What Size SD Card for a Security Camera Do I Need? (Complete Guide)

Many people don’t realize that a memory card plays a vital role in providing the delivery of clear videos and images. Because of this, you must be willing to find the best memory card on the market. There are tons of them available, and the selection process could be tasking when you know nothing about them.

In this guide, we tell you the most important factors when choosing the right SD card.

SD cards 1

Capacity

What size SD card do I need for a security camera? They come in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB sizes.

If you’re wondering what size of sd card you need, a good starting point is reading the manual of your security camera’s manufacturer. More often than not, manufacturers make SD card recommendations for their camera models. Dig deep into that manual and see if your manufacturer has taken the effort of pointing you to the most suitable memory card.

Another point of reference is how you intend to use the security camera. Are you looking into continuous recordings, or do you want the camera to record only upon detecting motion? You probably will not need a high-capacity memory card if you want recordings mainly based on motion since they overwrite existing data.

The resolution of your security camera also comes to play when deciding the capacity of your SD card. You need more storage space for high-resolution videos of 1080p or 4k. Irrespective of how you intend to use the card, reasonable choices for surveillance systems should be between 32GB and 512GB. As mentioned earlier, you should be more careful if you’ve opted for continuous recording. You want this to happen error-free with the utmost performance and the least risk of failure.

For the resolution of your security camera, check if it supports micro SD. Compatibility should come into play when determining what size micro SD card you should buy. When compatibility is 100%, including with the camera’s OS, you can take advantage of all the features. 

Speed

Among many other things, a successful security camera is determined by the speed of an SD card. You need a memory card with sufficiently fast read and write rates – they are the determinants of a memory card’s speed rate. Fast rates allow your security cameras to capture and record excellent footage without buffering – even when they are in heavy use. However, the write rates are essential; the read rates are the greatest determinants of an SD’s speed when it comes to security cameras. The write speed is the rate at which your SD card records data to the memory. This means that if the speed is too slow, videos could become sluggish or even skip.

Nowadays, most memory card security camera designs are in the form of micro SD. Thankfully, recent micro SD cards provide more storage which allows longer video recordings than in the past. They are the reason round-the-clock recordings have become possible. Who wants to deal with slow speeds when recording full HD videos? No one, of course! In that case, go for high-capacity memory cards with write speeds of no less than 70mb/s.  A downside that’s worth mentioning is the cost of today’s memory card security camera. As technology evolves, bringing out advances such as HD+ OR 4k, you will have to chunk more money than before. They offer not only increased storage but also faster speeds. (1)

Bottom line: Base your speed decisions on the resolution of your camera. A higher resolution security camera demands a micro SD card with high write rates.

Durability

Memory cards designed for use in outdoor security cameras are subjected to harsh environmental conditions. Continuous recording for many hours might, over time, cause damage to the memory card. Therefore, prospective buyers of memory cards must pay attention to an SD’s durability.

For starters, determine if your camera comes with magnets. For some micro SD cards, this could be problematic. If your camera has magnets, shop for an antimagnetic SD or magnet-proof SD. For outdoor cameras, make sure that the memory card you purchase is waterproof and temperature proof, and windproof.

Once you’ve determined where your cameras will sit, pay attention to the possibly harsh conditions it will be exposed to, and then choose an SD card that can withstand them. If your security camera is mounted in an area that heats up or gets really cold, can the SD card bear the heat or cold without breaking down? See the packaging of your memory card for information on the temperature range within which it can function optimally. If the camera is mounted in an X-ray room, is your memory card x-ray proof? (2)

What Choices Do I Have?

sandisk sd cards

Now that you already know some of the most important factors that you should consider when buying SD for a security camera, what is available in the market for you?

Let us consider five popular SD cards at your disposal by comparing their features. Check out the table below:

SD Card NameApplications /User  Speed & measurementsCapacitiesUsage/ Performance
Kingston High Endurance Micro SDWrite-intensive applications such as dash cams, body cams, CCTV, and security cameras.32GB/ 64GB – 95MB/s Read & 30MB/s Write;
128GB – 95MB/s Read & 45MB/s Write. 11*15*1mm  
32gb/64gb/ 128gb– Round-the-clock recordings for professional surveillance
– Reliable seamless recording no matter where you are
– X-ray proof, waterproof, temperature proof   
Samsung PRO EnduranceSpecifically made for video monitoring cameras such as CCTV, security and surveillance cameras, dash & body cams, etc.32gb/64gb/128gb 100mb/s read & 30mb/s write.32gb/64gb/128gb– Round-the-clock confidence recording
– As high as 43,800 hours of 4k recording & playback guaranteed
– X-ray proof, waterproof, temperature proof, and magnet proof
Samsung Evo PlusConsumers and professionals128gb; 160mb/s read & 120mbs write.64gb/128gb/256gb/512gb– Extraordinary performance for 4K UHV video
– Excellent compatibility on many applications
– Designed to give increased reliability and steady performance every day   
– Waterproof, Temperature Proof, X-Ray proof, Magnet proof, Drop, Wear out proof
Sandisk High EnduranceDash com use and home monitoring systems.  Up to 256gb; 100mb/s read & 60mb/s write.64gb/128gb/256gb– High endurance SD that allows 20,000 hours of recording for 256GB, 10,000hours; 128GB, 5000hours; 64gb
– For use in harsh conditions since it’s waterproof, x-ray proof, shockproof, and temperature proof
Sandisk Ultra Micro SDHC UHS-1 CardDesigned explicitly for android based tablets and smartphone users.Read speeds of 100mb/s. 1.02mm * 14.99mm * 10.92mm64gb/128gb/256gb/512gb– X-ray proof, waterproof, temperature proof, and shockproof
– Compatibility with android tablets & smartphones

Take-Home Points

  • The Samsung Evo Plus is not your go-to SD card for prolonged recording. While the developers prioritized speed, it is not as durable as Samsung Pro Endurance. See latest price.

Samsung Evo Plus

  • If you are looking for an SD card made explicitly for home security systems, Samsung Pro Endurance is your safest bet. See latest price.

Samsung Pro Endurance

  • Having been released a couple of years ago, the Sandisk High Endurance cannot compare with the Samsung Pro Endurance as far as speed and durability are concerned. Selling at both 32 GB to 256 GB models, these SD cards are made for security cameras bearing a 1080p resolution or lower. Nevertheless, they fall on the list of popular and good memory card security cameras for their high-temperature resistance of up to 185℉ and ability to record FHD videos for a reasonable 10000 hours. See latest price.

Sandisk High Endurance

  • The shockproof, waterproof, temperature proof, and x-ray proof Sandisk Ultra Micro SDHC UHS-1 Card is your best bet when looking for a memory card that can withstand harsh conditions. You may also want to take advantage of its fantastic speed. While the outcome might vary from one user to another depending on the device in use, it is an SD card worth considering if your budget allows it. See latest price.

SanDisk Ultra 32GB

  • The Kingston High Endurance Micro SD is a perfect choice for applications in write-intensive tasks such as surveillance systems, body cams, dash cams, and security cameras. This high endurance micro SD records seamlessly and performs playbacks in full HD 1080 at impressively high frame rates. It comes to your aid when you need it the most. See latest price.

Kingston High Endurance

To this far, you’ve realized that all SD cards are not equal in terms of speed, durability, capacity, and even the market price. However, you should be confident enough to shop for the most suitable memory card for your security camera with the above information.

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References
(1) technology evolves – https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190207-technology-in-deep-time-how-it-evolves-alongside-us
(2) x-ray – https://www.nibib.nih.gov/science-education/science-topics/x-rays

About John Fox

ebbb364ee14268bd3b77496cab3d1d78?s=90&d=mm&r=gJohn Fox has worked as a security consultant for over 20 years. During his time in the industry, he's learned about what it takes to ensure your home and family are always safe.

With Safe Now, he's taken those two decades of experience and decided to share it with others to help them figure out how to make the right choices for their businesses and families.

John writes tips and guides to prevent crimes, as well as product recommendations, and tips for what to do in case of an emergency and how to protect yourself at all times.