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License Plate Recognition (LPR) cameras are important pieces of hardware for businesses that own and operate car parks or those looking to monitor who drives onto their property.

These high-end specialist cameras operate effectively in challenging lighting conditions, tracking and recording license plates as they pass the camera’s field of view.

My top pick as the best License Plate Recognition (LPR) security camera is the Hikvision 2MP LPR Security Camera. It's got full color with an integrated spotlight, and it's the highest rated camera listed here with AC Power option.

My second recommended pick is the Hanwha 2MP Security Camera. This camera is the only one listed with face detection. It also has full color, achieved through its advanced low light sensor/tech. It also has NAS support.

The 9 Best License Plate Recognition (LPR) Security Cameras (2023)

Top Pick
DS-2CD7A26G0/P-IZHS8
Awards
  • Only camera listed with Face Detection
  • Highest rated camera listed with DC Power option
  • Highest rated camera listed with PoE data
Data Type
IP
Resolution
2MP: 1080P / HD: 1920x1080
Power Options
PoEDC Power
Night Vision Type
InfraredFull Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
IP Rating
IP67
Storage Options
microSDNVRNAS

The Hikvision DS-2CD7A26G0/P-IZHS8 LPR is my top contender in this lineup. It is an IP-based camera and needs to draw power from either PoE or a DC adapter.

Low-Light Performance

It has Darkfighter technology for viewing and recording in ultra-low-light conditions and despite recording in 1080p, offers superb image quality with a WDR of 140dB and Lightfighter technology.

In addition to the Darkfighter tech, it uses EXIR 2.0 IR tech, offering a remarkable 100m infrared range for recording in B&W when it’s pitch black outside.

Other Intelligent Detection Functions

In addition to LPR, this camera can also detect and recognize faces, with the ability to support up to 10,000 whitelist and blacklist records.

But besides LPR and face recognition, it includes multiple customizable perimeter protection features such as intrusion detection, line crossing, and region entrance/exit detection.

Camera Specs and Post Processing

However, the Hikvision LPR camera uses a 2MP sensor that records 1080p footage at 30fps.

Nevertheless, the camera can perform multiple post-processing functions to improve the footage. A few of these include True WDR, White Balance Control, and Defogging.

Pros
  • Storage Options: microSD, NVR, NAS
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Vehicle Detection, Face Detection
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
Cons
  • No smart home integrations
  • Relatively Low Resolution: 2MP: 1080P / HD: 1920x1080
  • No integrated microphone
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No optical zoom
  • No motorized tilt functionality
Runner Up
XNO-6120R/LPR
Awards
  • Highest rated camera listed with AC Power option
  • Highest rated camera listed with FTP support
  • Highest rated camera listed with Sound Detection
Data Type
IP
Resolution
2MP: 1080P / HD: 1920x1080
Power Options
PoEDC PowerAC Power
Night Vision Type
Infrared
IP Rating
IP67
Storage Options
microSDNVRNASFTP

The Samsung Hanwha XNO-6120R/LPR is a tiny security camera that can keep a discreet watch over parking lots and entrances. It's built for high-speed areas and supplies real-time updates about vehicles going in and out of its FOV.

Right out of the gate, this camera will be able to perform vehicle detection and number plate recognition. (without the need for a dedicated server for image processing)

Camera Features and Infrared Performance

The device uses a 2MP camera with a 1080p (1920x1080) resolution and it has a motorized lens that can carry out 12x optical zoom and 24x digital magnification.

This Hanwha LPR camera switches over to infrared when the ambient light level is less than 0.03lux. The device performs wonders with infrared as it can perform LPR from a vehicle as far as 65 ft away in pitch-black darkness.

Pros
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Vehicle Detection, Sound Detection
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • Storage Options: microSD, NVR, NAS, FTP
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Motorized Optical Zoom Lens
Cons
  • Relatively Low Resolution: 2MP: 1080P / HD: 1920x1080
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No smart home integrations
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No integrated microphone
  • No motorized tilt functionality
IB9387-LPR-v2
Awards
  • Only camera listed with 5MP: 2560x1920
  • Highest rated camera listed with Cloud support
Data Type
IP
Resolution
5MP: 2560x1920
Power Options
PoEDC PowerAC Power
Night Vision Type
InfraredFull Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
IP Rating
IP66
Storage Options
microSDNVRNASFTPCloud

The Vivotek V Series IB9387-LPR-v2 5MP camera is a solid mid-ranger that’s NDAA compliant and packed with all the necessary features to record license plates.

Camera Sensor

It's a top-of-the-line bullet camera with a 1/2.8" progressive scan CMOS sensor. Recording video at an impressive 2560 x 1920 resolution at 30 frames per second for high-response clear viewing, day or night.

Also, with a 2.7-13.5mm motorized varifocal lens, the camera has decent zooming capabilities.

So even if it’s not the camera with the highest optical zoom multiplier or the widest FOV (100°-30°), it’s a well-balanced option that fits the job regardless of how much ambient light is available.

Pros
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Vehicle Detection, Sound Detection
  • IP Rating: IP66
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
  • Motorized Optical Zoom Lens
  • Storage Options: microSD, NVR, NAS, FTP, Cloud
Cons
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • No integrated microphone
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No smart home integrations
Data Type
IP
Resolution
4MP: 2688x1520
Power Options
PoEDC Power
Night Vision Type
Infrared
IP Rating
IP66
Storage Options
NVR

Digital Watchdog 4MP Bullet Security Camera is an excellent choice for anyone seeking reliable surveillance. It offers versatile power options, including PoE and DC Power, ensuring a seamless and flexible installation process.

The camera boasts an impressive IP66 rating, making it ideal for outdoor use. It is fully weatherproof, providing reliable performance in various weather conditions.

For storage, the Digital Watchdog 4MP Bullet Security Camera camera supports NVR, ensuring your footage is securely stored and easily accessible. Data transmission is streamlined with PoE, allowing for efficient and simplified connectivity.

Night vision capabilities are enhanced with infrared support, providing clear and detailed images even in low-light conditions.

Pros
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • Storage Options: NVR
  • IP Rating: IP66
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared
  • Data Transmission: PoE
Cons
  • No integrated microphone
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No smart / AI motion detection
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No optical zoom
8595702021
Awards
  • Only camera listed with Coax data
  • Only camera listed with DVR support
Data Type
Analog
Resolution
2MP: 1080P / HD: 1920x1080
Power Options
DC PowerAC Power
Night Vision Type
Infrared
IP Rating
Weather-resistant
Storage Options
DVR

The HDView 8595702021 LPR Security is an affordable LPR camera with a manual varifocal lens. It's a small but sturdy machine, measuring 11.54 x 6.69 x 5.51 inches and a weight of just two pounds.

It attaches to the wall easily and the installation isn't as complicated. However, since it’s analog-based, you will have to provide wired coaxial cables from the camera to a compatible DVR.

Notable Issues

Despite having the same 2MP 1080p camera, the LPR performance on this device will not perform as well as other high-end alternatives.

As such, license plates from vehicles that are moving too fast and from too far away will not be very accurate.

Also, since it’s an analog-based device, the camera lacks audio-based features, local storage, and compatibility with IP-based devices and software.

Pros
  • Power Options: DC Power, AC Power
  • Motorized Optical Zoom Lens
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared
  • Data Transmission: Coax
  • Storage Options: DVR
Cons
  • No smart home integrations
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • Low IP Rating: Weather-resistant
  • No integrated microphone
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • Relatively Low Resolution: 2MP: 1080P / HD: 1920x1080
Data Type
IP
Resolution
2MP: 1080P / HD: 1920x1080
Power Options
PoEDC PowerAC Power
Night Vision Type
Infrared
IP Rating
IP67
Storage Options
microSDNVR

The Dahua Motorized Bullet is another LPR security camera that can capture detailed video footage at 2MP 1080p at 30 frames per second.

Post Processing and Alarm Interface

The camera can process footage using True WDR (thanks to advanced sensors) and includes other post-processing features such as noise reduction, white-balance control, and gain control.

The camera can record audio to its streams but cannot perform two-way communication. However, it offers an alarm interface for connecting a separate siren and automating it based on the camera’s output.

In terms of storage, the device has 64GB embedded storage and includes options for MicroSD and NVR. Alongside that, it meshes well with ONVIF and CGI-compatible devices.

LPR Functions

Among its many qualities, the camera is one of the best in the biz when it comes to license plate recognition. Coupled with the varifocal lens and intelligent features, the camera can crop up on license plates on vehicles moving as fast as 49 mph - ideal for traffic monitoring.

The varifocal lens has a range of 10mm to 50mm, allowing you to zoom in or out as needed.

Low Light Performance

In addition, it features infrared technology that enables night vision up to a distance of 98 feet, ensuring clear visibility and license plate recognition, even in the dark.

Pros
  • Storage Options: microSD, NVR
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power, AC Power
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Vehicle Detection
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • IP Rating: IP67
Cons
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • No smart home integrations
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No integrated microphone
  • Relatively Low Resolution: 2MP: 1080P / HD: 1920x1080
HC121@TS8CR-Z
Awards
  • Only camera listed with Integrated Microphone
Data Type
IP
Resolution
2MP: 1080P / HD: 1920x1080
Power Options
PoEDC Power
Night Vision Type
Infrared
IP Rating
IP67
Storage Options
microSDNVR

The Uniview HC121@TS8CR-Z LPR Security is an LPR camera with high-end support for vehicle detection and categorization.

LPR Features

The camera has built-in support for LPR and can easily recognize license plates of various countries. It also supports vehicle access control to allow vehicles to pass through when set up with a barrier.

This surveillance camera identifies vehicles by color, sorting them into 10 categories. No need to struggle with fuzzy blobs of color. This camera does it all for you.

There are also free desktop and mobile apps for controlling the camera and streaming footage remotely.

Camera Sensor and Weatherproof Protection

The Uniview LPR camera records at 1080p full HD resolution with an impressive framerate of 60fps. In addition, it has a 4.7-47mm motorized varifocal lens for reliable optical zooming.

It’s an NDAA-Compliant Bullet IP Security Camera that can record crystal-clear footage even at night with a maximum IR distance of up to 165ft.

Tough weather or vandals can't mess with this camera either as it's weather-proof and vandal-proof thanks to IP67 and IK10 ratings.

Pros
  • Storage Options: microSD, NVR
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • Integrated Microphone
Cons
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • Relatively Low Resolution: 2MP: 1080P / HD: 1920x1080
  • No smart / AI motion detection
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • No smart home integrations
GV-LPR2800-DL
Awards
  • Only camera listed with IP68
Data Type
IP
Resolution
2MP: 1080P / HD: 1920x1080
Power Options
PoEDC Power
Night Vision Type
InfraredFull Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
IP Rating
IP68
Storage Options
microSDNVR

The GEOVISION GV-LPR2800-DL is a weatherproof camera that can withstand extreme temperatures and capture footage day and night with ease.

On top of that, It excels at LPR functions since it can record plates on vehicles speeding as fast as 62 mph without missing a beat.

Camera Sensor and Night Vision Capabilities

Also, thanks to its 1/2.8" progressive scan CMOS sensor, it delivers 1080p video at 60 fps with impressive clarity.

It has a 5-50mm varifocal lens that can adjust the FOV from 50.9 to 7.6° effortlessly, detailing everything and capturing letters and numbers with impressive detail.

Night surveillance is crucial and this camera has got it covered with ten infrared LEDs that grant visibility up to 100 feet despite low light or even pitch-black conditions.

Enclosure Protection and Waterproofing

As one of the few LPR cameras that can withstand low temperatures, the device comes with a built-in heater and blower to keep its internal components working full-time.

Plus, its IP68-rated cover resists water damage and vandals, assuring lasting durability.

Pros
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Vehicle Detection
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • IP Rating: IP68
  • Storage Options: microSD, NVR
  • Motorized Optical Zoom Lens
  • Data Transmission: PoE
Cons
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No integrated microphone
  • No smart home integrations
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • Relatively Low Resolution: 2MP: 1080P / HD: 1920x1080
  • No motorized tilt functionality
IP4M-1062EW-AI
Awards
  • Only camera listed with Full Color (via Spotlight)
Data Type
IP
Resolution
4MP: 2688x1520
Power Options
PoEDC PowerAC Power
Night Vision Type
Full Color (via Spotlight)
IP Rating
IP67
Storage Options
microSDCloud

Amcrest’s LPR camera is my top pick for this lineup since it’s one of the most reasonably-priced cameras with a solid track record for license plate recognition and other object detection functions.

Vehicle Detection and Recognition Functions

The camera can do so much more than just cropping into the license plate on a vehicle. It can capture advanced details such as vehicle type, color, driver, and passenger features from an impressive distance of 26.25ft to 98.42ft.

On top of that, the camera can track objects as fast as 37.28mph with pinpoint accuracy.

Security Protocols and Certifications

With this camera, you can easily query and review license plate details on a PC using a web browser, and make sure your data is away from prying eyes thanks to SFTP (secure file transfer protocol).

Besides that, it can run on a secure SSL/HTTPS connection and it’s got all the proper FCC and CE certificates to ensure you get a high-performance camera.

Optical Zoom

Although it lacks panning and tilting features, the Amcrest camera comes with the most essential feature for tracking license plates: optical zoom.

So with a varifocal lens that can switch from 10mm to 50mm in an instant, it’s able to seamlessly soak up a wider scene or zoom in for tight close-ups (10.63° - 46.6° FOV).

Notable Issues

But, there are downsides as some users have faced issues with FTP servers and unstable firmware. Which can sour the user experience.

Its strengths are undeniable but these rare issues put a noticeable dent in its overall rating.

Pros
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power, AC Power
  • Motorized Optical Zoom Lens
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Vehicle Detection
  • Night Vision Support: Full Color (via Spotlight)
  • Storage Options: microSD, Cloud
  • Data Transmission: PoE
Cons
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No integrated microphone
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No smart home integrations
  • No motorized tilt functionality

Decision Factors when Going for LPR Security Cameras

For security cameras with license plate recognition, there are a few more things you need to look out for outside of their AI capabilities. 

Image quality

Image Quality Surveillance

Image quality is at the core of license plate recognition. A high-resolution capture is crucial to delineate precise details on a license plate.

So when it comes to LPR cameras, it isn’t about making your driveway appear cinematic; it’s about getting clear, usable information. You want those plate numbers sharp and readable. It’s about information, not just footage.

So when it comes to top-notch image quality, my best bet is the Amcrest LPR camera. With its 4MP sensor and HD image output, it’s a reasonably priced option for any situation.  

Infrared Capabilities

Infrared Night Vision

When venturing into License Plate Recognition, you want your camera to take snaps of license plates regardless of ambient light level. This is where an LPR camera’s infrared capability becomes an unbeatable feature you should prioritize. 

This technical marvel gives your camera the power to perform proficiently even when it’s pitch black outside. 

Infrared Range 

In addition to the quality of the infrared sensors, you should also be mindful of the maximum infrared range. Not all cameras can record at large distances, so depending on your location, you might have to prioritize this. 

One of the best cameras with impressive infrared performance and long range is the Hikvision LPR camera on this list with a 330ft infrared range.

Minimum Illumination Levels and Post-Processing Features 

Aside from that, you also need to take into account features such as the maximum infrared distance, minimum illumination level, (before switching over to infrared,) defogging capabilities, and WDR post-processing. 

The LPR camera should be able to read the license plates even when the scene is overexposed with bright headlights or underexposed due to the lack of ambient lighting.

Detection Speed and Other LPR Features

Fast car

When considering a license plate recognition security camera, urgency matters. So for accurate reading of plates on moving vehicles, you need a rapid-fire camera. 

Slow-paced cameras might miss the mark, blurring important details as vehicles zip by. 

So when checking out the specs on an LPR camera, make sure to weigh your options with the maximum detection speed (usually in mph). 

For fast speeds, the GeoVision LPR camera, with its 62mph detection speed is the best option. Alternatively, you can still go for my top pick, the Amcrest LPR camera which has a top detection speed of approximately 32mph.

Other Features 

Besides speed, going for cameras with optional vehicle detection features is always a plus. 

As such, a few features you could keep an eye out for are double lane recognition, vehicle speed recognition, maximum recording fps, and standalone LPR functions with in-built access control. 

Additionally, you may also need to consider a compatible NVR, LPR software, and workflow of the LPR process. (opening gates/barriers, sending out notifications, exporting data, etc.)

Weatherproofing

Outdoor PTZ Camera

Choosing a license plate recognition camera that can prove tough against the elements is another crucial component that will dictate its durability and ease of use. 

So in that same regard, look for cameras with built-in features like durable construction, waterproofing, and dust resistance. 

I recommend an IP rating of IP66 or higher for weatherproofing and an IK rating of no less than IK10 if you want maximum protection from impact damage. 

Also, you might need to consider the temperature tolerances of the camera, especially for colder climates. (Some cameras like the Geovision LPR camera come with in-built heaters to prevent the circuits and internal components from freezing over).

How Do License Plate Recognition Security Cameras Work?

License plate recognition security cameras use advanced software to analyze the images captured by the camera and extract the license plate numbers. 

This technology relies on optical character recognition (OCR) algorithms to decipher the alphanumeric characters on the plate, helping to identify vehicles and enhance security.

Can License Plate Recognition Security Cameras Help with Vehicle Tracking?

Yes, license plate recognition security cameras can assist in vehicle tracking by capturing and recording license plate information. 

This data can be time-stamped and indexed, creating a valuable database for tracking the movement of vehicles, whether for security purposes, monitoring traffic flow, or managing parking areas.

Are LPR Security Cameras Compatible with Existing Security Systems?

Yes, license plate recognition security cameras can be integrated with existing security systems, such as access control systems or video management software. 

This seamless integration allows for a holistic approach to security, enabling efficient management and analysis of video footage and license plate data.

Is it Easy to Install LPR Security Cameras?

Although the physical installation and setup with a compatible security system or software is pretty straightforward, where you choose to set up the camera can impact the accuracy of the LPR process. 

Ideally, the camera should be parallel and head-to-head with the vehicle’s number plate. 

So for optimal LPR performance, I recommend installing the camera such that the horizontal angle does not exceed 15 degrees and the vertical angle also does not overshoot 30 degrees. (From where the license plate is supposed to be recorded).

Conclusion

When it comes to tracking vehicles, LPR security cameras are the most efficient and reliable system.

These devices take out a lot of the manual labor involved in logging down vehicles that are passing in and out, while also managing access to key facilities.

So when it comes to license plate recognition security cameras, the Hikvision 2MP LPR Security Camera takes my top spot.

For the alternative, I can safely vouch for the Hanwha 2MP Security Camera. Not only does it offer equally impressive capabilities, but it also includes a few features missing in my top pick.

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