Should You Buy Commercial Grade Or Consumer Grade?

December 12th, 2022

Once you make the decision to get a camera surveillance system, it is very easy to get overwhelmed by the types, technicals, and prices. Then you have to decide whether you should do it yourself or have it installed. Should you go to a big box store for “consumer-grade” or look into “commercial grade”? Well here is a hint, no matter what store you visit for security cameras, none of the ones they have for sale are installed in their business. Chain, warehouse or electronics stores always use commercial grades and for good reason. Here are some of the reasons you should choose commercial grade over consumer-grade cameras for your Chico property.

  1. Commercial Grade Cameras Offer Better Quality:

At first, the two grades of cameras may seem similar, but if you could look inside the cameras you would see a distinct and obvious difference. First and foremost commercial-grade cameras are built for high-performance applications where failure to work is not an option. When evening comes and the natural lighting becomes low or not available, such as the nighttime hours, then the commercial-grade outshines the consumer. They truly outperform the consumer-grade as they have a larger internal video sensor and higher quality component that captures excellent low or no light video. So ask yourself what good is a video surveillance camera if it only works in daylight?

  1. Commercial Grade Cameras Are More Adapted To Different Conditions:  

Commercial grade surveillance cameras are specifically designed for difficult light conditions. They can handle a door opening and flooding the sensor with light or taking a clear view of any intruder at midnight.  This is because consumer cameras do not have the software and hardware called High Dynamic Range (HDR). Consumer-grade cameras are known for poor night vision performance as they are short-range and fixed brightness.

  1. Commercial Grade Cameras Offer Higher Resolution:

Resolution is another consideration when choosing between commercial and consumer-grade.  Resolution refers to the number of pixels or “dots” that make up the video image. The more dots, the more details in the video image. The two most popular are 1080p and 4k resolution. When it comes to the best camera resolution for your system and cameras, the best person to ask is your certified technician for advice to make sure your resolution and your hard drive space are compatible. 

  1. Commercial Grade Cameras Can Be Fully Integrated Into Any System: 

Integration refers to the “smart” devices that can “talk” to each other via a network. Commercial-grade cameras will integrate with any of your smart home products such as Amazon Echo or Google nest.  Another benefit is that when a security sensor in a commercial camera is triggered due to an intrusion, the alarm will go off and the lights throughout the entire house will be automatically turned on.  Consumer cameras do not integrate as well

  1. Commercial Grade Cameras Are Available At Affordable Price Points:

It goes without saying that commercial systems will be more costly than a consumer camera system. But the old saying “you get what you pay for” also applies to cameras. You can purchase a consumer camera for under $100, in fact, there are some systems retailing for $39.99. These cameras all claim they have 1080p resolution. A 1080p resolution is about a 2-megapixel photo-camera resolution. With the resolution of a $39.99 surveillance camera, you will not be able to identify a license plate number or the features on a person’s face. Isn’t identifying intruders the whole point of security? What you would pay for a professional camera system would be determined by what your installation technician recommends and your budget?

Before you go out and purchase that consumer-grade security system, talk to a security professional. They will review the risks to your Chico property and recommend a high quality, customized commercial grade system. A security professional will ensure your Chico property is fully protected.


What Our Customers Say

"I had the Alibi system installed several years ago. It has functioned flawlessly. The image quality is exellent both night and day and in all weather conditions. I particularly like the replay (which can be set at various speeds) and zoom functions of the system. Tech support from Crimefreeliving has been excellent. I have received quick responses to questions, and timely home visits — as when I changed IP carriers and my Alibi system needed to be reset. I have recommended Crimefreeliving to several friends."


"As a small business owner here in Chico we definitely saw the need for video surveillance. After expressing our needs and concerns Tim did an excellent job getting us set up with the set up with the appropriate equipment. He really took the time to address our concerns in a very friendly, professional and knowledgeable manner. I highly recommend Tim for all of your business and residential video surveillance needs."

Ron H., Owner/Auto Doctor

"I have to say I love having my security cameras at my home. Tim Truby did a wonderful job of installing the five cameras. He is very neat and cleaned everything up after the installation. He explained to me how to operate the monitor, my phone and IPad. However, I have had to call Tim because I'm not tech savvy and forget what he has told me. He usually just helps me over the phone and then all is well. I'm 80 years old and enjoy the comfort of knowing I have these security cameras."


"Tim Truby designed and installed a 32 camera system for us here at the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District. We had received several other quotes from security system vendors, but Tim’s quote was the least expensive. Tim also installed the system quickly and has always been available when we needed him. We are very happy with our security camera system and we can highly recommend Tim Truby for all of your surveillance system needs."

D. Weseman, Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District

Crime Free Living updated our old video system with a new 16 Channel HD Alibi Video Security System. The old system had been added onto by different installers which resulted in a cabling mess. There were cables that worked and cables that went nowhere. It was a mess. Tim sorted it all out and installed cameras that are very clear. He also installed a monitor for our cashiers to watch hidden areas, a monitor to watch the entry door, and a monitor that allows employees to watch the outside parking and gas pump area. All work was done on time and very professional! Will always recommend Tim and Crime Free Living.

S. AM PM Chico Arco Station

"I had Tim install an Alibi Video Security System at my residence and a couple business locations. The remote view option is invaluable to absentee owners or anyone who travels a lot. The clarity and quality of the cameras have allowed for viewing employee theft. The evidence provided from the HD video cameras was fantastic! Tim was professional and provided extra value from his law enforcement background."

J. Folsom Arco Station

"Tim, I want to thank you again for doing such a fantastic job on installing a wireless IP security camera system at our dream home. The extra time that you took to hide wires, and install a clean, professional system is much appreciated. I still can’t believe the clarity, quality, and ease of use of this new system. I wished that I would have met you before our original inferior system was installed by another company. Now, whether I am at home, or monitoring the system from around the world, I know that my home and family are safe and sound."

John M.

"In April of 2017, my husband and I made a phone call to Crime Free Living that turned out to be a smart and wise decision. Amazingly, in just a few hours, Tim installed four Dome Security Cameras, weatherproof enclosures, and hooked up into our home a 23" Full HD Widescreen Security Monitor. Even more than his professional expertise was the time spent with us in making sure that this system was working correctly and properly installed on our phones so that anywhere in our travels we can monitor our new home in Magalia."

Tieka and Don S.

"I have been using Crime Free Living for the last couple years ar work and at home and I really recommend this product. Tim is a very good service provider. If he can't figure it out, he's got good tech support with the system that he offers."

Gary D.

"I have known Tim for over 10 years. To date, Time with Crime Free Living has installed two separate surveillance systems for my company. With each system, Tim has listened to my needs and custom dsigned surveillance systems for my specific needs and within my budget. The equipment used is always state of the art, the workmanship is top notch, and Tim is the example of trustworthy. I would recommend him for any job."

Steve D., Down Range Indoor Training Center

images Certifications & Training

With 16 years of experience in law enforcement, Tim Truby, CEO, is fully certified in video surveillance and training.

  • Certified Advanced Crime Prevention Specialist
  • Academy Instructor Certification
  • California POST Certification in Specialized Surveillance Equipment
  • California POST Certification in Basic Crime Prevention
    • Advanced Crime Prevention through Environmental Design
    • Certified Alibi Security Dealer
    • Enhanced Risk and Threat Assessment (FEMA)
    • Incident Command System (100 & 200)
    • Certified Cognitech Video Forensic Investigator
    • Neighborhood Watch Toolkit Trainer
    • Computer Crimes/Investigations
    • Domestic Crisis for Crisis Negotiators