Best home security camera: Wireless, wired, indoor & outdoor smart cam picks

Nest, Arlo, Ring, Eufy, Kasa and more: latest & greatest smart home Wi-Fi cams

Best home security camera 2021
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It didn’t take home security cameras long to become a firm fixture of the smart home. The best home security cameras are surging in popularity, offering peace of mind and acting as a strong security deterrent.

Whether they're solely for security, to act as a dedicated pet camera, or even a supercharged smart baby monitor, wireless home security cameras are versatile beasts - they can even act as smart motion sensors to trigger automations and routines.

These home security cameras are getting even better – with some offering 4K recording. built in motion detection, integration with home security systems, playback and smart features that help you make sense of large numbers of recorded clips.

And the good news is, while the heavy hitters at the upper-end of the market continue to gain new features and are busting at the seams with the latest technology, the lower end of the market has seen an absolute surge as of late.

It's now possible to pick up a great home security camera without spending more than $50. However, if you want the very best cutting edge hi-tech features you could well be looking at spending more than $250.

That's where this guide come in. It's a detailed look at everything you need to know about buying the latest and greatest home security cameras, from our in-depth reviews plus a in-depth explainer of some considerations you might want to know about before splashing your cash.

d-link smart home security camera

Smart home security cameras: Things to consider

Your first choice needs to be price, and that should extend beyond the upfront cost, which will start at around $50 and can move up to over $450 depending on the brand you go with and the camera’s features.

Most security cameras also have cloud subscription fees to contend with, which nets you online storage. In most cases, subscribing also gets you additional features.

For example, with the Arlo Smart Cloud Service you also get cloud activity zones and smart notifications, which can warn you about people, animals or vehicles, rather than just generic movement.

Each company approaches its cloud storage differently. For instance, Nest has its Nest Aware plans. A single monthly fee covers all of your cameras, but there are three options to choose from.

The basic plan gets you 30-days of video history for motion-activated events, and the next plan gets you 60-days of video history with the last 10 days continuously recorded. All Nest Aware plans add in activity zones and little extras, such as facial recognition on some models.

Some brands will offer you a small amount of cloud storage for nothing, others offer nothing for nothing, and some get around the problem by recording everything to a SD card for local storage.

That comes with its own issues (what happens when a burglar comes in and takes the camera and the evidence?). Some off-site storage is a must if you want to get serious about security.

Getting more common is support for Apple HomeKit Secure Video. Provided you have an iCloud subscription, you can use Apple’s cloud storage to keep your video footage, and use the Home app to control your cameras.

You do often sacrifice features that the camera’s native app provides to switch to Apple’s system, though.

We've outlined if there's a free cloud storage option and the cost of on-going subscriptions in every review.

What's a little hard to bear is that some manufacturers won’t enable some of your camera’s features – two-way talk, action zones, face recognition – if you don’t pay the subscription.

eve homekit security camera

The occasions where these cameras do the real business of recording and catching burglars are, hopefully, few and far between. So what these extras offer is everyday value, two-way talk for a home intercom especially.

The only essential features of these devices are that they can record videos and live stream video 24/7, that they have a night vision mode, that they can detect when there’s a person or motion, that they’ll record the footage when they do and that they’ll notify you on your phone.

Recording and streaming at Full HD resolution is the minimum because it means that you can zoom into the footage and get a decent look at the perp. If you want sharper footage and more detail, look for a camera that can shoot at 2K or 4K resolutions.

A wireless device is nice and mobile but, if you want to place your camera in a specific spot, then it’s not necessary. If you do go wireless, then make sure that the rechargeable battery life is very good.

Also, there's the indoor versus outdoor option – it's becoming more common for brands to offer security cameras that work both inside and outside of the house, although there are also dedicated indoor and outdoor cameras too.

Most outdoor cameras require a wired connection, which might put off those unwilling to get it professionally fitted. If you don't fancy having a wire hanging out of your window or splicing a cable off your mains then you might be best off with a 100% battery operated model.

With the outdoors, the other things you'll need to consider are weatherproofing, night vision and whether you want an attached light. Weatherproofing is given because your camera will need to stand up to the elements no matter where you live. We're talking dust, rain, birds, wind and maybe even some snow. Night vision speaks for itself, and a built-in motion-sensing light is extremely helpful in scaring the thievery out of potential intruders.

arlo ultra 2 camera

Best smart security camera: Arlo Ultra 2

From $299.99, Amazon |

The second generation of Arlo's flagship 4K camera, the Ultra 2 is the brand's top-of-the-line premium model, boasting a number of improvements over the original Ultra.

One of the biggest additions is a longer battery life (6 months, up from 3). There's also better connectivity as it now works with 5GHz Wi-Fi as well as boasting an increased 2.4GHz range.

In all other respects this is the same fantastic wireless, weatherproof 4K smart security camera.

The 180-degree field of view, built-in spotlight and siren, and completely wireless design are all on board... as is the frightingly high price tag.

Unlike many of Arlo's new cameras, the Ultra 2 requires a connection to a Smart Hub.

It will cost you $599 to get started with an Arlo Ultra 2 kit - which gets you two cameras and a hub. Or $299 to pick up a new camera and add it to your existing hub.

However, there isn't a more fully-featured battery-powered security camera out there. With crisp, 4K footage and an entirely wire-free design, Arlo's Ultra 2 is the ultimate smart security camera.

Battery life has improved and the AI-powered smart detection features are second to none, cutting down on nuisance alerts. If those things are worth the comparatively high price of Arlo to you, then you won't be disappointed.

Read our full Arlo Ultra 2 review.

rink stick up cam

Best Alexa compatible camera: Ring Stick Up Cam

Buy now: Amazon | $99

The Ring Stick Up Cam is built to work indoors and out, and comes in a plug-in, solar-powered or battery-powered model. All three models are completely weatherproof, making them easy to install outside.

The battery one we tested comes with a quick-release battery pack and the option to add a solar panel later, or even convert it into a plug-in camera by picking up an indoor/outdoor power adapter. The advantage of this dual power option is that the battery will act as a backup so your camera will keep going even it loses power.

The cam is 1080p HD meaning a nice crisp image with a field of view that spans 130 degrees horizontally. And while outdoor daytime footage wasn't top-notch, this camera is a lot cheaper than competitors and offers particularly impressive night vision that trounces a lot of the competition.

It's also got a built-in siren that's mighty loud – good for scaring off potential burglars, as well as two-way audio. That said, you'll need to pay a monthly fee of $3 if you want to access previously recorded footage (up to 90 days).

If you have a Ring Alarm, then the camera can be made to follow your alarm’s state, say turning off when you disable the alarm and on when you arm it. This is a powerful way of maintaining privacy and getting your camera to record videos only when you want it to.

For those of you who already use Ring products, adding the Stick Up Cam to your system is a breeze. It'll even automatically link with Alexa if you have the voice assistant set up so you can call up footage on any smart display or Fire-TV enabled device using commands like, "Alexa, show me my Stick Up Cam" or, "Alexa, show me the latest event from my backyard."

You can also have your speakers announce when motion is detected on one of your cameras, and even use the motion sensor in the device as a trigger for Alexa Routines.

Check out our Ring Stick Up Cam review.

nest cam iq indoor

Best Google Assistant camera: Nest Cam IQ Indoor

Buy now: Amazon | $249

The more advanced version of the indoor Nest Cam, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor built on what came before by adding a 4K sensor and HDR imaging.

The upgraded speaker and mics, with echo suppression and noise cancellation, really make a difference – the HD talk and listen feature is easily the best we’ve tested (and it’s subscription-free too, which is nice). You've also got Google Assistant built in here.

Although there are a tonne of great features you can tap into without topping up your initial outlay – such as night vision, motion and sound alerts, snapshot history, 1080p live views and a neat close-up tracking view (for that ultimate Baldwin in Sliver surveillance power trip) – you will have to cough up for the Nest Aware subscription service to make the most of this. Luckily, the price of that subscription has come right down.

Design wise, the Nest Cam IQ is a bit of a hefty beast and there is only a wired version available, which uses a USB-C cable; so don’t go thinking you can simply swap your old Nest Cam out for the newer IQ model and use your existing wiring.

The Nest app is great and super simple, giving you control over your various smart home devices based on their location.

The Home / Away function is superior to anything else we’ve tested too, as not only can your Nest Cam determine when you’re not around for security reasons, it can also do clever stuff like turn the heating off when you leave the house (if you’ve got a Nest Thermostat, that is).

Check out our full Nest Cam IQ Indoor review.

logitech circle view - best homekit camera

Best HomeKit security camera: Logitech Circle View

Buy now: Amazon, | $159.99

Built specifically to use with Apple HomeKit Secure Video, the Logitech Circle View could be the ideal security camera for Apple fans. The successor to the popular Circle 2, the View has similar specs, including 1080p video, a 180-degree field of view, two-way talk and IP64 weatherproofing.

The latter is particularly interesting, as it means that this camera can be used inside or out. If you do install outside, then just be aware that you’ll likely have to drill a hole in your house to feed the cable through.

Even inside, the 10-foot long white power cable is rather ugly against the black camera. This is doubly-so if you wall-mount the camera, as there’s no easy way of hiding this cable. We do like the ingenuity of the stand, which folds 180-degrees so that you can get privacy and stop the camera from seeing what you’re up to.

There’s no app for this camera, and it only works inside Apple HomeKit, where it appears as a camera, motion sensor and LUX sensor (light). Only the motion sensor can be currently used to trigger routines at the moment.

Thanks to the release of iOS 14, the camera now supports activity zones, so you can focus on the areas that you want to monitor. You also get person, animal and vehicle detection built-in.

Of course, video can be recorded to Apple’s secure servers thanks to HomeKit Secure Video, although you do have to have a HomeKit hub (a HomePod, Apple TV or iPad) to use this feature.

With its super-wide 180-degree field of view, this camera captures everything. Its 1080p video is really rather good with bold colors and excellent detail.

With its indoor/outdoor housing, this is a very flexible security camera that’s built for people with HomeKit.

Read our full Logitech Circle View review.

Best homekit security camera 2020

Decent HomeKit option: Ecobee SmartCamera

Buy now: Amazon, | $179

Best HomeKit smart camera is a bit of a vague term at the present - and given that this camera actually has Alexa baked in, you'd be right to question our thinking.

However, with HomeKit Secure Video still in its infancy, we feel more comfortable recommending a great security camera that works well with HomeKit, rather than one we haven't fully tested yet (we're looking at you Eve Cam and Logitech View) - but come back for a revision to this guide if they do end up impressing us.

Back to the Ecobee and what you do get, as mentioned, as well as the ability to sync up with Apple's Home app is Alexa built in; so it doubles up, somewhat as a smart speaker.

Nest Cam IQ users already have the Google Assistant built directly into their cameras but this is a first for Amazon's digital assistant.

Aside from the smart home voice controls on offer from the new SmartCam, it also offers a decent array of home security camera specs and features such as 1080p HD video with 180° field of view, person detection, activity zones, two-way talking, night vision and it also has a nifty white noise feature that makes it a pretty good smart baby monitor option.

The SmartCam is the face of Ecobee's new Haven home monitoring app, which uses not just the new smart security camera, but also the new SmartSensor for doors and windows, existing Ecobee temperature sensors and the smart thermostat to offer things like auto arming, geolocation setting and the like.

Read our full Ecobee SmartCamera review.

eufy smart security cam

Best subscription-free wireless camera: EufyCam 2

Buy now: Amazon, | From $299.99

Eufy has quickly proven itself to be up there with the best smart home companies, and the EufyCam 2 is yet another quality product. This model can do it all, with 1080p video recording, 365-day battery life, IP67 weatherproofing and no requirement for a cloud video subscription. Oh, and did we mention that it’s compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit, too?

Although the EufyCam 2 is wireless, this model has to connect to the Eufy HomeBase 2. You can buy a kit with everything that you need, and then buy additional security cameras as you need them up to 16 cameras.

The advantage of this system is that, as with Arlo cameras, you get excellent range thanks to a proprietary low-power wireless connection, rather than using regular Wi-Fi. And, the hub can be used for other Eufy devices, including its smart video doorbell and alarm system.

Video quality slightly lagged behind the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor during the day, although the video was still sharp. We found night-vision footage was better than Nest’s cameras.

There’s 16GB of storage on the hub, giving you free offline storage, although you can upgrade to Eufy’s cloud storage, which costs $2.99 a month for one camera for 30-day history, or $9.99 a month for up to 10 cameras.

You can use HomeKit Secure Video, but unless you’re deep into Apple’s ecosystem, there’s very little reason to do so, as you get more features and customization using Eufy’s app.

To help reduce notifications, the Eufy app lets you set activity zones and you can turn on people detection, too. Battery life is up to one year per camera, although how busy an area you’re monitoring will affect that.

If you want a top-quality, subscription-free wireless security camera system, this is a top choice.

Read our full EufyCam 2 review.

nest cam outdoor security camera

Great for outdoors: Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

$349, Amazon

A second entry for Nest, but if you're looking for something for the outdoors, this one's a doozy – albeit one with those same Nest Aware caveats we mentioned above for its indoor brethren. Like the Indoor, the IQ Outdoor features a bunch of advanced tracking skills, with a focus on recognizing and tracking people around your property.

It's noticeably bigger than its Indoor equivalent and the non-IQ Outdoor Nest Cam, but that means chancing burglars are more likely to notice it.

Installation, as with any outdoor bit of tech that requires wiring to the mains, is a bit of a faff. Essentially, you're going to have to drill a hole through the wall in order to get it plugged in. If you've got outdoor power, that'll work, but you'll have a job hiding the 7.5m cable.

The camera on the IQ Outdoor has a 1/2.5-inch, 8-megapixel (4K) color sensor, with 12x digital zoom and enhance, close-up tracking view and a 130-degree diagonal viewing angle. Like the Indoor variant, the camera actually zooms in and follows people around automatically and you'll get all the people and familiar person alerts too.

In order to deter any unwanted lingerers around your property, the IQ Outdoor features Nest's Talk and Listen HD audio tech, so you can shout at any strangers you don't like the look of – and they'll hear you clearly thanks to the big speaker on the base. You'll also hear their reply as a result of an upgraded 3-microphone array.

Google's Assistant isn't built in – for obvious reasons – but you can control on/off switching, and view the Nest stream on a Chromecast-enabled device through a Google Home speaker. Likewise with Alexa and an Echo device with a display.

Read our Nest Cam IQ Outdoor review.

arlo pro 4 camera

Easiest outdoor installation: Arlo Pro 4

From $199.99,

The Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera is the company's first flagship model to work without a hub or base station. If you do have an Arlo base station, you can connect the Pro 4 for extra features, local storage recording, an enhanced camera range and an improved battery life, but it's not a necessity.

For the standard setup you simply charge up the camera, open the Arlo app, follow the steps to add a camera, and hop onto your home Wi-Fi network.

The Pro 4 is completely wire free so you can put it anywhere. We tested it in a number of locations, including on a tree branch, on top of a chicken coop, and attached with a mount to the side of the garage, all places it would be impossible to get to with a wired cam.

As with the Arlo Pro 3, the Arlo 4 is a weatherproof outdoor camera with 2K HDR video, 12x digital zoom, infrared LEDs and a 160-degree field of view.

It also boasts motion and audio detection, auto-track and zoom capabilities, a built-in 80dB siren and - as the name implies - a high-powered spotlight.

It provides sharp 2K video, up to 2560 x 1440 and the HDR feature really helps improve the detail, especially when there's shadowy and bright spots in your view. And an adjustable field of view (160, 125 or 110-degrees) gives you plenty of options.

The zoom and track capability will automatically follow any moving object the camera spots and there are two types of night vision on offer, standard or color - courtesy of the spotlight.

Read our Arlo Pro 4 review.

netatmo camera with light and siren

Great all-rounder: Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera With Siren

Buy now: | $349

Netatmo is one of the biggest names in smart homes in Europe, and recently launched the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera With Siren; a smart security camera with the alarm built right in.

The new 'With Siren' model is actually identical to the old Netatmo Presence in every way, apart from the 105dB siren. The clue is in the name.

That means you're getting a Full HD weatherproof security camera (4MP sensor) with a 12W floodlight and a 100 degree field of view from a 20m range.

It's is a pretty unique offering that definitely screams “security” but at the same time taps nicely into Netatmo’s ever-growing portfolio of smart home products

One thing that's always set Netatmo's security cameras apart from its rivals are that footage is stored on an microSD card, which can also be encrypted and uploaded to Dropbox or your own FTP server.

Thanks to the company's 'deep learning algorithms', that are honed on the popular Welcome camera, the Presence is able to record and analyse, in real time, if someone or something is loitering around your premises. It pings you smart notifications in the simple to use Netatmo Security app, letting you know whether a person, car or animal has been seen. These notifications can also be customised depending on how much detection information you need.

And all of this subscription free. Netatmo offers a record videos to SD card option but also lets you store your footage to your Dropbox account, or an FTP server. It’s a neat approach that we’d like to see other brands offering up. Why should you pay for server space if you’ve already got plenty free somewhere else?

The Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera With Siren is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant; as well as being HomeKit friendly.

There’s no need for complicated installation and mounting. If you’ve already got an outdoor light on the side of your house, porch, garage or shed, the Netatmo can simply make use of the wiring already in place.

Best budget security cameras

While all of our choices above give you the absolute best image quality and the widest range of features, they’re all that little bit more expensive.

If you just want quality protection and are willing to sacrifice the odd feature here and there, then you can get cheaper options. Our guide to the best budget security cameras has our top choices, but here are three that particularly stand out.

tp link kasa spot cam

Best overall budget camera: TP-Link Kasa Spot KC105

$34.99, | Amazon

The TP-Link Kasa Spot KC105 is a basic security camera that focuses on getting the basics right. It has a 1080p sensor, and shoots some excellent video, both during the day and at night, equalling its big-name competition.

You don’t get any fancy features, such as people or face detection, but TP-Link does have activity zones to help reduce the number of alerts that you get. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant streaming are good to see, and you get free cloud storage (2 days’ history) and a microSD card slot for local storage.

If you’re on a tight budget and want the essentials covered, this is a great choice.

Read our full TP-Link Kasa Spot KC105 review.

eufy cam 2k

Best HomeKit Secure Video budget cam: Eufy Indoor Cam 2k Pan & Tilt

$51.99, | Amazon

Although one of the cheapest security cameras, the Eufy indoor Cam 2K Pan and Tilt is also one of the most feature-packed. As its name suggests, this model has a 2K resolution, shooting sharp and detailed video a step up from 1080p cameras.

This model has automatic Pan and Tilt, too, tracking and following subjects as they move around, effectively delivering a full 360-degree field of view.

There are even some neat modes, including Pet Command, which will look out for a pet entering an area it shouldn’t and issue a warning that you can record yourself.

You can record to a microSD card, but this camera supports HomeKit Secure Video if you’d rather use it through the Apple Home App. This disables some features, including Pet Mode, but it’s a trade-off that may be worth it if you want cheap cloud storage.

Read our full Eufy Indoor Cam 2k Pan and Tilt review.

4k smart security camera

Best-quality budget camera: Reolink RLC-810A

$95, | Amazon

The Reolink RLC-810A is a budget security camera that can shoot 4K video. You read that right, for less than $100, you get 4K video, which looks incredible and delivers a sharpness other cameras can only dream of during the day or night.

Build quality is also rather impressive, thanks to the metal, rather than plastic, housing. Getting the price down has meant some compromises, though: there’s no Wi-Fi, and you must plug this camera in via Ethernet. You can use PoE to deliver power over the Ethernet cable, although you’ll need to provide your own power source to do so.

You get basic camera control including activity zones, and schedules (one for notifications, one for when the camera can record), plus people and vehicle object detection. All video is recorded to a microSD card, inserted into the camera, and Reolink’s cloud service currently doesn’t support this model.

Although Reolink has Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant Skills, the RLC-810A isn’t supported at the moment.

Basic it may be, but the fact is that this camera shoots excellent video quality that’s far sharper than the majority of its competition. If you just want the best footage, this budget camera is fantastic.

Read our full Reolink RLC-810A review.

ezviz security camera

Smart home security cameras: Technical jargon explained


The size (in pixels) of the video that the camera shoots. Most cameras have at least a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080, which is the same as HD TV. At this resolution, you’ll get sharp enough video to see what’s going on in most cases, although some cameras can use high video compression, reducing image quality.

For more detail, you’ll need a camera that can shoot at 2K (2048 x 1080) or even 4K (3840 x 2060). The downside of higher resolution cameras is that they need more storage space to store the video files.

Night vision

The ability of a camera to shoot video when it’s dark. Most cameras use InfraRed (IR) LEDs to light up the night, shooting video in black and white.

Night vision means that you can see what’s going on at any time, although IR does tend to make the picture softer.

Some cameras use a variety of techniques to shoot color video at night, either using a spotlight to increase ambient light or more sensitive camera sensors. Full-color night vision will give you more detail.

wired security camera


These cameras have to be plugged into the mains, which usually makes them cheaper.

Another advantage is that you don’t have to think about dealing with batteries, and the cameras will keep working as long as they have power.


These battery-powered cameras are easier to place, as you don’t have to worry about running a power cable. You’ll need to keep them charged, and you typically pay more for the privilege.

Wireless cameras often have fewer features than their wired counterparts, relying on PIR motion detection (see below).

Motion detection

All security cameras can use motion detection to start recording automatically. There are two main methods. PIR motion detectors use the same kind of technology used in alarm motion sensors.

Typically you get PIR motion sensors on battery-powered cameras, as they use little juice. When motion is detected, the PIR sensor wakes up the main camera to start recording.

Plug-in cameras use the full picture and digitally detect motion. This method is often more accurate, and it’s easier to filter out areas of the picture that you don’t want with activity zones; few battery-powered cameras have activity zones, so tend to record and notify you more.

Activity zone

Activity zones let you draw on an image the areas that you want to monitor.

All other areas of the picture are ignored, so you’ll only get notification about movement in important places.

Object recognition

Cameras can often now detect certain types of objects. The most common categories are people, animals or vehicles.

Cameras that can spot these objects can be told to only notify you about the ones you’re interested in, so you may only want warnings when people are spotted. At the high-end, some cameras have facial recognition built-in, which lets it tell you who was spotted.

Two-way talk

With two-way talk, you can have a conversation with anyone that you can see in the camera’s live feed. It’s a useful way to scare people off, but many systems can suffer from a huge amount of lag, and you can be hard to hear.

If you want a more dedicated two-way talking system, a smart video doorbell may be a better option.

Field of View

Every camera has its field of view listed in degrees, usually listed as diagonal. The wider the number, the wider the field of view and the more the camera can see.

Typically speaking, 110-degrees is the minimum you want, with 120-degrees pulling in a bit more. Go for 130-degrees or higher if you want to see a lot of what’s going on.

This is particularly important outside, where you’ll have a larger area to cover; inside, where there are walls, you’ll hit natural barriers, and you’ll have more choice over where to place your camera, so going super-wide-angle isn’t as important.

security camera on google smart display

Smart assistant compatibility

Most cameras can integrate with a smart assistant, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Check that your camera can work with your voice assistant.

At the minimum, these skills will let you stream video to a smart display, such as an Amazon Echo Show. More advanced features can include the ability to arm or disarm your camera.

HomeKit Secure Video

If you find a camera that supports HomeKit Secure Video, then you can integrate the camera with the Apple Home app on your phone, and use Apple’s secure cloud-video storage.

This can save money, but be aware that using HomeKit Secure Video can disable some camera features that are only available using the native app and storage.

Cloud storage

Cloud storage keeps recorded footage online. You’ll normally need to subscribe to a plan, although some cameras have basic cloud storage for free.

The main advantage of cloud storage is that if your camera is damaged or stolen, all of your footage is securely stored.

Local storage

If you don’t want to pay for cloud storage, look out for local storage, which is usually provided by inserting a microSD card into a camera. With local storage, there are no fees to pay, but you’ll lose the footage if the camera is stolen.

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