Best Surveillance Equipment

Find out what type of surveillance equipment is available and how to select the right gear. Learn more about top surveillance equipment options.

Surveillance equipment refers to a variety of monitoring items, primarily used for security purposes. Some surveillance is passive, with equipment automatically monitoring an area and sending alerts whenever there is a suspicious activity. The alerts either go directly to you or to a security center, who responds accordingly based on the situation. The other type of security equipment is active, allowing you to directly monitor the area or subject. While surveillance equipment is most commonly associated with cameras, there are other types of equipment available.

Both computers and phones have their own surveillance equipment which allows you to monitor your electronic devices. With phones, you can track the current location of the phone as well as monitor data use. Many parents use these devices to keep track of younger children and implement parental controls for apps and internet browsing. Computer surveillance equipment performs a similar task and can either be used for your personal computer or at work.

Surveillance Equipment Considerations

It is easy to become overwhelmed while looking for surveillance equipment due to the sheer number of options. If you are having trouble selecting equipment, there are a few ways to narrow down your selection. First, think about installation. Many companies charge additional fees for installation, which can significantly increase your spending. Thanks to technological advancements, installing surveillance equipment is relatively low effort. However, more complex systems may require a specialized technician. With larger home surveillance systems, even if you can install the cameras and other devices yourself, you may benefit from having a technician set everything up. You may know how to set everything up, but technicians know the best angles to place the cameras, both to keep them hidden and get the most important footage.

Next, consider your budget. Most surveillance systems charge a monthly service fee, but there are some options for standalone systems. These are much more expensive upfront. Most subscriptions cost between $20 to $50 a month. Simple surveillance equipment, such as monitoring apps may not be expensive, but multi camera setups often cost several thousand dollars.

When you start looking for equipment, identify exactly what you want to monitor. Do you want cameras setup inside every room, or are you more concerned about monitoring the front door? If you want surveillance for your phone, are you interested only in the GPS features, or do you want the ability to view text messages and call history as well.

Vivint Home Security System

If your main concern is home security, Vivint provides one of the best and most affordable home surveillance systems. Vivint uses the most up to date security equipment. Unlike other security companies, Vivint has their own security devices and does not rely on outside equipment. This means they are more familiar with the technology as well as making it easier to regularly update the equipment. Monitoring is available 24/7, even with a standard account. Surveillance costs $29 each month as of writing, with an additional $49 installation fee. There are additional packages that provide more surveillance and other accessories, such as a car monitor and integration with smart home controls. Vivint provides free security consultations, giving you the opportunity to speak with an expert to determine the best way to keep your home safe.

Frontpoint Home Surveillance

Another option for monitoring your home is Frontpoint. Unlike other systems, Frontpoint puts all the control on the user. They provide the equipment, which you independently install and monitor. This makes them an excellent provider if you want the best equipment to monitor your home, but aren’t comfortable with a stranger viewing your system. All the equipment can easily be integrated with a smart home and is controllable from the smartphone app. A surveillance package includes both indoor and outdoor cameras, with the feed available through the app or your television. Frontpoint uses video verification to provide an extra layer of security and reduce false alarms. 

A standard Frontpoint account currently costs $34.99 a month. There are several additional tiers for extra support, such as identity protection and CO and smoke detector monitoring. 


uMobix is a newer name to surveillance equipment. Previously, the company focused on software for tablets and smartphones, but they have one of the best apps available for monitoring phone usage. The app has an easy-to-use interface, with all of the options clearly spelled out so you don’t have to hunt for features. It also allows you to focus on the areas you’re interested in. The most basic use of the app is GPS monitoring. This is an easy way to keep on eye on where your children are throughout the day.

If you want more surveillance, you can also monitor online and call history as well as view text messages. There are even options to recover deleted messages and setup message monitoring. You can also set who is allowed to contact the phone and limit when certain apps can be used. The app only takes a few minutes to install as well on both Android and iOS devices. A free 7-day trial is available to new users. There are several subscription plans, with the least expensive being a 12-month package for $11.66 a month.


ActivTrak is one of the top cloud-based surveillance programs for small businesses. Part of the popularity comes from the affordable pricing. ActivTrak has both free and paid subscriptions. The free plan has limited options, but still allows monitoring for up to three users, and a maximum of 3 GB of data. An advanced plan costs $9 per month for each user, with additional discounts available if you pay annually instead of monthly. All of the paid plans come with a free 14-day trial. Larger businesses must contact ActivTrak directly for a custom quote.

In addition to monitoring what websites and programs your employees access, you can also track details like mouse movements and keyboard activity. You can set filters to block outside websites and applications not relevant to your business. There are also security options to block harmful programs limit uploads. ActivTrak also includes options to track work efficiency and other analytics, allowing you to improve productivity while also keeping an eye on your network.