Who will win, Lorex vs Swann? Swann and Lorex are two well-known security camera brands that boast years of experience in the industry, with Swann founded in 1987 and Lorex in 1991. Both companies have an extensive product range, including NVRs, DVRs, PoE cameras, Wi-Fi and battery-powered cameras, indoor cameras, floodlight cameras, video doorbells, and analog cameras.
For this head-to-head article, I analyzed 23 Swann cameras and 22 Lorex cameras to give you some key insights on a good cross-section of their camera offerings. A full list of the product codes is included at the end of the article.
Best for Home Security
Best for Advanced Security
Best for Home Security: Swann
I’ve decided on Swann as the best for home security.
They have a wider range of battery-powered and Wi-Fi cameras, which are more suited to small home security installations. Most of their cameras have a cloud storage option and they offer 24/7 professional monitoring with Swann Secure+. Lorex does not offer either of these services.
Swann also has a wide range of cameras with active deterrence tech (flashing blue and red lights based on movement) which can help deter intruders.
Best for Advanced Security: Lorex
For households with larger security budgets or businesses looking for a more comprehensive surveillance solution, then I definitely recommend Lorex over Swann. Lorex has a much wider range of wired cameras (PoE in particular) and also offers a much better range of PTZ cameras.
Their kit is generally heavier duty and all features come out of the box. So no need to subscribe to a monthly payment plan, like Swann.
Lorex vs Swann: Overview
Swann has a cloud solution called Secure+ Plans, which offers cloud storage, smart/AI notifications, extended warranty, and rich app previews for a monthly subscription fee ranging from $2.99 – $9.99. Unfortunately, some of the features on some devices are limited unless you subscribe (e.g. rich app previews, video analytics, motion zones). Lorex, on the other hand, no longer has a cloud offering.
Regarding interoperability, both brands support protocols like RTSP, but Swann promotes it while Lorex doesn't advertise its support for ONVIF and RTSP. Additionally, Swann equipment is manufactured by HikVision, while Lorex equipment is manufactured by Dahua and is now owned by Skywatch, a Taiwanese company.
In terms of disadvantages, Swann faces complaints about hardware quality, whereas Lorex has no professional monitoring option. Key benefits for Swann include flexible recording options and premium tech support, while Lorex is known for its specialization in security cameras and systems, no monthly fees, financing options, and a good reputation among DIYers and installers.
Swann offers a greater variety of camera types, from fully wired, to Wi-Fi and fully battery-powered. Lorex, on the other hand, lends more toward fully wired cameras which is better suited for commercial installations.
For those who are cost-conscious, Swann and Lorex both offer budget, mid-range, and high-end camera models. Swann's price range generally starts from $29.95 and goes up to $249.99, while Lorex's price range begins at $39.99 and goes up to $1,199.99. The wide price range for both brands allows you to choose a camera based on your budget.
Regarding cloud subscriptions, Swann cameras have optional monthly contracts for some models, allowing you to decide if you want to save your footage on the cloud or not. On the other hand, Lorex cameras do not have cloud subscription options.
In comparing warranties, most Swann cameras come with a standard 1-year warranty, while some of their mid-range models have a 3-year warranty. Subscribing to Swann Secure+ can also extend the warranty. Lorex, on the other hand, offers 1-year warranties on all models.
Swann offers a comprehensive range of security camera options, with many models supporting motion-activated recording. Motion-activated recording is a feature that allows the camera to start recording only when movement has been detected, which can save storage space and extend the life of the camera. Most Swann models also support continuous recording, ensuring that you never miss a moment of action.
One notable feature of Swann's security cameras is Privacy Masking, available for some models, such as the SWNHD-1200BE. Privacy Masking is a technique used to block out specific areas within the camera's field of view, ensuring more sensitive areas are not recorded, maintaining privacy while still providing security coverage.
On the other hand, Lorex security cameras come with a variety of advanced features to enhance their performance. For instance, many models support a higher maximum supported frame rate compared to Swann models. A high frame rate allows for smoother video playback and better image quality, which is crucial when it comes to identifying subjects or reviewing footage.
Lorex cameras are also equipped with advanced video coding formats, such as H.265 and H.264, which enable efficient video compression without sacrificing image quality. This is essential for saving storage space and reducing the necessary bandwidth for video streaming.
In addition, Lorex cameras come with various advanced video features, such as 3D Digital Noise Reduction (3D DNR), White Balance Control, and Gain Control. These features provide clearer images by reducing noise, maintaining accurate color representation, and adjusting brightness levels.
Some Lorex models, like the LNE9383 and LNZ81P25, include Digital Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) or High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology. This technology is essential for capturing clear images in challenging lighting conditions, such as backlight or high-contrast scenes.
Power & Data Feeds
Swann offers a variety of models with different power options, such as Power over Ethernet (PoE), AC Power, DC Power, and Battery. Some Swann models can even be powered by a solar panel. Lorex has a similar range of power options, including PoE, AC Power, DC Power, and Battery, and some models support solar panel power.
Regarding data transmission, the majority of Swann cameras use either PoE or 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, while some of the models use coaxial cables for data transmission. However, Lorex offers additional versatility, with cameras supporting both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi frequencies and some models with PoE or coaxial cable connections.
Swann has a mix of cameras that communicate over IP and analog data formats, with some models supporting HD-AHD analog data format. Lorex also offers a mix of cameras with IP and analog data formats, along with a wider support for HD-TVI, HD-AHD, HD-CVI, and HD-CVBS analog data formats. This indicates that Lorex may provide more compatibility with various security systems and integration options.
Focusing on specific models, the Lorex U471AA-E is a versatile choice, as it supports multiple power options like DC Power, Battery, and Solar Panel, and can connect using both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi frequencies. The Swann SWIFI-XTRCM16G1PK, on the other hand, is a reliable contender with a battery and solar panel power option, and 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connectivity.
Both brands offer several camera models with night vision functionality. Night vision is essential for providing clear images in low light conditions or complete darkness. There are two types of night vision: Infrared, where the camera uses infrared LED lights to illuminate the scene without emitting visible light; and Full Color night vision, which provides colored images in low light conditions through an advanced sensor or a built-in spotlight.
Swann cameras tend to use Infrared and Full Color night vision, utilizing either low light sensor technology or a spotlight to achieve colored images at night. On the other hand, Lorex cameras incorporate Infrared night vision and may include Full Color night vision through a low light sensor in combination with a spotlight or a low light sensor alone.
One important feature related to night vision is the infrared distance, measured in feet, which indicates how far the camera can capture images clearly in total darkness or ambient lighting. Swann cameras offer a range of infrared distances, reaching up to 200 feet with ambient lighting and 150 feet in total darkness. In contrast, Lorex cameras tend to have a shorter range, with some models capturing images up to 135 feet in ambient lighting and 98 feet in total darkness.
When it comes to built-in spotlights, Swann offers more models with this feature than Lorex. These spotlights help to illuminate the scene, providing a clearer view and enabling Full-Color night vision. Additionally, some Swann camera models have active deterrence technology in combination with the spotlight to discourage potential intruders.
Lorex also offers some camera models with integrated spotlights, and active deterrence is available in a few models as well. Lorex is known for its camera models with advanced low-light sensors that provide color images with minimal light without needing a spotlight.
Storage & Interoperability
Firstly, when it comes to on-board storage capacity, Lorex tends to offer more options with built-in microSD card slots. This feature allows you to store footage directly on the camera itself, providing more options for data storage and retrieval. Many Lorex models, such as the W881AAD-E, W452ASDB-E, and F461AQD-E, can accommodate microSD cards with capacities of up to 256GB. Swann also provides on-board storage for several models like SWIFI-COREPRO, SWIFI-TRACKCM32GB, and SWIFI-BUDDY with support for microSD cards of varying capacities.
In addition to on-board storage, most Swann cameras offer storage options such as Network Video Recorders (NVRs), DVRs or cloud-based storage, while some Lorex cameras also utilize Network Attached Storage (NAS) or FTP servers. This difference in storage options may influence your choice between the two brands, depending on your preference for centralized or cloud-based storage.
Interoperability is an essential factor to consider when choosing security cameras. This aspect allows for more seamless integration with other security devices in your home. While most Swann cameras listed in my research do not provide specific interoperability features, a few Lorex models like LNZ44P4BW, LNZ44P12B, and LNE9383 feature integration protocols such as ONVIF, RTSP, and CGI. ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum) is particularly noteworthy as it promotes standardized communication between different IP-based security products, ensuring better compatibility with a wide range of devices.
Starting with audio features, it is evident that both Swann and Lorex offer models equipped with two-way audio. This means that you can communicate with someone in front of the camera remotely, which can be useful if you want to speak to a visitor, delivery person, or even to deter an intruder. The majority of models from both brands come with an integrated microphone and speaker, enabling the two-way audio function.
In terms of alarm systems, it's worth noting that Swann and Lorex cameras offer slightly different features. While many Swann models come with an integrated siren alarm, not all Lorex models do. For example, Swann's SWIFI-SLMFLCW model has a siren loudness of 75 dB, and the W881AAD-E model from Lorex has a 110 dB siren. These sirens can be crucial in alerting you and scaring away potential intruders, so it's worth considering this when choosing which brand to purchase. However, if you're not too concerned about having an alarm, then you have more flexibility in choosing a suitable model from either brand.
One key aspect that many customers prioritize in security cameras is smart integration with popular voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. Swann offers integration with both voice assistants in many of its camera models, as well as support for Chromecast, Echo Show, Fire TV, and Google Nest Hub. On the other hand, Lorex also provides strong support for Alexa and Google Assistant in some models, and a few even offer integration with Chromecast, Fire TV, and Apple TV.
Note: Some integrations and intelligence features are restricted to those with the Swann Secure+ membership.
Another important consideration for potential buyers is the ability to configure motion zones and sensitivity. Motion zones allow you to focus on specific areas for monitoring while adjusting motion sensitivity helps reduce false alarms. Most Swann and Lorex camera models in my research offer configurable motion zones and sensitivity, however, this feature is limited to the cloud plan for some Swann models.
Motion alerts are crucial for a security camera system, as they notify users of any detected motion in real-time. Both Swann and Lorex cameras offer push notifications for motion alerts, helping users stay informed and react quickly in case of any suspicious activities. Again, some Swann models require the cloud plan for rich alerts and notifications.
A major selling point for security cameras is their ability to accurately detect people, vehicles, and other objects. These smart motion detection features play a crucial role in reducing false alarms and providing more reliable monitoring. Swann cameras come equipped with various detection capabilities such as person detection, vehicle detection, face detection, object detection, heat maps, and even animal detection in some models. On the other hand, Lorex cameras also showcase an impressive suite of detection features including person detection, vehicle detection, object detection, face detection, animal detection, people counting, and heat maps.
In addition to standard motion detection, some security cameras also offer other event triggers such as abandoned object detection, missing object detection, and video tampering. Both Swann and Lorex cameras feature models with these advanced event triggers, making both brands ideal for customers who require heightened security and monitoring options.
Lastly, perimeter protection features like intrusion detection and line crossing are valuable additions for many security-conscious consumers. Some Swann camera models offer this added layer of security, making them ideal for users who need comprehensive monitoring for specific perimeters.
Regarding PTZ features, not all security cameras from either brand come with these capabilities. PTZ stands for Pan-Tilt-Zoom and allows a camera to cover a wider range and move in different directions. These features can be particularly useful for monitoring large spaces or when tracking an object in a specific area is necessary. In my research, I found that only one Swann model has PTZ functionality whereas Lorex offers several PTZ models. This could be an important factor to consider if you require a camera that can pan, tilt, and zoom.
Looking at optical zoom capabilities, a clear difference can be seen between the two brands. Optical zoom works by moving the camera lens and maintaining the camera's resolution while zooming in or out. This typically results in better image quality compared to digital zoom. In my research, I found that while none of the Swann models offer optical zoom, several Lorex models do, including the models LNZ44P4BW, LNZ44P12B, LNE9383, LNZ81P25, and LNZ2925SC. This makes Lorex the better option if optical zoom is a crucial feature for your home security needs.
Lastly, a closer look at the pan and tilt functionality across these brands highlights that Lorex has more models with these features. Cameras with pan and tilt capabilities can move in horizontal and vertical directions, providing a larger coverage area. These features are present in some of the Lorex models, such as the LNZ44P4BW, LNZ44P12B, F461AQD-E, and LNZ2925SC. Conversely, the only Swann model with both pan and tilt functionality is the SWNHD-900PT.
In conclusion, if PTZ features and optical zoom capabilities are important to you, Lorex seems to be the better choice offering more models with these options. However, both brands do offer cameras with digital zoom capabilities, and selecting a model ultimately comes down to the specific combination of features and design you prefer. Always double-check the specifications of each camera model to ensure it meets your individual requirements.
Camera & Lens
Starting with Swann, most of their cameras have a Fixed Focus lens type, ensuring sharp and clear images without the need for manual adjustments. Fields of view (FoV) in their cameras vary, with some models covering a wide range of 180 degrees (e.g., SWIFI-TRACKCM32GB) and some having an FoV around 90 degrees (e.g., SWPRO-4KMSD). In terms of resolution quality, Swann cameras offer a diverse range including 2MP (1920×1080) HD, 4MP (2560×1440) and 4K (3840×2160) Ultra HD models. They even have a 12MP option (SWNHD-1200BE).
In comparison, Lorex also offers a range of lens types with Fixed Focus being the most common, but they also provide some motorized and manual varifocal options (e.g., LNZ44P4BW and LNE9383). Their resolutions also span 2MP (1920×1080) HD, 4MP (2560×1440), 2K (2560×1920) and 4K (3840×2160) Ultra HD models, similar to Swann.
However, Lorex cameras generally have slightly wider fields of view than Swann's, with some models going as high as 164 degrees while others have a more standard FoV of around 105-108 degrees (e.g., E896AB).
Swann cameras offer a diverse range of dimensions with models like the SWNHD-1200BE (5.94×2.76×2.76″) being compact and discreet, while the SWNHD-900PT (6.5×4.8×9.4″) is larger, providing a more noticeable security presence. Similarly, Lorex cameras also have varying sizes, with the U424AA-E (8.5×7.5×3.7″) designed for those who prefer large, visible cameras, and the E896AB (2.9×6.9×2.9″) being smaller for more discreet placements.
IP rating indicates how well a camera is protected against dust and water ingress. Both Swann and Lorex offer cameras with IP66 and IP67 weather-resistant ratings. Swann cameras such as the SWNHD-900BE and SWNHD-887MSFB have an IP66 rating, while Lorex cameras like the LNE9383 and E896AB have a higher IP67 rating, providing better protection against water and dust.
Materials used in cameras can differ as well, with some Lorex models featuring heavy-duty metal, aluminum, and polycarbonate, such as the LNZ44P12B, E896AB, and C883DA-Z models respectively. While specific materials are not mentioned for most Swann cameras, some come in aluminum, like the SWNVW-800CAM and SWNHD-886MSD models.
Operating temperatures vary between the two brands. Most Swann camera models have a maximum operating temperature of 122°F-131°F and a minimum of -22°F. Lorex cameras have a slightly broader operating temperature range in comparison. Some Lorex cameras like the LNZ44P12B can withstand up to 158°F and as low as -40°F, providing greater durability in extreme weather conditions.
Lastly, the weight of the cameras can impact the ease of installation and positioning. Swann models range from lightweight ones like SWWHD-INDCAM (100g) to heavier options like SWPRO-4KDER (2000g). Lorex also offers a variety of weights, with lighter models like the U471AA-E (190g) and heavier models like the V261LCD-E (1.8kg).
Lorex vs Swann: Camera Models Included in Research