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Best home security cameras 2020

Best home security cameras: Arlo Pro
Arlo Pro (Image credit: Arlo)

Need to keep an eye on your house from anywhere? Small, stand-alone Wi-Fi or wireless home security cameras are easy to set up; can stream video to your phone, tablet or PC; and will send you alerts if they detect motion or loud noises. Most cameras also provide night vision and automatic motion-activated recording, and some can be connected to other smart-home products, such as security systems and smart lights.

After testing dozens of wired and wireless options, the best home security camera is the Arlo Q ($149). We found that it had the best software, the most flexible options and the most affordable cloud-storage subscription plan of the home security cameras we tested. Our favorite fully wireless, battery-operated camera is the Arlo Pro 2; this 1080p camera's rechargeable battery can last for up to six months, and features two-way talk capabilities.

If you're looking for something under $100, the best home security camera for those on a budget is the Wyze Cam 1080p, which costs about $25, yet has a surprising number of features for the price, and gives you 14 days of rolling cloud storage for free. 

Ring recently rolled out a new Control Center within its app that gives customers greater visibility into privacy and security controls. In addition, Ring has made two-factor authentication mandatory for all users; here's how to use the Ring Control Center

Although it's not among our top picks, the Arlo Pro 3—which records good quality video—now works with Apple HomeKit.

Here are the 10 best home security cameras

The best home security camera is the Arlo Q. Credit: Arlo

Arlo Q 

1. Arlo Q

The best home security camera has an affordable price, high-quality video, and lots of features.

Video resolution: 1080p/30fps | Field of view: 130 degrees | Night vision: 25 feet | Audio: half duplex | Local Storage: none | Battery Powered: no | Weather resistant: No | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT | Cloud Storage: seven days' footage free;longer periods start at $10/month

Simple, trouble-free setup
Intuitive, flexible scheduling
Excellent video quality
Generous free cloud plan
Timeline requires subscription

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. 

However, 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 are pretty good for the price. (Here's our comparison of Arlo vs. Ring vs. Nest's cloud-storage plans). 

Read our full Arlo Q review.

The best home security camera for those on a budget. Credit: Wyze

Wyze Cam 1080p (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

2. Wyze Cam 1080p

This camera costs less than $30, yet offers a ton of features, including 14 days of cloud storage for free.

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

Inexpensive
Free 14-day, rolling cloud storage
Works with motion and door sensors
Local storage
Limited field of view
Cloud storage clips limited to 14 seconds

Don't let the low price fool you; the Wyze Cam 1080p is the best home security camera for those on a budget. This device comes with two weeks of free cloud storage, 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.

Best home security cameras: Arlo Ultra. Credit: Arlo

Arlo Ultra

3. Arlo Ultra

This battery-powered security camera offers exceptional quality video and can withstand the elements.

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
Optional color night-vision videos
Comprehensive, easy-to-use software
Good audio
Can log in from only one device at a time
Web portal requires Adobe Flash: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. Plus, the Arlo Ultra’s base station will be compatible with the company’s smart home security kit, due out later this year. All of this will cost you, though: A single camera (with the hub) is $399, and extra cameras are $299 each. And if you want to save 4K videos, it’s an extra $1.99 per camera per month, on top of the $9.99 monthly plan, the latter of which is waived for the first year.

Read our full Arlo Ultra Review.

Best home security cameras: Deep Sentinel. Credit: Deep Sentinel

Deep Sentinel (Image credit: Deep Sentinel)

4. Deep Sentinel

While pricey, this security camera uses AI and professional monitors to detect and deter intruders.

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

Live guards on duty 24/7
Preventive security
Quick response
Clear, loud audio
Only a guard can sound the siren
Low-resolution video

When Deep Sentinel's cameras 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 to the intruder, 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. You could spend a similar amount for a 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.

Best home security cameras: Arlo Pro 2. Credit: Arlo

Arlo Pro 2

5. Arlo Pro 2

A less expensive indoor/outdoor battery-powered camera that still offers very good image quality.

Video resolution: 1080p | Field of view: 130 degrees | Night vision: 25 feet | 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 installation
Clean, intelligent interface
Flexible and easy scheduling
Geofencing turns system on/off depending on the phone's location
Very good daylight video quality
Free seven-day rolling cloud storage
Can login from only one device at a time
No auto-rotate of live or playback videos on mobile devices
Motion detection tools separate from setup section

Like its older sibling the Arlo Pro, the Arlo Pro 2 has motion detection, night vision and an intercom function, but the Pro 2 has a higher resolution (1080p vs. 720p) with a wider 130-degree field of view. The Arlo Pro 2 can be plugged in or run off battery power, and can last for up to six months without needing a recharge. You'll also get Arlo's generous cloud-subscription plan, which offers seven days' worth of footage for free. It's the best home security camera for those who want great video at a reasonable price.

Read our full Arlo Pro 2 review.
  

The best budget wireless home security camera. Credit: Amazon

Blink XT2 (Image credit: Blink)

A wireless outdoor security camera under $100

Video resolution: 1080p | Field of view: 110 degrees | Night vision: 25 feet | Audio: half-duplex | Local Storage: No | Battery Powered: two AA | Weather Resistant: Yes | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa | Cloud Storage: Free, but limited to two hours total

Inexpensive
Records 1080p video
Works both indoors and outdoors
Weatherproof
Doesn't work natively with Google Home
No person recognition

This budget home security camera is truly wireless (it uses two AA batteries) and weatherproof, so you can stick it outdoors wherever you want. 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). Its 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.

Best home security cameras: Nest Cam Credit: Google

Nest Cam

7. Nest Cam Indoor

Nest's home security camera integrates well with many other smart home devices.

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
Easy setup
Impressive night vision
Programmable with Nest Protect and Nest Thermostat
Pricey
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.
  

The best home security camera with a floodlight. Credit: Amazon

Ring Floodlight Cam

8. Ring Floodlight Camera

This home security camera also has a powerful LED 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

In addition to a sharp 1080p camera, the Ring Floodlight is the best home security camera for those who want some extra illumination, as it has two powerful LEDS that turn on when motion is detected. Plus, Ring's app has a neighborhood-watch feature, which lets you see what's happening in your hood from other Ring users, as well as police and fire departments. Unfortunately, to view recorded video, you'll need to subscribe to Ring's cloud storage plans, which start at $30/year.

Read our full Ring Floodlight Camera review.
  

Best home security cameras: Arlo Pro. Credit: Arlo

Arlo Pro

9. Arlo Pro

Arlo's cameras are expensive; this older (and cheaper) model is a lower resolution, but is just as effective.

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
Very good audio quality
Can access from only one device at a time per account
No continuous-recording option
Limited sharing

For those looking for a less expensive outdoor security system, the Arlo Pro costs just $189 for a single camera/base station setup; the newer Arlo Pro 2 is $299. The main tradeoff? The Arlo Pro records video at 720p versus 1080p for the Arlo Pro 2. Otherwise, you get a generous storage plan, a two-way audio, a weatherproof camera and an excellent app with a lot of features.

Read our full Arlo Pro review.
  

Best home security cameras. Kasa Cam Outdoor. Credit: TP-Link

Kasa Cam Outdoor

10. Kasa Cam Outdoor

This budget outdoor camera has many good features, but has some compromises.

Video resolution: 1080p | Field of view: 130 degrees | Night vision: Yes | Audio: half-duplex | Local Storage: No | Battery Powered: No | Weather Resistant: Yes | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant | Cloud Storage: two days' footage free;longer periods start at $4/month ($40/year) for 14 days storage.

Excellent audio, daylight video
Reasonable cloud storage plans
Simple to use, flexible software
Blurry night video
Mobile app not optimized for tablets
Cord isn't fully weatherproof

Kasa's lower-cost outdoor security camera is a good deal if you don't mind a few tradeoffs. Daytime 1080p video from this camera was excellent, but nighttime video was less defined; it was hard to make out people's faces. The camera is weather-resistant, but the connection between its cable and power supply is not. We also liked that its app lets you set up custom motion zones. In addition, you get free rolling two-day cloud storage, and  a 14-day plan that's a very reasonable $40 per year.

Read our full Kasa Cam Outdoor review.
  

The best home security cameras: Nest Cam IQ Outdoor. Credit: Google

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

11. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

Facial recognition, for a price

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

Generally acceptable to excellent video
Clean, easy-to-navigate web portal and mobile apps
Tamper-proof design
Deep feature set
Key features (including video history) available only to subscribers
No local storage
expensive

Nest’s outdoor camera isn't cheap, but the feature set may be worth it. 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 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: Wyze Cam Pan. Credit: Wyze

Wyze Cam Pan

12. Wyze Cam Pan

This budget camera physically moves to track subjects, which works pretty well for the price.

Video resolution: 1080p | Field of view: 120 degrees | Night vision: Yes | Audio: half-duplex | Local Storage: Yes | Battery Powered: No | Weather Resistant: No | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, IFTTT | Cloud Storage: Free cloud storage for 14 days (rolling, in perpetuity)

Bargain price
Very good video quality (with motion tracking turned off)
Loud, clear audio
Smoke, CO alarm alerts
Wide range of useful features
Significant motion blur when motion tracking turned on
No web portal
Some features lack depth

Unlike most home security cameras, the Wyze Cam Pan can actually move a full 360 degrees as it tracks a subject walking across a room. Unfortunately, video captured while the camera is moving looks very blurry. When the camera is still, though, it produces quality video for its sub-$40 price. It also has a number of useful features, such as sending you an alert if it hears a smoke or CO2 alarm. Plus, you get 14 days of rolling cloud storage for free — a real bargain.

Read our full Wyze Cam Pan review.
  

  • mprospero
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomsguide.com/forum/id-2604286/wireless-home-security-cameras-2015.html
    Reply
  • Luke in Texas
    My wife and I went to Scotland, Ireland and England in 2015 and prior to our departure, I purchased 4 of the original Arlo cameras to install at a ranch we have in Texas. I also purchased a Canary to install at a second ranch in a nearby county. Both locations were served by the same internet company. While we were on our trip in the UK, the Canary was basically worthless and about 85% of the time, we were only able to see black images in our well illuminated house. The Arlo cameras impressed me. They were ALWAYS available when I used the Arlo app to view the cameras live.

    I purchased an Arlo Go earlier this month to replace the Canary (which I plan on crushing with my tractor and posting on YouTube) and the Arlo Go, while impressive, has a few problems... #1. Battery life is short, even using their optional solar panel in brilliant Texas sunlight. #2. The cord from the solar panel is very, very short which means the panel can not be concealed very easily. #3. If a tree limb blows, the Arlo Go triggers and then it eats up the data plan. #4. Mounting the Arlo Go on the supplied mount is a royal pain. It is difficult to tighten the camera onto the very small threaded attaching device that screws into the Arlo Go, and to make matters worse, large thumb tabs (for lack of a better word) at the terminal end of the attach rod (about 3 inches long) make it difficult to tighten that too, because they easily come into contact with the bulky camera. The "ghilley" suit is an excellent was to conceal the Arlo Go in a tree, but the fuzzy strings easily blow into the front of the lens and ruin the night vision capability of the camera.

    I like the Arlo products (especially my "old" original Arlo but the Arlo Go has some drawbacks, but it is vastly superior to the Canary. I can hardly wait to upload the Canary being crushed on YouTube.
    Reply
  • billkexel
    I have to disagree. The best on the market at this time is the Arlo Pro 2 cameras. It is amazing the things you can do and the quality is outstanding.
    Reply
  • randalp
    I own an Arlo Pro 4 camera system. I like the camera quality and the app is easy to use but battery life is terrible and I'm constantly recharging the cameras. They will drain completely in less than 2 weeks.
    Reply
  • mountainlvr
    We live in a log home in a remote area and have encountered a problem that I am hoping you can help with. We have been told that the logs interfere with the signal between an outdoor camera on the garage and the router (about 80' away). Can you suggest a camera that has a stronger signal and can also be some distance from the router? You suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
    Reply
  • marcslamphier
    I am perplexed by the storage options. The two main choices appear to be an SD card or cloud storage. My first choice would be to store the videos on my own network server, which has tons of storage available (and I can access remotely), but I don't see where this option is really available. I already have backup cloud storage (Carbonite) for most of my data files, so adding videos to this would no problem if I just wanted a safe, off-site storage option.
    Reply