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The Best Home Security Cameras of 2019 • Gear Patrol

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This definitive guide to the best smart home cameras of 2019. It explores everything you need to know before buying a smart home security, including what to watch out for, the different models available, and which work with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple’s HomeKit.

Introduction

It’s 2019. Smart cameras are running home security companies like ADT out of business. Brinks’ home security division went bust a couple of years ago, and it all stands to reason — home security cameras are to subscription-based security systems what HBO GO is to cable. Plus, there’s no need to shell out a lot for something that you only use one percent of the time. The new generation of smart surveillance cameras are perfect for a modern family smart-home, and these smart cameras make home security both more inviting and more powerful. The only question left is: which one is right for your home?

The Most Important Features To Look For

Before buying your first home security camera, there’s a lot to consider. How are you going to use the camera? Is it more for home security or is it more for monitoring a baby or pet? Where are you going to place it? Do you want it to work with your other smart devices? Are you willing to pay a monthly/annual subscription fee for premium features, like facial recognition or extensive storage features? Factoring all these things can pretty daunting.

The truth is, however, most of today’s home security cameras are more similar than they are different. Pretty much all of them have motion sensors, night vision, two-way talk and a companion app that allows you to, at any time, get a live feed of what’s happening in front of the camera. Yes, there are physical differences between cameras, such as its video resolution, the field of view, and how it stores videos and photos, but there are other things to consider that might be just as (or even more) important.

• Compatibility: If you already own smart home devices, such as a smart speaker or a smart TV, there’s a good chance that you’ll want a home security camera that plays well with them. For example, if you have an Amazon Fire TV or Echo Spot, you’ll probably want a security camera that’s compatible with Alexa so you can summon a live feed from the camera on your TV or smart speaker (with a screen). The same is true with Google Assistant and a TV with Chromecast built-in or with an Apple TV and a security camera that supports HomeKit.

• Price: All the below cameras come at different price points, ranging from $20 to over $400, and this is obviously an important thing to consider. The surprising thing is that even the more affordable cameras, such as the Wyze Cam v2, is still going to do many of the same things — 24/7 live feed, two-way talk, night vision, motion alerts — as the way more expensive camera systems. The reason why you’d pay more for other cameras by Nest, Amazon, Honeywell and Lighthouse is for better app experiences, smart home compatibility, image quality and some other advanced features (I’ll get into this next). Ultimately it’s going to come down to how often you’re checking in on the camera — once every few days or once every few hours — and if multiple people, such as other family members, are also going to be checking in.

• Subscription: Many smart home security cameras, especially the more expensive models, require you to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee to get its more advanced features. A lot of these features include facial recognition, person alerts, and the ability to share clips and videos with friends. Another big factor with subscriptions is how long you want the camera to save videos in the cloud. Most free accounts will allow you access to the last 24 hours of footage, but paying subscriptions (which usually cost between $3 to $10 per month) can grant you access to a week’s or month’s worth of saved clips.

• Wired or Battery: Like most of today’s smart speakers, pretty much all of today’s smart home security cameras need a constant wi-fi connection to work. That said, not all smart speakers need to be tethered to a wall outlet. There are a few models that come with rechargeable batteries, allowing you to move them around the house as you see fit. The disadvantage with portable security cameras is they need to remember to change their battery every so often, plus they tend to be more expensive than wired cameras.

These are a few of the important things to look out for. Below, you’ll find the rundown of our favorite smart home security cameras arranged by indoor cameras and outdoor cameras. Remember, just because a camera is expensive doesn’t necessarily make it immediately better. A lot of the more expensive options are only worth buying if you know you’ll use it a lot and you’re willing to pay a reoccurring subscription fee.

Wyze

Wyze Cam V2

Brief: The Wyze Cam is the cheapest smart security you can buy, and despite its super-low price and admittedly cheap design, it actually packs most of the same features as other indoor security cameras. It shoots 1080p video, supports two-way talk, and it will automatically record video clips (up to 12 seconds) if it detects motion or hears a loud sound. You can also access a live feed any time you want by opening the Wyze app. The kicker is that 14 days of cloud storage comes free, without any subscription, which is huge.

Compatible with: works with Alexa and Google Assistant

Subscription? No, there’s no subscription service with Wyze’s cameras. That said, it has excellent cloud storage; it can store video clips (up to 12 seconds long) for up to two weeks. If you want continuous videos, you can purchase a MicroSD card, which then slots directly into the camera.

Who Should Buy: Anybody who is building an entry-level smart home for the least amount of money. But don’t be fooled by their cheap prices, the Wyze Cam punches well above its weight.

The Basics

Field of view: 110 degrees
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired
Storage: 128MB, microSD card (sold separately)
Key features: 8x digital zoom, night vision, 24/7 live video feed, 3-axis design, magnetic base

Wyze Cam Pan

Brief: The Wyze Cam Pan is essentially an upgraded version of the Wyze Cam. It has all the same abilities but it “pans,” hence the name. If you open the Wyze app, you can actually control what the camera is looking at. You can tilt it left or right, up or down. Unlike the cheaper Wyze Cam, the Wyze Cam Pan offers motion tracking; if motion is detected in a specific area of its field of view, the camera will use its Zoom capabilities to track the subject. A downside is that the Pan doesn’t have a magnetic base or stand.

Compatible with: works with Alexa and Google Assistant

Who Should Buy: Anybody that wants a slightly more upgraded version of the Wyze Cam, or they simply want to be able to adjust the camera’s vision from afar.

Subscription? No, there’s no subscription service with Wyze’s cameras. That said, it has excellent cloud storage; it can store video clips (up to 12 seconds long) for up to two weeks. If you want continuous videos, you can purchase a MicroSD card, which then slots directly into the camera.

The Basics

Field of view: 120 degrees (plus panning)
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired
Storage: 128MB, microSD card (sold separately)
Key features: 8x digital zoom, 24/7 live video feed, night vision, panning

Nest

Nest Cam (Indoor and Outdoor)

Brief: The Nest Cam comes in two different models, one for indoors and one for outdoors, and both are the most entry-level security cameras that the company makes. The two cameras have pretty much the exact same abilities – same field of view, video resolution, night vision, alerts and storage – but there are some differences. The Indoor camera has better zoom abilities (8x versus 4x optical zoom), while the Outdoor camera is weather resistant and comes with a much longer cord (25 feet vs 10 feet). Overall, these are the most entry-level security cameras and while they’ll

Compatible with: works with Alexa and Google Assistant

Who Should Buy: These cameras are optimized for anybody building a smart home around Google’s ecosystem. They’re dependable entry-level security cameras without the fancy features found in Nest’s higher-end “IQ” line (which honestly, most people won’t need). Even though these Nest Cam cameras will work with Alexa, it’s worth remembering that since Google owns Nest, its line of home security cameras will always be more likely to work more smoothly within a Google smart home ecosystem.

Subscription? Nest Aware is Nest’s cloud storage service and while you don’t need to purchase a subscription, you’ll probably want to. Without a subscription, you’ll only have access to the last three hours of what the camera recorded. Depending on the Nest Aware subscription you purchase, you can have five to 30 days worth of recordings.

The Basics

Field of view: 130 degrees
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired
Storage: 3 hours of free cloud storage; Nest Aware subscription gets you up to 30 days of cloud storage
Key features: night vision, two-way talk, motion alerts, 24/7 live video feed

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Nest Cam IQ (Indoor and Outdoor)

Brief: These are the upgraded versions of the Nest Cam Indoor and Outdoor. The biggest difference is that the two IQ cameras have a 4K image sensor, which enables a feature called “Supersight,” which allows the cameras to identify familiar and unfamiliar faces, as well as zoom in and track those subjects while they’re in the frame. The IQ cameras will also send you real-time alerts when it detects motion (should you enable it). The catch is that in order to get these premium features, you’ll need to have a Nest Aware subscription.

Compatible with: works with Alexa and Google Assistant

Who Should Buy: Admittedly, the Nest Cam IQ is really only people who are going to use the heck out of these cameras and watch the recordings. If you’re just going to casually check in on what’s going on at home, the regular Nest Cam is probably a safer bet. And, like before, even though these cameras work with both Alexa and Google Assistant, since Google owns Nest, it’s a safer bet to get Nest cameras if you’re thinking about building out a Google smart home ecosystem.

Subscription? You need to be Nest Aware subscriber to get the premium features, which starts off at $5 per month for five days of cloud storage.

The Basics

Field of view: 130 degrees
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired
Storage: up to 30 days with a Nest Aware subscription
Key features: 12x digital zoom Supersight, facial detection, night vision, two-way talk, motion alerts, 24/7 live video feed

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Amazon (and Ring)

Amazon Cloud Cam

Brief: The Cloud Cam is Amazon’s first-and-only smart security camera. It’s a camera that only works with Alexa, and therefor is really optimized for homes that already use Alexa as a voice assistant, as well as an Amazon Fire TV, Fire Tablet, Echo Show or Echo Spot (with any of these devices you can ask Alexa to show you a live feed from a specific Cloud Cam). The catch is that Amazon released the Cloud Cam before its acquisition of Ring, so it seems that moving forward Amazon will likely upgrade its Ring’s smart cameras instead of its own.

Compatible with: works with Alexa

Who Should Buy: Anybody who wants an entry-level smart camera that can be seamlessly integrated in an Alexa smart home.

Subscription? Without a subscription to Amazon’s cloud storage service, you only get free access to recordings for 24 hours. With a subscription, however, you can a few additional things other than a longer window to check on your recordings. The Cloud Cam will also be able to detect specific people; let you establish “zones” or specific areas within the camera’s field of view to look for motion; it will let download clips and share them with whomever.

The Basics

Field of view: 120 degrees
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired
Storage: 24 hours of free recordings, more with subscription
Key features: night vision, motion alerts, 24/7 live video feed

Ring Indoor Cam

Brief: The Indoor Cam is a smaller and cheaper version of Ring’s Stick Up Cam (below), and it has most of the same abilities as every other entry-level security camera on the market. The difference is that, if you already own Ring’s video doorbell or security system, any of Ring’s cameras will work seamlessly with that existing ecosystem. They’ll also work well with Alexa smart ecosystem.

Compatible with: works with Alexa

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Who Should Buy: Anybody building a smart home around Amazon Alexa and people who already have a Ring smart home device.

Subscription? Yes. Ring’s cloud storage subscription, Protect Plus, costs $3 per month per Ring camera, or $10 a month for unlimited Ring cameras, and gives you access to recorded videos for up to 60 days. Without a subscription, the Indoor Cam only allows you to check the live feed – there’s no free cloud storage.

The Basics

Field of view: 140 degrees
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired
Storage: no free cloud storage
Key features: 24/7 live video feed, night vision, motion alerts (with subscription)

Ring Stick Up Cam

Brief: The Stick Up Cam comes in three different models – wired, battery-powered or solar-powered – and it’s also essentially a larger (and slightly better) version of Ring’s Indoor Cam. All three models shoot 1080p video, and have two-way talk and night vision. The battery-powered models come with a rechargeable battery pack and, since they’re portable, you can stick them (or use included wall mounts) to place them anywhere in your home that has Wi-Fi. A big difference from the Indoor Cam is that the Stick Up Cam are designed for indoor and outdoor use, which is why they’re more expensive.

Compatible with: works with Alexa

Who Should Buy: If you just want an entry-level indoor security camera, the Ring Indoor Cam probably makes more sense. However, if you want a more versatile camera that you can place essentially anywhere (so long as it’s connected to Wi-Fi), that’s where the Stick Up Cam comes in. It works best within an Alexa smart home.

Subscription? Yes. Ring’s cloud storage subscription, Protect Plus, costs $3 per month per Ring camera, or $10 a month for unlimited Ring cameras, and gives you access to recorded videos for up to 60 days. Without a subscription, the Indoor Cam only allows you to check the live feed – there’s no free cloud storage.

The Basics

Field of view: 130 degrees
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired, battery-powered or solar powered
Storage: no free cloud storage
Key features: 24/7 live video feed, night vision, motion alerts (with subscription), ability to wall mount

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Arlo

Arlo Ultra

Brief: Arlo’s home security cameras are unique for two main reasons. First, they’re battery-powered, meaning you can place them anywhere around your house. And two, every Arlo’s camera system requires you to have a SmartHub, which allows you to control all the cameras through the Arlo app. This separate hub also gives you to locally store video files, as opposed to the cloud. Ultra is Arlo’s high-end line of security cameras. They shoot the best quality video, 4K with HDR, with the widest field of view.

Compatible with: works with Alexa and Google Assistant

Who Should Buy: Anybody who wants the best completely wireless security system, which works with either Alexa and Google Assistant, and they’re not afraid to invest in a multi-camera system. (You can always purchase additional add-on cameras later down the road.)

Subscription? When you purchase Arlo’s Ultra smart security system you also get a one-year free subscription to Arlo Smart, the company’s cloud-storage service, which is more than the Pro 3 (3-month trial). In addition to more cloud storage, it allows subscribers to create custom activity zones within each camera’s field of view, as well as be able to recognize the difference between objects, such as people, pets, cars and trees. It’s worth noting that without paying for an Arlo Smart subscription, you still get seven days of free rolling cloud storage. You can also store 4K videos locally on a microSD card.

The Basics

Field of view: 180 degrees
Video resolution: 4K with HDR
Wired or portable: battery powered
Storage: 7-days cloud storage free; up to 30 days with subscription; interal storage via microSD
Key features: 12x zoom, motion tracking, noise cancellation audio (for wind and rain), night vision, motion tracking

Arlo Pro 3

Brief: The Arlo Pro 3 is the company’s newest wireless security camera system and it delivers many of the abilities of Arlo’s high-end Ultra line, but just at a much more accessible price point. There are tradeoffs with the Pro 3, obviously. It captures 2K video instead of 4K, and doesn’t have quite the same field of view. And you only get a 3-month free trial of Arlo Smart, the company’s cloud-storage service, instead of an entire year.

Compatible with: works with Alexa and Google Assistant

Who Should Buy: If you’re thinking about an Arlo system, the reality is that a Pro 3 system will more sense for most people. It’s significantly cheaper and the video quality, even though it’s not at the same 4K level, is still very good.

Subscription? Yes. When you purchase Arlo’s Pro smart security system you also get a 3-month free trial to Arlo Smart, which is more than the Pro 3 (3-month trial). In addition to more cloud storage, it allows subscribers to create custom activity zones within each camera’s field of view, as well as be able to recognize the difference between objects, such as people, pets, cars and trees. Without a subscription, you still get seven days of free rolling cloud storage. You can also store 2K videos locally on a microSD card.

The Basics

Field of view: 160 degrees
Video resolution: 2K with HDR
Wired or portable: battery powered
Storage: 7-days cloud storage free; up to 30 days with subscription; internal storage via microSD
Key features: 12x zoom, motion tracking, noise cancellation audio (for wind and rain), night vision, motion tracking

eufy

eufyCam

Brief: eufy is Anker’s smart home division and its eufyCam is system of battery-powered smart cameras, similar to what Arlo offers. The eufyCam system needs a smart home hub, called the HomeBase, to work. The two defining features of the eufyCam system are, one, its battery life – each camera can last 360 days between charges – and, two, the fact that you don’t need to pay extra for premium features, such as facial recognition and object detection. As far as video storage, videos can be stored in the cloud or locally, via a microSD card, which is a great option for those with privacy concerns. Each camera has an IP67 rating, so they’re for indoor or outdoor use.

It’s worth noting that eufy also makes the eufyCam E, which is a slightly less water-resistant version of the eufyCam, and it also looks a little different, but they largely have the same abilities.

Compatible with: works with Alexa

Who Should Buy: Anybody who wants an

Subscription? There are two Eufy Security cloud plans that you can choose from in case you want additional storage. There’s the Basic plan, where you pay $3/month (or $30/year) per camera and that grants you 30 days of rolling video storage. The Premier plan costs $10/month and covers up to ten cameras. A 16GB microSD card comes with the HomeBase hub.

The Basics

Field of view: 140 degree
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: battery powered
Storage: cloud and local
Key features: motion alerts, face recognition, night vision, IP67 rating

Logitech

Logitech Circle 2

Brief: Logitech’s Circle 2 is a weatherproof security camera (IP65) that can set up indoors or outdoors; its base can work as a traditional stand or be swapped out for a wall/window mount. The Circle 2 is really notable because it’s really one of the few smart security cameras that works with Apple’s HomeKit (it also supports Alexa and Google Assistant). It should be noted that Logitech makes the Circle 2 in wired and wire-free models, but HomeKit only works with the wired model. The Circle 2 was released in June 2018 and is often on sale.

Compatible with: works with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

For a complete list of smart cameras that work with HomeKit, click here.

Who Should Buy: Anybody looking for the most affordable security camera that works with Apple HomeKit.

Subscription? Yes. Logitech’s subscription service, called Circle Safe, gives you the option of paying for cloud storage for video recordings from either 14 or 31 days. If you don’t pay for a subscription, you can only access video recordings for the last 24 hours.

The Basics

Field of view: 180 degrees
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired (and battery)
Storage: cloud
Key features: 24/7 live video feed, IP65 rating, night vision, two-way audio and motion detection

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Netatmo

Netatmo Indoor Camera

Brief: Netatmo is French-based manufacturer of a system of smart home cameras, sensors and alarms that are all designed to work together (similar to Ring’s system of devices). Its Indoor Camera offers a range of features, including people detection and facial recognition, and it’ll notify you and start recording video when it hears any kind of alarm. It also is one of the rare camera systems that works with HomeKit. A key feature is that there’s no subscription service that forces you to pay a monthly free. (Netatmo also makes Smart Outdoor Camera, which requires a little more installation.)

Compatible with: works with Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit

For a complete list of smart cameras that work with HomeKit, click here.

Who Should Buy: Somebody willing to pay a little extra upfront for a pricier HomeKit-enabled camera, and who doesn’t want to deal with a monthly subscription play.

Subscription? No. Your video recordings are stored locally on a microSD card. If you want to have additional video storage, you have to option to save videos directly to your Dropbox account or send them to a personal FTP server.

The Basics

Field of view: 130 degrees
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired
Storage: microSD
Key features: 8x digital zoom, 24/7 live video feed, facial recognition, motion alerts, night vision

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