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 ($129 at Amazon). 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 Security Camera News
- The Amazon Cloud Cam offers 1080p resolution,night vision and two-way audio for a reasonable price. The Cloud Cam also supports Alexa, so you can do things like ask the video feed to show up on your Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire TV or Fire Tablet. Plus, it works with a new service called Amazon Key; when linked with certain smart locks, you can view and unlock your front door for deliveries. However, other security cams offer even deeper smart home integration.
- The Arlo 2 Pro records in 1080p (up from 720p in the Arlo Pro), and still offers such amenities as 130 degrees of view, night vision, motion detection, and free 7-day storage. Plus, you can also view feeds on the Amazon Echo Show. The Arlo Pro 2 Add-on Camera costs $219.99, and will work with current Arlo systems. The Arlo Pro 2 Security Camera System with two cameras and a base station costs $479.99.
- Canary is adding person detection to all its cameras, and is offering this feature free of charge. Now, users will receive specific alerts if the camera detects a person. It's part of Canary Vision, a suite of machine-learning and AI tools, and will be rolling out new features in the near future.
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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