If you want to have peace of mind while you are far from home or simply go to sleep without worrying about trouble makers, an outdoor security camera system is an excellent investment. Not only does it provide a level of protection but it even adds value to your property.
Finding the best outdoor security cameras requires thoughtful research evaluating criteria such as pricing, resolution and high tech features. We evaluated popular outdoor cameras that do not require a professional security system to protect your belongings.
Once we compared the options in the market and found our top picks, we concluded that some essential features for outdoor home surveillance are motion detection, live streaming, night vision and ease of installation. All the products that made it to our list offer these relevant criteria.
If you prefer consumer-level smart home technology for your home surveillance system here are our selection of the best outdoor security cameras in the market.
The Best Outdoor Security Cameras
- Blink XT2: Best Overall
- Arlo 3: Best High-End Camera
- Wansview W4: Best for Patio Cameras
- Wyze Cam Outdoor: Best Affordable Camera
|Product||Starting price||Resolution||Free Storage||Compatibility||Audio|
|Blink XT2||$99.99||Up to 1080P||Yes||Alexa, Echo, Echo Dot, Blink System||Yes, two-way audio|
|Arlo Pro 3||$499 (bundle with two cameras)||2,560 QHD||3-month trial of cloud storage||Google Home Hub, Alexa, Apple Watch||Yes, two-way audio|
|Wansview W4||$36.99||Up to 1080P||No||Alexa, Echo Show, Fire TV||No|
|Wyze Cam Outdoor||$49.99||Up to 1080P||Yes, 14-days free||Google Assistant, Alexa||Yes, two-way audio|
Information accurate as of: 08/010/2020
Blink XT2: Best Overall Outdoor Camera
- No subscription service needed
- Free storage
- You can control it using Alexa as your voice assistant
- Does not have facial recognition or person detection
- Not compatible with smart home systems like Google, Apple or Microsoft
- Can’t expand storage
The Blink XT2 camera starts at $99.99 for one camera, and they offer a variety of kits with up to t five cameras. Our best overall outdoor security camera system has motion detection, free storage, it’s weather-resistant, works as an outdoor and indoor camera, and is enabled for two-way communication. The only catch is that you will need to buy the mount base separately for outdoor installation, which starts at $19.99 for three camera units.
To install the Blink XT2, you will need to scan a QR code that appears on the camera packaging. After that, the app will appear on your phone, and you just have to download it and set up the camera. Once you are done with that process, you can install the wireless camera wherever you want to. You don’t need to have a ton of experience to mount it yourself, as the mounting kit comes with instructions and all the hardware you need to make the installation process easier.
Ease of use
You can easily access your videos from the Blink Home app, and take a look at the field of view with 110 degrees and even zoom in digitally. You can also use the two-way communication feature and the temperature sensor directly from the app. This app is easy to use and all the features are available free.
The Blink XT2 offers free cloud storage and does not require a subscription fee. Another big perk is that it provides a year-long clips database. This feature makes it an excellent option for tight budgets.
Blink is an Amazon-owned company, so it works perfectly with the Alexa system, including the Echo Dot, for voice commands. It does work with smart hubs such as its own Blink System, but it’s not compatible with Google Assistant.
Arlo Pro 3: Best High-End Camera
- Versatile camera use for outdoor or indoor
- Video quality
- 180º field of view
- 12x digital zoom
- Most expensive option
- Premium Features require a subscription
- Requires SmartHub to work
Arlo Pro 3 is our best high-end option for outdoor security cameras and is also our best overall for home security cameras. They offer a starting package for $499.99, which can easily read as expensive, but it does come with two cameras, so if you are willing to pay more, this is a great option. Additionally, the package comes with two rechargeable batteries, a set of two wall-mounts and a magnetic charging cable. When you buy the Pro 3, you won’t need to worry about extra accessories as it comes with everything that you need to make the system work right in the box, including the required smart hub, ethernet cable and power adapter. Considering everything included and the level of tech that it offers, we think is worth the high price tag.
Since Arlo Pro 3 is wireless, the installation process can be done by someone without a lot of experience. Before installing the cameras, it is essential to download their app and connect the hub to the router. Once you are done with this process, you can use the hardware included in the box to install the magnetic mounts and put the cameras on them. Something we liked was that the magnetic charging cable makes it easy to charge the cameras once they are installed.
Ease of use
You can access the camera system with Arlo’s user-friendly app. With the click of a button, you can start a two-way conversation with visitors or porch delivery couriers and watch live video feeds of your property.. The app comes with an alarm button that will activate the built-in siren, call a friend or neighbor, or even the 9-1-1 in case of emergency. You can also check the battery level from the app so you can monitor when it is time to recharge.
A downside for this option is that if you want to keep your videos, you will pay extra for each camera’s storage with the Arlo Smart system. When you buy their package, it does come with a free three-month trial after that, the subscription plans start at $2.99 for each camera. Something that stands out is that the cheaper plan only allows you to store videos in 2k, if you want to access your videos in 4k resolution, you will need to pay $4.99 per camera. The higher tier plan alsol unlocks additional features such as activity zones and person detection.
For all those Apple enthusiasts, you can access your Arlo outdoor camera system with your Apple Watch. The Arlo Pro 3 is also compatible with smart systems such as Apple HomeKit, Alexa and Google Assistant. In terms of the camera’s hub, it allows you to control and integrate devices from Bose, Sonos, LIFX and Phillips Hue.
Wansview W4: Best for Patio Cameras
- Most affordable option
- Easy to install and set up
- Clear vision day and night
- Simple to use
- Does not have two-way audio
- Cloud app is not great
- Requires you to subscribe to a monthly service
The price of this camera starts at only $36.99, making it the most affordable camera in our top list. The main reason we chose it as the best for patio cameras is that, contrary to our other options, this one doesn’t have two-way audio. But it does offer live streaming, playback recorded video and is certified to be waterproof up to an IP66 rating (which means it’s “dust tight” and can withstand powerful jets of water). We were amazed by it’s night vision as well, with infrared LED up to 67 feet. The Wansview W4 is a low price, yet high-quality, option for those on a budget.
To set up this camera, like the others, you will need to download the app and register on their Wansview Cloud. Then you just follow the instructions on the screen until you see a red/blue light flashing. At that moment, you will need to connect your camera to your WiFi to finish the set up. Once you are done with this step, you can install it outside with a screwdriver. This wired camera does need a power cord to operate, so if you are not good with tools, you might need to call an expert to install it.
Ease of use
Users of this outdoor security camera do think that the app falls short on the features side. But you still get real-time notifications for unexpected moves around your property. And you can share the video feed with your family and friends.
Users can access the Wansview app without subscribing to the cloud storage, but it only keeps the videos for two days. The camera does not offer internal storage, so if you want to access your videos for a longer period, you will need to upgrade your cloud storage with a subscription.
This affordable outdoor camera is compatible with iOS and Android devices. You can check your storage videos on a web-based page with a PC or a Mac as well. In terms of smart devices, the Wansview W4 works with Alexa and your Echo Show Fire TV to show the live video feed.
Wyze Cam Outdoor: Best Affordable Camera
- Great quality for the cost
- Two weeks of free storage
- Includes a base station that supports up to 3 cameras
- The base station needs to be hardwired to the router
- The app is not user-friendly
- Short-range night vision
- Currently only available through pre-orders
The Wyze Cam Outdoor is a wireless camera with a lot to offer for a low price. The starter bundle costs only $49.99 and includes a rechargeable battery, one camera and the required base station. The amount you are paying for the specs this camera offers is an excellent value when compared to more expensive competitors, including our best overall pick: Blink XT2. In fact, this outdoor security camera is so popular that it sold out and currently accepts pre-orders with an expected shipping date in October.
This outdoor camera is easy to install and set up. To start, download the Wyze App and connect your base station to the WiFi network. Make sure you create a username and password for the account. After you create it, plug the camera using the USB cables that came in the box and when the camera’s LED lights start flashing, you are ready to set it up. Select the camera on the app and a beep will tell you that your camera is ready to connect after a quick scan of the camera’s QR code. Once you’ve finished this setup, you can easily install this wire-free camera on your preferred wall.
Ease of use
The Wyze App is easy to use, but it is not that intuitive. Still, you can zoom videos in for details directly from your phone, access live video feeds, check motion alerts, choose motion detection zones, and start two-way conversations.
The Wyze Cam Outdoor includes 14-day free cloud storage, and you can add a microSD card for the internal storage. This camera offers Travel Mode, which allows you to record motion and time-lapse clips without being connected to the Wize Base Station or the internet. Although this setting is only available if you add the external card.
The Wyze Outdoor Cam supports Alexa and Google Assistant as well, so you can control its features with voice commands. Its low profile base station will allow you to connect up to four cameras and access all of their videos streams from your phone with the Wyze App.
What you Need to Know About Outdoor Security Cameras
When looking for an outdoor security camera system, check for convenient features with advanced technology before choosing the one that suits your needs best. Features such as night vision, ample field of view,motion detection and real-time notifications to your phone, high-quality image and weather-resistance are essential for this type of camera.
Minimum requirements Checklist
Here is a list of elements that you need to cross out before buying your next outdoor security camera system.
- Night Vision
Night vision allows you to see what’s happening even with low light. This technology usually works using infrared led lights, allowing cameras to capture good-quality video even at night.
- Motion detection
Motion detection technology finds real threats and alerts you to have a glimpse of what is happening and decide if you need to take action. The ideal features should include people and animal detection, so you don’t receive false alarms every time the neighbor’s cat hangs out at your porch. If you have a low budget, at least make sure you get a camera with motion detection technology.
- Ease of Installation
A camera with an easy installation process is better when you are not too handy and don’t want to spend extra money on getting professional help. It is better to check what other customers write about the installation process; this way, you won’t waste time or money.
When you buy home surveillance systems, you should consider more than just the price of the camera. You might need to consider addition expenses like accessories, cloud storage monthly fees, mount bases and even professional installation, if necessary.
Many cameras have settings such as two-way audio to talk with visitors or even whoever delivers your packages. But be aware that although some cameras allow you to record audio, it is illegal to do so without explicit consent.
- Field of view
The field of view refers to how much area the camera can cover from a single angle: the narrower the field, the better view angle and focal distance you will have. For outdoor cameras, we prefer a field of view with ot at least 110 degrees or higher.
The higher the resolution of the outdoor camera the more internet bandwidth and space on the cloud or internal storage it will require. A higher resolution will allow you to see much more details in the video, but you should consider if your internet service supports it and if you are willing to pay for a more expensive cloud storage service. We recommend going after a camera that offers at least 1080p in resolution.
- Source of power
If the outdoor camera you choose is wired, installing it could present challenges that may require professional help to handle it. Battery-powered systems are usually easier to install and charge, but you will need to make sure to check the charge level periodically so it doesn’t stop working. Some cameras come with an app that allows you to monitor the battery for easier maintenance. .
Accessories you will need
Here are some accessories that your outdoor cameras will need to work in optimal conditions:
- Camera Base or Mount
When you buy an outdoor camera, you must check if the package includes the camera base or mount—a must-have place to keep your camera on the best angle to capture your home surroundings.
- Solar Panel Charger
A solar panel charger will keep the battery of your camera charged, without needing to worry about running out of battery. If you are forgetful or want to make an eco-friendly decision, make sure you get one.
- Subscriptions to Cloud Storage
Cloud storage exists to keep your security videos and clips digitally safe. Some camera manufacturers offer limited to none cloud storage for free, so you will probably need a subscription to store and access your video feed remotely, and use premium features.
- Storage Card
If you choose a camera that allows you to add an internal storage card, remember to get the compatible card that supports it. Usually, when you get a reading card for your home surveillance system, you won’t need to worry about extra cloud storage, although some features might still require you to get a subscription.
- Camera cover
If the camera you choose is not waterproof or water-resistant, you will need to get a camera cover. Another plus if you get one is that it will protect the equipment from hard weather conditions like sunlight and rain, giving it a longer life.
- Strong Internet Connection
We added a stable internet connection as an accessory since, if your camera equipment is going to be installed outside, you will need it to enjoy most of your camera’s features. Without a stable internet connection, you will have delays on your two-way conversation and lags on your live streamings and motion detection notifications.
Outdoor home security cameras serve as an extra layer of protection for your home. Whether you are at your property or not, a camera allows you to monitor your home’s surroundings from your smartphone or computer. If any unusual activity occurs, a home surveillance camera helps gather evidence, and even the sight of them can keep burglars away. Having this peace of mind makes outdoor cameras worth it.
As with most things that we buy for our home, it is essential to know what you need and expect from this camera, as there are plenty of options available. For example, the weather conditions in your area can be a determining factor to choose an outdoor security camera. Other criteria to keep in mind include price, compatibility with your smart home system, camera range, motion detection technology, night vision and remote access
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the ideal areas to install outdoor security cameras are first-floor windows, front, back and side doors. Other crucial areas to have cameras are the garage or driveway.
If you are trying to keep burglars away, it’s better to have an outdoor camera. But bear in mind that indoor and outdoor security cameras are pretty different. Outdoor cameras alert you when a new package arrives, allow you to know who’s near or entering your house, and notify you if there are any sudden and unexpected moves in the surroundings. Indoor cameras are useful for monitoring what’s inside your house, checking the kids in other rooms, and even having conversations with them while you are away from home. Try to identify what your needs are and choose wisely, depending on that.
If you are looking for a camera that does a great job, make sure to look for value, storage location (local or cloud) and how easy is the installation process. You should also consider what is the power source, if it has smart home functionalities and what are the monitoring options. For example, if it has access to an app and also has web-based access. Every camera offers different things, make sure that you are receiving what you need when making a decision.