Arlo Q vs. Arlo vs. Arlo Pro vs. Arlo Pro 2 vs. Arlo Ultra: What Should You Buy?

Arlo's security cameras have generally been among the best home security cameras for their design, ease of use, comprehensive features and generous security plans.

Arlo Pro

Arlo Pro

With the launch of the Arlo Ultra, the company now has six security cameras — not counting its baby monitor — all with different abilities and prices. Regardless of the camera you choose, Arlo offers seven days of video recordings without having to sign up for a contract.

So, which one is best for you? We've put together this buying guide to help you determine which Arlo security camera best fits your needs.

Editor's Note: Arlo now has a seventh home security camera, the Arlo Pro 3; here's how the Pro 3 compares to the Arlo Pro 2 and the Arlo Ultra.

Arlo Camera Comparison Chart

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Arlo UltraArlo Pro 2Arlo ProArloArlo QArlo Go
Price (2-camera kit)$599$479$419$329$199$429
Price per additional camera$299$219$189$79n/an/a
Base Station RequiredYesYesYesYesNoNo
Field of View180 degrees130 degrees110 degrees110 degrees130 degrees110 degrees
Water ResistantYesYesYesYesNoYes
Built-in SirenYesYesYesNoNoNo
Local StorageYes (via base station)Yes (via base station)Yes (via base station)NoNoYes (microSD card slot)
Built-in LightYesNoNoNoNoNo


Arlo's original camera is pretty basic when compared with later models: It lacks the ability to record audio, nor does it have a speaker for you to talk to someone in front of the camera. Still, its 720p camera and 110-degree field of view and low price are good for those on a budget.

Arlo Pro

The Arlo Pro is essentially the Arlo — 720p video — with audio capabilities added, so you can hear and talk to the person standing in front of the camera. However, it's about $100 more for a two-camera kit.

Arlo Pro 2

This camera has both a higher resolution (1080p) and a wider field of view (130 degrees) than its predecessors, so you'll not only be able to see more, but you'll see better, too.

Arlo Ultra

Arlo's top-end camera has a resolution of 4K, making it the sharpest among the company's offerings. It also means you can zoom in on individuals a bit better, too. And, it has a 180-degree field of view, so you can see a whole lot more than with its other cameras.

Arlo Go

This is essentially the Arlo Pro, except it connects to the cloud using LTE, meaning you can put it in places where there's no Wi-Fi. It's good if you want to monitor a remote cabin or job site, or even use it as a wildlife cam.

Arlo Q

Meant for indoor use only, the Arlo Q needs to be plugged in to work. However, it has a sharp 1080p camera with a 130-degree field of view.

Which Arlo camera has the highest-quality video?

The Arlo Ultra records video at 4K, which not only means that you'll get the sharpest quality, but it also lets you digitally zoom in on sections of video with little  loss in fidelity. After that, the Arlo Pro 2 and the Arlo Q record 1080p video.

Arlo Q

Arlo Q

I want to hear — and talk — to the person on camera

If you want to record audio and be able to talk to the person you see on camera, any camera but the original Arlo will suffice; it's the only one that lacks a microphone. The Arlo Ultra is the best-equipped. It has two microphones that the company says will reduce ambient noise, such as the wind.

I want to install an Arlo camera outside

You'll want to choose anything but the Arlo Q, which is the lone camera among its offerings that isn't waterproof. It's also the only camera that's not wireless, meaning you have to plug it in for power.

How long do Arlo batteries last?

Most of Arlo's cameras are wireless, which means their batteries will have to be recharged.  Arlo says that the battery life in the cameras depends on a number of factors, including the outdoor temperature, how often the camera records video, how far away it is from the base station and how often you use its live-view feature.

Arlo Go

Arlo Go

That being said, the batteries in the Arlo wireless cameras should last from four to six months with normal use — about 5 minutes of recordings per day. The Arlo Go's battery should last from two to three months with normal use.

Do all Arlo cameras require a base station?

You may notice that many of Arlo's cameras — the Ultra, Pro 2, Pro and Arlo — all require a base station. The base station serves a few purposes: It bridges the connection between the cameras and the cloud, which helps the cameras conserve battery life. And, when you connect a USB drive to the base station, you can also save your video feed locally.

Arlo Pro 2

Arlo Pro 2

The Arlo Ultra's base station is different from the other cameras. That's because it will work with Arlo's smart-home security system, which will be released later this year. Also, the Ultra's hub has Zigbee and Z-Wave antennas, so you'll be able to use it as a hub for other smart-home devices. So, while it's more expensive than the other cameras, it could be the best bet for those looking to expand their home security.

The Arlo Q doesn't require a base station; as it has to be plugged in to work, it has Wi-Fi built in.

I want to install an Arlo camera where there's no Wi-Fi.

Your only option is the Arlo Go, which has an LTE connection, letting it stream video remotely. However, you'll also have to sign up for a data plan from AT&T, Verizon or Arlo Mobile.

How much is an Arlo subscription, and do I need one?

One of the reasons we like Arlo's cameras so much is that the company offers up to seven days of video history without you having to pay for a subscription plan. However, if you opt for an Arlo Smart Plan, you get additional features such as customizable activity zones, e911 calling features and advanced AI detection, which can distinguish among people, packages (which is still in beta), animals and vehicles.

MORE: Which Security Camera Has the Best Storage Plan?

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Free PlanArlo SmartArlo Smart PremierArlo Smart Elite
Price/MonthFree/up to 5 cameras$2.99 ($29/year)/per camera$9.99 ($99 per year)/up to 10 cameras$14.99 ($149 per year)/up to 20 cameras
Recording History7 days7 days30 days60 days
Advanced AI DetectionNoYesYesYes
Custom Activity ZonesNoYesYesYes
Lock Screen NotificationsNoYesYesYes
Customer Support90 days90 daysUnlimitedUnlimited

For those cameras that support it, Arlo also offers continuous cloud recording; a plan that provides 14 days of video history costs $9.99/month per camera (or $99/year), and a 30-day history plan is $19.99/month per camera (or $199 per year).

What other smart-home devices does Arlo work with?

In addition to security cameras, Arlo also makes an audio doorbell that, when paired with one of its cameras, lets you see and talk to a visitor. The company also sells a security light/motion detector, which is weatherproof and has a rated brightness of 400 lumens. It's not as powerful as Ring's Floodlight Cam, but should provide some extra illumination outdoors.

Arlo Ultra

Arlo Ultra


If you have a smart speaker with Alexa, it can announce when someone rings your doorbell.

If you have an Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick (second generation and later) or a Fire Edition Smart TV, you can view a feed from your Arlo cameras on those Alexa-enabled displays. However, this doesn't work with the original Arlo camera.

Google Assistant

If you have a Chromecast device or a Google Assistant-enabled smart display — such as the Google Home Hub or the Lenovo Smart Display — you can view a feed from your Arlo cameras on that screen (except the original Arlo camera).

Apple HomeKit

Arlo's Ultra 4K and Arlo Pro 2 cameras will be able to work with Apple's smart-home platform by the end of the first quarter of 2019.

Arlo's cameras also work with SmartThings, IFTTT and Stringify.

Credit: Arlo

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.