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Best Home Security Cameras for 2020

We’ve picked the best home security cameras based on image quality, price, smart features, and more.
Written by | Updated October 15, 2020
Best wireless cam
Arlo Pro 3Arlo Pro 3
  • 100% wire-free operation
  • Quick, easy setup
  • Indoor/outdoor durability
  • 100% wire-free operation
  • Quick, easy setup
  • Indoor/outdoor durability
Best motion detection
Wyze Cam PanWyze Cam Pan
  • Cheap price
  • Free cloud storage
  • Motion tracking
  • Cheap price
  • Free cloud storage
  • Motion tracking
Best outdoor cam
Ring Spotlight CamRing Spotlight Cam
  • Three power options
  • Voice control with Alexa
  • Built-in motion light
  • Three power options
  • Voice control with Alexa
  • Built-in motion light

Bottom line: Arlo Pro 3 is the best home security camera

With so much to choose from, it’s hard to know which security camera is right for you. That’s why we break down everything from video resolution to smart home compatibility to help you find the security camera that meets the needs of your home and family.

To that end, the Arlo Pro 3 handily outperforms most competitors with a wireless design you can install anywhere inside your home or overlooking your property outdoors. It’s super easy to install and its excellent 2K video quality captures fine details normally absent on 1080p security cameras.

Check out the rest of our guide to see our top security camera picks and what features you should look for before buying.


best home security cameras line-up


Compare the best home security cameras

Price*
Video resolution
Smart home compatibility
Wireless pick
Motion pick
Outdoor pick
Monitored pick
Best image
Easy setup
Most versatile
Best baby monitor
Best night vision
Best pan-and-tilt
Arlo Pro 3 Wyze Cam Pan Ring Spotlight Cam Vivint’s Ping Indoor Camera™ Google Nest Cam IQ Indoor Vimtag Indoor Cam-CP3 Canary Flex YI 1080p Indoor Security Camera SereneLife Indoor IP Camera Wansview Q5
Arlo Pro 3 white wyze cam Ring Spotlight Cam vivint ping camera Nest Cam IQ Indoor Vimtag Indoor Cam-CP3 black canary flex camera with cable YI 1080p Indoor Security Camera SereneLife Indoor IP Camera Wansview Q5
$299.99 (2-pack) $36.99 $199.99 $199.99 $299.00 $41.99 $139.99 $22.49 $54.99 $29.99
1440p (2K) 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p
Digital only None None None None Both None Pan only Both Both
160° 120° 140° 155° 130° 92° 116° 112° 90° 105°
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
IFTTT
Samsung SmartThings
Amazon Alexa Amazon Alexa Vivint Sky Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Nest
Amazon Alexa Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
None None Amazon Alexa
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Vivint View on Home Depot View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon
Read review Read review Read review Read review Read review Read review Read review Read review Read review Read review

*Amazon.com list price as of 10/15/2020 at 9:45 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.
Vivint Ping camera not sold separately; requires a Vivint home security system.
Google, Google Nest, Google Assistant, Google Home, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

Our approach

We’ve reviewed many cameras across a variety of price points and types so it can get a bit overwhelming to collect all of those in one place. Instead, we selected our favorite cameras from all of those other lists to give you a broad overview of what to look for in a security camera.

Our conclusions about each camera come from years of experience, thousands of customer reviews, manufacturer specifications, and—in many cases—physical testing. You can learn more about we review products by checking out our methodology.

Best security camera reviews

1. Arlo Pro 3: Best wireless home security camera

Arlo Pro 3

Arlo Pro 3

The Arlo Pro 3 is the latest version of a SafeWise favorite. It builds on the previous two versions by introducing 2K video quality and a bright spotlight for color night vision video. It also tops our list of the best wireless security cameras.

Pros

  • 100% wire-free operation
  • Quick, easy setup
  • Sensitive motion detector
  • Indoor/outdoor durability

Cons

  • Required base station
  • Limited configurations and settings

The Arlo Pro 3 is a solid all-around camera that works inside or out, and it’s super easy to install. The biggest drawback is the investment. You need to purchase a base station in addition to two cameras, which makes the up-front cost more hefty than other cameras.

Read our full Arlo security camera review to get all the details.

2. Wyze Cam Pan: Best motion-activated home security camera

wyze cam pan product

Wyze Cam Pan

The Wyze Cam Pan has quickly become a staff favorite. Whether you want to use it as a baby monitor (like one of our testers did) or as a means to keep Fido off the sofa (like me), this camera’s advanced motion tracking won’t disappoint.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • 360° coverage
  • Motion tracking
  • Free cloud storage

Cons

  • No email alerts
  • Glitchy sound quality

Instant alerts plus motion tracking let you see exactly what’s happening while it’s happening. And two-way talk is a great way to settle down upset kiddos or excited pets—not to mention scaring away would-be burglars.

Learn more in our complete Wyze Cam Pan review.

3. Ring Spotlight Cam: Best outdoor security camera

Ring Spotlight Cam

Ring Spotlight Cam

You might recognize the Ring brand for its doorbell cameras. But the company has branched out and added its smart surveillance technology to this compact outdoor security camera.

Because it can be difficult to find power sources for outside cameras, we like that the Ring Spotlight Cam has three power options: battery, hardwired, or solar.

Pros

  • Battery, wired, or solar power options
  • Built-in motion light
  • Voice control with Alexa
  • Loud siren

Cons

  • High cost
  • Limited battery life

It also has a built-in, motion-activated spotlight that will stop trespassers in their tracks. Plus added features like two-way audio, a 110-decibel siren, and integration with Amazon Alexa make this camera a leader in outdoor surveillance. That’s why the Ring Spotlight Cam was ranked our number one choice for outdoor security cameras.

Read our full Ring Spotlight Cam review.

A word about wireless security

Several Ring Alarm and camera users have reported breaches in their accounts that allowed a stranger to use the two-way communication to intimidate them. This is a risk every user takes when they use any internet-connected wireless system.

The good news is you can minimize the risk with proper internet security. Here are a few easy tips for securing your system from online threats:
  • 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
We still confidently recommend Ring and other similar wireless internet-connected systems. And while these threats are real, they can be avoided with a few extra precautions.

4. Vivint Ping Indoor Camera: Best monitored home security camera

Vivint ping camera

Vivint Ping Indoor Camera™

Vivint has a reputation for innovative home security solutions, and the Ping Indoor Camera doesn’t disappoint.

This home security camera stands out with customized notifications, video analytics, and seamless integration with the Vivint Sky smart home platform. And if you’ve got kids or parents at home, you’ll love the one-touch callout that lets family members call your cellphone right from the camera with the touch a button.

Pros

  • Two-way communication
  • Personalized alerts
  • One-touch calling
  • 45 days of free recorded footage

Cons

  • Only available with home security system purchase

But you can’t buy this camera on its own—you need to add to a full Vivint home security system.

See all the home security cameras from this company in our Vivint cameras review.

Vivint’s response to COVID-19

Vivint is open for business during the coronavirus pandemic and taking steps to protect the health of customers and employees alike. The company conducts daily health assessments on all employees and installers. It’s also rescheduling appointments as necessary if customers become sick. You can see what else Vivint’s doing about COVID-19 at Vivint.com.

5. Google Nest Cam IQ Indoor: Best image and video quality

Nest Cam IQ Indoor

Google Nest Cam IQ Indoor

While the Google Nest Cam IQ Indoor is one of the more expensive stand-alone security cameras for home use, it makes our list for crisp image resolution and its forward-thinking smart home design.

The Nest Cam IQ comes with a built-in Google Assistant and integrates seamlessly with the rest of the Nest home automation suite. The smart security camera stands out with an 8x digital zoom feature and large 130° field of view.

Pros

  • High resolution
  • Supersight zooming and tracking
  • Person alerts
  • Built-in Google Assistant
  • Up to 50 ft. night vision range

Cons

  • Expensive price point
  • No pan-and-tilt capability
  • Required subscription to use all features

But there is no pan-and-tilt capability, and you need to get a Nest Aware subscription ($6 to $12/month) to access advanced features like facial recognition.

Learn more in our Nest Cam IQ product review.

More security cameras we considered

6. Vimtag Indoor Cam-CP3: Best for easy setup

The Vimtag Indoor Cam-CP3 is a little security camera that delivers a lot at a reasonable price point. You get pan-and-tilt functionality, two-way voice, 8x digital zoom, and clear night vision—all for under $50. The Vimtag CP3 is plug-and-play with built-in Wi-Fi to make setup a breeze. Read more about this brand in our Vimtag P1 review.

7. Canary Flex: Most versatile home security camera

This Canary Flex is a home security camera that packs a big punch in a little package. It works either connected to power or with its built-in battery—and it’s the only Canary camera that you can use inside and outdoors. It also features other home security perks like a built-in Noonlight safety panic button and person detection alerts.

8. YI 1080p Indoor Security Camera: Best baby monitoring camera

If you want a security camera that doubles as a nanny cam, then you’ll love the YI 1080p Indoor Security Camera. This camera features baby crying detection that sends you a push notification when it picks up the sound of your little one giving their lungs a workout. And you get free app-sharing with up to five family members, plus seven days of free storage in the YI cloud.

Read our review of the Yi Smart Home Camera 3 to see how it compares.

9. SereneLife Indoor IP Camera: Best night vision camera

The SereneLife Indoor IP Camera offers superb image quality that doesn’t compromise once the lights go out. Time and again, customer reviews praise the night vision on this camera, and it delivers a crisp picture up to 32 feet. Although the app and software are easy to work with, it’s a letdown that you can’t integrate this camera with any smart home hubs or gadgets.

10. Wansview Q5: Best pan-and-tilt security camera

The Wansview Q5 makes it easy to scan an entire room with it’s advanced pan-and-tilt capabilities. You can use the Wansview mobile app to scan the room by simply swiping your finger in the direction of whatever you want to check out. So if you have a sneaking suspicion of your kitty clawing the ottoman, you can catch her in the act with a flick of your finger.

Final word

The Arlo Pro 3 is the one of the best tools for watching over your home. Its wire-free design, high-resolution video surveillance, and affordable cloud monitoring help it stand above the competition. Still, it’s one of the most expensive security cameras you can buy, so we think the Wyze Cam Pan is a good alternative if you’re aiming to save some dough.

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 porch pirates, check out our comprehensive collection of safety tips and expert advice.

Security camera FAQ

What are the different types of security cameras?

There are a lot of security cameras to choose from—many work well in a compatible home security system or as stand-alone units. Understanding the differences will help you find one that fits your needs. Here are five kinds of security cameras you’re likely to encounter.

Indoor security cameras

Select an indoor camera to watch what’s happening inside your home, particularly one with two-way audio. You can check in with kids after school, tell Rover to get off your favorite chair, or scare the daylights out of an intruder who doesn’t belong in your home (plus you’ll have their picture, to boot!).

Don't point indoor cameras through windows

Beware of using an indoor camera to look outside through a window. They can’t capture images after dark because the night vision LEDs reflect off the glass, blinding the camera.

Outdoor security cameras

An outdoor camera relies on a high weatherproof rating that stands up to the elements and drastic changes in temperature. Another big feature is night vision. You might also consider a camera with a built-in motion-activated light—all the better to scare you with, my dear!

Doorbell cameras

A doorbell camera is essentially an outdoor camera for watching over your front porch. A video doorbell uses two-way audio so you can talk to guests and are a good way to make sure packages don’t walk off unnoticed.

Wireless security cameras

As a concept, wireless cameras are confusing. “Wireless” can either mean cameras with a Wi-Fi connection or that they run off a battery. We lean toward cameras that are 100% wire-free, with both Wi-Fi and a wireless power source. But we include some of both types on our wireless camera review.

Monitored security cameras

Security cameras in a monitored security system usually have the same features and options as stand-alone units. But you can tap into the expertise of the home security company to pick the right one. They work with your security system, so there’s always an extra set of eyes looking out for trouble 24/7.

What should I look for when buying a security camera?

Here are some important features to consider when buying home security cameras:

Video resolution

Resolution directly affects the quality of the home security footage your camera produces. A clear image provides crucial details to help identify faces, vehicles, and items in a recording. At a minimum, choose a camera with 720p resolution, but we suggest 1080p or higher.

Field of view

Field of view refers to how much area a camera sees through its lens. It affects how many cameras you need and where you should place them. In general, choose a camera with a field of view that’s at least 110º, though wider angles than this are usually better.

Motion detection

Most security cameras offer motion alerts to help prevent break-ins and keep deliveries safe. You receive notifications when a camera observes movement, so you can react appropriately. Choose a motion sensor camera with many settings to get the most from its motion detection.

Night vision

Security camera footage that is too dark to make out any details is practically useless. The distance your camera can see in low- to no-light situations impacts its effectiveness after the sun sets. To cover your bases, choose a camera with adequate night vision range.

Keep indoor cameras away from windows

Beware of using an indoor camera to look outside through a window. They can’t capture images after dark because the night vision LEDs reflect off the glass, blinding the camera.

Two-way audio

Cameras with two-way communication have a microphone and speaker for interacting with people or pets on the other end. Two-way talk effectively turns your home security camera into an intercom for addressing a delivery driver or checking in on the kids after school.

Pan and tilt

A pan-and-tilt camera has motors that allow you to reposition the camera’s lens remotely. This feature records a larger area than a static camera and reduces the number of cameras you need to observe a particular area.

Movement tracking

Some pan-and-tilt cameras use smart motion detection to follow action in a room automatically, whether it’s a pet racing around the living room or a youngster toddling toward trouble.

Are home security cameras worth it?

Absolutely! Home security cameras allow you to more effectively watch over your home in two primary ways:

  • Deter: A surveillance camera in a highly visible location can make burglars think twice about attempting to enter your home.
  • Describe: Security cameras can collect information about burglars and the items they take. This makes it easier to file police reports and insurance claims.

The best part is that you choose how much to spend on security cameras for your home.

How much should I spend on a security camera?

If a camera costs so much that you can no longer afford the valuables you’re trying to protect, then it doesn’t serve a purpose.

Fortunately, we live in an age where practically everyone can afford security cameras. In fact, many cheap security cameras cost less than $50 while providing HD video, motion detection, smartphone apps, and two-way audio. They’re even cheap enough that you can buy multiple cameras.

With more expensive cameras, you can expect better features and stronger customer support. Ultimately, it’s your choice how much you want to invest for a certain level of security.

Cost of cameras in monitored security systems

Monitored security cameras are more expensive because they come as part of a professionally-monitored security system that watches your home 24/7.

Do you need Wi-Fi for security cameras?

Most of the time. Modern security cameras use Wi-Fi for five tasks:

  • Streaming live video
  • Storing video footage in the cloud
  • Mobile device controls and alerts
  • Two-way audio
  • Communication with smart home devices

The majority of consumer security cameras use Wi-Fi to connect to your home network, but some models use cables to connect to your internet router or a DVR for security cameras. We recommend using Wi-Fi security cameras since they are typically the easiest kind to install.

Internet data caps

If you have an internet data usage cap, 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.

Can I use security cameras with my smart home devices?

Many of the best security camera systems also help turn your house into a smart home. Security cameras 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 arrive.

Disclaimer

*Amazon.com list price as of 10/15/2020 at 9:45 a.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.

Vivint Ping camera not sold separately; requires a Vivint home security system.

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

Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more

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  • https://avitha.co.uk avitha.co.uk

    Hi Rebeca, thanks for this blog. I am so glad that you have mentioned about smart home integration . Just last week I was given bunch of cameras to install by a home owner, unfortunately the owner did not buy cameras compatible with his home automation systems. So we had to purchase new cameras.

  • Rod C

    It would be interesting to know how quickly the motion recording is triggered and then uploaded. Theres nothing to stop a burglar seeing the cam, ripping it off the wall and smashing it up before it has manged to upload anything of use. There seem to be quite a few security cameras that dont pickup the postman until after hes gone past the camera 🙁

    • Rlight

      It is better to have a separate computer (server) for uploading video to the cloud. In this case, until the robber gets to the server, the video has already been sent. But it is pointless if you are using a wireless connection for cameras, as in this case it is quite easy to turn them off with a jammer.

  • Jeremy King

    You cannot use cameras alone for home *security*. That needs a different approach of boots on the ground, regular patrols and guard dogs, proper perimeter fencing, security floodlights, sirens, physical access barriers, electronic barrier breach detection with security cameras being one of the devices used.
    Considering just the camera part, a security audit is needed to identify weak points, and how to address them one-by-one with the optimal number and placement of cameras.
    Apart from physical security, one issue with wireless cameras, and in particular IP cameras is whether they can be accessed from an external network, how frequently vulnerabilities are patched so the window of available exploits remaining viable is short, and how to secure the vast amount of data generated, all to ensure that someone isn’t using it to monitor a range of targets over time to learn patterns/routines.
    One often sees comments about unexplained “voices” over the camera two-way speaker speaking to the kid when the parents are away, and the suspicion that if that’s the case, someone is also watching.
    This focus on security is missing from this write-up.

  • Pb

    How can you recommend the Ring as best outdoor when from the reports I read from users is that it fills up with water if exposed , mists up as it gets colder , outdoor has to mean waterproof not weather resistant if it is to be of genuine use .

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      We just haven’t had those issues with the Ring outdoor camera. In fact, we’re currently working on a full-length review, and our tester has had the camera for over a year in her backyard with no such problems.

      Have you used any outdoor cameras yourself? We’d love to hear about your experience or what other questions you might have.

  • G Cruishank

    Nevermind how great the cameras are. The first question you should be asking is which of these companies is selling your data to third party companies? I’ve ditched my Nest Cams since they were bought by Google. Something we all need to think about.