Best Motion Sensor Security Cameras of 2021

Our research and testing led us to the Arlo Pro 4, but don’t miss our other camera picks’ specialties.
Best overall
Arlo Pro 4
Arlo Pro 4
4.6 out of 5 stars
4.55
  • Icon Pros  Light
    1440p (2k) resolution
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Built-in siren
  • Icon Pros  Light
    e911 service
Best for budgets
Reolink Lumus
Reolink Lumus
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
  • Icon Pros  Light
    1080p resolution
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Built-in siren
  • Icon Cons  Light
    No e911 service
Best doorbell camera
Nest Doorbell
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
  • Icon Pros  Light
    960 x 1280p resolution
  • Icon Cons  Light
    No siren
  • Icon Pros  Light
    e911 service
Best pan camera
Reolink E1 Pro
Reolink E1 Zoom
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.45
  • Icon Pros  Light
    2560x1920p resolution
  • Icon Cons  Light
    No siren
  • Icon Cons  Light
    No e911 service
Best solar camera
Zumimall Solar Camera
3.6 out of 5 stars
3.55
  • Icon Pros  Light
    1080p resolution
  • Icon Cons  Light
    No siren
  • Icon Cons  Light
    No e911service

Most security cameras have motion detection, but not all of them do it well. We found that the Arlo Pro 4 is motion-sensor camera royalty. It wins the crown with super-sensitive motion detection and AI that can distinguish between everything from a package to a pigeon, cutting down on false alarms.

During our research, we also found the best camera for those on a budget, the best doorbell camera, and some other unique cameras to fit your needs.



Comparison table heading

Camera
Price
Human detection
Field of view
Local storage
Learn more
Best overall
Arlo Pro 4Arlo Pro 4
Icon Yes  LightYes
160°
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best for budgets
Reolink LumusReolink Lumus
Icon No  LightNo
130°
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best doorbell camera
Nest Doorbell**
Icon Yes  LightYes
145°
Icon No  LightNo
Best pan camera
Reolink E1 ProReolink E1 Zoom
Icon No  LightNo
130°
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best solar camera
Zumimall Solar Camera
Icon Yes  LightYes
120°
Icon Yes  LightYes

*Amazon.com price as of 08/25/2021 at 2:30 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

**"Google, Google Nest Secure, [any other related Google Products] and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

Best motion sensor security cameras reviews

1. Arlo Pro 4: Best overall

Best overall
Arlo Pro 4
Arlo Pro 4
Our Rating
4.6 out of 5 stars
4.55
$199.99

Amazon.com price as of 08/25/2021 at 2:30 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Arlo Pro 4 is one of our favorite security cameras because it offers solid features like a wide field of view and compatibility with almost everything.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Color night vision
Pro Bullet Wide field of view
Pro Bullet Compatible with Alexa, Google, more
Pro Bullet Light and siren
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No facial recognition
Con Bullet Best features behind paywall
  • 1440p (2k) resolution
  • 160° diagonal field of view
  • Local storage option (sold separately)
  • Siren
  • Light
  • 12x zoom
  • Two-way audio
  • e911
  • Noise-canceling microphone
  • Camera viewing options on the app and web dashboard
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings

We found the motion detector super sensitive, but that’s a good thing. Nothing gets past this camera. Don’t get us wrong, the constant push notifications can get aggravating. Luckily, you can adjust the sensitivity of the sensor until you feel like Goldielocks and everything is just right.

The Arlo Pro 4 rocks motion detection and audio detection. It can pick up noises and send you notifications when it hears something suspicious. You could use it to find out if your dog barks a lot during the day while you’re at work. Or it could potentially hear an intruder long before the shifty person sets off the motion detector.

You can also set the Arlo so the siren and/or light go off when the camera detects motion. The light makes getting to your front door safer at night. We also love that the light and siren can scare an unsuspecting intruder and get them to move along.

Paid features

The Arlo Secure subscription plan is only $2.99 per month for one camera or $9.99 per month for unlimited cameras. This is a pretty standard camera-plan cost.

If you spring for the Arlo subscription, your camera gets smarter. And you get a lot of useful features to add another layer of security to the Arlo Pro 4 that can save time in an emergency, put a halt to false alarms, and upgrade motion detection.

While the AI doesn’t work perfectly in the beginning, it learns and gets better over time. Knowing the difference between your neighbor’s cat, a car, and a potential intruder can save you a lot of false alarm notifications. Nobody’s got time for that.

The subscription also features different detection zones to keep your motion detector camera focused on movement in certain areas. That’s a feature that’s free on most cameras, so that was aggravating.

There’s a premium subscription plan called Arlo Secure Plus ($14.99 per month); its only extra feature is e911. Even though that’s a big price jump for just one feature, we think e911 service is handy. See an intruder on your live camera feed? Call the authorities without even leaving the app. Every second counts.

For more, read our full review of Arlo Pro 4.

2. Reolink Lumus: Best for budgets

Best for budgets
Reolink Lumus
Reolink Lumus
Our Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
$49.99

Amazon.com price as of 08/25/2021 at 2:30 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

We love the Arlo Pro 4, but its price makes it a big “nope” for many, so we found a more affordable version that’s almost as good: Reolink Lumus. At just under $50, the Lumus is reasonably priced, especially if you want to put up more than one camera. And Reolink features aren’t kept behind a paywall.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Floodlight and siren
Pro Bullet Privacy masks
Pro Bullet Advanced recording ability
Pro Bullet Advanced motion zone creation
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No facial recognition

Plus, the Reolink Lumus has these features:

  • SD card or NVR local storage options
  • Siren
  • Light
  • 1080p resolution
  • 130° field of view
  • Two-way audio
  • Camera viewing options on the app and web dashboard
  • Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Night vision up to 33 feet

Though it has a narrower field of view and no e911, Lumus one-ups Arlo with privacy masks. Privacy masks prevent your camera from recording iffy areas within its viewing range. You can prevent it from recording your neighbor’s backyard or your pool area for extra privacy.

Motion detection

Okay, all those bells and whistles are nice, but what about the motion detection? Lumus can’t tell the difference between a human and a hippo, unlike Arlo. It does have some tricks up its sleeve, though.

Lumus will start recording four seconds before the camera detects motion—meaning the camera can capture potentially important evidence of a crime.

Lumus also features customizable motion zones to halt annoying, unwanted notifications. Most camera apps (looking at you, Arlo) make you set up a motion zone by adjusting a square or rectangle around the area you want to monitor. With Lumus, you can block out areas you don’t want to monitor by drawing shapes on the screen with your finger or a stylus, granting you a lot more control.

See where Lumus ranks on our best security cameras under $50 list.

3. Nest Doorbell: Best doorbell camera

Best doorbell camera
Nest Doorbell
Our Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
$179.99

The Nest Doorbell (2021 version) is on the pricier side, but when it comes to motion and AI features, it’s top dog. The camera can tell the difference between a car, package, human, or pet, so you get fewer false alerts. Even better, it recognizes familiar faces. Yup, that’s right. This doorbell camera can learn the difference between your mom’s face and your best friends. And it can even tell you when they’re at the door thanks to a feature called Familiar Faces.

Other than that, it has some decent specs:

  • 960 x 1280p resolution
  • 145° field of view
  • Two-way audio
  • e911
  • Works with Google Assistant
  • Night vision up to 10 feet
Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Facial recognition
Pro Bullet Pre-set responses
Pro Bullet 3 hours free camera storage
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No color night vision
Con Bullet Limited viewing distance at night

You can set up what types of alerts you want. Get alerts when a package is delivered, when the doorbell sees a person, or when anything triggers the motion sensor if you’re super vigilant about what’s walking on your freshly laid sod. You can also use the app to answer the door automatically with pre-set responses.

Unlike with other doorbell cameras (like Ring), you can see up to three hours of camera history for free. That means you don’t need to sign up for a subscription.

We also adore the versatility. It comes in four colors, which is unheard of when it comes to doorbell cameras. It also features wired or wireless installation.

It doesn’t have color night vision, but we’ll forgive Nest for this oversight since the rest of the doorbell camera is so cool.

4. Reolink E1 Zoom: Best pan camera

Best pan camera
Reolink E1 Pro
Reolink E1 Zoom
Our Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.45
$64.99
/mo

Amazon.com price as of 08/25/2021 at 2:30 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The Reolink E1 Zoom can rotate a whopping 355° horizontally and 50° vertically, capturing more footage than any other camera on this list. Plus, it’s tiny, so it would be a great hidden camera for a nanny cam.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Wide viewing range
Pro Bullet Local storage options
Pro Bullet App and web dashboard video viewing
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No facial recognition

It also includes some decent features:

  • 2560 x 1920p resolution
  • SD card or NVR local storage options
  • 130° diagonal field of view
  • Two-way audio
  • 3x zoom
  • Camera viewing options on the app and web dashboard
  • Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Night vision up to 40 feet

Like its brother, Reolink Lumus, you can customize your motion zones and set up privacy masks to customize when recordings are triggered and what the camera can record.

Another thing we like about Reolink cameras is you can use the app and a web dashboard to check on your camera. Looking at footage on a big monitor instead of a tiny phone screen can be a blessing for tired eyes. Our older eyes definitely appreciated the option.

5. Zumimall Solar Camera: Best solar camera

Best solar camera
Zumimall Solar Camera
Our Rating
3.6 out of 5 stars
3.55
$99.99
/mo

Amazon.com price as of 08/25/2021 at 2:30 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The Zumimall Solar Camera lets you forget about charging batteries or installing wires. The solar panel can hold enough juice to keep your camera recording around the clock. 

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Long night vision distance
Pro Bullet Local storage options
Pro Bullet Notification scheduling
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No facial recognition
Con Bullet No Alexa or Google Assistant compatibility

It has solid features too:

  • 1080p resolution
  • SD card local storage options
  • 120° diagonal field of view
  • Two-way audio
  • Noise-canceling microphone
  • Night vision up to 55 feet

Zumimall isn’t as stellar as the other cameras on this list when it comes to motion detection, but that’s typical for solar cameras. They’re usually light on options in general. Zumimall has a solid grasp of the basics, though.

You can customize motion detection sensitivity and turn on a feature that will only detect humans. The human-only feature drastically cuts down on unnecessary push notifications.

You can also use the app to adjust when you want the camera to notify you of motion. Kids or pets outside running amok? Turn off the notifications for playtime so you don’t get a bazillion notifications blowing up your phone. When playtime is over, the notifications will automatically start up again.

Find more of our solar top picks here.

More brands we considered

While these cameras are awesome, they didn’t make the cut for our best motion sensor security cameras list.

Nest Cam (2021 version)

The Nest Cam not only detects movement, but it can also put a face with a name, just like the Nest Doorbell. Google’s latest camera also comes with these:

  • Professional installation options
  • A magnetic mount for easy charging
  • Three free hours of video storage

We love this camera, but since it’s just on preorder right now, we’re holding off on giving it a higher spot on the list.

Take a look at these other Google Nest Cameras.

Argus 3 Pro

Though it’s a favorite here at SafeWise, the Reolink Argus 3 Pro didn’t make it onto our top pick list. It doesn’t have the motion detection features that the Lumus and the E1 Zoom sport. If Reolink just added the advanced motion features to this security camera, it would be our top pick.

We’ve got more about the Argus 3 Pro in our review.

Final word heading

The Arlo Pro 4 is the perfect mix of useful features and quality motion detection. We love its wide field of view, package detection, and that it works so darn good you have to throttle it back.

If you’re on a budget, don’t overlook the Argus Lumus. It may be cheap, but it’s far from trash. It provides quality video and a bevy of features that rival more expensive cameras.

Still on the fence? Take a look at our home security camera top picks.

How we reviewed motion sensor security cameras

It took hours of research and comparison coupled with dozens of years of safety and security expertise to choose the top motion sensor security cameras for this list. We focused on cameras that don’t just detect motion but do it well. Only cameras that provided advanced motion detection combined with quality features made the list.

We also hand-tested many of these cameras. For real-life comparisons, we even had our pets give the motion sensors a run for their money.

Learn more about how we review products and services by visiting our Safewise methodology page.

FAQ

A PIR motion sensor (passive infrared sensor) is used on many security cameras to detect movement. PIR sensors detect movement by measuring the heat that is emitted from objects around them.

PIR security camera technology is pretty basic because the motion sensor can’t tell what it’s looking at; it just knows that a thing is moving. To beef up detection, AI technology is often combined with PIR sensors to detect whether an object is a person or your latest delivery from Amazon.

There are many different types of motion detectors. They all have one thing in common: they measure changes in the space around them to determine if there is movement.

Some measure the light or radiation emitted from objects. Others sense vibrations. Once the data is collected, it sends a signal to your security system or an app on your phone. You can learn more about it in our guide to motion detectors.

Some do, and some don’t. Typically, motion sensor cameras only record when they detect movement to save memory space and battery life. Plus, limited recordings save you from wading through hours of footage to find an event. Typically, brands will require you to sign up for their subscription plan to get 24/7 recording.

They run around $50 to $250.

Related articles on SafeWise


Disclaimer

*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 Nest Secure, [any other related Google Products] and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

Alina Bradford
Written by
Alina Bradford
Alina has been reviewing the latest tech for more than a decade and has contributed her insights to CNET, CBS, Digital Trends, MTV, Top Ten Reviews, and many others. She specializes in smart home and security technology, working to make gadgets less mystifying one article at a time. In the early 2000s, Alina worked as a volunteer firefighter, earning her first responder certification. Her activities aren’t nearly as dangerous today. Her hobbies include fixing up her 100-year-old house, doing artsy stuff, and going to the lake with her family.

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