The best Alexa smart home cameras

Invited Alexa into your home? Check these out

The best Alexa smart home cameras

Keeping an eye on your home - inside and out - has never been easier, thanks to the impressive number of smart cameras available to pick up today. With so much choice, there's something for every budget and desired level of coverage.

Perhaps you just want something to check the dog hasn't ripped the living room apart, or maybe you want Fort Knox-grade home security - there's a way to make it happen.

What's more, if you've already invited Alexa into your home, there's a bunch of smart cameras that play nicely with Amazon's assistant. For a more general roundup, be sure to check out our guide to the best smart cameras. If it's specifically outdoor security you're after, we also have a list of the best outdoor security cameras to peruse.

However below you'll find our guide to the best cameras that work with Alexa. We've tested each of these thoroughly, and for each we'll explain what Alexa can and can't do, as well as the general pros and cons.

Alexa cameras: Things to consider

We've already covered this off in our best cameras roundup, so we won't repeat too much of it here, but cost is obviously a big deal: smart cameras range from around $150 to $300, but that's before you consider the additional subscription costs.

These subscriptions tend to cover additional storage, and each company does this a little differently. Some will give you a limited amount of cloud storage out of the box, some let you record .a certain amount to a local SD card - others offer as good as nothing. The question you need to ask yourself is whether you need cloud storage at all - and if so, how much?

When it comes to Alexa, the main thing to consider is what Echo devices you own. For most of these cameras, you're not going to get the full benefit of Alexa unless you have an Echo device with a screen - or a Fire TV. That's for obvious reasons; the benefit here is to be able to view a lie feed of your camera on demand. So you'll really want an Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire Tablet (perhaps docked in Show Mode) or a Fire TV. The screen-less Echo speakers can be used for some cameras, but the actions are limited to turning the camera on/off and, in some cases, recording.

The best Alexa smart home cameras

Ring Stick Up Cam

$179.99, Amazon

The new Ring Stick Up Cam is a lot better looking than its older, similarly named, model - with a matte curved finish and a build quality that is much more reassuring. Designed to work both indoor and outdoor, Ring has made things super simple on the installation front, with everything you’d need to mount the device found in the box, including templates and even a built in spirit-level so as you get it nice and straight. It’s as easy to mount on the wall as it is to just stand it on the side; there are no different brackets to fiddle around with.

That versatility also extends to the power and connectivity of the Cam - with both a regular Micro USB power option, as well as Power over Ethernet (PoE) on offer; the latter also means you can avoid Wi-Fi signal issues by cabling your Cam direct to your router or Ethernet sockets. There are two models available here: a wired version and a battery-powered version. They're both compatible with Ring's solar panel as well.

If you’re already part of the Ring club - through a video doorbell or one of the older cameras - then you’ll have no bother adding the new Cam’s footage into your system and through your app; for new users, the Ring app is about as easy as it gets in the smart security camera world.

For 2018 the Stick Up Cam has been given a 1080p HD upgrade (the last one was 720p) so you're getting a sharp image here, coupled with a good field of view: 115 degrees horizontally, 65 degrees vertically. We found the night vision to be better than a lot of the competition too. In terms of other security features, there's a built-in siren that proved impressively loud in testing, and a two-way intercom for scaring off chancing intruders. However, you'll need to pay a monthly subscription fee if you want to access previously recorded footage (up to 90 days), starting at $3 a month.

As for Alexa, you'll need an Echo Show or Spot to get the most out of the Ring Cam. You'll be able to give commands like,"Alexa, show me my Stick Up Cam" or, "Alexa, show me the latest event from my backyard" to bring up the feed on your Show speaker. Same goes if you have a Fire TV.

Feature check: 1080p HD recording, night vision, weatherproof, battery and wired versions.

the ambient verdict
Ring Stick Up Camera
The Ring Stick Up Camera gets an indoor version for 2018 with a powerful set of features and great video quality, including impressive night vision capabilities. If you're already a Ring user, this slips seamlessly into your setup, but if you're not it's a cinch to set up and get going, whether indoor or out.
  • Improved 1080p image with wide FoV
  • Wired and battery options
  • Google integrations are poor
  • Fee needed to view recorded footage

The best Alexa smart home cameras

Logitech Circle 2

$179 (wired), $199 (wireless), | Amazon

The Logitech Circle 2 is most impressive on sheer visibility with a 180-degree horizontal field of view, making it perfect for covering vast spaces. And like the Ring Stick Up Cam there are wired and battery versions available. The standard mount that comes in the box makes getting straight pictures more of a struggle than it should be, but the bundled plug and window mounts are fantastic, allowing you to easily affix it to a power outlet with little hassle. The window mount also negates the need to whip out the drill, as you can more easily attach it to the exterior of your home.

Not only is the Circle 2 nicely versatile, we also love the user-friendly app, which helpfully categorises alerts into low and high-level disturbances and displays everything in an easy-to-digest timeline. You'll even get a Day Brief, a timelapse of the events of the day - particularly funny if you have kids or pets, less so if you've got burglars.

Unlike the Ring Cam, there's no siren to warn off intruders, something you might be looking for in your smart cam. Where it's more generous than Ring is in the basic package, which gives you a day's worth of video history and unlimited video downloads for free. For $3.99 a month you can push that to 14 days of video per camera, while the $9.99 deluxe options gives you action zones, person detection and a few other tricks.

Alexa integrations is pretty good here. Again, Echo Show and Spot users will get the most out of it, asking Alexa to show the camera feed on their speaker screen, ask to see the latest "event", start a recording, rewind/fast-forward an event and more. If you have a screen-less Echo, you can turn the camera on and off by voice as well as start a recording.

Another area where the Circle 2 really excels is with iOS integration, letting you have your stream front and center on your iPhone. All in all, it’s a very decent low-cost option, even if it's not the best looking.

Feature check: 24 hour clip storage free.Full HD recording, 180-degree angle lens, night vision, wired or battery (6400mAh), weatherproof, time-lapse mode, talk and listen.

the ambient verdict
Logitech Circle 2
The debut HomeKit smart camera, the Circle 2 ticks a lot of boxes for people looking for their first smart home security camera. It works seamlessly inside and out and the partner app is a breeze to use.
  • HomeKit enabled
  • Super wide angle 180 degrees
  • Fully weatherproof
  • Mounts are a bit fiddly
  • No scheduling on the app
  • Accessories inflate the price

The best Alexa smart home cameras

Nest Cam IQ Indoor

$299, | Amazon

Given Nest and Google's partnership it makes sense that the Google Assistant gets pride of place on Next's indoor camera, but Alexa is along for the ride too, and given everything else on offer, we think that makes the Nest Cam IQ worth considering for Amazon smart home dwellers. For starters, the Cam IQ Indoor offers a 4K sensor, HDR imaging, three microphones with echo suppression and noise cancellation - and a HD talk and listen feature that works a treat.

It is heftier than it looks though and, unlike the two above, only comes in a wired version, relying on a USB-C cable. So you won't just be able to swap your old Nest Cam out for the newer IQ model.

All in all, Nest's platform is one of the best in the business, however you'll need to pay more than the camera price to get the most out of the IQ indoor. Night vision, motion and sound alerts, snapshot history, 1080p live views and close-up tracking view all come as free, but you'll need to pay at least $5 a month for Nest Aware to get yourself 24/7recording, clip sharing, activity zones and more intelligent alerts. And of course the more you pay, the better the extras get.

The app is great too, and can let the system know when you're home or away based on your location. Speaking of which, the home/away feature is the best we've tried as it integrates well with other Nest products; it can turn down your Nest thermostat when it detects you've left the house, for example.

Onto Alexa integration - everything works with Amazon's screen devices - so the Echo Show, Spot, Fire TV and Fire Tablets - but there's no functionality with the screen-less Echo speakers here.

Overall, the best features are still reserved for people paying for Nest Aware, but there's a decent amount on offer here - with a good price too.

Feature check: Storage from $5. Full HD streaming, 130 degree angle lens, night vision, three-hour snapshot history, person alerts, facial recognition, HD talk and listen, HDR and 4K close-up tracking.

the ambient verdict
Nest Cam IQ
The Nest Cam IQ is one of the most sophisticated and advanced home security cameras you can buy. Nest has been in the game a long time and it shows – not only does the IQ add a raft of killer features, but it also ties in brilliantly with your existing smart home system.
  • Full Nest ecosystem integration
  • HDR close-up tracking
  • Facial recognition
  • Expensive cloud plan
  • Quite a bulky design
  • Mains only – no wireless option

The best Alexa smart home cameras

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

$349, | Amazon

The outdoor variant of Nest's camera deserves recognition here too, as it's a great camera in its own right that also plays nicely with Alexa.. Like the Indoor, the IQ Outdoor has some impressive tracking skills, with a focus on recognising and tracking people around your property.

There's a 1/2.5-inch, 8-megapixel (4K) colour sensor, with 12x digital zoom and enhance, close-up tracking view, along with a 130-degree diagonal viewing angle. The IQ Outdoor has an IP66 weatherproof rating – that's -40°C to 45°C (-40°F to 113°F) - with Wi-Fi at 2.4GHz, so make sure you've got a strong signal where you're planning on putting it.

It'll also zoom in and follow people around automatically. And 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 shady looking strangers on your property.

It's a fair bit larger than the Indoor - 12.8 x 9.3 x 9.3cm - but that means potential burglars shouldn't miss it. You do however have to wire it to the mains (unlike the Arlo Pro 2), so unless you have outdoor power (if you do, you'll have a job hiding the 7.5m cable), be prepared to drill a hole through the wall.

While Google Assistant isn't built in, you have the option of controlling the camera with the AI. Same goes for Alexa - and the integrations here are exactly the same deal as the Indoor model. Ie you'll want an Echo Show, Spot or Fire TV to really make use of this.

Feature check: Storage from $5. 1080p streaming, IP66 weatherproof, 130 degree angle lens, night vision, person alerts, facial recognition, HD talk and listen, 4K close-up tracking.

the ambient verdict
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
Nest's top outdoor camera is one of the stand-out performers in an ever-growing market - even though many of the features that set the IQ apart come at an additional cost. Those quibbles aside though, if you're looking for the most feature-rich camera on the market, tied into a superb ecosystem, then the Cam IQ Outdoor is a top choice.
  • Packed with intelligent tracking tech
  • 12x HDR zoom
  • HD 2-way audio
  • Expensive
  • The best features cost more
  • Installation requires DIY skills

The best Alexa smart home cameras

Honeywell Lyric C2

$169.99, | Amazon

While there are two Lyric models to be aware of - the C1 and C2 - it's the latter that offers the most features: 1080p HD recording, a 145-degree field of view and two-way audio. And while it's not the best looking on this list, it's incredibly compact, making it perfect for hiding on a bookshelf or slipping it into another tight spot. We like how you can pop out the camera from its stand, letting you mount it to a wall or ceiling with ease. In sum, it's one of the most versatile cameras on our list.

We also dig how Honeywell offers free cloud storage, meaning the 8GB card inside the microSD slot (which you can access when the cam is out of its shell) is really just for backup. In fact you're getting everything in the box here - a rarity in the smart cam world. Clips are saved to the cloud for 24 hours and stored on the inside (so your camera can still record should your connection cut out) but we do wish we had the option to upgrade to more. Especially as you don't get much say over when the Lyric records; it will only save clips when motion or sound are detected.

We have been more impressed with the Lyric's ability to tell the difference between sounds; it can astutely differentiate between a baby crying and a siren blaring, giving you personalised alerts on your phone. Honeywell also makes it super easy to turn the camera on/off with geolocation and set up the four alert zones (as well as adjust their sensitivity).

On the downside, the night vision isn't as good as we had hoped for - the Ring Stick Up Cam has better eyes for the dark. As for Alexa, despite some problems getting the two to integrate, you can stream footage from the camera to your Echo Show, Spot or Fire TV. Want to see a specific room? You can just ask, "Alexa, show me the kids' room".

Feature check: Free 24-hour cloud storage, 1080p HD 145-degree lens, smart two-way audio, geofencing, adjustable alert zones.

the ambient verdict
Honeywell Lyric C2
This Honeywell smart camera ticks plenty of boxes, despite falling short in a couple of key areas. While those who want solid quality in daytime recordings, easy setup and two-way audio are catered for, night vision and a lack of options within smart assistant link-up and storage slightly limit its appeal.
  • Versatile design
  • Smart audio
  • Great daytime vision
  • Limited smart assistant support
  • Blurry night vision
  • Can't upgrade cloud storage

The best Alexa smart home cameras

Arlo Pro 2

$479.99, | Amazon

The Arlo Pro 2 is one of the most serious security cameras you can pick up right now. It's more expensive than the others here, but that base price gets you two wireless, weatherproof (IP65 rating) cameras as well as the hub. On balance, we think it's good value.

You're certainly not skimping on quality with 1080p recording and excellent footage in both daylight and darker conditions. Night vision did disappoint compared to others, and the IR often blew-out when placed too close to a surface - we recommend using the supplied magnet mount.

Our favourite feature of the Arlo Pro 2 is that it's wireless, thanks to its lithium-ion battery that lasts a couple of months between recharges, making it a really appealing option for outdoor use. And if you want to put it indoors? It looks good enough to find a place inside your home too.

You do however need to plug the hub into your router, but the result is an impressive range of signal. The 802.11n hub gave us a great amount of range throughout the garden, well beyond the limits of our router. Alexa integration gives you a live feed to an Echo Show, Spot or Fire TV, much like the other cameras, but the range of abilities here is a little scant compared to, say, Logitech's.

Arlo has won us over on the data storage too. You get free storage from up to five cameras for a week and there's a USB socket to let you store your clips offline too. The extra features are good too: motion and sound alerts, two-way audio and active motion detection areas within shot.

While you get a lot for no added cost, Arlo has added a paid-for tier for $2.99 a month that vies you AI-based triggers and the ability to make an e911 call form anywhere in the world. You can also expand to 60 days of footage store from up to 20 cameras for $14.99 a month.

Feature check: Free seven day storage. IP65 weatherproofing. Full HD streaming, wireless, 130 degree angle lens, night vision, motion/sound alerts, two-way audio.

the ambient verdict
Arlo Pro 2
The Arlo Pro 2 is a top wireless indoor and outdoor camera boasting great range, superb battery life and great set of features. It's a great performer, whether you're looking for security or even for spotting wildlife in your garden. It's versatile – and performs in every situation. What's more, the free storage is a big win, and offsets that big price tag.
  • Great quality footage
  • Big wireless range
  • Good battery life
  • Not the best night vision
  • Expensive
  • Can't affect motion sensitivity

TAGGED   security cameras   amazon

Recent stories

amazon ​Amazon Alexa ultimate guide: How to set up and use your Echo speaker
amazon 115 brilliant Alexa Easter eggs: Funny things to ask your Amazon Echo
amazon The best Amazon Alexa skills for your Echo smart speaker

What do you think?

Reply to
Your comment