Best Cheap Security Cameras under $50

You don’t have to pay a small fortune for the peace of mind that comes with a security camera. We found the top five cheap security cameras you can trust under $50.
Top pick
Wyze Cam Pan product image
Wyze Cam Pan
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Scans entire rooms
Outdoor pick
ZOSI C190
ZOSI C190
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Color night vision
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Local storage option
Software pick
SV3C Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera
SV3C Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Compatible with third-party software
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Night vision up to 67 ft.
Cloud storage pick
yi dome camera
Yi Dome Camera
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Unlimited rolling YI Cloud storage
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Motion tracking
Night vision pick
Wansview Q5
Wansview Q5
  • Icon Pros  Light
    iOS and Android mobile app
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Smart pan-and-tilt function

Bottom line: Make a Wyze choice

Home security cameras aren’t only reserved 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 Pan 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 price.



Compare cheap security cameras

Top pickOutdoor pickSoftware pick Cloud storage pick Night vision pick
Wyze Cam PanZOSI C190SV3C 1080p Wi-Fi YI Dome CameraWansview Q5
Price*$37.98$29.99$49.99$33.99$29.99
Frame rate15 FPS at 1080p 25 FPS at 1080p15 FPS at 1080p 20 FPS at 1080p 15 FPS at 1080p
Field of view120º 90º70º 112º 105º
Night visionUp to 30 ft. Up to 80 ft.Up to 67 ft. Up to 10 ft. Up to 16 ft.
Two-way communication
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Pan and tilt motors
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
MicroSD
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Cloud storage
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Smart home capability Amazon Alexa,
Google Assistant
None NoneAmazon Alexa,
Google Assistant
Amazon Alexa

*Amazon.com list price as of 11/16/2020 at 2:15 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Our approach

SafeWise tests, researches, and compares products based on the factors that matter most to the people who want to use them. We get our hands on products, fall into rabbit holes of research, look up customer reviews, contact customer service, and more.

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

Best cheap security camera reviews

1. Wyze Cam Pan: Top pick

It’s hard to believe that you can get a smart Wi-Fi camera for less than $40. But the Wyze Cam Pan delivers—and it’s a staff favorite.

We like that this indoor security camera includes free cloud storage as well as local storage via a microSD card slot so you have multiple options to save your videos.

You’ll love the clear night vision images, built-in speaker for two-way audio, and smart motion tracking that follows movement from start to finish. And if you’ve got a little tyke that likes to sing themselves to sleep, you can check in remotely for a sweet serenade every night.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Free rolling cloud storage
Pro Bullet Voice control with Amazon Alexa
Pro Bullet 360° pan and scan
Pro Bullet Motion and sound detection
Pro Bullet Longer power cord
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No auto-reboot function
Con Bullet Some network security concerns
Con Bullet Hit-and-miss motion alerts

The Wyze Cam Pan is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, making it one of the best cheap cameras for the smart home.

For an in-depth look at this camera, check out our Wyze Cam review.

Checklist
More cheap security from Wyze

If you want to upgrade your home security on the cheap, Wyze has a full suite of products to protect your home. You can also add extra security with a Wyze Bulb ($12.29), and the Wyze Plug ($19.97 for a 2-pack).

Plus, you can now get the Wyze Lock, which is one of the cheapest smart locks on the market at just $107.98.

2. ZOSI C190: Outdoor pick

Outdoor pick

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 too: 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 No smart home compatibility

This ZOSI security camera looks like what you expect from a security camera, which should scare away burglars who are on the prowl. And you can find plenty of videos online from customers who caught thieves in the act thanks to this versatile, affordable security camera.

It's a bummer that this camera doesn't have cloud video storage or compatibility with major smart home platforms, but it's still a great deal for an outdoor camera.

3. SV3C Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera: Software pick

The SV3C outdoor IP camera lets you protect your home and property without breaking the bank.

We like that this unit works with third-party 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 existing camera systems.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Compatibility with third-party security software
Pro Bullet Smart motion detection
Pro Bullet Long night vision range
Pro Bullet Two-way audio
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No smart home compatibility
Con Bullet Difficult adjustment of recording settings

It also provides motion detection zones, high-resolution images, and one of the broadest night vision ranges of any camera on our list (up to 67 feet). And at around $50 a piece, you can afford multiple cameras around your property.

4. YI Dome Camera: Cloud storage pick

Cloud storage pick

The YI Dome Camera makes it easy to stay on top of everything in your home when you're away.

And you can wave goodbye to blind spots because the YI Dome Camera features a bidirectional rotation range that captures panoramic scenes.

Best of all, you can store all those sweeping images for free on the YI Cloud with convenient video bookmarks.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Unlimited rolling YI Cloud storage
Pro Bullet Motion tracking
Pro Bullet Video bookmarks
Pro Bullet Compatibility with other YI devices
Pro Bullet Noise reduction
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet App privacy concerns
Con Bullet Some firmware issues
Con Bullet No motion alert zone settings

While this wireless camera is slightly cheaper than our top pick, the Wyze Cam Pan, its night vision reaches only one-third as far. Still, it’s an excellent option because of its free cloud storage.

5. Wansview Q5: Night vision pick

Night vision pick

This affordable Wansview Q5 security camera delivers a lot for under $50. You get 1080p HD video, a 320° pan range, and 4x digital zoom.

Plus, with two-way communication, this is 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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet iOS and Android mobile app
Pro Bullet Smart pan-and-tilt function
Pro Bullet Quick setup
Pro Bullet Broad field of view
Pro Bullet Excellent night vision clarity
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Limited night vision range
Con Bullet Glitchy Android app

But that awesome night vision only extends up to 16 feet, which is much shorter than the range on any of our top three picks.

More brands we considered

Blink Mini

Amazon-owned Blink just released the Blink Mini for around $35. While we haven't tested this indoor cam yet, our first impressions are that it's an attractive little camera that almost rivals Wyze.

Unfortunately, it requires a paid subscription for cloud storage or an additional accessory for microSD video storage. We'll see if our tune changes after testing.

Read our Blink cameras review to learn more about this brand.

Reolink E1 Pro

The Reolink E1 Pro has the best video quality among budget security cameras costing $50 or less, if you buy a two-pack. The crisp 1440p video has 77% more pixels than a standard 1080p security camera, meaning it can capture more detail than the competition.

Unfortunately, the E1 Pro's narrow 87.5º field of view, its $100 two-pack, and customer reports of unreliability hold it back from matching the value of our top pick.

Alfred smartphone app

While not strictly a security camera, the Alfred app is one way to get a security camera for free.

Simply put this app on an old smartphone from your junk drawer and you have an instant security camera (you might want a Mini Tripod Stand first). The app gives you most of the features you expect from a security camera like motion detection, live video streaming, and two-way communication.

It can't really do night vision since most smartphones don't have the right tech, particularly the infrared LEDs. Still, Alfred is worth considering as a temporary or permanent security camera option.

Final word

It’s fine and good to want an affordable security camera solution, but you don’t want to sacrifice quality for a few extra bucks in your wallet. Some of the best security cameras are still affordable.

We chose the Wyze Cam Pan for our top pick because it's an incredibly cheap camera despite coming with a mobile app, cloud storage, and excellent smart home compatibility.

Cheap security cameras FAQ

When buying cheap, it helps to know in advance the features that you’re looking for. This weeds out cameras that don’t deliver right away.

Here are some questions to help you figure out what you want (and need) in a cheap security camera.

  • Do you want to use your camera inside or outside?
  • Do you need a camera with motion sensors or pet-friendly features?
  • Do you want more than one security camera?
  • Do you want a highly visible camera to deter burglars?
  • Do you want to check in on people and pets when you’re not at home?
  • Is a mobile app important to you?
  • Do you want motion detection alerts sent to your phone or email?
  • Do you want to be able to listen in and talk through the camera?
  • Are you interested in a portable camera, or do you want it in a permanent location?
  • Are you more interested in a rechargeable battery, or are you okay with a power cord?
  • Is a video recording important to you? If so, do you want store footage in the cloud or on an SD card?
  • Do you want to watch a live video feed?
  • Do you want a smart security camera to use in a smart home?

Start with brands that you may already be familiar with, or ask trusted friends and family for recommendations.

Then research expert reviews and customer ratings to see what people think about the camera after using it for a while. Finding high quality at low prices is a challenge, but it's a lot easier when you have help knowing which brands deliver.

The purchase price may not be the whole story. Some security cameras are part of a bigger system and require extra equipment to function. Extras can be a base station, an SD card, playback DVR, or cloud storage subscription.

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

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Disclaimer

*Amazon.com list price as of 11/16/2020 at 2:15 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.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.