Indoor vs Outdoor Security Cameras: What’s the Difference?

If you’re looking to outfit your home or business with security cameras and achieve full property coverage, you will likely need both indoor and outdoor security cameras placed within the house or building and around the exterior of the property, respectively. But what’s the difference between the two? And can you use an outdoor camera indoors, and vice versa? Keep reading to find out.

Indoor vs Outdoor Security Cameras: What’s the Difference?

Durability & Weatherproofness

As you might imagine, the primary difference between indoor and outdoor security cameras is their ability to withstand the different elements they are located in.

Outdoor security cameras are, as the name implies, located outside. As a result, they’re generally built to very high standards of quality and durabilty, in order to withstand elements and weather such as rain, moisture, snow, extreme heat and cold, even wind. They’re also usually impact-resistant, as well as dustproof to keep dirt and other elements out. They will almost always be IP-rated, a designation that specifies exactly how waterproof or impact-resistant they actually are.

Many times, outdoor security cameras are also made of metal as they are more likely to be tampered with than indoor security cameras.

Indoor-specifc cameras, on the other hand. get to sit around inside, protected from the elements in a (generally) climate-controlled environment. For this reason, they often aren’t waterproof and aren’t always built to the same durability and extreme standards that outdoor security cameras are. They might still be quite durable, dustproof and impact-resistant, but aren’t designed to withstand the changing seasons and unpredictable elements outdoor cameras usually are.


While this is not a general rule, outdoor security cameras will also generally be much larger than indoor ones, a result of their more durable, often waterproof build. Outdoor cameras are also generally less concerned with blending into their surroundings than indoor cameras, which are often designed to be more subtly placed and less visible, in order to distract less from the interior.


Low-Light Capabilities & Software

Build and size aren’t the only things that sets indoor and outdoor security cameras apart. In many cases, they also differ in their ability to see in dynamic lighting situations. Outdoor cameras were traditionally more likely to have advanced dynamic range and low-light capabilities that allow them to see in complex lighting situations. They were also designed to flashes of light and blackouts more readily.

As time goes on and technology advances, however, many indoor cameras are now coming with the same capability, allowing them adapt to even more complex lighting.

For example, a camera placed in a warehouse or garage will need to have a dynamic range wide enough to see lighting situations as diverse as both the dark interior of the warehouse, and the much-brighter exterior of the building.

In the future, expect to see these differences in technology between interior and exterior cameras become less and less common.

Can You Use An Indoor Camera Outside & Vice Versa?

This will depend on the exact camera in use, but in most cases, a camera designed for purely indoor use will not be a good choice for use outdoors, as they simply won’t be built to the same standards of waterproofness and durability. Likewise, most outdoor cameras, while more than durable for indoor use, will simply be too large and hefty to install comfortably inside.

With that said, there are many, many cameras – such as dome cameras and PTZ cameras that are designed to do both, so whatever your needs are, you’ll have more than enough options to choose from.

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