Most smart home security cameras nowadays include some kind of cloud storage option. Your videos are automatically uploaded to the cloud, so if a burglar takes your camera they don't get your footage.
But what happens if your internet seizes, or your power goes out? Or what if you just don't want your home footage stored on a server somewhere?
Read this: The best smart home security cams
Luckily, there are smart security cameras that have local storage options. Some cameras, like the Netatmo Presence or D-Link's Omna 180 Cam, have microSD card slots so that you can add your own local storage.
We also recently reviewed the Arlo Pro 2, which has a USB socket on the hub, which enables you to hook up a hard drive for local storage. That's one of the easier and more expensive options, but if you're looking to spend a little less, we've got you covered with some options below:
Top smart cameras with local recording
Buy now: Amazon | $200
One of the downsides of using an Arlo camera is the reliance on the base station, which drives up costs and means having something else plugged into your router. However, aside from the benefits of extra range, the base station enables you to plug in an SD card for local recording. It's present on the Arlo Pro, Pro 2 and Ultra range ‚Äď and also on the 4G Arlo Go.
Buy now: Amazon | $25.99
One of the best home cameras around, especially when you consider the $50 price tag, and one that got a storming verdict in our full review. While sensitivity needs to be improved, it's a great home camera that also possesses the ability to bypass cloud storage through the microSD card in the back.
Buy now: Amazon | $29.99
Another budget option with microSD recording, the Ezviz Mini offers multiple ways to record. However, video quality also isn‚Äôt the best you can find on the market. Like many capturing at 720p, it suffers with sunlight and brighter rooms, while the night vision range drops off pretty dramatically after a few metres. But if you're looking for a privacy-first option, it's worth a look.
Netatmo Smart Indoor Camera
Buy now: Amazon | $189.99
A veteran of the smart security camera world, the Netatmo Smart Indoor Camera is still a power house. It's one of the few cameras to use genuine facial detection to reduce false positives, and features other AI based alerts such as vehicles. On a camera front it's 1080p ‚Äď and has a microSD card underneath for local recording.
How to record locally on the Arlo 2 Pro
1. Plug a FAT32 formatted USB device (up to 2TB) into the USB slot on the back of your Arlo hub.
2. Head to the Arlo app.
3. Choose Settings > My Devices and choose your base station.
4. Tap Local Storage.
5. You should see a green circle next to USB Device 1.
6. If you don't mind data being overwritten when your device becomes full make sure to choose Automatic Overwrite.
How to record locally on the Netatmo Presence
1. The first thing you're going to have to do is make sure you have the right microSD card. Some cameras only support microSD card slots up to a certain storage level. For instance, the Omna only supports microSD cards up to 128GB.
2. Once you do that, you'll need to insert the card into your security cam. Often, like on the Netatmo Presence, these microSD slots are located on the bottom of the device.
3. Record! This is the simple step. These cameras aren't always continually recording, as that'll fill up your SD card real quick. Instead, they start recording to the card when motion has been detected.
4. Depending on your brand, you may be able to adjust how long it records and how sensitive the motion sensor is. Use this to better manage your storage. If you live in a home with lots of activity, you may not want it to record great amounts every time someone walks by.
How to watch back your footage
Once your camera is all set up and recording, you're good to go. Some companies also offer cloud storage at the same time. Others, like Netatmo, allow you to save your videos to Dropbox. However, once your storage is all filled up, you're going to need to either replace or extract that footage.
1. Once your camera is all full, turn off your camera.
2. Turn over your camera and pull out that microSD card.
3. Now head over to your computer. You may need some kind of dongle that allows you to read microSD cards. Once you get one of those, just plug it in.
4. On your computer, you'll see your microSD card slot pop up. On macOS, you'll see it on the right side of Finder. On Windows 10, you'll see it on the right side of File Explorer.
5. Open up the folder your footage is in and drag and drop it to the desktop.
6. Watch your footage.
You're all done! You've successfully pulled that video footage out of your smart security camera. Just remember: Keep the footage safe. You may want to invest in an external hard drive that you can store the footage in, just in case.