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Best security cameras

Which security cameras are best?

Keep a watchful eye inside or out with a security camera system. Security cameras offer peace of mind and pair perfectly with existing alarm systems. Watch over your property, kids, or business with a few strategically placed cameras, and rest easy knowing your cameras can deter would-be burglars and criminals. Don’t feel a need for this extra layer of security? Security cameras are also useful for keeping an eye on who’s at the front door. You can even check whether your recently ordered package has arrived safely right from your desk.

To learn more, keep reading your buying guide. Our top choice is the Arlo Pro Wireless Security System with Siren, a high-quality system that’s a cinch to install.

What to know before you buy security cameras

Your needs

There are various reasons for installing a security camera. If you’re worried about recent break-ins in your neighborhood, choose a camera equipped with night vision recording. If you’re only interested in speaking to the delivery person at the door, be sure to select a camera with two-way talking. If you want to watch your dog or cat while you’re away at work, pick an indoor camera that can pan around the room and allows you to speak to your pet. Factor in your property’s layout, too. If you’re in the market for outdoor security cameras, you may need more than one to monitor all areas around your home.

Indoor vs. outdoor

If you plan to mount your camera outside, be sure that it’s outdoor-rated before purchasing. The camera should feature a protective casing that shelters the delicate inner workings of the device from inclement weather. Check manufacturer-listed temperature ratings if you live in a location with icy winters. Not all cameras are equipped to survive below-zero weather.

Movable vs. fixed

If you need to surveil a larger area, pick a camera that’s capable of panning. Keep in mind, though, those movable cameras are typically pricier than fixed versions.

Wireless vs. hardwired

Wireless cameras aren’t necessarily completely wire-free; many still require you to plug the camera into a power source. Check the description of the camera to find out whether it’s battery-powered or requires an outlet. Battery-powered devices are easy to install, but you have to keep close tabs on the battery power and replace batteries or charge the camera as needed, which isn’t always convenient, especially during the winter. Most security cameras offer WiFi connectivity, so there’s no need for a wired connection to enable internet access.

Video quality

If you’re concerned about criminal activity around your home or business, a grainy video won’t be much help if a burglary does occur. Full 1,080p HD video is the highest-quality video recording resolution and offers a clear picture for easy identification of facial features. Videos of this quality, however, require a greater amount of storage space. 720p HD video is clearer in daylight than in low-light conditions but still manages to produce decent-quality recordings. VGA video is the best option if you want to save on storage space, but identification may be difficult at this resolution.

What to look for in quality security cameras

Motion detection

Cameras with a customizable motion detection feature allow you to select the detection area and sensitivity of the motion sensor. Instead of continuously recording, your camera can begin recording only when motion is detected, which saves valuable storage space. Cameras with a companion smartphone app allow users to select the desired notification once motion is detected, whether it’s a pop-up, an email, or an audible alarm.

Night vision

This feature is useful for monitoring your outdoor property at night or in low-light conditions.

How much you can expect to spend on security cameras

Pay between $100 to over $500 for a home or business security camera. Costs go up if you purchase a camera system with two or more devices. Expect HD resolution if you spend more than $250.

Factor in the cost of subscription cloud storage systems, which may be required depending on the camera brand selected. You may also need to replace your router or purchase a signal booster to improve your wireless signal.

Security cameras FAQ

Q. Can I add more cameras later on if I decide I need more coverage?

A. You should be able to add compatible cameras to your setup with ease. In most cases, all that’s required is adding the new device to the app and installing it where desired.

Q. How do I check the video feed for my security camera?

A. The majority of wireless security cameras on the market work in tandem with a smartphone app that allows you to view a live feed and store recorded video.

What are the best security cameras to buy?

Top security camera

Arlo Pro Wireless Security System with Siren

What you should know: High-quality security system ready to go out of the box. An excellent starter system for the home with multiple entry points.

What you'll love: Easy to set up. Great wireless range. Convenient two-way audio and battery-powered wireless design.

What you should consider: Requires users to sign up for a cloud storage plan.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top security camera for money

Nest Cam Outdoor Security

What you should know: Outdoor surveillance from a well-known smart home device brand.

What you'll love: Super simple setup. High-quality 1,080p HD resolution. Clear night vision recording. Wired design is always powered, and the app is incredibly user-friendly.

What you should consider: Cloud subscription service is expensive. Installing multiple cameras is also pricey.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Blink Home Security Camera System

What you should know: Affordable two-pack security system for the budget-conscious consumer interested in indoor monitoring.

What you'll love: Wireless and easy to install. Doesn’t require a subscription service.

What you should consider: Lacks local storage.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Steph Coelho writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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