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If you want to protect your home or business against damage or theft, an investment in effective CCTV security cameras is vital. The risks are high – and they’re growing. Statista found that larceny and theft are the most common types of property crime in the US, with almost 4.7 million reported incidents in 2022. The FBI’s 2022 Crime in the Nation Report highlighted an estimated increase in burglary of 1.3 percent nationally. 

However, the right CCTV camera system can reduce that risk. A study of crime in the US and UK by the College of Policing found that crime decreased by 13 percent in places with CCTV cameras compared to those without. A CCTV system doesn’t just improve situational awareness, which can speed up detection and response times — it also provides vital evidence for prosecution in the event of an incident. 

The risks and the remedies are clear, but what’s the best type of CCTV camera for your home or business? Should you invest in a bullet or dome camera and what is the difference between the two?

To help you decide between a bullet or dome camera, this guide describes each type of camera, explains how they are used and considers their advantages and disadvantages. Later, the guide compares the main differences between the cameras in terms of design, installation, use cases, environmental protection, cost and other important factors. 

What are dome cameras?

A dome security camera incorporates a CCTV camera inside a clear enclosure shaped like a dome. 

The domed enclosure provides essential protection for the camera. This makes it difficult for criminals or vandals to interfere with the camera or damage it. It also protects the 

camera against harsh environmental conditions, particularly when the unit is installed outdoors. 

A dome camera has a discreet appearance. This allows it to blend in with other architectural features and makes security coverage less obvious to customers or visitors. The enclosure and discreet positioning also make it difficult for criminals to determine whether they are on camera’ or not, which can act as a deterrent. 

How are dome cameras used? 

Dome cameras incorporate wide-angle lenses, which enables them to cover large areas with a single camera. Although the dome camera range is relatively short compared to a bullet camera, coverage can be increased by using a zoom or varifocal lens rather than a fixed lens for different scenarios. 

The cameras can incorporate low-light or night-vision capability to support 24-hour CCTV coverage. However, the effectiveness of infra-red lights can be reduced by bounceback’ from the dome.

This camera can be mounted on a wall or ceiling to provide discreet video security coverage. Dome cameras can also be mounted in a recess to conceal their presence further. This makes them suitable for locations where appearance is important, such as a hotel lobby or a high-end retail outlet. 

Dome cameras are suitable for indoor or outdoor applications. The dome enclosure protects against the environment but must be cleaned regularly to maintain image clarity. 

Advantages and disadvantages of dome cameras


  • Discreet appearance for customer-friendly security’

  • Blends with architectural features 

  • Good coverage of wide areas with a single camera

  • Effective environmental protection for outdoor use 

  • Protection against vandalism and interference by criminals 

  • Low-light capability


  • Not an obvious deterrent 

  • Repositioning requires new installation 

  • Infra-red capability subject to bounceback’

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What are bullet cameras?

Bullet security cameras have a cylindrical shape, but they do not have a protective enclosure like the dome camera. 

A bullet camera provides a clear visible presence that can act as a powerful deterrent to criminals. A study by the University of North Carolina’s Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology found that 60 percent of burglars said that if they found an alarm, they’d choose another target. 

How are bullet cameras used?

Bullet camera range is typically longer than the range of a dome camera. This makes them suitable for capturing images from large open areas or distant objects. The camera angle can be adjusted via a manual hinge. However, the bullet camera view angle is narrower than its domed equivalent. 

Bullet cameras are suitable for indoor or outdoor applications and can incorporate low-light or night-vision capability. They do not have a protective enclosure, so environmental protection is generally lower than a dome camera. 

The cameras can be easily mounted on walls or ceilings, although they do not offer the discreet appearance or aesthetics of dome cameras. 

Bullet cameras are easy to move to improve coverage or secure new locations. However, the fact that a bullet camera’s position is adjustable via a manual hinge makes them more prone to vandalism or criminal interference. For this reason, it is advisable to always position bullet cameras well out of reach.

Advantages and disadvantages of bullet cameras


  • Strong, familiar visible deterrent 

  • Easy to install, adjust and move

  • Excellent long-range capability

  • Good night vision capability 

  • Indoor or outdoor use


  • Less suitable for discreet applications 

  • Prone to vandalism or interference

  • Lower environmental protection compared to dome cameras

Main differences between dome and bullet cameras

The main difference between dome and bullet cameras is their physical appearance. Dome cameras are more discreet, while bullet cameras provide a strong visible deterrent to criminals. Each type of camera offers different viewing angles and levels of protection. 

Here’s a further breakdown of these differences:


Bullet cameras have a familiar cylindrical shape. They are immediately recognizable and their visibility can deter criminals. 

Dome cameras incorporate a CCTV camera inside a clear enclosure shaped like a dome. They are more discreet than bullet cameras, which makes them less of an obvious deterrent. These cameras can easily blend with the architecture of a space, which balances security with appearance. 

Both cameras offer infrared night-vision capability. However, dome cameras can suffer from bounceback’ which reduces their low-light effectiveness, compared to bullet cameras.

Viewing angle

Bullet cameras can provide effective coverage of both close and distant objects. They can provide detailed images of distant objects, such as vehicle number plates.

Whereas, dome cameras incorporate wide-angle lenses. They can cover wide areas with a single camera, reducing equipment costs.

Use cases

Bullet cameras are advantageous in their long-range capability making them suitable for monitoring building perimeters or large outdoor areas, such as car parks or access roads. They can also be used to monitor residential yards and driveways or the perimeters of apartment blocks or gated properties. 

On the other hand,the wider range of dome cameras makes them suitable for monitoring building access areas or the interiors of residential buildings and commercial properties, such as retail outlets, offices or hotel lobbies.

If the aim is to deter criminals with visible security, bullet cameras are the best choice. Conversely, dome cameras are more discreet and keep the security measures less obvious, making them perfect for high-traffic spaces like lobbies or shopping malls. 

In more confined, high-risk areas, a bullet camera will serve the purpose well by providing detailed images of any suspicious activities. 


Bullet cameras can be installed on walls or ceilings via an adjustable bracket. Dome cameras, on the other hand, can also be installed on walls or ceilings, however, they are fixed directly to the surface. Dome cameras can be installed in a recess to make them more discreet or to improve appearance. 

Moving a domed camera to a new position to improve coverage is more time-consuming than moving a bullet camera. If the dome camera has been mounted in a recess, moving it can also create additional remedial work to restore the original surface. 


Both types of camera can be used for indoor or outdoor applications. However, if security cameras are prone to harsh weather conditions or vandalism, the enclosure of a dome camera provides greater protection. 

The enclosure of a dome camera also makes it difficult for criminals to change camera angles or interfere with coverage in other ways, whereas bullet cameras are easier to manipulate. 


The initial equipment costs of both cameras depend on the level of features. The cameras can be fitted with different types of lenses, for example, or may have additional capabilities, such as night vision.

The infrastructure costs for both bullet or dome cameras are similar. Both require a power supply as well as wired or wireless connectivity to recording devices.

Installation costs are generally lower for bullet cameras. Mountings are simple compared to dome cameras, particularly when a recessed fitting is required.

Maintenance costs vary with camera location and environmental conditions. Regular maintenance is essential to ensure reliable operation and image quality. The covers of dome cameras need to be cleaned to maintain image clarity, particularly with outdoor applications. Bullet cameras require regular lens cleaning. 

Dome vs bullet cameras: Which is the better option?

Both bullet cameras and dome cameras have advantages and disadvantages compared with each other. There is no single type of camera for every security scenario. It may be that you need both types of camera for different applications inside or outside your property. 

To identify the type of camera that meets your specific requirements, you should carry out a comprehensive physical security assessment. The assessment should take account of the use cases, environmental considerations and installation requirements for different areas of your property. 

Cost will also be an important factor, but you should balance the cost of these IP security cameras against the risks and consequential costs of criminal activity. 

You should also take expert advice from a commercial security camera installer or integrator before finalizing your decision. 

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