One of the best ways to protect and monitor your home, whether you’re there or away, is with a smart home security camera. Wireless surveillance has come a long way, especially from the days when you had to pull wires all across your property to power and receive video to a DVD writer or storage device. Of course, almost everything is wireless nowadays, and with that comes a need to connect to the cloud and get a subscription service, at least if you want to store things online. There are a variety of wireless security cameras to pick from as well as wired models. We’ve collected the best security camera deals you’re going to find on the internet today so that you don’t have to go dredging through dozens of postings. Prices change often, so if you don’t see a deal that works for you, check back often.
Google Nest Cam Battery — $140, was $180
- 130-degree field of view
- Works both for indoor and outdoor
- Has free cloud storage worth three hours
- Facial recognition if you go with a subscription
Nest is a pretty big lineup of cameras, just as the Ring is, and if you’re already integrated into the Google ecosystem, you may be more interested in going with something like this Nest Cam, which is rated for both indoor and outdoor use. That being said, there is a bit of a caveat for outdoor use, as it’s only weather-resistant rather than weatherproof, so you might still want to mount it somewhere that’s relatively covered and not completely out in the elements. Also, the wall mount it comes with is magnetic, which is pretty sturdy, but you can also get a $30 stand if you prefer that.
In terms of image, it’s about what you’d expect for a product coming from Google, as it has 1080p and HDR, so you’re going to be able to see everything that goes on in its 130-degree field of view. It also has two-way audio, which is a nice deterrent feature and a generally nice feature to have if you want to use it indoors with pets or whatnot. Smart alerts are free and well done, and you’ll be happy to note that even if the Wi-Fi goes down, the Nest Cam can record for up to an hour for you to view later.
Speaking of recording video and audio, it’s important to note that you only get the three-hours worth of recording for free. If you want more, you can get the $6/month, which gives you 30 days of recording, or the Nest Aware Plus subscription for $12/month, which gives you 60 days of recording. Regardless of your subscription, you get Google’s facial recognition, which helps cut down on needless alerts as it learns who should and shouldn’t be around your home.
Ring Floodlight Cam Plus certified refurbished — $170, was $250
- Excellent image quality
- two-way audio
- 1800 lumens floodlight
- 270-degree motion detection range
Security cameras with floodlights are pretty great, and this one from Ring is one of the better ones, especially given the clear daylight images that come with HDR, meaning you’re likely to see even minute details with full color. At night, the floodlights illuminate with a power of 2,000 lumens, a substantial amount, and are triggered by the infrared motion sensor with a 270-degree angle. The downside is that the camera only has a 110-degree field of view, so if the floodlights are triggered on the edges, there’s a chance you might not see anything on the video, which is a bit of a let-down, although not necessarily a deal breaker.
As for night footage, the quality is still good, and the Ring camera has an infrared LED to illuminate the area at night, so you’ll still be able to see what’s going on. The detection range in front of the camera is about 40 feet, which is substantial, and you can change the detection range so that you’re not constantly getting alerts for things you don’t need to. The Ring is pretty great, and of course, it integrates with Alexa, but keep in mind that you’re essentially forced to use a subscription service if you want to record video, which costs $3/month/device or $10/month for an unlimited number of devices, which is better if you have four or more cameras.
That said, if you decide you don’t want to subscribe, you can still view the Ring video feed live and use the two-way audio. The latter feature is great since it allows you to talk to anybody trying to break in and acts as a great deterrent, and if it doesn’t, there’s also a 105-decibel alarm that you can trigger. The one main thing to keep in mind here is that you need to wire it up to your house’s electricity, and it also needs a good wireless connection since there’s no ethernet port on it.
Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera 3-pack — $296, was $350
- Color Night Vision
- Easy to install and use
- Bright Spotlight
- Supports IFTTT
If you want one of the better wireless cameras out there, then the Arlo essential is a great option, and while it doesn’t have a removable internal battery like other Arlo wireless cameras, it’s easy to take down and re-install for charging. Another thing we like is that you get some color video, even in night mode, and there’s an infrared light for the night when there’s no other light around, so you can see what’s going on even without a spotlight. Even so, there is a spotlight for you, which is great if you want to use it for some extra security and to brighten up areas, although don’t expect it to be incredibly bright.
Much like other wireless cameras, it doesn’t need a hub but rather just a wireless connection to the internet. It also doesn’t use any power cables since it runs on a battery, which means you can install it pretty much anywhere, and it is weather-resistant, so it should handle the elements just fine as long as you don’t put it in a completely uncovered place. The motion sensor is also pretty good, and you can adjust the level of what it alerts you with, whether it’s people, packages, or vehicles passing by, which is pretty useful.
There’s also an included two-way audio, which can be great for warding off introduction or talking with delivery folks. It also works well with all the virtual assistants, including Google Assistant, Alexa, Apple Smart home kit, and Samsung SmartThings, so that you can integrate it into your existing ecosystem. Of course, one important thing to keep in mind is that if you want to use the more advanced features and cloud storage, you need to get the Arlo Secure package which costs $3/month/device or $10/month for unlimited devices. It’s competitively priced, and for the extra features such as e911, Smoke/CO Alarm Detection, and motion detection zones, it’s worth it.
Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera 2-pack — $350, was $380
- 2k resolution with HDR
- Long battery life
- Color night vision
- Works with a variety of virtual assistants
If you like the Arlo Essential and want something with a little bit more punch, then the Arlo Pro 4 is the one to go for, especially given that it has an upgraded 2k HDR camera to work with, giving you much better detail resolution than other cameras on the market. Of course, many folks might then worry that the battery doesn’t last long, but thankfully you can decrease the resolution down to 720p to help conserve the battery if you want to. It also has two-way audio for you to speak to and hear any creepy crawlies and a relatively loud alarm if all else fails.
Another thing that’s pretty impressive about the Arlo Pro 4 is the 160-degree field of view, which you don’t often see on camera on the market, and you can even decrease the FoV if you need to place it inside a home or somewhere where 160-degree is too much. Regarding placement, mounting the Arlo Pro 4 is pretty, as it comes with a similar magnetic mount to the Google Nest, although you can also get a rotating mount for an additional cost if you’d prefer that. You’ll also be happy to know that it has a reasonably powerful spotlight that is activated by motion control, although it’s not going to be powerful enough to be used as a standalone flood light for general illumination purposes.
Much like other Arlo products, most features are locked behind the Arlo Secure package, costing $3/month/per device or $10/month for an unlimited number of devices. Again, things like its advanced zone control, which allows you to set up more than one zone, or e911, are only available with the subscription package. That being said, it’s competitively priced and not a bad deal, all things considered, so it shouldn’t be considered a dealbreaker for the extra $3-10 per month you’d end up paying.
Blink Outdoor – 5-camera kit with Blink Mini — $380, was $415
- Excellent battery life
- Great video quality
- Easy installation
- Local storage option
The Blink Outdoor shows that you don’t need to fork over a ton of money to get a good wireless security camera, and with the Blink Sync Module 2 (sold separately), you don’t have to spend a ton of money on subscription services. That being said, if you don’t want to drop the extra money, the security camera comes with a free trial, after which you pay $3/month for various features, including online storage.
As for the security camera, you get 1080p resolution and a surprisingly great 110-degree field of view, not to mention some great image quality for something so tiny. While this is battery-powered with two AAs, the battery life is still pretty good, lasting up to two years, which is impressive and helps keep the maintenance effort down. It manages this by only turning on when it’s triggered by movement in its field of view, and even better, you can adjust the motion zones that alert you through the Blink Home Monitor app so you don’t constantly get needless alerts.
Another nice feature is that it comes with a speaker, which you can use to deter thieves or even animals, which isn’t necessarily the best feature out there, but it’s still pretty useful. The wireless camera is also weatherproof so that you can set it up outside without any worries; plus, it’s easy to put up yourself since it’s wireless, only needing a couple of screws and pairing. We also really like that it works with Alexa, which means you can monitor the camera through any Alexa device, which is pretty cool.
How much should you spend on a security camera?
Ultimately, that depends a lot on what you want out of it. The more money you pay, the better the quality security camera is going to be, mostly in terms of resolution. For the most part, the average good security camera goes for around $150 to $200, and that tends to buy you floodlights, 1080p video, and two-way audio. If you want better resolution, like in the case of the Arlo Pro 4, then you’re talking $250 to $300+. That being said, you can get security camera packs and kits, which help decrease the overall cost of each unit, and that’s a great way to go if you need more than one camera.
Another cost you need to consider is the subscription service a lot of these security cameras require for you to get all the features plus recording. The most competitive rates are $3/month/device or $10/month for unlimited devices, which both Amazon and Arlo have. Is it worth paying more than that? Possibly, especially if the camera itself is cheaper or comes with added features, but ultimately you have to think about it in terms of the lifetime cost, and if you’re going to have the security cameras for 5-10 years, subscription costs start to add up quickly.
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