Need to keep an eye on your house from anywhere? Small, stand-alone Wi-Fi or wireless security cameras (also called IP cameras) are easy to set up; can stream video to your phone, tablet or PC; and will send you alerts if they detect motion or loud noises. Most cameras also provide night vision and automatic motion-activated recording, and some can be connected to other smart-home products, such as security systems and smart lights.
After testing dozens of wired and wireless options, our favorite security camera is the Arlo Q. We found that it had the best software, the most flexible options and the most affordable cloud-storage subscription plan of the home security cameras we tested. Our favorite fully wireless, battery-operated camera is the Arlo Pro 2; this 1080p camera’s rechargeable battery can last for up to six months, and features two-way talk capabilities.
If you’re looking for something under $100, our favorite budget security camera is the Wyze Cam 1080p, which costs about $25, yet has a surprising number of features for the price, and gives you 14 days of rolling cloud storage for free.
With its top-notch video quality, excellent motion detection, flexible scheduling and intuitive user interface, the Arlo Q would be a contender as our best security camera even without its very generous basic cloud-subscription plan. That plan gives you the past week’s recordings at no cost for the lifetime of the unit (although higher tiers aren’t free), and more than justifies the unit’s relatively high price. The Arlo Q is the Wi-Fi security camera to beat.
Wyze Cam 1080p
Don’t let the low price fool you; the Wyze Cam 1080p is an excellent security camera, and our best pick for its price. This device comes with two weeks of free cloud storage, as well as a microSD card slot which you can use to enable continuous recording and create time-lapse videos. With an add-on module, you can link this camera to Wyze’s motion sensors and smart bulbs, as well as to third party smart-home devices with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Not only do the Arlo Ultra’s 4K cameras deliver the best quality we’ve seen from a wireless security camera, but it also uses that extra resolution to enable digital track and zoom, which makes it easier to follow and ID a person as they move across the frame. A built-in spotlight also enables color recording at night, and it has dual microphones for better audio. Plus, the Arlo Ultra’s base station will be compatible with the company’s smart home security kit, due out later this year.
Arlo Pro 2
Like its older sibling the Arlo Pro, the Arlo Pro 2 has motion detection, night vision and an intercom function, but the Pro 2 has a higher resolution (1080p vs. 720p) with a wider 130-degree field of view. The Arlo Pro 2 can be plugged in or run off battery power, and can last for up to six months without needing a recharge. You’ll also get Arlo’s generous cloud-subscription plan, which offers seven days’ worth of footage for free.
Nest Cam Indoor
The Nest Cam Indoor is the third generation of the celebrated Dropcam, and bumps up its predecessors’ video quality to 1080p. It’s easy to set up and, thanks to its magnetic, swiveling base,it can be installed almost anywhere indoors. The video looks sharp; night vision is clear; the camera can be used as an intercom; and it interacts with the Nest Thermostat and the Nest Protect smoke detector, as well as numerous third-party smart- home devices.
Ring Floodlight Camera
In addition to a sharp 1080p camera, the Ring Floodlight camera has two powerful LEDS that turn on when motion is detected. Plus, Ring’s app has a neighborhood-watch feature, which lets you see what’s happening in your hood from other Ring users, as well as police and fire departments. Unfortunately, to view recorded video, you’ll need to subscribe to Ring’s cloud storage plans.
For those looking for a less expensive outdoor security system, the Arlo Pro costs just $189 for a single camera/base station setup; the newer Arlo Pro 2 is $299. The main tradeoff? The Arlo Pro records video at 720p versus 1080p for the Arlo Pro 2. Otherwise, you get a generous storage plan, a two-way audio, a weatherproof camera and an excellent app with a lot of features.
Kasa Cam Outdoor
Kasa’s lower-cost outdoor security camera is a good deal if you don’t mind a few tradeoffs. Daytime 1080p video from this camera was excellent, but nighttime video was less defined; it was hard to make out people’s faces. The camera is weather-resistant, but the connection between its cable and power supply is not. We also liked that its app lets you set up custom motion zones. In addition, you get free rolling two-day cloud storage, and a 14-day plan that’s a very reasonable $40 per year.
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
Nest’s outdoor camera isn’t cheap, but the feature set may be worth it. This weatherproof camera has a tamper-resistant design, a triple microphone array and HDR support for better-quality videos than what other cameras produce. It can distinguish between people and animals, and can even recognize individual faces. However, a lot of the features are available only with a Nest Aware subscription, which starts at $10/month, or $100/year.
Wyze Cam Pan
Unlike most security cameras, the Wyze Cam Pan can actually move a full 360 degrees as it tracks a subject walking across a room. Unfortunately, video captured while the camera is moving looks very blurry. When the camera is still, though, it produces quality video for its sub-$40 price. It also has a number of useful features, such as sending you an alert if it hears a smoke or CO2 alarm. Plus, you get 14 days of rolling cloud storage for free — a real bargain.
EZViz Mini O 1080p
This budget Wi-Fi camera offers 1080p video that’s pretty good in day and night settings. EZViz’ app also lets you set a schedule for when the camera turns on and off, and lets you set motion sensitivity as well as zones — a feature typically found only on more expensive cameras. The Mini O 1080p has a microSD card slot, so you can save videos locally. If you don’t buy cloud storage (which starts at $5.99/month for seven days of storage), your options are limited to the live camera feed, push notifications with a snapshot and having your device settings saved to the cloud (rather than only locally). You can also control the camera using Alexa and Google Assistant.
The sleek Canary Pro (the company recently changed its name from the Canary All-in-One) has environmental sensors that monitor heat, humidity and air quality. It also includes an intercom, a very loud siren that should scare off any intruder and a geofencing feature that automatically turns on motion detection when the user leaves the house. The Canary can interact with Alexa and Google Assistant. The 1080p video looks crisp and clear, the sound quality is excellent and the mobile app is intuitive.