A connected home security camera keeps you in touch with your home, yard, family, or pets whenever you’re away. Also known as smart cameras, these streaming connected cameras hook up to your home’s Wi-Fi network and offer you a direct view of whatever they’re trained on.
What is a home security camera?
With a home security camera, your home is always just a few taps on a smartphone away. Home security cameras available from Netgear, D-Link, Nest, and Ring connect to apps that provide you with a live video feed, saved video clips, and audio and motion alerts.
Many home security cameras stream in 720p resolution, but there’s also a large range of Full HD 1080p home security cameras. Depending on the model you choose, you may find a smart camera with a 4K sensor, digital zoom, and HDR imaging for the clearest picture possible. You’ll also be able to access 130-degree viewing angles so you can take in a wide-angle of your home or outdoor space.
Smart cameras are now available for indoor, outdoor, or can be used interchangeably depending on what you need to watch, and they come in wire-free models or with a plug-in for a standard outlet. You can also find dome-shaped home security cameras, pet cameras, or security cameras that double as a doorbell.
What to consider when choosing a home security camera
There are a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself when choosing a Wi-Fi camera or cameras for your home.
Where will you place your home security camera?
The kind of home security camera you’ll choose for your house, or yard, will depend on where you plan on installing it. If you’d like an indoor home security camera, there are many different models from brands like Nest, Arlo, Ring, D-Link, and EZVIZ.
When choosing a smart camera for outside of your home, you’ll need to consider whether it needs to be wireless or if you’d like it right at your front door as part of your doorbell system. There are many different outdoor smart cameras available from brands including Arlo, Nest, Ring, and August.
Do you have a power source nearby?
If you choose a wireless, battery-operated security camera for the outside of your home, you won’t need to worry about a power outlet. You can place these cameras anywhere, and these types of cameras should only need to be recharged every few weeks to every few months.
When selecting a video doorbell security camera you have the option of having a camera that’s hard-wired to your existing doorbell or one that works via a wireless doorbell.
What cloud storage plan would you like?
Cloud storage, where your saved images and video clips are stored on a remote server and are available for you to view, is offered on most home security cameras. Brands will offer this type of storage instead of or in addition to an SD memory card, and having access to a cloud storage plan means it’s easier for you to store a large number of video clips.
Depending on the type of smart camera you choose, you may be offered free cloud storage for a period of days before your video clips and images expire and disappear. Netgear Arlo offers 7 days of free cloud storage with plans for longer time periods. D-Link offers monthly or yearly paid cloud storage to save clips on their indoor security cameras, and Nest has continuous cloud video capture for a monthly or yearly fee.
Wired Home Security Cameras
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make when choosing cameras for your home is whether or not you’d like a wired home security camera set up or go with a stand-alone camera.
While stand-alone cameras can work together to create a security system, wired home security cameras come out of the box with everything you’ll need to create a full surveillance operation. You don’t have to rely on cloud storage for your video clips, as these systems store your clips right on an included hard drive.
Some wired security systems include 4 or 8 weatherproof bullet cameras to let you view live and recorded 1080p video from an app on your phone. You can record from 4, 8, or 16 channels right on the included hard drive.
Because they’re wired you don’t need to worry about installing batteries or losing footage if your cameras run out of battery when you’re not home.
When setting up your security system you may want a dedicated space for your clips, and you may wish to choose a digital security receiver or DVR to provide the space to record your footage for you. These models record digitally just like your TV’s DVR, and have up to 16 channels to link to all of your cameras. They’re also portable, so you can take your footage with you when you leave home.
Installing a home security camera
It’s never been easier to install a home security camera. For most basic installations you’ll need nothing more than a power outlet and your smartphone. You simply plug them in, download an app, and scan a QR code to connect to your camera. The entire process takes approximately 5 minutes.
Replacing your doorbell with a doorbell security camera may require the use of a drill, but the install process is still simple and can easily be done by someone who is a novice to smart home devices.
Key features of home security cameras
No matter which home security camera you choose, you’ll find that they all share a few key features that make them a must-have device in your home.
Live stream of your home
Once your home security camera is connected to your Wi-Fi network you’ll be able to view a live stream of whatever it’s trained on. You can log in via the connected app on your smartphone, tablet, or via a web interface on your computer anytime and take a reassuring look at your home, yard, family, or pets. Once you’re logged in, you can save your own video clips or take snapshots of your view.
Saved video clips
Depending on the type of connected security camera you’ve purchased, you’ll be able to view different lengths of saved video clips. While some security cameras connect to a cloud network to save your clips, you may also have the option of adding a USB flash drive or SD memory card to your camera.
Motion or audio alerts sent to your phone
Although you’ll have peace of mind 24/7 thanks to your smart camera’s live stream of video, most home security camera owners really appreciate the motion alert feature. If the camera detects motion from a certain distance, it will send an alert to your smartphone or tablet. If your home security camera also has audio, you can set it to send you an alert if it detects audio as well.
Customized motion settings
If you live on a busy road where cars or people frequently walk by, you’ll want to be able to customize your motion settings to avoid false alerts. Home security cameras offer you monitoring zones you can set within the app, so your camera will only trigger motion in a certain space and not in the entire area.
Facial recognition alerts
Certain home security cameras are now equipped with facial recognition software, and if you choose a camera with this feature it will send you detailed alerts based on who it detects in your home. These cameras can tell the difference between a person and an object, and they will zoom in and follow that person as he or she moves through your home.
There’s a lot that can go on in your home or yard when the sun goes down, and having infrared night vision built into your home security camera means you’ll be able to see a crystal clear stream of your home or yard when there’s no light outside.
When you want to talk to whoever is in your home or yard, it’s as easy as logging into your home security camera’s app. Two-way audio lets you see, hear, and interact with people or pets in or near your home.
Weather resistant outdoor home security cameras give you video coverage in the coldest weather. Some models have a weatherproof rating of IP66, while others work in a temperature range from 45 degrees to -20 °C.
Types of home security cameras
Now that you have an idea of what to consider when purchasing a home security camera and some of the features you can find, it’s time to look at specific brands. The good news is that there are so many great choices in the world of smart cameras, you might have trouble choosing just one.
Indoor vs Outdoor home security cameras
Which home security camera you choose will depend on where you need to place it. Indoor home security cameras and some outdoor smart cameras require an outlet and will plug in for their power, while some models of outdoor home security cameras will work via rechargeable battery.
Here are the main features of smart cameras for each brand
Netgear Arlo is available in models including Arlo, Arlo Pro, Arlo Pro 2, and Arlo Go.
- Outdoor Cameras: Arlo and Arlo Pro cameras are outdoor cameras, while Arlo Pro 2 can be used indoor and out.
- Indoor Cameras: Netgear Arlo cameras are also available in indoor versions like Arlo Q and Arlo Baby, offering you 1080p streaming, two-way audio, and night vision.
- Streaming video: Arlo cameras offer 720p to 1080p streaming video, are wire-free and weather-resistant up to -20°C, and thanks to rechargeable batteries, can be placed anywhere in your home or yard that’s within range of your Wi-Fi network.
- Additional features: Arlo offers an Arlo Solar Panel that lets you keep your cameras fully charged, and you can choose Arlo Go cameras that run on cellular if you’d like to place your smart camera somewhere you don’t have access to Wi-Fi.
- Cloud storage: Arlo offers 7 days of free cloud video storage for all the clips captured, and you can choose larger paid cloud plans for longer storage.
Nest Cams are available in a few different styles and will automatically work with your existing Nest products.
- Outdoor Cameras: Nest Cam Wi-Fi Outdoor and Nest IQ Outdoor cameras are outdoor, weatherproof cameras that are wired for power.
- Indoor Cameras: Nest indoor cameras are available in Nest Cam and Nest Cam IQ models.
- Streaming video: Nest Cam and Nest Cam IQ offer crystal clear 1080p streaming video, night vision, 130-degree vertical and horizontal viewing angles, and digital zoom.
- Additional features: Nest Cam IQ and Nest Cam IQ Outdoor have facial recognition software to recognize familiar and unfamiliar faces in your home. They also work with Google Home so your voice assistant can announce who triggered motion or sound.
- Cloud storage: Nest offers a 5 day, 7 day, or 30 day paid cloud service that’s charged once per year.
Ring offers a wide variety of smart cameras. The Ring Video Doorbell is available in several different models including the Ring Wi-Fi 720p Video Doorbell, the Ring Video Doorbell, and the Ring Doorbell Elite. Ring also offers Ring Floodlight Cam, Ring Chime, and battery-operated Ring Spotlight Cam.
- Outdoor Cameras: Ring Video Doorbells can be hard-wired to your existing doorbell or used with wireless doorbells. They have weather-resistant designs, allowing them to operate in blistering -20°C cold to searing 40°C heat. Ring Floodlight can be mounted to the side of your garage or outbuildings and are motion activated to help you find your way in the darkness, and will shine a light on anyone who’s in your yard. Ring Spotlight Cam is an outdoor wireless, battery-powered camera that offers motion alerts and LED spotlights.
- Streaming video: The Ring Wi-Fi 720p Video Doorbell offers you 24/7 video recording in 720p, while the Ring Video Doorbell 2, Ring Video Elite, and Ring Floodlight record in Full 1080p.
- Additional features: Ring Chime and Ring Chime Pro will alert you when someone is ringing your doorbell, even if you don’t have your phone with you. Ring Chime Pro will boost your Wi-Fi signal to all of your Ring devices. All Ring devices offer night vision and two-way audio so you can see and hear whoever is in front of your Ring camera.
- Cloud storage: Ring offers a cloud service to store your sound and motion clips. It’s $30 US per year per camera or $100 US per year per home for all your Ring devices.
August Doorbell Cam
August Doorbell Cam Pro offers an easy-to-use video doorbell that gives you a full-colour view of what’s happening outside your front door.
- Outdoor Camera: August Video Doorbells are hard-wired to your existing doorbell, sending you instant alerts if someone is in range of the camera or if they ring the doorbell.
- Streaming video: August Video Doorbells stream in Full HD, offering you 24/7 video monitoring of your doorway no matter where you are. If someone is there, you can see and speak to them via two-way audio.
- Additional features: With a built-in floodlight, you’ll easily be able to see who’s at your door in the dark. August Doorbell Cam works with the same app as the August Door Lock, and if you have both devices you’ll be able to answer your door and unlock the door for that person. August Doorbell Cam also integrates with other smart home products including Nest.
- Cloud storage: As part of your basic recording service, August Doorbell Cam will save your clips for free for 24 hours. If you’d like to save them for longer, you can upgrade to a paid subscription plan
EZVIZ offers a few styles of indoor and outdoor home security cameras. EZVIZ Mini 360 Plus and EZVIZ Husky Outdoor have a unique dome shape and integrated privacy shield, giving you a full 360-degree of the interior of your home or yard. The EZVIZ home security camera system offers you a full 8-channel home security solution for your home, with several cameras to record multiple areas.
- Indoor Cameras: EZVIZ Mini 360 Plus plugs in for power and will automatically pan and tilt around your room so you can see everything. The camera has glass lenses and high-quality image sensors and can be placed on a shelf or mounted on a ceiling, giving you a 92-degree viewing angle and zooming in on a motion for the best view.
- Outdoor Cameras: EZVIZ Husky Outdoor are weather-resistant, wired cameras that have an extra-wide 107.5-degree viewing angle, full HD 1080p video, and 8x digital zoom. EZVIZ 8-channel DVR home security camera system outfits your home or yard with bullet cameras that record to a security-grade hard drive, giving you multiple angles of different areas.
- Streaming video: Day or night, EZVIZ cameras let you view a live stream in full HD 1080p or see saved clips of activity in your home. EZVIZ Mini 360 Plus has a panning angle from 0 to 340 degrees and tilting angle from -10 to 80 degrees, with night vision up to 33 feet. EZVIZ 8-channel cameras and EZVIZ Husky have night vision up to 100 feet, with EZVIZ 8-channel cameras giving you a 65-foot view in total darkness
- Additional features: With a built-in speaker and microphone, you can see, hear, and talk to the people or pets in or around your home. If you’d like to save your clips beyond the EZVIZ Cloud, you can add a microSD card up to 128GB
- Cloud storage: EZVIZ offers a multi-layer encrypted cloud storage service to store your clips. You can choose 7 days of storage for $5.99 US per month or 30 days of video storage for $10.99 US per month
D-Link Mini HD Wi-Fi Home Security Cameras
D-Link offers a wide variety of smart cameras for inside and outside your home. With some models offering slots for micro-SD cards, D-Link lets you store your video clips right in the camera.
- Indoor Cameras: D-Link Mini HD smart cameras are sleek, small home security cameras you can hide in plain sight because they’re less than 10cm tall. To cover the interior of your home, D-Link also has the D-Link HD Wi-Fi camera and the D-Link Wi-Fi HD Pan & Tilt Day/Night Network Camera.
- Outdoor Cameras: The D-Link Wi-Fi outdoor 1080p IP camera is a wired, weather-resistant camera that captures Full HD up to 30fps.
- Streaming video: D-Link indoor smart cameras offer 720p HD picture quality. The D-Link Outdoor streams and captures in Full HD 1080p.
- Additional features: All D-Link cameras offer night vision, sound and motion sensing, and a wide-angle view of what’s happening inside or outside your home.
- Cloud storage: D-Link gives you affordable home surveillance with zero monthly fees. The D-Link Mini HD smart cameras offer you a live view and the ability to save clips to your phone, while the D-Link HD Wi-Fi Day/Night and D-Link Wi-Fi Outdoor cameras have spots for micro-SD storage.
Pet cameras like the Petcube Bites Interactive Wi-Fi camera and Petcube Play gives you a full HD 1080p live stream of your pet whenever you log in to the Petcube app.
- Indoor Cameras: Petcube Bites and Petcube Play let you see, hear, speak, play, or treat your pets when you’re away.
- Streaming video: Both Petcube Bites and Petcube Play offer 1080p, 138-degree wide-angle viewing with digital zoom. They have night vision so you can see your pet in the dark.
- Additional features: Petcube Bites lets you play with your pet and toss them a real treat as a reward. Petcube Play has a built-in laser you can use to play with your pet when you’re not home.
- Cloud storage: With Petcube Care you can access a 4-Hour video history for free. If you’d like to store your clips beyond that, there are Petcube Care subscription services starting at $4.99 US per month for three days of history.
Take the next step
No matter which type of home security camera you choose, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’ll always have a window to the inside, outside, or front door of your home. Take a look at the full range of home security cameras, available right now on Best Buy.