As a pet owner, you may wish that you could be there for your fur baby at all times. But unless your pet is small enough to fit in a handbag, you probably can’t get away with taking it with you everywhere you go. Sometimes the dog or cat just has to stay home. But thanks to modern technology, your four-legged friend never has to be alone.
For the best smart pet camera, you've got to go with the Petcube Cam(available at Amazon). It's small enough to fit almost anywhere in your home, meaning it can be placed up high enough so that curious pets won't knock it over. It also comes with simultaneous two-way talk and crisp video day and night, perfect for staying in touch no matter where you are. The pet-specific features, like the ability to listen for barks and meows, set it apart from traditional indoor smart cameras. The bottom line is you don't need to spend a lot of money to successfully check-in with your four-legged companion. If you're looking for an interactive pet camera, the treat-tossing, Amazon Alexa-enabled Petcube Bites 2(available at Amazon) is the one you want.
These are the best pet cameras we tested ranked, in order:
Petcube Bites 2
Furbo Dog Camera
Petcube Bites 2 Lite
Petcube Play 2
Balimo 6L Automatic Cat & Dog Feeder
Skymee Petalk AI II
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The Petcube Cam packs a lot of useful features into a device that squarely fits in the palm of your hand. It doesn't come with fancy extras like treat tossing or laser games like some competitors, but it’s got everything you need to successfully check in with your furry friend from anywhere.
As the most affordable pet camera we’ve come across, it’s also the smallest, making it easy to place just about anywhere in your home. It also has a magnetic base, which you can use to hang from existing steel surfaces, or you can use the peel-and-stick tape to secure the mount in place. Many of the other cameras in our guide are large and take up a lot of space, so the small size is appealing whether you live in an apartment or mansion.
Offering 1080p HD resolution, the camera delivers high-quality daytime video, great night vision up to 30 feet away, and 8x digital zoom. The 110-degree viewing angle isn’t the largest avaialble, but it gets the job done just fine. The Petcube Cam’s audio is among the best we've tested, allowing us to communicate simultaneously without any static or delays. It’s a snappy little gadget that accurately and quickly sends notifications.
Like other Petcube cameras, it only works with Amazon Alexa—not Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri. However, the Petcube app is the easiest way to control the camera and offers a pleasant user experience. It’s worth noting that you’ll need one of Petcube’s Care Memberships to get the best features like smart alerts, web viewing, instant vet chat, and video history. The paid plan also supports secure cloud recording using a 128-bit AES encryption, according to Petcube.
The live stream automatically begins playing as soon as you open the app, where you can set recording schedules. You can set the camera to record as soon as motion and sound is detected and anytime someone interacts with the camera. It also intuitively listens for barks and meows, and can differentiate between people and pets.
If you want a smart pet camera that keeps Petcube’s useful features but also tosses treats, the Petcube Bites 2 is the one you want. But for a simple, affordable way to keep tabs on your pet from the palm of your hand, the Petcube Cam is the best smart pet camera you can buy.
The Petcube 2 is an interactive pet camera complete with 1080p video quality and a 160-degree field of view. But the coolest thing about this pet camera is that it tosses treats, giving you a way to feed your cat or dog when you're not there. It’s also super easy to set up and refill. The Bites 2 is compatible with Alexa, so you can toss the pup a treat with just your voice. But, what really sets the second generation of Petcube’s pet cam apart is the integrated Alexa speaker. You can use the Bites 2 just as you’d use an Echo smart speaker. Ask for the weather, check your calendar, play games, set timers… the list is endless. Don’t expect too much of the speaker in terms of music quality, but it’s certainly decent enough for interactions with Alexa.
The app is easy to use and offers an activity timeline of three to 30 days as part of the optional Petcube Care membership, which ranges in price from $4.99 to $14.99 per month. Through the app, owners can also connect directly with a vet if they have pet health questions, which is cool. The first consultation is free, and thereafter, the service is $4.99 per month.
The app also lets you filter the video timeline to show only specific activities like barking or meowing, play sessions, humans coming and going, and more. It ideally sits on a table top to offer a wide-angle view of the room, and its minimal design comes in three finishes to blend well with just about any decor.
Unlike some other pet cams (like Furbo), Petcube automatically starts recording when it detects activity, which is a nice touch for remote management. Those clips are capped at ten seconds of length and only available for four hours, though, unless you subscribe to Petcube Care. If you need a reliable pet camera that's packed with features, the Petcube 2 is a fantastic selection.
Hi there, I'm Rachel Murphy, the senior staff writer for Reviewed’s smart home section. My work in this article was built on top of the original piece, which was written and tested by Sarah Kovac, Reviewed’s former smart home editor. I live and work in an actual smart home, where I can test products in real-life scenarios and run into all possible hangups and annoyances (and there are many).
Pet cams might be able to help relieve some of that guilt for pet owners who have to be away from their furry friends. You can check in, chat with, and toss treats to your dog or cat from anywhere with an internet connection… but will your dog find it calming or creepy? To find out which cameras are worth your time, I enlisted the help of my 12-year-old English bulldog, who begrudgingly put up with my testing for several weeks. I set the cameras up by her food and water bowls, an area she frequents at various times throughout the day. She wasn't sure what to think when treats started flying out of some of the smart pet cameras we tested.
We tested the accuracy, connection, and reliability of these pet cameras over Wi-Fi and cellular data. We downloaded companion apps, checking in on video streams and communicating via two-way audio to determine which cameras offer the most useful features for pet owners.
What You Should Know About Smart Pet Cameras
Pet cameras come in all shapes and sizes, but you don’t need to buy the biggest, most expensive model to successfully monitor your pet from anywhere. For the most part, pet cameras function as indoor security cameras, offering clear video, night vision, and loud two-way talk, which is all you need to check in on your furry friends from afar. But what sets pet cams apart from traditional security cameras is that some, including models from Petcube, are equipped with intuitive features like listening for barks and meows or built-in vet chat support. While some indoor cameras can detect animals, you won’t find these in-depth, pet-specific features on standard home security cameras.
Interactive pet cameras are more costly but could be worth the investment if you’re away from home frequently. Some cameras can dispense entire meals for your pet multiple times a day, while other models can toss treats on-demand and play laser games with your pet. However, there’s no guarantee your cat will enjoy chasing lasers or that your dog will oblige with a treat-tossing camera. These extras are only worth paying for if you think your pet will enjoy them.
Finally, carefully consider the size of the pet camera and where you place it in your home. Most pet cameras are large and take up a lot of space, but there are a couple of smaller models out there that make for easier placement. Additionally, some cameras come with suction bases, while others have magnetic mounts to hold them securely in place. These are important features to consider, especially if you have a hungry pet who may be tempted to knock over the camera and access the extra food inside.
Treat Size Matters
Cameras that double as feeders aren’t compatible with any size kibble or treat, so you’ll need to make sure the food fits. Dry food pellets that are too large can get stuck in the camera and cause it to malfunction. Treats and pieces of kibble that are about a half-inch (or smaller) in size should be suitable for most food-dispensing pet cameras. Certain models may have more specific requirements, so make sure to read the details before you buy.
Smart Assistant Compatibility
Whether you use Alexa, Google Assistant,, or Siri, it’s important to make sure the smart pet camera you choose works with your preferred smart assistant. It may seem obvious, but not all pet cameras play nice with all voice assistants (and some don’t work with smart assistants at all). For cameras that support voice assistants, Alexa and Google Assistant are the most popular options, though the functionality is limited. Like many smart home devices, it’s rare to find a pet camera that supports Apple HomeKit. To avoid any surprises, look for a camera that’s compatible with the smart assistant you use the most. Compatibility information can be found on the product’s page or the exterior of the product’s packaging.
Even your pet 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 a smart pet camera setup.
Two-factor authentication, which sends a code to your mobile device to verify it’s really you, is available on many smart pet 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 pet cameras allow you to turn them on and off from the app to 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 and stored videos.
Make sure you create a strong password that’s unique to your pet 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.
The Furbo smart pet camera is reliable and easy to refill, the video quality is great (day and night), it uses colors a dog can see to let Fido know when you check in, and it looks beautiful on the side table thanks to its bamboo cover.
Going beyond basic motion detection, Furbo uses artificial intelligence to understand exactly what the dog is up to and push a notification to the owner’s phone when the pup is playing or barking, when he stops in front of the Furbo for a “selfie,” or when a human arrives home. These “Smart Dog Alerts” are part of a premium service that, for now at least, is free. This dog camera is also Alexa compatible, so you can ask your Amazon Echo smart speaker to toss the dog a treat by voice or via the app from wherever you may roam.
It may not have the bells and whistles of more complex models, but what the Furbo does, it does well. The base and apps are a pleasure to use at every point. The Furbo gets it right.
The Petcube Bites 2 Lite is a stripped-back, more affordable version of the Petcube Bites 2. Both cameras are the same size and share features like 160-degree viewing angle, 1080p HD, built-in treat dispenser, and night vision. Both work with Alexa, but the Bites 2 has Alexa built-in. The Lite version only has one mic (instead of four like the Bites 2) and connects over a 2.4GHz connection, whereas the Bites 2 supports dual-band Wi-Fi.
We didn’t notice much difference between the two cameras during use, as Petcube’s performance and smarts are pretty much the same from camera to camera. A monthly Pet Cube care subscription gets you smart alerts for sounds like barks and meows, which were delivered quickly to our devices during testing. The plan also includes video history, web viewing, saving and sharing video clips, and smart filters to prevent unwanted alerts.
Additionally, it holds 1.5 pounds. of dry treats that you can dispense at different distances using the PetCube app. Or, you can also use Alexa voice control to toss treats. If you don’t want Alexa built into your pet camera, but still want the features of the Bites 2, the Bites 2 Lite is a well-working, less expensive alternative.
Petcube’s Play 2 pet cam borrows its app and aesthetic from the Petcube Bites 2. What sets it apart is a pretty cool feature that allows a pet owner to play Chase the Laser with their pet from anywhere. When we tried it with a cat, we were able to rouse her from a nap and get her interested in the laser, but the cat quickly became intrigued by the not-so-quiet mechanical sound of the laser moving around.
A tap and drag of the finger within the Petcube app is all it takes to initiate a game of laser, but the movement is delayed and a bit jerky. It’s a nice way to play with your pet from anywhere, but only if your cat or dog really loves chasing lasers.
The Play 2 has a 160-degree viewing angle, 1080p HD video, night vision, and is built with four mics and a speaker bar. Like other Petcube cameras on our list, you can get access to 24/7, year-round vet assistants in the Petcube app using videos from sources like Petcube cameras. Each recorded clip is 30 seconds long and is stored securely in the cloud using a 256-bit AES encryption, according to Petcube.
The Petcube Play 2 is for anyone whose pet is easily bored and needs some engagement throughout the day.
For pet owners who need a way to see and feed their pets entire meals from afar, Balimo’s Automatic Pet Feeder with a built-in camera is a solid choice. The performance is great, the companion app is easy to navigate, and it’s quick at detecting motion. It also doesn’t have to be tethered to an electrical outlet like the majority of smart pet cameras; you can power it up with 3 alkaline D batteries (must be purchased separately) or the included 5V power adapter.
The 130-degree view captures plenty of angles and the sharp 1080p video resolution with infrared night vision doesn’t hurt either. Communicating with the camera remotely is easy to do and we didn’t run into any delays or distorted audio during use. Load up the 6-liter basin with enough food for days (depending on the size of your pet) and set up to four feeding schedules per day for easy remote management when you’re away from home. It comes with a detachable plastic feeding bowl for easy cleaning. Regular kibble fits well in the machine and is dispensed quickly, but you can’t use it to toss individual treats.
Confusingly, the camera runs through an app called TuyaSmart, not the brand name Balimo. In the app, you can take screenshots, record videos, set feeding schedules, and sound the built-in alarm. Paid plans start at $5.99/month and include secure cloud storage, AES encryption for video uploads, and an event timeline.
This camera is great for anyone who needs a fast and reliable way to check in on their furry friends and feed them a full bowl of food remotely.
WOPet is a fine choice if all you want to do is live stream your pet and toss the occasional treat, but that’s really about all the camera can do.
The device claims to work with Amazon Alexa, however, we couldn’t get it to work and other users noted a similar problem. It doesn’t offer any compatibility with Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri, which leaves you to rely on the WOPet app for total control of the camera.
The app has among the most dated and barebones design of any we’ve tested, but in terms of functionality, it’s fine. It captures details about your pet like age, weight, breed, and activity level. There are features like remote treat tossing and recording and saving videos directly to your phone. Two-way talk is available, but there is a slight delay. The 1080p video looks good during the day and the night vision is equally sharp. We also like how easy it is to dispense a treat with just the tap of a button in the app.
Design-wise, this camera looks unlike anything else in its class. The cylindrical shape makes it easy to place in corners of a room to capture the full view. It also comes with a suction cup base to help prevent curious pets from knocking it over.
Oddly enough, WOPet doesn’t offer cloud storage plans or any way to review video at a later date. There are also no smart alerts. For the price of this camera, you can certainly do better with a smarter, more affordable option like the Petcube Cam.
Skymee’s Pet Talk AI II tosses treats on-demand and allows for the creation of feeding schedules, helpful features for on-the-go pet owners. But the overall performance of this pet cam leaves a lot to be desired.
The daytime video is supposed to be 1080p, but it’s not as clear as other cameras we’ve tested with the same resolution. On the plus side, it touts great features like remote pan/tilt for the camera, which is responsive and works well. The built-in camera also has an impressive 180-degree field of view, one of the largest of any pet camera we’ve tested. You can also set helpful treat-feeding schedules or manually toss your pet a bite-sized snack in the Skymee app.
But the video feed can be slow to load and we experienced a fair amount of in-app buffering during our testing. When speaking from the app to the camera, the audio was delayed and hard to understand, making it some of the worst we’ve tested. There’s also no cloud storage plan to easily access missed events. Instead, the camera supports an SDcard, so you can review video activity at a later time, which isn’t that helpful for remote management unless you’re always watching the live stream.
The bottom line: Skymee’s pet camera has a few great features, but, ultimately, there are better treat-tossing cameras to buy, like the Petcube Bites 2.
Sarah Kovac is an award-winning author and smart home editor for Reviewed. Previously, she worked with a multitude of outlets such as Wirecutter, TIME, PCMag, Prevention, The Atlantic, Reviews.com, CNN, GOOD, Upworthy, Mom.me, and SheKnows.
Rachel Murphy covers smart home for Reviewed. She holds a journalism degree from the University of Central Florida. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer for several major outlets and as an associate editorial producer for ABC News' Good Morning America.
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