How Much Storage Do I Need For Security Cameras?

Thomas S. Tucci

Updated on:

The storage requirements primarily depend on your security camera’s resolution. The range starts from 6GB, and the maximum is 6TB.

For average resolution, recording for a shorter period, and motion-formed cameras, 6GB to 60 GB storage will do just fine. On the contrary, higher resolution ones would require large storage ranging from around 600 GB to 6 TB. 

Currently, the crime rate is rapidly increasing. So, the topics regarding security cameras, including “how much storage do I need for security cameras?” should be discussed extensively. 

So here we’re. We’ll be spelling out every security camera storage factor. Stay tuned to avoid any mistakes in the next installation. 

A Storage Chart for Security Cameras

The storage requirements for each camera resolution might be a bit difficult to comprehend. A detailed chart can help you!

Camera StandardPixels (Per Image)Storage Requirements (File Size for 1 hour of video)  
720p921,600 (1280 x 720)       800 – 900MB
1080p2,073,600 (1920 x 1080)     1.2 – 1.4GB
2MP1,920,000 (1600 x 1200)2.8 – 3GB  
3MP3,145,728 (2048 x 1536)     20 – 22GB
4MP3,686,400 (2688 x 1520)     22-28GB
5MP5,017,600 (2592 x 1944)     28-32GB
6MP6,291,456 3072 x 2048        32-36GB
8MP/4K (Coax)8,294,400 (3840 x 2160)     36 – 38GB
12MP/4K (IP)12,000,000 (4000 x 3000)64GB

Storage Options to Consider for Security Cameras 

Before you buy a random storage device for your camera, we would like to present some scenarios to help you find your perfect fit. Let’s judge these cameras by their storage capacity and pick one for you accordingly. 

Low Resolution & Motion Based Security Cameras and Their Storage

6 GB storage cameras leave you with not many options. With this storage, you’re allowed to film 80kb/s only for a week. 

The wiser way is to use it for motion-based filming since this would be an exclusive task for a certain period. However, if you want more than 6 GB for each camera, consider using NVRs (network video recorders) and DVRs (digital video recorders) to back up your old files. 

For instance, if you use two cameras or so, you’ll be getting 120 GB. But this is nothing in front of the large files you might need to store. 

The backups can save your neck at this phase. Still, we prefer higher resolution cameras over 6 GB ones.  

Suitable Usage: Affordable for a day job, not reliable for long-term usage.

Price Range: $20-$30

SD Resolution Storage 

60 GB storage comes with a better Frame rate and SD resolution for a reasonable period. This is currently the most trendy security camera storage, and we don’t see why not. 

First of all, it allows you to film high-quality videos for longer periods. Plus, it’s a very budget-friendly option. 

If you install twenty 60 GB cameras instead of the 6 GB ones, you’ll get almost 1 TB storage capacity. And you can continue with motion-based scenarios as well, not just for a week; it can go on for a few months.

In the case of SD resolution, the camera will let you record for 1-2 weeks. Increasing the bandwidth can extend the constant recording duration up to a month. Moreover, 60 GB cameras are good with internal storage options like NVR or DVR. 

Suitable Usage: Decent for use around residential areas.

Price Range: $40-$50

600 GB the Larger One

This storage is used for H.264 MP cameras. It can stream 2 Mb/s for several months with motion-type filming.  If you have a commercial area that needs large storage capacity, this is undoubtedly the best option. 

Suitable Usage: Suitable for every usage since it comes with heavy storage, great features, and, most importantly, records and stores the files for up to months. 

Price Range: $50-$65

6 TB Storage for Mega Duration 

The storage issue is widely notable in the case of MJPEG megapixel cameras. So, you have to use 6 TB of storage with them.

But we prefer using SD cameras that let you record for more than 2 years, while MJPEG ones hit the limit in less than a month. So, this simple trick can save you thousands of dollars. 

Suitable Usage: Best for large commercial areas; this is the largest storage capacity for regular usage. It can provide service for up to two years without any external help.

Price Range: $100-$160

Now the decision is up to you. But we believe 6 GB storage cameras aren’t worth it since they can’t record for longer, and the storage seems insufficient. 60 GB will be a better option.

Go with 600 GB or 6 TB instead for the highest video quality, service, and more extensive storage. After all, it’s better to spend some money once instead of wasting money on repairs and replacements again and again. 

Security Camera Resolution & Pixel Factors 

The storage options come depending on your camera resolution. So, it’s mandatory to pick a viable one first. We’re about to help you with this. 

Quality of Your Files

You definitely should go with a 1440p (2K) camera for the best video quality and HD outcomes. This is twice as great as the most popular 1080p (1K) security camera. 

Although 1920p cameras might provide more vertical pixels than 1440p, their horizontal pixels are identical. However, a 5MP camera undoubtedly can offer greater video quality. This is an excellent option for capturing clearly from a great distance. 

In the Case of Live Streaming 

5 MP resolution cameras are way better than random ones in the long run. In the case of live streaming, you’ll find a lot of variety, such as 1440p and 1080p resolution, 1440p specified for CCTV cameras, individual 1080p, 1080p, and 720p quality, etc. 

The Viewpoint 

When you install a megapixel security camera, you get a lot of wide-angle lenses. If we compare the viewpoint of 1080p, 4 MP, and 5 MP cameras, 4 MP and 5 MP win. They can take over a really large area. 

Bandwidth Fact

Most high-resolution cameras, including 1080p, 4 MP, and 5 MP, provide H.264 file standard. If you go with an even higher resolution, you might get the same standard, but the storage requirements will increase. 

Tips for Buying the Perfect Security Camera

Jumping into buying any random camera would be a big bummer. Try following these tips while shortlisting the camera to end up with the perfect one:

  • Pick a camera that is compatible with most storage devices
  • In case of budget, stay under $100. Even high-resolution cameras are very budget-friendly nowadays. So, increasing the budget doesn’t make sense
  • 5 MP cameras are the best when it comes to high-resolution cameras
  • Pick a security camera with human and vehicle detection function 
  • High night vision, at least up to 100 feet
  • View angles up to 80° would be the right choice 
  • Water resistance is a must
  • Integrated Microphone is mandatory 
  • Look for the Immediate motion warning feature 
  • The longer the focal length, the wider the view angle. So, get a camera for a longer distance
  • Choose a security camera with higher frame rates for smoother videos without any buffering
  • The video compression function is super significant for reducing the video size and saving up storage

Frequently Asked Questions 

How long will 1TB last on CCTV? 

The lifetime of a CCTV camera’s memory depends on its purpose. In general, if the cameras are set up in grocery stores, 1TB can go for a year or a minimum of three months with maximum usage. 

How many GB does a security camera use a month?

The usual data consumption rate for a wifi connected security camera is up to 300 to 400 GB. However, this might vary depending on the scenarios where the camera is covering a larger area, usage of multiple cameras, or usage duration longer than average security-related cases. 

Is 2TB enough for a CCTV camera?

Of course, it is. For instance, 16 CCTV cameras will consume 2TB for two days straight for constant recording. This sum will change to 4 days if you use eight cameras instead of 16. Moreover, the time might increase if you are using a camera that only activates by motion detecting system. 

Wrapping Up! 

Unfortunately, a safe environment without security cameras seems far and beyond nowadays. Since this is new to many of you, it’s fair for you to have a number of confusions, including “how much storage do I need for security cameras?”.

Now that you know the answer and many significant factors regarding the topic through our blog, we hope you’ll get the best camera for whatever your purpose is. Make sure you follow the resolution tips while buying the camera, and you’re good to go. 

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