Reolink vs. Lorex – The Most Popular IP Cameras Compared

Recently a reader asked me how the Reolink cameras compare to the Lorex and Swann ones. A lot has changed with Lorex recently, so let’s look at that comparison first.

Until 2020, Lorex cameras were intended to be used only with their own NVRs. In other words, you were not allowed to venture outside their ecosystem. This was totally against the ethos of openness and inter-operability that I champion here at VueVille. That’s why I never recommended them in our outdoor and indoor IP camera roundups.

But in late 2020, Lorex released the latest version of their IP cameras and surprise surprise, they now support ONVIF Profile S. Dahua acquiring Lorex from FLIR) in 2018 seems to have triggered this happy development. Of course, Lorex cameras are rebranded Dahuas so they were always capable of it.

Sadly that didn’t last long. Recent Lorex cameras do not have ONVIF or RTSP support anymore (datasheets and Lorex Q&A confirm this). In November 2022, Dahua announced that it is selling Lorex to Skywatch, a privately held cloud services company in Taiwan.

For this comparison I have picked the most popular and affordable 8 Megapixel 4K-capable models from both brands – Reolink RLC-810A and the comparable Lorex E892ABW.

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Reolink vs. Lorex – the Stories behind the Brands

Reolink vs Lorex - The Most Popular IP Cameras Compared - VueVille

Reolink

Reolink is a popular brand that is only a few years old. But they are not exactly new to the surveillance camera industry. The brand Reolink is owned by Reolink Innovation Limited (earlier known as Shenzhen Baichuan Security Technology Co., Ltd.) who are a manufacturer of security cameras and other surveillance equipment. What’s the source? I simply emailed them and asked. Simple as that.

So Reolink is not a rebranded Hikvision or Dahua as some have claimed online. Therefore they are not subject to the Federal government ban imposed through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This is a huge positive for Reolink.

Lorex

Lorex was founded in 1993 and has head offices in Markham, Ontario, Canada and in Linthicum, Maryland, USA. They have product warehouses in Markham, Indiana and California.

But first let’s start with the company FLIR, better known as the high-end camera manufacturer who revolutionized thermal imaging for the military and industrial markets. They acquired Lorex in 2012 for around $60 million seeking to lower the cost of thermal imaging and open it up to the retail market.

So for the next 6 years they tried to penetrate the DIY and SMB markets. During this period, their main OEM supplier was Dahua. In February 2018, however, FLIR exited the DIY security camera space by selling Lorex to Dahua. Until November 2022, they operated as a subsidiary of Dahua. So effectively, Lorex was a Dahua brand between February 2018 and November 2022.

As mentioned in my intro above, Dahua has now sold Lorex to Skytech, a Taiwanese cloud services company. The disappearance of ONVIF and RTSP support from recent Lorex models is probably a sign of things to come.

8MP 4K IP Camera Duel – Reolink RLC-810A vs. Lorex E892ABW

Right off the bat, I need to point out that the biggest difference between Reolink and Lorex is that Reolink cameras can work either in standalone mode or with Reolink NVRs, or even any NVR that is ONVIF compliant.

But Lorex cameras will work only with Lorex NVRs and that too select Lorex NVRs. In other words, Lorex cameras work only within the Lorex eco-system.

This is the polar opposite of the Reolink cameras which will work with any 3rd party ONVIF/RTSP compliant system. Okay, now that’s out of the way, let’s get into the details.

Hardware features

The Reolink RLC-810A has a 1/2.5″ sensor, that’s slightly larger than the Lorex’s 1/2.8″ sensor.

The size of the sensor has a huge bearing on the low light ability of a camera, whether it be a camcorder or a security camera. The larger the sensor, the greater its ability to gather light and so do well in low light conditions. But as you cram in more and more pixels into the same size sensor, they get smaller and smaller, which adds noise. Noise is the bane of low light video and reduces the detail that you can get out of your video. So while security camera manufacturers have pushed pixel count from 8 Megapixels and beyond, the sensor size has not always kept up. Kudos to Reolink for bucking the trend here.

Next up is WDR or Wide Dynamic Range. This is a feature that enhances the level of detail an IP camera can pick out in shadows. Unfortunately neither camera supports WDR. Not entirely surprising given the budget nature of these brands. However Lorex claims to support true HDR but does not provide any further details about it.

While most cameras are good in daylight, decent night-time performance is tricky to achieve. Neither Reolink nor Lorex specify a lux rating without InfraRed (IR) illumination. Okay but how do they work in low light? Both cameras have an automatic IR cut filter that will switch to black and white infrared vision when it gets dark. So far, that’s standard IP camera behaviour.

However, Lorex claims a ‘colour night vision’ feature whereby you still get colour video under low light conditions. So this feature still requires external illumination. So I fail to see how this is something special – the Reolink has a larger sensor and probably even better low light colour vision ability! I see this so-called feature as a marketing gimmick and nothing more.

What about the Lorex’s LED lights though? They look like LED spotlights that you can leave permanently on through the night, but actually they are only warning LEDs that are motion-activated or activated on-demand in the mobile app. If these lights were at least proper spotlights, then the colour night vision claim would make more sense (Reolink has such models).

The Lorex has 2-way audio using an onboard microphone and speaker combo, with the speaker doubling up as a siren deterrent. This particular Reolink gets only a microphone.

Both cameras have on-board SD card for local storage of video clips and snapshots.

Winner: Reolink

Software features

The three software features that make a great IP camera are ONVIF/RTSP support, built-in NVR feature, and the advanced motion detection features that help reduce false alerts.

Only the Reolink supports ONVIF & RTSP. While ONVIF/RTSP is conspicuously absent from Reolink’s spec sheets and their marketing material, Reolink has confirmed that their non-battery powered IP cameras do have ONVIF and RTSP support.

Lorex has recently removed all mentions of ONVIF support on their product pages (their datasheets never mentioned it anyway). Lorex has also confirmed in their website Q&A section that this camera doesn’t support ONVIF.

Why is ONVIF support important? ONVIF support ensures that your camera will work with ONVIF-compliant equipment from 3rd party manufacturers. This is why you can add a Reolink camera to your ONVIF-compatible NVR or DIY NAS NVR.

RTSP allows even non-ONVIF equipment (such as software) to access the security camera’s video stream. Examples are video players like the popular VLC player, and Blue Iris PC NVR software.

Both Reolink and Lorex have on-board storage but only Reolink cameras have the built-in NVR feature – because Reolink cameras are designed for standalone operation (don’t need an NVR).

The Reolink IP cameras can all do basic motion detection, smart motion detection (person/vehicle/pet) and can send email/push alerts. The Lorex cameras cannot do any of this on its own. It is just an IP camera with no smart features unless its connected to an NVR. More on that later.

Motion Detection ability

I classify motion detection ability into three:

  1. Basic motion detection – this is detecting just simple pixel changes, results in false alerts.
  2. Advanced motion detection – like line crossing, intrusion detection, which result in fewer false alerts.
  3. Smart detection – person / face / vehicle / pet detection, the best method for eliminating false alerts.

Both Reolink and Lorex IP cameras support basic and smart motion detection methods. But as mentioned earlier, the Reolink is capable of standalone operation. It can record motion detection triggered clips, take snapshots, and send out email alerts and push notifications to the Reolink app on mobile devices without an NVR or PC.

The Lorex can do none of this by itself, you have to buy a compatible Lorex NVR for that.

Winner: Reolink

Warranty

Reolink IP cameras come with a limited 2-Year warranty as standard. Lorex has a 2 year warranty as standard, but can be extended to 3 years or 5 years for an extra fee.

Detailed Comparison Table

Here’s a summary in a nice and easy table:

FeatureReolink RLC-810ALorex E892ABW
Hardware features
Sensor1/2.5" 8 MP (4K) CMOS Sensor1/2.8" 8 MP (4K) CMOS Sensor
WDRNoNo, but supports HDR
Night Vision850 nm IR, Black & white night vision, IR cut filter with auto switchBlack and white night vision, IR cut filter with auto switch, Colour night vision
Colour Night VisionNoUsing external lighting or built-in LED warning light
LED spotlightNo
LED warning lightNoTurns on only when motion is detected / on-demand in app. Cannot be permanently on at night.
Lens TypeFixed type
Lens2.8mm @ F=2.0
Lens Field of View (FOV)Horizontal: 101°
Vertical: 42°
Horizontal: 108°
SirenNoYes
IR Range30 m (98 feet)
Minimum illuminationB&W: 0Lux with IR onN/A
Longest dimension192 mm184 mm
Metallic housingYes
Ingress ProtectionIP66IP67
Vandal resistanceNo
DC 12V powerYes
Operating conditions-10°C to +55°C (14°F to 131°F), Humidity: 10% to 90%-30°C to 60°C (-22°F to 140°F), Humidity: <95%
Power usage<12 W (with IR ON)< 9.5W (with IR ON)
InterfacesReolink RLC-810ALorex E892ABW
SD CardYes
Audio supportMicrophone only2-way audio using microphone and speaker
PoEYes, 802.3af
Wi-FiNo
Alarm in/outNo
Software featuresReolink RLC-810ALorex E892ABW
Stand-alone operation (without NVR)YesNo
ONVIF, RTSPYesNo
EncodingH.265/MJPEGH.265/H.264H/MJPEG
Max Resolution3840 × 2160 (8MP) @ 25 fps3840 × 2160 (8MP) @ 15 fps
Bitrate64 Kbps to 8 MbpsN/A
Simultaneous streams12 simultaneous video streams (10 sub-streams & 2 main streams)N/A
3D Noise ReductionYes
Built-in NVRYesNo
Network storageNAS, FTP, Local PCN/A
Alert eventsReolink RLC-810ALorex E892ABW
Cloud-reliant?No
Email alertsYesNo standalone operation, requires NVR
Push alertsYesNo standalone operation, requires NVR
Simple motion detectionYesYes - requires compatible Lorex NVR
Person detectionYesYes - requires compatible Lorex NVR
Face detectionNoYes - requires compatible Lorex NVR
Vehicle detectionYesYes - requires compatible Lorex NVR
Pet detectionYes (in beta status)No
Audio DetectionNoYes - requires compatible Lorex NVR
Line crossing detectionNo
Intrusion detectionNo
Abandoned/Missing object detectionNoYes - requires compatible Lorex NVR
Scene change detectionNo
Where to buy

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Amazon

Verdict – Reolink vs. Lorex

Reolink is the clear choice for DIY security camera enthusiasts because Lorex has regressed in the core feature set (ONVIF and RTSP support removed). Reolink cameras are also capable of standalone operation thanks to the built-in NVR functionality. If you would like to research more about IP cameras, do check out the other recommendations on my best outdoor and indoor IP cameras list.

Where to buy

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Daniel Ross

Daniel Ross

I am Daniel and VueVille is where I document my DIY smart home journey. I focus on 100% local-processing and local-storage because that’s the only way to secure my family’s safety and privacy. Oh and I don’t like monthly subscriptions!

9 Comments
  1. It looks like the RLC-410 is not available on Amazon.

    I see that there is an RLC-510A available. Do you know if this is equivalent to the 410 (or better).

    Thanks,

    Woody

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