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The best outdoor security cameras that don’t need a subscription

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.

Google Nest Doorbell Battery

Nest Doorbell (battery)

Store 3 hours of video without a subscription
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Reolink 4G LTE Cellular Security Camera Outdoor, Wireless Solar-Powered w/ Rechargeable Battery, 4MP Night Vision, Smart Person/Vehicle Detection, Time Lapse, No WiFi Needed, Go Plus with Solar Panel

Reolink Go Plus with Solar Panel

Subscription, no. Data plan, yes
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Wyze Cam v3

Wyze Cam v3

Store video on an SD card
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eufy Security, eufyCam 2C 2-Cam Kit, Security Camera Outdoor, Wireless Home Security System with 180-Day Battery Life, HomeKit Compatibility, 1080p HD, IP67, Night Vision, No Monthly Fee

EufyCam 2C

16GB of internal storage for capturing footage
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Defender PHOENIXM2 Non WiFi. Plug-in Power Security Cameras- for Home & Business Surveillance Indoor & Outdoor Bullet Cameras with 7 Inch LCD Display Monitor, Free 32 GB SD Card Included (2 Cameras)

Defender PhoenixM2

32GB SD card and no internet connectivity
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google nest doorbell battery review  3 of 13
John Velasco / Digital Trends

Nest Doorbell (battery)

Store 3 hours of video without a subscription

Pros
  • Gorgeous minimalist design
  • Intelligent alerts
  • Doesn't require subscription for video history
  • Useful quick responses
Cons
  • 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.

Google Nest Doorbell Battery

Nest Doorbell (battery)

Store 3 hours of video without a subscription

Reolink Go Plus with Solar Panel

Subscription, no. Data plan, yes

Pros
  • 7-day cloud video storage for free
  • Solar power to charge the battery automatically
  • 2K resolution
Cons
  • 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.

Reolink 4G LTE Cellular Security Camera Outdoor, Wireless Solar-Powered w/ Rechargeable Battery, 4MP Night Vision, Smart Person/Vehicle Detection, Time Lapse, No WiFi Needed, Go Plus with Solar Panel

Reolink Go Plus with Solar Panel

Subscription, no. Data plan, yes
wyze cam v3 review 5 of 9
John Velasco / Digital Trends

Wyze Cam v3

Store video on an SD card

Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Works both indoors and outdoors
  • More detail with color night vision
  • Tons of security controls
Cons
  • 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).

Wyze Cam v3

Wyze Cam v3

Store video on an SD card
Eufy security cam in the rain.

EufyCam 2C

16GB of internal storage for capturing footage

Pros
  • Hub with built-in local storage
  • Two cams
  • Great battery life
Cons
  • 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.

eufy Security, eufyCam 2C 2-Cam Kit, Security Camera Outdoor, Wireless Home Security System with 180-Day Battery Life, HomeKit Compatibility, 1080p HD, IP67, Night Vision, No Monthly Fee

EufyCam 2C

16GB of internal storage for capturing footage

Defender PhoenixM2

32GB SD card and no internet connectivity

Pros
  • No internet required
  • Two camera system with LCD monitoring screen
  • Includes SD card
Cons
  • 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.

Defender PHOENIXM2 Non WiFi. Plug-in Power Security Cameras- for Home & Business Surveillance Indoor & Outdoor Bullet Cameras with 7 Inch LCD Display Monitor, Free 32 GB SD Card Included (2 Cameras)

Defender PhoenixM2

32GB SD card and no internet connectivity

Frequently Asked Questions

Can security cameras be installed without internet?

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.

Which Arlo cameras don't require a subscription?

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.

Do Wyze cameras work without a subscription?

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.

Will I lose any other features without a subscription?

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.

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