Best Outdoor Security Cameras

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
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Battery, wired, and solar power options
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    Built-in motion spotlight
Best for smart homes
Google Nest Cam Outdoor
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    Works with Google Assistant and Alexa
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Delivers crisp picture
Best video
Arlo Pro 3
Arlo Pro 3
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    1440p (2K) video quality
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    100% wire-free
Budget pick
ZOSI C190
ZOSI C190
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    Sees up to 80 feet in the dark
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    Costs around $30
Best battery life
Blink Outdoor
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    Two-year battery life
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    No wires

Bottom line: Shine a light with Ring Spotlight Cam

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.

The Ring Spotlight Cam tops our list because it does double-duty as a smart security camera and a motion-activated light. Security camera systems like Arlo Pro 3 and Blink Outdoor 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 outdoor security cameras in the reviews and comparison table below.



Compare the best outdoor security cameras

Best overallBest for smart homesBest videoBudget pickBest battery life
Ring Spotlight CamGoogle Nest Cam OutdoorArlo Pro 3ZOSI C190Blink Outdoor
Ring Spotlight CamArlo Pro 3ZOSI C190
List price*
Power sourceBattery, wired, solarWiredBattery, solarWiredBattery
Resolution1080p1080p1440p (2K)1080p1080p
Night visionColor/infraredInfraredColor/infraredColor/infraredInfrared

*Amazon.com list price as of 12/10/2020 at 3:38 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Our 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

Best outdoor security camera reviews

1. Ring Spotlight Cam: Best overall

Ring is known for its doorbell cameras, and Ring puts the same smart technology and sleek design into the compact Ring Spotlight Cam. 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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Built-in spotlight
Pro Bullet Two-way talk
Pro Bullet 110-decibel siren
Pro Bullet Easy installation
Pro Bullet Works with Alexa
Pro Bullet Battery, solar, or hardwired options
Pro Bullet Two color choices: black or white
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Expensive price tag
Con Bullet Short battery life
Con Bullet Spotlight interference with night vision

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.

Learn more in our Ring Spotlight Cam review.

Notepad
A word about wireless security

Several Ring Alarm and camera users have reported breaches in their accounts that allowed a stranger to use the two-way communication to intimidate them. This is a risk every user takes when they use any internet-connected wireless system.The good news is you can minimize the risk with proper internet security. Here are a few easy tips for securing your system from online threats:

  • Use strong, unique passwords for all your accounts.
  • Opt for extra security measures like two-factor authentication.
  • Add shared users instead of sharing login credentials.
  • Change your home Wi-Fi password frequently.


We still confidently recommend Ring and other similar wireless internet-connected systems. And while these threats are real, they can be avoided with a few extra precautions.

2. Google Nest Cam Outdoor: Best for smart homes

Smart gadget pioneer Nest doesn’t disappoint with the Google Nest Cam Outdoor. This camera offers a bevy of features including motion and activity alerts, two-way talk, and smart home integration. We're especially big fans of its smart home compatibility since it supports Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, the most popular smart home platforms around.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
Pro Bullet Comes with two-year warranty
Pro Bullet Provides 130° view with wide-angle lens
Pro Bullet Delivers crisp picture
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No wireless power option
Con Bullet No siren

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 $6 to $12 per month to record video from all of the Nest cameras in your home, with a break if you pay for a whole year upfront. Because some of the best components of the Google 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.

Learn more about this sleek camera in our Nest cameras review. Looking to install one soon? We've got an installation guide to help out with that.

3. Arlo Pro 3: Best video

Arlo Pro 3 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 3 is that it works just as well indoors as out. We also love the 2K video resolution that outperforms other outdoor cameras on our list.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Easy setup
Pro Bullet Small, unobtrusive design
Pro Bullet Smart home compatibility
Pro Bullet 100% wire-free
Pro Bullet 2K video resolution
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Pricey
Con Bullet No free cloud storage

When you add multiple cameras to your Arlo Pro 3 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 base station and built-in sirens. There's not free cloud storage option on this system, but you can connect local storage to the base station if you don't want to pay for cloud storage.

Learn more in our Arlo camera review.

4. ZOSI C190: Budget pick

This camera doesn’t dazzle with loads of extra features, but when cost is a deciding factor, the ZOSI C190 is right on the money. And speaking of money, you can put the ZOSI to work for about $30 per camera. That makes it easy to add multiple security cameras to different locations on your property.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Night vision up to 80 feet
Pro Bullet Cheap price tag
Pro Bullet Weather- and vandal-resistant housing
Pro Bullet Clear picture
Pro Bullet Plug and play setup
Pro Bullet IP67 weatherproof rating
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Smart home compatibility not available

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 80 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.

5. Blink Outdoor: Best battery life

Best battery life

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 Outdoor 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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Two-year battery life
Pro Bullet Extreme temperature monitoring
Pro Bullet No wires
Pro Bullet IP65 weatherproof rating
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No way to upgrade cloud storage
Con Bullet Short recording duration

Blink also has affordable cloud storage. There are low 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 per camera), we’d like to see increased cloud storage and recording duration.

Get more info in our Blink cameras review.

Outdoor security camera FAQ

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Disclaimers

*Amazon.com list price as of 12/10/2020 at 3:38 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.
  • Fuzzie Vohs

    Have you looked at the Arlo 2 or Ultra? If so, how do they compare to the Ring?

  • Tom Leone

    Thank you for your excellent recommendations about various security cameras. We at CompSource provide the best electronic products and ship them throughout the US. Check us out and keep up the good job by posting these informative blogs.