Professional Security System
Lorex Security SystemThe Lorex security sytem offers wired or wireless security systems that rely on a video recorder (NVR or DVR) for video storage. This device eliminates the need for costly cloud-based storage. Also, Lorex relies on self-monitored security and does not offer professional monitoring. In our tests we found the Lorex to be relatively easy to setup and use. The app and monitoring excels in some areas, like multi-channel viewing, but struggles in others like motion detection configuration.Check Price
- A huge offering of cameras and different types of security systems (wired or wireless; DVR or NVR)
- Uses a video recorder to store footage locally instead of a monthly membership for cloud-based storage
- Does not offer professionally monitored packages
- May be harder to set up for DIY novices
Self-Monitored System with Wide Product Selection
The Lorex security system has a huge product lineup that includes IR, analog, or wire-free devices. Instead of costly cloud-based storage, the Lorex uses a local video recorder (NVR or DVR) to store and transmit video clips. Some systems also include a “Home Center” device, which can show a live feed of the cameras from a digital display screen or you can view the feeds using the Lorex smartphone app. I found the app and security system overall to be intuitive and high quality. It was easy to make adjustments as needed and there are a lot of different products you can add to your system for a more customized setup.
Pricing & Packages
The Lorex security camera system has a huge range of products and security setups to offer, including wired and wireless, NVR (network video recorder) or DVR (digital video recorder), as well as a slew of add-on cameras, sensors, security recorders, and other devices.
Unlike other security systems we’ve reviewed, the Lorex system is completely self-monitored and offers no paid subscription packages.
You simply select the devices you want, set it up yourself, and monitor the feeds via the Home Center display or the app on your smartphone.
Playback can be done over any internet connection.
Lorex devices types include:
- IP Systems
- Analog Systems
- Home Center (display)
- Wi-Fi Cameras
- Doorbell Camera
- Floodlight Camera
Wired, ethernet connection (NVR)
Wired, coaxial BNC connections (DVR)
Wireless, battery operated (DVR)
Lorex Wired Systems
There are two kinds of wirex Lorex systems:
IP Systems vs. Analog Systems
IP systems require wired ethernet connections to be operational and include a Network Video Recorder (NVR) and IP security cameras.
Each IP camera only requires a single ethernet cable to connect it to the NVR, and then the footage can be viewed from your network as long as a local connection is established.
IP System: Pros
- Secure connection
IP System: Cons
- Restricted range
Analog systems work a little differently. They are also wired cameras, but instead of a NVR setup, these systems use a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and Analog MPX cameras. These parts are connected using coaxial cable instead of ethernet cable, which can provide extended long-range coverage of up to 800-ft.
MORE: For a mix of wired and wireless components, Lorex also offers hybrid systems that allow you to mix and match different parts.
Analog System: Pros
- Secure connection
- Wider range
Analog System: Cons
- Longer setup time
Lorex Wireless Systems
Lorex also offers a number of different wireless systems, all of which are battery-operated and are paired with the DVR recorder.
This is the same type of security system that we tested for this guide.
Wireless systems are quick and easy to setup, but because they use the same DVR device, video storage is just as secure.
Wireless System: Pros
- Quick and easy to setup / install
Wireless System: Cons
- Need to charge batteries occasionally
All Lorex systems are self-monitored. There is no option for professional monitoring or any paid subscription plans.
All Lorex systems offer in-app notifications or network storage.
As I briefly mentioned above, the equipment list of the Lorex system can be incredibly long. They have a wide range of product types including wired and wireless devices as well as other cameras, sensors, and displays.
For the sake of simplicity, we’re mainly going to discuss the wireless system since that is the set that we tested.
Our system included:
- Wireless DVR home base
- Cameras (x2)
- Mounting hardware
- Charging cable
- Ethernet cable
- HDMI cable
- Power adapter
#1. The Cameras
The Lorex cameras themselves are wireless units with click-in batteries with a white body and black lens. Overall, these units feel pretty solid and have a good weight to them.
Camera mounting hardware was easy enough to work with. Because these mounting brackets were totally flat I was able to use the 3M Dual Lock strips to install.
Side note: I’m really impressed with their ability to hold the camera. These cameras aren’t exactly light and the dual lock strips kept them firmly attached even during a severe thunderstorm we had while testing the cameras.
Lorex cameras include:
Amongst wifi cameras, there are wired or wireless options as well as indoor or outdoor cameras.
The floodlights and doorbells cameras only come in a wired configuration so this spec alone could help determine which camera type is best for you.
These cameras are synced with the security system and can be armed to alert you when motion is detected. The floodlight camera has the added bonus of an ultra-bright 4,000 lumen light output.
#2. The Recorder
Each complete Lorex security system will require a wired-in recorder for full functionality.
The two different styles include:
Both of these devices have the same end goal—to safely store recorded video from your security cameras.
They both also allow for:
- 4K video recording
- Remote viewing
- Instant alerts
- Real-time recording at 30FPS
- Custom motion zones
- Privacy masking
- Automatic recovery / reboot
What is a Network Video Recorder?
NVRs are compatible with digital IP security cameras.
In this type of system, video is captured and encoded by the IP camera itself. The video is then transmitted to the NVR over an ethernet cable.
What is a Digital Video Recorder?
By comparison, the DVRs are compatible with analog MPX security cameras.
In this type of system, the security cameras record raw video and then transmit it to the DVR over coaxial cabling for encoding and storage.
Deciding which camera system to go with, in turn, helps decide which video recorder is right for you.
Testing the DVR
As I mentioned above, we tested the DVR system and had good experience with it.
To connect it, you simply plug the DVR into a local Ethernet port in your network which then allows it to communicate wirelessly with the cameras.
Because of its wireless connection to the paired cameras, there is a certain maximum range that it can span. Depending on the building type, there may be a different maximum range for each install.
RELATED: Looking for a Lorex system that can span longer ranges or wider properties? Check out their lineup of analog systems that use coaxial cable to expand the range.
In our setup, the cameras were kept intentionally close to the DVR, only 15 feet away, but on an exterior wall.
The DVR has a micro SD card that it records to. It includes a 64 GB card, but you can always upgrade to something more substantial as well.
As the DVR records and fills up with footage, it will start to record over older footage to preserve the most recent clips.
In addition to the parts listed above, our Lorex system also included some basic cables and a mouse.
Here’s a quick run down of some of these extra parts:
- Charging cable: long charging cable that you can connect to charge up the batteries
- HDMI cable and mouse: connects a monitor directly to the DVR so that you can control the system like a mini-computer
While we didn’t test out the computer connection directly, I do think that it’s an interesting feature and certainly not something you see often on other systems.
If you’re looking for more traditional ways to control your security system, this direct monitor method is a nice option.
Other parts that were not included with our system, but are included with other popular Lorex systems:
- Home Center
- Sensor Kit
#3. Home Center
The Lorex Home Center is a digital display that pairs with connected cameras to allow viewing access and other features that enhance the overall usability of the Lorex system.
Some of these features include:
- 2-way camera
- Light sensor
- Touch screen
- Ethernet port
- Micro SD card slot
- SSD card storage
- USB-A port (backup / picture upload)
- Adjust volume
- Camera lens cover (on / off)
The playback screen offers HD footage of video clips or a live feed. Footage can then be exported at full resolution or you can zoom in, directly from the display.
Not all Lorex cameras work with this display. For instance, it was not compatible with the cameras we tested, but it seems useful if you go with one of their compatible systems.
RELATED: Here’s a quick look at the full camera compatibility guide.
The Home Center needs to connect to the following three items in order to work correctly:
- Wired power
- Wired ethernet connection
The connection between the display and the separate cameras is wireless.
INFO: An upload speed of at least 5 Mbps is recommended for remote video viewing.
#4. Sensor Kit
The sensor kit includes three seperate parts:
- Sensor hub
- Motion sensor
- Window / door sensor
Sensors in this kit are pretty useful for most home security setups, whether you are fortifying a rented apartment space or a larger complex that you own.
The motion sensor can detect motion in any room and alert your system or send a push notification diretly to your smartphone.
The window / door sensor works like any other contact sensor. It’s a 2-part assembly where one part installs in a stationary part of the door or window (like the door frame or window casing) and the other part installs on a movable part (like the door itself or window sash).
Installation & Setup
The installation and setup of the Lorex security system feels a little different from other systems we’ve tested so far, but not hugely difficult.
Overall, it took a little longer to unbox and setup everything, but still faster than a traditional wired system.
The initial unboxing takes about 10 minutes. There’s quite a few little packages, bags, parts, etc, but it’s not difficult by any means.
Setting up the DVR (or NVR) and downloading and configuring the app took another 10 minutes.
Once you download the app you can simply scan the QR code on the back, then it imports your unit’s information, and the included cameras are automatically brought online.
I thought this setup process was easy enough and the preconfigured steps definitely saved some time.
Install of the actual cameras and sensors takes between 15-30 minutes.
The cameras include standard exterior and drywall anchor mounts, though you can install them in other ways if you choose. The install time will vary depending on how / where you want to install them, as well as how many devices you have in your system.
The Lorex security system is a huge name in the security market and has a number of attractive features to boast.
Here’s a quick list of some of the best features that Lorex has to offer:
#1. Motion Detection
Like all cameras, there is a motion detection feature. However, we found it less than ideal to work with. You can turn it on to detect motion or off. But there are no other settings beyond that.
As a result, even slightly far away motion sets the camera’s clip / notification off. This makes using motion detection not great. That said, other Lorex cameras do have a more advanced motion control.
On the camera that looks over my driveway and out into the street I just had to turn motion notifications off because it was just constantly going off. Even slight movements 50 feet away at street level were enough to trigger it.
I left the notifications on for the camera that looks into the back yard, but only because there is much less traffic.
You can set up a schedule for the motion notifications—for example, only send notifications after 10:00 pm or something like that.
For many people, this may be enough customization to get the job done.
In addition, it takes anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute before a motion notification appears within the app. This is a little slower than it should be, in my view.
Lorex vs. Ring
Ring’s motion notifications have a much greater degree of control, which in my view makes them far more useful.
RELATED: Click here to read our full review of the Ring Alarm system.
#2. Local Storage
The ability to locally store the video clips on the NVR or DVR is a pretty attractive bonus for the Lorex system.
Not only does it save you the expense of recurring monthly subscription costs, but it also can mean more storage space.
#3 The Modes
The Lorex system has three basic modes, two armed and one unarmed:
- Home (armed)
- Away (armed)
You can also customize options on the app and select when exactly you want to receive notifications.
Creating a custom schedule helps to automate changing modes as well
#4. Smart Home
All of the Lorex packages are compatible with smart home devices like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, which allows for voice control and additional features.
If you already have a lot of smart devices set up in your home, this integration can really enhance the overall usability.
As mentioned above, the Lorex system does not offer any kind of professional monitoring. All surveillance is self-monitored.
This puts security in your hands, while also helping to keep monthly fees low / non-existent.
The Lorex App
The app for the Lorex security cameras is pretty good overall. It comes with a lot of flexibility and added features you can access remotely from your smartphone.
Here is a quick list of some of the tabs you can cycle through within the app:
- Live View: shows a live feed from the camera
- Playback: for motion-activated clip history
- Recordings: for specific recordings you manually take
- Snaps: for still image snapshots
- Notifications: for motion and other notifications
- Device: for your connected hard drive
1. Live View
Just as the name suggests, this feature is basically a live view of what is going on within the field of view of all your cameras.
We only had 2 cameras connected, but you can connect up to 16 different cameras and view them all at the same time (at least with the system we tested).
Live view includes an assortment of different viewing options to make some channels larger or smaller, depending on where you want to focus your view.
You can always view a single camera in full screen as well.
This is a playback of your motion activated clips that the Lorex has stored. The app has a little calendar and then you just click on the targeted date to view clips that happened and were saved during that time period.
Once you’re on a date in the app, there is a simple timeline slider that allows you to scroll through visual indicators for the times of the various clips.
I will say, sometimes the app is a little slow to load these clips. I’ve had to wait anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute or more for clips to load in. It’s possible this is an issue with my internet though.
Sometimes clips loaded in quickly, other times it took a while to load.
In addition to the motion-activated clips, you can do manual recordings s well. I didn’t do any manual recordings during our testing, but this is where you would access them if that’s an important feature to you.
These are still images that you take with the camera. This is a fairly common feature among home security systems, but it’s a handy feature if you want to document a specific activity or moment.
Any motion and other notifications you receive via the app would be stored under this tab in the app.
You can customize your settings to change the type of activity which would trigger a notification.
Customer service can be a deciding factor as to whether or not a security system will work for you. Especially a system which involves more DIY prompts to get rolling.
There are two basic components to any good customer service department.
- Part 1 is support when making the initial purchase.
- Part 2 is support when / if things go wrong after install.
Both of these parts are important to ensure that users can easily find the products they need and get them off the ground and operational.
#1. Making the Initial Purchase
To begin, let’s talk through making the initial purchase.
Lorex manufactures a lot of different types of cameras and security systems. Their lineup can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.
They do have an online chat tool that is responsive and friendly. But they aren’t really forthcoming with the information.
The reps are trained to answer direct questions that users may have, but if you aren’t sure what types of questions you should be asking, you may not get the answers you really need.
#2. When Things Go Wrong
After you’ve purchased a system, chances are that you may still need support. Lorex offers post-purchase support in one of two ways:
- Product Support: a database of product articles that explain the ins and outs of the system
- Knowledge Base: articles and video to help with troubleshooting
You can type in a question into the search bar as well or simply ask your question into the online chat tool for more personal direction.
For more old-school communication there is also a number you can call to discuss customer support issues over the phone or put in a support ticket request.
Lorex offers an extended warranty with all of its package security systems. This protects the system if something going wrong.
How long does the warranty last?
The extended warranty is available in 3-year or 5-year increments.
How much does it cost?
The cost varies depending on which security system you go with, ranging from $4.99 all the way up to $449.99.
This plan can be added to the purchase of your security system at checkout or added after the fact, up to 60 days after the initial purchase.
What does it do?
There are four main jobs that the extended warranty is designed to do when it comes to coverage of the Lorex security system.
- Repair: Lorex will repair the product if found to be defective
- Replace: If necessary, Lorex will replace parts or products if they are found to be defective
- Protect: Provides peace of mind in knowing that your security investment is protected
- Cost-Free: No additional cost for parts or labor if repair is needed
The Bottom Line
So bottom line, is the Lorex security system the right pick for you?
Lorex security cameras are a good option for users who want a:
- Self-monitored system: If you don’t want the expense of a professionally monitored system, the Lorex is a good choice. It relies on self-monitoring but provides a lot of different ways to keep an eye on things (smartphone app, Home Center, “mini computer” setup, etc.)
- Wide product lineup: Not all users are looking for the same thing in a security system or have the same needs. The Lorex lineup offers a huge range of products that span the gamut of product types and different configurations.
- Great cameras: If camera surveillance is hugely important to your security goals, the Lorex offers many different camera types. You can go with wired cameras, wireless cameras, or a hybrid mix of both. Some security systems focus mainly on sensors and detectors to keep you safe, but Lorex puts a lot of stock in camera video surveillance which may offer more security for your needs.
- You Store the Files: If you don’t want cloud-based storage (due to security, privacy, cost, or other concerns), then the Lorex cameras are perfect. All Lorex camera systems use storage that you control and maintain (whether it’s NVR or DVR). Since it’s your storage you can expand, delete, monitor, and maintain however you want. And you don’t have to worry about monthly cloud storage costs.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Lorex does not offer paid subscriptions since all of the systems are self-monitored.
The Lorex security system includes a 30-day trial period if you decide that it’s not right for you or your needs.
No. Lorex does not offer any security system with professional monitoring, only self-monitored systems.
No. You must purchase the equipment outright so there is no contract required to use their systems.
Yes, Lorex is compatible with Amazon Alexa as well as Google Assistant for voice-controlled settings.
Yes. Each Lorex system includes a 1-year warranty. You can also purchase an extended warranty for 3 or 5 years for an additional charge at checkout (or up to 60 days after the initial purchase.)