I love Costco. It’s the perfect place to stock up on food, toiletries, and…what’s that? They sell security systems, too? What don’t they have?
This isn’t an advertisement for Costco, by the way. It’s a review of the Lorex security systems, sold there, specifically the 8-channel security system with four super HD 2k outdoor cameras. Let’s talk about Lorex as a company.
Founded in the early nineties, Lorex is a distributor of video security systems through brick and mortar stores like Costco and Sam’s Club, as well as online platforms like their website. In 2018, they were sold to Dahua Technology Co, and they continue to operate from their headquarters in Markham, Ontario, Canada. Lorex is an interesting mix of old and new. While their equipment resembles the old-school security cameras of the nineties, they don’t force you into any monthly contracts.
In this review, we’ll talk about what you get with the Lorex security system, how well it works, and how convenient it was to set up. Then, I’ll discuss the professional monitoring options (or in this case, lack thereof), how customer support works, and finally, the Lorex mobile app. There’s no better time than the present- Security Baron’s review of the Lorex security system starts now!
We like Lorex's lack of monthly fees, DIY installation, and 60-day money-back guarantee.
What’s in the Lorex System?
Lorex works pretty differently than most security companies. The majority of their security systems is simply cameras and hard drives. The 8-channel security system I bought includes only a 1 TB hard drive and four super HD 2k outdoor cameras. Let’s see what it’s all about!
1 TB Hard Drive
You’ll back up your footage locally on the 1 TB hard drive. Wondering how much footage 1 TB holds? About 500 hours, or 250 full-length movies. From the hard drive, you can download the footage, share it with friends and family, or upload it to a cloud for additional backup.
Four Super HD 2K Outdoor Cameras
The cameras with this system can be used either indoors or outdoors in conditions from -22 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. With an IP rating of 66, the camera is totally protected from dust and can even withstand powerful water jets. In a nutshell, these cameras can handle whatever weather conditions you throw their way.
There’s no mistaking the Lorex’s four super HD 2K cameras for anything other than security cameras. Big and bulky, the round black camera is encased in white plastic. It’s hard to imagine these cameras blending in with a comfortable home, but then again, Lorex isn’t known for its sleek design.
Aside from its bulky design, the cameras must be plugged in to both DVR and power. Personally, the amount of wires involved concerns me, but not everyone is as into interior decorating as I am. It really comes down to your personal preference.
I am completely divided about the cameras’ video quality. While it has 2592p HD vision, with twice as many pixels as the industry standard of 1080p HD, the camera cannot zoom and its field of view is extremely narrow at 89 degrees. That means that you’ll need four cameras to cover a room completely, so this system will only cover one room. A bit disappointing.
Unfortunately but not totally surprisingly, the four MP cameras do not have two-way audio. That means that if you’re livestreaming footage, you can only look- there’s no way to communicate with the people you’re recording through the camera. That’s a shame because two-way audio is a useful feature both in talking with friends and family and, god forbid, intruders.
Lorex’s 2K outdoor camera is unique because it has both infrared and color night vision from a bright white light. It’ll use color night vision when light is low, and switch to black and white when it gets darker out. Believe it or not, this baby has 18 infrared LED sensors- the most I’ve seen on a security camera!
You can either store your files locally in the one TB hard drive, or use free cloud storage (I recommend doing both for backup). While most of Lorex’s cameras are compatible with the Premium Plan, these cameras are not. However, I understand that Lorex has a bunch of different camera options, so I decided to share the Premium Plan’s features regardless.
Aside from cloud storage, Lorex also offers what it called RapidRecap. Basically, Lorex will compile the camera’s motion activity footage and will create a short video, timestamps included. This helps you navigate your cloud history if you’re looking for an exact moment. It’s basically your camera’s event history in a quick and easy video.
Smart Platform Integration
The Lorex Super HD four MP Camera does not have any smart platform integrations, meaning you won’t be able to command it through Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Instead, you’ll control your camera the old-fashioned way- through your mobile app.
Let’s talk artificial intelligence. When it comes to home security, artificial intelligence usually means person detection or facial recognition. While Lorex’s four MP camera can detect movement, it can’t tell you whether the movement was from a person, a shadow, an animal, or any inanimate moving object like a car. That means that you’ll probably receive a lot of unnecessary notifications, so be prepared.
We like Lorex's lack of monthly fees, DIY installation, and 60-day money-back guarantee.
Professional Monitoring with Lorex
All Lorex’s security systems are completely stand-alone, meaning there is no professional monitoring available. Instead, you’ll monitor your own system through the Lorex app.
What does that mean for you? If you have an intrusion, you’ll have to deal with it completely on your own, even if you’re on vacation, in a business meeting, or otherwise occupied. Professional monitoring would allow a team to help you deal with the emergency, whether that means contacting the police, fire department, or medical services.
In the same vein, the system does not come with cellular backup, so it’ll completely shut down if the power goes out.
The good news is that the lack of professional monitoring and cellular backup mean that you won’t have to pay any additional monthly fees after purchasing your equipment. If professional monitoring and cellular backup aren’t important to you, this could be a huge bonus to the Lorex system.
Lorex Customer Support
If something goes wrong with your home’s security, you want a helpful customer support team standing behind you. How does Lorex’s customer support stack up?
How Lorex’s Customer Support Works
To get support, you can check out the online support center on the Lorex website. If you prefer to speak to a human, you can call someone from Monday to Friday, nine AM until five PM EST, live chat, or email.
To see how Lorex’s customer support works in practice, I turned to customer reviews from Amazon, Google, and the Better Business Bureau.
The exact security system I purchased wasn’t on Amazon, so I looked at reviews for a similar Lorex 16 channel security kit with eight HD cameras and a 2 TB hard drive. The system received a lowly 2.5 out of five star customer rating. This isn’t great, but I do want to point out that only seven people reviewed this system on Amazon. Unfortunately, the one review that mentioned customer support was negative.
“Worst customer service in the industry! I have a system that I can’t use, oh, I can see the cameras but I’m locked out. Password doesn’t work and I’ve called numerous times only to hold for hours. They don’t answer technical support,”
wrote Jon H. Riordan in a one-star review.
After all that negativity on Amazon, I’m pleasantly surprised that Lorex has a 4.4 out of five star rating on Google. Unfortunately, the majority of the reviews mentioning customer support were negative– it seems like people mostly had a good experience with the Lorex system when they didn’t have to use customer support. People complained of long wait times, Lorex not contacting them when they said they would, and unhelpful representatives. Oy!
Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau judges businesses both on their response to customer complaints, as well as their accordance with government standards. Lorex has an overall BBB rating of B+, which is not horrible. They’ve gone down a letter grade due to complaints from 50 customers. While none of the complaint details were available, I did note that 37 out of the 49 reviews regarded problems with products and services, which obviously includes customer support. When I looked into the 22 customer reviews on the BBB website, I saw that they had an overall rating a little over one star- yikes. Again, when I looked into the reviews that mentioned customer support/service specifically, they were largely negative. Clearly, customer support is not Lorex’s strong suit.
The Lorex Secure App
The Lorex app is particularly important as you’ll be monitoring your system yourself. Let’s see what you can do on the app, and what people thought of it.
From the Lorex Secure app, you can livestream your footage, access your storage, and view a video summary of events and an event history. You can also set up activity zones, particularly important areas for the camera to focus on, and receive mobile notifications.
I can only pray Lorex’s app reviews are better than its customer support!
Apple users were not loving the Lorex Secure app. They only gave it a 1.6 star rating from 173 reviews. The large majority of the reviews were one star, so Lorex needs to seriously think about an update. From what I can see, people were having trouble getting notifications from the app, clearly a huge issue.
The app did slightly better on the Google Play store, but still pretty bad. From 654 total reviews, it has a 2.3 star rating. I saw many reviews where customers said the app constantly crashes and has trouble connecting to the DVR. If a well-designed, user-friendly app is important to you, you might want to look elsewhere for a security system.
Recap of the Lorex Security System
People have pretty strong feelings about Lorex’s security system, to put it lightly. But is it the right system for you?
Let’s talk about the positives first, like:
- No monthly fees
- DIY installation
- Local storage
- Camera able to withstand extreme temperature and weather conditions
- Amazing night vision from 18 infrared sensors
But we can’t ignore Lorex’s negative aspects, such as:
- Poor customer support
- App with bad ratings
- No cellular backup
- No professional monitoring option
Do you have anything else to share? Leave a question or a comment below, or check out the best home security systems of 2019.