Installing a home security camera used to require setting up a big, expensive surveillance system, but that's no longer the case. Today, there are affordable options available for both houses and apartments. Modern home security cameras can be wired or wireless, and positioned either inside or outside your home.
The function of a home security camera is threefold: to surveil your property, monitor pets and children, and retain footage if a break-in or vandalism occurs. In most cases, you'll be able to set up a home security camera yourself in under an hour — especially if you're installing it indoors.
The home security cameras we're recommending can connect directly to a home Wi-Fi network, which will allow you to access live and recorded video on your smartphone. Some security cameras can discern the difference between animals, people, and vehicles, so you're only notified when it senses something is out of place. Higher-end home security cameras even have a built-in alarm to scare unwanted guests.
There's a lot to think about when getting a home security camera, especially if it's the first piece of equipment you're bringing into your home. Our guide will explain what to look for in order to determine the best home security camera for you, in addition to giving you our recommendations.
— Best Overall: Arlo Pro 4
— Best Budget: Wyze Cam
— Best Doorbell Camera: Arlo Video Doorbell
— Best for Indoors: Eufy Solo IndoorCam
— Best Night Vision: Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Plus
— Best Battery-Powered: Blink Outdoor Security Camera
How We Picked the Best Home Security Cameras
I used a broad range of criteria in reviewing dozens of cameras to make my picks for best home security cameras. I reviewed multiple models from numerous industry leading brands, looking for the top features and most consistent quality. I gave special credence to brands that did certain features well:
Image Quality: While today’s security cameras offer a variety of great additional features, first and foremost they need to be able to capture clear images and cover the area that they’re intended to monitor. With that in mind, I stuck with cameras with an adequate field of vision that produced high-definition pictures that would allow the user to recognize faces easily. That said, there can be risks to owning a home security camera,
Connectivity: Connectivity is also key. A security camera shouldn’t require the user to purchase an expensive hub, so I stuck with security cameras with integrated Wi-Fi that allowed the user to access live and recorded footage with a compatible app from a smart device.
Smart Features: When possible, I also chose cameras that are on the cutting edge of home surveillance technology with smart features that allow them to discern between animals, vehicles, packages, and people and send the user alerts accordingly.
Best Home Security Cameras: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Arlo Pro 4
Why It Made The Cut: The Arlo 4 offers exceptional resolution, loads of useful additional features, and connectivity that doesn’t require an expensive hub.
— Connectivity: Wi-Fi
— Resolution: 2K
— Field of View: 160 degrees
— Built-in Wi-Fi capability means there is no hub required for this camera
— Excellent 2K resolution makes recognizing faces easy
— Night vision
— Spotlight and 80-decibel siren scare away unwanted visitors
— More affordable than the Arlo 3
— Must subscribe to Arlo Smart Plan to access video and some features
Excellent picture quality, long battery life, and easy installation make the Arlo Pro 4 the best home security camera overall that you can mount to your home. The Arlo Pro 4 is the latest incarnation of Arlo’s Pro line of cameras. While it looks very similar to the Pro 3, it differs in price and connectivity The Pro 4, unlike the Pro 3, has built-in Wi-Fi, so it doesn’t require a hub (although you can connect it to the Arlo Smart Hub if you happen to have one).
Being able to see who’s wandering onto your property, be it friend or foe, is critical for any surveillance camera. With its 4-megapixel sensor and HDR technology, the Arlo Pro 4 produces 2K resolution video with a broad 160-degree field of vision and 12x digital zoom, giving it an exceptionally powerful capacity to pick out facial features. Since most nefarious activities happen at night, the Arlo Pro is equipped with two infrared LEDs that produce high-resolution black and white video in the dark.
The Arlo also comes with features that will help ward off unwanted visitors, including a motion-activated spotlight, a microphone, a loudspeaker for interacting with visitors, and an 80-decibel siren for scaring trespassers away.
Similar to other home security cameras, Arlo makes its recorded video available via a paid subscription plan. The company charges $2.99 a month for 30 days of video along with advanced features, such as package and object detection and smart alerts. You can expand that subscription to cover up to five cameras for $9.99 per month. All video footage is accessible via the Arlo app, which displays live and recorded video footage, allowing you to interact with visitors via the microphone and speaker, and activate the built-in siren.
Best Budget: Wyze Cam
Why It Made The Cut: We couldn’t find a similarly outfitted security camera that could even approach the low price of the Wyze Cam, which is why this product is our pick for the best cheap security camera.
— Connectivity: Wi-Fi
— Resolution: 1080p
— Field of View: 130 degrees
— One of the most affordably priced cameras on the market
— Integrated Wi-Fi means no hub is required to access video
— Full-color night vision
— Rolling 14 days of free cloud storage for recorded video
— Lower resolution than other cameras offer
— Narrower 130-degree field of vision
Though Wyze may have increased the price of its security camera with its newest version of the Wyze Cam, it’s actually a better deal. That’s because version 3 of the Wyze security camera includes integrated Wi-Fi, so it no longer requires a hub to view video. Simply download the Wyze app and view live or recorded video via a smartphone. Wyze also works with voice commands via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
Unlike most security cameras that require you to pay a monthly subscription to access recorded video, the Wyze camera gives you 14 days of free recorded video footage from its motion-activated sensor. It also includes a backup microSD card slot in case you don’t want to use cloud storage.
With a 1080p resolution and 130-degree field of vision, Wyze’s video may not quite match some of the higher-priced cameras on the market, but it does come with many of the same bells and whistles, including motion detection and a one-way talk feature. The camera will also alert you if it happens to pick up loud noises, such as a smoke alarm going off. If that isn’t enough, you can add more features, such as a spotlight, at a small additional cost. Also new to this latest version of the Wyze camera is a Starlight Sensor that records nighttime video in full color.
There are limits to Wyze’s free monitoring services, but you can upgrade to its $1.99 per month subscription service ($1.25 when billed annually) per camera. You’ll get an even more robust monitoring service that includes unlimited video length, smart detection for persons, pets, and package deliveries, and facial recognition.
Best Doorbell Camera: Arlo Video Doorbell
Why It Made The Cut: The Arlo doorbell camera is the best doorbell camera and one of the most affordable models we found that offers a 180-degree field of vision for package detection.
— Connectivity: Wi-Fi
— Resolution: 2K or 4K
— Field of View: 180 degrees
— Wide field of view allows you to monitor packages sitting on the doorstep
— Advanced motion detection with subscription
— Cloud storage is affordably priced at $3 a month
— Programmable motion detection
— Larger profile than other doorbell cameras
Arlo makes some of the best security cameras on the market, and this doorbell camera easily lives up to the brand's reputation. In addition to delivering high-resolution video footage of the area around your front door, the Arlo Video Doorbell features adjustable motion detection zones, two-way audio, and even an integrated siren that you can activate from your phone. Subscribe to Arlo’s $3 per month video cloud storage subscription service, and you also get cool features like animal, package, and vehicle smart detection.
While these features are solid, one of the coolest things about this camera is its square-aspect ratio, which gives you a full view of the doorstep, making it ideal for monitoring package deliveries while also getting a head-to-toe view of visitors.
Like other Arlo security cameras, its doorbell camera connects to Wi-Fi, allowing the user to access the doorbell’s live and recorded video footage as well as its features via an app, without the need for an additional purchase of a hub. The app also walks you through installation and configuration with step-by-step instructions and pictures, which makes setting up this doorbell camera very easy. Other useful features include a motion-activation function, and Arlo Foresight, which records video just before someone rings the doorbell, giving you a more complete picture of what’s going on outside your door.
With a solid set of useful features, programmable motion detection, and a wide field of vision, the Arlo is a great doorbell camera option at a very reasonable price.
Best Doorbell Camera: Eufy Solo IndoorCam
Why It Made The Cut: This indoor camera has a high resolution sensor, and can follow a subject around.
— Connectivity: Wi-Fi
— Resolution: 2K
— Field of View: 125 degrees
— AI can detect different sounds
— Full 360-degree panning
— Compatible with Apple's HomeKit
— No built-in local storage
Eufy's Solo IndoorCam is one of the best pieces of home security equipment we've ever tested, producing consistency clear clips, and maintaining a strong connection to the internet.
On paper, the Solo IndoorCam offers a premium set of features for its price. It can record better-than-HD video, supports both cloud and local storage, works with Apple's HomeKit standard, and has an excellent night mode. In our tests, it surpassed our expectations. We viewed video taken during daylight hours and at night, and always ended up with a clean recording. We set the IndoorCam up using Eufy's app and HomeKit (Apple's built-in smart-home accessory app), and were up and running within a few minutes either way. The setup process is intuitive enough that we can confidently recommend this security camera even if you're not very tech savvy.
The biggest reason to get Eufy's IndoorCam over similar models is its ability to follow a subject around. The camera sits upon a rotating base, which turns once the camera begins detecting motion. This means a potential thief will always remain in frame when the IndoorCam is recording them. This makes the camera's field of view somewhat less important, though Eufy didn't skimp in that regard. If you feel uncomfortable storing your home security camera's footage in the cloud (or paying a monthly fee for the privilege), Eufy allows you to save your recordings to a MicroSD Card. It doesn't include a memory card, though, so you'll have to pick it up separately.
If you've found the idea of setting up a home security camera daunting, or have been concerned about where to place it to ensure it'll keep a close watch on a big area, Eufy's IndoorCam solves both problems. It's also part of a larger family of home security gadgets, so you can built up a whole-home security system over time.
Best Night Vision: Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Plus
Why It Made The Cut: With excellent night vision and powerful built-in flood lights, the Ring Floodlight Cam is a home security watchdog.
— Connectivity: Wi-Fi
— Resolution: 1080p HD
— Field of View: 140 degrees
— Full-color night vision even in low light conditions
— Large 2000-lumen flood lights that work with a motion detector
— Programmable motion detector zones
— Must be hard wired to a lightbox
With its high-definition color night vision, this best night vision security camera from Ring is well suited for nighttime security. It features a 140-degree field of vision that can cover a yard or driveway along with two large 2,000-lumen flood lights that activate with a motion detector (the app conveniently allows you to set specific motion detection zones). If the powerful floodlight isn’t enough to scare off intruders, you can blast them with the camera’s built-in 105-decibel security siren.
While the flood lights add an important extra layer of security to this camera, they do mean that you’ll have to attach it to a lightbox hook-up on the exterior of your home. This requirement limits the camera’s placement, unless you’re a savvy installer, or you hire an electrician for a custom installation.
Similar to other outdoor security cameras, the Ring Floodlight Cam includes integrated Wi-Fi, allowing you to view footage via the Ring app. With a subscription to the Ring Protect Plan, you can view up to 60 days of recorded video footage.
Best Battery-Powered: Blink Outdoor Security Camera
Why It Made The Cut: This home security camera can be used indoors or outdoors, and runs on a set of batteries that can last years.
— Connectivity: Wi-Fi
— Resolution: 1080p
— Field of View: 110 degrees
— Runs on battery power
— Weather Resistant
— Works with Amazon's Alexa
— Slim field of view
We've always been happy with our experiences using Blink's Outdoor Security Camera, and its small, battery-powered design allows you to install it in very tight spaces. The camera is basically a 2.8-inch square, with flat edges that allow it to stand upright without a stand. It runs on a pair of AA batteries (included), which Blink says can power the camera for up to two years.
Some companies make compromises in order to ensure their tech runs well on battery power, but that's not the case with Blink's Outdoor Security Camera. It can record full-HD footage, has an infrared Night Vision mode, and includes a two-way speaker system to communicate with people you see on camera. Video can be stored on the cloud, or locally if you get Blink's Sync Module 2 (not included). The only technical fault we found with Blink's Outdoor Security Camera was its 110-degree field of view, which is a little skimpier than other home security cameras.
That's less of an issue with Blink's camera because of its small size, which allows you to mount it into a corner of your room (or the outside of your house), where larger cameras wouldn't fit. Once it was installed, we had no problem setting up the camera using Blink's app, which made it simple to view and delete video clips. One of this camera's standout features is the option to set up motion detection zones, so you don't get a notification every time somebody drives by your house.
If you want a compact, premium home security camera that will keep your home safer even when the power goes out, Blink's Outdoor Camera is your best option.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Security Camera
Field of View
A camera’s field of vision is typically measured in degrees. While you may be tempted to go with a camera that offers the broadest field of vision, not every setting needs an extra-wide field of vision, and you may end up including areas you don’t need to monitor. For broad areas, such as a front or back yard, look for a security camera with at least a 140-degree field of view. For smaller areas, like a room or smaller enclosed outdoor areas, 115 degrees is often adequate.
While we typically value a field of view designed for a horizontal perspective, in certain situations a vertical view may also be useful. For a doorbell camera, for example, a camera with a broad vertical field of vision allows you to see visitors from head to toe and monitor packages sitting on your doorstep.
Where you plan to place the camera has a lot to do with the type of camera you need. Outdoor cameras are ideal for monitoring your property to deter potential burglars or trespassers, while also protecting your car and outdoor property. Indoor cameras allow you to check up on the kids while you’re out running errands, or monitor a pet remotely. Doorbell cameras act as doormen, letting you know who is at the door without having to open it, while also allowing you to check on deliveries while you’re away from home.
Most modern security cameras do more than simply record video. Other features include two-way microphones that allow you to communicate through the camera, as well as sirens and floodlights designed to scare off intruders. Cameras with smart technology can detect movement, determine if the source of a disturbance is a person, animal, or vehicle, and determine whether to alert you or not. These useful features impact the price of a camera, so it’s important to decide what features you’re willing to pay for, and which ones you don’t need, before you go shopping for a security camera. You can also increase the safety of your home with home security that goes beyond the camera.
Q: Do home security cameras need to be plugged in?
That depends on the security camera. Some require a constant power source and therefore either need to be plugged into an outlet or hardwired to an electrical box. Many security cameras operate off of a lithium-ion battery, which will power the camera for months before requiring a recharge.
Q: Are security cameras worth it?
A security camera’s ability to deter burglars makes it worth the cost. According to a study conducted by the University of North Carolina, 60 percent of burglars will opt for another home if they see security cameras or an alarm. Security cameras used to be expensive, requiring hardwiring to a monitoring system or a hub to connect it to the Web. Today’s cameras are affordable and can connect to a home’s Wi-Fi, making live and recorded video easily accessible via a smartphone. Since most cameras charge low cloud storage subscription fees, it’s hard to argue against buying a security camera.
Q: How much does a home security camera cost?
Security cameras range in price from as little as $35 to $300 or more. The price typically depends on the camera's resolution and the features that it offers. Cameras with 2K resolution, night vision, smart recognition technology, and other features cost more than more basic models.
Q: Where is the best place to mount a home security camera?
The best place to mount a home security camera indoors is in the corner of a room opposite the entry point if you’re using it for security. If you’re using it to monitor pets or children, position it to view places animals and people typically gather, such as a table or sofa. Outdoors, position the camera on a corner of the house to view a broad area, making sure to include the home’s entryway as well as any cars that could be the subject of a break-in.
Q: What are the best outdoor security cameras?
The best outdoor security cameras have a broad field of vision, high resolution, and are durably built to endure the elements. The Arlo Pro 4, with its 180-degree field of vision, 2K resolution, and weather-proof construction is one of the best outdoor cameras on the market.
The Arlo Pro 4’s excellent video quality coupled with a broad 180-degree field of vision and extra features that include an 80-decibel siren, 12x zoom, and object detection make it one of the best security cameras on the market. Those looking for a more affordable option should consider the Wyze Cam, which costs a fraction of the price of other security cameras and offers 14 days of free cloud storage.