When our neighborhood was hit by a series of daytime break ins, I began doing some research on home burglaries. As was the case in our neighborhood, most home robberies occur when residents are away from their homes.
Burglars are also opportunistic, specifically targeting homes that do not have any type of security system installed.
In fact, homes without security systems are approximately 3 times more likely to to be broken into than homes without one.
I had never bothered to look into securing our home because I figured it would be expensive, complicated to set up, and reasoned our neighborhood was relatively safe.
Well, there’s nothing like having your own neighborhood targeted by thieves to make you jump into action.
That being said, I still did not want a complicated or expensive security system.
I just wanted a simple and reliable option that would give my family and me peace of mind when we weren’t around -- not to mention dramatically reduce the odds of our home being victimized by theft.
As I did my research, two home security leaders kept popping up: The Swann vs Night Owl debate, offering a variety of systems for securing our home.
In addition to addressing our security needs, these systems also provided other benefits such as reducing the cost of our homeowners’ insurance, and giving us the ability to keep tabs on our children and pets.
Both brands also offer quality products, which often makes it hard to choose between them.
You really can’t go wrong with either choice, but there are some key differences which I have summarized in this Swann and Night Owl comparison so that you can easily select the one that makes the most sense for you and your family.
Swann vs Night Owl Qualities at a Glance
- 1080P DVR CCTV SECURITY CAMERA SYSTEM WITH ACTIVE...
- SECURITY MADE SMARTER: Receive alerts when activity is...
- CONTINUOUS 24/7 RECORDING ENABLED: With a pre-installed 1TB...
- RELIABLE WEATHERPROOF DESIGN AND WIRED PROTECTION FOR DIY...
- 1 YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY: Swann provides protection against...
A globally-recognized name in home security, Swann is an Australian-based company with over 30 years of experience protecting people and their property in more than 40 countries.
It is known for its Do-It-Yourself (DIY) equipment and states its goal to be making “the latest security solutions accessible, affordable, and easy to use.”
- SECURE APP-BASED BLUETOOTH SETUP: Set up and control the...
- WE PRIORITIZE YOUR PRIVACY: Your security camera recordings...
- SECURE WIRED CONNECTION: A hardwired connection feeds the...
- PRESET VOICE ALERTS WITH BUILT-IN CAMERA SIREN: Use the app...
- SYSTEM CONTENTS: 1 x Wired DVR with 1TB Hard Drive, 1 x DVR...
One of the newer kids on the block, Night Owl got its start in Boynton Beach, Florida in 2009.
The brand touts itself as the fastest-growing manufacturer of security DVRs, NVRs, and cameras, as well as “the best value on the market” for security systems.
Swann Security Systems
Swann quality varies almost as much as their prices for different products.
Many of the higher-end equipment offerings have received glowing recommendations, while some of the other lower-end pieces have not received kind reviews.
In other words, it looks like you get what you pay for with this company.
- Swann offers three types of security: wired, wireless, and wire-free.
- Options range from single camera units to complex, 24-channel DVR and NVR camera systems, and just about everything in between.
- The software is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac, and supports multi-camera viewing from any mobile device.
- Alexa and Google Assistant-compatible
- Seven days' worth of free storage and an available monthly subscription plan past that
- 1080p HD Video with wide viewing angle
- Installation is straightforward
- CCTV recording devices and surveillance cameras
- Video doorbells
- Wireless IP cameras
- Alarms and various sensors
- Video surveillance drones
Customer Support Level
Customer service is available 24/7, and you have the option to connect in three different ways: live chat, email, or phone.
The website also has a lot of helpful information, from “Getting Started Videos,” to podcasts, to a customer feedback page.
Ease of User Installation
Overall, installation is straightforward with Swann, thanks to the abundance of information and assistance that the company makes available.
Each product comes with an extremely detailed how-to guide, and you can access instructional videos, user reviews, and their 24/7 customer service all through the website.
Monitoring and Accessing Recordings
Video footage can be easily accessed directly on the surveillance equipment, via the SwannView Link software available for download on your computer, or through the relevant app on your smartphone.
Night Owl Security Systems
Night Owl is considered pretty solidly middle-of-the-road as far as security systems go.
Reviewers have had their fair share of complaints about the company and its products, but there are also many positive reviews, as well, which even things out.
- Night Owl offers both wired and wireless options
- Works with Google Assistant
- Dual heat and motion sensors
- No monthly storage fees
- Night vision cameras
- A two-way audio option for cameras
- Internet-free recording
- DVR and NVR options
- Wired plus wireless hybrid systems
- Covert security equipment
- Complete security systems
Customer Support Level
Night Owl offers 24/7 customer service via phone in English, French, and Spanish. They also offer live chat through their website and email support, as well.
In addition, their online support center provides access to user manuals, guides, and videos.
Ease of User Installation
The company claims that its systems are so easy to set up that many can be done in two minutes or less.
If the included manuals aren't clear enough for you, then there are set-up tutorial videos for each product to explain what you are missing.
Lastly, if neither of those appeals to you, you can pay for professional installation.
Monitoring and Accessing Recordings
Both live-action monitoring and video recordings can be accessed through the Night Owl smartphone or tablet PC app.
Why Both Swann and Night Owl are Good
Both companies offer affordable access to security systems in a range of prices and options.
Both also focus on the DIY model, which keeps costs in check and gives users autonomy and privacy over their security.
Their systems are easy to install and easy to operate, making them both great choices for your average family that is not super techy or that doesn't have a lot of time to waste futzing with complicated equipment.
They also both offer 24/7 customer service support in a variety of formats to assist with any setup or technical problems you might encounter along the way.
Swann stands out for its detailed and user-friendly instruction manuals and videos.
Its website is also top-notch for customers who are new to security systems and need help narrowing down their options.
Their outdoor cameras are “weatherproof,” meaning that they can withstand sun, rain, wind, dust, and snow.
For those of you who are a bit more on the tech-savvy side, you have the ability to integrate your equipment with both Alexa and Google Assistant.
This gives you an essentially hands-free way to control your system.
The Better Business Bureau has given Swann an “A” rating for its interaction with customers and success rate in resolving reported issues.
Night Owl differentiates itself in several ways.
For one, it offers the option to have your equipment or system professionally installed at an extra cost if you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself. Its dual sensor technology is another standout.
This combination of heat and motion sensors within the same camera eliminates false alarms up to 90% of the time, meaning that you won't have to worry whether the wind blowing your wind chimes is actually someone trying to break into your back door.
The company's free storage option is another plus.
While Swann requires you to purchase cloud storage if you want to store anything more than a week's worth of video, Night Owl offers you two options: paid cloud storage or free storage on either a hard drive or MicroSD card.
The second options is particularly useful if you need to access your video history without internet access.
The Better Business Bureau has assigned Night Owl a “B-” rating, due to the company's “failure to resolve the underlying causes of a pattern of complaints.”
Our Picks for the Best Swann Security Cameras
1. Swann SWNVK-885808
- ULTRA HIGH DEFINITION VIDEO: This state-of-the-art 8 camera,...
- TIRED OF PAYING FOR EXTRA STORAGE? ENJOY FREE VIDEO STORAGE...
- TRUE DETECT HEAT & MOTION SENSING: This state-of-the-art NVR...
- SECURITY MADE SMARTER: "Alexa, show me the front door."...
- WE HAVE YOUR BACK: Not only do our security cameras have...
This high-end security system offers peace of mind from every angle. It offers:
- an eight camera, wired surveillance system
- Ultra HD resolution that allows you to see AND hear everything 4x better than with 1080p, plus digital zoom
- Night vision up to 150ft
- 200ft with ambient light
- True Detect™ heat and motion-based PIR detection cameras reliably capture & record activity, with fewer errors
- Video recording for up to 300 days
- A 2TB hard drive
2. Swann SWPRO-735CAM-US
- SEE CLEAR FOOTAGE EVEN AT NIGHT - Crystal clear resolution...
- RECORDS VIDEO AT ANY WEATHER - Sturdy aluminum construction...
- RELIABLE CRIME DETERRENT - Deter thieves, safeguard loved...
- EASY INSTALLATION - Plug into your DVR for recording or your...
- CAN BE USED AT HOME OR BUSINESS - Perfect for home or...
For the budget conscious consumer, this single multi-purpose camera is a great theft deterrent.
It offers many benefits, such as:
- Strong, weatherproof aluminum construction that will withstand just about any weather and that is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use
- 720 TV line quality color daytime video recording
- 82ft night vision capability – in black and white
- DVR and TV compatible for instant recording or viewing
- A 59-degree viewing angle
Our Picks for the Best Night Owl Security Cameras
1. Night Owl B-10PH-841-PIR
- This refurbished product is tested and certified to look and...
This affordable system fits right in with your mobile lifestyle.
It is completely interchangeable, giving you the option to mix and match equipment for a fully customized package. Its features include:
- Four 1080p HD bullet cameras with a 100˚ field of view (compared to the standard 42˚ view of most cameras) with picture perfect 16:9 wide-angle viewing
- Three-axis vandal-proof mounting brackets
- Dual Sensor Technology reduces false alerts by up to 90%
- Up to 100 ft. of Night Vision
- Full-spectrum day vision plus b/w night vision
- 1080p resolution any time of day or weather condition
- Remote viewing access to live and recorded video on your smart device as well as real-time motion activated alerts.
- Remote access to your DVR to change its settings on the go
2. Night Owl XHD502-88P-B
- 1 x 8 Channel 5MP DVR with pre-installed 2 TB Hard Drive.
- 8 x Indoor/Outdoor 5MP Wired Infrared Cameras.
- View & Playback footage directly from your Smart Device....
- Reduces false alerts by up to 90%, 100 ft. of Night Vision...
- Includes 60 ft. of upgraded 24AWG UL Approved cable per...
A little pricier, this system has over over 60 positive reviews on Amazon and offers the following impressive features:
- 5 Megapixel Extreme HD cameras(2592 x 1960 pixels)
- Smart Detection Security System with Dual Sensor alerts
- Extreme HD cameras (2592 x 1960 pixels)
- Over 100% more pixels than the standard 1080p (2MP)
- Smart Detection
- Dual Sensor alerts
- Three-axis vandal-proof mounting brackets
- Patent Pending Dual Sensor Technology reduces false alerts by up to 90%
- The hardwired security system provides continuous viewing and recording
- No Internet required for viewing your recordings on a TV or monitor
At the end of the day, Swann and Night Owl come out basically neck-and-neck in the race for best personal security system brand.
Swann has several decades of experience in the security business and has built a reputation for easy-to-use DIY equipment.
One of its standout features is its Amazon-like website that helps you understand your personal security needs and assists you in selecting appropriate equipment or systems.
The company also prides itself on offering a wide range of devices in a wide range of prices, but not all of those devices are created equal.
The cheaper alternatives receive significantly more negative customer reviews and appear to not be made quite as well as the higher priced alternatives.
Then there is the fact that some of those more expensive options are much more expensive, pricing themselves out of the reach of many middle-class families.
Night Owl is younger and arguably a little more technologically “hip” than Swann, offering more digital interaction for its devices and better camera technology.
They also understand the benefit of customer customization in the sense that they offer a few more options – such as professional equipment installation for those willing to pay an extra cost – that are likely to appeal to more customers that are somewhat less price-conscious than DIY purists.
That being said, Night Owl has had some growing pains when it comes to resolving customer-reported issues.
Neither company is known for the quality of its customer service, but that is generally par for the course with mid-range, price-conscious brands of any type of product.
Another thing that many customers and industry reviews have lamented is the comparatively short warranties available – only 12 months for any device for both brands.
Really, though, those are relatively minor drawbacks when you think of the incredible value you get for equipment that will protect you, your family, and your possessions.
We really struggled to choose a favorite between these two, but in the end, Swann won out.
Mainly, this was due to their additional years of experience in the field, their commitment to making DIY security systems easy to install and operate, and their better rate of resolving customer issues.
We fully expect them to continue to innovate technologically and very likely catch up to Night Owl.
Here’s our quick verdict about the Swann vs Night Owl debate:
Go with Swann if you're tech savvy and live in areas where there are harsher elements. Night Owl has comparable quality, but you can be a little hands off with their installation options and remote storage capabilities.
By the way, if you want to check out another brand in your research, you can check out all my thoughts on Lorex and Swann cameras.
Typical setup instructions for a Swann system.
Featured Image: safenow.org