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

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

Best home security camera 2020
The Ambient is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

It didn’t take smart 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.

Scroll down for a detailed look at everything you need to know about buying the latest and greatest home security cameras, from our in-depth reviews.

We've picked out the best indoor and outdoor home security cameras, read on to find out more.


Jump to the information you need


The best home security camera: Wireless and wired cameras tested

Best smart security camera: Arlo Ultra

From $399.99, Amazon | arlo.com

The Arlo Ultra brings 4K to the fore while retaining the 100% wireless, battery-operated designs, weatherproofed for indoor and outdoor use.

The design also sports an upgraded base station for handling that extra video, although older cameras are backwards compatible.

The footage is stunning and super detailed – enabling you to zoom in on events for a clearer look, capturing faces, number plates and garden visitors in better detail.

However, there is a catch. Despite charging $399 for a single camera and base station, Arlo also charges $1.49 to get Premium Video.

You do get seven days storage for free, 4K streaming, 180 degree angle lens, night vision, motion/sound alerts, two-way audio, microSD recording (and local storage) are also all included. But many other key features – detection of people/animals/cars/packages, smart action areas, lock-screen previews – are behind a paywall, which starts at $9.99 per month.

However, the added HDR means that even at 1080p, it records video in much better quality than the Arlo Pro 2 or 3. And with a 180 degree FOV with some neat image flattening to take out the fish eye, it's an even better performer. What's more, the rechargeable battery life is barely diminished, and you should be able to get three weeks between charges, even in moderately busy areas.

The Arlo also gets our pick of best outdoor security camera right now.

What we love

  • Brilliant 4K footage
  • HDR makes 1080p superior
  • Great battery life

What we don't love

  • Plans are expensive
  • New base station required

Read our full Arlo Ultra review.


Best home security camera 2020: Indoor and outdoor smart cam top picks

Best Alexa compatible camera: Ring Stick Up Cam

Buy now: Amazon | $99.99

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).

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 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.

What we love

  • Good night vision
  • Excellent Alexa integration
  • Slick looking design
  • Simple installation

What we don't love

  • No customizable motion zonesCloud subscription needed really
  • No Google Assistant or HomeKit

Check out our Ring Stick Up Cam review.


Best wireless home security camera

Best Google Assistant camera: Nest Cam IQ Indoor

Buy now: Amazon, nest.com | $249,

The more advanced version of the indoor Nest Cam, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor builds 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).

What we love

  • The Nest ecosystem integration
  • HDR close-up tracking
  • HD two-way audio

What we don't love

  • Extra features cost more
  • Bulky design
  • Mains only – no battery option

Check out our full Nest Cam IQ Indoor review.


Best homekit security camera 2020

Best HomeKit security camera: Ecobee SmartCamera

Buy now: Amazon, ecobee.com | $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.

What we love

  • HomeKit enabled
  • Built-in Alexa
  • Siren on board

What we don't love

  • Not HomeKit Secure Video
  • No Google or IFTTT
  • No local storage

Read our full Ecobee SmartCamera review.


Best home security camera: Smart wireless and wired cameras tested

Best budget security camera: Kasa Spot

Buy now: Amazon | $49.99

Sure, the Wyze Cam (and also the Blink Mini) is cheaper, but we've found the Kasa Spot much more reliable. You're getting several key features including remote viewing and motion alerts, for a price that's under $50.

Designed for the indoors (if you want something for outside, Kasa has a different camera), the Spot looks pretty basic and feels designed for its price, but it's perfectly fine. It records video at 1080p HD too, which is less than some of the 4K contenders above.

More impressive is how many features TP-Link has crammed in here. The 130-degree field of view feels generous for the price, as does the inclusion of night vision (which works great, by the way). There's two-way audio for yelling at burglars/dogs/children and integration with Alexa and Google Assistant.

The apps let you set up activity zones and adjust the motion detection sensitivity. The Kasa does have a paid subscription service, but it hardly feels essential. You can keep up to two days of recordings (or up to 1GB of footage) for free, which should be enough for most people.

But spend $4 a month or $40 and you can knock it up to 14 days and a limit of 14GB of storage space.

What we love

  • No hub required
  • Good video quality
  • Slick apps

What we don't love

  • No 4K recording
  • Cheap-ish design

Read our full Kasa Spot review.


The best outdoor home security camera for your smart home

Great for outdoors: Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

$349, Amazon | nest.com

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.

What we love

  • Packed with intelligent tracking
  • 12 x HRD zoom
  • HD two-way audio

What we don't love

  • Expensive
  • DIY skills required for installation
  • Supersight can be temperamental

Read our Nest Cam IQ Outdoor review.

Best home security camera 2020: Indoor and outdoor smart cam top picks

Great all-rounder: Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera With Siren

Buy now: netatmo.com | $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 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.

What we love

  • Uses existing wiring
  • Siren and light on board
  • Netatmo ecosystem is strong

What we don't love

  • Expensive
  • Not HomeKit Secure Video


Best home security camera 2020: Indoor and outdoor smart cam top picks

Smart home cameras: Things to consider

The first thing to consider, naturally, is price. And not just the upfront price, which will start at around $100 and move up to over $450 depending on the brand you go with. No, you need to also consider the hidden fees of subscription services.

What you're really going to be paying for here is storage. Each company does storage a little bit differently. For instance, Nest has its Nest Aware plan. It comes in three storage tiers, allowing you to keep footage from three, 10 and 30 days, but it also comes with several smart features - like facial recognition - to make things a little more tempting.

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 pinches the camera and the evidence?). Some off-site storage is a must. 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. 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 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 preferable because it means that you can zoom into the footage and get a decent look at the perp.

A wireless device is nice and mobile but, if 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 also dedicated indoor and outdoor cameras too.

Best home security camera 2020

Security cameras: Battery operation vs. weatherproofing

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.

Related stories

robot vacuums Roborocks compared: S6 MaxV, S6, S6 Pure, S5 Max, S5, S4 Max and S4... what's different?
security cameras Wyze Cam v3 keeps the $20 price-tag but adds weatherproofing
smart home Connected cooking: The best smart kitchen devices and appliances
smart tv and streaming The best smart TV platforms
security cameras TP-Link ​Kasa Spot (KC105) review: Budget security cam really hits the spot
smart home Best smart home devices: Your shopping list for the best connected tech