Skip to main content

Best home security cameras in 2020

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

When you're looking for the best home security camera, you have a lot of options, many of which cost less than $100. This is both good and bad; there are a lot of great budget models, but there are also just as many that have blurry video and limited features. So it's good to do your research before buying a security camera.

Apart from providing a quality image day or night, the best 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 even have built-in speakers, so you can talk with whoever you see, or sound an alarm.

Some of the best home security cameras can be connected to other products, such as smart locks and smart lights. So, for example, if a camera detects motion, it can automatically turn on your lights, to ward off intruders or welcome guests. 

What are the best home security cameras?

After testing dozens of wired and wireless options, the best home security camera is the Arlo Q ($149). It records high-definition, 1080p video both day and night. More than that, we found that Arlo's software and app is among the best among home security cameras, offering a wide range of customizable features in an intuitive format. And, while the Arlo Q has seven days of free cloud storage, if you want more storage — as well as additional features such as customizable motion zones — Arlo's  subscription plan is one of the most affordable of all the home security cameras we tested. However, the Arlo Q has to be plugged into a power outlet. 

If you're looking for a fully wireless, battery-operated device, our favorite home security camera is the Arlo Pro 2. Like the Arlo Q, the Arlo Pro 2 captures video at a resolution of 1080p, has two-way talk capabilities, and its rechargeable battery can last for up to six months.

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. 

In order to address the shortage of the best webcams, Wyze released a firmware update and a set of instructions, which lets you turn its camera into a webcam. However, you don't be able to use it as a security camera until you revert the firmware back to its original state. Here's how to use your Wyze camera as a webcam.

The best home security cameras you can buy today

Best home security cameras: 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 $3/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. The square-shaped Arlo Q needs to be plugged into a power outlet and isn't waterproof, but it's the best camera for monitoring the interior of your house or apartment.

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 start at $3 per month for a single camera, or $10/month for up to five cameras, and gets you 30 days of rolling cloud storage.

Read our full Arlo Q review.

Best home security cameras. 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

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
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. As its name suggests, it can record video at a resolution of 1080p, and while the quality isn't up to the same par as the Arlo Q, it's still sharp enough to see who's there.

There's no subscription service, but the Wyze Cam 1080p comes with two weeks of free cloud storage — though clips are limited to 14 seconds — 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 Pro 2. Credit: Arlo

Arlo Pro 2

3. 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 $3/month

Clean, intelligent interface
Very good daylight video quality
Free seven-day rolling cloud storage
Can login from only one device at a time
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. It has both a microphone and a speaker, so you can talk to whoever you see in front of the camera.

You'll also get Arlo's generous cloud-subscription plan, which offers seven days' worth of footage for free—although you lose out on some features, such as customized motion zones. Subscription plans start at $3 a month for a single camera, and gets you 30 days of rolling cloud storage, too. It's the best home security camera for those who want great video at a reasonable price.

Read our full Arlo Pro 2 review.
  

Best home security cameras: Arlo Ultra. Credit: Arlo

Arlo Ultra

4. 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
Comprehensive, easy-to-use software
Good audio
Can log in from only one device at a time
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. 

All of this will cost you, though: A single camera (with the hub) is $399, and extra cameras are $299 each. The Arlo Ultra doesn't come with a free tier of cloud storage, so you have to spend at least $3 per month if you want to save any videos. And if you want to save 4K videos, it’s an extra $1.99 per camera per month, on top of the monthly plan, the latter of which is waived for the first year. But if you want the absolute best when it comes to video quality, the Arlo Ultra has it.

Read our full Arlo Ultra Review.

Best home security cameras: Blink XT2. 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
Weatherproof
Doesn't work natively with Google Home
No person recognition

The Blink XT2 is the best home security camera for those looking for a truly wireless option for less than $100. The XT2's camera runs off two AA batteries, and communicates wirelessly with a small base station that's connected to your Wi-Fi network. 

The XT2's case is weatherproof, so you can stick it either indoors or outside, and comes with a convenient mounting bracket. While not tops, 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). Because Blink (and Ring) are owned by Amazon, the Blink app also has a connection to Ring's Neighbors app, where you can see a feed of other incidents in your neighborhood, and post videos from your Blink camera. Blink's 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: Deep Sentinel. Credit: Deep Sentinel

Deep Sentinel (Image credit: Deep Sentinel)

6. 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
Quick response
Clear, loud audio
Only a guard can sound the siren
Low-resolution video

The Deep Sentinel is unlike every other home security camera. That's because when the camera 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, 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. And, the resolution of the video tops out at 480p, as it prioritizes the smoothness of the video stream over its definition.

You could spend a similar amount for the best 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: 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
Impressive night vision
Programmable with Nest Protect and Nest Thermostat
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.
  

Best home security cameras: Ring Floodlight Cam. 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

The Ring Floodlight Cam combines two essential devices in one: A home security camera and a motion-activated floodlight. When the Floodlight camera detects movement, it turns on its two powerful LED beams as well as its sharp 1080p camera, and starts recording. The Floodlight Cam also has a loud speaker, so you can talk to whoever's in front of the camera, and hear their responses. 

Ring's app offers a variety of settings, such as custom motion zones, scheduling and more. Add to that Ring's neighborhood-watch feature, which lets you see what's happening in your area from other Ring users, as well as from your local police and fire departments. (You can also post your own videos to the Neighbors app). Unfortunately, to record and share video, you'll need to subscribe to Ring's cloud storage plans, which start at $3 per month.

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
Can access from only one device at a time per account
Limited sharing

The Arlo Pro is the company's first wireless home security camera, and though it's been eclipsed in features and resolutions by newer models, the original still holds up well. It's an easy to use camera with a bevy of customizable controls. It runs on a rechargeable battery, and has a weatherproof case that protects it from the elements. 

The Arlo Pro's resolution is 720p, much lower than the 1080p or even 4K cameras that Arlo now offers. But, the Arlo Pro's feed is still sharp enough to make out visitors or anything that wanders in front of the camera. As with the Arlo Pro 2, the Arlo Pro comes with seven days of cloud storage for free, but if you want anything more — as well as features such as customizable motion zones — you'll need to cough up at least $3 per month, the price of the company's starting subscription. 

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
Cord isn't fully weatherproof

The Kasa Cam Outdoor is a good all-around weatherproof home security camera that costs less than $100. However, there are a few tradeoffs with this camera. Unlike other outdoor cameras on this list, the Kasa Cam has to be plugged in to an outlet to receive power, and while the camera is weather-resistant, the connection between its cable and power supply is not. 

Thanks to its 1/2.7-inch, 2 megapixel CMOS sensor, daytime 1080p video from the Kasa Cam Outdoor was excellent, but nighttime video was less defined; we found it was hard to make out people's faces. Kasa's app is easy to use, and lets you set up such things as custom motion zones and schedules. 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

Clean, easy-to-navigate web portal and mobile apps
Tamper-proof design
Deep feature set
Key features available only to subscribers
No local storage
Expensive

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is one of the most expensive home security cameras around, but it's also one of the smartest, too. 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 has to be plugged in to work — no battery option here, sorry — but the camera comes with a 25-foot power cord, which should help with installation.

The Nest Cam has a 1/2.5-inch, 8-megapixel (4K) CMOS sensor and 130-degree wide-angle glass lens; although it captures 4K, it only delivers 1080p, which results in much more detailed images than with a 1080p sensor. What's more, the Nest Cam's AI 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.
  

How to choose the best home security camera for you

When shopping for a home security camera, the first thing you'll need to consider is if you're planning to mount the camera indoors our outside. Only those cameras that are designed to withstand the elements should be placed on the outside of your house. 

And, with outdoor cameras, you also have to decide if you want a battery-operated model or one that has to be plugged in. The former are easier to install, but you'll have to recharge or change their batteries every few months. The latter might require you to install an outlet or drill holes through your wall, but then you won't have to worry about it afterwards.

Most home security cameras have a resolution of 1080p, but that doesn't mean they all deliver the same quality. Cheaper cameras tend to have smaller image sensors and less powerful processors, so a person's face might be blurred more, especially if they're moving or you're capturing video at night. 

You also want to think about what each home security camera offers in terms of video storage. Most will let you store videos in the cloud, but many require you to pay a subscription to do so. A few cameras have memory card slots, so you can save video locally; however, if someone steals the camera, you lose your recordings with it. Be sure to check out our comparison of which home security camera has the best storage plan.

How we test home security cameras

To find out which is the best home security camera, we set up each of the models inside or outside a home, noting the difficulty or ease of installation. We then use the camera over a period of several days. The first thing we look at is the quality of the video it records, both day and night. As a person walks through the frame, were their faces clear and well-defined, or was it a blurry mess?

We also look at the features that are available through the camera's app. Does it have such things as customizable motion zones? If you live on a busy street, you don't want the camera recording video and alerting you every time a car drives by. A good home security camera should also have a scheduling feature, so that you can turn it off while you're home, and on when you leave. 

Last, we also consider how much it costs to view, save and share recorded video. While some cameras still let you view a few days of recorded video, the trend has been to only let you watch live video from your camera unless you sign up for a subscription. That means you can't look back a few hours or days to see who was walking through your yard. And, most subscription plans also include extra features, such as custom motion zones.

  • 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