The 10 Best Outdoor Security Cameras of 2018

SafeWise has identified the best security cameras to watch over your property. We looked at cost, night vision, motion detection, Wi-Fi capability, and extras like how easy (or hard) each camera is to install. Whether budget or smart function is your priority, we’ve got your outdoor security camera match.
Best Overall
Ring Spotlight Security Camera product image

Ring Spotlight Cam

  • Battery, hardwired, or solar options
  • Built-in motion light
Best Night Vision
Zosi CCTV Security Camera product image

ZOSI CCTV Home Camera

  • Sees up to 120 feet in the dark
  • Costs under $30
Best Security Camera System
Arlo Pro Security Camera product image

Arlo Pro Camera System

  • 100% wire-free
  • Outfitted with a siren

Outdoor security cameras are an important part of any home security system. To make our list, cameras needed to be able to stand up to weather and have good night vision. We also liked cameras that use a wireless connection, are motion-activated, and offer some smart home compatibility.

Ring’s Spotlight Cam tops this year’s list because it does double-duty as a smart security camera and a motion-activated light. Security camera systems like Arlo Pro, Blink, and EZVIZ also impressed with integrated security that could cover the front yard, backyard, and any other outside areas all at once. Find out more about our top ten outdoor security cameras in the reviews and comparison table below.

The SafeWise Approach

To find the best outdoor security cameras, we looked for the features that matter most to consumers, including cost, reliability, ease of use, smart home capabilities, weatherproofing, and night vision. Our team tested multiple cameras in-house and at our homes. Plus, we looked at more than twenty expert reviews and thousands of customer reviews.

  • 16 hours researched
  • 32 products considered
  • 1,200+ customer reviews
  • 13 coffees consumed

Top 10 Outdoor Security Cameras

Compare the Best Outdoor Security Cameras

ring spotlight cam Nest security camera Arlo Pro Security Camera product image Zosi CCTV Security Camera product image Zmodo Wireless Outdoor Security Camera Amcrest Pro HD Outdoor Security Camera Blink XT Outdoor Security Camera Wansview outdoor security camera Ezviz Outdoor Surveillance Camera System
Ring Spotlight Cam Nest Cam Outdoor Arlo Pro ZOSI CCTV Home Surveillance Camera Zmodo Wireless Security Camera Amcrest ProHD Wireless Outdoor Security Camera Foscam Outdoor Security Bullet Camera Blink XT Home Security Camera System Wansview Outdoor Security Camera EZVIZ HD Outdoor Surveillance System
Price Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon
Warranty 1-year limited 2 years 1-year hardware
90 days tech support
1 year
Lifetime tech support
60-day money-back guarantee
3-year limited
Lifetime tech support
1 year
Lifetime tech support
1 year 1-year limited,  plus service 1 year 1 year
Lifetime tech support
Power Source Battery

Hardwired

Solar

Hardwired Battery Hardwired Hardwired Hardwired Hardwired Battery Hardwired Hardwired
Resolution 1080p 1080p 720p 1000 TV-Lines 720p 1080p 720p 1080p 1080p 1080p
Night Vision Up to 30 feet Up to 20 feet (IQ up to 50) Up to 25 feet Up to 120 feet Up to 65 feet Up to 98 fet Up to 65 feet Up to 20 feet Up to 67 feet Up to 65 feet
Smart Features Two-way talk

Works with Alexa

Ring app

Motion detection

Works with Alexa, Google Home
Nest app
Cloud storage
Motion detection
Person alerts
Two-way audio
Works with Alexa, Google Assistant
IFTTT
Arlo app
Two-way talk
Free cloud recording
None Works with Alexa
Zmodo app
Motion detection
Amcrest View app
Works with Alexa
Amcrest Cloud
Motion alerts
Two-way audio
Foscam app
Foscam Cloud
Blink app
Motion detection
Free cloud storage
Works with Alexa
Wansview app
Motion detection
IFTTT
Motion detection
Voice control
EZVIZ app

Best Outdoor Security Camera Reviews

Ring Spotlight Cam

Best Overall
ring spotlight cam

Ring is known for its doorbell cameras, and Ring puts the same smart technology and sleek design into this compact home security camera. It lets you see, hear, and speak to people on your property from anywhere; and you can access it on any mobile device or PC. Although it comes with a higher price point ($199 for one camera), we think its perks and reputation are worth it.

As soon as the Ring Spotlight Cam detects motion, video starts recording and the light comes on—that’s two burglar deterrents in one. You can even set custom motion zones to make sure the areas you want to monitor are always protected. And because it can be powered by battery, solar panel, or hardwiring, you can buy the Ring Spotlight Cam that works for where you want to install it. Plus, the addition of a built-in siren that you can sound from your phone makes this camera a mini all-in-one security system.

Pros

  • Built-in spotlight
  • Two-way talk
  • 110-decibel siren
  • Easy installation
  • Works with Alexa
  • Battery, solar, or hardwired options
  • Two color choices: black or white

Cons

  • Expensive price tag
  • Short battery life
  • Spotlight interference with night vision

Nest Cam Outdoor

Best Smart Home Integration
Nest security camera

Smart gadget pioneer Nest doesn’t disappoint with the Nest Cam Outdoor. This camera offers a bevy of features including motion and activity alerts, two-way talk, and smart home integration.

Advanced features, like person alerts (that let you know it’s a person and not a stray dog on your lawn) and continuous video recording, are only available if you add a Nest Aware subscription. Fees range from $5 to $30 per month, with a break if you pay for a whole year upfront. Because some of the best components of the Nest Cam Outdoor require you to shell out extra cash, we had to place this high-tech security camera at the number two spot on our list.

Pros

  • Works with Alexa, Google Home
  • Comes with two-year warranty
  • Provides 130° view with wide-angle lens
  • Offers two-way talk
  • Delivers crisp picture
  • Features attractive design
  • Includes magnetic mount option

Cons

  • No pan and tilt function
  • No wireless power option
  • No siren
  • Costly Nest Aware subscription to access all features

Arlo Pro

Best Security Camera System
Arlo Pro Security Camera product image

Netgear’s Arlo Pro security cameras get the job done without requiring a lot of tech knowledge or DIY household know-how. Setup is super easy, and you have the option to permanently mount the cameras outside or set them on a ledge or other vantage point. One of the things we appreciate about the Arlo Pro is that it works just as well indoors as out.

When you add multiple cameras to your Arlo Pro system, you have an interactive security camera setup that can keep an eye on every access point to your property. We recommend the three camera kit, which includes the Arlo base station and built-in sirens. We like the rolling seven days of free cloud recording, but we wish there was a way to reduce the frequency of alerts.

Pros

  • Easy setup
  • Free cloud storage
  • Small, unobtrusive design
  • Smart home compatibility
  • Voice control with Alexa
  • Settings to contact emergency responders

Cons

  • Limited pan and zoom capabilities
  • Too many alerts
  • Recording delay
  • No PC or Mac access

ZOSI CCTV Home Surveillance Camera

Best Night Vision
Zosi CCTV Security Camera product image

This camera doesn’t dazzle with loads of extra features, but when cost is a deciding factor, the ZOSI CCTV Home Surveillance Camera is right on the money. And speaking of money, you can put the ZOSI to work for less than $30 per camera. That makes it easy to add multiple security cameras to different locations on your property.

You won’t get all the bells and whistles that come with a smart security camera, but the ZOSI delivers where it matters. We were impressed by powerful night vision that can capture activity up to 120 feet away. It also has one of the highest weatherproof ratings of all the cameras on our list. And ZOSI leaves nothing to chance—this camera has specially designed housing that makes it nearly impossible for a vandal to disable or snatch the camera.

Pros

  • Night vision up to 120 feet
  • Cheap price tag
  • Weather- and vandal-resistant housing
  • Clear picture
  • Plug and play setup
  • IP67 weatherproof rating

Cons

  • Smart home compatibility not available
  • Pan and tilt function missing
  • Power supply may not be included

Zmodo Wireless Security Camera

Best Bang for Your Buck
Zmodo Wireless Outdoor Security Camera

The Zmodo Wireless Security Camera delivers all the frills you expect from a smart camera without the exorbitant price tag. This camera delivers smart home integration and voice control through Amazon Alexa—all for right around $50 for a two-pack.

We also like that Zmodo stands behind their product with warranties that easily outstrip the competition. You get an industry-leading three-year warranty, and you have sixty days to see how you like this wireless camera. Even though Zmodo gives you a lot of high-tech features for the price, the included free cloud storage only lets you access footage for thirty-six hours. If you want more, you’ll have to sign up for a paid cloud recording plan. Plans start at $4.99 per month for seven days of recording and go up to $9.99 per month if you want to access and review footage for thirty days.

Pros

  • Affordable price point
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Three-year warranty
  • Night vision up to 65 feet
  • IP65 weatherproof rating
  • Customizable motion detection

Cons

  • No audio
  • No pan and tilt function
  • Just thirty-six hours of free cloud storage

Amcrest ProHD Wireless Outdoor Security Camera

Best High Resolution Images
armcrest outdoor security camera

It’s design isn’t as sexy as some of the other cameras on this list, but if you need to make out a face or other image for identification purposes, this camera delivers footage that can help you catch a criminal. A 3-megapixel image sensor helps this security camera capture still and streaming images in ultra-high definition.

Another perk the Amcrest ProHD offers that other cameras don’t? Multiple ways to store and review footage. You can use a MicroSD card or the Amcrest Cloud, or you can record to an Amcrest network video recorder (sold separately). You can also store video right on your computer’s hard drive. With a scant four hours of cloud storage included, these other options make it easy (and affordable) to store, review, and share video footage.

Pros

  • 3-megapixel image sensor
  • Intelligent digital zoom
  • Night vision up to 98 feet
  • IP67 weatherproof rating
  • Heavy duty housing
  • Multiple storage options

Cons

  • Only four free hours of cloud storage
  • No audio capability
  • Tricky installation

Foscam Outdoor Security Bullet Camera

Best Smart Motion Detection

The Foscam Outdoor Security Bullet Camera features sophisticated motion detection that lets you tailor motion alerts as needed. That means you won’t be bothered by a passing bird or a branch swaying in the wind—you’ll only get the alerts that matter. It also uses sound detection as an extra way to identify potential trespassers.

The Foscam app lets you keep an eye on things when you’re on the go, but the Android version is missing some features. And if you want more than live streaming, you’ll have to sign up for a cloud subscription, but that’s not the only recording option available. This security camera also works with virtual server and local hard drive recording.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Enhanced night vision up to 65 feet
  • Motion and sound detection
  • Quick setup
  • Free video management software
  • IP66 weatherproof rating
  • 6x digital zoom

Cons

  • Glitchy Wi-Fi connection
  • No free cloud recording or storage

Blink XT Home Security Camera System

Best Battery Life
Blink XT Outdoor Security Camera

Blink is small, smart, and discreet, which are all characteristics we like to see in a home security camera. But our favorite thing about the Blink XT Home Security Camera System is that it comes with batteries that you won’t have to change or recharge for two years. That lets you set up your cameras and relax—your Blink system will be on the job 24/7 without draining the batteries.

Blink also comes with free cloud storage. There are no monthly subscription fees, but storage is limited. Blink’s server lets you store up to 1,440 five-second clips (that’s about two hours). Once you’ve reached your max, the server drops the oldest alerts to make room for new ones. And you can’t record clips longer than sixty seconds. For the price (about $100/camera), we’d like to see increased cloud storage and recording duration.

Pros

  • Two-year battery life
  • Ability to work with up to 10 cameras
  • IFTTT compatibility
  • Extreme temperature monitoring
  • No wires
  • IP65 weatherproof rating

Cons

  • High price
  • No way to upgrade cloud storage
  • Short recording duration

Wansview Outdoor Security Camera

Best Exchange Policy
Wansview outdoor security camera

The Wansview Outdoor Security Camera offers easy setup, rust-resistant construction, and it works seamlessly with third-party security software like Blue Iris. This makes it easy to add Wansview cameras to an existing DIY home security system.

None of us want to go through the hassle of returning an item, but at least Wansview makes it as painless as possible. If you do run into trouble with your Wansview Outdoor Security Camera, the company offers free returns and exchanges within the first sixty days after purchase. But if you’re on the West Coast, make sure you contact the company in the morning—customer service shuts down at 3:00 p.m. (PST).

Pros

  • Free return/exchange within 60 days
  • IP66 weatherproof rating
  • Easy setup
  • Rust-resistant housing
  • Night vision up to 67 feet
  • Compatibility with third-party security software

Cons

  • Limited customer service hours
  • No support for 5GHz Wi-Fi
  • Extra-sensitive motion detection

EZVIZ HD Outdoor Surveillance System

Best Cheap Multi-Camera Option
Ezviz Outdoor Surveillance Camera System

If you want to keep an eye on multiple access points but don’t want to break the bank, the EZVIZ Surveillance System is worth a look. You can get four outdoor surveillance cameras and a four-channel DVR for under $200. That’s one of the best deals we’ve seen. And these cameras are packed with high-tech features like customizable motion detection zones and IFTTT integration, so you’re getting a lot for the price.

But there are a couple of things to consider before hitting the “buy” button: you need to purchase a monitor for the DVR separately, and there is no cloud storage option. The company also has some issues with consistency. Some users have received one or more faulty cameras, and the user manual isn’t always included.

Pros

  • Affordable package options
  • Built-in 1TB security-grade hard drive
  • Customizable motion detection
  • IP66 weatherproof rating
  • End-to-end video encryption
  • Impressive picture quality

Cons

  • Cloud storage unavailable
  • DVR monitor not included
  • User manual not included
  • Inconsistent quality

Things to Consider Before You Buy

How many cameras do I need?

The number of outdoor security cameras you need depends on a few things, including how much area you want to cover and the field of view provided by the camera. If you have multiple access points you want to keep an eye on, like the front porch, the garage, and the backyard, you’ll probably need a camera for each of those locations. And, depending on both the size of your yard and the wide-angle view of the camera, you could need multiple cameras to cover the whole area.

How do I know if a camera is weatherproof?

An outdoor security camera needs to be able to take a beating, and the best way to tell if your camera can withstand the whims of Mother Nature is to check out the IP (Ingress Protection) rating. The first number in an IP rating shows how difficult it is for things like dust and water to enter the camera enclosure. The second number shows how tamper-proof the enclosure is. An IP65 rating means the camera enclosure is protected from dust as well as low-pressure water spray, which means the camera should stand up to rain and snow. A rating of IP67 means total dust protection and the ability to withstand full immersion in water up to about three feet.

Do I need to worry about lighting?

If you only want to capture video footage during the daytime, then lighting probably won’t be a concern. But most of us want a security camera to be an extra set of eyes when ours aren’t available—like when we’re sleeping. To capture clear images after the sun sets, you want a camera with night vision. Night vision capabilities vary, but the most important things to look for are the range for which night vision works and the image resolution.

For those who want to do more than catch culprits in the act, a security camera equipped with a spotlight or floodlight is a good option. These cameras use motion sensors to activate both video recording and the lights. But lights can interfere with night vision capabilities, so keep that in mind. If video footage is more important to you than scaring off hoodlums, then you might want to skip the lights.

What are the pros and cons of battery-operated outdoor cameras?

The benefit of a battery-operated camera is the ability to place the unit anywhere on your property. Hardwired cameras have more placement restrictions (and trickier installation) because you have to connect them to a power source. But cameras that rely on batteries are at higher risk of leaving you unprotected if the batteries run out and you don’t notice. It really comes down to what matters more—placement flexibility or an uninterrupted power supply.

SafeWise Also Recommends

These outdoor Wi-Fi cameras break the mold of traditional surveillance cameras. While they didn’t quite fit in our top ten, we think they’re worth recommending for their versatility and function.

Product Best For What Makes It Different Where to Find It
Kuna Maximus Video Security Camera and Outdoor Light Stealthy surveillance
  • “Hidden” camera, disguised as porch light
  • Pre-recorded messages welcome guests or scare off hooligans
  • Alternative to a doorbell camera
Check Price on Amazon
TOUCAN Wi-Fi Outdoor Home Security Camera System Wire-free surveillance
  • Powered by a smart socket
  • Turns regular lights into smart lights
  • Great for renters
Check Price on Amazon

Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca has honed her safety and security skills as both a single mom and a college director. Being responsible for the well-being of others helped her learn how to minimize risk and create safe environments. Learn more

Share with your awesome friends.