Security camera subscription plan prices keep rising — these 5 cameras don't need them

Installing the EufyCam 3
(Image credit: Eufy)

Ring and Arlo are two of the more well-known brands when it comes to the best video doorbells. Unfortunately, both of these companies have also recently raised the price of their subscriptions, meaning you'll be paying more over the long run if you want to access functions as basic as saving video clips.

Ring increased the price of its Protect Basic Plan for the second year in a row from $3.99 to $4.99. Back in 2022, that very service was just $2.50 per month, or half of what it costs now. A week prior, Arlo was in the hot seat for hiking up the price of its subscription, from $4.99/month to $7.99/month. This is a worrying trend considering two of the biggest home security manufacturers have increased the prices of their services back-to-back for two years running.

Jimmy McMillan too damn high meme

(Image credit: ImgFlip)

Subscription plans are nothing new for the best security cameras. They provide valuable services like cloud storage. For example, Ring doorbells can provide a live view of your doorstep. But to view recordings you have to pay for a subscription and there's no local storage option to avoid it. While you don't have to pay to use your Ring to receive notifications when someone is there, it's useless if someone steals a package and you have no footage of the event. Video recordings are the main reason most people buy a security camera so these companies effectively have us at their mercy even if they decide to keep raising the price every year.

Plenty of owners find the subscription to be worth it. After all, $50 for the year is relatively cheap for peace of mind. However, the plans being raised thus far are for single-camera subscriptions only. This narrows the gap between the multi-device plans to make them seem like a better deal—the more you buy from one brand the better the value you get. 

But in addition to the pricey initial hardware costs, the rising prices are drawing attention to a very real subscription fatigue problem. That's why we're seeing negative feedback in online threads and some calling to boycott. It's less so about the extra $10 per year—and more about how these companies can dictate when and how much to raise their prices. Luckily there is a way you can survive the tide of rising cloud video storage plans

The best security cameras you can use without subscription

Simply avoid subscriptions entirely by purchasing security cameras that support local video storage. You can buy cameras that let you record to a USB drive or SD card and access it over your own home network rather than host it on their own servers. While you might miss out on more advanced features like AI event detection, this is a big step for what I consider core functionality—the ability to view footage at any time. If you want the best balance of security and affordability, the cameras below are some of the best options you can buy right now.

Wyze Cam v3 Pro: was $55 now $44 @ Amazon

Wyze Cam v3 Pro: <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=45724&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FVision-Indoor-Outdoor-Camera-Assistant%2Fdp%2FB0BGXWK88W%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">was $55 now $44 @ Amazon

My townhome's primary security camera is the <a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/reviews/wyze-cam-v3-pro" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"">Wyze Cam v3 Pro. Its crisp 2K resolution keeps up with pricier units from Eufy and Arlo. Wyze loaded this camera up with premium touches like color night vision and a built-in spotlight which is impressive for an option well under $100. Since it's IP65 rated it can be used as a hybrid camera either indoors or outside year-round in both rain and snow. It can save video to an SD card so you can get around paying for monthly cloud storage.

Blink Video Doorbell w/ Sync Module:&nbsp;was $69 now $44 @ Amazon

Blink Video Doorbell w/ Sync Module: <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=45724&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FIntroducing-Blink-Doorbell-Two-way-enabled%2Fdp%2FB08SGR2G65%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">was $69 now $44 @ Amazon
Blink's battery-powered high-definition video doorbell can be installed on any doorway or wired into your existing chime setup. This is an inexpensive way to monitor your property and talk to visitors via two-way audio. The included Sync module means you can store video locally on a USB drive and access it at any time without paying a monthly subscription.

EufyCam 3: was $549 now $439 @ Amazon

EufyCam 3: <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=45724&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2Fdp%2FB0B4BZH58H%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">was $549 now $439 @ Amazon

Yes, this is not a cheap camera, but what you pay in upfront costs you'll save over the long haul, as it's subscription-free. The <a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/reviews/eufy-edge-security-system-review" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"">EufyCam 3 is our favorite non-subscription camera, delivering sharp 4K video that's saved locally to a base station. What's more, it has human, pet, and vehicle detection, as well as Familiar Face detection. And, the battery-powered cameras have solar panels, so you don't have to recharge them as often.

Eufy Video Doorbell Dual: was $259 now 179 @ Amazon

Eufy Video Doorbell Dual: <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=45724&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2Feufy-Security-Battery-Powered-Detection-Recognition%2Fdp%2FB099RX62SC%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">was $259 now 179 @ Amazon

The Eufy Video Doorbell Dual has an additional downward-facing camera that points directly towards your porch for the clearest head-to-toe view possible. It includes package detection, so you'll get an alert when something gets dropped off without having to pay a monthly subscription. You can record video locally to its secure base and this works even if your internet happens to go down. We covered its performance in-depth for our <a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/reviews/eufy-video-doorbell-dual" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"">Eufy Video Doorbell Dual review.

Blink Outdoor 4:&nbsp;was $119 now $99 @ Amazon

Blink Outdoor 4: <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=45724&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FBlink-Outdoor-4th-Gen-3-Camera%2Fdp%2FB0B1N5HW22%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">was $119 now $99 @ Amazon
The Blink Outdoor is a fully wireless home security camera that records video in 1080p, comes with a Sync Module that lets you store video locally on a USB drive (or in the cloud), and has a two-year battery life. This camera not only holds a spot in our list of the <a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/best-home-security-cameras" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_self">best home security cameras, but has also earned our pick for Editor's Choice.

At the end of the day its the devil you know. Arlo and Ring make some of the best security cameras we've tested. Admittedly, I come from a Ring Protect household which makes sense because I've helped my parents install the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 at their front door, Ring Stick Up Cams on the sides of the house aimed at the backyard, and the Ring Floodlight Cam out front facing the driveway. For them, the subscription is a small price to pay because they bought into the ecosystem entirely. But it is frustrating to know that the price can creep up each year without seeing any advancement in-app features that the extra money goes to. Meanwhile, it becomes more of a hassle to switch out equipment down the line with each device added. 

This is why I opted for a Wyze Video Doorbell Pro and Wyze V3s throughout my own place, its hardware is not only super affordable but more versatile. Going forward I will be looking at equipment from Reolink, Eufy, and Wyze because not only are their initial investments lower, but they also give you excellent value without a subscription cost that climbs up over time.

More from Tom's Guide

Hunter Fenollol
Senior Editor, Smart Home

Hunter Fenollol is a Senior Editor for Tom’s Guide. He specializes in smart home gadgets and appliances. Prior to joining the team, Hunter reviewed computers, wearables, and mixed reality gear for publications that include CNN Underscored, Popular Mechanics, and Laptop Magazine. When he’s not testing out the latest cooking gadgets, you can likely find him playing a round of golf or out with friends feeding his paycheck to a QuickHit slot machine.

Hunter started his career as an intern at Tom’s Guide back in 2019 while in college. He graduated from Long Island University Post with a degree in Communications and minor in Advertising. He has been vlogging ever since the iPhone 4 took front-facing cameras mainstream.

  • zitlips
    Please try the Eufy outdoor cameras first. You will love them. I have 3 of them and one is over 4 years old and going strong. I just bought Eufy's doorbell (wired) and it is far superior than Ring which I had for years but threw into the garbage when an update kept me from viewing my videos stored on my own ring, without a subscription. The Eufy doorbell camera has two cameras built in. One keeps an eye on packages delivered to my doorstep spot and the other camera is like any doorbell camera. Nice little difference.
    My cameras are all solar powered and never ran out of power all this winter in Idaho.
    Reply
  • Egyptian River Denial
    Reolink CX410, you will need a POE injector, connecting to router.

    Save on SD card, or folder on PC. No subscription.

    Excellent color especially if you have street lighting.
    Uses spot lighting as needed, or full on, off.

    The bad, needs the app and Web UI to fully configure the camera. They need to update the app.

    It's just a setup bother.

    Set the frame rate the on main, sub stream to the same and frame to 1, if using Blue Iris.

    Buy high endurance SD cards. The are rated time in use, vs number of read or write of cheap SD cards.
    Reply
  • Egyptian River Denial
    Egyptian River Denial said:
    Reolink CX410, you will need a POE injector, connecting to router.

    Save on SD card, or folder on PC. No subscription.

    Excellent color especially if you have street lighting.
    Uses spot lighting as needed, or full on, off.

    The bad, needs the app and Web UI to fully configure the camera. They need to update the app.

    It's just a setup bother.

    Set the frame rate the on main, sub stream to the same and frame to 1, if using Blue Iris.

    Buy high endurance SD cards. The are rated time in use, vs number of read or write of cheap SD cards.
    PS, this is only the Reolink CX410 model, about $75, on sale, prices will constantly change on the big A box, don't let mega pixels influence you.
    Reply
  • Boeran
    Dear Tom
    How can you not mention Netatmo in this list? It has great products without subscriptions nor online backup
    Reply