Winter is coming, and in Canada, that means battening down the hatches and getting ready for snow, ice, and extreme temperatures. There’s always a lot to prepare before the snow and ice hit, but one thing you shouldn’t have to worry about is your smart cameras.
Just because it’s -10 or -20 doesn’t mean it’s too cold for your smart camera to keep an eye on your yard, but some cameras are designed to stand up to winter better than others. Here’s a look at a few that are rated for severe outdoor use, and what the advantages of each one are.
How cold is too cold for smart cameras?
In Canada, our weather can range from a steamy 40 to 45 degrees Celcius to an extra icy -50 or colder with the windchill. As Canadians, we’re used to extreme temperatures; our smart home devices may not be. That’s why it’s so important to choose a weather-resistant camera with the right IP rating for your province.
What is the best IP rating for smart cameras?
An IP rating, also known as Ingress Protection, is a standard for measuring what your smart camera is protected from and how much protection you should expect. When you look at your IP rating, you’ll notice there are two numbers. The first number will be the measure of how protected your camera is from dust, and the second will be how protected your Wi-Fi camera is from liquids.
The dust rating system starts at 0 and goes to 6, with 6 being the best dust protection possible. For liquids, the rating goes to 8, with 8 meaning your camera can handle sitting in water for a long period of time. You’ll also see some manufacturers use an X in place of one of the numbers.
Long story short, a weatherproof camera designed to stay outside in a Canadian winter should be at least IP65, IP66, or IPX6. This classification will mean your smart camera will be dust-proof and splash-resistant. The higher the number, the stronger the spray of water your camera will withstand.
What’s the coldest temperature a smart camera will work in?
Most Wi-Fi smart cameras will work in temperatures ranging from -10 to -20. To keep it running in tip-top shape, you’ll want to keep your camera in a spot where snow won’t build-up. You should also try to keep it free of condensation and ice. Wind chill can make it feel colder outside than the thermometer indicates, so protecting it from wind is a good idea too.
Even if you don’t protect it in some way, you’ll be surprised at how well the latest weatherproof cameras will continue working when temperatures drop. In no particular order, here are a few choices of smart cameras that will brave winter with you.
Arlo Pro 3
Arlo Pro 3 cameras are wire-free, stream 2K video, and run on a lithium-ion battery. They are also IP-65 certified, so they will stand up to whatever Jack Frost throws at us. According to Arlo Pro 3 documentation, the batteries need a minimum operating temperature -20°C to run.
In my experience with Arlo cameras, I’ve had them up and working perfectly in -10 to -15. It rarely gets really cold here on the West coast, but there was a night last year where the temperature hit -18 with wind, and the battery on my Arlo went dead. It had about 50% charge that morning.
There’s one more reason why Arlo Pro 3 is a great cold-weather camera: the shape of the camera prevents rain from dripping down the lens. Because the camera has a unique shape (and the lens is slightly recessed), I rarely have drops of water blocking the stream.
Google Nest Cam IQ
Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is one of my favourite smart cameras. It’s also the reason why I tell people that, in a Canadian winter, you might want to consider a wired camera instead of battery-run.
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor streams in 1080p, plugs into any outlet via an extra-long power cord, and is IP66 rated, meaning it’s fully protected from dust and can stand water pressure equivalent to high-pressure water jets. This camera can run in temperatures ranging from -40 to 45°C.
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has never quit on me. I had it running outside on my coldest days, and it just kept streaming—and the face of the camera is round, so snow won’t build up. One of the best any-weather features of Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is facial recognition and tracking. If someone comes in your yard, your camera will zoom in and track them as they move around. It also utilizes cloud storage, so if you have a Nest Protect Plan, your clips will be saved.
Defender 4K DVR System
Our editor-in-chief Martin tested out the Defender 4K DVR system. This wired IP camera setup comes with 4 bullet cameras that stream in 4K Ultra HD with 3840 x 2160 resolution. They are IP67 rated and will work in temperatures ranging from bone-chilling -40°C to egg-on-pavement frying +60°C.
Martin used the cameras in 40-degree heat, and he’ll be updating his review with info on how they hold up in cold weather as soon as the temperatures plummet.
All clips are viewable on the Defender 24.7 App. You can see a live feed, zoom in on your feed, and have all of your clips record continuously without using a cloud service. You can also save clips to your phone.
One of the best features of the Defender 4K cameras is that you don’t need an Internet connection to run them. They can just record straight to your DVR, and you can review clips that way.
Which smart camera would you choose?
No matter where you live in Canada, you know it’s going to be chilly in the winter. Any of the smart home cameras I mentioned will stand up to the elements, and you can check out more great options to keep your home and yard protected right now at Best Buy.