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If you're looking to invest in an IP security camera system you have two options; An NVR, which is purpose built for the task, or a PC with surveillance camera software, like Blue Iris.

Compared to the PC option, NVRs are very simple to set up and maintain and can be significantly cheaper if purchased as part of a kit. With PoE, wiring is less complicated and with the NVR connected to your LAN, you also have remote control via mobile and desktop apps which is a nice feature.

The below list has a mix of open ONVIF compatible NVRs (where you can plug in any ONVIF compatible camera) and closed NVRs (where they only work with the manufacturers camera range)

Top NVR IP/PoE Security Camera Recorders

Top Pick
NV5208E
Awards
  • Only camera listed with FTP support
  • Highest rated camera listed with AC Power option
  • Highest rated camera listed with PoE data
Number of Channels
8
System Storage Max Capacity
20TB

Our top pick is the Amcrest 5 Series 4K POE NVR. (NV5208E) It is a reasonably-priced eight-channel NVR with all channels supporting PoE. The NVR supports 8MP cameras with 4K resolution and includes a fully-fledged control scheme on the NVR’s front panel.

The NVR does not include any storage drives; hence, you need to purchase them separately. However, you can install two hard drives to this NVR. (For maximum storage capacity, we recommend installing two 10TB HDDs.) Also, this Amcrest NVR supports FTP.

This NVR is also very versatile in terms of interoperability support. It is compatible with ONVIF, RTSP, CGI, and P2P protocols.

Pros
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • Power Options: PoE, AC Power
  • Storage Options: FTP, SATA
Cons
  • No smart home integrations
  • No night vision support
  • No smart / AI motion detection
Runner Up
N52B2P
Awards
  • Only camera listed with Heat Map
  • Highest rated camera listed with Face Detection
Number of Channels
8
System Storage Included
4TB
System Storage Max Capacity
20TB

Our runner-up is the Dahua N52B2P, a 4K 8-channel NVR. This device is relatively more expensive because it comes with a pre-installed 4TB hard drive and includes multiple event triggers and intelligent and post-processing features.

For starters, this device can work with LPR cameras (Here’s a list of our top 10 LPR cameras) to log down the number plates of vehicles. It can also de-warp footage from fisheye cameras and even download footage from the MicroSD card when the network goes down. (A wired connection needs to be maintained for this to work.)

On top of the pre-existing 4TB NVR, two additional SATA hard drives can be installed in the system, summing up the maximum storage capacity of the NVR to 20TB. For interoperability, the NVR supports ONVIF and RTSP.

Pros
  • Power Options: PoE, AC Power
  • Storage Options: SATA
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Face Detection, People Counting, Heat Map
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Data Transmission: PoE
Cons
  • No smart home integrations
  • No night vision support
N843A82
Awards
  • Only camera listed with 2.4GHz WiFi data
  • Only camera listed with Google Nest Hub support
  • Highest rated camera listed with DC Power option
Number of Channels
8
System Storage Included
2TB
System Storage Max Capacity
8TB

The Lorex N843A82 is a solid mid-range NVR that can support eight channels with a maximum of 4K resolution. There is the option to set up either eight PoE or Wi-Fi-based devices. (The cameras and NVR need to be on the same Wi-Fi network.)

The NVR comes with 2TB storage with expandability up to a maximum of 8TB. Unfortunately, the NVR doesn't support any third-party interoperability features.

Nonetheless, when connected with compatible cameras, the NVR opens up several other smart features such as integration with a variety of platforms, smart motion detection features, digital zoom, and access to the Lorex desktop and mobile applications.

Pros
  • Smart Integrations: Alexa, Google Assistant, Chromecast, Echo Show, Fire TV, Google Nest Hub, Apple TV
  • Storage Options: SATA
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection, Vehicle Detection, Face Detection
  • Data Transmission: PoE, 2.4GHz WiFi
Cons
  • No night vision support
RLN8-410
Awards
  • Only camera listed with 12MP: 4096x3072
  • Only camera listed with eSATA support
  • Highest rated camera listed with HDD support
Number of Channels
8
System Storage Included
2TB
System Storage Max Capacity
12TB

The Reolink RLN8-410 is a very reasonably-priced NVR. It can handle eight channels, each with a maximum of 12MP resolution, and includes a 2TB hard drive built into the system.

The NVR also includes PoE ports for directly powering the cameras. On top of that, it will also support wireless data transmission as long as it doesn’t exceed the eight-channel limit. (Either wired or wirelessly.)

For additional storage, you can connect another 6TB HDD using the eSATA interface for a total of 8TB. Also, the device supports RTSP and P2P.

Unfortunately, the cameras that can be configured to work with this NVR need to be Reolink security devices.

Pros
  • Storage Options: eSATA, HDD
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • High Resolution: 12MP: 4096x3072
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
Cons
  • No night vision support
  • No smart / AI motion detection
  • No smart home integrations
Number of Channels
8
System Storage Included
2TB
System Storage Max Capacity
20TB

The Montavue MNR12082-8 is an 8-channel 4K-ready NVR. It comes with a pre-existing 2TB hard drive and includes PoE support for all eight channels. You can purchase this NVR without the included 2TB hard drive. Also, it supports two 10TB hard drives. (Adding up the total storage capacity of this device to 20TB.)

This NVR brings the Montavue mobile, desktop, and browser apps into the fold along with a plethora of intelligent features such as face detection, tripwire detection, missing object detection, and many more.

Also, it allows for performing 16x digital zoom on any compatible cameras.

Pros
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection, Vehicle Detection, Face Detection
  • Storage Options: SATA
  • Data Transmission: PoE
Cons
  • No smart home integrations
  • No night vision support
Number of Channels
8
System Storage Max Capacity
6TB

The ANNKE 8CH 4K NVR is a great budget-friendly option for setting up eight ONVIF-compatible PoE cameras.

There is no pre-installed hard drive, and instead, you will have to purchase a separate hard drive for this system. One thing to take note of is that this NVR can only support one hard drive with a maximum storage of 6TB.

However, setting up cameras via this NVR offers you the ability to use Amazon Alexa to show your camera feeds along with support for the ANNKE Vision App.

Pros
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Storage Options: SATA, HDD
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • Smart Integrations: Alexa
Cons
  • No smart / AI motion detection
  • No night vision support
Number of Channels
8
System Storage Included
2TB
System Storage Max Capacity
6TB

The Swann SRNVR-88580H is a very compact and easy-to-use 4K-ready 8-channel NVR. Despite its relatively higher price tag, it offers PoE support for all eight channels along with a pre-installed 2TB hard drive.

The controls on the NVR are minimal, and you will have to connect a monitor and mouse to manage the cameras and NVR settings. Also, you can swap out the pre-installed hard drive and replace it with a 6TB HDD. (Which is also the maximum storage capacity of the NVR.)

Fortunately, one of the advantages of using this NVR is access to the Swann Security Mobile App, Swann HomeSafe View Desktop App, and smart integration with Google Assistant and Chromecast.

Pros
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • Smart Integrations: Google Assistant, Chromecast
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Storage Options: HDD
Cons
  • No night vision support
  • No smart / AI motion detection
Number of Channels
8
System Storage Included
4TB
System Storage Max Capacity
20TB

Our final item on this list is the AvertX A800+ ProConnect, a significantly expensive 8-channel NVR with support for a total of 24 channels with the help of an external PoE switch.

The basic package includes a 4TB hard drive, but you can also purchase the 10TB option and purchase an additional 10TB HDD. (Summing up the maximum storage capacity to 20TB.)

The NVR supports 4K cameras and is one of the few NVRs on this list that contains an alarm interface. Unfortunately, the control scheme on the NVR itself is very minimal, and for performing basic tasks, you will need to connect a monitor and mouse.

Also, the NVR supports Apple TV integration and any PoE camera with ONVIF Profile S compatibility.

Pros
  • Storage Options: SATA
  • Smart Integrations: Apple TV
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Power Options: PoE
Cons
  • No smart / AI motion detection
  • No night vision support

Decision Factors when Choosing an NVR Security Camera Recorder

Channels

One of the most important specs to consider when picking out an NVR is the number of channels/cameras it can handle simultaneously. (Both wired and wireless.) Most NVRs on this list have an 8-channel minimum which is more than enough for most consumers. However, if you need more channels or hope to expand in the future, it’s best to go higher. (16 or 32.) Also, don’t count the number of channels just by the number of PoE ports on the back, as some NVRs can support more channels via a PoE switch. 

Resolution

Almost all of the NVRs on this list support 4K resolution cameras. However, if you are going for a small-scale device (such as a 4-channel NVR) we recommend noting down supported maximum resolution. Also, when using some low-end NVRs, they might not be able to show multiple feeds of high-definition footage on the monitor, (at the same time) so take note of that as well.

Storage Options

Most NVRs include a 2TB hard drive right out of the box. Depending on the brand, you might get a chance to customize the amount of storage space on the NVR. Also, NVRs have a set amount of maximum storage they can support, so take note of this as well. (The extra capacity will be underutilized)

Interoperability

Most NVRs readily support third-party interoperability protocols such as ONVIF, RTSP and P2P. However, there are some recorders which are compatible with these protocols but can only work with the security cameras of their brand. So if you are setting up a new system from scratch, we highly recommend sticking to a single brand or picking out an NVR that freely supports third-party devices. (For more information about the differences between some of the top video surveillance brands, check out our brand comparison section.)

Audio-Based Interfaces

Most NVRs include a speaker and microphone input (via RCA) to perform two-way communication (Compatible only with cameras that support two-way communication.) However, the most important audio-based feature that you need to look for is the alarm interface, as most low-mid range devices do not include this Alarm I/O.

Controls

Very few NVRs include in-built controls on the NVR itself. These aren’t easy-to-use as the mouse, but they can help perform basic tasks such as switching between cameras and playing recorded footage when you cannot find a mouse device or only rarely use the NVR. (The Amcrest 5Series 4K POE NVR is a great example.)

Conclusion

This is our list of the best PoE NVRs out on the market. These NVRs are versatile future-proof options that support 4K resolutions, PoE, and wireless configuration. Any one of these devices are ideal for beefing up security in a home or small business.

So from this list, which is your preferred NVR? Let us know in the comments.

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