Abode Cameras Review

We conducted multiple rounds of hands-on testing to review Abode's cameras.
Best for home security
abode iota
Abode Iota
3.8 out of 5 stars
  • pro
    Sits on table
  • con
    Indoor only
  • pro
    All-in-one security system
Best for budget surveillance
Abode Cam 2
3.7 out of 5 stars
  • pro
    Mounts to any flat surface
  • pro
    Indoor and outdoor
  • pro
    Motion activity zones
Best front door surveillance
Abode Video Doorbell
  • pro
    Wireless installation
  • pro
    6-month battery life
  • pro
    Ethernet optional

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review

Abode’s cameras offer vastly different features, but the Iota is our top pick thanks to its impressive compatibility and built-in security system. We also like Abode as a starter system for people new to home security. You can try out both self- and pro-monitoring for these cameras without getting locked into a contract.

Light Bulb
New wireless video doorbell ready for pre-order

Abode recently announced its new Wireless Video Doorbell. Since it doesn't need to be hardwired to an existing chime, it'll be a versatile option for renters or older homes.

However, we're worried it might have some of the Wi-Fi issues we experienced when testing other Abode cameras. Stay tuned for our hands-on review. 

What to expect with Abode cameras

Abode’s cameras offer some neat technology, but it’s scattered piecemeal across all of its cameras rather than combined into One Awesome Camera. (You’ll want to read Best Home Security Cameras if that’s what you’re looking for.) 

Instead, Abode offers niche cameras. The Iota is ideal for smart home security (and it’s particularly fantastic for renters). Need a ceiling camera? The Cam 2 is the only Abode camera up for the job. And now that Abode has discontinued the Outdoor Smart Cam, the Cam 2 is the only option for outdoor security.

For the full experience, you’ll want the Iota and the Cam 2, since the Cam 2 can't be added to smart home automations without the Iota or the camera-less Gateway hub. You’ll also have to subscribe to a monthly plan to use the coolest features, like automations, person detection, and cloud storage, but Abode’s prices are some of the most affordable in the industry. 

pro Functional as standalone cameras
pro Affordable monitoring plan
pro On-demand monitoring available
pro Smart home compatibility
pro Good image quality
con Outlet-dependent placement
con Required subscription for full use
con Poor audio quality
con Unstable Wi-Fi connectivity

Compare Abode cameras

Best for
Person detection
Battery backup
Learn More
Best for home security$6.00/mo.
Icon Yes  Light5 hrs.
2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, Ethernet,
4G cellular backup
Amazon, Apple, Google, Z-Wave,
Best for budget surveillance$6.00/mo.
Icon No  LightNone
2.4 GHz Wi-FiAmazon, Google
Best for front door surveillance$6.00/mo.
Icon Yes  LightBattery only
2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, EthernetAmazon, Google

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

What's in the box

Abode Iota

  • Abode Iota 
  • Door or window sensor
  • Key fob
  • 4G SIM card
  • Power cord
  • Ethernet cable
  • Quick start guide
An overview photo of all the equipment included with the Abode Iota.

Image: Celeste Tholen, SafeWise

Abode Cam 2

  • Cam 2
  • USB adapter cable
  • Mounting hardware
  • Quick start guide

Image: Cathy Habas, SafeWise

Abode Iota: Best for home security

Best for home security
abode iota
Abode Iota
3.8 out of 5 stars

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Don’t be fooled by the lack of gadgets inside the Abode Iota box. This seven-inch tower is jam-packed with features:

  • HD camera
  • Motion sensor
  • 93-decibel siren
  • Two-way audio
  • Person detection (requires $6.00/mo. subscription)

The Iota is one of the most compatible security cameras on the market, integrating with around 160 smart home products. It also has the easiest physical set-up you could ask for: place it on a table and plug it in. 

But the Iota falls short when it comes to video and audio quality. The image sometimes lags and the audio can sound staticky at times. It also has a limited viewing angle, so it might not catch everything that happens in the room.

Excellent choice for renters

The Iota’s all-in-one design makes it perfect for renters. Landlords typically don’t want you to drill holes in the walls or mess up the paint with peel-and-stick devices. The Iota won’t leave a mark . . . except for the stick-on door/window sensor. You’ll have to talk your landlord into that one.  

But the same qualities that make the Iota great for renters also make it somewhat impractical for homes with long entry hallways or expansive layouts. For example, the Iota has to sit on a table or shelf. Do you have a suitable place to put it in full view of your front door? 

With a limited viewing angle of 127° horizontal and 67° vertical, you’ll have to position it so that the camera picks up as much as possible. There also needs to be a plug in the vicinity.

Power source and internet options

The Iota isn’t a completely wireless security system, but it has a backup battery that powers the system for up to five hours. This isn’t a very long time, but it will still offer protection if someone decides to burgle your home during a short power outage. 

Don’t forget to toggle the “on” button on the bottom of the Iota to make sure the battery backup is ready to go.

The Iota also has three internet connectivity options:

  • Ethernet cable (included in the box)
  • 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi
  • 4 cellular back-up (requires Pro Plan subscription)

Most of the smart security cameras we review connect only to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, so the Iota’s more versatile options stand out.

Our Iota testing experience: Unstable Wi-Fi connections

Our testers had mixed experiences connecting the Iota to Wi-Fi.

For example, I couldn't get the Iota to connect to Wi-Fi at all, which meant the Iota had to stay close to my modem so I could use the Ethernet port.

Another tester had no problem getting the Iota to connect to Wi-Fi, but our third tester never got to test the Wi-Fi connectivity because the app crashed during setup.

Iota video quality is clear

In the Abode app, you'll see a preview of the live video footage. Tap on this preview to view the true livestream.

The preview quality is extremely grainy, but the actual livestream looks crisp.

A screenshot of the Abode Iota Cam in preview mode, overlooking home security and safety expert Cathy Habas' living room during testing.

Screenshots: Cathy Habas, SafeWise

A screenshot of the Abode Iota Cam in live mode, overlooking home security and safety expert Cathy Habas' living room during testing.

Since the Iota streams in full 1080p HD, we’d expect nothing less than a crisp image. It also looks good in night vision mode thanks to an integrated infrared LED light. 

There’s also no way to zoom in when checking in on the live feed. The manufacturers might have chosen to leave this feature off because Iota is meant to be used inside in close quarters. Still, it’s a useful and, frankly, expected feature.

Video quality settings

Abode offers high, medium, and low bandwidth settings to help improve streaming quality. You can also switch between 720p and 1080p.

Check out our screenshots below to see how it looks in the app.

Screenshots: Cathy Habas, SafeWise

Two video storage options

The Abode Iota saves video clips through cloud or local storage any time motion is detected. If you pay for Abode’s Standard plan or Pro plan, the clips are saved to the cloud and can be viewed on the Abode app. Clips are automatically deleted after 10 days with both the Standard and Pro plans.

If you don’t subscribe to a plan, the clips are saved to an SD card (not included). You’ll need to remove the SD card and manually upload the clips to a separate device in order to view them. 

We appreciate this flexibility, but free cloud storage would be even better. 

Compare Abode plans

Check out our full review of Abode home security to compare the pro, standard, and free plans.

Iota is compatible with pretty much everything

The Abode Iota really blows the competition out of the water in terms of smart home compatibility and integrations. You can connect up to 160 devices to the Iota, so there’s a good chance you already have compatible devices in your home or that you’ll easily find what you’re looking for when you’re ready to shop. 

Check out our overview of Abode-compatible products for more information.

Subscription required for automations

Iota-compatible devices can be included in home automations, but you’ll need at least the Standard plan to set them up.

Abode Cam 2: Best for budget surveillance

Best for budget surveillance
Abode Cam 2
3.7 out of 5 stars

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The Abode Cam 2 was released in June 2021, and we tested one shortly after. It costs less than $40 but promises extensive functionality:

  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • Two-way audio
  • IP65 weather rating
  • Full-color night vision
  • Full HD: 1080p at 30 fps
  • 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Motion activity zones
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

Our Abode Cam 2 testing experience: setup issues

As with the Abode Iota, our testers had different experiences with the Abode Cam 2.

I could never get the camera to pair with the app. The setup process is relatively simple, but at one point you have to scan the Cam 2's QR code with your phone camera. The app froze every time. 

I sent the same camera to another tester who had no trouble setting it up. We both had up-to-date iPhones, so the issue is still a mystery. 

Image quality decreases in low light

The Cam 2 had crisp image quality when live streaming in normal light conditions. In low light conditions, the image started to look grainy. 

Home security expert Celeste Tholen testing the Abode Cam 2's image quality and live stream feature.
Home security expert Celeste Tholen testing the Abode Cam 2 in low-light conditions.

Screenshots: Celeste Tholen, SafeWise

Good motion detection

The Cam 2 sometimes failed to detect motion on the periphery, but it always noticed people moving in its central field of view.

The Cam 2 ignored movement from a curious cat, even when it filled most of the screen. Note that you need to enable "person detection" in the app to make sure the Cam 2 ignores other movement. 

Poor audio quality

The Cam 2's audio quality left a lot to be desired. Although it occasionally worked correctly, at one point it was impossible to hear the person speaking through the camera because the audio was extremely garbled.

Then it was impossible to hear the person speaking through the app because the audio shut down completely. 

The camera's microphone and speaker volume also had to be constantly adjusted in the app.

"For some reason, the Abode app would not save my microphone and speaker settings from use to use. This was extremely annoying!"

—Celeste Tholen, Cam 2 tester

Abode Wireless Video Doorbell: Best for front door surveillance

Best for front door surveillance

Abode's camera line-up has been missing a video doorbell for at least a year—ever since its old outdoor camera was scrapped in favor of the Cam 2. So we're pleased to see that Abode finally has a Wireless Video Doorbell in the works, especially one that keeps the whole Abode system renter-friendly with 100% wireless installation.

It still hasn't been released, so we don't have any testing experience to share.

On paper, the Abode Wireless Video Doorbell seems most similar to the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen). But Ring cameras aren't compatible with Abode, so if you already have an Abode security system and are anxious to have a video doorbell, use IFTTT to integrate with the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell or the ultra-budget-friendly Blink Video Doorbell.

Final word

We like the features and specs of the Abode Iota security system and the Cam 2 overall. We especially love that Abode allows users to purchase professional monitoring on an as-needed basis. In that context, we think all of these cameras are quite affordable.

Problems with setup, Wi-Fi connection, and audio quality are hard to ignore, though. If you’re on the fence, we recommend taking advantage of Abode’s 30-day trial period to gauge how well this camera works for you.

How we reviewed Abode cameras

Abode Cam 2 outdoor camera

Screenshot: Katie McEntire, SafeWise

We conducted hands-on testing for our Abode cameras review and spent hours reviewing the technical specifications of the Abode cameras to understand the similarities and differences.

Multiple team members tested the Iota and Cam 2—so you're not just getting one person's opinion. We also used our industry knowledge to compare Abode’s offers to competitors’. 

Any time we couldn’t find clear information published on the site, we called or chatted with Abode’s customer service to confirm. We also read dozens of other Abode camera reviews to discover the consistently good and bad features. 

Check out our methodology page for more information.

Abode camera FAQ

No, the Abode Outdoor Smart Cam has been discontinued. Abode split the Outdoor Smart Cam's features into the Cam 2 and the upcoming Wireless Video Doorbell. 

No, the Abode wide-angle motion camera is no longer available. This was a unique device that took photos instead of video clips, but we're afraid it's gone the way of the dinosaur. We'll update this page if it's resurrected. 

Neither SimpliSafe nor Abode's cameras wowed us with unique features, exceptional clarity, or consistently easy setup. But they get the job done.

With Abode, you at least have the option of using a few other camera brands if you're unhappy with Abode's offerings. With SimpliSafe, you're stuck with their three cameras if you want to manage all of your home security from a single app.

Learn more in our comparison of SimpliSafe vs. Abode.

Ring cameras are higher-quality than Abode's cameras, but they're also more expensive.

The choice between these two brands ultimately depends on whether you prioritize video quality and long-term cloud storage (Ring) or home automation and third-party compatibility (Abode).

Abode works with tons of other devices. You can even add third-party cameras—like Arlo cameras—to an Abode security system if you're not happy with the Cam 2. 

Ring doesn't offer many third-party integrations, but it offers more camera options—including an extensive lineup of Ring video doorbells and powerful outdoor cameras like the Ring Floodlight Cam—and stores footage for 60 days. Abode's camera lineup is limited in comparison, and footage is stored for only 10 days. 

Learn more in our direct comparison of Ring vs. Abode.

Yes, you can get Abode cameras in the UK. In fact, UK customers can still buy the original Abode Cam. There's no mention of the Abode Wireless Video Doorbell on the UK site, though.

Check out our Abode UK review to learn about the equipment and monitoring differences in the UK vs. US versions.

See more questions and answers on our Abode FAQ page.

Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over eight years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She is a certified Safe Sleep Ambassador and has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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