Nest Cameras Review

Which Nest is best? We tested all four cameras and compared dozens of specs to find out.
Nest Indoor
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Wall mount
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Discreet design
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Easy setup
Nest Cam IQ Indoor
Nest Indoor IQ
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Google Assistant built in
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Noise and echo suppression
  • Icon Pros  Light
    6-core processor
Nest Outdoor
Nest Outdoor
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
  • Icon Pros  Light
    24/7 livestream
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Two-way audio
  • Icon Pros  Light
    360-degrees rotation
Nest Outdoor IQ
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8
  • Icon Pros  Light
    High-grade weatherproofing
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Tamper-resistant design
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Close-up motion tracking

There’s a lot of family resemblance between the Nest Cams, but the Indoor and Outdoor Nest IQs win overall—that is, if you’re willing to spend the money. We think facial recognition, person alerts, and cloud storage make them worth it.

Both the Nest Indoor and Nest Outdoor also deliver a smooth livestream and clear audio and video if you have a Nest Aware subscription.

Bell
Google Nest Secure system discontinued (November 2020)

If you’ve been using the Google Nest Secure system with your Nest cameras, you can still use it and receive support from Google Nest. But if you’re on the hunt for a new system, cross Google Nest Secure off your list. Take a peek at our best DIY home security systems for more options.

Nest family similarities and differences

All four Nest cameras are beautifully designed and deliver quality live video streaming to the mobile app.

The Nest camera family

The whole family of Nest cameras reunited. From left to right: Nest Indoor, Nest Outdoor, Nest Outdoor IQ, Nest Indoor IQ

Similarities

Each Nest camera has 1080p resolution, two-way communication, and a wide 130-degree field of view.

The whole Nest family uses the Nest App, and cameras will send motion alerts when they see large moving objects and people, livestream to the mobile app, and work out of the box in minutes.

Differences

What’s the main difference between IQs and standard Nest cams? Extra features and smoother operation.

For example, the indoor and outdoor Nest IQ cameras have stronger zooming abilities and Nest Aware features—but the standard cameras need a monthly subscription for the smart features.

Bell
Nest now requires two-factor authentication

In order to combat hackers, Nest is now using two-factor authentication (also called 2FA). It's a security measure you've probably already used for online services.

Rather than signing into your Nest account with a single password and username, 2FA sends a verification code to your email or phone that you later plug into the login page. If an unverified user tries to get in, you'll know quickly.

While you'll need to go through the 2FA process each time you log into your Nest account, this additional security measure is worth it.

Nest camera comparison

ModelNest Indoor Nest Indoor IQ Nest OutdoorNest Outdoor IQ
Price

$129.99

$299.00

$199.00

$399.00

Cloud storage

With Nest Aware

Icon Yes  LightYes

With Nest Aware

Icon Yes  LightYes
Facial recognition*

With Nest Aware

Icon Yes  LightYes

With Nest Aware

Icon Yes  LightYes
Time-lapse video

With Nest Aware

Icon Yes  LightYes

With Nest Aware

Icon Yes  LightYes
Weatherproof
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Person alerts

With Nest Aware

Icon Yes  LightYes

With Nest Aware

Icon Yes  LightYes
Motion tracking
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Learn more

Info current as of 12/11/2020. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*Not available in Illinois.

Amazon.com list price as of 12/11/2020 at 4:30 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Nest Cam indoor reviews

Both indoor Nest cameras are pricey, but they make securing your home easy.

Nest Indoor cameras

Nest Indoor (left) and Nest Indoor IQ (right) face off. 

Nest Cam Indoor

The standard Nest Indoor camera costs less and has most of the same features as its sibling.

Its 1080p picture and clear two-way communication produce a smooth livestream directly to the mobile app. These features land it among the best security cameras for your front room or nanny cams for the nursery.

It’s also small enough to fit on most shelves, tables, nooks, and crannies, making it easy to hide from anyone who might tamper with it. And if you want to use it as a hidden camera or nanny cam, you can even find cute silicone covers for it. 

The only downside is it only works when it’s plugged in, so you’ll have to place it near an outlet. But it comes with a wall mount to make setup a little easier.

Nest Indoor Kit

What's in the Nest Indoor box: power adapters, Nest camera, mounting bracket, and screws

It only takes a few minutes to set up the Nest Indoor and start a livestream. Turn it on and connect it to your Wi-Fi network through the mobile app on your device.

Once the livestream is running, you can see what your Nest sees day and night. Thanks to its eight powerful LED infrared lights and motion alerts, you get a clear picture even in low or bright lighting. So whether it’s a home invader or a lesser threat like someone sneaking a midnight snack, you’ll catch them in action.

Nest Indoor is one of the most affordable Nest cameras, but it’s still pricier than other indoor security cameras. That said, its sharp picture and easy setup make it worth the extra coin.

Nest Cam IQ Indoor

The Nest IQ Indoor camera also live streams to the mobile app in 1080p, but it’s also got more advanced features like a built-in Google Assistant.

Imagine the Nest IQ as the eyes of your smart home. Just like a standard Google Assistant, it can add items to a shopping list, answer questions, and send footage to your TV.

The Nest IQ captures snapshots of events within a 3-hour window, so you won’t miss anything if you can’t check your phone immediately. It also has daytime HDR, a 4K sensor, and 940 nm infrared night vision, so the clips are clear in normal and low lighting.

Armed with three microphones and an advanced speaker, the IQ’s audio quality is better than the Nest Indoor too. The noise and echo suppression muffles white noise interference to deliver a clearer sound. So you won’t have to worry about noisy appliances or a busy street interfering with the audio.

On top of that, its close-up tracking view zooms in on moving objects and follows them while in view. Whether it’s your kids playing in the living room or a suspicious character in your driveway, the Nest IQ will notice.

Nest IQ Camera scale

Nest Indoor IQ camera with quarter for size comparison

All of these features are possible with the camera’s tiny, powerful computer. The 6-core processor allows the Nest IQ to juggle several tasks like recording footage, supporting Google Assistant, and doing facial recognition to happen smoothly at once.

But like all the Nest cameras, it’s loaded with features for a steep price. If you’re willing to drop a couple hundred dollars on a smart camera, the Nest IQ is definitely worth your money. Its built-in Google Home feature makes it stand out and plays nicely with any existing Google Home products you may already have.

Nest Cam outdoor reviews

An outdoor security camera should work in rain or shine. Both of Nest’s outdoor cameras are weatherproof and made with all climates in mind, and they watch your front door, back yard, or driveway in clear 1080p resolution, night or day.

Both outdoor cameras also have clear two-way audio, send a livestream to your app, and have a 130-degree field of vision so you can catch everything.

Front-facing view of both Nest Outdoor cameras (Nest Outdoor on the left, Nest Outdoor IQ on the right)

Nest Cam Outdoor

Besides its tough outer shell, the Nest Outdoor camera is almost identical to its indoor sibling. The big difference is it’s built to live outside.

Its weatherproof casing is dust tight and can withstand heavy rain, making it a good fit for most climates.

Nest Outdoor has a 24/7 live stream, and it sends motion detection notifications when it senses something. But it can be prone to false alarms like passing cars or the neighbor’s cat. Features like Person Alerts minimize these false alarms, but you’d need a Nest Aware subscription.

When you do get an alert, you can speak to anyone on the other side of the camera with the two-way audio. You can tell the mailman to leave a package on your step, say hi to your neighbor, or talk to that suspicious character snooping on your stoop.

Nest Outdoor camera with quarter for scale

Nest Outdoor camera with quarter for size comparison

Because this is an outdoor cam, installation is a bit different. Start by finding an outdoor outlet or access inside because the Nest Outdoor needs to stay plugged in to work.

Once it’s installed, you can use the magnetic base to rotate it 360 degrees, allowing you to catch the best angle.

If you want help, you can find a professional Nest installer to assist you.

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

At $400, Nest Outdoor IQ is the most expensive camera in the Nest family. The good news is that you get what you pay for with this camera.

The IQ has a higher weatherproofing rating than the standard outdoor camera, so you know it will withstand harsh rain, dust, and snow.

The sturdy casing doesn’t just keep moisture and debris out. Its tamper-resistant body prevents damage from vandals or intruders.

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has a great-sounding speaker too. In a side-by-side comparison of the Nest Cam Outdoor and the IQ, the crystal clear audio quality of the IQ won hands down. (Our tester's audio technician partner confirmed this.)

Nest Outdoor IQ camera and kit

Nest Outdoor IQ with included mounting equipment and power adapter

Its 4K sensor adds detail, while the daytime HDR reduces glare and balances light, delivering a smoother livestream to the mobile app.

The close-up tracking feature uses the 12x digital zoom to focus in on people up to 50 feet away. These features mean that the camera can distinguish people from other objects, so you’ll know when the kids come home from school, or a delivery driver leaves a package, instead of catching false alarms.

Finally, with the Nest IQ Outdoor, you can set activity zones. These zones only focus on areas you want to watch, like your front door or yard.

Check out our top picks for the best outdoor security cameras.

Nest Aware

Nest Aware is a subscription service that saves your camera’s recorded history for up to 60 days. This service also upgrades the features in your standard Nest cam with features like Person Alerts or Cloud Recording. In 2020, Nest Aware moved away from basic recording and towards a total home system.

Nest Aware plans

  • Nest Aware:  30 days of recorded video history for $6/mo.
  • Nest Aware Plus: 60 days of recorded video history for $12/mo.

Other features include the following:

  • Event-based recording: Instead of recording 24/7, the Nest Cam will only record when it detects an event such as people or pets moving.
  • The feed: This is a new area of the Google Home app dedicated to your Nest products. Here you can check all your cameras and sensors and get a general recap of your day according to Nest.
  • Sound detection: Nest speakers will recognize smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and send you alerts to keep your home safe even while you're away.
  • Emergency calling: This allows Nest to connect emergency calls to the closest response center to your home. So if you're out of town and an emergency happens, help is on the way faster.

Get the full details on the Nest Aware plans from Google’s Support Center.

What to consider before buying a Nest Cam

Before you buy a Nest camera, consider where you want to place it and what you want to protect. If you’re worried about package thieves, an outdoor camera is a good bet.

Want a baby monitor for the nursery? Go with the standard Nest camera. Are you trying to upgrade your home automation? Either of the Nest IQ models would work.

No matter which Nest cam you choose, make sure you have an open outlet and a stable surface to install it on. Indoor cameras work just fine with flat surfaces like tables or bookshelves, or even mounted on the wall. Outdoor cams will need a little more installation, and make sure you can find an outlet close enough for the 25-foot power cord to reach.

Which Nest is best?

If you’re willing to spend money to get the best features, go with the Indoor or Outdoor Nest IQ. Both are durable, produce sharp sound and video, and come with smart features to protect what matters most.

Nest Cams FAQ

Not unless you subscribe to Nest Aware. Even then, it’s affordable and gives you access to past recorded footage.

 Yes, all four Nest cams are standalone products. A Nest Aware subscription can improve some of the features, but it’s completely optional.

 Only with a Nest Aware subscription—otherwise, it livestreams to your phone or wherever you use the mobile app.

You can share a password-protected livestream with friends and family if you want, which is a good option for when you’re on vacation or trusting the kids with a babysitter.

 While Nest makes quality cameras, there are cheaper options. But if you want smart features and smart home compatibility with your security camera, Nest is worth the money.

 While all the Nest cams are pretty darn good, they aren’t the only camera we recommend. See more options in our Best Home Security Cameras review to see where Nest stands against its competition.

Related articles


Disclaimer

Google, Google Nest Secure, Google Nest Cams, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

*Amazon.com list price as of 12/11/2020 at 4:30 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.

Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
As a renter, pet-owner, and woman living alone, Katie McEntire takes safety seriously. She’s tested devices like pet cameras, home security systems, and GPS trackers in her own home and devices in the name of safety. In addition to testing, writing, and reviewing for SafeWise, she also makes videos for the site’s YouTube channel. She’s been featured on publications like TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at Overstock.com and Top Ten Reviews.

Recent Articles

Large craftsman style house at twilight with lights on
Best Home Security Systems of 2021
After hundreds of hours of tests and research, plus a combined 50+ years of experience,...
SimpliSafe UK Home Alarm Review
SimpliSafe combines the convenience of DIY purchase and installation with the comfort of professional monitoring....
security system being installed on wall
Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2021
DIY install home security systems are cost-efficient, effective, and easy to install. See which DIY...
couple sitting on floor with moving boxes and a dog
Best Home Security Systems for Renters
These renter-friendly home security systems keep your house or apartment safe and require less commitment...
  • Rene Alvarado

    Ever since Google bought nest cameras do not work. To day my cameras all of them are not working. There is no customer service phone number anymore. They have deceived the subscribers of nest.

  • Rene Alvarado

    How do I join for a lawsuit against nest
    Google