The peace of mind that can come with outdoor home security cameras is priceless. Unfortunately however, purchasing surveillance cameras can be pricey. Here at Reviewed, we test the best security cameras on the market so you know that you’re buying the best option for you.
The best outdoor home security cameras should have a wide field of view, take high-quality video, and have desirable features such as night vision and smart motion detection. Additionally, they should be easy to install, weatherproof, and have sufficient video storage. Some even incorporate flood lights for extra protection.
Reviewed’s smart home experts continuously test outdoor security cameras in our own homes to get hands-on experience about how these top picks perform. The best outdoor home security camera we recommend is the Nest Cam (battery)
(available at Best Buy for $179.99)
for its fantastic spread of free smart features and multiple installation options.
If you don’t want to deal with charging camera batteries, you might want to consider the Eufy SoloCam S40 (available at Amazon), our favorite solar-powered outdoor home security camera. It has a great battery life as long as you install it in a spot that gets plenty of sun.
Regardless of what you’re looking for, we’re confident that our list will have an option that will suit your needs.
Reviewed / Nick Woodard
The Eufy SoloCam S40 has a built-in solar panel.
Reviewed / Rachel Murphy
The Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight camera is a reliable option to help safeguard your home.
Reviewed / Christian de Looper
The Ring Stick Up Cam Battery work well with Alexa.
Reviewed / Nick Woodard
The Tapo C325WB security camera offers incredible video performance.
Reviewed / Christian de Looper
The Reolink Argus 3 Pro security camera offers good video quality for the money.
Reviewed / Logitech
The Logitech Circle View security camera works exclusively with Apple HomeKit.
Other Outdoor Home Security Cameras We Tested
How We Test Outdoor Home Security Cameras
While video doorbells excel at detecting activity on a porch, a security camera system can protect other areas of the home. Indoor security cameras are great for interior spaces, but an outdoor security camera is the first line of defense in protecting your home.
To find the top outdoor home security cameras, we research the market, purchasing and testing cameras from the top brands. As new options emerge and older models are discontinued, we retest our winners, pitting them against new cameras.
We install each camera, making notes about the installation procedures, in-app setup process, and reliability. Testing includes evaluating video quality, audio quality, responsiveness, Wi-Fi network reliability, weather resistance, and app usability.
A big trick with security cameras is getting the notifications dialed in, so you’re alerted to the things you want to know about without being bombarded with notifications every time a bird flies by. Because of this, we test the sensitivity controls for each product, whether they support motion zones, and how quickly they send alerts about people and noise.
We also install the mobile apps on both an iPhone and a Samsung device to determine if the app experience was identical across platforms. Additionally, we test how quickly each app begins a livestream.
How to Choose an Outdoor Home Security Camera
In a world where high-powered cameras are becoming more common, it takes more than pixel count to set a good security camera apart. Here are some things to consider.
Wireless vs. Wired
A wireless outdoor camera with a rechargeable battery is convenient, as most cameras should only need to be recharged once or twice a year. However, not all cameras have a removable battery. That means you’ll have to take the entire camera down to charge it. It’s not make or break, but it’s something to be aware of if you like the appearance of having security cameras up at all times.
With wired cameras, we recommend having electrical outlets in the soffits of your roofline, to easily connect a camera without running cords all along the outside of your home.
While there is more to a good outdoor camera than picture quality, it’s still an important factor. Finding a camera with 2K resolution doesn’t have to break the bank, however. Some of the models we tested have exceptional picture quality at a value price, such as the Kasa Cam Outdoor.
Field of View
Another thing to consider when investing in an outdoor home security camera is field of view. You want the camera you choose to be able to capture images from important access points around your home and have limited blind spots. Our top pick has a 130-degree field of view, while other recommendations have a wider degree. One thing to keep in mind: You may need to restrict the field of view so you aren’t looking into your neighbors’ properties.
When shopping for an outdoor home security camera, you should consider what features are really necessary to meet your needs, as additional ones usually come with a higher overall price tag. Features can range from two-way talk audio to privacy zones. Here are a couple important features we think are worth consideration.
Night Vision: Night vision can come from either infrared imaging, full-color night vision capture, or a spotlight. Infrared is the least reliable of the three. Full-color night vision uses powerful light sensors and a minimal supplement light to help the camera record in the dark. Finally, a spotlight can both help the video capture images and warn passersby that they’re being recorded, which you may or may not want.
Smart Motion Detection: Not all motion sensors are created equal. Some cameras are incredibly adept at telling vehicles, packages, animals, and people apart. Others simply bombard you with constant notifications. Still others allow you to set up zones and adjust sensitivity to your preferences. Make sure your camera is on when it needs to be.
Where does your video live? Is it on a hard drive that you own? Or is it on the cloud somewhere? It’s not uncommon to pay extra for updates, advanced features, and cloud storage. However, there’s something to be said for knowing you have access to your video without an extra fee.
It’s worth noting that most outdoor security cameras have apps that let you control when they’re recording and uploading video to the cloud, too.
Paid Subscription Plans
A paid subscription plan is fairly common with almost any smart home security system gadget from smart doorbells to security cameras. Think of home security as a continual investment rather than a one-time deal. If you want access to the best features like continuous surveillance and special detection alerts for people, cars, animals, and packages, then subscribing to a paid plan is the way to go.
As an alternative, some cameras record to built-in storage an optional microSD instead of uploading to a cloud, at least as an option. But most of the time, a paid plan enhances what the camera can do. Features like differentiating between people and general motion, or the ability to share videos, is worth paying for.
Data Security and Privacy
From data breaches to sharing your footage without your consent, there are plenty of concerns about the security of your security footage. Make sure that you sign on with a company that you trust to maintain your privacy.
Absent from our security camera recommendations are any from well-known brand Wyze. The company received criticism after some customers reported they were able to see live feeds of cameras that weren’t theirs. For that reason and previous security issues, Reviewed has decided to withdraw recommendations of all Wyze security cameras.
When deciding which security camera to choose, there are some privacy protections to look for.
Two-factor authentication: This security feature, which sends a code to your mobile device to verify it’s really you, is available on many home security cameras and is absolutely something to seek out and activate. That way, if someone tries to hack into your account, you will receive an alert and can quickly take care of the problem.
End-to-end encryption: Encryption offers a layer of protection that can help prevent unwanted eyeballs from viewing your saved videos.
There are some steps you can take to protect your data, as well. Make sure you create a strong password that’s unique to your camera’s app. It’s important not to reuse passwords across multiple websites and apps.
You should also consider regularly deleting your voice recordings when using security cameras with smart assistants like Google, Alexa, and Siri. Muting the speaker’s mic when not in use is yet another way to protect your privacy..
For more privacy tips, read our securing your smart home guide.