Much like video doorbells, outdoor home security cameras provide a quick way to get a little peace of mind. Over the years, security cameras have improved considerably, from better image quality to the ability to distinguish a stranger from the neighbor kid selling raffle tickets. After testing the best outdoor security cameras, we recommend the Nest Cam (battery) (available at Best Buy for $119.99) as our top pick for its fantastic spread of free smart features and multiple installation options.
Looking for something cheaper? The Wyze Cam V3 (available at Amazon) is a value-packed wireless outdoor security camera. But there are plenty of other choices available, each with its own specialties. To make sure you find the right pick for you, we installed the most popular home security cameras on the market and put them through our tests.
Nest Cam (battery)
The indoor/outdoor wireless Nest Cam (battery) is the first battery-operated wireless home security camera from Google. If you prefer continuous power, this camera can do that, too, with a separately-sold weatherproof power cable. Dual power is unusual for home security cameras, making the Nest Cam one of the most flexible options, inside or out. The camera's accuracy is also impressive; it never missed a beat during our tests.
The Nest Cam (battery) is also more affordable than Nest’s previous line of IQ Cams. It includes free features you’d previously have to pay for, like intelligent alerts and a three-hour video history. The rich smart notifications include alerts that can detect people, motion, vehicles, and animals. While Arlo offers detailed intelligent alerts like Nest, you have to pay for them.
The Nest Cam (battery) runs through the Google Home app, not the Nest app like previous Google cameras. The app lets you view your event history, filter by event type, and create custom motion zones. You can view the camera’s 1080p live stream in the app, too, and pull it up on any Nest smart display. Two-way talk is offered in the app, but not through any of Nest's smart displays.
There are a few downsides. The battery isn't removable, so you’ll need to pull down the entire camera to recharge it. The seven-month battery life is on par with other cameras, but could be more or less depending on how many motion events it captures.
Despite its sturdy magnetic base, it’s easy to reach up and pull the camera down, so make sure to mount it up high. In the rare event your camera is stolen, Google will replace it for free.
Though the camera only works with Google Assistant (not Alexa or Siri), it’s reliable, accurate, versatile, and secure. It offers a fantastic spread of smart features for free, multiple options for installation, and a competitive price tag that makes it our No. 1 pick for outdoor security cameras.
Many outdoor security cameras cost hundreds of dollars, but if you’re shopping on a budget, the Wyze Cam V3 is an inexpensive option that offers impressive functionality, especially for the price.
This camera is the latest version from Wyze, which is known for its budget-friendly smart devices, and it can be used both indoors and outdoors—just keep in mind that an outdoor power adapter is recommended if you’re placing the camera in an exposed location.
One of the things that stands out about the Wyze Cam V3 is its extremely compact and lightweight form. It’s easy to install in a matter of minutes and can be rotated easily on its built-in mount, and the camera itself is a small 2-inch cube that can be tucked into a discreet location.
This new version of the camera needs to be plugged into an outlet for operation and includes a 6-foot power cord, but one of the big updates from the previous version of the Wyze Cam is that it doesn’t need a hub to operate.
During testing, we found the camera’s 1080p video footage to be crisp and clear during the day, but we thought it was just OK at night, even though the brand claims it has been improved.
The video feed sometimes takes a few seconds to load in the app, but we were impressed with the camera’s smart alerts, which are available with a Cam Plus subscription and can accurately identify pets, people, vehicles and packages in your saved footage.
The subscription, which costs just $1.99 per month, also provides cloud storage and the ability to capture back-to-back recordings. If you don’t want to pay the monthly fee for Cam Plus, you can also record video footage via local storage—with a 128GB microSD card (sold separately), the camera will record 24/7 for up to 28 days, and you can review its footage right from your phone.
The Wyze app does lack certain advanced features that you’d find on more expensive security cameras—such as the ability to delay the time between notifications—but overall, we were impressed with its design and functionality. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better all-around value, and the compact design is ideal if you want your camera to be less noticable.
Touting a 160-degree viewing angle and 2K video resolution, Arlo’s Pro 4 offers a wider range of view and excellent video quality, which is just as clear at night as during the day thanks to the camera’s color night vision output. It also has a built-in spotlight that illuminates when motion is detected and a smart siren that can be triggered remotely or automatically.
The installation process is relatively simple, though you need a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi connection for setup. There are no wires to fiddle with, as this camera includes a mount that can easily be screwed in on the exterior of your home. Arlo says the removable battery can last up to six months on a single charge, which is typical of outdoor battery cameras.
The camera easily connects to smart assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and it can be used with IFTTT. Previous Arlo outdoor cameras required a base station, but the Pro 4 doesn’t need a hub or any extras to get going.
A subscription to Arlo’s Smart Plan (starting at $2.99/month) is the best way to get the most out of this Arlo camera. The paid plans include 30-day video history; 2K cloud recording; activity zones; advanced and accurate object detection for people, cars, and packages; and other useful features you’ll want access to.
One of the only gripes we have with the Pro 4 camera is the two-way talk audio isn’t as loud as it could be. If you’re within three to five feet, you can hear it well, but any farther away and it’s hard to make out what the other person is saying. But that’s a minor grumble about the Pro 4, which offers just about everything a reliable home security camera should.
Ring's Stick Up Cam Battery can be used indoors and outside, making it a versatile option for your home security setup. While just about all of the cameras offered an easy setup, Ring’s was among the simplest and automatically added itself to my Amazon Alexa speaker once it joined the same Wi-Fi network.
This camera runs on batteries and is completely wire-free. (There's also a solar panel and plug-in model). It didn't give us any trouble, providing us with timely notifications over both Wi-Fi and cellular. The audio quality was fairly loud and responsive, too. One cool thing about this camera is that it can be added to any Ring security system.
Most security cameras offer a paid subscription to access the best features and Ring is no different. Ring Protect offers two plans: Basic ($3/month or $30/year for 60-day video history, sharing, and more) or Plus ($10/month or $100/year for the same features, plus extended warranties, discounts on Ring products, and more).
Ring’s Stick Up Cam Battery is a great option for anyone who exclusively uses Amazon Alexa, as this camera doesn’t integrate with Google Assistant, or other Ring security products like Ring doorbells.
The Arlo Essential XL Spotlight tested almost as well as the Pro 4, but a few minor differences give the other Arlo the edge.
The Arlo Essential camera offers 1080p video, which looks great both day and night, but the Pro 4 touts a bit higher resolution at 2K. The Pro 4 also features a larger field of view (160 degrees vs 130 degrees).
We also like that the Pro 4 is shorter and more petite than the Arlo Essential XL camera, making it easier to work with and place. The differences are minor, but if you want the very best, the Pro 4 is your best bet.
Both cameras feature a built-in siren, adjustable spotlight, and easy setup. The Essential XL camera claims to have a one-year battery life, but unlike the Pro 4, the battery isn’t removable, so you have to take the entire camera down to charge it.
While Arlo’s Essential XL Spotlight performed just fine in our tests, the Pro 4 offers more bang for your buck If you’re torn between the two, go for the Pro 4.
The Eufy SoloCam L20 has a compact square shape with a 600-lumen light ring ideal for small outdoor areas like sheds, balconies, and side yards. While it may not be powerful enough to guard your two-car garage, it is bright enough to safeguard the small nooks and crannies around your home that lack security.
The camera runs on a built-in 13,400mAh rechargeable battery that Eufy estimates should last you about four months per charge, depending on usage. We had a pleasant experience testing the battery life, which decreased about 10 percent per week while clocking upwards of 99 events some days—far more than you might expect in low-traffic areas.
The L20 camera works with Amazon Echo and Google Nest smart displays, but it is not compatible with Apple HomeKit. The camera’s biggest knock is that it occasionally struggles to accurately differentiate between people and general motion events, even mixing up actual humans for small reptiles in the backyard we tested in.
Other perks of the L20 include free, on-device local storage (up to 8GB), which we haven't managed to fill up in several weeks of testing. Cloud storage is also available for a monthly fee. The camera is rated IP67 for dust and water resistance—higher than many other outdoor security cameras we’ve tested.
If you don't need the power of a floodlight camera, the Eufy SoloCam L20 is a smaller alternative that costs half as much.
The Eufy SoloCam S40 is a solar-powered security camera with a built-in solar panel, that harnesses the sun to safeguard your home around the clock. The setup process is quick and easy—make sure to find a sunny spot in your yard as the battery needs several hours of sunlight daily to keep the battery life juiced up.
In our tests, the battery life barely decreased with regular daytime and nighttime use over roughly a month. Your mileage will vary based on sunlight. The camera comes with a USB-C cable when you need to plug it in for a recharge and is rated for outdoor use.
Eufy’s solar security camera comes with 8GB of built-in storage, full-color night vision (a rarity for security cameras), and AI person detection. The device records video in sharp 2K resolution and has loud and clear two-way audio. There’s also a 600-lumen spotlight that shines bright at night when motion is detected.
Although the Eufy SoloCam S40 doesn't have many direct competitors, we are impressed with the camera's long-lasting battery life and reliable performance—all powered by the sun. The Eufy solar camera is a more sustainable way to safeguard your home than a traditional wired camera (as long as you've got plenty of sun for the battery) and costs you less money to remain constantly connected than a hardwired security camera. For greener home security, the solar-powered Eufy SoloCam S40 is the one you want.
Logitech’s Circle View camera is the only one we tested that works exclusively with Apple HomeKit and iOS operating systems. We set this camera up on iPhone XR and were quickly able to add it to Apple’s Home app. Most security cameras are wire-free these days, but the corded Circle View camera needs to be plugged into an outlet.
Logitech’s Circle View camera offers a large field of view, and at 1080p resolution, the view looks good. This Apple-only camera doesn’t integrate with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, which is a bummer. But you can ask Siri things like “show me the Circle View camera” and the stream appears almost immediately, which is a nice touch if you’re all in on HomeKit-compatible products.
A Home Hub, like a fourth-gen Apple TV or HomePod, is needed to record and save video, which is an extra cost to consider unless you already have one.
HomeKit exclusivity means this camera isn’t for everybody. However, if Siri is your preferred smart assistant, then Logitech’s Circle View security camera will fit right in.
Outdoor security doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, as evidenced by the Kasa Cam Outdoor. For just $60 you get a 2K-resolution smart camera with three night–vision modes and a fully weatherproof design. What’s more, although Kasa does offer a subscription-based cloud service for storing and sharing video, you can opt out and rely on an inexpensive microSD card instead.
That said, for just $3 per month (or $30 annually), the Kasa Care subscription is probably worth it. In addition to adding manual recording, video sharing and activity snapshots to the mix, it affords 30 days’ worth of video history.
Other notable Kasa Cam specs include a spotlight and a siren, both good for scaring off potential intruders, and person detection, which promises to alert you only when there’s human-shaped activity.
Unfortunately, the confusing-in-places Kasa app may leave novices feeling frustrated, and in testing the person-detection feature didn’t seem to work properly. There’s a potential installation issue as well: Although the camera itself is waterproof, its AC power plug is not. That means you’ll need a protected outdoor outlet or a way to run the cord indoors. Some homeowners might be happier with a wire-free, battery-powered solution like the Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight or Wyze Cam Outdoor.
Those wrinkles aside, the Kasa Cam Outdoor is a solid smart-cam. It costs less than most other outdoor models, captures crisp video (audio, too), integrates nicely with Alexa and Google smart displays and doesn’t require Yet Another Subscription. If you can figure out the power problem, it’s definitely worth a look.
The wireless Eufy SoloCam E40 is a subscription-free outdoor security camera that, unlike previous Eufy cameras, doesn’t require a HomeBase for operation. It also offers free local storage (up to 8GB). The camera’s default 2K resolution looks fantastic, and the two-way audio sounds great.
However, it struggles to accurately detect motion events—in our testing it mistook several small lizards for humans. It’s also not as smart as other cameras that can detect package deliveries, animals, and vehicles.
Eufy estimates the battery lasts about four months (based on 30 events per day), though several Amazon reviews have noted the battery life drains quicker than expected. During our two weeks of testing, the battery decreased by 20% on Eufy's optimal battery life setting (about 10 events per day), which uses the least amount of power. An optional Eufy solar panel can be added to the camera for additional power.
With Alexa and Google Assistant, you can pull up the camera’s live stream on an Amazon Echo or Google Nest smart display, but you can’t do anything else. While Eufy does make outdoor security cameras for Apple HomeKit, the SoloCam E40 does not work with Siri.
The live view is quick to stream in the Eufy Security app, where you’ll also find security features like two-factor authentication. The camera has a dust- and water-resistance rating of IP65 for outdoor use and withstood several Florida rain showers during our tests without issue.
The biggest selling point of the camera is the built-in 8GB storage (no microSD card needed) so you can access recorded events and smart features. But the smart features aren’t as robust as other outdoor security cameras and we wish the AI could more accurately differentiate motion events.
Ring's Spotlight Cam is for people who want their outdoor camera to put the emphasis on security and want to integrate with other Ring products. Its motion-sensitive light can let passersby know they're being watched, as well as help you find your way from the car to the front door at night. The built-in siren is plenty loud, and the two-way audio was the loudest and clearest of any camera we tested.
Ring's app requires two taps to get to the live view, and the settings are disorganized, requiring a little too much tapping around to find all the features. Still, the video quality is great. Thanks to the spotlight, it’s especially crisp at night.
Ring's community features can tip you off to problems like a rash of car break-ins or package thefts in your area before they affect you. While it doesn't offer free cloud storage, Ring's fees are very reasonable at $3/month or $30/year.
The Lorex Indoor/Outdoor WiFi Security Camera has useful features like smart motion detection and color night vision in easy-to-see 1080p. It also boasts smart deterrence capabilities like a remote-triggered siren and a motion-activated LED light.
It quickly sends accurate smart alerts, and has stronger weather ratings for extreme heat and freezing cold temperatures than other outdoor security cameras we’ve tested. The camera is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and it can also be managed using the Lorex Home app. Continuous recording is available using the included 256GB microSD card, and recording schedules can be set up within the app.
The camera isn’t as smart as Nest and Arlo outdoor cameras, which can alert you to animals, packages, people, and cars. However, it’s rated for indoor and outdoor use, with a strong IP65 weather-resistant rating. This Lorex can withstand temperatures as hot as 140 degrees Fahrenheit and as cold as -22 degrees.
It has a siren that can be triggered remotely from the Lorex Home app or automatically when motion is detected, but the sound is too soft to deter unwanted guests. It also lacks two-factor authentication and requires a nearby outlet as a power source.
Amazon's Blink Outdoor camera didn't wow us, but we didn't hate it either. It captures events in 1080p HD video, relying on infrared night vision to detect motion in the dark. While the daytime video looked great, the nighttime view appeared a bit washed out.
The wire-free camera runs on two AA lithium batteries, which last up to two years with normal usage. Blink was the most sensitive camera we tested, picking up on movements that not even I could find when reviewing alerts. However, it’s easy to tailor the motion sensor settings to your liking, and users can create custom motion zones to help avoid false notifications within the Blink app.
While it does excel at sending punctual smart alerts, we don’t like that you can’t preview a video or image on the notification like you can with Wyze, Nest, and Arlo. It’s a small but handy feature that makes a big difference when you’re quickly trying to find out what’s going on without unlocking your phone and opening the app.
In addition to the app, you can control this Blink using Amazon Alexa, but not Google Assistant . Connecting is easy, and we could quickly view a live stream by saying, "Alexa, show me my Blink Outdoor Camera.”
The Blink Outdoor works with both cloud and local storage options. An included Sync Module 2 hub and a USB flash drive can be used to store clips locally. Users have access to a $3/monthly subscription for one camera (or $10 a month for unlimited cameras) that includes a 60-day video history, video sharing, and more.
Kangaroo’s Indoor + Outdoor Cam is an attractive choice for home security at its low price point. The cube-shaped camera’s desirable design is small enough for any space. It offers color night vision, which can be hard to find on home security cameras. However, even though the price is low, there are some issues.
Many of the features like two-way audio, smart object detection, and custom motion zones are locked behind paid plans. The paid plan also adds more detailed alerts, like person detection. However, it doesn’t include notifications for vehicles, animals, or packages like comparable camera subscription plans from competitors.
We also experienced some other issues. The camera’s 1080p video is clear during the day, but can look washed out if there’s too much light. It fares better at night, as the color night vision is pretty easy to make out in the dark. We were impressed by how quickly the camera sent notifications when motion was detected, but the live stream took longer than expected to pull up, even over wi-fi at home..
Kangaroo’s camera works with Alexa and Google Assistant, but it’s a very lackluster experience. All you can do is arm/disarm the camera using either smart assistant. That’s perhaps more useful as part of an entire DIY home security setup, but underwhelming on its own. You also can’t view the live feed on a smart display, which is common for most home security cameras.
The camera needs constant power from a nearby electrical outlet, so make sure you’ve got one nearby. Other features include a built-in 85-decibel siren and a strong IP65 dust/water resistance rating. This camera will do the trick on the cheap, but it leaves a lot to be desired compared to our top picks.
Nick Woodward, a California-based tech freelancer who covers smart home and AV for Reviewed, also contributed to the testing in this guide.
To find the top products, we researched the market, purchasing and testing cameras from the top brands. As new options emerged on the market and older models were discontinued, we retested our winners, pitting them against new cameras to see if any new contenders could oust the current winners.
We installed each camera, making notes about the installation procedures, in-app setup process, and reliability. Testing included evaluating video quality, audio quality, responsiveness, network reliability, and app usability.
A big trick with security cameras is getting the notifications dialed in, so you're alerted to the things you want to know about without being bombarded with notifications every time a bird flies by. So, we tested the sensitivity controls for each product, whether they support motion zones, and how quickly they alerted me to people and noise.
We also installed the mobile apps on both an iPhone and a Samsung device to determine if the app experience was identical across platforms, and I tested how quickly each app began the live stream.
What You Should Know About Outdoor Security Cameras
Even your security camera needs security. So, what should you look for? Features like two-factor authentication, end-to-end encryption, and the option for local storage are all things to consider before investing in an outdoor security camera setup.
Two-factor authentication, which sends a code to your mobile device to verify it’s really you, is available on many home security cameras and absolutely something to seek out and activate. That way, if someone tries to hack into your account, you will receive an alert and can quickly take care of the problem.
Another thing to consider is how your videos are used and stored. Most outdoor security cameras have apps that let you control when they're recording and uploading video to the cloud. Look for end-to-end encryption for storing videos. The encryption offers a layer of protection that can help prevent unwanted eyeballs from viewing your saved videos.
Make sure you create a strong password that’s unique to your camera’s app. Data breaches feel like the norm as of late, making it all the more important not to reuse passwords across multiple websites and apps.
A paid subscription plan is fairly common with almost any smart home security system gadget from smart doorbells to security cameras. Think of home security as a continual investment rather than a one-time deal. If you want access to the best features like continuous surveillance and special detection alerts for people, cars, animals, and packages, then subscribing to a paid plan is the way to go.
As an alternative, some cameras record to built-in storage an optional microSD instead of uploading to a cloud, at least as an option. But most of the time, a paid plan enhances what the camera can do. Features like differentiating between people and general motion, or the ability to share videos, is worth paying for.
Installing Outdoor Security Cameras
When considering which smart security camera to buy, consider your current setup. A wireless outdoor camera with a rechargeable battery is convenient, as most cameras should only need to be recharged once or twice a year.
However, not all cameras have a removable battery. That means you’ll have to take the entire camera down to charge it. It’s not make or break, but it’s something to be aware of if you like the appearance of having security cameras up at all times.
Another option is a wired camera. With this setup, we recommend having electrical outlets in the soffits of your roofline, to easily connect a camera without running cords all along the outside of your home.
What to Look For in an Outdoor Security Camera
In a world where high-powered cameras are becoming more common, it takes more than pixel count to set a good outdoor security camera apart. Here are some features to consider:
Night vision can come from either infrared imaging, full-color night vision capture, or a spotlight. Infrared is the least reliable of the three. Full-color night vision uses powerful light sensors and a minimal supplement light to help the camera record in the dark. Finally, a spotlight can both help the video capture images and warn passersby that they’re being recorded, which you may or may not want.
Where does your video live? Is it on a hard drive that you own? Or is it on the cloud somewhere? It’s not uncommon to pay extra for updates, advanced features, and cloud storage. However, there’s something to be said for knowing you have access to your video without an extra fee.
From data breaches to sharing your footage without your consent, there are plenty of concerns about the security of your security footage. Make sure that you sign on with a company that you trust to maintain your privacy.
Smart Motion Detection
Not all motion sensors are created equal. Some cameras are incredibly adept at telling vehicles, packages, animals, and people apart. Others simply bombard you with constant notifications. Still others allow you to set up zones and adjust sensitivity to your preferences. Make sure your camera is on when it needs to be.
Camryn Rabideau is a full-time freelance writer and product tester with eight years of experience. She's been lucky enough to test hundreds of products firsthand, and her specialties include bedding and pet products, which often require help from her two dogs, three cats, and flock of rambunctious chickens.
Rachel Murphy is Reviewed's home editor. She holds a journalism degree from the University of Central Florida. Prior to joining the team, she worked as a freelance writer for publications like Insider and Mashable, and as an associate editorial producer for Good Morning America. Aside from smart home tech, her interests include food, travel, parenting, and home renovation. You can usually find her sipping on coffee at any time of the day.
Nick Woodard is a tech journalist specializing in all things related to home theater and A/V. His background includes a solid foundation as a sports writer for multiple daily newspapers, and he enjoys hiking and mountain biking in his spare time.
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