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Best HD Security Cameras

HD cameras don’t miss a thing. They produce a clear picture of fine details like faces, license plates, and visitors.
Written by | Updated March 18, 2020
Best Overall
Amcrest HD security cameraAmcrest UltraHD
  • 4K resolution
  • 16x digital zoom

  • Local storage
  • 4K resolution
  • 16x digital zoom

  • Local storage
Best Field of View
Arlo Ultra HD CameraArlo Ultra
  • 180° field of view
  • Built-in light and siren

  • Color night vision
  • 180° field of view
  • Built-in light and siren

  • Color night vision
Best Indoor/Outdoor
Logitech Circle 2Logitech Circle 2
  • Wired or wireless connectivity
  • 24-hours free cloud storage

  • Multiple mounting options
  • Wired or wireless connectivity
  • 24-hours free cloud storage

  • Multiple mounting options

Amcrest UltraHD Is Top in Outdoor Security

The Amcrest UltraHD camera is subtle, powerful, and sharp. It sends cinema-quality 4K footage directly to your phone through the Amcrest app. Its 16x zoom, clarity, and video quality are powerful enough to see the fine details of faces or license plates.  

The Amcrest HD security camera uses local storage to save footage. Its small microSD card reduces risk of online attacks without sacrificing wireless security. 

Overall, the Amcrest UltraHD camera delivers the picture quality, convenience, and privacy features that make it the best HD Wi-Fi security camera in our lineup.

Compare Security Cameras with the Best Image Quality

Price
Resolution
Field of Vision
Local Storage
Paid Features
Best Overall
Best Field of View
Best Indoor/Outdoor
Brightest Floodlight
Best Extra Features
Amcrest UltraHD Arlo Ultra Logitech Circle 2 Ring Floodlight Camera Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
Amcrest HD security camera Arlo Ultra HD Camera Logitech Circle 2 Ring Floodlight Camera Nest IQ camera
$109.98 $392.49 $179.00 $219.00 $399.00
4K 4K 1080p 1080p 1080p
112° 180° 180° 140° 130°
Yes

No
X
No
X
No
X
No
X
No
X
Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

View on Amazon View on Amazon Visit Logitech Visit Ring View on Home Depot

*Amazon.com price as of 03/18/2020 at 12:00 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

How We Picked the Best HD Security Cameras

We started by shopping around for cameras with resolutions of 1080p and up. From there, we read through customer reviews for each camera, combing through details on installation, video quality, price, and features. 

We also watched installation and testing videos to get a feel for how these cameras work firsthand. We’ve tested Ring and Nest HD cameras before, so it helped to compare past notes to what we learned about installation and features in other cameras. 

Once we had our lineup, we compared the most important specs side by side to finalize our decision. Learn more about how we review and research security products like this in our full methodology.

HD Wi-Fi Security Camera Reviews 

Amcrest UltraHD: Best Overall 

The Amcrest UltraHD holds a lot of power for a little dome camera. It shoots in 4K, has a powerful 16x zoom, can detect motion, and sees in the dark up to 98 feet away. These powers combined give you a clear view of your driveway whether it’s the middle of the night or high noon. 

But the cherry on top of this little wireless security sundae is its microSD card. Similar HD Wi-Fi security cameras require a subscription to access video history. The local storage on the Amcrest UltraHD allows you to watch past video footage without a monthly fee. Plus, keeping your video history on a local drive makes it harder for hackers to access your past footage.

The Amcrest claims a wide-angle lens, but it’s certainly not the widest available. It can capture 112° around it (just a little more than the human eye), but that doesn’t compare to Arlo Ultra’s field of view. 

Overall, the Amcrest UltraHD outdoor security camera delivers a sharp picture, day or night. Its motion detection and continuous recording features make it the perfect digital watchdog for your doorstep, backyard, or walkway.

Pros

  • 4K video quality
  • 98 ft. night vision
  • 16x zoom
  • Localized video storage

Cons

  • Limited field of vision

Arlo Ultra: Best Field of View 

The Arlo Ultra is the pick of the litter in Arlo’s suite of outdoor security cameras. It’s expensive, but its 4K video quality and wide-angle lens make it a worthy investment. 

This outdoor security camera catches what other cameras only get in the periphery. Its 180° field of view can see it all, from your dog digging up the flowers again to a suspicious character looming around the corner. Its built-in floodlight and siren also come in handy when there’s trouble.

The Arlo Ultra comes with a base station that connects the camera to your home’s Wi-Fi network. You can view footage live from the Arlo app and interact with anyone on the other side through the two-way talk feature. The speaker and mic have noise-canceling technology that blocks out ambient noise like wind or cars. 

Some of the Arlo’s best features require a subscription, though. Arlo Smart is affordable (under $5 per month for one camera) and offers 30-day video history, person detection, and e911, a service unique to Arlo that calls emergency responders nearest to your house.

Our biggest complaint about the Arlo Ultra is its price. If you want to add an Arlo camera, but don’t want to drop a ton of money, read our review of the Arlo Pro to see if it would better meet your needs.

Pros

  • 4K resolution
  • Widest field of view of the bunch
  • Built-in light and siren

Cons

  • Expensive price tag
  • Extra features require a subscription

Logitech Circle 2: Best Indoor/Outdoor 

The Logitech Circle 2 is the chameleon of HD security cameras. This indoor/outdoor security camera comes wireless ($199) or plugged in ($179). You can choose from multiple mounting options like a window mount, outlet mount, or an outdoor magnetic mount.

The Circle shoots 180° in clear 1080p HD, enough to catch the whole living room or your entire backyard. Its night vision is better suited for indoor security, but you can still see 15 feet in the dark (enough to help see who’s sleepwalking or getting a midnight snack). 

The Logitech Circle 2 is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Homekit, so you can use voice control or sync it with smart home devices. 

Its subscription service Circle Safe costs $9.99 per month for its Premium plan or $3.99 per month for the Basic plan. The Premium plan delivers features like person detection, motion zones, timelapse, and 31-day cloud storage so you can review your home’s happenings in the last month.

If you don’t need the extra features, you can still get 24 hours of cloud storage without Circle Safe. This buys you enough time to check on a recent event like package thievery or a trash can raid by rogue wildlife. 

Pros

  • Customizable mounting and power options
  • Indoor and outdoor functionality
  • 180° field of vision
  • 24 hours of free cloud storage

Cons

  • Limited night vision

Ring Floodlight Camera: Brightest Floodlight

The Ring Floodlight camera sheds light on the darkest parts of your property. Install it on the garage or on the side of your house to light the backyard. The camera and lights activate when the motion sensors detect objects. These lights are bright too, about 300 lumens, about as bright as one car headlight.

The Ring Floodlight continuously records in 1080p video quality. While it lacks the ultra HD you might see in our 4K picks, it’s still high quality. If you have an Amazon Echo Show or Echo Spot, you can see Ring camera footage by asking Alexa. So you can check in on the backyard from the kitchen or wherever you keep your Echo device. 

Ring also has a few extra features like 30-day video history and professional monitoring available through a Ring Protect subscription

Pros

  • Motion activated camera and lights
  • Compatibility with Amazon Echo

Cons

  • Subscription required for video history

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

The Nest Cam IQ outdoor security camera looks like it belongs in an art museum. Its smooth white weatherproof casing adds security and curb appeal to your home no matter where you put it. 

But it’s not just a pretty face. The Nest IQ Outdoor shoots in 1080p HD, has a field of vision of 130°, and boasts a powerful 12x digital zoom. That’s enough to clearly see a license plate from the street or identify visitors’ facial features from far away. 

Nest and Google work closely together on their products, so it’s no surprise that the Nest IQ cam can connect with your Google Assistant. You can view footage on your Google Assistant speaker or set up alerts when your Nest senses something. 

The best features for Nest Cam IQ come with a Nest Aware subscription. Facial recognition, video history, clips, and time lapses are just a few of the features that come with a subscription. These features are useful, but we’ve seen the same perks from more affordable cameras like the Logitech Circle 2.  

We like Nest cameras, but they’re expensive compared to our other picks. If you’re ready to invest in outdoor security, the Nest Cam IQ is a worthy choice. But for budget-conscious folks, it may be best to look into other options.

Pros

  • 12x digital zoom
  • Wide field of vision

Cons

  • Steep price tag

Things to Consider Before You Buy

Resolution 

Resolution quantifies the number of pixels a camera can fit onto your screen. The more pixels, the sharper the image. Today’s HD Wi-Fi security cameras are the standard, but even HD footage can appear fuzzy if you watch it on a screen that’s too big. 

Think of the screen you’ll use when you watch your footage. If it’s smaller than a phone screen, you might not need a super-crisp 4K resolution. But if you plan to use a TV or computer screen, opt for a higher resolution.

Field of View 

The average human eye can see about 100° from side to side, so look for a security cam that can see at least as much.2 Basically, the wider the area you want to cover, the wider your field of view needs to be.

The most we’ve ever seen in a Wi-Fi security camera is 180°. You can commonly find cameras that range from 120° to 140°. Cameras with a field of view of 120° should be enough to cover your front porch or living room, but aim for more if you want to cover your whole backyard or a wide room inside. 

Paid Features

Some IP cameras like Arlo offer a subscription service that delivers more features to your camera. Typically, these features include access to in-depth video history versus the few minutes you might get for free. It’s always worth looking into these paid features, but they require a monthly fee and can build up fast if you’re on a budget. 

FAQ 

Can Wi-Fi security cameras be hacked?

Yes, privacy poses a valid concern for anyone with an IP camera. Nest and Ring have recently come under fire for serious breaches in security.3 While companies tighten security measures over time, you can take these precautions to reduce the risks:

  • Change Wi-Fi and camera app passwords often. 
  • Use unique, complex passwords. 
  • Log out of the camera app after checking in. 
  • Use two-way authentication when available.

Where should I install my security camera? 

While you can buy indoor and outdoor models, HD security cameras are well-suited for the outdoors. Their power makes them a better fit for viewing things at a distance. When you start installing home security cameras, look at the surfaces at the front, sides, and back of your house. 

We recommend positioning a camera at the front of your house, whether on the porch or near the garage. Most intruders or threats tend to come from the very front of the house, so you can at least see who’s snooping around.  

How does internet speed or connection affect image quality?

If your internet download speed is under 25 Mbps your normally sharp video can turn blurry or lag. If your internet speed affects your camera’s video quality, you can adjust settings in the camera app to take up less bandwidth. 

What’s the difference between HD and 1080p? 

HD, or high definition, is measured by the number of pixels in a video. Cameras that shoot in 720p are HD ready, while full HD starts at 1080p. Generally, the higher the pixel count, the better the picture quality. 

Sources:

  1. LifeHackster Youtube Channel, “Reolink 4K Security Camera System Review - B800 8MP vs 4MP vs 5MP
  2. The National Center for Biotechnology Information, “The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations 3rd edition. Chapter 116, Visual Fields
  3. Washington Post,She installed a Ring camera in her children’s room for ‘peace of mind.’ A hacker accessed it and harassed her 8-year-old daughter.” and “How Nest Designed to Keep Intruders Out of People’s Homes, Effectively Allowed Hackers to Get In.

Disclaimer 

*Amazon.com list price as of 3/18/2020 11:02 (MT). 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.

Written by Katie McEntire

Katie McEntire has tested home security systems in her own apartment, installed GPS trackers in her own car, and watched her cat, Toki, nap all day through a live nanny cam feed. As an expert reviewer, she believes that firsthand experience is the best way to learn about new products (even if it requires being the guinea pig). She specializes in pet safety and DIY security and has contributed to publications like DigitalCare.org and TechGuySmartBuy. Learn more

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