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Peace of mind is paramount, and that's exactly what the best home security cameras offer. Besides alerting you to potential intrusions, these security cameras can capture and upload high-resolution videos to the cloud, day or night. Even if your home isn't susceptible to uninvited guests, security cameras remain a great way to keep an eye on children or pets while you're away.
Besides general video and sound quality, there are a handful of additional factories to keep in mind when looking for a new security camera for your home or business. These include the cameras day/night capabilities, and whether or not you'll need a subscription service to store and retrieve video.
Some of our top picks can stretch even the most flexible budget, so if you're looking to keep costs low, make sure to check out our lineup of the best home security systems for under $100.
Excellent motion detection
Somewhat difficult to DIY install
Offering good video quality, versatility, and compatibility with smart home devices, Arlo's Video Doorbell is the best security camera system you can buy for all of your outdoor and indoor needs. This weather-resistant camera records footage at a max resolution of 1536x1536, with high powered Infrared LED night vision when it gets dark.
When the motion sensors detect movement, the cameras begin recording three seconds prior to detection. Using the Arlo app on your smartphone, you can create custom detection zones that will send both sound and motion alerts.
With the Smart Siren, you can sleep comfortably knowing the base station will alert you if the cameras detect activity. Built-in two-way speakers on the cameras let you communicate back and forth using your smartphone. Our reviewer, Erika, praised the Arlo for its great feature set, high resolution, and especially for its very reasonable price.
"A budget-priced video doorbell with high-end specs and features." —Erika Rawes, Product Tester
Good video quality
Wireless mounting options
Real-time view is spotty
No way to expand storage
An Amazon-owned company, Blink makes some of the best and easy-to-use cameras around. The Blink XT2 Outdoor/Indoor camera is compact, wireless, and doesn’t require a base station. Plus, the camera is weather-resistant and can be mounted either outdoors or indoors. Like the Arlo Pro 2, the Blink XT2 records in high definition at 1080p and turns on night vision when needed.
Powered by two AA batteries, the XT2 can operate for two years before requiring new batteries. The XT2 records five-second clips by default, but you can change the settings to capture a minute at a time when activity is detected. The XT2 has free cloud storage that resets after a year, and you can store a total of two hours of clips on the servers at one time.
The XT2 is best paired with Amazon Alexa, which allows you to view your camera feed from your device, as well as arm and disable it. A two-way microphone lets you communicate using the Blink Home Monitor app, which is available on iOS and Android.
Small form factor
Free cloud storage
No easy integration with other smart devices
If you’re looking for an indoor camera on a budget, this Wyze Cam is a great buy. While some setup is required, as it's wireless, this three-axis camera offers decent features and can record in 1080p. It also includes 14 days of rolling cloud storage that can be accessed using the Wyze smartphone app.
The Wyze Cam records 12-second clips when activity is detected, and you can customize it to send notifications to your phone. You can also turn on 24/7 recording by adding a microSD card (up to 32GB). Equipping the Wyze Cam with a microSD also lets you coordinate time-lapse videos and enable two-way communication. If you’re within 30 feet of the camera, you can view a live feed straight from the app. Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, the Wyze Cam is a great value if you’re in the market for an indoor security camera. It’s not weather-resistant, so it can't be used outside your home.
Easy set up
Solid image quality
Not terribly discrete
Motion detection is spotty
Thanks to its wide viewing angle, sturdy weather-resistant design, and high definition video quality, the Netvue’s Vigil Cam is a top choice for an outdoor camera. The 100-degree field-of-view and multi-axis hinge packs a punch as a single security camera. With the Netvue app, you can adjust motion sensitivity and tinker with zoom settings.
It records up to 24 seconds when the sensor is triggered. Using the AWS Cloud, the Vigil Cam offers 30 days of rolling cloud storage, and you can even expand storage by adding a microSD card up to 128GB. The camera supports Alexa devices, so you can watch activities and a live feed from your device. Equipped with two-way audio, you can also communicate with people outside your home without opening your door.
The major downside with the Vigil Cam is that it’s not wireless. Setting it up may be a hassle, but once it’s up and running, the camera offers great performance at an even better price.
User friendly mobile app
Easy wireless connection
Not great for outdoor use
To be in the know about what’s going on in your house while you’re away, the Kamtron HD is the way to go. Whether you want to check in on your kids or your pets, the Kamtron is designed to do just that. Featuring a 360-degree panoramic view that can be turned on remotely using your smartphone, you can mount the camera in the center of your living room.
The picture quality is only 720p, but you’ll still get a clear, if slightly less detailed, image. It has motion detection to record triggered activities, as well as night vision and a live feed. Two-way audio lets you communicate through your smartphone to the room that houses the camera. You’ll want to add a microSD card (up to 128GB) if you plan on recording and saving footage.
Compared to a security system, the Kamtron HD is more of a camera used to quickly check-in on activities. So, while it does offer motion detection, it’s main purpose is to monitor your home remotely with the MIPC app.
"Subscription costs can add up, so always double-check what your camera's cloud services will charge you for additional cloud storage." — Steven Petite, Tech Writer
Solid 2-way audio
Good image day or night
No sound detection
In addition to stellar Alexa integration, the Amazon Cloud Cam has stunning camera quality and a robust set of customizable features if you opt for a subscription plan. Without a subscription plan, however, you can still use the Amazon Cloud Cam to monitor your home 24/7 and record activities within the last 24 hours.
The sleek white camera records in 1080p HD in both daylight and at night with included night vision. The highlight, though, is the Cloud Cam app — well-designed with a great interface, you can easily watch recorded activities and a live feed from your smartphone or computer. Though you can only store clips for 24 hours with the free plan, you can download and save all recorded activities.
Up to three Amazon Cloud Cams can be used with one account on multiple devices with the free plan. More robust features are available with paid plans, such as specific audio detection for glass breaking and zone and people detection settings. Note that the Cloud Cam can only be used indoors and has a wired connection.
Necessary subscription to view recorded video
To ward off potential intruders, look no further than the Ring Floodlight Camera. Equipped with two extremely bright (1,800 Lumens) floodlights, stellar motion detection, and a remote-activated siren, the Ring Floodlight camera is an excellent deterrent. Though it comes at a premium price, home invaders will instantly know that they are on camera and readily visible to the entire neighborhood.
The Ring Floodlight Camera features a 1080p live feed with the Ring app, zooming and panning features, and recording options via Ring’s subscription programs. Protect Plus costs $10 per month and features 24/7 monitoring and Ring’s alarm system, while the Protect Basic plan lets you record and share footage for $3 per month.
Although you need to pay a monthly subscription to get some of the better features, the Ring Floodlight Camera is a premium deterrent. The camera is also compatible with Alexa devices.
For no holds barred home security, the Arlo Pro 2 is the reigning champion. Bringing together all of the best features of its competitors, and even includes free cloud storage for video.
Our experts haven't had a chance to set up any of these cameras in their own homes just yet, but once they do, they'll be running a series of tests to help you decide which one is best for you. They'll be looking at camera fidelity, recording and storage options as well as weighing differences in subscription services where applicable. They'll also be paying attention to how easy each model is to set up and install.
Steven Petite has written for IGN, and Digital Trends among others and also serves as the associate editor of Fiction Southeast, an online literary journal.
Camera Resolution - A security camera won't do you much good if you can't tell what it's recording. A higher resolution is always better but gobbles up storage space fairly quickly. You'll also want to check the day/night capabilities of your particular camera before you commit.
Cloud Storage - Some cameras can store video through an onboard SD card, but more commonly get uploaded to cloud storage on a rolling basis. If you're looking to keep extensive records of the comings and goings around your home or business, you may have to invest in a subscription plan for additional storage.
Indoor/Outdoor - Not all cameras are made to weather the elements, depending on what you intend to keep an eye on you may have to check the specifications of your particular camera.