We like the Reolink Argus 3 Pro for its simple DIY setup, cheap price tag, and easy-to-use app. You can pick up the camera and compatible Reolink solar panel for around $115, and it’s a snap to install. The Argus 3 Pro also has impressive solar power, a good picture, and clear starlight night vision. Whether you’re trying to go green, save money on the power bill, or keep an eye on a garage or barn, this is a solid, affordable choice.
The Best Solar-Powered Security Cameras
Compare the best solar-powered security cameras
|Best overall||$119.99||Micro SD card,|
7 days free cloud storage
|View pricing||Read Review|
|Runner up||$148.99||Ring Protect plan required||IPX5|
|View on Amazon||Read Review|
|Budget pick||$79.99||Micro SD card, cloud||IP65|
|View on Amazon||Read Review|
|Versatile pick||$199.95||Micro SD card||IP44|
|View on Amazon||Read Review|
*Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.
1. Reolink Argus 3 Pro: Best overall
When it comes to affordable outdoor wireless security, the Argus 3 Pro delivers. This security camera is plug and play, and nearly every feature is customizable—from motion detector sensitivity to image resolution. In the app, you can configure the types of alerts and alarms you want and view a live video feed.
The camera also comes with two storage options: a micro SD card or seven days of free cloud storage. If you add extra cameras or want more cloud storage, Reolink also offers plans that can support up to 10 cameras with 30 days of storage.
The Argus 3 Pro is a step-up from the Argus 2, thanks to the addition of a spotlight. If you don't think you need a spotlight, the Argus 2 is still an excellent (and slightly more affordable) choice.
Read our full review to see how the Reolink Argus 3 Pro performed in our hands-on test.
2. Ring Stick Up Cam Solar: Runner up
The Ring Stick Up Cam provides extra security and convenience because it lets you interact with people on your property from your smartphone, laptop, or tablet. It was one of the first solar-powered security cameras to offer two-way talk, and it works with Amazon Alexa for voice control.
One of the coolest things about this outdoor security camera is that it can be part of the larger Ring Alarm security system. Most home security camera systems don’t offer solar power options, so this is a big advantage if you want to extend your home’s protection to more remote spots on your property.
This solar-powered Ring camera also comes with a theft protection guarantee. If your Stick Up Cam gets snatched, Ring will replace it for free. But that’s one of the only things you get for free.
Live video streaming comes standard, but if you want to record and save video, you’ll need a Ring Protect Plan, which starts around $3 a month. For around $20 per month you can get the Ring Protect Pro subscription, which includes 3GB of backup internet to keep your cameras running even when there's an outage.
- 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
3. Zumimall Solar Powered Surveillance Camera: Budget pick
For a solar-powered security camera priced just under $100, the Zumimall has a lot of high-tech bells and whistles. Our favorite feature is the 55-foot range night vision, made possible by four infrared LEDs. The camera's motion sensor only detects movement up to 32 feet away, but the longer night vision range ensures you can clearly see who (or what) is moving around out there.
The perk of a solar-powered camera is, of course, its ability to continuously charge in sunny weather. The Zumimall supposedly holds its charge for 3 to 6 months, which should be plenty of time for the sun to peek out and charge the camera again.
This smart security camera includes two-way audio with noise cancellation for clear sound.
This solar-powered camera performs best when mounted in a sunny area; video quality and motion sensitivity decreases in shadowy locations. Like many other cheap security cameras on the market, the Zumimall only works with 2.4Ghz wifi and records clips only when motion is detected. A small percentage of reviewers note issues with the battery, SD card storage, and Wi-Fi connection.
4. Maxsa Motion-Activated Solar Security Camera and Floodlight: Versatile pick
We like the Maxsa solar-powered home security device because it combines motion-activated floodlights with a wireless security camera to capture all the action on your property. All the settings are fully customizable, including how long the light stays on when activated and the sensitivity of both the motion sensor and the daylight trigger.
Even with adjustable settings, some customers still find the motion sensor to be too sensitive, triggering nearly constant recording but not always capturing movement in the videos. This is a glitch that can drain the floodlight camera's battery quickly, especially when you’re counting on sunshine for power.
This solar-powered motion sensor light and camera comes with a 16GB memory card, but you can upgrade to a 64GB memory card or download video to a computer. One thing to note is that users have had a hard time getting the camera to sync up for proper date and time stamping. We recommend including that information in the name of any videos you download
Things to consider in a solar security camera
There are two things to consider when it comes to the placement of your solar-powered security camera. The first is where you want the camera to be installed for maximum protection, and the second is where the solar panel needs to be placed for maximum sun exposure.
To keep your solar-powered security camera up and running, you need enough peak sun-hours to get it fully charged. Peak sun-hours are classified as an hour in which the sun provides 1,000 watts of power per square meter. The measurement refers to the intensity of sunlight, rather than the amount of time the sun is shining.
Peak sun hours typically occur when the sun is at its highest point and can vary depending on season and location. Some guidelines to help you harness as much solar power as possible include placing your solar panel in a south-facing spot that gets full sunlight for at least six hours per day.
Depending on how long the cable is that attaches your camera to the panel, you might need to adjust your choice for camera placement. We recommend identifying your desired camera placement before deciding which solar camera to buy.
When you count on an outdoor device to keep your home and family safe, you need to make sure it can stand up to the elements. Every outdoor solar camera we recommend has a weatherproof rating that lets you know how well it withstands dust and water.
Weatherproof, or Ingress Protection (IP) ratings, rank devices and device casing based on how much dust and water can get into the device.
Water standards range from IPX0 that offers zero protection from water to IPX7 that means the product can withstand 30 minutes of submersion in up to one meter of water. There is an IPX8 rating that is defined by the manufacturer as better than IPX7.
Dust standards range from IPX0 that indicates no protection against dust and other objects entering the device to IPX6, which means the device is impervious to dust and other objects.
IP ratings are often displayed as IP65, which indicates the waterproof rating first (6) followed by the dustproof rating. If you see a rating with an X in the middle, that means the item is rated only for one factor.
Solar camera FAQ
Because home security cameras need to be on the job 24/7, they can use up a good chunk of electricity. You’ll definitely keep your power bill from taking an extra hit with solar-powered cameras, but the amount of savings will vary from home to home.
Most of the solar-powered security cameras we recommend include rechargeable battery backup that can keep your camera working for anywhere from 12 hours to three days.
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