A bullet camera is named for its shape, which resembles a bullet shell—or a tube of lipstick. Bullet cameras provide the most deterrence because they are easily recognizable as surveillance tools.
A turret camera gets its name for having an easy-to-rotate camera atop a socket-like base, a design that allows rotations similar to those of turrets on military tanks.
Turrets are more discreet than bullet cameras because they don't resemble the cameras people are used to seeing. Their ability to go unnoticed makes them ideal for upscale settings where people shouldn't be reminded that they're being surveilled.
Bullet cameras are typically mounted using a bracket, while turret cameras can be mounted directly through their junction box. The more adjustable design of turret cameras provides the most flexibility when mounting. For example, turret cameras are easier to install on ceilings and overhangs than bullet cameras.
The most obvious difference between bullet and turret cameras is in their shape. Bullet cameras are easily recognizable as surveillance tools. On the other hand, a turret camera is shaped like a sliced sphere, its flat portion holding the camera lens. The ball-and-socket design allows turrets to be rotated and tilted for easy angle adjustment even after installation.
Bullet cameras are recognizable as surveillance devices, which makes them better for deterrence than turret cameras.
A turret camera can rotate 360 degrees on its base, allowing it to be aimed in many directions. A bullet camera, on the other hand, requires more careful effort during positioning.
The video resolution capabilities of bullet and turret cameras depend on the specific model and brand. In the past, turret cameras had an advantage over bullet cameras regarding megapixel count, resulting in better video resolution. But today, both camera types offer comparable resolutions. In fact, both are available in ultra-high 4k resolution models.
The zoom capabilities of bullet and turret cameras depend on the specific model.
Optical zoom refers to the physical movement of the lens away from the sensor to adjust the focal length. When the lens is further from the image sensor, the camera captures narrowed-in footage of distant subjects at high resolutions. Conversely, when the lens is close to the sensor, it captures clear footage of nearby subjects in wider shots.
Many bullet and turret cameras have a motorized optical zoom feature. This allows the space between the lens and image sensor to be remotely controlled, allowing for precise adjustments to the camera's viewing range.
Optical zoom also is necessary for recording license plates. Consider these cameras if you need license plate recognition, with a higher recommendation towards turret cameras due to their superior night vision.
Both bullet and turret cameras can perform well in low-light conditions, but the larger image sensors and wider lens apertures of many turret cameras allow more light to enter the camera for better night vision surveillance.
Bullet and turret cameras equipped with infrared (IR) LEDs emit light that the human eye can't see, but IR cameras can detect and record. This technology allows the field of view to remain dark to outside observers while being viewed and documented by the camera.
Both types of cameras are available in weatherproof models, but turret security cameras are often more resilient in outdoor environments.
Turret cameras often receive the highest IP (Ingress Protection) ratings, an internationally recognized rating system for resistance to solids and liquids. The highest possible IP rating is IP68, and most weatherproof turret cameras are IP66 or IP67. This means they can withstand dust, rain, and even submersion in water for short periods of time.
Bullet cameras are also available in weatherproof models but often have lower Ingress Protection ratings.
Both bullet and turret cameras are made with durable materials, such as metal or high-impact plastics, to withstand vandalism. That said, because turret cameras are less noticeable than bullet cameras, they are less likely to be targeted.
A security camera's resistance to vandalism depends on its specific brand and model. The best method for assessing how vandal-proof or vandal-resistant a camera happens to be is by checking its IK rating. The IK rating scale ranges from IK00 to IK10, with IK10 representing the highest level of protection against impact.
Bullet cameras are used in retail stores, gas stations, and other commercial areas to detect and deter shoplifting and other unwanted behaviors. They're also well-suited to industrial and construction settings, such as factories, warehouses, and construction sites. In industrial and construction settings, they're used to prevent theft and monitor employees for safety compliance.
Turret cameras are ideal for indoor surveillance at mid- and upscale settings because their unique structure and versatile mounting options allow them to be easily blended with backgrounds. They're commonly installed in lobbies, dining areas, and other locations where bullet cameras might be overly aggressive.
Turret cameras are also common in schools and universities, office complexes, healthcare facilities, and government installations.
If considering a dome camera, you may also be interested in comparing dome vs turret cameras to fully understand their differences and similarities.
Ultimately, the specific needs of your business or organization will dictate the best commercial security cameras for installation. In many cases, a combination of camera types provides the best security. Our team here at Mammoth Security understands video surveillance monitoring, the benefits and drawbacks of individual camera types and models, and how to mix and match them to cover your CCTV needs.