If you’re after a wireless security camera, the choice is mind-boggling. A quick Google or Amazon search will reveal more brands than you can remember and lots of different types of cameras.
We’re here to help though, and below you’ll find recommendations for various different cameras whether you need something to watch what happens outside your home, or inside it.
While all cameras are wireless, that means they use Wi-Fi to connect to the internet instead of a cable. Most wireless cameras still need power, but there are some battery-powered options if you need to go truly wireless.
A modern security camera allows you to view your home – or whatever you point the thing at – from your phone wherever you happen to be.
They’re easy to set up and require very little technical know-how. Some use cloud storage, so any video they record is saved online and safe from thieves who might steal the camera. Often you have to pay extra for cloud recording, but that’s not always the case.
How to choose a security camera for home
Most home security cameras perform the same basic functions – they detect an event, record the event and send you an alert – but they don’t all do it in the same way.
Also, there are two main types: those that record only when motion is detected and those that record constantly (like CCTV). If you’re looking to secure your business rather than a home, we’d recommend the latter, but these can often come at extra cost.
Certain cameras go beyond those basics and some can be mounted outdoors too. Don’t forget to read our reviews to find out how well each camera works in practice and whether its day and night video quality is any good: don’t rely on a manufacturer’s specifications or claims.
Below the best security cameras list, we explain all their features in detail. And, if you’re looking for a security camera bargain, take a look at the best security camera deals.
Best Home Security Cameras 2021: Reviewed & Ranked
1. Ring Indoor Cam
‘Colour’ night vision
The Ring Indoor Cam offers great value for money, boasting impressive features like 1080p video capture, full night vision with an optional colour mode, a built-in 110db siren, two-way talk and more that you usually find only on premium smart security cameras costing a lot more.
The Ring app offers privacy-focused features such as disabling audio recording, ideal for an indoor camera, along with access to previous recordings and other customisable settings.
It’s not perfect; the cable is too short to mount the camera far away from a plug, and the lack of location-based motion alerts can get a little annoying, but that doesn’t detract from the fact the Ring Indoor Cam is one of the best-value options.
Read our full Ring Indoor Cam review
2. Nest Cam IQ
Though it hasn’t come down in price since we originally reviewed it in 2017, the Nest Cam IQ is one of the best home security cameras, and it has got better over time.
On top of great quality from the 4K sensor, it has useful smart features (the IQ in the name) such as person alerts and the ability to zoom in and track motion that happens in the frame.
Although all the good features (apart from the built in Google Assistant) are still locked behind a subscription, this is now much, much more affordable than it used to be and there’s now a flat fee for all your Nest cameras which is an incentive to buy several.
The app is one of the best around and the new Nest Aware subscriptions give you a choice of just recording when (meaningful) motion is detected or continuous recording, like a CCTV system.
3. Neos SmartCam
Free 12-second recordings
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the SmartCam won’t be any good because of its low price. But it does almost everything you need it to and is great value if you don’t need the best image quality or all the frills and features.
If 12-second recordings aren’t good enough for you, you can insert a microSD card into the camera and have continuous recording.
As a bonus, you can power a SmartCam with a USB power bank, so it can be completely wireless for a good few hours.
Read our full Neos SmartCam review
4. Hive View Outdoor
The Hive View Outdoor offers an good combination of style, design and features. It’s also relatively easy to install as long as you have a convenient mains socket or can route the cable through a nearby window – the cable isn’t particularly long.
It offers a good range of features including two-way talk and is easy to use via the Hive app, and it’s even more convenient if you already have other Hive devices.
Clips are recorded when motion is detected, and they’re stored for free on a rolling 24-hour period so you don’t need to pay the monthly subscription unless you need more than 24 hours of footage.
Read our full Hive View Outdoor review
5. TP-Link Tapo C200
Pan & tilt
There’s a lot to like about the TP-Link Tapo C200. It’s inexpensive and yet, unlike most rivals, has real pan-and-tilt support so the lens physically moves.
This provides 360° horizontal and 114° vertical coverage in any indoor space.
Video quality is good and the accompanying app is too, lacking only one or two handy features offered by others.
The deal-breaker for some will be the lack of a cloud storage option. However, it means you won’t be forking out a monthly fee to save your footage and you don’t have to pay a subscription to unlock key features as you do with the likes of the Ring and Nest.
Just note that your footage will be lost if the camera or microSD card are stolen.
Read our full TP-Link Tapo C200 review
6. Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera with Siren
Motion recording only
We’re big fans of the Netatmo Outdoor Camera for a number of reasons. It doesn’t look like a security camera and the built-in floodlight is great.
Motion detection is pretty reliable, video quality is very good and you don’t have to pay any subscription fees, which saves a lot in the long run.
Just note that it doesn’t offer continuous video recording – only clips – and there’s no face recognition or talk-back speaker.
Read our full Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera with Siren review
7. Reolink Argus 2
No subscription required
The Argus 2 might not offer 4K but for most people that doesn’t matter. What you get here is a versatile security camera you can use inside or outdoors and it’s still cheaper than a lot of rivals despite a price rise.
Reolink has made a much welcome change to a rechargable battery and the optional solar panel makes this even better.
The camera itself offers a decent set of specs and features including 1080p streaming, a microSD card slot, smart sensors, two-way audio and night vision. There’s not much more we could ask for.
Read our full Reolink Argus 2 review
8. Logi Circle 2
24-hour free cloud recording
The Logi Circle 2 is a vast improvement on the original Circle, with higher resolution streaming, a wider viewing angle and a range of accessories that extend the functionality of the smart camera. It’s small, robust, and the Logi Circle app is well-built with a range of features and options for the camera.
It is a little pricey, though, and it’s worth bearing in mind that some features (person detection, dedicated motion zones) are locked to the £7.99 per month Circle Safe Premium subscription.
Read our full Logi Circle 2 review
9. Arlo Pro 2
Free 7-day cloud recording
We have no quibbles with the quality of the Arlo Pro 2, so this is certainly one of the best 1080p cameras you can buy.
The kit is easy to setup and use, with a great image and lots of features – especially if you use it wired. You don’t even need to pay for any subscriptions if 7-day cloud storage is enough.
That’s a good thing because this kit is fairly expensive so that’s the main issue here. You’ll want to carefully consider how many cameras to buy from the start. Adding more later is not good value.
Read our full Arlo Pro 2 review
Security camera features explained
You should get notifications on your phone when the camera detects an event. Without watching the live feed constantly, this is the only way to keep tabs on your home in relative real time.
Some can send alerts to multiple people; others will send emails in addition to text messages.
Many manufacturers now offer cloud-storage plans with their camera. They record video to a server in the cloud and store it for anything from 24 hours to a couple of weeks. Sometimes offered free, these cloud plans typically require a monthly subscription, but may be worth buying for their convenience and 24/7 recording.
Important note: Y-Cam has changed its policy on free cloud storage. Previously it offered seven-day rolling storage for free, which made it the most generous of any smart security camera. Now, it says it cannot afford to do this for longer than one year. After that the storage costs £2.99 per month per camera, or £4.99 per month if you opt for the Plus Premium service (this is a 50 percent discount off the usual price and the deal lasts for one year).
Netatmo’s cameras (and Nest’s Cam IQ) offer facial recognition so you can get alerts when certain family members arrive home – or only if an unfamiliar face is spotted. It does work, but it’s not foolproof.
Some cameras include memory card slots so you can store video on the device. We like this option as it can eliminate the cost of monthly storage fees – but if a thief steals your camera they take the evidence with them.
All the latest cameras can be accessed (some even set up) via a smartphone or tablet app. In addition to offering a way to view the camera’s live feed, apps often let you adjust settings and turn on and off recording, motion detection and more.
Often you’ll only be able to customise notifications, adjust motion and sound detection sensitivity, and set detection areas via the web portal, but it’s great if you can do this in the app.
Motion detection is one of the most desirable features in a security camera. Built-in sensors (or software algorithms) pick up movement within the camera’s field of view and trigger video recording. Because you’re not interested in any old movement, it’s important the system also offers the ability to narrow the range of detection, adjust the sensor’s sensitivity or otherwise customise this feature to cut down on false alerts.
Some cameras can identify people, cars and pets, while others aren’t as smart.
Most burglaries happen after dark, so this feature is nearly as important as motion detection. Every camera here will switch to night vision automatically in low-light conditions, and most allow you to customise when and how it should be activated. This won’t work through windows, where you’ll see a reflection of the LEDs – that’s why you need an outdoor camera to monitor your garden or driveway.
Pan, Tilt & Swivel
Most security cameras can be manually tilted and swivelled to focus on a certain viewing area. A true pan/tilt camera is equipped with a motor so that you can move its lens using its app or browser-based app, such as the Ezviz Mini 360 Plus.
No amount of security video will help you if it’s blurry, jittery or otherwise distorted. Look for a camera that offers the highest possible resolution. However, bear in mind that many 1080p cameras will reduce the quality to 720p in order to upload it to the cloud, so it’s not the advantage you might think. In most cases, it’s only 1080p cameras with local storage benefit from the extra resolution.
Scheduling features allow you to tell the camera to turn on and off, detect motion, and/or send alerts at specified times. This is useful when you want to be notified only when your children get home from school, or when you’re away. It can reduces the number of false alerts.
While the idea of a security camera implies eyes-on monitoring, the ability to also hear what’s going on gives you a more complete picture of what’s happening at home. This feature can also allow you to speak through the camera.
The camera’s field of view determines how much it can see. Some are wider than others: check our reviews for sample images from each camera.
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