Best outdoor security cameras in 2023

Best outdoor security cameras
(Image credit: Arlo)

The best outdoor security cameras are the first line of defense when guarding your home and property against intruders. These cameras can not only alert you to people and animals approaching your home, but can also let you take proactive measures, such as sounding an alarm.

We've divided this guide into two sections: Outdoor cameras without built-in lights, and outdoor cameras with floodlights or spotlights. (If you're looking for indoor cameras, check out our best home security cameras page.) The former tend to be more compact, while the latter are ideal if you want to replace an existing floodlight or spotlight. All have been tested in real-world conditions to see how they stand up to the elements, how well they illuminate in the dark, and how well they capture people, animals, and more.

The best outdoor security cameras you can buy today

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Outdoor security cameras

Best outdoor security cameras: Nest Cam (battery)Top Pick

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best outdoor security camera overall

Specifications

Video resolution: 1080p
Field of view: 130 degrees
Night vision: Yes
Audio: full-duplex
Local Storage: Yes
Battery Powered: Yes
Weather Resistant: Yes
Smart Home Compatibility: Google Assistant
Cloud Storage: Starting at $6/month

Reasons to buy

+
Great design
+
Very sharp video quality
+
Free person, animal, vehicle detection
+
3 hours of video storage free

Reasons to avoid

-
Nonremovable battery

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. It's weatherproof, so it can be mounted just about anywhere outside. Its 1080p camera captures sharp images day and night, and its microphone and speaker made conversations a breeze. 

The Nest Cam (battery) also offers three hours of rolling video storage for free, as well as person, vehicle, and animal detection. If you sign up for a Nest Aware subscription (starting at $6/month), you also get familiar face detection as well as the ability to store up to a month's worth of video. However, while it has good battery life, Nest does not make any accessories to extend it, such as a removable battery or a solar panel.

Read our full Nest Cam (battery) review.

best outdoor security cameras: Wyze Cam v3best value awards badge

(Image credit: Future)
Best budget wired outdoor security camera

Specifications

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)

Reasons to buy

+
Dirt cheap
+
Great video for price
+
Local storage

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs to be plugged in

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 but good. And, since Wyze is currently limiting shipments to Cam Plus subscribers, you'll probably get the camera faster.

Perhaps the only downside to the Wyze Cam v3 is that it needs to be plugged in; Wyze sells a $4 mounting kit with a 5-foot USB extension cord, so you can mount it up to 11 feet from a power source. 

Wyze has also announced the Wyze Cam v3 Pro ($49), which has a 2K camera and a small 80-lumen spotlight, as well as a built-in siren. Stay tuned for our review.

Read our full Wyze Cam v3 review.

best outdoor security cameras: Blink Outdoorbest value awards badge

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best budget fully wireless outdoor camera

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Records good quality audio and video
+
Can store video locally
+
Long battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
No person detection

The Blink Outdoor is the best outdoor security camera for those who want 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. Unlike Arlo's cameras, though, there's no solar panel option for keeping the Blink's batteries topped off. (Although This solar panel accessory is a game changer for security cameras like the Blink Outdoor camera).

The Blink Outdoor is weatherproof, and comes with a convenient mounting bracket. While not tops, the 1080p video it 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. 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.

Eufy Edge Security System Review

(Image credit: Eufy)
AI smarts meet solar power

Specifications

Video resolution: 4K
Field of view: 135 degrees
Night vision: 24 feet
Audio: full-duplex
Local Storage: Yes (in base station)
Battery Powered: Yes
Weather Resistant: Yes
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant
Cloud Storage: 30-day rolling-cloud service $4.99/month per camera.

Reasons to buy

+
Integrated solar panels
+
AI-powered facial recognition
+
HomeBase 3 supports up to 16TB HDD or SSD

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Takes some time for AI to recognize familiar faces

While the EufyCam 3 has a high upfront cost — $549 for two cameras and the base station — you can make it up on the back end, as you don't need to sign up for a subscription to store video. But that's not all that impressed us; the EufyCam 3's 4K resolution was sharp and clear both day and night, and the massive battery and built-in solar panels meant we never had to recharge or replace the batteries, even after months of use. 

The AI built into the cameras can be trained to recognize familiar faces, as well as vehicle and pet detection. It also works with Alexa and Google Assistant. Video is saved locally on the HomeBase 3, which has 16GB of storage built-in; however, you can increase its storage capacity all the way up to 16 TB using a 2.5-inch HDD or SSD. 

A wireless 4K security camera that never needs to be recharged and doesn't require a monthly subscription? That's a winner in our book.

Read our full EufyCam 3 review.

Ring Stick Up Cam Battery review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A capable outdoor security camera for Ring owners

Specifications

Video resolution: 1080p
Field of view: 130° Diagonal, 110° Horizontal, 57° Vertical
Night vision: 25 feet
Audio: full-duplex
Local Storage: No
Battery Powered: Yes
Weather Resistant: Yes
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa
Cloud Storage: $3/month ($30/year) for 60 days of video

Reasons to buy

+
Slick app
+
Ring ecosystem and Alexa Integration
+
Good battery life
+
Weather resistant

Reasons to avoid

-
No local storage
-
Useless without subscription
-
No Google Home or Apple HomeKit Integration

While not the best outdoor camera overall, the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery is the best option for those invested in Ring's ecosystem. It's easy to install, has good battery life, and can be connected to a solar panel so you don't have to recharge its battery manually as often. 

Video quality from the Stick Up cam was better than average both day and night, and Ring's app is one of the most comprehensive around. However, like Ring's other security cameras, the Stickup Cam lacks local storage, so you're stuck if your internet goes down. And, you'll need a Ring subscription if you want to save videos or use some of the camera's advanced features. 

Read our full Ring Stick Up Cam Battery review.

best outdoor security cameras: Wyze Cam Outdoor

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A cheap, wired outdoor camera

Specifications

Video resolution: 1080p/20 fps (day), 10 fps (night)
Field of view: 110 degrees
Night vision: Yes
Audio: Full duplex
Local Storage: Yes
Battery Powered: Yes
Weather Resistant: Yes
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT
Cloud Storage: $14.99/year

Reasons to buy

+
Inexpensive
+
Travel mode lets you bring the camera with you
+
Local storage

Reasons to avoid

-
Bulkier than other budget security cameras
-
Low quality nighttime video

Wyze's fully wireless outdoor camera is another good option for those who are looking for an outdoor security camera for less than $100. Similar to the Blink Outdoor, the Wyze Cam Outdoor consists of a base station that connects to your router and a weather-resistant wireless camera. 

For a $50 camera, the Wyze Cam Outdoor works well, but we found its video quality to be lower than that of the Blink Outdoor camera. And, because the Wyze Cam Outdoor's battery is built in, you must remove the camera entirely to recharge it, rather than replacing batteries. (Wyze does not sell a solar panel for its cameras). However, the Wyze Cam does have a very inexpensive cloud storage subscription, and you can take this camera on vacation, as it will work independently of its base station, and has a clever time-lapse mode.

Read our full Wyze Cam Outdoor review 

Outdoor security cameras with lighting

best outdoor security cameras: Arlo UltraTop Pick

(Image credit: Arlo)
Best outdoor security camera for video quality

Specifications

Video resolution: 4K
Field of view: 180 degrees
Night vision: 25 feet
Audio: full-duplex
Local Storage: Yes (in base station)
Battery Powered: Yes
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.

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent video
+
Digital pan and zoom
+
Intuitive software

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

The Arlo Ultra is the best outdoor security camera if price is no object. Not only does it deliver the best video quality, 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. 

The Arlo Ultra run on battery power alone, but it can be wired if there's an outlet nearby. Arlo also sells a solar panel for $80, which should help to keep the battery charged longer.

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 is it.

Arlo has come out with the Arlo Ultra 2, which has better Wi-Fi, so you should be able to place the cameras further from the base station. 

Read our full Arlo Ultra review

Nest Cam with Floodlight (wired) with lights on

(Image credit: Nest)
Nest's excellent security camera, paired with a floodlight

Specifications

Video resolution: 1080p
Field of view: 130 degrees (diagonal)
Night vision: Yes
Audio: full-duplex
Local Storage: Yes
Battery Powered: Backup only
Weather Resistant: Yes
Smart Home Compatibility: Google Assistant
Cloud Storage: 30-day rolling storage for $5.99/month

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent video quality
+
Free tier is actually useful
+
5 GHz WiFi radio
+
Battery backup

Reasons to avoid

-
Only compatible with Google Home
-
No expanded local storage option

Take the excellent Nest Cam (wired) and add two powerful floodlights, and you get the appropriately named Nest Cam with Floodlight (wired). The camera itself records great high-definition video, and has a three-hour local backup in case your Internet connection goes down. On either side are two dimmable LEDS that can crank out 2400 lumens, more than enough to illuminate anything around. 

Like the Ring Floodlight, the Nest camera needs to he hardwired to work, so it's less mobile than the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight, which runs on battery power alone. Still, you get a few niceties for free, including person detection, customizable motion zones, and (limited) local storage. Unless you need a camera that works with Alexa, this is definitely a floodlight camera to consider.

Read our full Nest Cam with Floodlight (wired) review.

Wyze Cam Floodlight mountedbest value awards badge

(Image credit: Wyze)
A floodlight cam for less than $100

Specifications

Video resolution: 1080p
Field of view: 130 degrees
Night vision: Yes
Audio: full duplex
Local Storage: Yes
Battery Powered: No
Weather Resistant: Yes
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa
Cloud Storage: $1.99/month

Reasons to buy

+
Very bright but adjustable LED lights
+
Simple installation, especially if replacing an existing outdoor light
+
People, pets, and package detection

Reasons to avoid

-
The free tier of video storage is very limited
-
Software setup has a few quirks

Like much of its competition, Wyze took its excellent Wyze Cam v3, added a few LEDs, and called it the Wyze Cam Floodlight. And, because the Wyze Cam is so inexpensive, so too is the Wyze Cam Floodlight, which costs less than $100 — a bargain compared to other security camera floodlights.

Despite its low price, we were generally pleased with the quality of video, though the floodlights tended to wash out people's faces if they got too close. If you have a second Wyze Cam, you can also connect it to the floodlight to increase your surveillance coverage. The cameras also have local storage, handy if your internet goes down. Like most other security cameras, you'll need to pay for Wyze Cam Plus if you want person and package detection, but at $1.99/month, it's far cheaper than others.

Read our full Wyze Cam Floodlight review.

best outdoor security cameras: Ring floodlight camera

(Image credit: Future)
An outdoor camera and floodlight in one

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Wide field of view
+
Comprehensive app
+
Affordable subscription program

Reasons to avoid

-
Must be wired

The Ring Floodlight Camera 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 Ring Floodlight Camera has to be wired to your home's power to work; if you're looking for a more versatile option, the Arlo Floodlight Camera (opens in new tab) ($249) can run on battery power.

Ring's app offers a variety of settings, such as custom motion zones, scheduling and more. Unfortunately, to record and share video, you'll need to subscribe to Ring's cloud storage plans, which start at $3 per month. 

A newer model, the Ring Floodlight Camera Wired Pro (opens in new tab) ($249), has an improved design, brighter LEDs, and more advanced person-tracking technology. Both it and the Floodlight Cam Plus are available as hardwired or plug-in models. 

Read our full Ring Floodlight Camera review

best outdoor security cameras: Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera

(Image credit: Arlo)
Battery-powered floodlight cam

Specifications

Video resolution: 2K
Field of view: 160 degrees
Night vision: Yes
Audio: full duplex
Local Storage: No
Battery Powered: Yes
Weather Resistant: Yes
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT
Cloud Storage: $3/month ($30/year) for 60 days of video

Reasons to buy

+
Good video
+
Built-in floodlight
+
Digital subject tracking

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires subscription for many features
-
Short battery life

For those who don't have an outdoor light fixture, the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight camera is the best option for adding an outdoor security camera with a floodlight. This battery-powered camera is simple to install, has a bright 2000-lumen light, and has a 2K camera that can digitally pan and zoom, so you can get a better look at who's outside.

However, you may also want to invest in a solar recharging panel, as we found that the camera's battery drains quickly, especially when using the floodlight. And, like many security cameras, you'll need to subscribe to Arlo (starting at $2.99/month) if you want to use all the camera's features. 

Read our full Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera review

Arlo Pro 4 camera mounted to wall

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A very good Arlo outdoor security cam for less

Specifications

Video resolution: 2K
Field of view: 160 degrees
Night vision: 25 feet
Audio: full-duplex
Local Storage: Yes (in base station)
Battery Powered: Yes
Weather Resistant: Yes
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT
Cloud Storage: $3/month for 30-day rolling-cloud service (2K) for up to 10 cameras

Reasons to buy

+
Clean, user-friendly app
+
Slick camera design
+
Removable Battery
+
Good video quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires subscription for many features

The Arlo Pro 4 boasts 2K video resolution, a built-in LED spotlight and color night vision, making it a very good home security camera — it has above-average video quality, too. It can run off rechargeable batteries (which should last up to six months) or can be plugged in. You can also purchase a solar panel to keep the battery charged for longer. 

The Arlo Pro 4 is essentially the same camera as the Arlo Pro 3, with one key difference: The Pro 4 can connect directly to your Wi-Fi, so you don't need a base station if you don't need or want local storage. However, in order to use many of the Arlo Pro 4's features, such as saving video and person, vehicle, and package detection, you'll have to subscribe to a plan, which starts at $2.99/month. 

Read our full Arlo Pro 4 review.

Outdoor security cameras with professional monitoring

best outdoor security cameras: Deep Sentinel

(Image credit: Deep Sentinel)
The best outdoor security camera with professional monitoring

Specifications

Video resolution: 480p
Field of view: 130 degrees
Night vision: 25 feet
Audio: full-duplex
Local Storage: No
Battery Powered: Yes
Weather Resistant: Yes
Smart Home Compatibility: None
Cloud Storage: $50/month

Reasons to buy

+
Professional monitoring
+
Quick response
+
Loud, clear audio

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Low-resolution

The Deep Sentinel is more like a mini professionally monitored security system than a standalone security camera. That's because when the camera spot an intruder, it sends a live feed to a monitoring station. From there, a professional can sound an alarm on the camera, shout a warning, and if necessary, contact the police. 

This isn't cheap: 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.

What to look for when buying an outdoor security camera

Aside from price, there are a few things you'll want to consider when shopping for an outdoor security camera.

Weatherproofing: Any outdoor security camera should be protected against the elements. While they probably won't take to being dunked underwater, they should have some resistance to rain, sleet, and snow.

Battery powered: Many outdoor security cameras, such as the Arlo and Blink cameras, can run off battery power alone. That makes them easier to install, as you don't have to worry about running a power cord to the camera. However, this also means you'll have to either recharge or replace the batteries on a regular basis. Increasingly, companies are offering solar panels as optional accessories so you don't have to recharge the batteries as often.

Night vision: Almost all outdoor security cameras record good video during the daytime; it's nighttime video that really separates the haves from the have-nots. Most cameras use infrared lights to illuminate their subjects; better cameras will light the scene without blowing out the subject, so you'll be able to see details more clearly.

Extra lighting: Some outdoor security cameras, such as those from Ring and Arlo, have LED lights built in, so that at night time, you'll not only be able to see subjects more clearly, but you'll also be able to see better yourself if you're outside. Some have spotlights, which are good for a small area, while others have floodlights, which helps illuminate a yard. 

Storage and storage fees: Most security cameras now require a subscription to either use all their features or to store video in the cloud. You'll want to refer to our best security camera storage plans for more detail, but before choosing a security camera, think about how many other cameras (including the best video doorbells) you're planning to install. The company that offers the best value depends upon how many cameras you want to use on your property. 

How we test the best outdoor security cameras

As with the best home security cameras, we test outdoor security cameras outside our homes. We see how well they record video during daylight hours and at nighttime, and look at the detail of the recorded video, as well as the accompanying audio.

We also evaluate the security cameras' apps and features; you should be able to easily schedule when the cameras turn on and off, as well as set things such as custom motion zones and sensitivity, so that a tree branch or passing car doesn't set it off. 

Better cameras will also let you filter for people, animals, vehicles, and packages, so that you only get the alerts you want.

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.

  • Rock On
    Tom's Guide, can you redo your aticle on "Best outdoor security cameras in 2022" and have a separate section for WiFi cameras, and one for Cellular cameras? That would be very helpful. With Cellular cameras, if you can let us know which ones can send photos and alerts with a weak cell signal that would benefit people who want to use it in remote locations. Also, need to know which ones can accept power from a solar panel. If it matters which Network (Verizon, AT&T, T-mobile) then let us know that also. Oh, one more thing - let us know what phones it will talk to: Android, iPhone, Tracfone, flip phone, etc. Link to user manual would be awesome also. Thank you.
    Reply