Looking for a home security camera that doesn’t require a monthly subscription at all? It’s hard to find one these days. Security brands are set on getting subscription fees, and even today’s self-monitoring plans typically require a monthly fee to use important storage for your videos (necessary for viewing and using the video later) and other useful features.
So, where does that leave you? You can either look for one of the increasingly rare security cams that offer cloud storage without a subscription, or you can look for security cams that enable local storage, typically through an SD card slot, so they will automatically load the footage on the card and you can examine it later and wipe it when necessary. The problem is that security cams aren’t always eager to advertise their local storage capabilities. We’re making everything a lot easier with our list of the best outdoor security cameras that don't require a subscription at all.
Nest Doorbell (battery)
Store 3 hours of video without a subscription
- Gorgeous minimalist design
- Intelligent alerts
- Doesn't require subscription for video history
- Useful quick responses
- Fine video details are on the soft side
- Inconsistent capture rates
Google’s Nest brand provides one of the best deals possible for a video doorbell if you aren’t interested in subscription fees. Video doorbells tend to get triggered frequently by people passing by, etc., so they can use a lot of video storage space. Not only does the Nest Doorbell have AI technology to dismiss cars and recognize packages (other detection requires a fee), but it offers a three-hour event video history stored in the cloud to peruse and save if necessary, giving you time to act if there’s trouble.
We chose the battery model for this list because it’s easy to place and set up, and a charge lasts for a good three months. But there is a wired version of this cam available if you prefer to avoid batteries. The Nest Aware subscription adds more storage options if you ever decide you need more security.
Reolink Go Plus with Solar Panel
Subscription, no. Data plan, yes
- 7-day cloud video storage for free
- Solar power to charge the battery automatically
- 2K resolution
- Requires a data plan to use
Reolink is another of the few brands that offer online cloud storage without the need to pay a subscription. This 4G cam offers night vision to 33 feet and 2K resolution plus person and vehicle detection, along with two-way audio options like so many smart cams provide these days. But the real value lies in the location storage options via optional SD card, combined with seven days of free cloud storage that doesn’t require a subscription plan at all.
This model also includes a solar panel, which is excellent at keeping the battery charged when placed correctly and gives you more options for placement. Note that this is a data-based camera, so you will need a data plan through a compatible carrier like T-Mobile. The advantage of this option is that you don’t have to worry about getting too far away from your Wi-Fi and it’s more resistant to localized blackouts.
Wyze Cam v3
Store video on an SD card
- Very affordable
- Works both indoors and outdoors
- More detail with color night vision
- Tons of security controls
- Integrated power cord
Wyze has become one of the best brands for affordable security products, and the extra-affordable Cam v3 is no exception. Despite the compact size of this friendly camera, it still includes an SD card slot for local storage, so you don’t need the “Cam Plus” plan to record video.
Don’t let the perky design make you think it’s an indoor-only cam: This model is made for indoor or outdoor use, and can be mounted without fear of weather conditions. It sports important features like night vision and two-way audio -- just keep in mind you’ll probably want an outdoor power adapter (sold separately).
16GB of internal storage for capturing footage
- Hub with built-in local storage
- Two cams
- Great battery life
- Hub-based systems take up extra room
While local storage can be more difficult to manage sometimes, this Eufy security system was designed with it in mind. Those who prefer to skip online video storage altogether will love the results. The system works thanks to the hub, which provides 16GB of internal storage without the need to buy an additional card. Eufy says that’s about three months of storage, depending on how often the cams are triggered.
Speaking of the cams, you get two of them, both ready for outdoor use and equipped with night vision and two-way audio, along with built-in spotlights that can trigger by motion as well. The video is stored using AES-128 data encryption, so it won’t be easy for anyone to intercept.
32GB SD card and no internet connectivity
- No internet required
- Two camera system with LCD monitoring screen
- Includes SD card
- Requires personal monitoring of a display
If you really want to go off the grid, this camera doesn’t need a data or Wi-Fi connection and doesn’t use the internet at all. Instead, it sends data straight to the included 7-inch LCD monitor. The camera is built tough, with night vision and two-way audio included. The system comes with two cameras to install, as well as a 32GB SD card to help save the video that you’re watching. Keep in mind these are wired cameras, so they will need to be connected to a power source.
Your other primary option is using a data connection via cell towers like your phone, but this can be expensive. Even then, most home security cams are now designed to connect to your Wi-Fi for app access. Our Defend pick is one of the few home-friendly systems that doesn't need an internet or data connection at all.
Technically, you don't need a subscription to use any Arlo cam. But then you lose the ability to store video online entirely, and Arlo's SD cards are designed to be a backup option, not serve as primary storage. That's why we don't have one on the list currently.
Yes, as long as you have an SD card that you can insert into the camera. Wyze cams are notable for being one of the most affordable home security camera options.
That depends on the brand. Sometimes, you'll also lose certain AI features, some types of notifications, integrations with other smart devices, emergency response options, and more. It really varies based on the plan. However, video storage is the primary concern because it's so important for legal reasons and general usefulness. You don't want to be stuck with just live streaming.
- Ring Sale: Save on Ring Video Doorbell, Indoor Cam, and more
- The best outdoor security cameras for 2023
- Best Amazon Alexa accessories: lights, plugs, thermostats, cameras, and more
- Best Smart Plugs: What is a smart plug, and which do I need?
- The best smart light switches for 2023