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Best home security cameras in 2020: Top wireless, indoor and outdoor models

Best home security cameras
(Image credit: Future)

If you're looking for some peace of mind, the best home security cameras can provide it by watching over your house inside and out, day and night. 

These cameras can all record video and stream it live to your phone or tablet when they detect motion, whether it's an intruder or your pet wandering around. Moreover, the best home security cameras can have built in two-way audio, security lights, and other features that let you do more than simply see what's going on. 

Wireless home security cameras range in price from $20 to more than $500, and many charge additional monthly fees for things such as cloud storage and other features. That's why we've tested dozens of home 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.

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In the market for a home security camera? Black Friday officially starts on November 27, but we're already seeing deals on top tech products, including security cameras.

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 Wyze Cam v3. It works indoors and out, has color night vision, free (though limited) cloud storage, and the ability to store videos locally. Best of all, it only costs $20. It's surprising how much it offers for so little. It's currently available for pre-order, and will ship in December.

If you're looking for the highest-quality video, the weatherproof Arlo Ultra delivers impressive 4K resolution, good audio, and a great set of security features. It is a bit expensive, though the price may come down as the company has just released its successor, the Arlo Ultra 2, which has a spotlight built into each camera.

If you need a budget outdoor camera that can withstand the elements, the Blink Outdoor is the way to go. It costs $99, yet captures good-quality video, and gives you a lot of control over what gets recorded. And, you can also store video locally, or pay for a cloud subscription, which starts at $30/year.

Best home security cameras you can buy today

Wyze Cam v3

Wyze Cam v3 (Image credit: Future)

1. Wyze Cam v3

Best budget indoor home security camera

Video resolution: 1080p | Field of view: 110 degrees | Night vision: Yes | Audio: full-duplex | Local Storage: Yes | Battery Powered: No | Weather Resistant: Yes | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant | Cloud Storage: Free cloud storage for 14 days (rolling, in perpetuity)

Inexpensive
Free 14-day, rolling cloud storage
Local storage
Limited field of view
Cloud storage clips limited to 12 seconds

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.

The Wyze Cam v3 comes with two weeks of free cloud storage — though clips are limited to 12 seconds — but it also has a microSD card slot which you can use to enable continuous recording and create time-lapse videos. You can get unlimited-length videos and no cool-down periods if you subscribe to Wyze Cam Plus ($1.25/month per camera). That's cheap. It's available for pre-order, and will ship in December.

Read our full Wyze Cam v3 review

Blink Outdoor camera review

Blink Outdoor (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Best budget outdoor home security camera

Video resolution: 1080p | Field of view: 110 degrees | Night vision: 25 feet | Audio: half-duplex | Local Storage: Yes | Battery Powered: two AA | Weather Resistant: Yes | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa | Cloud Storage: starts at $30/year

Inexpensive
Weatherproof
Good quality video
Doesn't work natively with Google Home
No person recognition

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 Blink Outdoor'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. While it lacks free cloud storage like the older Blink XT2, you can save videos locally to a USB drive. Cloud storage starts at $3/month or $30/year. 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 Outdoor review.

Best home security cameras: Arlo Ultra. Credit: Arlo

Arlo Ultra

3. Arlo Ultra

Best 4K home security camera

Video resolution: 4K | Field of view: 180 degrees | Night vision: 25 feet | Audio: full-duplex | Local Storage: Yes (in base station) | Battery Powered: Optional | Weather Resistant: Yes | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT | Cloud Storage: 30-day rolling-cloud service (1080p) for up to 10 cameras free for one year;$9.99/month afterwards. Upgrade to 4K recording for $1.99/month per camera.

Excellent 4K video
Comprehensive, easy-to-use software
Good audio
Can log in from only one device at a time
Expensive

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.

Best home security cameras: Arlo Pro 2

Arlo Pro 2 (Image credit: Netgear)

4. Arlo Pro 2

Comes with seven days of free storage

Video resolution: 1080p | Field of view: 130 degrees | Night vision: 25 feet | Audio: full-duplex | Local Storage: Yes (in base station) | Battery Powered: Optional | Weather Resistant: Yes | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT | Cloud Storage: 30-day rolling-cloud service (1080p) for up to 10 cameras free for one year;$9.99/month afterwards.

Flexible and easy scheduling
Geofencing turns system on/off depending on phone's location
Very good daylight video quality
Free seven-day rolling cloud storage
No auto-rotate of live or playback videos on mobile devices
Motion detection tools separate from setup section.

While it's a bit long in the tooth, the Arlo Pro 2 is still an incredibly capable home security camera. This weatherproof, fully wireless camera can be mounted anywhere, and delivers high-quality 1080p video to your smartphone, tablet, or PC. Better yet, the Arlo Pro 2 also comes with 7 days of rolling cloud storage for free—a feature that Arlo doesn't include on its more recent cameras. 

However, you will want a subscription (which starts at $3/month for a single camera and $10/month for up to five cameras) if you want to save video over longer durations, and get specific alerts for packages, people, and vehicles. The Arlo Pro 3 (2K video) and the Arlo Pro 4 (which has enhanced night vision and a built-in spotlight) are also available, but the Arlo Pro 2 makes for a good budget option. A two-camera kit is available for $249 at Arlo, but we suspect it won't be around for too much longer.

Read our full Arlo Pro 2 review.

Best home security cameras: Ring Floodlight Cam. Credit: Amazon

Ring Floodlight Cam

5. Ring Floodlight Camera

Best home security camera with floodlight

Video resolution: 1080p | Field of view: 140 degrees | Night vision: Yes | Audio: half-duplex | Local Storage: No | Battery Powered: No | Weather Resistant: Yes | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT | Cloud Storage: $3/month ($30/year) for 60 days of video

Wide field of view
Lets you set motion zones
Affordable subscription plan
Saving videos requires a subscription

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.
  

Arlo Pro 3

(Image credit: Arlo)

6. Arlo Pro 3

Video resolution: 2K | Field of view: 160 degrees | Night vision: 25 feet | Audio: full-duplex | Local Storage: Yes (in base station) | Battery Powered: Optional | Weather Resistant: Yes | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT | Cloud Storage: 30-day rolling-cloud service (2K) for up to 10 cameras free for one year;$9.99/month afterwards.

Quality daylight video
Optional color night videos
Clear audio
Rich set of motion-and-sound-detection tools
Subscriber-exclusive features
No ongoing free cloud plan

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.

We were disappointed that the Arlo Pro 3 was the first of the company's cameras to do away with its generous free 7-day rolling cloud storage. You'll have to subscribe to a plan (starting at $3/month per camera) if you want to save video in the cloud; however, this also gets you features such as person, vehicle, and package detection, as well as customizable motion zones.

Read our full Arlo Pro 3 review.

Best home security cameras: Nest Cam Credit: Google

Nest Cam

7. Nest Cam

Best home security camera for Google Home

Video resolution: 1080p | Field of view: 130 degrees | Night vision: 25 feet | Audio: half-duplex | Local Storage: No | Battery Powered: No | Weather Resistant: No | Smart Home Compatibility: Google Assistant, Philips Hue, Nest, Leviton, Lutron, August, Abode, IFTTT | Cloud Storage: Starts at $5/month for five days' footage

Excellent 1080p video quality
Impressive night vision
Programmable with Nest Protect and Nest Thermostat
Requires monthly subscription for extra features
Microphone/speakers not very powerful

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.
  

Nest Cam IQ outdoor

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor (Image credit: Google)

8. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

Best home security camera with facial recognition

Video resolution: 1080p | Field of view: 130 degrees | Night vision: Yes | Audio: full-duplex | Local Storage: No | Battery Powered: No | Weather Resistant: Yes | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT | Cloud Storage: Starts at $5/month for five days' footage

Clean, easy-to-navigate web portal and mobile apps
Tamper-proof design
Deep feature set
Key features available only to subscribers
No local storage
Expensive

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is one of the smartest home security cameras around. 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.
  

Best home security cameras: Arlo Pro. Credit: Arlo

Arlo Pro

9. Arlo Pro

Best budget Arlo home security camera

Video resolution: 720p | Field of view: 140 degrees | Night vision: Yes | Audio: half-duplex | Local Storage: Yes (in base station) | Battery Powered: Optional | Weather Resistant: Yes | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT | Cloud Storage: seven days' footage free;longer periods start at $10/month

Simple, quick installation
Clean, intelligent interface
Excellent video capture
Can access from only one device at a time per account
Limited sharing

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.
  

How to choose the best home security camera

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.

  • Jay_Z
    Any reviews of the Lorex systems - especially the wireless? Costco has sold them for years but I've never seen many reviews or comparisons to other camera systems.
    Reply