Security NVR and DVR Hard Drive Calculator

When shopping for a NVR, DVR, or any security camera system it is important to have an idea of how much video recording time you need. Besides camera resolution and number of cameras, the amount of hard drive recording space needed depends on the number of days of video retention time you need. While one week of hard drive storage space is plenty for most home security camera systems, a business may need more depending on the application and industry.

Although the latest and greatest 4K security cameras are great to have, knowing the correct NVR hard drive size to buy is vital to ensure security footage is not overwritten before you get a chance to review the footage.

The storage calculator below is a simple and time saving tool to calculate how much DVR or NVR hard drive storage space you'll need when purchasing a security camera system from CCTV Camera World. It is a comprehensive calculator to provide a good approximation of storage space based on recommended recording bit rates for security cameras purchased from us. You can select different camera resolutions, H.265 or H.264 video codec, frame rate, and it will provide the recommended bit rate.

Begin by pressing Add Cameras to add a camera stream for one or multiple cameras. Then select compression, resolution, frame rate, and whether the camera has audio. After you have entered the camera stream you can edit the number of cameras using the same stream type under the camera column. Then scroll down to Days of Recording and enter the days of video retention time needed. The total HDD space needed will be displayed next to Total HDD Required on the bottom right side.

+Add Cameras
XClear All
Line #
Frame Rate
Bitrate/Cam (Kbps)
Total Cameras

Days of Recording

Total HDD Required:

Storage Tips

Here are a few tips to save hard drive space on your camera system.

Camera Resolution

Shop for security cameras based on the amount of clarity needed at each camera location. If the target object is going to be less than 20ft away from the camera, there is no reason to record video higher than 1080P resolution. The higher the video resolution, the more DVR storage space it will need. If you're unsure about which camera resolution is best for your application, we suggest reading our guide on how to choose a security camera. It is common to use a 2K security camera for example, and record it at 1080P to save hard drive space.

Video Compression

Depending on whether your security camera recorder, it may support H.265 encoding. Compared to H.264, it can provide up to 50% savings in hard drive space. While that may sound great, keep in mind that setting all the cameras to H.265 might take a toll on the CPU of the DVR or NVR and slow things down a bit. We suggest using H.265 on 80% of the cameras in a system.

Frames Per Second (frame rate or FPS)

A substantial amount of video storage space can be conserved by setting an optimal value for the frame rate in FPS. For most uses, 15FPS is plenty. Some of our IP camera options are able to offer 60FPS, but that should only be reserved for views with fast moving action. For example, license plate security cameras require the best possible video to capture a moving vehicle.

Recording Schedule

If you don't need video to be recorded 24/7, it is easy to conserve space by setting a schedule for when each camera should be recorded.

Motion Activated Recording

Almost all security camera recorders offer motion detection. If you don't need 24/7 recording, enable motion activated recording to maximize video retention time. An IP camera system uses smart cameras that have video analytics for motion detection which can provide further savings of hard drive storage space.

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