Best Cheap Security Cameras under $50

We researched and tested cheap security cameras under $50 to find brands you can trust.
Top pick
Wyze Cam v3
Wyze Cam v3
  • Icon Pros  Light
    1080p resolution
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
Outdoor pick
ZOSI C190
ZOSI C190
  • Icon Pros  Light
    1080p resolution
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Color night vision
Video pick
Reolink E1 Pro
Reolink E1 Pro
  • Icon Pros  Light
    1440p resolution
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Excellent video quality
Smart home pick
Eufy Solo IndoorCam C24
Eufy Indoor Cam 2K
  • Icon Pros  Light
    1440p resolution
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Apple HomeKit support
Privacy pick
Yi Dome Camera U
  • Icon Pros  Light
    1080p resolution
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Physical privacy shutter

Home security cameras aren’t only for people who can drop a wad of cash on a fancy surveillance system. If you want to add a security camera but have a budget to stick to, we think that the Wyze Cam v3 is the one to beat.

While most cheap security cameras sacrifice features like smart home compatibility and cloud storage to push the price lower, Wyze delivers an unexpectedly solid experience that rivals the best home security cameras at any cost.



Compare cheap security cameras

Top pickOutdoor pickVideo pickSmart home pickPrivacy pick
Wyze Cam v3Wyze Cam v3
ZOSI C190ZOSI C190
Reolink E1 ProReolink E1 Pro
Eufy Solo IndoorCam C24Eufy Indoor Cam 2K
YI Dome Camera U
Price*
Frame rateIcon Tooltip  Dark20 FPS25 FPS20 FPS15 FPS20 FPS
Field of view130º90º87.5º125ºNot specified
Night visionUp to 30 ft.Up to 80 ft.Up to 40 ft.Up to 32 ft.Up to 10 ft.
Smart homeAmazon Alexa,
Google Assistant
Amazon AlexaAmazon Alexa,
Google Assistant
Amazon Alexa,
Apple HomeKit,
Google Assistant
Amazon Alexa,
Google Assistant
Learn more

*Amazon.com list price as of 05/27/2021 at 12:20 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Compare cheap camera storage options

Wyze Cam v3Wyze Cam v3
ZOSI C190ZOSI C190
Reolink E1 ProReolink E1 Pro
Eufy Solo IndoorCam C24Eufy Indoor Cam 2K
YI Dome Camera U
Cloud storage
Max microSD sizeUp to 32 GBUp to 128 GBUp to 64 GBUp to 128 GBUp to 32 GB

Info current as of 05/27/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Limited-feature cloud storage is available for free.

Best cheap security camera reviews

1. Wyze Cam v3: Top pick

Top pick

Amazon.com list price as of 05/27/2021 at 12:20 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The Wyze Cam v3 is the best cheap security camera in terms of overall quality. It comes with a starlight sensor that allows it to record sharp nighttime videos in color when there's dim ambient lighting. But it also uses infrared night vision for clear videos when there's no ambient light. The daytime video looks just as good, if not better.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Powerful color night vision
Pro Bullet Most affordable cloud storage
Pro Bullet Indoor and outdoor capabilities
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Special power source for outdoor operation
Con Bullet MicroSD support tops out at 32 GB

Cloud storage is another way Wyze distinguishes itself from other cheap security camera brands—which usually aren't competitive with mid-range brands like Arlo and Ring. Wyze Cam Plus is a rare exception with the cheapest monthly cloud plan of any home security camera.

It starts around $2 a month for each Wyze camera—and if you pay annually (about $15 a year), the effective monthly cost drops to $1.25 per camera. This is more than worth it, especially since Wyze's free cloud storage option imposes some tight restrictions: 12-second video clips and motion alerts, each with a 5-minute cooldown.

You can also use a microSD card if you want to save more and don't want to deal with a recurring cloud plan. The largest card the camera supports is a 32 GB microSD card, which is less than some rivals but big enough for reliable performance.

Wyze Cam v3 works both indoors and outdoors, offering more installation flexibility than indoor models like the Wyze Cam v2 and Wyze Cam Pan. Unfortunately, the default power cord isn't for outdoor use, so you need to buy a special cable (that's not available yet) for outdoor use.

It's also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant—as well as Wyze's security system and smart home devices—making it an excellent smart security camera. Overall, Wyze Cam v3 beats other cheap wireless security cameras in almost every way, and we can't recommend it highly enough. Learn more about Wyze's noteworthy camera lineup in our Wyze cameras review.

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Wyze Cam Outdoor

The Wyze Cam Outdoor costs about $60 due to a required base station starter kit, so it barely misses our list. Luckily, the base station supports up to four cameras, with each Add-On Camera costing around $47. Still, it's one of the cheapest battery-powered security cameras you can buy and nearly matches the Wyze Cam v3 on performance (no color night vision, though).

2. ZOSI C190: Outdoor pick

Outdoor pick

Amazon.com list price as of 05/27/2021 at 12:20 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

You can use the ZOSI C190 inside and outdoors thanks to a durable design that’s weather- and vandal-resistant. At night, this weatherproof camera can see up to 80 feet using infrared LEDs so you can spot problems way out in the yard. It has a secret nighttime weapon: bright white LEDs for full-color night vision close to the camera.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet 80 ft. infrared night vision
Pro Bullet Color night vision
Pro Bullet Local storage option
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Narrow field of view
Con Bullet Limited smart home compatibility
Con Bullet No cloud storage

This ZOSI C190 looks like what you expect from bullet cameras, which should scare away burglars on the prowl. You can find plenty of videos online from customers catching thieves in the act, thanks to this versatile, affordable HD security camera.

It's a bummer that this camera doesn't have cloud video storage like the Wyze Cam v3 does, but storing video on a microSD card is a cheaper option in the long run anyway. The 90º field of view is narrower than we'd like but won't cause too many problems if you find the right placement.

In addition to the ZOSI Smart mobile app, ZOSI also provides apps for PC and Mac computers. This is a great option for folks looking to use a bigger screen or cut back on smartphone use.

The ZOSI C190 doesn't work with many smart home platforms, but it's compatible with Amazon Alexa smart displays. Overall, you'll have a hard time finding a better outdoor security camera for a lower price. Learn more in our ZOSI security cameras review.

Notepad
ZOSI C289

The ZOSI C289 (about $46) is an outdoor pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera with automatic motion tracking—to follow intruders (or cute wandering cats) around the yard. Like the C190, it also sports a bright spotlight and traditional infrared night vision. But its mechanical components are more vulnerable to adverse weather conditions. While it's our runner-up for the best ZOSI camera, we think the Voger VG360 is a better budget outdoor PTZ camera overall.

3. Reolink E1 Pro: Video pick

Video pick

Amazon.com price as of 05/27/2021 at 12:20 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The Reolink E1 Pro has the best video quality among inexpensive home security cameras costing $50 or less. The crisp 1440p video has 77% more pixels than a standard 1080p security camera, meaning it can capture more detail than the competition. But what really sets it above the other cheap 2K cameras is the number of video customization options you have in the Reolink app.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Excellent video quality
Pro Bullet Pan-and-tilt functionality
Pro Bullet Above-average free cloud storage
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Indoor only
Con Bullet No automatic motion tracking

During our tests of the E1 Pro's upgraded sibling, the E1 Zoom, we discovered an exceptional devotion to video quality. It focuses not only on good-looking videos but also quality-of-life features. You can optimize this camera's video like none other by choosing different resolutions, frame rates, and bitrates—we love this kind of flexibility.

We also like that Reolink's free cloud storage is actually practical compared to similar offerings from Wyze and YI. It applies only to a single camera, and footage sticks around for just 24 hours, but the videos don't have onerous length restrictions. Reolink's paid cloud plans are a great deal if you have the maximum number of allowable cameras, but not so much otherwise.

Unfortunately, the E1 Pro's narrow 87.5º field of view keeps it lower on our list. Although the pan-tilt features help make up for the field of view, this camera doesn't have automatic motion tracking like other cheap pan-tilt cameras. It's also not for use outdoors.

Overall, the Reolink E1 Pro delivers a great user experience and excellent video quality. Learn more about why we think Reolink has some of the best video quality among security cameras in our Reolink cameras review.

Bell
Reolink E1 Zoom and Lumus

If you can spare an extra $15, the Reolink E1 Zoom (about $65) is a worthwhile upgrade—it's our current favorite for video quality among indoor cameras. Alternatively, if you're okay with lower resolution but want a great outdoor camera, the Reolink Lumus (about $50) is worth a look.

4. Eufy Indoor Cam 2K: Smart home pick

Smart home pick

Amazon.com list price as of 05/27/2021 at 12:20 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The Eufy Indoor Cam 2K is one of the cheapest security cameras compatible with all three major smart home platforms: Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant. This is quite a feat since all other HomeKit-compatible cameras (like Arlo) cost $65 or more. This flexibility makes it ideal for any smart home.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet 2K video resolution
Pro Bullet Amazon, Apple, and Google smart home compatibility
Pro Bullet 125º field of view
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet HomeKit and cloud storage limited to 1080p
Con Bullet Indoor only

We also like that it has 2K video resolution for a lower price than the Reolink E1 Pro. This gives videos more detail than a standard 1080p surveillance camera, which is impressive for a camera under $40. We also like that it has a 125º field of view, which is good for a camera of this price.

Eufy's cloud storage costs about $3 a month, bucking the trend of cheap camera cloud plans costing more than similar fare from Arlo and Ring. It's not as competitive as Wyze's cloud pricing, but that's a high bar to surpass.

As the name implies, this is strictly an indoor camera. We read many customer reviews saying it doesn't do well with colder temperatures, so unheated garages and workshops can limit its performance during the winter. Still, it's a solid choice for recording in your living room or hallway. Learn more about Eufy's security offerings in our Eufy Home Security review.

Notepad
Eufy's 2K video quality isn't universal

Even though this Eufy camera can stream and record local videos in 2K resolution, this doesn't apply to Eufy Cloud Storage or videos you stream using Apple HomeKit.

5. YI Dome Camera U: Privacy pick

Privacy pick

Amazon.com list price as of 05/27/2021 at 12:20 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The YI Dome Camera U makes it easy to stay on top of everything in your home when you're away. Our favorite feature is a physical privacy shutter that hides the camera's lens when you don't want it recording video. You can even add a code in the app to keep others from using the camera. This privacy-first approach is refreshing considering security breach headlines from other brands.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Physical privacy shutter
Pro Bullet Free cloud storage option
Pro Bullet Person and sound detection
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Big limitations on free cloud storage
Con Bullet Pricey paid cloud storage
Con Bullet Bare-bones support resources online

You can wave goodbye to blind spots because the YI Dome Camera U features a bidirectional rotation range that captures panoramic scenes. Much like the competition, YI recently started adding person and sound detection to its cameras—making its motion alerts more reliable overall.

Best of all, you can store all those sweeping images online with the free Kami Cloud plan. Unfortunately, the clips are only six seconds long, and the server deletes footage older than 24 hours. While you can fix this with a paid subscription, $5 a month for a single camera is more expensive than similar plans from Wyze, Ring, and Arlo. We also struggled with YI's sparse customer support resources online.

Overall, this is a nifty little PTZ camera for its privacy tools, but the cloud storage isn't worth the extra expense. Learn more about this and other cameras in our YI cameras review.

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YI Dome Guard

The YI Dome Guard (about $30) is one of the cheapest PTZ cameras on the market. It's a good alternative to the YI Dome Camera U but lacks a physical privacy shutter.

More cheap cameras we considered

Cheap security cameras are now easy to find, so it's hard to stop at just five. Here are some other strong contenders worth checking out—alphabetical style.

Notepad
Plain white cubes

So many cheap security cameras are two-inch white cubes now like Wyze, Abode, Eufy, and Blink. It's not a bad thing, but you may need to look a little closer to tell them apart.

Abode Cam 2

The Abode Cam 2 (about $35) stands out as one of the cheapest security cameras you can use with a home security system. We love Abode's DIY security system because of its affordable professional monitoring and support for more smart home platforms than any other security system.

You don't need an Abode system to use the camera (it even works outdoors), but it doesn't have a microSD slot. This means you need to pay for a cloud subscription (around $6 a month) to save videos. Even though this is a higher price than other cheap cloud plans, it covers unlimited cameras. As long as you have five or more cameras, this is even cheaper than Wyze.

Blink Mini

Amazon-owned Blink just released the Blink Mini for around $35. This wired indoor camera performed well during testing when we updated our Blink cameras review. But we noticed the night vision doesn't look as good with ambient light in a room—the darker, the better.

Unfortunately, it requires a paid subscription (about $3 a month) for cloud storage or a Blink Add-On Sync Module 2 (another $35) for local video storage. If you already have one of Blink's battery-powered cameras, you don't need to buy a sync module for your Mini. If you opt for the sync module, it supports up to 10 cameras and 256 GB of USB storage (about $30).

HeimVision HM311

We think the highlight of HeimVision's cheap camera models is the HeimVision HM311 outdoor camera (around $36). This camera comes with 2K video resolution and a bold night vision range up to 98 feet. But we can recommend only it if you're using a microSD card to store video since HeimVision's cloud video storage has some of the worst prices we've seen in a wireless camera.

At a minimum, you can expect to pay $19.99 for three months of service on a single camera (there aren't monthly plans). That works out to around $6.66 per month—ouch. Even if you go with the cheapest camera—HeimVision HMA2 (about $20)—that qualifies for a slightly cheaper plan, you'll pay the equivalent of around $4 a month.

Merkury Smart WiFi Camera

You might stumble across a Merkury Smart WiFi Camera (about $28) at your local Walmart and wonder if it's any good. We're here to say it's a decent option for the cash, thanks to support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. But it doesn't have a cloud storage option.

You need to pony up for a microSD card right away if you want to use the camera for anything more than two-way audio and streaming video to your phone. Head over to our Merkury Smart WiFi Camera review to learn more.

SV3C Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera

The SV3C outdoor IP camera helps protect your home and property without breaking the bank. We like that this unit works with third-party home security camera software like iSpy, Blue Iris, and IP Camera Viewer. Additionally, it supports all video recorders that use the ONVIF technology standard, making it a great addition to an existing camera system.

It also provides motion detection zones, high-resolution images, and a 67-foot night vision range. This camera costs around $50 but doesn't offer compatibility with any smart home systems. Overall, this is a good camera, but we think that the ZOSI C190 is a better option all around.

Voger VG360

The Voger VG360 (about $50) is a relatively new outdoor PTZ camera with an impressive vertical pan range of 110º. All of the other cheap PTZ cameras seem to top out at 90º, which means Voger gives you a bit more flexibility for positioning your camera lens.

Screenshots from customer reviews also show that this camera delivers clean 1080p quality, but we don't think it's as good as Reolink or Wyze. And Voger's website and user manual are light on details, presenting a challenge if you're installing cheap outdoor security cameras for the first time.

Wansview Q6

This Wansview Q6 security camera delivers a lot for around $30. You get 1080p HD video, a 350° pan range, and 4x digital zoom. Plus, two-way communication makes this a great solution if you want to check in on little humans or fur babies. And customers love how crisp the images are—even at night.

We like Wansview for many of the same reasons we like YI. It's an affordable brand that works for basic video monitoring in your home as a baby monitor, pet camera, or no-frills security. But Wansview's laggy video and lack of AI smart alerts make YI a slightly better choice. Learn more in our Wansview cameras review.

Final word

Wyze is the clear leader among budget camera brands with the Wyze Cam v3. It offers exceptional quality for less than $35: video quality, color night vision, weatherproofing, affordable cloud storage, and tons of companion smart home devices that also use the Wyze app. The only drawback is that it doesn't come with a power cord rated for outdoor use.

Cheap security cameras offer more features and better quality than ever before. So much so that it's hard to recommend anything else for folks wanting a quick, easy way to check on your home with a smartphone. If your budget's a bit more flexible, consider checking out our review of the best security cameras to see how pricier cameras compare.

How we reviewed

We followed two rules when choosing cheap security cameras for our comparison: Each camera must cost less than $50, and each camera must have a Wi-Fi connection with a companion mobile app. Ahead of this update, we tested cameras from many brands on this list: Wyze, YI, Blink, and Reolink.

The models we tested may not be the exact ones we recommend here (like the Reolink E1 Zoom, which is an upgraded version of the Reolink E1 Pro). But we have over five years of experience testing security cameras, so we're confident in our conclusions with each brand on the following points:

  • Video performance
  • Mobile app usability
  • Smart home compatibility
  • Customer support resources

Learn more about our rankings and reviews process on our methodology page.

Cheap security cameras FAQ

If you want to keep your research light, focus on familiar brands. Ask trusted friends and family for recommendations to see what they use and if it's a good fit for you. For a more comprehensive search, look at expert reviews (like this one, wink wink) and customer ratings on retail websites.

While cheap, reliable, and secure security camera brands seem too good to be true, it's fairly easy to find them with a bit of research.

Checklist
Watch out for fake reviews

Approach online customer star ratings with a grain of salt—some brands encourage positive reviews in exchange for freebies, and it's not easy to spot. Instead, focus on longer written reviews, photos, and videos, especially in neutral or negative reviews. Reviews that criticize a product are an easy way to learn about potential drawbacks.

There are three common costs beyond the purchase price of a cheap security camera:

  • MicroSD cards: While most cheap security cameras have a microSD slot that allows you to record video locally, the card is usually a separate purchase. Buying one of these cards will cost less than the camera, but it's still an extra expense. A 32 GB card is generally large enough for most folks and costs less than $10 on average.
  • Cloud video storage: If you're keen to store security footage longer than a few seconds for more than a day online, you’ll need a subscription. Most cloud storage plans for cheap cameras aren't a good deal. Considering pricier brands like Ring and Arlo charge about $3 a month for their single-camera plans, anything more than that is too much unless it supports multiple cameras.
  • Overall quality: Cheap cameras usually have shorter warranties, less durable materials, and fewer features than models costing around $100. Not accounting for the environmental impact of e-waste, a $30 camera replaced every year is still cheaper than a $100 camera replaced every three years. Thankfully, most cheap cameras last much longer than a year.

Take time to read the fine print and root out any extra costs before deciding which inexpensive security camera is right for you.

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Extras

Some cheap cameras also have other kinds of extras that might not come with your purchase, such as mounting brackets, playback DVRs, and base stations.

There are various apps (Alfred is our pick) to turn that old smartphone from your junk drawer into an instant security camera. (You might want a long power cable and Mini Tripod first.) These apps give you most of the core features you expect from a security camera, like motion detection, live video streaming, and two-way communication.

They can't really do night vision since most smartphones don't have the right tech, mainly the infrared LEDs. Still, they're worth considering for a temporary or permanent security camera.

Related articles on SafeWise


Disclaimer

*Amazon.com list price as of 05/27/2021 at 12:20 p.m. (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.

†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 eight 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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