What to Look for in a Security Camera in 2021
In today’s world, where safety is so important, you’ll want to choose a security camera that’s right for your home. These cameras have a variety of price ranges, and some also have subscription plans to consider. In order to choose a security camera wisely, you need to think about what you want to use it for and where you’re going to put it.
Security cameras come with a wide variety of features, including motion sensors, two-way audio, night vision or infrared mode, and video storage. Some cameras even come with premium features such as high-definition recording and streaming and an adjustable field of view.
Battery life is also important if you’re considering wireless cameras. Cameras that continuously monitor can run out of batteries in just a few weeks or months, so you may need to change or recharge them frequently. However, some cameras are designed only to start recording when they’ve detected motion. This can help preserve battery life tremendously.
Of course, if you go with a wired camera, you won’t need to worry about battery life at all—it’ll just take a little more time to set up and install.
If you plan on setting up security cameras outside, you must ensure that they’re weather-proof. Look for cameras that can withstand getting soaked in the rain without shorting out. You’ll also want cameras that can be securely mounted somewhere high up where thieves won’t be able to reach. You don’t want the camera itself stolen, after all.
Now, let’s dive deeper into some of the best security cameras on the market.
- ✓ 2K HDR video with a 160-degree lens
- ✓ Night vision with color
- ✓ Affordable
- ✓ Has a spotlight to scare off intruders
- ✓ Loud built-in siren
- ✓ Works with all major smart home ecosystems
- ✗ Must purchase Arlo Smart subscription to access some features
If you’re looking for a reliable and wireless security camera that does it all, the Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera is the best option. Not only is it priced affordably at $200, but you can also set it up within minutes via Wi-Fi.
The camera captures video in 2K HDR quality, which is a higher resolution than most competitors. It also uses a wide 160-degree diagonal view lens to see far beyond the traditional camera. You can view everything in the footage perfectly, even when you zoom in.
There’s also night vision with color, so you can easily see people, animals, and objects in the dark. For added protection at night, there’s a light that shines from the camera to ward off potential intruders.
Arlo’s Pro 4 camera has two-way audio so that you can talk to whoever is in the area—whether they’re a friend or a stranger. It’s also weather-resistant, so you can leave it hooked up in the rain, wind, or snow all year round. The camera comes with several premium features, including compatibility with Alexa, Apple Homekit, SmartThings, and Google Assistant.
You don’t need to constantly watch the Pro 4, either. The camera sends notifications to your phone and can tell the difference between people, vehicles, and animals, so you won’t get notified by just anything. In case of an emergency, you can use the built-in siren to scare off unwelcome guests.
You can purchase the plan for $3/month to access all your stored videos and audio recordings at any time. These only last up to 30 days, though, so you’ll need to save them before they’re gone.
The subscription plan is really the only downside to the Arlo Pro 4, though—if you’re alright with the extra charge, this will be a great security camera for most people.
Best Security Camera Overall
Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera
The Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera captures video in 2K HDR quality with a wide-angle lens. For an affordable camera, it’s a steal.
- ✓ 1080p HD quality
- ✓ Cheap but quality option
- ✓ Adjustable spotlight for night vision with color
- ✓ Built-in siren
- ✓ Free 14-day cloud storage
- ✓ Easy to use and control through Wyze app
- ✓ IFTTT compatibility
- ✗ Uses a maximum 32GB microSD card
Not looking to spend much on a security camera? Then get the Wyze Cam V3 Spotlight. It’s a relatively cheap wired option that costs $53, but it still serves as a great security camera that will help keep your home safe.
The V3 captures 1080p video, which is the same resolution that most security cameras have. The quality is high enough to see everything in the footage clearly. It can be hard to see in the dark without colored night vision, but the V3 uses a motion-activated spotlight to help you see in the dark instead. As a bonus, you can adjust the brightness of the spotlight.
The camera has two-way audio so that you can communicate with anyone on the other side. With the motion detector that detects both motion and sound, you can respond to anyone or anything in real-time. There’s even a built-in siren to scare off trespassers.
You can keep Wyze’s V3 outside all year long as it’s IP65 weather-resistant. Just make sure the wires are far out of reach so nobody can cut them. You can control and see everything through the Wyze app (on Android, iPhone, and iPad), which is handy when you’re away from home.
All footage is saved for free on cloud storage for up to 14 days, and you can access it on the Wyze app. The camera uses a maximum 32GB microSD card, which allows you to record non-stop. Unfortunately, this means you’ll need to empty the storage whenever it gets full, but you don’t need to pay an extra subscription charge, so it’s a decent trade-off.
Best Budget Security Camera
Wyze Cam V3 Spotlight
Looking for a relatively cheap security camera? You’ll love the V3 as it records in 1080p HD, has two-way audio, a built-in siren, and comes with a spotlight to see in the dark!
- ✓ 130-degree diagonal lens
- ✓ 1080p HD quality with HDR
- ✓ Works wireless and wired
- ✓ One hour of saved footage when internet is offline
- ✓ Designed to withstand all weather conditions
- ✓ Affordable
- ✗ Only saves up to 3 hours of clips without plans
- ✗ On the larger size
The Nest Cam is the perfect choice for those looking for a security camera to set up outside. Pricing at $180, the Nest Cam is expensive but it’ll be a great addition to your home security.
Unlike previous Nest models, this newest security camera is completely wire-free. It runs on a battery, but you can wire it up instead so that you never have to worry about recharging or replacing the battery. If you choose to wire it, you’ll need to get weather-proof cables that don’t come with the camera.
Of course, the camera itself is weather-resistant. It’s designed to last through any condition, so you don’t need to worry about Mother Nature breaking it. It also uses a magnetic mount that securely fastens in hard-to-reach places, so installation is really easy.
The Nest Cam records in 1080p HD video with HDR for clear footage and has a 130-degree diagonal lens. There’s night vision, and when combined with HDR, you’ll get a clear image when it’s very bright out or when there’s low light. The camera runs on Wi-Fi, but if your internet ever goes down, Nest Cam will save up to one hour of footage as a backup.
You can control the camera through the Google Home app on Android or iPhone. From there, you can see what has happened in the past three hours and talk through the microphone with the camera’s two-way audio. Nest Cam can tell the difference between people, alarming noises, and vehicles, and you can change the notification settings for each.
You’ll need to purchase a Nest Aware plan starting at $6 per month or $60 per year to save up to 60 days of event video history and 10 days of continuous video history.
- ✓ Relatively cheap
- ✓ Works with Alexa
- ✓ Works wireless or wired
- ✓ Two-way audio with noise cancellation
- ✓ Integrates well with other Ring products
- ✓ Records in 1080p HD quality
- ✗ No colored night vision
- ✗ Requires Ring Protect plan to review and save footage up to 60 days
If you’re looking for a wireless security camera that’s easy to set up and use, Ring has you covered. The Ring Stick Up Cam Battery is priced relatively low at $100, which is incredibly affordable compared to other Ring products.
Setting up this Stick Up Cam is easy, and you can use it indoors and outdoors as it’s weather-resistant. You can place it on any flat surface, or take the versatile mounting bracket and stick it to a wall. Since the camera is wireless, you just pop in a battery and recharge or replace it when it’s low. Alternatively, you can plug it in so you’ll never have to worry about battery life, though that does add wires to the equation.
The camera requires Wi-Fi, and it captures video in 1080p HD. There is night vision, but it’s not in color, making it slightly more difficult to see in the dark. If this isn’t to your liking, you can always set up a motion-detecting light beside the camera so you can catch whatever is going on at night, or pick up another option.
The Ring Cam has two-way audio, so you’re able to talk through the camera from your phone, tablet, or Echo device as you receive real-time alerts. You can control everything through the Ring app on Apple devices or Android, which is convenient if you have multiple Ring products. The camera even works with Alexa.
You’ll need a plan that starts at $3 per month or $30 per year to review, share, and save footage that your Ring camera records.
Best Wireless Security Camera
Ring Stick Up Cam Battery
The Ring Stick Up Cam is an inexpensive but great choice for wireless security. It’s weather-proof, runs on long battery life, and mounts on any surface.
- ✓ Large microSD capacity of 128 GB
- ✓ No subscription required
- ✓ Saved videos are completely saved in private
- ✓ Lights up when motion is detected
- ✓ Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
- ✓ Records in 1080p quality
- ✗ Requires an AC extension if the 20 feet cable is too short
- ✗ Not compatible with eufy HomeBase
Dealing with limited storage can be troublesome, and that’s why we recommend the eufy C22 Security Solo Cam. Priced at $80, and it’s one of the best wired security cameras with built-in storage that doesn’t rely on a subscription.
For starters, the C22 continuously records video using a microSD card. The card can’t be bigger than 128 GB, but that’s plenty of storage space for a typical home. However, once the card reaches max capacity, you’ll need to clear the footage.
If you’re not keen on emptying a microSD card periodically, you shouldn’t set the camera to record continuously, and instead only record when the eufy camera detects movement. The C22 captures video in 1080p quality, which will take about 12 days of continuous recording to fill up a 128 GB microSD card.
All footage is stored locally and accessible at any time through the eufy Security app, where you can also control various features and settings. The camera is oddly not compatible with the eufy Homebase app, however, so if you were hoping for an integrated ecosystem you’ll be disappointed.
The camera comes with a 20-feet cable and uses a magnetic mount to stick onto any surface. If the cable’s too short, you’ll need an extension for the AC outlet rather than the USB extension to avoid malfunctions. Thankfully, you mount the C22 inside or outside, as it’s completely weather-proof.
The camera lights up when it detects motion to illuminate the surrounding area, giving you a clearer picture of what’s going on. This also allows it to record with color at night, which is an excellent bonus. The C22 works with Alexa and Google Assistant to help protect your home hands-free.
Best Security Camera with Built-In Storage
eufy C22 Security Solo Cam
Eufy’s C22 Security Solo Cam holds a massive 128 GB microSD card. It’s perfect for those who don’t want a subscription-based service.
- ✓ Connects to 2.4 and 5.0 GHz networks
- ✓ Works with Alexa
- ✓ 1080p HD quality
- ✓ Records in full color 24/7
- ✓ Can hardwire to existing doorbell for constant power
- ✓ Visitors can leave a message if you’re unavailable
- ✗ Slightly expensive but offers great value
- ✗ Requires Ring Protect Plan to review and save footage up to 60 days
Ever used a Ring Doorbell before? If not, make sure you get your hands on the Ring Video Doorbell 4. We chose this $200 camera as the best doorbell option because of its premium features and reliability.
Ring is an extremely popular brand that’s known for providing doorbell security, and the Doorbell 4 is no exception. Although it’s on the pricer side for a doorbell camera, it will help you feel much safer as strangers walk by your home.
You can power the camera using a rechargeable battery. Alternatively, you can hardwire it with your existing doorbell wires for constant power. The Ring camera requires Wi-Fi and connects to a 2.4 or 5.0 GHz network.
The Ring Video Doorbell 4 has a video quality of 1080p HD video and records in full color day or night. When it detects motion, you can watch a pre-roll video from your phone, so you never miss who’s at your front door. You can even speak through the camera as there’s two-way audio, and visitors can leave a message if you’re not available.
You can control the camera through the Ring app on iPhone or Android, as well as change settings such as privacy zones. The Ring doorbell works with Alexa and does an exceptional job detecting motion–at least compared to previous models.
You’ll need a that starts at $3/month or $30/year to review, share, and save footage that your Ring camera records.
Best Doorbell Camera
Ring Video Doorbell 4
Ring’s Video Doorbell 4 is a popular addition to the Ring line. Hook it up to your existing doorbell or use a rechargeable battery to monitor your front door.