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Best Home Security Cameras
Data effective 12/16/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
Settling into a home is a lengthy process, and making sure your home is safe should be one of the first steps. Home security cameras are one way homeowners can adjust to their new place, prevent break-ins, and ensure comfort and protection for everyone (pets too!) under one roof.
There are many different types of home security cameras—and not all of them do the same things. Take a look at some of the top home security camera systems on the market to find the best ones for your house, whether you want to keep a (digital) eye on your toddler, your new puppy, or just your backyard.
Top 8 home security systems
- Nest Cam IQ Indoor: Best indoor security camera
- Nest Cam IQ Outdoor: Best outdoor security camera
- Arlo Pro 2: Best wireless security camera
- Logitech Circle 2: Best budget security camera
- Nest Hello: Best doorbell camera
- Arlo Ultra: Best HD camera
- Amcrest UltraHA PTZ: Best camera
- Furbo: Best pet camera
The Nest Cam IQ Indoor comes loaded with some pretty impressive features. This camera can recognize familiar faces, automatically zoom in and track motion, and tell the difference between people and that tree branch blowing in the wind outside your window. Plus, it has built-in Google Assistant.
Final take: The Nest Cam IQ Indoor is great if you want a top-notch camera with some high-tech features. (And if you don’t mind paying top dollar to get the best quality.) Learn more in this Nest camera review.
Pros and cons of Nest Cam IQ Indoor
Why pick Nest Cam IQ Indoor
Everything about the Nest Cam’s hardware is top of the line. Its camera records in crystal clear 1080p resolution, and its speaker automatically suppresses ambient background noise, so you can listen in on your phone and hear your kids talking instead of just the neighbor mowing their lawn.
Built-in Google Assistant
If you’re tired of pulling out your phone every time you want to turn on the camera or even just check the weather forecast, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor makes your life a little easier with its built-in Google Assistant.
There aren't many other security cameras a voice assistant built right into its system. With the Nest Cam IQ Indoor, you don’t have to buy a separate device to get all the same benefits of a smart speaker.
Nest also includes a built-in Google Assistant in its Nest Guard hub. (That’s part of the Nest Secure system.)
Impressed with the Nest Cam IQ Indoor?
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor—Best outdoor security camera
The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has a lot of the same top features you get with the Arlo Ultra but at a slightly lower price point and with a few downsides.
You get person detection and automatic zoom and tracking (a feature Nest calls “Supersight”) the same way you do with the Arlo Ultra, but the Nest has a 4K image sensor instead of 4K resolution, and you have to drill a hole in your wall.
Final take: The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is a hardy all-weather camera that gives you a lot of similar features to the Arlo Ultra but in a slightly less expensive (and slightly less convenient) package.
Pros and cons of Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
Why pick Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
4K image sensor
A 4K image sensor is not quite the same thing as 4K resolution. (The Nest Cam IQ’s resolution is still a solid 1080p.) But the image sensor does make it so you can zoom in on details in an image and still see a high-quality picture.
If someone walks across the street from your house and you want a closer look at their face, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor gives you 12x digital zoom so you can get a way closer look, and that 4K image sensor means you’ll still be able to see their features clearly.
The Nest Cam IQ doesn’t come in a wireless model, and to install this outdoor camera you do have to drill a hole through your wall.
Nest has installation videos and guides so you won’t totally mess up your house trying to install the cam. (Or at least, you probably won’t.) But it’s definitely still annoying to have to break out the drill.
That said, a wired camera has a more stable power source and you’ll never have to pull down the camera to recharge the battery.
Ready to protect your home?
Arlo Pro 2—Best wireless security camera
With its wire-free design, the Arlo Pro 2 excels as a wireless security camera. You can put it anywhere, and it comes with an impressively long battery life so you won’t have to bring it down to recharge too often.
Final take: The Arlo Pro 2 outdoor camera is worth it for its high-resolution image recording and its wireless design that lets you set it up anywhere.
Pros and cons of Arlo Pro 2
Why pick Arlo Pro 2
Wireless security camera systems
Because it’s wireless, the Arlo Pro 2 makes it easy for you to connect multiple Arlo cameras together in one system to give you a more complete view of your property—and you can control them all within the same Arlo app.
The app also lets you set zones to limit unnecessary motion detection notifications, like when your neighbor takes their dog past the house twice a day. Read the full Arlo review to learn more.
The Arlo Pro 2’s wireless design does mean you need to recharge its batteries now and then. Luckily, the battery lasts a long time between charges—Arlo says around six months.
Keep in mind when you buy Arlo Pro 2s that they’re still Wi-Fi cameras, which means that you also need a hub. The hub connects the cameras (whether you have one, two, or six) to your Wi-Fi network, as well as to each other
Want an excellent wireless camera at a reasonable price?
Logitech Circle 2—Best budget security camera
The Logitech Circle 2 packs a bunch of features into one (relatively) cheap security camera package. You get a superwide 180º field of view, full HD 1080p resolution, and a full 24 hours of free cloud storage. Plus, a bunch of different mount options to fit your needs.
Final take: The Logitech Circle 2 is best for anyone looking for a cheap(er) security camera that still gives you a great set of base features like 1080p video, 24 hours of cloud storage, and two-way communication.
It’s the best security camera you can buy on a budget without having to worry about quality or security issues (like the camera being hacked).
Pros and cons of Logitech Circle 2
Why pick Logitech Circle 2
This camera is nothing if not versatile. You can put it either indoors or outdoors, depending on where you need it. You can also choose different mount options for the Circle 2, including wall and window mounts.
This isn’t the cheapest security camera, but it offers the best balance of affordability, reliability, and security––since cheaper security cameras can be hacked.
You won’t get 4K resolution or a 4K image sensor with this camera, but you do still get super-clear 1080p footage. Before 4K came along, 1080p was the industry standard for high definition, so it’s still pretty good.
Is this the camera you've been looking for?
Nest Hello—Best doorbell camera
The Nest Hello is our favorite video doorbell camera because it gives you sharp video footage with a ton of useful features like powerful night vision, full HD resolution, and a unique facial recognition software that remembers familiar faces, so you’ll know who’s at your door before you open it.
Final take: The Nest Hello's powerful camera and app includes useful features like motion zone settings and facial recognition. Learn more about the Nest Hello.
Pros and cons of Nest Hello
Why pick Nest Hello
The Nest Hello looks better, sounds better, and functions more reliably (no Wi-Fi connection issues or fuzzy video) than competing Ring doorbell cameras.
If you already use Nest cameras, a Nest thermostat, or the Nest Secure alarm system, then the Nest Hello will fit right in. It works seamlessly with all other Nest products and you can control them all from the same app. Plus, it has Google Assistant integration.
Is this the camera you've been looking for?
Arlo Ultra—Best HD security camera
The Arlo Ultra is one of the best cameras on the market. It gives you 4K video footage with a 180º field of view, which makes for some of the highest-quality footage and one of the widest fields of view on the market.
This camera also comes with color night vision, which gives you clear, full-color video in the dark without washing out images like from lower-quality night vision cameras.
Final take: The Arlo Ultra is good anyone who wants the best and isn’t afraid to pay for it. You’ll benefit from a high-quality security camera with incredible resolution and smart features.
Pros and cons of Arlo Ultra
Why pick Arlo Ultra
Ultra HD resolution
The Arlo Ultra is the first camera to give you full 4K resolution. Some other cameras, like the Nest IQ Outdoor and the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro, give you a 4K image sensor, but that’s not quite the same thing as ultra HD, 4K resolution.
That high of a resolution means the Arlo Ultra lets you see every leaf on a tree and every stray dog in your yard with the utmost clarity. And if an intruder ever steps foot on your property, you’ll have no problem seeing their face.
Color night vision
Most outdoor cameras these days include night vision, but it’s almost always in black and white. Arlo Ultra is one of the few cameras to give you full-color night vision, so you can still see the color of someone’s clothes or the color of their car—even in the dark.
Plus, with color night vision, you don’t get that zombie-eye silver glare on people’s faces that you see sometimes with traditional black and white night vision.
As impressive as the Arlo Ultra’s features are, you’ll definitely pay a higher price for them. This awesome camera comes at a high price of $399.99. But that might be worth it to you if you want one of the most cutting-edge security cameras on the market.
Looking for an ultra-sharp security camera?
Amcrest UltraHD PTZ—Best PTZ camera
The Amcrest UltraHD PTZ gives you a super-crisp HD resolution and an expansive viewing angle. But what sets it apart is its PTZ (pan, tilt, and zoom) capabilities.
The Amcrest gives you 360º pan, 90º tilt, and up to 16x digital zoom. That gives you a view of everything in the room as opposed to just a stationary feed based on where you place the camera.
Final take: The Amcrest’s ONVIF-compliant, high-resolution camera, plus its pan, tilt, and zoom functions gives you a much broader range of view than most cameras. That versatility is useful if you want one camera that covers the field of view you’d get from multiple cameras.
You also have the choice between cloud storage through the Amcrest app or local video storage through a hard drive or micro SD card.
Pros and cons of Amcrest UltraHD PTZ
Why pick Amcrest UltraHD PTZ
If you want to use different security cameras together as part of a CCTV system, then the Amcrest UltraHD PTZ will fit right in. This camera is ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum) compliant, so you can use it with other compliant devices and control them through third-party apps like Blue Iris.
Want a 360º viewing experience?
Furbo—Best pet camera
No one wants to leave their furry friends at home, but if you don’t have a pet-friendly office, you might not have a choice. The Furbo gives you a window into your pets’ lives at home while you’re not there.
Final take: Furbo is for you pet owners who have to leave their furry ones home during the day. Two-way chat and a treat dispenser make time away easier for both parties.
Pros and cons of Furbo
Why pick Furbo
The Furbo notifies you when your dog barks, so you can check if something’s wrong or if it’s just the squirrels cavorting across the street again.
This camera also lets you talk to your pet and dispense treats, which is sure to make your time apart more bearable for both parties. How sweet is that?
Ready to see what your dog is up to while you're at work?
How to choose the best home security camera system
What features matter?
Security cameras offer a lot more than just video footage of your home. While there are more options than ever, there’s also more to consider. Between the confusing tech specs that come with these cameras and all the extra features, here are some things to look for when searching for the best security camera for you.
Resolution determines the quality of a security camera’s video. Not all cameras with high resolution will look the same, but for high-quality HD footage you should look for something with 720p (standard HD), 1080p (full HD), or 4K (ultra HD) resolution.
Field of View (FOV)
Resolution determines the footage quality, and field of view (FOV) determines the observable field of your camera lens. Wider FOVs help you see more at once, which can reduce the number of cameras you need. But wider isn’t necessarily better. Security cameras with fields of view around 180º and wider can look distorted. The FOV sweet spot is around 160º, which gives you a plenty large viewing area without sacrificing quality.
Families with kids or even pet owners might benefit from two-way audio. This allows you and whoever’s at home to communicate with each other if you see something urgent happening. Two-way chat is also useful on doorbell cameras like the Nest Hello so you can communicate with people at your door and give the impression that you’re home.
This is an important consideration if you’re looking for a camera you can set up anywhere in or outside of your home. Cameras have a few common power sources.
Security camera power sources
- Battery (either rechargeable or replaceable)
- AC power (this kind plugs into a wall)
- Power Over Ethernet (POE) (this kind gets power through an Ethernet cord)
If you choose wireless IP cameras, then it’s as easy as turning on the cameras, connecting them to a hub (which you usually have to buy along with the cameras), and then just installing a mount for wherever you want to put the cams.
Wired outdoor security cameras can be a little trickier. Some cameras, like the Nest IQ Outdoor, require you to drill a hole through your exterior wall so you can keep the camera plugged into an indoor wall outlet while the actual camera goes outside your house.
For more information, check this article on how to install security cameras.
Do you have to subscribe to cloud storage?
It depends on which camera you buy. Some cameras give you a certain amount of free cloud storage for video clips (anywhere from 3 hours to 30 days). Some cameras also let you store footage locally, such as on a micro SD card.
For the most part, yes, you probably will want to subscribe to a cloud storage plan. Your camera provider will usually offer a few different plan options for you to choose from, and many, such as Nest Aware, start as low as $5 per month.
How do security cameras recognize faces?
Cameras that have “familiar face detection” basically let you name people the camera has spotted. So you can pull up the clip the camera took of your kid and name them in the camera app. Going forward, the camera will know who that person is and name them in any alerts it sends you.
What is the best security camera?
The best security camera for you depends on what you’re looking for. Whether you want an outdoor camera, an indoor camera, or a pet cam you can use to hand out treats while you’re gone, you can choose the model that works for you.