In this ultimate guide, you’ll find everything there is to know about home security cameras.
Check out the list below.
Best Home Security Cameras 2018
Arlo is a smart device, which means that you’ll be able to view footage through just about any internet-enabled device and add a lot of conveniences. Arlo can be placed discreetly just about anywhere in your house; it’s a relatively tiny device that also has the capability to be mounted on an angled arm or platform. The device even has a ball-joint connector that can easily snap onto the product once the joint is mounted on the wall.
When it comes to the footage that Arlo produces, this product delivers some excellent HD video, which will ensure that you’ll be able to see fine details. One of the best features of this product is that it’s completely wireless; you simply snap Arlo on or place it where you want and it’ll beam the footage to the cloud. As a result, Arlo is a best home security camera system wireless.
In fact, Arlo comes with one gigabyte of free cloud storage so that you can record footage without worrying about space constraints.
- This product is perfectly compatible with Alexa-based systems from Amazon and can be used in the smart home.
- This is a weatherproof product, which makes it perfect for both outside and inside use.
- Arlo incorporates both motion detection and night vision features so that you can get a full experience.
- This is a battery-powered product, which means that if you let the batteries expire you won’t have security.
This is a product that provides real-time alerts; when it picks up suspicious activity, it’ll definitely let you know what’s happening via your smart device. When you need a quick scan, you can use your smartphone to command the Yi Dome camera to show you a 360-degree view of the entire surrounding viewable area.
This product uses infrared beads to create a video in low-light situations; in fact, you’ll be able to clearly see for up to three meters. The Yi Dome even supports two-way audio.
- When you’re away, the two-way audio feature lets you talk to your pets or listen for problems.
- This is a cloud-supported device, which means that your footage will be saved on a non-local server.
- This is a product that you can pan and tilt with your smartphone so that you can be sure that there’s nothing going down in your home.
- While it’s HD, this product’s video footage is recorded in 720p, which isn’t as clear as 1080p.
Our first product is a hidden camera-style security camera that has the shaping and form factor of a light bulb. In fact, this product can easily install into a standard electrical outlet for a light bulb and it will provide footage from whatever angle that you put it in. This means that this is one of the few products that can interface with an E27 socket.
When it comes to functionality, this product has a good amount of features. When you position the camera, it takes wide-angle footage using a fish-eye style of image capture. This footage covers a large area so that you won’t miss minute details during the filming process.
The footage taken is very high-res, and the device even has a motion capture function so that footage can start to be collected only when movement is detected. Once the process or image capture begins, this product can also send image and video content to your smartphone for an extra level of convenience.
- All footage is saved onto a SD-card so that you can watch the footage on a laptop or computer.
- The images produced by this device are very high-res so that you can see clearly any unusual aspects of the footage.
- This product looks very much like a standard light bulb, which means that unscrupulous people won’t know that they are being monitored.
- This product doesn’t pan or tilt, which means that there may be dead spots in the footage.
When you don’t want to draw attention to the fact that you have a security camera system, a product like this one that has a very small form factor can be very useful. In fact, this camera has a diameter that isn’t much wider than a coin. This means that you’ll be able to put it in smaller areas and monitor anything that has happened in the environment while you were away.
When it comes to image quality, this product is perfectly HD-ready – you’ll be able to see video in 720p, or 1080p resolution, which means that you’ll be able to check out file playback on a larger screen. The product comes with a platform that provides positioning options so that you can view any area of your home. The device comes with a SD-card-compatible slot that allows you to record up to 32GB’s worth of footage or about an hour of recorded footage.
This is also a motion detecting product that also has night vision capabilities so that you can view any recorded video that happens in low-light situations.
- So that you don’t squander the footage, this product is set to only record video when motion is detected.
- This product has a high level of video resolution; in fact, the video footage is 100 percent HD.
- This is a particularly tiny product; no one that isn’t looking for it will notice it.
- If it detects motion, it records, which can sap its 60-minute footage capacity.
When the device is active in your home, it will remain dormant until you activate it. At that point, it won’t start footage taking until the built-in motion detector picks up movement. The product can produce video at a resolution of 720p so that you can receive high-quality images that can be used to prosecute any home invaders.
When the product detects motion, the Blink home security system will use push alerts to let you know about the event. This product will even interface with Alexa products, which can be very useful for those that run their smart home on this product line.
- With the two AA batteries that power this device, the camera will be able to function for up to two years.
- The product features free cloud service, which is rare for a product of this type.
- Via an app that’s installable on either iOS or Android devices, you will be able to monitor your home via the camera.
- This device includes a motion detector so that you can save battery power between incidents.
- If any motion is detected, you’ll get a push notification, which means that falling leaves will cause a text alert.
Another Alexa-enabled product, this camera system, which comes from smart home company Nest, is a great solution for anyone that wants security in the world of interconnectedness. This is a premium product, and the Nest cameras themselves are very small so that you can place them in places that a thief won’t notice. It comes attached to a platform that allows for panning, tilting, and minute adjustments.
One of the better features of the product is its night vision system; unlike other products, the Nest Cam provides full-room night vision so that you get a fuller experience. Additionally, the footage is taken on a 24/7 basis that means that you’ll experience better coverage in your home. Unlike other smart home products, the Nest Cam doesn’t require a smart hub; you just need a phone to have access to the system, which makes it one of the best wireless security camera system options.
- This has two-way audio so that you can talk to your pets, warn away intruders, or hear what’s going on in your home.
- This has excellent night vision; entire rooms will be illuminated so that you can see the finer details in 1080p resolution.
- The product comes complete with push notifications; it’ll let you know when an event is occurring.
- This is a high-resolution night vision security camera that can pick up footage in near pitch black conditions.
- Nest Cam is locked behind a service that you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription for.
The four cameras that come with this product are fairly versatile; in fact, they are fully weatherproof, have a fairly small form factor, and have 24 IR LEDs that can pick up footage in the lowest light conditions. Any taken footage is viewable via any iOS or Android device, which can help you have some peace of mind while you’re away. For those looking for a wider coverage area, the fact that these have four cameras makes this one of the best outdoor security cameras.
The cameras themselves are bullet-style, which means that they articulate via a stalk, which means that you’ll have a lot of built-in control and wider field of view.
- This is one of the best outdoor security camera systems with DVR – you can beam footage from all around your property.
- This product comes with four cameras that can easily be used inside or outside of the house.
- The DVR unit can hold a high amount of footage and can be quickly attached via HDMI to any monitor.
- It comes with motion detection capabilities and it also can see very well in low-light situations.
- There is an internal fan inside the DVR unit that has a tendency to be very loud.
When you want control, a good PTZ camera like this device from Amcrest is definitely the way to go. These work from a fixed positioning that you’ll have to install the cameras where you think it’d work the best. That being said, as a result of the PTZ design, these cameras have a fully articulated construction that includes motorized features that are user-controllable.
When it comes to video, the ProHD has a high definition video content of 1080p and also produces 30 frames per second content, which is perfect for high detail. This is also a Wi-Fi enabled camera that you can quickly install via Android or iOS; once installed, you’ll be able to use the downloaded app to receive footage or control the positioning of the cameras.
Recordings are saved via Micro SD so that you can have a physical record of the footage. In addition, it has motion alerts, a good amount of night vision capability, and a 90 degree viewing angle.
- You can control this device remotely so that you can take a quick look around by just using your smartphone.
- 1080p footage at 30 frames per second provides a crisp and clear accounting of what’s happening in your home.
- Not only will you get push alerts via texts, but the system will send emails and the footage can be viewed on supported browsers.
- For those with Wi-Fi signals in the five-gigahertz range, you may not be able to use this device.
Another dome camera with a Wi-Fi-enabled functionality, the Tenvis HD is an excellent option for anyone that’s on a budget. From a design perspective, this product is able to be articulated so that any area of your home will be very visible. The camera is able to interface with your smartphone via Wi-Fi and will even send you to push notifications should an event occur within your home.
When an event does happen, you’ll be able to use two-way communications to converse and warn away the intruder; this feature can even be used to communicate with family members or pets that are in the home. It’s also very easy to install this product on your Wi-Fi connection; in fact, Tenvis designed this home security camera to be connected with a single button so that you can experience security at a faster rate.
As a product that uses local media (Micro SD cards) to store data, you can quickly transfer this media to a computer and playback the footage quickly.
- With the 128 GB storage capacity of the Micro SD card, this product is able to store up to 60 days of video.
- This product can easily be commanded to tilt and pan so that you can view a wider swath of video from your home.
- With a local media storage system, you don’t have to worry about a subscription plan for cloud-based security.
- You need an internet cable to connect to the internet for the first time, then it’ll automatically connect to the Wi-Fi.
The final product on our list is a set of four cameras from Zmodo. This is a great camera to use outdoors because it is complete with IR night vision that makes the image turn black and white in the dark so that images are easier to see. You can easily adjust the sensitivity of the details of the camera at night as well so that see any movement in your yard.
This set of cameras also has a weatherproof design that is perfect for cold weather; in fact, it can withstand temperatures that are below freezing, so you will be able to use them all winter long. These cameras are very easy to set up; simply download the Zmodo app when the camera is powered on and quickly complete the configuration. This app is also the tool that you would use to check footage from the camera, change your settings, and receive alerts that let you know that movement has been detected.
All clips from the camera with movement detected are saved on the cloud for a period of 36 hours. If you want 24 hour footage, that is a service that you will need to pay for.
- Setting up the cameras is simple; all you need to do is follow the instructions in the app.
- The images will be in HD; vivid and high-quality images can help to increase your security.
- Third party programs are not an option to view the footage that these cameras record.
Home Security Camera Buyer’s Guide
Why bother with a home security camera at all?
These systems can be inexpensive and can also save you tons of lost money and insurance premiums. They can cover both the inside and outside of your home and even have high tech features that can identify people near your home and interface with your smart devices.
There are a wide variety of security cameras that you can select to protect your home. The product that you select can vary based on your needs and your house setup, but here’s a list of a few of the most popular:
- Dome Camera – these allow for the camera to rest in a dome-shaped housing so that it has a wide range of movement.
- PTZ Camera – This type of camera has several panning, tilting, and zooming options due to the fact that it has several angling mechanisms.
- Bullet-Style – Bullet-style cameras rest on an articulating stalk. These products can sometimes include IR illuminators as well.
- IP Camera – These use an internet protocol-based system to transmit a digital signal over your home network.
- Night Vision – Since many burglaries happen at night, these cameras can quickly illuminate a perpetrator’s face so that an arrest can be made later.
- Wireless IP Camera – These can work off of your existing Wi-Fi network to wirelessly transmit the data signal.
Can these be used during the prosecution process?
Any footage that is captured of a crime occurring must be presented to law enforcement officials so that it can be used in the criminal justice process. In fact, not turning this material over can be considered obstruction of justice. Fortunately, this material is easily retrieved via the cloud, through DVR systems, or through internally-stored systems.
If your security system uses an HDD system, these can store a finite amount of footage but there are ways that these can perform at a high level of quality. Modern security systems fortunately can have 500 GB or even one TB systems, which can provide thousands of hours of footage. Additionally, some of these machines can be motion-activated, which means that you’ll be able to use these for years without running out of space.
It’s imperative that your home security camera be able to record hours of footage of a high level of quality. Since this footage should be high-res, it can also be rather large when it comes to file sizes. Fortunately, today, there are several systems that can be used in order to save hours of recorded footage, such as:
- DVR – Security camera DVR works similarly to the way that cable-based DVR works. All of your cameras will record footage that is then beamed wirelessly or via wires to a DVR unit that has an onboard hard drive.
- Cloud – This is a much more limitless system. Cloud-based storage systems beam recorded footage via the internet to a series of servers that are set aside for this footage. Typically, these cost a monthly fee.
- Local Media – Sometimes home security cameras include onboard storage options as well. Typically, these are SD-card based systems that can store gigabytes of footage.
- Computer – Rather than use a DVR system, some home security cameras can send security footage directly to your computer. This means that the sizing options can be larger and you can even upgrade the storage space for your video footage.
- VCR/VHS – Traditional systems do still exists so that you can store footage directly to a VHS/VCR system – you’ll just need to make sure that you have a medium for playback.
How does a DVR work?
The DVR-based home security cameras can be very convenient for a homeowner because they don’t require much in the way of setup. These systems typically come with several satellite cameras that all coordinate with and upload footage to a set top DVR system. Usually, these DVR units have more than ample storage capacity to hold hours of footage from each of the satellite cameras.
How does cloud storage work?
Cloud-based security camera systems have no locally-held physical device to upload footage to. Instead, the footage is uploaded via a Wi-Fi or internet cable to a server at a remote location. These systems are often unlimited, but most users will have to pay a monthly fee for the service. For these systems, the data is usually only held on the server level for a limited amount of time; typically from 24 hours to a week.
How much can you expect to spend for a cloud storage service?
There are several great cloud-based security systems like Amazon’s popular offering, and the pricing for these types of services are very reasonable. In fact, you can spend as little as $1.50 per month for one of these services. While most services will cost in the $10 per month range, it’s a fairly hassle-free process: the cameras store your footage for a few days, and if you need it, it can easily be retrieved.
These types of home cameras can be used in more than a few useful ways; if your camera has environmental monitoring, you’ll be able to tell the ambient temperature of the air, the air quality, and even the humidity. They can also be used to check up on newborns/children, and if you have an older person staying with you, a security camera can be used to check on them as well. If your camera has two-way audio, you can even use a camera system to send out a wakeup call to your kids.
Can these cameras operate if there is no light?
If you simply want high visibility out of the box, then you’ll need a night vision or thermal imaging camera that can work in low-light situations. Thermal imaging and night vision capabilities come as features in many of the products that are on the market today and can add a lot of ease if mind.
Can they be used to monitor the external areas of the property?
There are many products of this type that can be used outside, but make sure that your camera setup is weatherproof or they will become damaged. These products can easily monitor your property; places like the yard, your garage, and your patio can easily be monitored for unscrupulous individuals. These cameras can also tilt and pan so that you can have a wider coverage area around your property.
These cameras are designed to be almost completely wireless so that you can just hardwire them for power. These cameras will directly connect to your Wi-Fi network and will transmit any data that they record to your DVR or computer setup. This is definitely an advantageous style of setup, but if anything causes interference with the Wi-Fi connection, then your security setup can be compromised.
What other types of wireless connections can a home security system use when the internet goes out?
Some home security cameras can connect via cellular radio. These systems are designed to reliably connect to a remote monitoring system or a DVR box so that you can stay connected – even when the internet-based Wi-Fi goes out.
How can these items interface with a smart home?
Amazingly, this is becoming an increasingly common and convenient experience. Now, via an app, you can easily connect up to your home security system and take a look at what’s happening around your home – even when you’re miles away. In fact, some systems will allow you to turn lights and devices on so that a potentially questionable individual will think that a resident is home and will avoid attempting to burglarize your property.
What types of resolutions can you expect?
You want to be able to see the faces of the people that have burglarized your property so that they can be persecuted once they have been apprehended. As a result, most modern security systems are designed with cameras that are able to record footage in full HD resolutions. This means that these products have the ability to film with resolutions of 720p and higher – the perfect resolution to identify a suspect.
How much will one of these cameras set you back?
These products can often be very inexpensive. A good system can cost as little as $30, but top-of-the-line products can cost more than $500. It’s important to understand that some cheaper systems can cost less, but will require contracts for a service, which will add cost over time.
How do push alerts work?
For those cameras that have push notifications, these products have the ability to notify you of your smart device when an event occurs. This helps you to avoid having to monitor your footage like a hawk when you’re away from your property. When an event happens, your camera may send a text message; it may even have the ability to send a recorded face to your phone so that you can decide whether the person being recorded is acceptable.
Additionally, if you don’t have your phone on you, these types of cameras can even send you an email when an alert is released.
What is environmental monitoring?
This is a feature that can be very valuable; not only can these systems monitor the heat, humidity, and air quality of your home, but a good home security camera with environmental monitoring can also detect dangerous environmental factors like smoke, carbon monoxide, and water. This is very useful when you’re away and want to protect a family pet or your property from problems that may crop up while you’re away.
How does facial recognition provide a more secure experience?
Facial recognition systems allow you to quickly determine the safety of people that may come within the range of your security system. These systems don’t exactly recognize a specific newcomer, but they can definitely determine if a face comes into range of the product’s video feed. That being said, these systems can definitely recognize the faces of the family members that live in your home – though the system may take time to really work properly.
Should you consider motion detection?
This is a great system that can save you from the need to constantly record video. These cameras will remain dormant until movement is detected within the range of the camera’s feed. Once movement occurs, the camera will start to record.
Unfortunately, these systems can sometimes send out false reports due to the fact that naturally moving components that enter the field will be treated the same as the actions of a burglar. This means that that beautiful bag blowing in the wind may just end up being recorded as it enters the field of view.
Some services offer app-based systems that will allow you to check out footage produced by your home security camera when you’re away from home. In fact, you may even be able to pan, tilt, or zoom with these apps so that you can get a very high-quality monitoring experience.
Can a scheduling system keep your home more secure?
Sometimes, there are static times that you are away, and you may not want to constantly activate your security camera’s feed every time you go away. Cameras with scheduling systems will let you have the camera’s auto-activate at set times so that you can experience security without the hassle.
Should you consider two-way audio?
These products don’t always have to be just a visual experience. With a product with a two-way audio system, you’ll not only be able to hear what’s happening in your home, but you’ll also be able to communicate through the system. This is perfect when you want to speak to your pets or scare away an intruder.
What if you don’t have a smartphone available?
If you’re away from your home and your phone is dead, some products have web clients available that let you see what’s happening at home just by using a browser. You can even have a full control system with this experience – some even have two-way audio.
Here’ a few great places for one of these systems:
- In the yard
- In the living room
- Facing Windows
- Near the kid’s rooms
- In front of the home’s entrance
Can a home security camera be hacked?
Unfortunately, some web-enabled cameras can indeed be hacked, but fortunately, newer devices are becoming more secure in this regard.
How many cameras should you purchase for security?
Ideally, you should try and have at least four cameras scanning the areas in and around your house.
Can your security camera activate lights and other things inside your home to dissuade invaders?
There are services that have this feature so that an intruder may decide that the home is too risky to burgle.
How can these systems be incorporated into a smart home?
Smart homes are the wave of the future, and fortunately, there are more than a few security systems that can be directly incorporated into the smart home via Zigbee or other protocols. When you have a smart home-friendly system, you’ll be able to:
- Control your system via apps
- Check footage
- Control smart home-related products in order to dissuade thieves.
Wrapping It Up
Staying secure is important for your peace of mind – no one wants to find out that they and their family isn’t safe. The security cameras that we’ve featured in this guide are all great for easing your state of mind and letting you focus on other things. When you’re ready, reread our reviews, take another looks at our FAQ, and you’ll find the product that is best for your home.