Reolink Cameras Review

We tested Reolink security cameras and made some exciting discoveries about this lesser-known brand.
Best overall
Reolink Argus 3 Pro
Reolink Argus 3 Pro
  • Icon Pros  Light
    1440p video resolution
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Wire-free installation
Best value
Reolink Lumus
Reolink Lumus
  • Icon Pros  Light
    1080p video resolution
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Bright spotlight
Best video
Reolink E1 Zoom
Reolink E1 Zoom
  • Icon Pros  Light
    1920p video resolution
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Pan and tilt
Best LTE camera
Reolink Go with solar panel
Reolink Go
  • Icon Pros  Light
    1080p video resolution
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Cellular data connection

Reolink makes some of the best mid-priced security cameras you can buy—it also sells what are arguably the best solar-powered security cameras on the market (including our top pick, the Reolink Argus 3 Pro). What we're trying to say is that Reolink's huge selection of cameras isn't all for show. There's real potential for this brand to upset bigger names like Arlo, Ring, and Google Nest.

Check out our full breakdown for insights from our hands-on testing and to see how this brand measures up to the competition.



Compare Reolink cameras

Best overall Best value Best video Best LTE camera
Reolink Argus 3 ProArgus 3 Pro
Reolink LumusLumus
Reolink E1 ZoomE1 Zoom
Reolink Go with solar panelGo
Price*
Video storageCloud, microSDCloud, microSDCloud, microSDCloud, microSD
Resolution1440p (2K)1080p1920p (5MP)1080p
Field of view122º100º48º–98º †110º
Learn more

*Amazon.com list price as of 04/09/2021 at 1:09 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.
† Depends on the camera's optical zoom setting.

Reolink Pros and Cons

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Excellent video quality
Pro Bullet MicroSD video storage
Pro Bullet Affordable (especially the solar panels)
Pro Bullet Big variety of camera options
Pro Bullet Great equipment
Pro Bullet Two-year warranty
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Narrower field of view than average
Con Bullet Cloud plans over $10/mo. aren't worth it
Con Bullet Few advanced features
Con Bullet Weak smart home compatibility

Similarities

Mobile app

Home screen of the Reolink mobile app

You need the Reolink app to set up and control every camera the company sells. While some features are camera-specific, most of the features we tested are available on all of the cameras we reviewed:

  • Livestreaming video: You can watch a live feed on your phone; the app even has an option that shows multiple cameras at once so you don't need to switch views manually. The livestream interface also allows you to snap photos, record videos, view recordings, and control the pan-tilt-zoom settings of a camera.
  • Two-way audio: You can use the camera as a walkie-talkie to speak to people near the camera.
  • Motion detection sensitivity: You can adjust each camera's PIR motion sensor's sensitivity to prevent a push notification flood every time a car passes your house or video clips of the neighborhood birds (unless you're into that). It's also useful for saving battery power on cameras like the Reolink Argus 3 Pro and Reolink Go.
  • Siren and custom voice alerts: You can set each camera to sound a siren whenever detecting motion. But the best part is that you can choose between an alarm sound or record a custom voice alert up to five seconds long. Now your camera can say "who's there?" or "you should leave" to startle a trespasser into retreat.
Light Bulb
The Reolink app’s small joys

The Reolink app's dark mode, easy setup process, and links to support resources don't necessarily make it easier to use but really bring some polish to a great experience.

Local video storage

All of the wireless Reolink cameras we tested support local video storage on a microSD card up to 64 GB—the Reolink Argus 3 Pro supports up to 128 GB. Local storage has three significant benefits over cloud storage:

  • It's cheap (or free) for storing lots of videos without a subscription. It's cheap because even a 64 GB microSD card costs less than $15, with many models coming in lower than $10. But it's free if you already have a spare microSD card lying around (we recommend 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB for most folks).
  • It doesn't require the internet to save videos, which is helpful for rural locations with slow internet access or unstable connections. This means the IP camera does its job as long it has a power source.
  • It's private because the video clips don't go online unless you view them remotely using the mobile app. If you don't want to use the app, you can always insert the memory card into an adapter on your computer to offload videos.

You control the local storage settings from the mobile app, which allows you to format cards to prepare them for the cameras or erase recordings all at once. There's also the option to schedule when cameras record continuously or using motion detection.

There are plenty of settings to help increase storage longevity as well:

  • Enable the overwrite function of your camera to automatically delete the oldest clips and footage to make room for new videos.
  • Choose a lower video quality setting such as frame rate, bitrate, resolution, or any combination of the three. This might affect the overall quality of the videos, so we recommend starting with a lower frame rate (preserves picture quality at the expense of less smooth motion). If that doesn't work, decrease the bitrate and/or resolution (this affects image clarity).

Reolink has a great chart on its support site showing microSD card video capacities based on bitrate. (This is only useful because Reolink allows you to set the bitrate on its cameras.)

Checklist
Does Reolink require a subscription?

You don't need to pay for a Reolink Cloud subscription unless you want extra cloud storage or cloud storage on multiple cameras. You can access unlimited cameras from the app. If you put a microSD card in your camera, you can get local video storage that's accessible through the Reolink app.

Cloud video storage

Reolink's wireless cameras also have access to Reolink Cloud subscription plans to keep the video on a secure internet server instead of a physical card in the camera. We really like that Reolink offers a free cloud storage option, even if it is for a single camera—most rivals don't offer free plans.

Compare Reolink Cloud plans

PlanBasic PlanStandard PlanPremier PlanBusiness PlanBusiness Plan
Monthly price
$0.00
/mo
$4.99
/mo
$9.99
/mo
$14.99
/mo
$24.99
/mo
Annual price
$0.00
/yr
$49.99
/yr
$99.99
/yr
$149.99
/yr
$249.99
/yr
Number of cameras15102030
Video history7 days30 days30 days60 days60 days
Storage capacity1 GB30 GB80 GB150 GB250 GB

Info current as of 04/09/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Even among its paid plans, Reolink has competitive cloud pricing—it typically costs less than multi-camera plans from other brands like Arlo, Ring, and Google Nest. But those brands offer better features and cover more cameras once you go beyond $10 a month.

As you can expect, cloud storage has its own advantages:

  • Access to recordings anywhere you can connect to the internet. This is nice because you don't need to buy any extra equipment like a microSD card.
  • Cloud recordings are harder to steal. A tech-savvy burglar might take your camera or the microSD card to eliminate evidence, but hacking into the cloud for this purpose isn't part of an ordinary crook's arsenal.
  • To back up local recordings. Having recordings in multiple locations decreases your chances of losing a clip of your child's first steps to the digital ether.

Smart home compatibility

Beyond watching live video feeds on compatible smart displays using Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, there isn't any other way to control your Reolink cameras in a smart home. The Reolink Go doesn't work with any smart home platforms.

Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

Setting up Reolink cameras to work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant is different than you might expect from smart security cameras. Instead of previewing the video stream in the Alexa or Google Home apps, you need to view it on a smart display like Echo Show, Nest Hub, or a Chromecast. You do this by asking Alexa or Google to show a camera on the compatible display.

Bell
Noisy camera setup

Reolink cameras all make loud sounds and voice prompts during the setup process that can be annoying when working with multiple cameras. There's no way to mute these sounds, and placing your finger on the speaker goes only so far. Just a heads up to consider closing the door to avoid waking sleeping family members with your new cameras unintentionally.

Differences

Video quality

Resolution

Reolink offers various video resolutions, fields of view, and frame rates on its cameras, which results in equally varied performance on a camera-by-camera basis. This doesn't mean that the cameras don't produce great video quality—it just means that models like the E1 Zoom and Argus 3 Pro have an edge.

The video star of the Reolink cameras we tested is the E1 Zoom. It has a maximum resolution of 1920p (commonly called 5MP), which offers more detail than 2K security cameras like the Reolink Argus 3 Pro and Arlo Pro 4. It's nowhere near the quality of 2160p (4K), but few Wi-Fi security cameras can match it.

Another video standout is the Reolink Argus 3 Pro, which produces 1440p (2K) video that looks nearly as good as the E1 Zoom. Other than resolution, the biggest difference between the cameras is that Argus 3 Pro uses a digital zoom as opposed to the E1 Zoom's optical zoom.

Checklist
Which zoom is better—optical or digital?

Optical zooms are superior because they physically move the lens to focus on distant objects. Digital zoom scales up the size of the pixels, which reduces image clarity when zoomed in.

Both the Reolink Lumus and the Reolink Go top out at 1080p, which is standard among security cameras, so you can expect a clear picture with enough detail for recording and viewing live feeds.

Night vision

All of the Reolink cameras in this review have infrared night vision, but the Reolink Argus 3 Pro and Lumus both have bright spotlights that allow them to record color video at night. The Argus 3 Pro's spotlight is a little brighter, but the color night vision on both cameras does well at near to medium ranges from each camera.

Motion zones and privacy masks

Both the Reolink E1 Zoom and Reolink Lumus support motion zones and privacy masks. These tools are mostly useful for boosting your privacy but can save space on your video storage. Reolink doesn't offer these features on the Argus 3 Pro, but the Go has the privacy mask option.

  • Motion zones allow the cameras to ignore activity in certain parts of the frame, which cuts down on unnecessary recordings.
  • Privacy masks black out parts of the video feed to hide areas you don't want in recordings. These are best in spots where you deal with sensitive data like computer screens but can work for keeping hallway cameras from seeing inside bedrooms.

Internet connection

The Reolink cameras on this list connect to the internet in a variety of ways:

  • Wired cameras like the Reolink Lumus and Reolink E1 Zoom maintain a constant Wi-Fi connection since they don't have batteries. This makes it easy to preview them in the mobile app with minimal delays.
  • The Reolink Argus 3 Pro connects to Wi-Fi when necessary to upload cloud videos and interact with the mobile app. At other times, it switches these features off to save power.
  • The Reolink Go uses a 4G LTE cellular network to connect to the internet—it doesn't work with Wi-Fi. You need to pay for a cellular data plan in addition to any other Reolink subscription, but you gain outstanding portability as long as the camera has network access.

Power sources and weatherproofing

Reolink cameras work in a range of locations based on their power sources and weatherproofing. Battery-powered cameras like Argus 3 Pro and Go have the edge in portability but don't support continuous recording or other power-draining settings.

CameraReolink E1 ZoomReolink LumusReolink Argus 3 ProReolink Go
LocationIcon Tooltip  DarkIndoorIndoor/outdoorIndoor/outdoorIndoor/outdoor
Power sourceWiredWiredBattery, solar, wiredBattery, solar, wired
WeatherproofingIcon Tooltip  Dark
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightIP65
Icon Yes  LightIP65
Icon Yes  LightIP65
Light Bulb
How long do Reolink batteries last?

Battery-powered Reolink cameras don't have a specific battery life since this changes based on environmental conditions and activity levels. The company estimates that Reolink Argus 3 Pro and Reolink Go last up to one month on a full charge during normal usage (which aligns with our experience testing wire-free security cameras). It's a good idea to use a power cable or solar panel to keep your cameras running.

Reolink security camera reviews

Reolink Argus 3 Pro: Best overall

Best overall

*Amazon.com list price as of 04/09/2021 at 1:09 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The Reolink Argus 3 Pro is our favorite Reolink camera because it's essentially a budget version of the Arlo Pro 4, our top pick for wireless cameras. It shares many of the same traits as Arlo: 2K video quality, portability, and a bright spotlight. But it costs almost half as much and beats Arlo in terms of local storage and solar power, even if it doesn't sport as wide of a field of view.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Wire-free installation
Pro Bullet Works indoors and outdoors
Pro Bullet Wide field of view
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No removable battery
Con Bullet No motion zones

Among the Reolink cameras in this review, the Argus 3 Pro has the widest field of view at 122º, so it can see more of a given space. This pairs well with the camera's 1440p (2K) video to produce top-tier video quality. We wish the field of view were a little wider since most wireless cameras average around 130º, and many go even wider (160º on Arlo Pro 4), but it's good enough for most folks.

You won't find too many advanced features (like motion zones) on the Reolink Argus 3 Pro, though it supports smart motion detection (person and vehicle). Still, it comes with an awesome time-lapse feature if you put in a microSD card. This allows you to capture videos over a long time, resulting in a cinematic effect. Time-lapse isn't very practical for security but shows that the Argus 3 Pro has an artistic side.

This camera comes with weatherproofing and a built-in rechargeable battery, so you can use it indoors and outdoors as long as it's in range of a Wi-Fi network. You can't remove the battery, which means the camera won't be as useful as the battery ages and loses capacity. But you can buy a $25 Reolink solar panel to top it up outdoors. This solar panel is about half the cost of similar accessories for Arlo and Ring outdoor cameras.

Overall, we had a good experience testing the Reolink Argus 3 Pro and think it competes well with Arlo Pro 4 and Ring Stick Up Cam. We recommend it over those brands if you don't mind reduced smart home functionality, fewer advanced video settings, and a battery you can't swap out. Learn more in our full Reolink Argus 3 Pro review.

Light Bulb
Reolink Argus 2

The previous Argus model—Reolink Argus 2—is more affordable, uses lower 1080p resolution, and has a removable battery pack compared to the Argus 3 Pro. It's a good alternative if having a spotlight or high video resolution aren't your priorities. Learn more in our full Reolink Argus 2 review.

Reolink Lumus: Best value

Best value

*Amazon.com list price as of 04/09/2021 at 1:09 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The Reolink Lumus is almost like a "lite" version of the Argus. It doesn't have a battery and has a narrower field of view but provides crisp video indoors and outdoors for about half the price. Compared to other budget outdoor security cameras, we think Wyze and ZOSI are the only brands that perform just as well or better for a lower price.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Affordable
Pro Bullet Works indoors and outdoors
Pro Bullet Bright spotlight for color video at night
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Wired power source
Con Bullet Narrower field of view

Lumus's spotlight isn't as bright as the one on the Argus 3 Pro, but we think Lumus is the better option if you plan to regularly use the spotlight, since it doesn't have a battery. The Lumus's 1080p video resolution might be slightly lower but still produces videos with remarkable clarity at first glance. Once you zoom in on a video feed, you can see a clear difference in Lumus and Argus 3 Pro's quality, but neither compares to the optical zoom on the E1 Zoom.

At 100º, the field of view on the Reolink Lumus is fairly narrow, but it provides enough coverage when you mount it in a strategic location like the corner of a room or facing a side yard.

Notepad
Reolink Argus Eco

The Reolink Argus Eco (about $65) is a great budget alternative to the Reolink Lumus if you want the portability of a battery-powered camera. It doesn't have a bright spotlight for color night videos but is comparable to the Lumus in every other way.

Because the Lumus is an outdoor camera, its biggest disadvantage is the wired power supply. While the power cable is about 10 feet long, you still need to install the camera close enough to an outlet. To avoid having to snake the cord through a window or door, you probably need an outdoor outlet that's in a dry location like under an eave.

On the whole, the Reolink Lumus is a cheap security camera with a lot of potential indoors and outdoors. Its power cable makes it a little trickier to use outdoors than the battery-powered Wyze Cam Outdoor, but an affordable spotlight cam is hard to pass up.

Checklist
Add an outdoor outlet for Reolink Lumus

While we recommend using a cover for an outdoor outlet if possible, a bulb to outlet adapter can replace your porch light with Lumus as a motion-activated spotlight.

Bear in mind, this type of adapter isn't rated for outdoor use so putting it under an overhang in an enclosed light fixture is a must. Don't forget to leave the light switch on to keep your camera running.

Reolink E1 Zoom: Best video

Best video

*Amazon.com list price as of 04/09/2021 at 1:09 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Even though the Reolink E1 Zoom sits between the Lumus and Argus 3 Pro on price, it has the best video quality of any Reolink camera we tested. Part of this is down to the camera's impressive 1920p video resolution, but the rest comes down to the E1 Zoom's superior frame rate and optical zoom. It has some of the best video quality we've ever seen on a security camera, let alone one that costs under $100.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Video resolution up to 1920p
Pro Bullet 3x optical zoom
Pro Bullet Pan and tilt functionality
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Indoor only
Con Bullet No spotlight

The high video resolution combines with the optical zoom for better picture quality when looking at distant objects than other Reolink cameras. The camera also has very bright infrared LEDs for great nighttime viewing, though the spotlight of the Argus 3 Pro and Lumus isn't present. Uniquely, the E1 Zoom is the only camera on this list with a max frame rate of 20 frames per second (fps), giving it smoother video—the other cameras max out at 15 fps.

As a pan-tilt-zoom camera (PTZ), the Reolink E1 Zoom has another unique feature—it can use built-in motors to reposition its lens to point anywhere in a room. This works well when you place the unit on a shelf, better when you mount it on the wall, and is best when on a ceiling. We love that you can also create preset marks in the Reolink app that allow you to automatically move the camera to check out a specific door or window.

Perhaps the Reolink E1 Zoom's biggest downer is that you can't use it outdoors—it's not weatherproof. It also doesn't have automatic motion tracking or patrolling like another of our favorite pan-tilt cameras, the Wyze Cam Pan. Still, we doubt there's a better indoor camera out there for video.

Light Bulb
Reolink Argus PT

If you're willing to pay almost twice as much (about $140), the Reolink Argus PT is a wire-free outdoor pan-tilt camera alternative to the E1 Zoom. It doesn't use optical zoom and has only 1080p video, but the extra portability helps make up the difference. We still think the E1 Zoom is the better option, but it's good to know that Reolink makes outdoor pan-tilt cameras too.

Reolink Go: Best LTE camera

Best LTE camera

*Amazon.com list price as of 04/09/2021 at 1:09 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The Reolink Go is a special breed of security camera that foregoes Wi-Fi in favor of 4G LTE cellular data. This means it works far outside the range of a normal wireless camera, making it perfect for off-grid houses and cabins that don't have internet access but still have a cell signal. The closest competitor to this camera is the Arlo Go, but it's almost twice as expensive and has a lower video resolution.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Cellular data connection
Pro Bullet Comes with solar panel
Pro Bullet Comes with camouflage cover
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Requires SIM card
Con Bullet Requires mobile data plan
Con Bullet Short battery life

As you can imagine, cellular data is a big advantage, but it's not without drawbacks. First, you need a compatible SIM card. (We found this out the hard way by trying the wrong card first.) Ultimately, we used the US Mobile GSM SIM card (the white one), for our tests, and it worked well—we're big fans of US Mobile for this because the company offers data-only, pay-as-you-go plans that are relatively affordable.

Once you set up your cellular data plan, the camera is easy to use and yields 1080p videos with quality similar to that of the Reolink Lumus. The Reolink Go is not as responsive during video livestreams, but that's not much of a downside, considering it uses a different type of data than Wi-Fi cameras.

We're glad that the Reolink Go comes with a solar panel because its battery lasts only a few weeks otherwise. It can run using a USB cable too, but we don't think that's as useful when the camera's in its element far from civilization.

Reolink Go is weatherproof but also comes with a camouflage-color silicone cover for extra protection. It also includes a strap to mount on trees without using screws (though the solar panel mount still requires screws). Overall, Reolink Go is the best LTE security camera on the market, thanks to its relatively affordable price and great video quality.

Notepad
Reolink Go PT

As far as we can tell, there aren't any other retail security cameras like the Reolink Go PT, which adds pan-tilt motors to the original Reolink Go. It's not much more expensive than the Reolink Go, but its battery is smaller and non-removable, so there's a trade-off for the ability to point it wherever you need it.

Final word

We were skeptical about Reolink cameras like the Reolink Argus 3 Pro at first because they look great on paper, but the brand isn't as well-known as industry mainstays like Arlo, Nest, Ring, and Wyze. That skepticism faded fast after we started testing and using these cameras. Here's what we discovered:

  • Solar leader: Reolink is the best solar security camera brand since it sells add-on solar panels for a reasonable price.
  • Excellent feature standards: It lacks some advanced features from brands like Nest and Arlo (AI image processing, wide fields of view) but rivals or beats those competitors' standard features with cameras like the Reolink E1 Zoom.
  • Mid-price range: Reolink cameras are some of the best mid-priced cameras between $50 and $150, and no other LTE camera comes close to the Reolink Go.

See how Reolink compares on our wireless camera review, and stay tuned for future updates on that page as we test and review more security camera brands. For our thoughts on an older Reolink model, head over to our Reolink Argus 2 review.

How we reviewed

We tested all four Reolink cameras featured in this review to learn about their video quality, mobile app controls, recording settings, and installation. This is only a small selection of Reolink's overall lineup, but we chose these cameras to hopefully give you some insight into how the company approaches different product types.

During our tests, we tried the cameras in various lighting environments and took the Reolink Go to a nearby canyon park to see how it held up to rain and snow. Our indoor testing took place in a home office running in an apartment.

Reolink Go mounted on a tree

We mounted the Reolink Go on a tree for outdoor testing.

For now, we focused on standalone cameras and didn't test any Reolink NVR multi-camera systems, but we might add some in a future update. You can learn more about our testing practices by checking out our methodology page.

Reolink security cameras FAQ

Based on our experiences testing these cameras, we can say that Reolink cameras are good enough to match wireless camera brands like Arlo, Nest, Ring, and Wyze. They're some of our new favorites for mid-priced security cameras.

You won't find advanced features like AI image enhancements, package detection, and emergency call services that these other brands offer (though Reolink Argus 3 Pro has person and vehicle detection). But Reolink's video quality, camera selection, and cloud storage are competitive enough to satisfy most folks.

Plus, the cameras all come with a two-year warranty (it's surprising how rare this is among security cameras) and robust customer support.

Related articles on SafeWise


Disclaimers

*Amazon.com list price as of 04/09/2021 at 1:09 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.

†Google, Google Assistant, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over eight years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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  • mark

    Reolink is all good in the price for performance on the get go but their
    support is horrible. Imagine being asked to pay for a replacement
    camera (at a discount) just because they do not have stocks to replace a
    faulty battery that is well within warranty.

  • wadehyde

    Although I own some Reolink products that work well, I recently purchased a WiFi camera directly from Reolink which did not perform as I expected. (Upon further review, the company sold me an out-arguably of-date unit with a history of problematic connectivity issues.)

    Returning the device was a NIGHTMARE. Firstly, I was compelled to pay for return shipping. Furthermore, the company sent me convoluted instructions (written in broken English) on how to “properly” return the product. After sending the unit, they informed me that I didn’t follow the correct instructions saying, “You didn’t use the correct RMA number. In this case, the parcel will be defined as belongs to nobody then destroyed.” I replied, “I don’t care if didn’t follow your instructions to the letter. If this process is so damn important to you, why don’t you have a 21-century product return program?” The moral of the story – do NOT purchase anything directly from this manufacturer. Their products are okay but their service is TERRIBLE as you might not get a refund. (I paid using Paypal – I’m expecting they will refund my money regardless. If they don’t, I’ll be filing another complaint with them.)