Most home security cameras generally perform in the same way. They allow you to keep an eye on your property by detecting events, recording them and sending alerts to your mobile phone. Home security is something that is becoming more readily available and smart home cameras are becoming a firm fixture in smart homes all over the world. We reviewed these products in order to help you simply and affordably monitor your home anywhere, anytime from your smart phone or tablet. We wanted to test cameras in the search for manufacturers that go above and beyond. We looked for high image resolution, night vision, smart interface, cloud storage, strong two-way communication and more.
Best for All Round Security: Netgear Arlo Pro
This wireless security solution rates highly on professional security sites due to the excellent video capture, ease of use and features. The Netgear Arlo Pro is small, white and curved with a black lens meaning that it's discreet, compact and easy to hide. It comes with a magnetic mount which screws easily into the wall, wherever you see fit. You don't need to worry about the location as the camera is weatherproof, waterproof and cable free. It comes with a 2440-mAh rechargeable battery that lasts up to around 6 months and is super simple to recharge. The image quality is 720p which is lower than other products we tested however the we found the image quality to be more than substantial in both the day and the night when visibility is enhanced with eight infrared LED lights. Like other security cameras on the market, the Netgear Arlo Pro comes equipped with two-way audio. Although both the speaker and the microphone are located on the bottom of the camera, it doesn’t mean the sound and clarity are obscured, in fact the speaker's projection was the most adequate of all the cameras we tested. The live feed is simple, alerts are accurate and the four modes (Armed, Disarmed, Schedule and Geofencing) are logical and easy to use. At under $150 this camera is great value for money, another reason why this is our top pick!
Best Outdoor Camera: Nest Cam Outdoor
Although this camera needs a power cord, the Nest Cam makes up for it with great features such as 1080p video (subject to your wifi connection), 8x digital zoom and the ability to distinguish human motion from random motion e.g. a cat or a fox. It's active 24/7 and constantly uploads footage to a cloud-based storage. It's super convenient to use and instillation is simple. You mount the camera in such a way that it can point in any direction allowing you to feel as informed as possible. The Nest Cam outdoor camera has a weatherproof cord, two-way audio and delivers clear and detailed images around the clock. Unfortunately, the fact that it needs to be connected to an outlet, limits your options as where to place it however it does come with an outdoor-rated 25-foot adapter. In addition, the 24/7 recordings could also drain your WIFI package. It's a shame that you can only benefit from all of the camera's features by subscribing to the Nest Aware service which allows you to access human detection, activity zones (specifically monitor a designated area) and Sightline (a timeline of the camera's activity). If you chose not to add the Nest Aware Service, the camera could serve as a disappointment as your alerts will only be stored for up to three hours.
Best on a Budget: Amazon Cloud Cam
The Amazon Cloud Cam is compatible with Alexa and not only shows you who is at your door but unlocks it too via Amazon Key (subject to the lock you have and the area that you live in.) The app sends you an alert if a delivery person is at your front door and allows you to unlock it remotely. The Amazon Cloud Cam has a set up time of roughly 5 minutes and comes equipped with a 10-foot USB cable which powers the device. It is fully equipped with free 24-hour motion-based storage, has a resolution of 1080p and on the whole, produces good quality images. In comparison to other security cameras we tested, images seemed slightly over exposed however the night vision matched the quality of the Cloud Cam's competitors. The app is user friendly and the distinction between animals and humans as well as the geofencing features work particularly well. Cloud Cam customers are also able to enjoy a free month-long trial to all subscription features which allows you to decide what's best for your home. What our reviewers didn't like was the camera's plasticky feel and its inferior swivel arm which gives us narrower vision. The Amazon cloud cam is affordable and reliable and there's not much not to like. However, the Amazon Key is the only stand out feature, so if you have more to spend we would recommend shopping elsewhere.
The Bottom Line:
On the whole, we loved the Arlo Pro camera because it delivers high quality video and audio which comes hand in hand with an intelligent and convenient interface. Reviewers loved how weatherproof and waterproof the product is, and the majority agreed that this product offers the most useful and advanced features. One reviewer commented that the low latency mode on the Netgear App was particularly useful as it allows you to see an almost live view which helped with positioning and angling the camera. Although the Amazon Cloud Cam scored the lowest, it doesn’t mean we don't recommend it. It's still affordable, easy to use and even has free 24-hour clip storage which comes irrelevant of the Cloud Cam subscription.