The best home security cameras do more than just keep watch over your house day and night. That’s because these cameras connect to your home network, and will send you an alert, along with live video, of every person, animal, or object that walks in front of them. More than that, the best home security cameras have speakers and microphones built in, so you can talk — or yell — at the person on the other end.
Wireless security cameras range in price from $ 20 to more than $ 500, not to mention the additional cost of cloud storage for all the videos they record. So there’s a lot to consider when picking the best home security camera for your needs. We’ve tested dozens of indoor and outdoor security cameras, and evaluated them for such things as ease of use, features, and image quality, in order to come up with this list of the ones we think are the best.
What are the best home security cameras?
After testing dozens of wired and wireless options, the best home security camera for most people is the Arlo Pro 2. It records high-definition, 1080p video both day and night, and because it’s weatherproof and fully wireless, is the best outdoor camera for most people.
The best indoor camera for those on a budget is the Wyze Cam 1080p. It costs about $ 25, yet has a surprising number of features for the price, and gives you 14 days of rolling cloud storage for free.
If you need a budget outdoor camera that can withstand the elements, the Blink XT2 is the way to go. It costs less $ 99, yet captures good-quality video, and gives you a lot of control over what gets recorded. However, Wyze has launched its own budget outdoor camera, the Wyze Cam Outdoor ($ 50), which has both local and cloud-based video storage options, as well as person detection. And, you can take the Wyze Cam Outdoor with you on vacation, too.
TP-Link’s Kasa home security cameras are susceptible to hackers, according to a new report, which could allow someone to remotely view your camera’s feed. As always, make sure whatever smart home camera or device you purchase has at the very least two-factor authentication.
The best home security cameras you can buy today
If you want a dependable home security camera for both indoors and outdoors, you can’t beat the Arlo Pro 2. This 1080p camera has a wide 130-degree field of view, night vision, and more. It can be plugged in or run off battery power, and can last for up to six months without needing a recharge. It has both a microphone and a speaker, so you can talk to whoever you see in front of the camera.
You’ll also get Arlo’s generous cloud-subscription plan, which offers seven days’ worth of footage for free — although you lose out on some features, such as customized motion zones. Subscription plans start at $ 3 a month for a single camera, and gets you 30 days of rolling cloud storage, too. It’s the best home security camera for those who want great video at a reasonable price.
Read our full Arlo Pro 2 review.
Don’t let the low price fool you; the Wyze Cam 1080p 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 Arlo Q, it’s still sharp enough to see who’s there.
There’s no subscription service, but the Wyze Cam 1080p comes with two weeks of free cloud storage – though clips are limited to 14 seconds – as well as a microSD card slot which you can use to enable continuous recording and create time-lapse videos. With an add-on module, you can link this camera to Wyze’s motion sensors and smart bulbs, as well as to third party smart-home devices with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Read our full Wyze Cam 1080p review.
The Blink XT2 is the best home security camera for those looking for a truly wireless option for less than $ 100. The XT2’s camera runs off two AA batteries, and communicates wirelessly with a small base station that’s connected to your Wi-Fi network.
The XT2’s case is weatherproof, so you can stick it either indoors or outside, and comes with a convenient mounting bracket. While not tops, the 1080p video is records is good for the price, and best of all, it comes with free cloud storage (up to two hours in total). Because Blink (and Ring) are owned by Amazon, the Blink app also has a connection to Ring’s Neighbors app, where you can see a feed of other incidents in your neighborhood, and post videos from your Blink camera. Blink’s app is fairly robust, and while it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of Arlo’s cameras, this sub- $ 100 has plenty of features for the price.
Read our full Blink XT2 review.
Not only do the Arlo Ultra’s 4K cameras deliver the best home security camera video, but it also uses that extra resolution to enable digital track and zoom, which makes it easier to follow and ID a person as they move across the frame. A built-in spotlight also enables color recording at night, and it has dual microphones for better audio.
All of this will cost you, though: A single camera (with the hub) is $ 399, and extra cameras are $ 299 each. The Arlo Ultra doesn’t come with a free tier of cloud storage, so you have to spend at least $ 3 per month if you want to save any videos. And if you want to save 4K videos, it’s an extra $ 1.99 per camera per month, on top of the monthly plan, the latter of which is waived for the first year. But if you want the absolute best when it comes to video quality, the Arlo Ultra has it.
Read our full Arlo Ultra Review.
With its top-notch video quality, excellent motion detection, flexible scheduling and intuitive user interface, the Arlo Q would be a contender as our best home security camera even without its very generous basic cloud-subscription plan, which gives you a week’s worth of recordings for free. The square-shaped Arlo Q needs to be plugged into a power outlet and isn’t waterproof, but it’s the best camera for monitoring the interior of your house or apartment.
If you want to save videos over a longer period — plus get additional features, such as customizable motion zones — then you’ll have to subscribe to one of Arlo’s cloud storage plans, which start at $ 3 per month for a single camera, or $ 10 / month for up to five cameras, and gets you 30 days of rolling cloud storage.
Read our full Arlo Q review.
The Deep Sentinel is unlike every other home security camera. That’s because when the camera spot an intruder, it sends a live feed to a monitoring station, where a professional can sound an alarm on the camera, shout a warning, and if necessary, contact the police.
All of this comes at a price: In addition to the cost of the cameras ($ 499 for three cameras), you also have to pay a monthly fee of $ 50. And, the resolution of the video tops out at 480p, as it prioritizes the smoothness of the video stream over its definition.
You could spend a similar amount for the best home security system, but they don’t monitor your cameras as proactively as Deep Sentinel. But, they’re the best home security cameras if you’re looking for active monitoring.
Read our full Deep Sentinel review.
The Nest Cam Indoor is the third generation of the celebrated Dropcam — one of the first, and one of the best home security cameras — and bumps up its predecessors’ video quality to 1080p. It’s easy to set up and, thanks to its magnetic, swiveling base, it can be installed almost anywhere indoors. The video looks sharp; night vision is clear; the camera can be used as an intercom; and it interacts with the Nest Thermostat and the Nest Protect smoke detector, as well as numerous third-party smart- home devices. But to really make use of the camera’s features, you’ll have to shell out $ 10 or more per month for the Nest Aware program, which gives you access to cloud storage, person detection and customizable activity zones.
Google has discontinued its Works With Nest program; if you migrate your Nest account to a Google account, many of the smart home integrations with the Nest cam may no longer work. We suggest to hold off transitioning your account until the integrations you currently use with the Nest cam are supported within Google Home.
Read our full Nest Cam Indoor review.
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.
Ring’s app offers a variety of settings, such as custom motion zones, scheduling and more. Add to that Ring’s neighborhood-watch feature, which lets you see what’s happening in your area from other Ring users, as well as from your local police and fire departments. (You can also post your own videos to the Neighbors app). Unfortunately, to record and share video, you’ll need to subscribe to Ring’s cloud storage plans, which start at $ 3 per month.
Read our full Ring Floodlight Camera review.
The Arlo Pro is the company’s first wireless home security camera, and though it’s been eclipsed in features and resolutions by newer models, the original still holds up well. It’s an easy to use camera with a bevy of customizable controls. It runs on a rechargeable battery, and has a weatherproof case that protects it from the elements.
The Arlo Pro’s resolution is 720p, much lower than the 1080p or even 4K cameras that Arlo now offers. But, the Arlo Pro’s feed is still sharp enough to make out visitors or anything that wanders in front of the camera. As with the Arlo Pro 2, the Arlo Pro comes with seven days of cloud storage for free, but if you want anything more – as well as features such as customizable motion zones – you’ll need to cough up at least $ 3 per month, the price of the company’s starting subscription.
Read our full Arlo Pro review.
The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is one of the most expensive home security cameras around, but it’s also one of the smartest, too. This weatherproof home security camera has a tamper-resistant design, a triple microphone array and HDR support for better-quality videos than what other cameras produce. It has to be plugged in to work – no battery option here, sorry – but the camera comes with a 25-foot power cord, which should help with installation.
The Nest Cam has a 1 / 2.5-inch, 8-megapixel (4K) CMOS sensor and 130-degree wide-angle glass lens; although it captures 4K, it only delivers 1080p, which results in much more detailed images than with a 1080p sensor. What’s more, the Nest Cam’s AI can distinguish between people and animals, and can even recognize individual faces. However, a lot of the features are available only with a Nest Aware subscription, which starts at $ 10 / month, or $ 100 / year.
Read our full Nest Cam IQ Outdoor review.
How to choose the best home security camera for you
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.
And, with outdoor cameras, you also have to decide if you want a battery-operated model or one that has to be plugged in. The former are easier to install, but you’ll have to recharge or change their batteries every few months. The latter might require you to install an outlet or drill holes through your wall, but then you won’t have to worry about it afterwards.
Most home security cameras have a resolution of 1080p, but that doesn’t mean they all deliver the same quality. Cheaper cameras tend to have smaller image sensors and less powerful processors, so a person’s face might be blurred more, especially if they’re moving or you’re capturing video at night.
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.
How we test home security cameras
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?
We also look at the features that are available through the camera’s app. Does it have such things as customizable motion zones? If you live on a busy street, you don’t want the camera recording video and alerting you every time a car drives by. A good home security camera should also have a scheduling feature, so that you can turn it off while you’re home, and on when you leave.
Last, we also consider how much it costs to view, save and share recorded video. While some cameras still let you view a few days of recorded video, the trend has been to only let you watch live video from your camera unless you sign up for a subscription. That means you can’t look back a few hours or days to see who was walking through your yard. And, most subscription plans also include extra features, such as custom motion zones.