There are two main types of home security camera: indoor and outdoor. Indoor cameras tend to be cheaper and typically rely on mains power (often via a USB adapter), while outdoor cameras will have some form of weather-proofing and are usually battery powered to allow for easier DIY setup.
What marks out the best cameras, though, is the way that video is processed. The most important feature on this front is HDR. Cameras with HDR take the video signal from the camera and brighten up the dark areas while ensuring the bright areas of the image aren't blown out and difficult to see. Cameras without HDR tend to struggle to balance areas of bright and dark with the result that it's often difficult to make out crucial details.
Once motion or audio has been detected, most modern home security cameras will store that clip online so you can view it from or download it to your phone or laptop. And while many home security cameras offer a basic free storage service so you can use your camera without ongoing costs, the free service is often limited in some way.
Our favourite budget indoor security camera has just been updated with artificial intelligence smarts that add the ability to detect humans. That means you can set the camera to only receive alerts when the camera detects someone in your home, filtering out other motion events such as the cat strolling casually by. It works pretty well too, detecting people even when they're sat down and side on to the camera.
The best thing about the SoloCam E40, however, is that it's completely standalone, and not tied to proprietary hardware or expensive subscription-based cloud storage. Indeed, with 8GB of onboard storage, you'll be able to access months of recorded video clips before the Eufy SoloCam E40 runs out of space and starts to overwrite old clips.
Although it isn't quite as clever as some other cameras, which can detect animals and other objects, it's the no-strings-attached approach that makes this the best security camera for most people and it's our pick for those seeking a well-priced outdoor security camera.
With a battery life of three to six months via rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (a charger is supplied), night vision, two-way audio and decent image quality, the Kami Wire-free Outdoor Security Camera is a very tempting option for homeowners on a budget. Its only major shortcoming is the inability to set up motion zones; for this price, though, we can forgive such a minor indiscretion.
The backbone of a home security system is the base station. This unit communicates with all the security sensors and smart-home components in your house. Many connect to a home router, but if your base station comes with Wi-Fi or cellular support, placement is more flexible. Contact sensors are the first thing you should buy alongside the base station; these attach to doors and windows and alert you when they open. Other home security components include motion sensors, keypads, key fobs, cameras, glass-break sensors, and panic buttons.
Wirecutter takes security and privacy issues seriously and, as much as possible, investigates how the companies whose products we recommend deal with customer data. As part of our vetting process for home security systems, we looked at the security and data-privacy practices behind our picks.
The Frontpoint Security system, along with its Interactive Monitoring plan, was our favorite home security system from 2013 to early 2016. Since then, the company has dropped the need for a contract, but the monthly fee is more expensive than that of any of our top picks.
The cost of a home security system varies depending on the number of devices and accessories included. A good starter system can be had for around $200 and should include a base station, a keypad, at least one door/contact sensor, and a motion sensor. Look for a system that allows you to start small and add on other devices and features as your needs change; contact sensors go for as little as $15, cameras can cost anywhere from $30 to $250, and so on.
The world of home security continues to grow as technology becomes more and more streamlined and user friendly, and the realm of security cameras is no different. Gone are the days of needing to be a business mogul or supervillain to afford a top notch security camera system.
Both Arlo and Blink offer great options for security cameras, but Arlo is definitely the stronger contender between the two. Their price tag is high, but their cameras have more range and a greater array of features, maximizing flexibility. Their smart features are overall smarter and offer more peace of mind (and fewer false alarms). Particularly for those who like living at the front edge of innovation, Arlo is an easy pick for your home security needs.Featured Partners
As for smart home compatibility, the Blink Video Doorbell works well with Alexa, not surprising considering Amazon owns both brands. But, it is not compatible with Google Home or Apple HomeKit devices.
The best home security cameras help you provide peace of mind by monitoring your home day and night, inside and out, and sending you an alert when they detect an intruder. These smart security cameras automatically send video to your smartphone, so you can see what's happening in real time, wherever you are. Home security cameras have night vision and automatic motion-activated recording, and some even have built-in speakers, so you can talk with whoever you see, or sound an alarm.
We've tested dozens of the best cameras in our own homes, both indoors and out, to see how they worked in real-world environments. to see which work the best, capture the sharpest video, and bring the most value for your money.
If you're looking for something that can withstand the elements, be sure to check out the best outdoor security cameras. And, you'll also want to refer to our guides for the best video doorbells, best smart locks, and best DIY home security systems to fully guard your house.
Don't let the low price fool you; the Wyze Cam v3 is the best home security camera for those on a budget. As its name suggests, it can record video at a resolution of 1080p, and while the quality isn't up to the same par as the 4K Arlo Ultra, it's still sharp enough to see who's there. Its color night vision is especially impressive.
Our only qualms are that you need a subscription to store footage as there's no local storage. It's also only compatible with Alexa at the moment in terms of smart home integration, so not best if you have Google Home or Apple HomeKit.
The Roku Indoor Camera SE is little more than a rebranded Wyze Cam v3, but that's not a bad thing; this little camera delivers a lot of value for less than $30. And, it has one extra feature: Roku owners can stream a live feed from the camera to their Roku streaming stick or Roku TV. Roku's app also integrates with the company's other smart home devices, which include smart lights, plugs, and video doorbell.
The well-designed Nest Cam (battery) has a simple shape and is one of the easiest home security cameras to install, thanks to its magnetic base. Its 1080p camera captures sharp images day and night, and its microphone and speaker made conversations a breeze.
The Blink Outdoor is the best home security camera for those looking for a truly wireless option for less than $100. The camera runs off two AA batteries (which should last up to two years), and communicates wirelessly with a small base station that's connected to your Wi-Fi network.
The Ring Floodlight Cam combines two essential devices in one: A home security camera and a motion-activated floodlight. When the Floodlight camera detects movement, it turns on its two powerful LED beams as well as its sharp 1080p camera, and starts recording. The Floodlight Cam also has a loud speaker, so you can talk to whoever's in front of the camera, and hear their responses.
The Arlo Pro 3 boasts 2K video resolution, a built-in LED spotlight, and color night vision, making it a very capable home security camera. It can run off rechargeable batteries (which should last up to six months) or can be plugged in. Like most of Arlo's other outdoor cameras, the Pro 3 connects to a base station, which can support up to 20 cameras, and can also be used for local storage.
When shopping for a home security camera, the first thing you'll need to consider is if you're planning to mount the camera indoors our outside. Only those cameras that are designed to withstand the elements should be placed on the outside of your house.
You also want to think about what each home security camera offers in terms of video storage. Most will let you store videos in the cloud, but many require you to pay a subscription to do so. A few cameras have memory card slots, so you can save video locally; however, if someone steals the camera, you lose your recordings with it. Be sure to check out our comparison of which home security camera has the best storage plan.
Some outdoor security cameras have spotlights or floodlights built in; not only does this make it easier for the camera to see things, but it's also handy for you to see in the dark outside your home.
The majority of security cameras will work to some degree with Alexa or Google Assistant. (Fewer work with HomeKit). This means you can connect them with other smart home devices, so that the camera will turn off automatically when you're home, or start recording if a motion detector senses something.
To find out which is the best home security camera, we set up each of the models inside or outside a home, noting the difficulty or ease of installation. We then use the camera over a period of several days. The first thing we look at is the quality of the video it records, both day and night. As a person walks through the frame, were their faces clear and well-defined, or was it a blurry mess 59ce067264