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14 Best Home Security Cameras of 2018: Indoor & Outdoor

Written by: Rebecca Edwards  |   Updated: June 14, 2018
Cameras are one of the best ways to identify and catch burglars—especially with 52% of all residential burglaries taking place during the day when nobody’s home. 1

Security cameras are a key component in home security systems and come in many types with a multitude of features. With so much to choose from, it's hard to know which security camera is right for you. This guide gives you the information you need to find the best security camera to make your home and family safer.

Top Monitored Camera

Frontpoint Ultimate

Best Monitored Home Security with HD cameras available.

Vimtag VT-361 PTZ Cloud Camera

Best for your budget

Amcrest ProHD

Best security camera for high-definition images

Important Security Camera Features

Below are some of the important features to keep in mind when comparing home security cameras.

Motion Detection

Cameras with motion detection can send you notifications when the camera observes motion within its field of view. These notifications can alert you to suspicious activity so you can monitor the situation.

Field of View

Field of view refers to how wide an angle a camera can record. This is important because it will affect how many cameras you’ll need and where you should place them.

Sound

The sound feature can refer to your camera receiving sound via a microphone, emitting sound via a speaker, or both. Cameras with both can double as intercoms.

Wi-Fi Capability

A camera with Wi-Fi can communicate with your home network wirelessly, which can be very handy for installation, and is also less susceptible to being disabled because it doesn’t have wires that could be cut.

Night Vision

The distance from which your camera can record images in low- to no-light situations can have a great impact on its effectiveness because often criminal activity can happen at night.

Movement

A camera that can pan and/or tilt may be able to record a larger area than a static camera and therefore reduce the total number of cameras needed to observe a particular area.

Cost

Obviously, if a camera costs so much that you can no longer afford the valuables you’re trying to protect with it, then it doesn’t serve a purpose. Cost is a factor for every purchasing decision.

Resolution

Resolution defines how clear the image from your camera will be. A clearly visible image is very helpful when trying to identify faces or items in the images your camera records.

Top home security cameras

Types of Security Cameras

The simplest way to think about the types of security cameras is to break them down into two groups: indoor cameras and outdoor cameras. While each of these groups have different styles of cameras within them, those differences will become apparent when you compare features, so separating them further isn’t necessary. For instance, none of the cameras we talk about in this guide are dome cameras, not because dome cameras are of lower quality, but because they simply aren’t necessary for most home security camera systems.

Both types of security cameras are available as stand-alone units with monitoring apps or as part of subscription-based home security monitoring systems. In this guide, we compare the top indoor and outdoor security cameras as well as the combinations of cameras available through the top subscription monitoring services.

Indoor Home Security Cameras

Indoor cameras are the cornerstone of a good home security system. We researched dozens of indoor home security cameras and found these to be a consumer's best bet. The cameras in this chart have Wi-Fi capability and can be monitored online and on your smartphone via each camera’s corresponding app.

Camera
Resolution
Pros
Cons
Price
Vimtag VT-361 PTZ Cloud Camera Vimtag VT-361 PTZ Cloud Camera Read Review
  • Resolution
  • 720p
  • Pros
  • 120° Pan and 320° Tilt
  • Mic and Speaker for 2-Way Talkback
  • Low Price
  • Cons
  • Unknown Static Field of View
Nest Cam Indoor Nest Cam Indoor Read Review
  • Resolution
  • 1080p
  • Pros
  • Good Resolution
  • Huge 130° Field of View
  • Mic and Speaker for 2-Way Talkback
  • Cons
  • Unknown Night Vision Distance
  • High Cost
  • No Movement
Arlo Wire-Free VMS3130 Arlo Wire-Free VMS3130 Read Review
  • Resolution
  • 720p
  • Pros
  • Good Night Vision Range of 25 Feet
  • Good 110° Field of View
  • Ability to Be Used Outdoors
  • Cons
  • No Sound Capabilities
  • High Price
  • Resolution
  • 1080p
  • Pros
  • Good Resolution
  • Great Night Vision Range of 32 Feet
  • Mic and Speaker for 2-Way Talkback
  • Cons
  • High Cost
D-Link Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-5020L) D-Link Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-5020L) Read Review
  • Resolution
  • VGA
  • Pros
  • 340° Pan and 120° Tilt
  • Built-in Mic
  • Easy Setup
  • Cons
  • No Compatibility with Windows 10
  • No Built-in Storage

Indoor Security Camera Features

Our team of experts compared the most important features people consider to determine the best home security camera. All the cameras on our list offer a mobile app and include live video streaming, digital zoom, and night vision. Every indoor security camera also features motion detection. Here’s a look at how our top security cameras line up on other vital factors.

 

Vimtag VT-361 PTZ Cloud Camera

Check Price on Amazon

Nest Cam Indoor

Check Price on Amazon

Arlo Wire-Free VMS3130

Check Price on Amazon

Amcrest ProHD

Check Price on Amazon

D-Link Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-5020L)

Check Price on Amazon
Connectivity

Wi-Fi

Wired/Wi-Fi

Wired

Wired/Wi-Fi

Wired/Wi-Fi

Field of View (Degrees)

120

130

110

90

55

Video Resolution

720p

1080p

720p

1080p

VGA

Frames/Second

25

30

24

30

20

Pan and Tilt

Both

Pan only

Pan only

Both

Both

Notifications

Email, Push

Email, Push

Email, Push

Push

Email

Storage

SD Card

Cloud

Cloud

SD Card, Cloud

None

Smart Home Integration

None

Amazon Alexa, IFTTT

None

None

None

Warranty

1-year

2-year

1-year

1-year

1-year

Alarm×××
Two-Way Audio××

Outdoor Home Security Cameras

Below are the best stand-alone outdoor cameras we researched. The cameras in this chart are wall-mounted cameras and can be monitored through online applications. Not all information is available for all cameras.

Camera
Resolution
Pros
Cons
Price
Amcrest ProHD Amcrest ProHD Read Review
  • Resolution
  • 3MP
  • Pros
  • Great Resolution
  • High Waterproof Rating
  • Night Vision up to 98 Feet
  • Cons
  • Fragile Antenna
  • Limited Wi-Fi Range
  • No Sound Capabilities
Nest Cam Outdoor Nest Cam Outdoor Read Review
  • Resolution
  • 1080p
  • Pros
  • Smart Home Integration
  • 130° Wide-Angle View
  • Two-Way Talk
  • Cons
  • No Pan/Tilt Function
  • Subscription Required for Some Features
Ring Floodlight Camera Ring Floodlight Camera Read Review
  • Resolution
  • 1080p
  • Pros
  • 110-Decibel Alarm
  • 270° Motion Detection
  • Built-in Floodlights
  • Cons
  • High Price
  • Hardwiring Requirement
  • No Weatherproof Rating
Phylink Bullet HD Phylink Bullet HD Read Review
  • Resolution
  • 1080p
  • Pros
  • Multiple Storage Options
  • Good Resolution
  • Built-in Mic
  • Cons
  • Low Night Vision of 30 Feet
  • No Zoom
  • Software Problems
ZOSI 960H CCTV Camera ZOSI 960H CCTV Camera Read Review
  • Resolution
  • 1000 TVL
  • Pros
  • Low Price
  • Vandal-Resistant Housing
  • Great Night Vision
  • Cons
  • No Pan and Tilt Capability
  • No Sound Capabilities
  • No Wi-Fi Capability

Outdoor Security Camera Features

Once again, we compared the most desired features in outdoor security cameras. Every camera on our list has a mobile app, live video streaming, digital zoom, and night vision. This table breaks down how they compare on other important factors.

 

Amcrest ProHD

Check Price on Amazon

Nest Cam Outdoor

Check Price on Amazon

Ring Floodlight Camera

Check Price on Amazon

Phylink Bullet HD

Check Price on Amazon

ZOSI 960H

Check Price on Amazon
Connectivity

Wired/Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

Wired

Field of View (Degrees)

100

130

140

90

72

Video Resolution

3MP

1080p

1080p

1080p

1000 TVL

Frames/Second

20

30

N/A

30

N/A

Pan and Tilt

Both

None

None

None

None

Notifications

Email, Push

Push

Push

Email, Push

None

Storage

Cloud, MicroSD, NAS, FTP, NVR

Cloud

Cloud

MicroSD, FTP, Dropbox, NAS, NVR

DVR

Smart Home Integration

None

Amazon Alexa, IFTTT

SmartThings, Wink, IFTTT

None

None

Waterproof Rating

IP67

IP65

Not rated

IP66

IP67

Warranty

1-year

2-year

1-year

1-year

1-year

Live Streaming×
Digital Zoom××
Alarm××××
Motion Detection×
Two-Way Audio××

Monitored Home Security Camera Systems

One advantage of ordering a monitored system is that you don’t need to worry about the details of each specific camera because you can talk with the home security company’s representative for help picking the system with the appropriate cameras to accommodate your needs. Each company’s cameras will have the functionality to work best with its system, eliminating guesswork. Below you will find the home security monitoring services with the best camera and functionality combinations.

Frontpoint Ultimate

Top Pick
  • Cameras Available
  • Wireless Indoor Cam
  • Wireless Outdoor Cam
  • Wireless Pan & Tilt Cam
  • Doorbell Cam
  • Pros
  • Great Resolution
  • High Waterproof Rating
  • Night Vision up to 98 Feet
  • Cons
  • Fragile Antenna
  • Limited Wi-Fi Range
  • No Sound Capabilities

Vivint Smart Control

  • Cameras Available
  • Indoor Fixed Cam
  • Indoor Pan & Tilt Cam
  • Outdoor Cam
  • Doorbell Cam
  • Pros
  • Free Professional Installation
  • Many Camera Options
  • One Camera Included with Subscription
  • Cons
  • Pan and Tilt Costs Extra
  • Monthly Cost is Over $50
  • Contract Is Long

ADT Pulse Video Service

  • Cameras Available
  • Indoor Wireless Cam
  • Indoor Infrared Cam
  • Doorbell Cam
  • Pros
  • Low Startup Cost
  • Unlimited Cloud Storage
  • Lifetime Equipment Warranty
  • Cons
  • Outdoor Cams Cost Extra
  • Monthly Cost Over $50
  • No Pan & Tilt Functions

Protect America Copper

  • Cameras Available
  • Wireless Indoor Cam
  • Wireless Indoor Pan & Tilt
  • Pros
  • Low Monthly Cost
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Activation
  • Cons
  • No Outdoor Cameras

Things to Consider When Buying a Home Security Camera

Security Camera vs Surveillance Camera

While the terms are regularly used interchangeably, there is a slight difference between security cameras and surveillance cameras. The difference is whether a camera is passive or active. Surveillance cameras are passive. They observe and/or record whatever is happening in their field of view. Security cameras are active. They alert people to unexpected events within their field of view. This distinction can be very subtle or very large depending on the circumstances of a particular situation. For instance, if a surveillance camera sends a constant feed to a monitor that is continually viewed by a security guard, it is essentially functioning as a security camera because simply by viewing the feed from the camera the guard would be alerted to anything unexpected happening within its field of view. However, most modern security cameras have the ability to detect motion and send alerts to owners or authorities via text or emails.

What do you need from a security camera?

Finding the best home security camera comes down to whether it meets your specific needs. Do you want a security camera to deter burglars, or are you more interested in keeping an eye on children or pets? Before you dive into the specs and features of different home security cameras, take the time to identify why you want the camera and what you need it to do.

If you’re concerned about break-ins or keeping deliveries safe, an outdoor security camera with motion alerts might be the best fit. Check in on kids after school, or tell Fido to give the barking a rest with an indoor security camera that can provide live streaming and two-way talk.

Will you use the camera inside or outside?

Once you've decided on an indoor or outdoor security camera (or both!) there are other factors to consider. Outdoor cameras need to withstand changes in temperature and be sturdy enough to survive rain or high winds.

Indoor security cameras don’t need to be quite as tough as the ones you install outside, but they should be unobtrusive. Many people look for indoor cameras designed to complement their home’s décor. For both types of security cameras, note how they’re powered and consider the proximity of a power source if they don’t run on batteries. The last thing you need is a dead security camera when it matters most.

How much area do you need to cover?

Security cameras come with different fields of view, which refers to how much of your home or yard you can see at any one time. This can make a big impact on the type and number of security cameras you need to ensure full coverage.

If you want to watch over more than one room or outdoor area, look for a home security camera system that lets you hook up multiple cameras. It should also allow different users to receive alerts and check in on what’s happening. That way, if you’re in a meeting when something happens, your spouse or a neighbor could also get the alert. Another feature that can help you cover more area is the ability to pan and tilt the security camera.

Do you need audio from your security camera?

There’s no reason to limit the power of your camera surveillance system to visuals only. Some security cameras have both sound and motion alerts, which provide extra protection. But these cameras usually let you only listen in and don’t accommodate two-way audio.

If you want to give directions to a delivery person or scare away a potential intruder, two-way talk is the way to go. These home security cameras work like an intercom. They have a mic that picks up sound near the camera, plus a speaker that lets you interact with people or pets on the other end.

What about lighting?

The sun never sets on neighborhood crime. That’s why you need a home security camera that captures crisp images in all kinds of light. We’ve all dealt with photos that are too dark to make out any details. It’s frustrating when it’s a wedding photo, but it’s nerve-racking when you’re trying to capture a face or license plate after a break-in.

Pay attention to the lighting in the areas where you want to install security cameras. Look for features like night vision and motion-activated floodlights—especially for outdoor security cameras. And beware of using an indoor camera to look outside; they can’t usually capture images through a window or after dark.

Image resolution can also impact the quality of home security footage. Make sure the camera you choose produces high-resolution images that can help identify culprits if your home is ever targeted.

What about home automation?

Today there’s a lot more to a home security camera than video surveillance. Many of the best security camera systems also help turn your house into a smart home. Security cameras can often integrate with a smart home hub like Amazon Echo or Google Home.

This can give you a huge home security advantage—the ability to remotely control lights, door locks, and your security cameras. You can also program your system to boost security measures when you’re out of town or during the holidays when lots of packages are delivered. If home automation is something that matters to you, keep this in mind when selecting your security camera.

Do I have enough internet bandwidth to support the camera?

Home surveillance cameras that stream video and send alerts via email and text can use up a lot of data on your home network. How much bandwidth your camera uses depends on many factors. Some of the considerations include image resolution and whether your camera records everything or only clips triggered by motion or sound.

Another consideration is the number of cameras in your surveillance camera system. The more devices on the network, the more data they’ll use. If you have caps on your internet data usage, make sure you understand how your security camera(s) could impact your monthly bill. You should also verify that your router can handle the extra devices and output—especially if you plan on using wireless security cameras.

You don’t fool around when it comes to keeping your home and family safe, and neither do we. A home security camera is just one part of protecting what matters. If you’re ready for a full-on defense against burglars, vandals, and stolen packages, check out our comprehensive collection of safety insights, tips, and expert advice.

  1. FBI Uniform Crime Reporting, “2015 Crime in the United States—Table 7

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