Arlo vs. Nest Cameras

We've tested many Arlo and Nest cameras over the years. Here's how they compare in a battle royale.
Best video quality
  • pro
    2K and 4K video available
  • con
    Pricier cloud storage
  • pro
    Larger camera selection
Best video storage
  • con
    1080p video on all models
  • pro
    Video storage doesn't require subscription
  • pro
    Best smart motion detection
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Arlo and Nest  each make some of our favorite security cameras, so we compared them head-to-head to see which is better. Based on our testing experiences with these brands, Arlo's excellent video quality clinches the win, but Nest's features and cloud services put up some fierce competition.

Honestly, either brand is an excellent option for your home, so we put together an in-depth comparison of Arlo and Nest cameras to help you decide what works best for you.


Arlo vs. Nest Cameras

Compare Arlo vs. Nest Cameras

Product
Camera type
Price
Video resolution
Field of view
Standout feature
Learn more
Indoor1080p130ºPrivacy shield
Indoor1080p 135º4 color options
Outdoor1440p (2K)160ºSmart home compatibility
Outdoor1080p130ºSmart motion detection
Floodlight1440p (2K)160ºWire-free floodlight
Floodlight1080p130ºAdjustable floodlights
Doorbell1536p180ºUltra-wide field of view
Doorbell960p145ºLocal backup storage

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Arlo vs. Nest cameras similarities

Arlo and Nest security cameras have a lot in common in terms of pricing, mobile apps, installation, and E911 emergency services. Here's a quick look at their shared features:

  • Camera prices: Arlo and Nest have remarkably similar prices across their lineups, with the biggest price difference in the table above coming in at $30. With pricing this close, camera prices may not be a deciding factor for you.
  • Mobile app: You can use the Arlo and Google Home apps to set up and control each brand's respective products. These apps are your hub for viewing live videos and motion detection notifications. Still, the Arlo app gears more toward home security, while the Google Home app focuses on smart home devices.
  • Installation: Depending on the camera type, you'll experience similar installation methods— most cameras mount with a few screws. The only outlier is Nest Cam with Floodlight, which needs light electrical work (compared to Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight's easy mounting process).
  • Emergency response: Arlo and Nest's paid subscription plans include emergency services, which help you call help to your home while you're out of town. This solves the problem of your phone calling the nearest dispatcher. Nest includes E911 in all Nest Aware plans, while Arlo's emergency response comes only feature in its most expensive plans: Arlo Secure Plus and Arlo Safe & Secure Pro.

Arlo vs. Nest cameras differences

Although there are many shared features, Arlo and Nest take different approaches in several areas like paid features, video storage, video performance, and smart home features.

  • Paid features: Nest bucks industry trends by giving you almost every feature without paying a fee. Arlo ties most of its features to a monthly subscription, including cloud storage and smart detection—the standard among home security camera companies. Still, Nest's free storage options don't include much space, and you'll pay for sound and face detection.
  • Video storage: Nest added three hours of free cloud storage on its latest cameras and even backs up video on local storage if your Wi-Fi network goes down. In contrast, Arlo requires you to pay a monthly fee or purchase expensive accessories to store video.
  • Video performance: Arlo's cameras have higher resolutions and bright spotlights for color video recording at night. Nest's video quality isn't terrible compared to Arlo, but 1080p can't deliver the same results as 2K and 4K.
  • Smart home: Arlo offers broad compatibility with many smart home platforms, while Nest mostly sticks to Google Assistant.

Arlo: Best video quality

Arlo puts video quality front and center by offering various models supporting 2K and 4K resolutions. Based on our testing with Arlo Pro 4 and Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight, we can confirm that Arlo's video looks crisper than Nest's. While there's not a huge bump in quality compared to Nest, it's enough to declare Arlo the better option for video performance.

Aside from video quality, Arlo also stands out for the breadth of its smart home integrations and a huge selection of cameras.

Arlo cameras pros and cons

pro
Pros
pro 2K and 4K video available
pro Best smart home integration in a security camera
pro Larger camera selection than Nest
pro Attractive equipment
pro Easy to install indoors and out
pro Tons of battery-powered options
con
Cons
con Pricier cloud storage than Nest
con Pricey 4K models
con Required base station for some models

Compare Arlo Secure plans

Arlo plan
Price
Number of cameras
Cloud storage
Professional monitoring
Emergency response
Learn more
Without a plan
UnlimitedNone
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
130 days
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Unlimited30 days
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Unlimited30 days
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Unlimited30 days
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes

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

Arlo smart home compatibility

While most smart security cameras work with a smart home platform or two, Arlo works with a staggering five platforms:

Not every Arlo camera works with these smart home ecosystems, but we love that Arlo offers so many choices. This means you can link Arlo to any number of smart speakers and smart hubs to arm your Arlo camera when you lock the front door.

We even made a guide to Arlo smart home compatibility to help you learn the ropes.

Arlo security camera selection

Arlo has one of the most diverse lineups among wireless security camera brands. While Arlo doesn't have the broad selection of Ring, its eight models easily best Nest's offerings. Let's explore how each Arlo camera measures up to its Nest competition.

Arlo security cameras with direct Nest competition

Arlo Essential Indoor

Arlo Essential Indoor (about $100) is Arlo's cheapest security camera and costs the same as the Nest Cam (Wired). While it doesn't boast the wire-free operation that's Arlo's bread and butter, it comes with a physical privacy shield that covers the lens for extra protection. The shield closes when you disarm your camera and requires a password before opening again.

Arlo Essential Spotlight XL

Arlo Essential Spotlight (about $130) is an entry-level wireless outdoor camera offering 1080p video and a 130º field of view, which match the camera specs of the Nest Cam (Battery). The ace up its sleeve is a lower starting price, but it can't compete with Nest's long-term affordability. There's also an XL variant for around $150 that doubles the Essential Spotlight cam's six-month battery life to a full year.

Arlo Pro 4

Arlo Pro 4 (about $200) is the best Arlo camera because it balances excellent video quality with strong smart home features. Arlo's other high-resolution cameras all cost more than $200. While Nest Cam (Battery) is a better value for video storage and smart detection, Arlo Pro 4 holds its own with effective motion detection (as long as you pay a monthly fee).

Learn more in our Arlo Pro 4 review.

Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight

Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera (about $250) is our top pick for the best floodlight camera. We love its wire-free installation and blindingly bright LED panels. It's also $30 cheaper than the Nest Cam with Floodlight. But you might find Arlo’s camera accessory options eating up the savings. Plus, you can't adjust the direction of the panels away from the lens.

Arlo security cameras without Nest counterparts

If you want an Arlo camera that Nest can't rival, the Go 2 and Ultra 2 are good examples.

Arlo Go 2 LTE camera

Arlo Go 2 (about $250) offers more portability than any other camera on this list because it can connect to a cellular network in addition to Wi-Fi. It's even the only Arlo camera with local storage via a microSD card. This is ideal for remote cabins without electricity or internet. But if you want connectivity, you need to pay for cellular service and probably an Arlo Secure plan.

Arlo Ultra 2 camera

Arlo Ultra 2 (about $600) adds 4K video to an impressive camera roster. Unfortunately, 4K video isn't worth the hassle if you're not already a devoted Arlo fan. Here's where it falls apart. Arlo Ultra 2's high purchase price compounds the requirement to pay for Arlo Secure Plus—Arlo's most expensive cloud plan—to save videos in 4K. If you want a cheaper plan, you lose the camera's best feature and may as well get the Arlo Pro 4 instead.

We only bobbed at the surface here, so check out our Arlo camera reviews for a deeper dive.

Arlo video doorbells

Arlo Essential Wired Video Doorbell

Arlo Essential Wired Doorbell (about $150) is around $80 cheaper than a similar model from Nest, making it a better choice for folks wanting a wired doorbell. The Nest Doorbell (Wired) lacks the local storage and internal smart detection of Nest's newer models, so you need a Nest Aware subscription anyway.

Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell

Arlo Essential Wireless Doorbell (about $200) has two advantages over the Nest Doorbell (Battery). First, its 180º field of view means it can spot action better from the side. Second, it comes with a higher video resolution, which helps it capture more detail overall—although you can argue that Nest's narrower field of view won't spread pixels too thin. Still, we think the Nest Doorbell (Battery) is the best of the lot because it costs $20 less than the Arlo Essential Wireless and doesn't require a subscription.

Learn more in our Arlo doorbell review.

Video: A Quick Look at the Arlo Pro 4

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Read our full Arlo Pro 4 review.

Nest: Best video storage

Nest scores an easy win for video storage because it offers free options that Arlo abandoned long ago. You can store video locally and in the cloud for a few hours, which covers what most folks need daily. Plus, you don't even need a paid plan to unlock smart detection on the Google Nest Cam (Battery)—more on that later.

But if you need more storage and features, paid Nest Aware plans are more affordable and offer better features than Arlo Secure plans. Beyond that, smart detection and streamlined camera selection are terrific feathers in Nest's cap.

Google Nest cameras pros and cons

pro
Pros
pro Best smart motion detection
pro Affordable cloud storage
pro Video storage doesn't require subscription
pro Generally a better value than Arlo
pro Excellent video quality
pro Attractive designs
con
Cons
con Cameras have only 1080p video
con Face and sound detection require cloud plan

Compare Nest Aware plans

Plan
Price
Number of cameras
Cloud storage
Basic features Icon Tooltip  Dark
Advanced features Icon Tooltip  Dark
e911 emergency calls
Learn more
Without a plan
Unlimited3 hours
Icon Yes  LightYes
Most
Icon No  LightNo
Unlimited30 days
Icon Yes  LightYes
All
Icon Yes  LightYes
Unlimited60 days
Icon Yes  LightYes
All
Icon Yes  LightYes

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

Nest smart motion detection

Nest and Arlo both have these smart motion detection features to categorize videos and notifications:

  • Motion zones: You can tell the camera to send only alerts and make recordings if motion happens in specific, customizable zones.
  • People: Get notified of a neighbor dropping by to return the lawnmower they borrowed.
  • Animals: Find out when the cat comes back from a night of roaming the neighborhood.
  • Vehicles: See when your teen pulls into the driveway after their evening job.
  • Packages: While important for thwarting porch pirates, this is also great if there's no package delivery notification from your shipper.
  • Smoke and CO alarm sounds: Listen for hazard alarms in your home so you can react faster in an emergency or call for help if nobody's there.

Overall, Nest's motion detection is better because most of its smart alerts work without a paid plan. Only smoke alarm sound detection requires a fee from Nest. Arlo ties all of these features to a subscription.

Oh, and did we mention that Nest offers two smart detection types that Arlo doesn't? Granted, you need to pay for Nest Aware to unlock these, but we love the smarts they add to your Nest cam:

  • Glass breaking sound: Nest tells you when a window breaks—whether it's a burglar or stray baseball.
  • Familiar faces: You can teach Nest to use facial recognition for family and friends. This is great for seeing when the kids come home and when your cat sitter drops by.

While not every one of Nest's smart detection features works without a subscription, most of the ones that overlap with Arlo do, giving you incredible tools pro bono.

Nest security camera selection

While the Nest camera lineup doesn't have as many options as Arlo's, it covers the four major types of security cameras: indoor cameras, outdoor cameras, doorbell cameras, and floodlight cameras.

Nest Cam (Wired)

Nest Cam (Wired) (about $100) is Nest's budget camera offering. There's no weatherproofing or battery-powered operation, so it's strictly an indoor camera. While it boasts similar specs to the Arlo Essential Indoor—1080p video and 135º field of view— it comes with Google's excellent smart detection and four colors to match your home's decor.

Nest Cam (Battery)

Nest Cam (Battery) (about $180) is Google's first battery-powered security camera, and we think it sticks the landing. Once again, smart detection and video storage steal the show and make it a better value than Arlo Pro 4, but it's not as affordable as the Arlo Essential Spotlight. Arlo Pro 4 wins in terms of video quality, field of view, and color night vision since Nest Cam (Battery) doesn't have a spotlight.

Google Nest Cam with Floodlight

Nest Cam with Floodlight (about $280) bundles the Nest Cam (Battery) with a set of powerful LED floodlights. We like that you can adjust each light to fit your yard, and it's brighter than the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight's battery-only mode. Plus, there aren't any pricey accessories to buy. Still, Arlo's way easier to set up and produces better video quality overall.

Visit our Nest cameras review to learn more.

Nest video doorbells

Nest Doorbell Battery

Nest Doorbell (Battery) (about $180) is our top pick for the best video doorbell because its smart detection steals the show again. We also love the free video storage options, portrait-oriented videos, and excellent integration with Nest Hub smart displays. Still, its 145º field of view is narrow compared to Arlo's 180º. But this didn't affect its effectiveness much in our testing.

Nest Doorbell (Wired)

Nest Doorbell (Wired) (about $180) replaced the Nest Hello Doorbell and is the newest security camera from Google. still sells, but it hasn't aged well. It sports the same 145º view as the battery version and its features are identical. The main advantage of this model is that it works with Nest's continuous video recording plan.

Learn more in our Nest doorbell review.

Video: Is the Google Nest Cam Battery Worth the Hype?

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Subscribe to our YouTube channel and learn how to protect your home, loved ones, and belongings.


Learn more in our Nest Cam reviews.

Winner: Arlo beats Nest in a pixel finish

The battle between Arlo and Nest cameras ultimately boils down to this: Do equipment or services matter most to you? Arlo's an easy choice if powerful tech specs are your priority. But if you want better services, Nest is a natural pick. We lean slightly toward better equipment for now, so Arlo ekes out the win.

Arlo Pro 4: 2K video quality and built-in spotlight for better video performance any time of day

Nest Cam (Battery): Powerful smart motion detection and better video storage options and costs

FAQ

Is Arlo discontinuing the Gen 3 and Pro?

The Arlo Gen 3 and Arlo Pro cameras were discontinued in 2018. As of April 1, 2023, they'll no longer receive software updates, send email notifications, or store videos to the cloud.

The Arlo Pro 2, Arlo Q and Q+, Arlo Baby, and lights and doorbells will no longer be supported as of January 1, 2024.

How we decided: Arlo vs. Nest cameras

Nest Cameras Review

We've tested most of the Arlo cameras and all of the Nest cameras on this list over the years, giving us a strong foundation for recommending one brand or model.

We summarized individual camera models based on the closest equivalent from the other brand for a slightly deeper dive. We cover camera models currently for sale and leave discontinued products off the list—like the Nest Cam IQ and Arlo Pro 2.

Beyond hands-on testing, we do our homework by scouring product pages, customer reviews, and customer support resources to flesh out our conclusions. Learn more about how SafeWise tests and reviews products in our full methodology.

Related articles on SafeWise

Disclaimers

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided "as is" and is subject to change or removal at any time.

†Google, Google Nest, Google Assistant, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over nine years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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