth like crazy, so use 4K cameras only if your DVR or NVR, router, and internet connection can support its bandwidth and storage requirements.
We’ve been singing the praises of Lorex. Now it’s time for a little bad news. There was really no way to get these security cameras to blend in with our home. While that didn’t bother us, it is important to note the design of these cameras was very bulky; think street corner or storefront cameras. That’s typical with Lorex security cameras, but there are quite a few with nicer aesthetics. We suggest looking at Lorex Wi-Fi cameras if design matters to you, or some of Lorex’s newer bullet cameras with security lighting, as these cameras offer color-changing lights for extra aesthetic points.
One good thing about the cameras we bought, though, was that they could withstand harsh outdoor weather elements, working in temperatures anywhere from -40 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit. Basically, they could work in the coldest of winters and hottest of summers, which was a great feature for us since we wanted eyes on our entire property throughout the seasons. We don’t ever have to worry about bringing the cameras indoors even during rain or snow, as they were completely protected from dust and water jets. When we got our system we sprayed it with our power washer to test this feature out. To our satisfaction, it held up perfectly!
Some of our other favorite features of the cameras were:
- Smart Home Integration: Our security system was compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant. This meant we could access our security system with voice control. We were also able to activate camera features and access live or recorded video on our smart TV. For those without a smart TV, the security system was also compatible with Apple TV, which could be hooked up to any kind of television. But in order to use a smart TV or Apple TV, first we had to install the Lorex Secure App, which is free on the Apple and Google Play stores.
- Night Vision: The night vision on these cameras was amazing and we could see clearly outdoors at all times. Color night vision allowed sensors within the camera to record colored video in low-light settings, which meant we could see the branch outside our home as the sun was setting. This was made possible by the powerful image sensor built into the cameras. But it’s important to mention the system needs to be set up near ambient light for this feature to work, so we set up one of our cameras facing a street light. If there was no ambient light, the infrared LED lights around the lens kicked in, which allowed an automatic shift to black and white light. Being able to clearly see in color or in black and white was a unique feature, since many systems such as SimpliSafe only have black and white night video.
- Storage: We liked being able to store video on the hard drive and on the cloud. The free cloud storage plan included up to 10 GB of video, which was about two days worth of rolling footage. When set to record just movements, it can last about a week. If that’s not enough storage, the premium plan provided unlimited cloud storage, but that would have been an extra $35 a year. That price is pretty normal; Arlo for example, charges anywhere between $35 and $180 a year depending on the system and the amount of cloud storage the user wants.
- Motion Detection: Lorex offered something called RapidRecap, an easy way to locate motion from the camera. Essentially, this was our event history compiled into a quick and easy time-stamped video. The fact Lorex provided RapidRecap made it incredibly easy to sift through cloud history and saved us a ton of time when we were looking for specific movement within videos, like one time when a friend from out of town arrived on our doorstep unexpectedly.
Installing Our System
As bodybuilders often say, “No pain, no gain.” In order to gain access to Lorex’s top-shelf features, you’ll have to go through the installation process, which isn’t exactly painless. It’s doable, of course, but you’ll need a little patience. Here’s why.
Most Lorex security camera systems are built around a DVR (digital video recorder) or NVR (network video recorder). Both are central devices that need to sit within Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable range of your router. Those devices process videos from the cameras and then store them in a built-in hard drive.
While we love the local storage, setting up a DVR or NVR adds a few steps to the installation process. We recommend starting by clearing out some space for the DVR or NVR, as they aren’t exactly small. They are about the size of a DVD player, and again, they need to sit close enough to the router.
Setting up the recorder is easy, though. In most cases, you just have to plug it in, connect it to your router, and then boot it up. That’s the case with the DVR we received, and it started up nice and smooth.
Next, we had to place the cameras and then connect them to the DVR. The latter was the tough part. All four cameras we received were indoor/outdoor types, but we decided to keep them all outdoors. After all, they looked too bulky for our interior design.
Each camera needs two types of wires: The first one is for power, which plugs into a wall outlet; the second one goes to the DVR for data transfer. We had to get creative, which meant drilling, snaking wires through the ceiling, and using an all-important tool of the trade to keep the wires out of our way: duct tape.
That said, not all Lorex cameras are as time-consuming to install as the one we had purchased. There are wire-free Lorex cameras that run on batteries and connect to Wi-Fi, so basically, all you’ll have to do is mount them. There are also cameras that do plug into a wall outlet but use Wi-Fi to transmit video and audio. Those cameras are called Wire-free and Wireless cameras, so check them out if they are more your style.
Eventually, we got things done but after installing the cameras and the DVR, we still had questions about how to connect our system to the app. That was when we decided to call customer support. We also had the option of live chatting with a customer service rep on the Lorex website, but we felt that would be more time consuming. We were hopeful our representative would answer our questions, but honestly, we didn’t get the kind of service we expected. The representative we spoke with was a bit short and didn’t seem interested in helping. He did eventually help us set our system up, but it wasn’t the most professional experience we’ve ever had.
The Lorex Secure App
Because our Lorex system was self-monitored, having a decent app was key, since that’s where we viewed our livestream and received notifications. The Lorex app worked on all devices, which was great because we used both Apple and Android products in our household. Once we downloaded the app, we got push notifications, saw both live and recorded video and grouped cameras together. For example, we grouped together our outdoor front cameras and outdoor back cameras which made it possible to livestream multiple cameras at one time. This made the self-monitoring portion simple when live streaming because we had eyes on multiple places simultaneously.
You Should Know: The mere presence of security cameras could deter an intruder, so install the cameras in a visible location.
Let’s Talk Money
We’ve all heard the saying “you get what you pay for” and that’s the case with Lorex. Because of the wide variety of systems, there are a wide variety of prices. Our system was on sale for $387.99 but normally costs $699.99.
Money Saving Tip: Take advantage of Lorex’s open box deals, which are gently used security systems at a discounted price with a one-year warranty.
One of our favorite things about Lorex was there was no mandatory monthly fee. While the initial investment may feel like shelling out a large chunk of change at one time, many other security companies require long-term contracts and monthly fees even after the initial equipment costs. Some don’t even store footage unless you pay for a cloud subscription. The Ring cameras we reviewed, for example, require a $10 monthly fee to store videos from the entire camera system. But not Lorex; once we paid for the product we were done. Of course, that wouldn’t be the case if we sprung for the unlimited cloud storage, which broke down to $3.49 a month, but we opted out.
Lorex has the most equipment options available on the market. Explore their packages.
Our Final Thoughts
Lorex was a good option for us. We loved the clear video and lack of lengthy contracts and monthly fees. But because there was no professional monitoring option, this system’s best for someone who lives in a gated community, an apartment with a doorman or somewhere with other security measures in place. Otherwise, you may get stuck in a situation where you’re unable to call the police for whatever reason, but for someone looking to avoid monthly fees, Lorex is a great option.
Looking to compare Lorex to other security camera options? We have you covered.
Once you pay for your Lorex equipment, there’s no more additional fees. Figure out your options here.
Are Lorex cameras secure?
Lorex cameras are secure because all of the footage is stored locally on a hard drive rather than in cloud storage. As long as you change your administrator password periodically and create long, complicated, and unique passwords every time, your system will be secure. Also, make sure to perform all firmware updates as soon as possible.
Is Lorex owned by FLIR?
Lorex is currently owned by Dahua Technology Co. FLIR Systems sold Lorex to Dahua in February 2018.
Why did my Lorex cameras stop working?
Your Lorex cameras may have stopped working because the camera may not be connected to the power adapter. You might also have a faulty cable.
PR News Wire. (2019). Smart Home Security Market to Grow at a CAGR Of 19.6% During 2018 – 2022.