Canary Home Security Review

To understand the subtle differences among Canary’s trio of smart security cams, I took all three home for a trial run. See what I found out—and find the right Canary match for you.
Written by | Updated November 22, 2019
Best Security Features
a white canary pro all-in-one security cameraCanary Pro All-In-One
  • Built-in siren
  • Environmental sensors
  • Built-in siren
  • Environmental sensors
Best Deal
canary viewCanary View
  • Cheap price tag
  • Free device with 1-year service plan
  • Cheap price tag
  • Free device with 1-year service plan
Most Versatile
canary flex with cordCanary Flex
  • Indoor or outdoor use
  • Battery for wire-free use
  • Indoor or outdoor use
  • Battery for wire-free use

Bottom Line: Canary Offers Discrete Self-Monitored Security

Each of Canary’s security devices showcases a user-friendly design, easy setup, and straightforward home security features.

Canary’s home security approach is driven by simplicity. While this makes Canary security cameras a great fit for apartments and small spaces, they probably won’t do the job for larger homes—especially if you want integrated smart home functionality.

But if you can add only one home security device to your dwelling, the Canary Pro All-in-One is definitely a contender. It delivers everything you want from a smart security camera along with a 90 dB siren and a one-touch link to the police or fire department.

Pros

  • Ideal size for apartments
  • No contract required
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Free 24-hour video history
  • Person detection
  • Discrete design
  • Noonlight mobile panic button available

Cons

  • No pro monitoring
  • Service plan required for many features
  • No smart home compatibility
canary view on kitchen counter

The Canary View hanging out on my kitchen counter.

Canary Home Security Pricing

Canary’s devices range widely in price—from less than $100 for its cheapest camera to $169 for its most expensive. However, its service plan pricing is straightforward and doesn’t change whether you buy the top-end Canary Pro or the budget-friendly Canary View.

First, we’ll look at how much a Canary device will cost you, and then we’ll break down your service plan options.

Canary Security Camera Prices


Price
Included Equipment
Bundle Savings*
Learn More
Canary Pro Canary View Canary Flex Canary Starter Pack Canary Total Home
Pack
$169 $99 $139 $328 $497
Canary Pro (1) Canary View (1) Canary Flex (1) Canary Pro (1)
Canary Flex (1)
Canary Pro (1)
Canary Flex (2)
$169 $99 $70 $99 $129
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Canary View on Canary

Amazon.com and Canary List Price as of 11/15/19 12:40 p.m. MST. (Full disclaimer). Offers and availability subject to change.
*Savings if purchased with one year of Premium Service ($99) paid in advance.

canary pro on window sill

Canary Pro keeping an eye on the living room.

Canary Service Plan Pricing

Monthly Price
Yearly Price
Warranty
Video Recording
Video Storage
Two-Way Communication
Noonlight Safety Button
Learn More
Basic Service 1 Year Premium Service 2 Years Premium Service
Free $9.99 $7.42
Free $99 $89
1 year 2 years 2 years
Clips only Full-length videos Full-length videos
1 day 30 days 30 days
X
No

Yes

Yes
X
No

Yes

Yes
View on Canary View on Canary View on Canary

Data effective 11/15/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

Canary carries its love for simplicity into its pricing structure.

The only potential point of confusion is when you opt to buy a year of Premium Service up front. The long and short of it is that if you can lay down $99 in advance for a one-year subscription to Canary’s Premium Service plan, you’ll get your Canary Pro or Canary View for free (or close to it).

The exception is the Canary Flex. The Flex isn’t free with a Premium Service subscription.

This device was originally advertised at $199, but Canary has slashed prices and now sells it for $139. If you opt for a year of Premium Service, you’ll get both for $129—less than if you bought the camera on its own. Essentially, that means you’ll pay just $30 for the device on top of your service plan.

Canary sells its products directly from its own website and on Amazon. We recommend checking out both Amazon and Canary before completing your online purchase—deals and discounts are always changing. Taking a few extra minutes to shop around could pay off.

Buy Smart Insight

No matter which Canary device you choose, we encourage you to grab that first year of Premium Service up front. You’re already set to plunk down at least 100 big ones for a device, so you may as well pay $99 to get a product discount and invest in all the extras that make Canary special: two-way talk, 30 days of video storage, the Noonlight safety button, and an extended warranty.

Customer-First Policies That Save You Money

One thing that this company does right? It makes it easy for you to give Canary a try. Two policies stand out for us: free shipping and a 60-day money-back guarantee.

60-Day Money-Back Guarantee 

When you buy a Canary product, you have 60 days from the date of purchase to return it and request a full refund. There are a couple of caveats, though—you have to be the original purchaser or end user, and you must have purchased your Canary device directly from Canary.

But don’t panic if you’re a die-hard Amazon shopper. It looks like you can also get free returns if you buy from the Canary store on Amazon—just make sure the 60-day refund is available when you add Canary to your Amazon cart. To be safe, look for “sold and shipped by Canary” before you buy.

Free Shipping 

I don’t know about you, but I really resent paying for shipping. Canary is sensitive to that customer complaint and offers free shipping on every purchase—no minimum dollar amount required.

If you’re buying on Amazon, pay attention. Some purchases are eligible for free shipping and some aren’t. Plus, it looks like being an Amazon Prime member won’t save the day when it comes to Canary products. I didn’t see any free 2-day shipping with Prime notices on any of the Canary products I looked up.

canary view with cord plugged into the back

Getting the Canary View plugged in and ready to pair with the app on my iPhone.

Canary Home Security Tech and Equipment

Price
1080p HD Video
One-Touch Emergency Contact
Siren
Two-Way Communication
Person Detection
Outdoor Use
Wire-Free Use
Climate Sensors
Learn More
Canary Pro Canary View Canary Flex
a white canary pro all-in-one security camera canary view canary flex with cord
$169 $99 $139

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes
X
No
X
No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes
X
No
X
No

Yes
X
No
X
No

Yes

Yes
X
No
X
No
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon

Amazon.com and Canary List Price as of 11/15/19 12:40 p.m. MST. (Full disclaimer). Offers and availability subject to change.

All of Canary’s smart security cameras come with the basic features any savvy shopper wants in a 21st-century security cam. Where Canary breaks away from the pack is with its extra home security features. All of its devices have an emergency button that directly calls help with just one touch, and the Canary Pro comes with a built-in siren.

Here’s a deeper dive into what each Canary camera has to offer.

canary pro equipment on table

Canary Pro equipment.

Canary Pro 

Sometimes referred to as the Canary All-in-One, the Pro is the most feature-packed smart home security device the brand has to offer. You get all the standard security camera features: HD video, night vision, two-way talk, motion-activated recording, and AI that claims to tell people from pets.

Plus, if you add the Premium Service plan, you get unlimited video downloads. Without the plan, you can’t download any video, and all of your clips disappear after 24 hours.

You’ll pay more for the Canary Pro, but you get a built-in siren and climate monitors that help your home stay extra secure.

The siren lets neighbors (or sleeping household members) know that something shady is going on. At 90 dB, that siren blast is about as loud as a lawnmower, so it should get the job done. And the climate sensors monitor air quality, temperature, and humidity in your home.

That makes the Canary Pro an early warning system if you live in more extreme climates or an older home with old pipes. The climate sensors can let you know immediately if you’re at risk for potential fires or frozen pipes.

canary view equipment on table

Canary View equipment.

Canary View 

This is the most stripped-down HD camera that Canary has to offer. Even with the Premium Service plan, the View doesn’t offer more than your average indoor security camera. It delivers the same sharp images you get with the Pro and the Flex, and it offers two-way audio through the built-in speaker (if you add the Premium Service plan).

However, it has fewer features than Canary’s other cameras. While you still get the one-touch emergency button, there’s no siren in the Canary View.

It’s the deal that Canary’s offering that makes the View a good choice—especially if you’re watching your wallet. When you add one year of the Premium Service plan to your purchase, Canary throws in the device for free. That means you end up paying $99 for both the Canary View and a year of upgraded premium service (a $200 value).

If you’re looking for a device that would make a good nanny cam, the View is one to put on your list. It’s the least money out of your pocket, and it doesn’t have extras like a siren that could be disruptive to baby sleeping—especially if it’s a false alarm.

canary flex equipment on table

Canary Flex equipment.

Canary Flex

One of my only complaints about both the Canary View and the Canary Pro is that they’re not designed with any weatherproofing. So you can only use them inside.

Canary has negated that issue with the Canary Flex. Just like another of my favorite cameras, the Arlo Pro, this little device can move straight from inside your home to the porch or back deck. If you’ve got outdoor space (or a spot that’s far from an outlet) that you want to keep an eye on, the Canary Flex is your best bet.

I gave the Canary Flex only a brief stint on my balcony, but the video and sound quality were still as good as what I got inside.

The other thing that stands out about the Flex is its battery. This is the only Canary camera that still works if you unplug it. All it needs to keep going is a Wi-Fi connection.

You do have to keep tabs on the battery, which lasts up to two months between charges (depending on how you use the camera). You’ll also need to budget for an extended charging time–in my test, it took a little more than seven hours.

But you get a whole lot of life from a full charge, so I recommend recharging overnight when it’s time to give your Flex battery some more juice. You can check the battery status in the Canary app, and you’ll get warnings when it’s time to recharge the battery.

canary flex in the window with books

The Canary Flex perched on my bedside reading pile—ready to protect my slumber.

Canary Security Camera Standout Features

Motion Alerts 

I set up the Canary Pro in my dining/living room combo, and it kept watch for kitties and people alike. I set it to notify me of any motion that was detected. As I suspected (from my previous experience with the Canary View), it gave me person alerts for both cats and humans.

The good news is that it picked up every movement in the room—it just doesn’t know a human from a feline. I also learned that if you don’t want unending alerts from cats who just want to sniff the crisp autumn air on the window sill, you can activate the “masks” feature.

This lets you block out (or mask) a segment of the room that gets a lot of nonthreatening traffic so you get alerts only when there’s action outside that area.

screenshot of the canary masking feature

Setting a mask to keep the camera from alerting every time I open the fridge. 

Another way to minimize notifications is to set up parameters for the Night Mode setting. You can turn off alerts completely—or allow alerts for people only—during specific hours. The mobile app asks you when you go to bed and what time you usually get up. During those hours, the motion sensor won’t automatically trigger an alert outside of the parameters you set.

Noonlight Safety Button

I was afraid of freaking out my roommates (human and feline), so I didn’t activate the Canary’s siren, but I did play around with the Noonlight safety button feature, and it worked as promised.

Noonlight is an app that turns your phone into a panic button no matter where you are. Canary partners with Noonlight to add this additional layer of protection for Canary users. If you have a Canary with a Premium Service plan, the safety button is included, and there’s a shortcut button right in your Canary app.

noonlight safety button

Noonlight safety button.

If you feel unsafe at home—or think someone is following you down the sidewalk—press the button to alert professionals at Noonlight’s monitoring center that you may be in trouble. If you take your finger off the button, you have 10 seconds to enter a security code to let the monitoring center know you’re okay.

If you don’t enter the code, the center will use your phone’s GPS to send help to your location. You can use the button on the go or at home.

This is the closest that Canary gets to 24/7 professional monitoring. You’re still in charge of activating the button, but it’s one step closer to help when you’re in a scary situation.

hand on canary pro button for pairing

Pairing the Canary Pro in pursuit of the elusive blue light.

Canary Installation and Use

Setup was quick and simple for each Canary home security camera that I tested—and I did them all in one morning. Just follow these steps:

  • Download the free Canary app for iOS or Android.
  • Enter your email address and a unique password.
  • Enter the address where you want your Canary to keep watch.
  • Add your device.

For me, the only tricky part of adding a device was getting the light on the Canary to flash blue—that means it’s pairing with the app. On the Pro and the View, you have to hold down the button on the top of the camera until the magical blue light appears.

On the Flex, all you have to do is tap a button on the back—no holding necessary. I appreciated the pairing method on the Flex, but complaining about any of this is ridiculously indulgent. It was easy, even with the holding.

bottom of canary pro showing blue light circle

Voila! It’s the blue light. 

Once you’re blessed by the blue light, the device pairs with the mobile app, and you get a message to confirm that it’s the right camera. After you confirm the device, you choose Wi-Fi or Ethernet to connect the Canary camera to your home network.

Learn From My Mistakes

Have your home network name and password ready before you start installing your Canary home security device.

I didn’t have my Wi-Fi network password handy and had to exit the Canary app to access it. When I went back in, I was reprimanded and told not to exit the app during setup. As punishment, it bumped me back to the beginning, and I had to pursue the elusive blue light again.

All of the Canary security cameras I installed did an update as soon as they were connected to my Wi-Fi network. It didn’t take very long, and I was pleased that the company is proactive about software updates, which are key to continued data security.

Once the devices were updated, I got a guided tour to help me name each camera and customize alert and motion activation settings. After the first tutorial, I felt okay venturing forth on my own, so I used the “skip” option to forgo it on the other two Canarys.

What Canary Could Do Better

Canary gets a lot right, but there are a few things that I think could be better. I’m not sure if it was my home Wi-Fi network or the Canary app, but I saw a lot of buffering when I tried to livestream from my camera. There was quite a lag from when I hit the “watch live” button to the first glimpse of the room I wanted to check on.

Another glitch was inconsistent person alerts—the cats got a lot of human recognition. On the upside, none of the Canary cameras ever thought I was a kitty. I take my victories where I can get them.

canary screenshot of cat

Yup. That’s not a person.

Overall, I thought the motion detection alerts were hit-and-miss. It seemed like Canary captured all the movement, but I didn’t always get timely notifications. Sometimes the alert came minutes later, which isn’t the type of result I’d want if the movement was from someone who wasn’t supposed to be in my home.

The Final Verdict

Canary’s trio of security cameras are sleek, compact devices that deliver big, all-in-one home security. If you’re looking for a simple home security solution that you can monitor on your own without any big contracts or steep monthly fees, Canary’s clever home security devices are worth a look.

But there are limits to what you can get from Canary home security. If you opt for the Canary Pro, you get a siren and the extra security of climate and air quality monitors, but there aren’t any door and window sensors that work with the camera.

Similarly, Canary doesn’t really work well with other smart home devices. If you have a lot of square footage to cover or want the convenience of smart home features, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Canary is a great home security starter option for the true DIY aficionado. You won’t be stuck in a lengthy contract, but you won’t have the support of 24/7 professional monitoring, either.

How We Reviewed Canary 

I took home three Canary security cameras to see what makes each one unique and find out how they stand up against one another. I’ve played with the Canary View before, so it was helpful to explore all the features and products that Canary has to offer. I tried them out under multiple conditions like daylight, artificial light, and after dark. Plus, I moved the Flex outside to see how it performed in each scenario.

canary boxes on bed

A peek at my messy testing practices.

In addition to my hands-on tests, we conducted hours of research, read hundreds of customer reviews, and compared specs to other similar products out there. Get the full story on our rankings methodology for more details about how we rank and review products and services.

Disclaimer

Amazon.com list price as of 11/15/19 12:40 p.m. MST. 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 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

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