Need to keep an eye on your abode from anywhere? Small, standalone Wi-Fi security cameras (also called IP cameras) are easy to set up, can stream video to your phone, tablet or PC, and will send you notifications if they detect motion or loud noises. Most cameras also provide night vision and automatic motion-activated recording.
We tested several of the best IP cameras on the market and rated each based on its performance, ease of use and affordability. Based on these criteria, our top pick is the Netgear Arlo Q. We found that it had the best software, the most flexible options and the most affordable cloud-storage subscription plan of the cameras we tested. Our best value is the Belkin Netcam HD+. Although it delivers only 720p resolution, you can find it for less than $100, and it works with WeMo smart home devices.
Latest News & Updates (May 2018)
- Ezviz cameras now work with Google Assistant-enabled devices, such as the Google Home Mini. Using voice commands, Ezviz owners can turn their cameras on or off. Only the Mini O, Mini O 1080p, Mini 360 Plus, Mini Plus, Mini Trooper, Husky, ezGuard 1080p, and ez360 Pano are compatible, though.
- Amazon is currently offering a deal on its Cloud Cam; a two-pack is $199 (a discount of $40), and a three-pack is $289—a discount of $70. We've also reviewed Amazon Key, a service which combines Amazon's cloud cam with a smart lock, and lets approved delivery people to drop off Amazon Prime packages inside your front door.
- Canary is offering its View, Flex, and All in One cameras for free or at a reduced cost with the purchase of a one- or two-year subscription to Canary's subscription plan, which costs $99/year. With that, you get 30 days of video storage and two-way talk capabilities. To see how Canary stacks up against its competition, check out our comparison chart of cloud-storage plans.
- The Nest Cam IQ indoor now has Google Assistant built in; if you update its software, you will be able to interact with Google Assistant through the camera the same as you would with other smart speakers, such as the Google Home Mini.
How We Test Security Cameras
We evaluate each Wi-Fi security camera's design, setup process, feature set, mobile app, video performance and overall value. In terms of design, we note each camera's aesthetics but pay particular attention to its size relative to other cameras.
We penalize a camera if it requires an excessive amount of time to set up, or suffers from a confusing setup process. We also dock points if a camera lacks important features offered by the competition, such as programmable security modes or scheduled recordings. However, this can be offset if a camera provides other unique or particularly helpful features.
We rate each camera's mobile app for its reliability and its design, and pay particular attention to the intuitiveness of the interface. We gauge performance by the camera's resolution and field of view, the reliability of remote viewing and the quality of the video (colors and detail).
Finally, we factor in whether a camera offers cloud storage for recorded video clips. Although manufacturers charge an extra fee for this service, cloud storage lets you access video without the hassle of removing a storage card from the camera and inserting it into your computer using an adapter. Cameras that use only local storage also run the risk of losing any recorded video if the camera itself is stolen.
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