Best Home Security Cameras of 2021 (Pricing & Features)
Check out this side-by-side chart of the best security cameras. It can be useful in determining which brands have those must-have features, and which fall within the family budget.
|Provider||Total Score||Price||BBB Rating||DIY instal||Trial Period||Warranty||Installation||Monthly Cost||Motion Sensor||Night Vision||Power||Storage||Two-Way Audio||Connectivity||Field of View||Video Resolution||Photo Resolution|
|1. Nest||9.4/10||$199+||A||YES||NO||2 yrs||DIY||$5+||Yes||Yes||Wired||Cloud||Yes||WiFi, Bluetooth||130°||1080p||3840 x 2160|
|2. Arlo||8.8/10||$179+||A+||YES||7 days||1 yr||DIY||$2.99+||Yes||Yes||Wireless||Cloud||Yes||WiFi||130°||720p||1920 x 1080|
|3. Blink||8.6/10||$99+||–||YES||NO||1 yr||DIY||N/A||Yes||Yes||Batt.||Cloud||Yes||WiFi||110°||1080p||1920 x 1080|
|4. Ring||8.4/10||$199+||–||YES||NO||1 yr||DIY||$3+||Yes||Yes||Wireless||Cloud||Yes||WiFi||115°||1080p||1920 x 1080|
|5. Kuna||8.0/10||$149+||–||YES||60 days||1 yr||DIY||$5+||Yes||No||Batt./ Wired||Cloud||Yes||WiFi||155°||1080p||1920 x 1080|
|6. Zmodo||8.0/10||$29+||–||YES||60 days||3 yrs||DIY||$5+||Yes||Yes||Batt./ Wired||Cloud||Yes||Batt. PoE||360°||1080p||1920 x 1080|
|7. Lorex||7.8/10||$29+||A+||YES||60 days||1 yr||DIY/ Pro||N/A||Yes||Yes||Wired/ Wireless||Cloud/ Local||Yes||WiFi, Ethernet||160°||1080p||3840 x 2160|
|8. Wyze||7.6/10||$40||B-||YES||NO||1 yr||DIY||N/A||Yes||Yes||Wired||Cloud/ Local||Yes||WiFi||360°||1080p||1920 x 1080|
|9. Ezviz||7.4/10||$90+||F||YES||NO||1 yr||DIY||$6+||Yes||Yes||Wired/ Wireless||Cloud/ Local||Yes||WiFi||118°||1080p||1920 x 1080|
|10. Netatmo||7.2/10||$199+||B-||YES||30 days||2 yrs||DIY||N/A||Yes||Yes||Wired||Local||No||WiFi||130°||1080p||1920 x 1080|
Top Security Camera Features to Consider Before Buying
Sifting through all of the home security camera systems out there can be overwhelming, so it’s better to have an idea of what the house needs. Before looking at every single option, narrow them down to a few key features. Below are some ideas of what to consider.
1. HD Video Resolution: Sharper, Crisper Images
This is a crucial factor because it can be the difference between a grainy night time recording or a crisp and clear image of a burglar’s face. Consumers should look for at least 1080p resolution, but if they can get 4K, that’s even better. Remember that HD needs to be supported by a high-speed Internet connection.
2. Spotting Intruders at Night: Infrared LEDs See Up to 100 Feet
It isn’t enough to see the words “night vision” on product descriptions. Shoppers should look for cameras that can handle low-light settings without compromising on quality. Infrared LED lights signify that the lenses are powerful enough to pick up movement and shapes in the darkest nights. Large-pixel sensors are another indication that the model is suitable for the darkness.
3. Wide Field of View: Pan & Tilt to Glimpse Around Corners
A wide-angle lens will be able to pick up movement in the corners of the room as well as pan and tilt vertically and horizontally. In general, the wider the field of view, the more reliable the product will be, and the more use consumers will get out of the zoom function.
4. User-Friendly App: Remote Access & Mobile Control
People today are more connected than ever, and now they can keep up with not only their friends but their properties as well. Most of the models in this review come with an accompanying app or at least have smartphone access. This allows for mobile control, granting individuals the final say over what goes on while they’re out of the house.
5. Ratings & Feedback: Review What Past Clients Have to Say
Shoppers mustn’t underestimate the power of customer reviews and word of mouth. While brands might try to make their products sound like the greatest on the market, hearing from previous clients will give a better idea. Look for mentions of customer support, maintenance, sturdiness and quality, and any technical issues. Consumers are quick to point these things out in their feedback.
Security Camera Types
Not all security cams are created equally. This section highlights the different choices, starting with products that are intended for interior and exterior use. Then, explore the advantages of hardwired and wireless cameras, as well as DIY and professional service.
Many companies have indoor and outdoor security cameras. It may not seem like a big difference, but these items are built in a unique way, depending on whether they’re going to sit on a shelf inside or be mounted to an outside wall.
One of the easiest ways to identify the best indoor security cameras is by weight. These accessories tend to be lighter and have greater flexibility in placement. Moreover, interior cams are usually sleeker and are more camouflaged.
- Blend in with a room
- Easier to place
- More aesthetically pleasing
- Can be flimsier
- Limited software options
The main difference here is the durability and stability. The best outdoor security cameras can withstand the elements, meaning snow, rain, wind, and more. Environmental factors should always be considered, so look for waterproof products that can’t easily be broken or tampered with.
- Convenient mounting capabilities
- Tend to have more advanced software
- More expensive
Wireless vs. Wired
This is one of the biggest decisions to make when buying a surveillance system. A wired home security camera can be very reliable, but it’s much more obvious. Wireless ones are tempting, but their connectivity can be glitchy.
With a wireless model, individuals have more flexibility in where they put the camera. It’s more portable and tends to look more polished due to the lack of power cords. That said, the best wireless security cameras can be pricey, as well as prone to hacks. It’s much easier for someone to get into the WiFi network this way. Not only that, but these models are more likely to suffer interference from other devices in the room.
- Greater flexibility
- No pesky power cords
- Quick set-up
- More expensive
- Prone to hacks/interference
A hardwired home security camera is usually the more affordable option, making it a widely accessible choice. Furthermore, the Ethernet or analog connection is much more reliable and convenient for a larger house. Families can get stable connectivity without the risk of hacks or interference. Some doorbell cameras are wired. On the other hand, these models don’t have the same inconspicuous look of the wireless versions. They won’t camouflage into the room as easily and can look quite obvious.
- Better for larger properties
- Less risk of interference
- More stable connections
- Cords pose a tripping hazard
- More difficult set-up
DIY vs. Monitored
One fine detail is that between self-monitoring and having a professional team keep track of things. They both have their advantages, as well as their potential downsides.
This option entails having the client monitor their property on their own. For those who are tech-savvy, this can be a great idea. They are in control and can usually access their system from a mobile app in case they’re away from the house. However, some families don’t have time for this, so they may prefer pro monitors.
- Convenient mobile app
- Greater control
- Nice for parents of young kids
- Only family members have access
- Requires technological know-how
- Time commitment
At first thought, some people might not like the idea of someone else watching over their surveillance footage. Even so, lots of home security cameras use professional monitoring, and it’s a popular choice among consumers. It saves them time and energy, and they have the peace of mind knowing that agents can dispatch the authorities in case of an emergency.
- Included in many subscription packages
- Peace of mind
- Quicker emergency response
- Saves time and energy
- Often includes a monthly fee
- Strangers are essentially watching
Doorbell Cameras & How They Work
Something that a lot of companies are offering today is a video doorbell as part of the home security camera. Someone rings the bell, and the system can record footage of that person, giving clients a clear view of who’s there. This can be incredibly useful for elderly folks or parents of young kids.
The best doorbell security cameras usually connect to the wiring of a person’s existing bell, along with the house’s WiFi network. Depending on the model, the device will start to record once someone rings the chime or when the motion sensor goes off. Whether the client is in their house or not, they can get notified because everything is synced with a mobile app. Higher-end brands have two-way communication so that homeowners can speak to their visitors, no matter where they are.
- Mobile/remote control
- Monitors packages and prevents theft
- Safety, especially for kids
- Two-way communication
- Lower-end models are glitchy
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Security Cameras Be Hacked?
Anything that is hardwired or wirelessly connected can be hacked. Rather than questioning whether or not a system is hackable, clients should practice proper usage and safety procedures. With a powerful surveillance system comes responsibility, so it’s up to customers to be aware of their surroundings.
While it’s true that these cameras, sensors, and alarms can do wonders for a family’s safety, they are not a magic bullet. To get the full benefit of the devices, individuals should make sure they properly install them, monitor the footage, and protect their passwords.
As a rule of thumb, clients should immediately change the passcode that came with the kit, and they should ensure their WiFi network is protected, too.
Do You Need WiFi For Home Security Cameras?
No, but a lot of home security cameras do rely on a WiFi connection. That said, people can always opt for an Ethernet cable or hardwiring to secure their system. This can reduce the incidence of wireless interference and even make it harder for hackers to get into the device.
Who Makes the Best Home Security Camera System?
This depends on what a person is looking for. The top 10 list in this review covers a wide range of systems that will appeal to various demographics, such as families, travelers, renters, and more. While everyone is different, the good news is that there is probably a surveillance device to suit their specific needs.
What Surveillance Cameras Don’t Need WiFi?
A few of the systems on this list will work just fine without a hookup to a WiFi network. For instance, some cameras can connect via an Ethernet cable and can work both indoors and outdoors. Others have both wired and wireless options available so they can appeal to a wide clientele. Some people like having the freedom to connect through hardwiring, a battery, or Internet, so lots of brands offer all three choices.
What Internet Speed Do You Need For Security Cameras?
Looking at Internet speed in Mbps (megabits per second), the consensus is to have 2.5 Mbps per camera. So, if a household had four cams, they would ideally want 10 Mbps. Some brands recommend a minimum of just 1 Mbps, so it depends on the provider that a family chooses. Typically, today’s homeowners have adequate Internet speed and shouldn’t have to worry.
How Do I Protect My Security Camera Wires
Those with wired systems need to be sure that they keep the cords concealed as well as protected from environmental factors like rain and snow. Painting them the same color as the house can be helpful, as well as hiding them behind eaves. Some homeowners may need to drill some holes in the walls to conceal the wiring. This will not only keep them hidden but prevent trip and fall hazards as well.
Final Recommendations & Wrap-Up
While this is not a review of every surveillance camera out there, this top 10 list is a good depiction of the choices that are available to a wide range of consumers. Each of these systems had something unique that warranted attention, be it facial recognition, no monthly fees, professional service, or something else. At the end of the day, families and individuals need something with great image quality, accurate sensors, and quick notifications. Given those requirements, these reviews rank highly and are worth a look.