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Best DVR for CCTV in 2020: top digital video recorders for security cameras

Best DVR for CCTV Hero
(Image credit: Annke)

Protecting your home or business property with a digital video recording (or DVR) system is a cost-effective way of deterring criminals and ensuring peace of mind.

While home surveillance devices designed for consumers have become simpler to use and more affordable in recent years, a robust DVR system can offer maximum security when paired with up to 16 dedicated cameras to record crystal-clear footage to a capacious hard drive.

Many modern DVR solutions now come with handy features – such as an app that you can download to monitor camera footage in real-time from any location.

We’ve listed our picks of the best DVR security systems for CCTV in 2019. Be aware that some include cameras in the box, whereas others require them to be purchased separately along with hard drives.

  • Want your company or services to be added to this buyer’s guide? Please email your request to desire.athow@futurenet.com with the URL of the buying guide in the subject line. 

(Image credit: Sansco)

1. Sansco S4D4C1T All-in-One Smart CCTV camera System

An affordable and capable DVR system

Number of cameras: 4 | Channels: 4 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Storage: 1TB HDD | Features: Smartphone app support, Night vision, IP66 weather protection, Smart motion detection, video backup

Good value
App support
Feels cheap
UI awkward to navigate

This Sansco model is an attractive deal. While the DVR unit itself is not particularly robust (its front-facing buttons are audibly ‘clicky’), it records good quality video in Full HD with enough storage to give you around 2-3 weeks of playback footage. There’s also the option to tweak the frames per second recorded if you want to extend that. Connectivity-wise there’s HDMI and VGA for hooking it up to a monitor, and you can also download Sansco’s XMEye app (available on iOS and Android)  to quickly flick between cameras and hit record.

(Image credit: ZOSI)

2. ZOSI 8CH Security Camera System HD-TVI Full 1080p Video DVR Recorder

Comes with weatherproof cameras

Number of cameras: 4 | Channels: 8 | Resolution: Up to 1,920 x 1,080 | Storage: 1TB HDD | Features: Motion alert, Smartphone compatibility, PC Easy Remote Access, Expandable camera system

Weatherproof cameras
Remote viewing app
Night vision
Finicky motion detection

Another wireless camera setup, this Zosi 8-channel system records in Full HD and comes with four weatherproof cameras that can be affixed outside to walls. And if you want to add more cameras – both bullet and dome varieties – you can add another four to the setup in total. This model also comes with a smart app that lets you see through the eyes of your cameras and quickly record at any time. On the downside, when motion detection is activated, its cameras are occasionally overly sensitive and send alerts even if minimal movement outside has been detected.

(Image credit: Lorex)

3. Lorex 4K Ultra HD (4 x 1080p) MPX Security DVR

Offers ultra-sharp 4K resolution

Number of cameras: None | Channels: 16 | Resolution: Up to 4K (3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: 2TB HDD | Features: 4K recording, security-grade HDD, continues, scheduled and motion recording, H.264+ video compression, HDMI output, click and drag digital zoom in live view and playback

Ultra-clear 4K image
Smooth recording at 1080p or 2k
Doesn’t come with cameras
Cable setup can get messy

When somebody’s attempting to break into your property, you want to get a good shot of their face on your CCTV recording. That’s why it’s worth investing in a 4K system like this one from Lorex, which records sharp 4K footage at seven frames-per-second (FPS) onto its capacious 2TB hard disk and supports up to 16 cameras which you’ll need to purchase separately. One flick of the settings lets you change from 4K resolution to 2K or 1080p, which ups the FPS to 30 to capture smoother movement if preferred.

(Image credit: Lorex)

4. Lorex 2K HD (2 x 1080p) MPX Security DVR

3TB hard drive records more footage

Number of cameras: None | Channels: 16 | Resolution: Up to 2,592 x 1,520 | Storage: 3TB HDD (1 x 8TB max) | Features: 1080p recording, backwards compatible with analogue cameras, 24/7 security-grade hard drive, continues, scheduled and motion recording, PTZ cameras supported, remote control through app

Large 3TB hard drive
Works with older analogue cameras
2K recording limited to 12 FPS
No cameras included

Simple to set up, this DVR system from Lorex can record up 2K video resolution, which makes for a clear and sharp image without taking up as much storage space as 4K models. That means you’ll squeeze at least a few months of footage onto its huge 3TB hard disk drive, which is the largest size that Lorex offers in a DVR. This model also works with older analogue cameras which is advantageous as you can select between different manufacturers. A notable drawback of this model is that recording is limited to 12 FPS at 2K, compared to 30 FPS for the 4K model above (which is ironically on sale at the time of writing and the more affordable option).

(Image credit: Samsung)

5. Samsung Wisenet SDH-B84040BF 8

A typically well-built Samsung offering

Number of cameras: 4 | Channels: 8 | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,440 | Storage: 1TB | Features: 4MP Super HD Video, 1TB Hard Drive, Tue Day & Night vision, QR code to download accompanying app

Sharp 1440p (2K) picture
Night vision
Weatherproof cameras
App sometimes forgets devices

If you’re looking for a robust DVR system that feels premium and records in 2K quality, this model from Samsung Wisenet will fit the bill. It ships with four white and sleek bullet-style cameras designed for indoor and outdoor use. They’re equipped with night vision tech that uses infrared LEDs and smart IR to provide up to130ft (or 40m) night vision range. Like others on our list, the DVR system works with a mobile app that lets you view what the cameras are seeing in real-time, though we found in our testing that the app occasionally forgot cameras which then needed to be re-added.

(Image credit: OHWOAI)

6. OHWOAI Home Security Camera System

Wireless cameras make for a convenient option

Number of cameras: 4 | Channels: 8 | Resolution: 1080p | Storage: 1TB HDD | Features: Wireless cameras, waterproof and night vision, app support, email alerts, 65ft night vision, IP67 waterproof

Wireless cameras
App-based motion detection alerts
No HDMI cable in the box
Night vision not as capable as other cameras

If you’re not keen on the idea of snaking cables around the house, this model reduces the clutter. As an NVR (networked video recorder), its four wall-mountable cameras are wireless and can be positioned anywhere so long as they are in range of your router’s WiFi signal (and they must be plugged in a power socket. Like the DVRs on our list, this uses motion detection; however, we prefer that it sends motion alerts when detected directly to the app, versus emailing them to the user.

(Image credit: Lorex)

7. Lorex 4 camera 1080p HD Wire-Free Security System

A more modern-looking DVR

Number of cameras: 4 | Channels: 6 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Storage: 16GB microSD card | Features: Mountable wireless cameras, Instant motion alerts and remote live viewing via the Lorex Secure app (IOS/Android), No cloud storage fees

Compact, modern design
Wireless cameras
Only 16GB storage space
Short camera power leads

This Lorex system is a more modern-looking option for the security-conscious user. Its white and black base is classy enough for it to be placed in homes or businesses. The unit comes with four wireless cameras that can be positioned anywhere within Wi-Fi range, so long as there is also a power socket nearby which can be problematic due to their short leads. The DVR sends instant motion alerts to its accompanying Lorex Secure app which is available for iOS or Android. And, though compact, its microSD storage card can hold up to one month of recordings.

(Image credit: ANNNKE)

8. ANNKE 8 Channel Security Camera System 1080P

For when you have your own hard drive ready

Number of cameras: 4 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Channels: 8 | Storage: None | Features: Expandable camera system, 8BNC ports, H.264+ tech, smart-motion triggered alerts

Lets you use your own hard drive
H.264+ encoding allows for long recording time
Poor build quality

If you already have a hard drive for your DVR lying around, you can pair it with this affordable unit which does not come with one pre-installed. That’s not a requirement either – it can be used purely for monitoring (and not recording) in real-time view with no hard disk installed. If you do choose to record footage, the Annke model uses H.264+ tech to compress recorded video which allows it to record for up to 50 days in 1080p. Through an accompanying Annke Vision app, you can watch live streams and view playbacks instantly on a smartphone on the go.

(Image credit: Amcrest)

9. Amcrest 8 Channel Security Camera System 1080P

Barebones unit gives you choice

Number of cameras: None | Channels: 8 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Storage: None | Features: 1080p resolution, 8 channels, H.265 compression, two-way talk

Affordable
Accompanying mobile app
Feels cheap
Live view in the browser is finicky

If you already own a hard disk drive and cameras, you’re going to want a versatile system that’s compatible. This Amcrest DVR record supports both analogue cameras and Amcrest IP cameras (up to eight in total) and even supports some third-party IP cameras too. This affordable DVR supports hard disks up to 6TB total capacity, and it positions a HDMI port around the back of the unit for hooking it up to a display.

(Image credit: Westshine)

10. Westshine 16 Channel 1080N DVR 5-in-1 Hybrid

An affordable16-channel DVR

Number of cameras: None | Channels: 16 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Storage: None | Features: Motion detection, 1080N resolution, P2P Cloud Remote app, VGA/HDMI video output

Affordable
Two USB 2.0 ports
Good picture quality
Feels a bit flimsy

Easy to setup, this DVR system from Westshine is an elegantly designed unit that supports up to 16 channels (or cameras) being used at the same time, which comes in handy for monitoring larger premises or estates. There’s no hard disk or camera included, so you’ll need to purchase those separately. It records up to 1,920 x 1,080 resolution output with clear colours and as crisp image as you’ll get at Full HD. As with other DVRs it supports a cloud service that lets you remotely log in using a smartphone or tablet to view and record camera footage in real-time.