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Top 19 Best Security Cameras of 2020

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Updated September 16, 2020

Enjoy extra peace of mind with additional security at home, even if you aren’t there. With a connected security camera, you can be alerted if something is going on in your premises while you’re away. We discovered that the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is the best security camera of 2020 because of its excellent image quality, intelligent functions and easy-to-use app.

How we did the reviews

All security cameras have been tested over the long-term in a domestic environment and in their intended position. The cameras with some form of cloud service requiring a subscription have been tested both with and without it. The cameras have been tested with several users connected and connected to Android and iPhone devices, as well as tablets and computers. We have also looked at any accessories and third-party services that are supported - and how they work.

  • Image quality: Being able to display sharp images is the most important thing about a security camera. If you can’t identify faces or registration plates, the camera is not up to standard.

  • Connection: If you get a notification that the camera has seen something, it should be possible to quickly see a live stream. When you look at this, the camera should be able to show video in real-time and without any buffering. Regardless of how the camera connects to the Internet, the connection is vital.

  • User experience: Is the camera easy to set up? Is it easy to use the app and all of its functions? How does it handle several users? If the app doesn’t work well, the entire experience becomes irritating.

All these factors were considered with other considerations such as build quality, functions, accessories and guarantees. The final reviews were then a reflection of each product’s value for money.

1. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor - BEST SECURITY CAMERAS 2020

Stylish camera that recognises people

Type: Security camera for outdoor use Camera: Yes (Full HD/4K) Motion sensor: Yes (motion zones) Night vision: Yes (black-and-white) Facial recognition: Yes Storage: In the cloud (subscription-based) Siren: No Voice control: Yes (Google Assistant) Microphone/speaker: Yes (two-way communication) Power: Electric What’s included: 1 x camera, installation accessories

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

With its intelligent functions, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is the best security camera for outdoor use that we’ve tested to date. Nest is owned by Google, which means it can be easily integrated into a smart home based on Google’s voice assistant. But this is less good if you want more of an all-in-one solution for outdoor alarm and monitoring.

Simple installation with an enormous mains adapter Installing the Nest camera isn’t difficult, and the fact that the power cable is both a good length and flat makes it even easier. But the mains adapter is a very large one that takes up two or even three sockets.

Before installing the hardware in place, you need to pair the camera with Nest’s service a bit closer to your Wi-Fi router to make sure it all works properly. This too is extremely simple and mostly involves logging into your Nest account in the app.

Out in the garden, the reception is very good, which is helpful as the camera only communicates over Wi-Fi. At the same time, it’s something you need to experiment with.

The design is very similar to indoor cameras, but the discreet design means that it fits into the majority of outdoor environments.

Unlike other outdoor cameras, it includes neither a built-in light or siren. So if you want illumination when you go out into the garden shed at night or if you want to frighten away trespassers, you have to look elsewhere or supplement the camera with other smart home equipment.

Recognises people

But when it comes to image quality, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is very convincing. The camera films in 1080p resolution and has a 4K sensor. This means that it automatically zooms in on objects moving in front of it to see them more clearly.

Together with facial recognition and very quick communication with the app, you can rapidly get an overview of what the camera sees. However, the camera only recognises faces and is not for car or for van registration plates.

But this is dependent on Nest Aware, the company’s subscription service. Without this you receive push notifications and can see what’s happening live, but you no longer have the possibility to save video or do facial recognition. It’s a shame that you can’t insert a memory card as a supplement.

The image quality and its ease of use put the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor slightly ahead of its competitors among outdoor cameras, and make it the best security camera of 2020 in this category.

Easy installation and usegood imagefacial recognition
No light or sirenDoesn’t recognise registration plates

2. Nest Cam IQ

Smart camera on several levels

Type: Security camera for indoor use Camera: Yes (Full HD/4K) Motion sensor: Yes (motion zones) Night vision: Yes (black-and-white) Facial recognition: Yes Storage: In the cloud (subscription-based) Siren: No Voice control: Yes (Google Assistant) Microphone/speaker: Yes (two-way communication) Power: Electric What’s included: 1 x camera, installation accessories

Nest Cam IQ Indoor

The Nest Cam IQ is the slightly more high-end of Nest’s two models. The “IQ” bit gives it a couple of extra functions compared to a normal camera, which actually do make a difference in practice. Extremely easy to install

But let’s start from the beginning. The camera itself is slightly larger than average, but feels well-built and is discreetly designed to blend in. The included cable is generously proportioned, but unfortunately so is the mains adapter that goes with it. This enormous lump takes up two or even three sockets without any problem and could definitely have been designed better.

The actual camera is only connected via Wi-Fi, but even at slightly longer distances we still get really good reception and image quality. After this, the installation is simple and mostly involves downloading the app and registering the camera.

Subscription dependent

Once set up, the camera offers a really good image with wide angle and sharpness in day and poorer light conditions. Movement is either picked up over the entire field of view or in an area that you draw in the app yourself. Notifications to your phone are fast and show a short sequence of what the camera is reporting.

If you want more than this, you have to subscribe to Nest Aware, which is Nest’s premium service. But this gives you a really handy timeline of what the camera has seen. However, we’d have liked there to be a memory card option or similar local storage as an alternative.

Because the camera films in 1080p resolution, but has a 4K sensor, it zooms in on anything moving in front of the camera without losing quality. This combined with really good facial recognition means you can quickly find out if it’s someone you recognise or a stranger in front of the camera.

The Nest Cam IQ isn’t the cheapest camera, either to buy or run. But the price pays off in terms of good image quality and really useful functions.

Good zoom functionfacial recognitiongood image
Ridiculously big mains adapterexpensive subscription if you have several cameras

3. Arlo Pro 3

Monitor your home in 2K

Type: Security camera for outdoor use Camera: Yes (2K) Motion sensor: Yes (motion zones) Night vision: Yes (colour) Facial recognition: No Storage: In the cloud or locally Siren: Yes Voice control: Yes (Google Assistant, Alexa) Microphone/speaker: Yes, two-way communication Power: Fully wireless What’s included: 1 x camera, installation accessories Miscellaneous: Support for HomeKit, solar cells available separately

Arlo Pro 3

The Arlo Pro 3 is a fully wireless camera with good image quality both day and night. The camera has built-in lighting that means you get a colour image even in dark conditions. Of course there’s more limited visibility than you’d get in the daytime, but you can still see faces and so on clearly provided they're within a couple of metres.

The Pro 3 is slightly bigger than its predecessor, the Pro 2, and also has a different type of charger. The Pro 2 came with micro-USB, which meant you could charge it with any cable. Now you're entirely locked to Arlo’s own model. This feels like a rather negative development, even if it’s quite cool that the cable’s magnetic. Unfortunately the charger isn’t IP classified. The battery life without the cable is about three months in areas with daily movement in front of the camera.

Fits into your smart home

The Arlo Pro 3 is a modern security camera in that you can see the difference between people, animals and vehicles (if you pay for a subscription) and because it has support for voice assistants. Unfortunately it doesn’t support facial recognition. It would have been nice if you didn’t get notifications when you had a family member outside your home.

Overall, the app is very easy to use and starts extremely quickly. It sends notifications to you when someone passes the camera in the area you've set it to capture movement. But it does take a little while from you receiving the notification until you can see real time images. When you click the notification, the app starts, but you don’t automatically see the camera. Instead you get a view with all cameras and have to press Play to see the relevant camera’s live image. And it then takes another couple of seconds before it actually starts showing the image. In total, this means quite a lot of seconds pass before you can see what the camera’s looking at.

Another disadvantage with the Arlo Pro 3 is that it sometimes misses recording the start or end of events when the movements take place on the edge of the image. So despite it having a wide-angle lens, important information still sometimes gets lost.

Another thing worth noticing is that it continues to warn you repeatedly despite it still being the same event. So if you're standing in front of it, it will record several short clips rather than one long one, and every time it starts a new recording it sends you a new notification. This can be rather irritating if you’re doing something within the camera’s sensor range, because you get repeated notifications.

Fortunately, you can temporarily deactivate these. This method also means that it sometimes misses details that take place between the clips. But of course the function can have advantages in that it’s fast to download and mail shorter clips when you've captured something interesting.

It’s good that you can communicate through the camera. You press a microphone icon and the person on the outside hears what you're saying.

We also like the fact that the camera is so easy to hang up (and remove for charging) because it has a magnetic back and consequently attaches to the bracket without screws.

Subscription or free

The Arlo Pro 3 communicates over Wi-Fi and doesn’t support a SIM card (though the base station does).

The real time view you see is in 2K resolution. The camera then stores the clips in 2K resolution in the cloud for up to a week, free of charge. If you want a longer storage period you need a subscription. The subscription price varies depending on how many cameras you have.

There’s another subscription you can choose that allows you to do continuous recording which is stored for up to two weeks.

We’ve previously praised Arlo because they have such a generous range of free functions for their cameras, and the Pro 3’s basics are the same. You still get free video storage and a really good camera for a relatively reasonable price. But if you need more advanced functions, the price climbs rapidly. Arlo’s Ultra model includes one year’s subscription, and we think they could have included that with the Pro 3 too.

Overall, this is a really convenient, user-friendly and good value security system for anyone who doesn’t need facial recognition and similar more advanced AI features. But as soon as the basic range of functions is insufficient for your needs, it gets expensive quickly. If you can cope with 2K resolution (and most people can) and a week’s storage, this is a good buy for keeping an eye on your home.

Good image qualitylots of free basic functionsreasonable battery lifeuser-friendly installationeasy-to-use app
No 4Ksometimes misses parts of eventscharger not IP classified

4. Ring Doorbell Pro

Doorbell with lots of functions

Type: Doorbell with camera Camera: Yes (1920x1080) Motion sensor: Yes (motion zones) Night vision: Yes (colour) Facial recognition: Yes Storage: In the cloud (subscription-based) Siren: No Voice control: Yes (Alexa) Microphone/speaker: Yes (two-way communication) Power: Electric What’s included: 1 x camera, installation accessories, transformer, screwdriver, Ring Chime, replacement fronts

Ring Video Doorbell Pro

The Ring Doorbell Pro is a perfect example of how a relatively advanced product should be packaged – a camera doorbell with fixed power that produces surprisingly good night time images and includes all the accessories it needs.

Everything included

Itemising everything that’s included in the substantial package for the Ring Doorbell Pro feels a bit like making a shopping list, but it also illustrates Ring’s almost unique strength. As well as the usual screws and screwdriver, you also get a set of fronts for the doorbell so it matches your home, a replacement transformer to replace your existing one if it’s too weak, and a Ring Chime. The latter is an internal speaker that makes a sound when someone rings at the door (and of course has a range of different signals to choose from). It simply feels very good quality and well thought out.

The actual doorbell is very small and neat, because it doesn’t have to house a battery like the company's battery-powered version.

However, for obvious reasons the installation should be done by a professional – although Ring provide clear instructions for how to do it. But rooting around in the fuse cabinet to change a transformer is perhaps a little bit above general DIY skills.

Once this is done, the remaining parts of the installation, both for the doorbell and the Chime, can be done in a couple of minutes provided you have good Wi-Fi coverage around your door.

You essentially get notifications on your phone when someone moves in front of the camera or rings the doorbell (depending on your settings) and you can also see live images and talk to people. But if you want to be able to save video clips, you’ll need to sign up for a subscription.

And there's sadly no option for facial recognition.

Stable doorbell

As long as you have good coverage from your Wi-Fi network, the Ring Doorbell Pro is a really reliable doorbell. Both the Wi-Fi coverage and the speed of the connection are significantly better here than in their battery-powered version, which is probably due to being constantly powered.

One nice update that came out last year is the opportunity to see night-time images in colour. This applies only to the company's mains-powered cameras (the battery-powered ones still only offer black-and-white). The camera produces a very clear image at night. It doesn’t display bright colours, however, but a more toned down colour scale that still looks really good.

If you want a doorbell with a camera for your front door, it’s a much better choice to go for a mains-powered one than battery-powered. The installation is a bit more fiddly, but the Ring Doorbell Pro shows that the reliability it provides is worth the trouble.

High image qualityGood night-time images100% complete package
No facial recognitionNo local storage

5. Arlo Audio Doorbell

Smart doorbell that allows you to communicate with visitors

Type: Doorbell Camera: No, built to be connected to Arlo’s security camera Motion detector: No (only via external camera) Night vision: No (only via external camera) Facial recognition: No Storage: In the cloud (7 days rolling free of charge, subscription required for longer storage) Siren: No (only via external camera) Voice control: (only via external camera) Microphone/speaker: Yes (two-way communication) Power: Battery (6-12 months) What’s included: 1 x doorbell, 1 x bracket, batteries

Arlo Audio Doorbell AAD1001

The Arlo Audio Doorbell rings your mobile phone – or one of your family members’ mobiles – when someone rings the doorbell. If you answer, you’re connected to a set of security cameras and can see who’s at the door. You can also talk to the person by talking into your phone, and the sound is played by the doorbell.

Don’t want to talk to the person? If so, there are pre-recorded messages it can read out, such as: “Please leave the package outside the door”. These are called quick replies. The person can even leave a voice message for you if you don’t answer, and you’ll quickly come to appreciate both of these functions.

The only disadvantage with the Arlo Audio Doorbell is that it takes a little while from the person ringing the doorbell until you get an image of them on your mobile phone. We’d have preferred a shorter delay.

But the doorbell is attractive, compact and easy to use. You don’t have to connect any cables or anything. The batteries showed an impressive 90% remaining after two months of use.

And it’s really great that it connects to a camera instead of having the camera built in; this makes it much easier to position both the camera and the doorbell.

The Arlo Audio Doorbell is perfect if you’re running Arlo’s security system at home and you want a straightforward solution for seeing and talking to anyone at the door, regardless of whether you’re at home or at work.

Easy to useeasy to installuseful quick reply messages
Some delay before the image of the person is displayedrequires other Arlo products

6. Nest Hello

The modern doorbell – hello!

Type: Doorbell with camera Camera: Yes (1600x1200) Motion sensor: Yes (motion zones) Night vision: Yes Facial recognition: Yes Storage: In the cloud (subscription-based) Siren: No Voice control: Yes (Google ) Microphone/speaker: Yes (two-way communication) Power: Electric What’s included: 1 x camera, installation accessories, screwdriver

Nest Hello Doorbell

The Nest Hello is a doorbell with a built-in camera, which is really useful for most homes. Nest is owned by Google, and the model they have launched is similar in many ways to the equivalent from manufacturers such as Ring.

Stingy installation

The kit consists of a doorbell unit – in this case one with a relatively modern design that doesn’t try to blend into its surroundings – which is connected to mains power and Wi-Fi. Unlike Ring’s doorbell camera with mains power, however, it doesn’t include a replacement transformer (many existing doorbell power supplies are insufficient and must be upgraded). Instead you have to buy one yourself, which feels rather stingy. And if you don’t have any electrical skills, you also have to include the price of an electrician to install the doorbell.

Another difference compared with Ring’s doorbell is that you have to settle for the colour the camera comes in. You can’t replace the front housing with more suitable colours.

Once it’s installed, Wi-Fi is your only choice for connection, so make sure you test the position in advance to check that you have good coverage by your door.

Works really well

Once connected, we get a more positive impression of the Nest Hello. Pairing the camera with the app is very simple and you’re quickly up and running.

You can operate the camera without a subscription, but this gives you pretty much no way of saving video clips from the doorbell. Instead, you’re intended to add a subscription to Nest Aware. This gives you the opportunity to save video clips (of different lengths depending on your subscription) but also gives you access to the camera’s biggest strength – facial recognition.

This feature allows you to train the camera to recognise people so that you can easily find out who’s ringing the doorbell.

Pressing the doorbell causes a chime at the doorbell itself and indoors, such as connected mobiles and your Google Home speaker if you have one. This means that you always hear when somebody is at the door.

Good image quality and easy to set

The motion sensor can be used to detect people outside your door (in our case, mostly the neighbour’s cat) and can be set to an accurate level so it doesn’t give out false alarms all the time.

The sound quality when you choose to speak to the person ringing the doorbell is mostly good, if a little bit quiet. Even if the image isn’t in full HD (or 4K, like Nest’s other cameras) neither we nor the facial recognition software have any problem seeing who's outside the door regardless of the time of day.

Nest Hello is a bit fiddly to start using compared to Ring’s equivalent model, and it doesn’t offer as many options. Once it’s up and running, however, there’s very little to complain about. If you’re looking for a doorbell with a camera, despite the installation issues, we’d currently recommend the Nest Hello.

Good imagefacial recognitionstraightforward app
Stingy in terms of installation and adaptation materialrequires a subscription

7. Ring Video Doorbell 2

Use your mobile to see who’s at the door with battery powered surveillance!

Type: Doorbell with camera Camera: Yes (Full HD) Motion sensor: Yes (thermal detection) Night vision: Yes Facial recognition: No Storage: In the cloud (subscription-based) Siren: No Voice control: Yes (Alexa) Microphone/speaker: Yes (two-way communication) Power: Battery (3-6 months) What’s included: 1 x camera, 2 front plates, 2 angle adapters, screws, screwdriver

Ring Video Doorbell 2

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is a bit different from a traditional security camera, both in terms of design and concept. This camera is a replacement for your doorbell. Instead of ringing a bell indoors (although you can connect your old doorbell’s ringer or Ring’s own ringer accessory, Chime), it sends a signal to your smartphone, both when someone presses the button and when the doorbell detects movement. From there you can see a live stream of the person outside the door and speak directly to them.

The entire point here is that you should be able to see who’s outside the door without having to open it. Either to get rid of door-to-door salespeople, to make it look like you aren’t at home or to buy yourself a bit more time when somebody rings the doorbell and you’re in the shower.

Rather large but many advantages

The actual doorbell is almost ridiculously large and quite plasticky. Even the ringtone that comes from the bell sounds really hollow and cheap. But the size is due to the fact that it’s battery-powered, so there must be space for a battery. (Ring also sells the Doorbell Pro, which has mains power and is less than half the size.)

The battery power means that the doorbell is very easy to install. You simply screw it in place and connect it to your Wi-Fi network. Here, Ring get extra points for including everything you need to use for the installation, including a screwdriver.

Pairing the doorbell with the app is very simple, as is giving user permissions to other family members. During the time we had it installed, we rarely ran into any problems with connection or with the time taken to ring. Regardless of whether it rings, whether the motion sensor goes off or if you want to check the live video, it never causes any problems and works pretty much immediately in each case.

Subscription service

However, if you want to store recorded video clips you have to pay extra for Ring’s subscription service, which also allows you to download clips if you want.

Despite its plasticky appearance, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is a really intelligent camera that works well and adds something quite useful to your domestic environment.

Always know who’s at the dooreverything included for installationstable operation
Quite big and plastickysubscription service required to store video clips

8. Ring Stick Up Cam Wired

Versatile and well-equipped security camera

Type: Security camera for indoor and outdoor use Camera: Yes (Full HD) Motion sensor: Yes (thermal detection and motion zones) Night vision: Yes Facial recognition: No Storage: In the cloud (subscription-based) Siren: Yes Voice control: Yes (Alexa) Microphone/speaker: Yes (two-way communication) Power: PoE or USB What’s included: 1 x camera, PoE injector, network cables, mains adapter, installation accessories, screwdriver

Ring Stick Up Cam Wired

The Ring Stick Up Cam Wired follows the manufacturer’s admirable tradition of providing everything you need in a single package. The camera itself is intended to work both indoors and outdoors and is designed to easily blend into a domestic environment. You can rotate the foot pretty much how you want to make sure the camera can easily be installed either standing, mounted on a wall or ceiling, and all of the screws (and a screwdriver!) for the installation are included.

Because this camera doesn’t have a battery, you can run it on Wi-Fi and use the included USB adapter for power. But it also includes a PoE (power over Ethernet) adapter, which allows you to both power the camera and feed it data via a network cable. Ring have been particularly generous in that one of the two network cables included is also suitable for outdoor use.

With the network cable connected, you don’t need to worry about dodgy Wi-Fi, and even with a good wireless network it’s much faster to connect to the camera in wired mode. It also gives much more stable video quality. Regardless of whether it’s night or daytime, the image quality is very good, and it’s rarely difficult to see the faces of visitors.

Both the Wi-Fi and wired connections are very simple to carry out and you’re up and running after just a few minutes. After that you can look at the camera when you want, or get notifications in your phone when it detects movements. You can set the motion sensor quite accurately in the camera’s field of view and can supplement this with scheduling.

The software isn’t really up to the hardware

Unfortunately, the scheduling isn’t very advanced and there’s no way to shut off the camera if you're home. We’d have liked to see facial recognition among the functions. This is largely because the app has been designed to make it as easy to use as possible, but it doesn’t feel anything like as complete as the hardware in the package. To record video of the movements detected by the camera, you also need to buy an add-on service that has a monthly cost.

The camera has no built-in floodlight like Ring’s other outdoor cameras, but it does have a siren (with a relatively low volume) and the possibility of communicating through it.

Ring need to work a little on their software for it to feel like it’s on the same kind of level as the competitors’ offerings. But as a camera, the Stick Up Cam is very good value for money with everything you need to get started.

Everything you need is includedworks via PoEgood images
Slightly boring functions in the softwarelacks physical lens protectionrequires a subscription service

9. Netgear Arlo Pro 2 VMS4230P

User-friendly and easy to install, with total wireless freedom

Camera: Yes (Full HD) Motion sensor: Yes Night vision: Yes Facial recognition: No Storage: Cloud (subscription linked) Perimeter protection: No Siren: Yes (built into camera) Voice control: Yes (Alexa) Fire detector: No Battery backup: Wireless (6 months battery life) What’s included: 2 x camera, 1 x base station, 1 x charger

Netgear Arlo Pro 2 VMS4230P 2pack

The Netgear Arlo Pro 2 VMS4230P is a surveillance kit that’s very easy to install. It includes a week’s cloud storage of recorded videos, and when the videos are more than seven days old, they are automatically deleted. If you want longer storage than this, you have to pay extra.

Unfortunately, you can’t insert a memory card in the camera as an alternative to the cloud solution; you're reliant on the subscription service, which feels a bit stingy given that the cameras are quite expensive.

But on the other hand, they come with several useful functions. For example, they have a built-in alarm that you can start if someone approaches your home. They also send notifications to your mobile when they detect movements.

Problematic delay and rather short battery life

Regrettably, the relevant camera doesn’t automatically open in live stream mode when you open a notification. Instead, you arrive on the app’s home page and have to click to choose the right camera. This means that we miss seeing events in real time because of the delay.

The cameras are completely wireless. The promised battery life is 6 months, but that depends on how often they record video. During our test, the first camera needed charging after only a month’s use. If you want to save on charging, you should position the camera so it doesn’t unnecessarily film things. The batteries come fully charged from the factory.

One major advantage of the Arlo Pro 2 is that it’s restrictive about what it records. For example, it rarely reacts to trees moving in the wind, but always if a human or animal passes it.

The camera can be connected with a power cable, but only indoors, so it’s more of a charging cable. And the kit only includes one charger so you can’t charge both cameras at the same time.

Good image quality

The Netgear Arlo Pro 2 VMS4230P records 1080p video and live streams it on command. The image quality is perfectly acceptable and the camera has a very good wide angle. It can be difficult to achieve quality images of objects far from the camera, so it should be positioned close to the area you want to monitor. When you zoom into the image, it quickly becomes pixelated.

The camera has good night vision. The outdoor range is decent as long as you have a high-performing router. Connection is via Wi-Fi, but even when the reception is poor, we had nice image quality.

A major plus point is that you can communicate with anyone close to the camera because it has two-way sound. A further bonus is the user-friendly app. It’s easy to find recorded clips, change settings or playback the live stream.

You can invite other users to one or more cameras. They can’t control them, but they can see what’s going on. We would have preferred them to be able to use the microphone function in the app, but unfortunately that’s locked so only the primary user can access it. Nor can you be logged into several units simultaneously with a single account. This is probably a safety measure to prevent unauthorised access.

The kit lacks a sabotage alarm and it's very easy to steal the camera because it’s only attached to the bracket with a magnet. So, you need to place it in a position that’s difficult to access.

The Arlo Pro 2 is a good surveillance supplement to a home alarm system, or for those who simply want pure surveillance at home and no sensor solutions on doors and windows. However, it’s relatively expensive, particularly if you're going to use the cloud service for more than seven days. If you want a complete home alarm system, this package isn’t sufficient. But if you're just looking for a wireless IP classified surveillance solution with lots of intelligent functions, it’s a good buy.

Well considered motion sensorfully wirelesseasy to installlots of functionstwo-way sound
No memory card sloteasy to stealslow control of alarm in real timeno sensor support

10. Ring Floodlight Cam

Oversized camera with good lights!

Type: Security camera for outdoor use Camera: Yes (Full HD) Motion sensor: Yes (thermal detection) Night vision: Yes Facial recognition: No Storage: In the cloud (subscription-based) Siren: Yes Voice control: Yes (Alexa) Microphone/speaker: Yes (two-way communication) Power: Electric What’s included: 1 x camera, installation accessories, screwdriver

Ring Floodlight Cam

In practice, the Ring Floodlight Cam is the same camera as the wired Spotlight camera. Here, the camera is flanked by two LED spotlights and all three parts are attached by adjustable arms to a shared back plate. If you have existing wall lighting, the idea is that the camera can replace it.

Laying cables suitable for outdoor use is a bit more tricky than the indoor version. This makes Ring’s Floodlight Cam a clever design. Because it’s not unlikely that your garden already has some form of lighting, and replacing this with combined lighting and surveillance is a sensible idea.

However, because this is one of the company's smaller cameras with two floodlights attached, you can’t exactly call it discreet outdoor lighting, or very attractive either.

Get started with what’s in the package

The installation is simple and no more difficult than it is to install a normal lighting cable. All of the tools for the installation (including a screwdriver) are included.

The light can be set to illuminate on movement or to be switched on either manually or according to a schedule. However, you can’t set the light level, so the alternatives are either dark or “lights up the entire garden”. Both the light and the camera can be set accurately in terms of the motion sensor’s field of view, but there’s no automatic on and off depending on whether or not you’re at home (obviously this is more useful for indoor cameras, but it's still a nice function to have).

The image quality is generally good regardless of whether it’s day or night time. Unlike Ring’s battery-powered units, we experience the reception strength for the Wi-Fi as being significantly better. It would have been nicer to have the option for wired connection.

Getting started with the app is extremely simple. As standard, you get notifications on your phone when the camera sees something and you can check it yourself at any time. If you want recording, you have to pay for Ring’s subscription service, which you’ll probably want to do to use the video clips in any case.

The app is easy to use, although it doesn’t have a vast number of functions. We would have liked to see facial recognition included, but have to settle for motion detection.

Good coverage but a bit clumsy

If you want to replace an existing garden light with combined lighting and surveillance, the Ring Floodlight Cam can be a solid choice provided you have sufficient Wi-Fi coverage. At the same time, it’s quite a clumsy unit with few light settings. From this point of view, a separate light and camera can be a better choice for outdoor use.

Good imageeverything included for installation powerful lights
Requires good Wi-Fi coveragea bit stingy in terms of functions in the appbrightness not adjustable

11. Nedis WIFICO20CWT

Unconcealed camera with stable functions

Type: Security camera for indoor use Camera: Yes (Full HD) Motion sensor: Yes (motion zones) Night vision: Yes (black-and-white) Facial recognition: No Storage: Micro SD, in the cloud (subscription-based) Siren: No Voice control: Yes (Google Assistant, Alexa) Microphone/speaker: Yes (two-way communication) Pan/tilt: Yes Zoom: Digital Power source: Electric What’s included: 1 x camera, installation accessories

Nedis WIFICO20CWT

Nedis WIFICO20CWT is not so much the product name but the article number. The camera is called, rather boringly, “1080p Outdoor pan/tilt camera” or simply “Smart IP-camera”, but so are several other cameras from the Nedis range, which is hugely confusing.

Equally confusing is the fact that almost all the cameras have different designs, which gives the feeling that the manufacturer has just randomly chosen the cameras from a wholesaler, stuck its brand on and added its own software.

Simple app with more than one version

The above is also partly true of the app. Because the Nedis app is the same as the Tuya app (a couple of other apps also do the same thing).

The app itself is fairly comprehensive for the smart home, with everything from Wi-Fi cameras and smart lamps to Wi-Fi fans. You add everything to the same app and can then control it all, which is very handy.

Regardless of which app you choose, the installation is very straightforward and doesn't take more than a couple of minutes. The connection only works on the 2.4 Ghz band, but given the price tag we didn’t expect anything else.

At the same time, there's a certain amount of confusion between the apps. The Nedis app only recently received support for cloud storage, while Tuya's app had it from the outset. The latter is also very simple to connect to Google Assistant, while the Nedis app is stubborn for a long time before it finally allows the connection.

Good functions

The camera actually feels cheaper than it is, because this is a really plasticky item that provides pretty much no quality feeling at all. Despite this, however, it's been outdoors in all types of weather without issues, so appearances can be deceptive.

The camera can be controlled both vertically and horizontally via the app, and if you don't want to subscribe to a cloud service, you can insert a memory card for storage.

When it comes to image quality it’s a really good performer. The camera reports live streams without any delay, and in daylight we get a reasonable detail where we have no problems distinguishing faces. At night it works, but the IR lighting doesn't reach more than two metres before it gets too dark to see. On a better note, the camera and the app react lightning fast to movements.

The Nedis WIFICO20CWT isn't the best high-quality camera in the world. But it does a perfectly reasonable job given the price. And it can be a cheap route for trying out camera surveillance at your home.

Lots of functions in the appreasonable imagestable video stream
Extremely plastickynot the world's best night vision

12. Ring Door View cam

Security camera for door peephole

Type: Doorbell with camera for door peephole Camera: Yes (1920x1080 pixel) Motion sensor: Yes (distance) Night vision: Yes Facial recognition: No Storage: In the cloud (subscription-based) Siren: No Voice control: Yes (Alexa) Microphone/speaker: Yes (two-way communication) Power: Battery What’s included: 1 x camera, installation accessories, screwdriver

Ring Door View Cam Doorbell

A doorbell with a camera is a handy way to see who’s at the door even when you’re not at home. It also allows you to talk to the person without having to open the door.

But what do you do if you live in a flat and aren’t allowed to install this kind of camera? Or if you have a peephole in the door but nowhere to put a separate camera doorbell? That’s where the Ring Door View Camera comes in. This is a doorbell with a camera that you install in the peephole of the door.

Doesn’t work with all doors

To begin with, you need to check how this type of camera works. Even if you turn off the motion sensor, “filming” the stairwell of your block of flats can be sensitive in terms of privacy. So check with your tenant association or landlord what the rules are.

Another problem is that the Door View Cam doesn’t work with all security doors. In many cases they’re simply too thick for it to be possible to install the device. Given how good Ring have otherwise always been at including every conceivable accessory, it feels really strange that you can’t extend the device with a small adapter.

But if the door isn’t too thick, installation is no problem and both this and connecting it to your Ring account are quickly done – the installation process in particular takes just a few minutes.

For the person ringing the doorbell, it feels a bit weird to press a button by the peephole instead of where the doorbell normally is, but there’s no way around that.

One useful detail is that you can still continue to use the peephole in an “analogue” way even with the camera installed.

Simple solution

The high-up position gives you a better view of people when you check the camera on your mobile phone. But you’re locked into notifications on your mobile to hear someone ringing your doorbell, unless you buy the Chime accessory, which makes it ring indoors too. Given the large battery block inside and the fact that it rings quite loudly outside the door, it seems a bit mean not to include a speaker on the inside too.

In terms of function, it’s otherwise the same as the company's top seller Doorbell 2 – in other words, the battery-driven doorbell in the Ring range. In practice, this means a battery life of up to three months, a simple motion sensor without zones and a good picture in bright light.

In the dark, the camera does OK, but the highlights in the black and white image are a bit blown out. About a third of the time when someone rings the doorbell, it takes what feels like an eternity before you can talk to the person outside, but otherwise it connects immediately.

You can get notifications and view live camera images without a subscription, but if you want to save videos for later, you have to subscribe.

If you can’t install a standard doorbell with a camera for your home and have a sufficiently thin door, the Ring Door View Cam can be a good alternative. At the same time, it feels like a rather less well considered device than the company's other products.

Good picture in bright lightInteresting solution for door peepholesGood battery life
No built-in speakerDoesn’t fit all doorsBlown out night images

13. Ring Spotlight Cam Battery

Versatile and well-equipped security camera

Type: Security camera for outdoor use Camera: Yes (Full HD) Motion sensor: Yes (thermal detection) Night vision: Yes Facial recognition: No Storage: In the cloud (subscription-based) Siren: Yes Voice control: Yes (Alexa) Microphone/speaker: Yes (two-way communication) Power: Battery (3-6 months) What’s included: 1 x camera, installation accessories, screwdriver

Ring Spotlight Cam Battery

The Ring Spotlight Cam Battery is an entirely wireless camera that, in terms of hardware, feels very complete. As the name indicates, there’s a built-in lamp that can illuminate smaller outdoor areas when someone passes the camera. Either to frighten away intruders or simply to give you a bit more light if you’re moving around your exterior at night. If you want to inform people that they’ve been caught on film, there’s also a built-in siren, and if you don’t want to make quite that much noise, you can also talk to them and hear the person standing by the camera.

The image quality is good regardless of whether it’s filming during the day or night. The camera isn’t exactly a design triumph, but it does its job.

Entirely wireless

There are several advantages to having a battery-powered security camera (you can also buy it with a standard power cable for the same price). Above all, it makes it much easier to install the camera because you don’t have to worry about laying cables. In addition, the camera has space for two batteries – even if the package only includes one.

But simultaneously there’s the question of the wireless connection. You need to have really good Wi-Fi coverage where the camera is installed to get the video stream to be smooth. This is a marked difference to Ring’s equivalent mains powered cameras. Not only to save on batteries, but the freedom that comes with an entirely wireless camera quickly becomes limited in this case.

But for reception there are no problems. Ring’s app is incredibly easy to get started with and it doesn’t take many minutes to add the camera to your account. You immediately get notifications on your phone when something happens and you can see the live view. But if you want to store film clips you have to pay a subscription fee.

The simple app also comes with limitations, such as a not having an entirely straightforward scheduling system, the lack of facial recognition and a slightly fiddly timeline of what has been seen and recorded.

Who would this camera suit?

The Ring Spotlight Cam Battery is a great choice if you have good Wi-Fi coverage outdoors. It includes everything you need for installation. It’s also great that it has space for double batteries, but we’d have liked to see better Wi-Fi connection and slightly more modern functions within the app.

Good imagedouble battery spacestraightforward concept
Only Wi-Fi as a connection optiona bit short of functions in the app

14. Netatmo Welcome

Older product that gives you full control

Type: Security camera for indoor use Camera: Yes (Full HD) Motion sensor: Yes (thermal detection) Night vision: Yes Facial recognition: Yes Storage: Micro SD-card/Dropbox/FTP Siren: No Voice control: Yes (Google/Homekit) Microphone/speaker: Microphone only Power: Mains adapter What’s included: 1 x camera

Netatmo Smart Indoor Camera (NSC01-EU)

The Netatmo Welcome has major advantages that many of its competitors are lacking, but it’s also getting on a bit. It’s quite an attractive camera built into an aluminium tube. However, this causes problems in pretty much every position if you were thinking of putting it on a table or something similar.

You have to work out some of your own accessories for wall mounting, and the fact that all the cables stick straight out from the back doesn’t help either. But the camera gets a big thumbs up for having an outlet for a wired network for a more stable connection.

Keep data to yourself

Another major advantage is that you don’t have to have a subscription to store video clips. The camera has an outlet for Micro SD-card for storage, but can also be connected to your Dropbox account or via FTP, for example to a network hard drive. This gives you better control over recorded clips – and your own data – than many modern home camera solutions.

Getting started with this camera is as easy as it is with the majority of others. Download the app, create an account and follow the instructions, and you’re ready to go in a couple of minutes.

After it’s been installed for a couple of days, the software starts to ask about the faces it has seen so it can identify them.

Ageing platform

The Netatmo Welcome was released couple of years ago, and unfortunately this is quite evident. Regardless of the light, the faces we are asked to identify are very blurred.

While it’s easy to get started, receive notifications and watch the live view in the camera, the app is rather fiddly to use. The live video is rarely of high quality (although the recorded material is), there are very few settings for the camera and identified faces and history are quite difficult to manage. The app would really benefit from a major update.

It’s also worth mentioning that the camera gets worryingly hot, so make sure it’s positioned in a well-ventilated place.

The freedom and lack of hidden costs together with an attractive design significantly increase the score we give to the Netatmo Welcome. But the fact that it’s quite difficult to position and has an ageing app means that it could have done better.

Facial recognitionno subscription feesEthernet outlet
Gets hotageing and unnecessarily fiddly appfew setting options

15. Nedis WIFICI20CGY

Simple indoor camera with the basics

Type: Security camera for indoor use Camera: Yes (1080p) Motion sensor: Yes (motion zones) Night vision: Yes (black-and-white) Facial recognition: No Storage: Micro SD, in the cloud (subscription-based) Siren: No Voice control: Yes (Google Assistant, Alexa) Microphone/speaker: Yes (two-way communication) Pan/tilt: Yes Zoom: Digital Power source: Electric What’s included: 1 x camera, installation accessories, alternative side parts

Nedis WIFICI20CGY

The Nedis WIFICI20CGY is actually named “Indoor pan/tilt camera” or simply “Smart IP-camera”, but as all Nedis cameras have similarly bland names, it's best to use the exact model name.

Just like with Nedis’s other cameras, this one feels like it was picked out from a random wholesaler's stock without any regard to how it works together with the other parts in the series. But the software is the same in each case.

And the software in question is the same as for Tuya, which means you can use either of the apps. During our test period, it seemed as though Tuya’s app gets new functions first (Google Assistant support and cloud storage, for example). Both apps work very well and are easy to use.

Replaceable shell

With a camera in this price class, you can't expect anything wonderful in terms of build quality. So, we were positively surprised when it turned out you can swap the sides of the camera. An extra shell is included so you can easily make it blend in with your home.

The camera itself is very plasticky. But at least the shape means that it isn't as obvious as it would otherwise have been.

The camera can be controlled both vertically and horizontally via the app, and if you don't want to store film clips via the cloud service, you can insert a memory card in the camera. Via the app we experienced lightning-fast notifications when movements have been detected, together with a still image of what the camera saw.

Struggles with details

The camera films at a maximum resolution of 720 pixels, which is a touch lower than average. The resolution – and above all the video quality – works OK to see what's going on in your home, but details and faces can be rather difficult to see.

At night, it works in roughly the same way, but in black and white. Indoors, the IR lamps for night vision work really well and don't normally have any problems “seeing” an entire room.

The Nedis WIFICI20CGY has a good versatile app, combined with an attractive price. If you're a newcomer to the smart home concept, or simply curious about camera surveillance in general, this can be a cheap way of dipping your toe in the water. The camera isn't the best on the market, but it works very well within its limits.

Effective appvery stable connectionnice to have a replaceable shell
Very plastickyonly 720p resolution

16. Somfy Indoor Camera

Fantastic ideas but limited by the camera

Type: Security camera for indoor use Camera: Yes (1080p) Motion sensor: Yes (motion zones) Night vision: Yes (black-and-white) Facial recognition: No Storage: Cloud (subscription), Dropbox/Onedrive Siren: No Voice control: Yes (Google Assistant, Alexa) Microphone/speaker: Yes (two-way communication) Pan/tilt: No Zoom: Digital Power source: Electric What’s included: 1 x camera, table stand

Somfy 2401507

The Somfy Indoor Camera has one function that should be pretty much standard for all indoor cameras – a physical lens cap. In this case it’s motorised and can be controlled via the app or according to a schedule. This means that both you and any visitors to your home can feel secure that the camera isn’t filming – until it’s required.

Problematic design

The useful lens cap sits on a puck-shaped unit which is a nice shape but feels a bit plasticky. And the puck shape means it’s hard to position the camera. This is particularly true if you want to wall mount it (the bracket is sold separately), as the puck shape means it protrudes a lot.

You can add the camera to Somfy’s security app, where you can operate it separately or include it in a wider system with several cameras and other alarm sensors. The app has a large number of functions and you even get recordings of 30 seconds each, which are saved free of charge for seven days. This is generous and makes it one of the best security cameras no subscription required . But if you want more than this you can buy into the subscription service.

Light and blurry

Given all the functions in the app, you get a great deal for the money. And the camera has good reception over Wi-Fi too (there’s no wired version).

But the camera itself is a bit of a problem. The images are far too light, so some details disappear. At the same time, even when we try out different Wi-Fi networks, positions and settings for the camera, it never produced a detailed image. In fact, it’s so bad that it’s sometimes hard to make out faces on the images.

At night, the camera doesn’t seem to be as overcompensated in terms of light, but the detail problem remains.

The camera also suffers from a significant delay. It takes about five seconds from something passing the camera and it being visible in the app’s live view. Even cheaper cameras today can cope with real time streaming or very close to it, but for some reason, this camera takes a lot longer.

It’s even stranger when we use the speaker and microphone in the camera to communicate via the app, because the sound arrives five seconds before the person on the video reacts to it.

Given how long the camera has been on the market, we don’t have any hope that either the image quality or the delay will be fixed with software updates either.

And that’s a shame. Because Somfy’s app is really good, has lots of functions and is compatible with external services. The Somfy Indoor Camera gains a lot of points for its physical lens cover, but as a camera, it’s quite a distance behind its competitors.

Physical lens coverreally good appgood reception strength
Poor details in imagesimages too lightfiddly shape for installationdelays

17. Nedis WIFICO11CWT

Plasticky outdoor camera with good app

Type: Security camera for outdoor use Camera: Yes (1080p) Motion sensor: Yes (motion zones) Night vision: Yes (black-and-white) Facial recognition: No Storage: Micro SD, in the cloud (subscription-based) Siren: No Voice control: Yes (Google Assistant, Alexa) Microphone/speaker: Yes (two-way communication) Pan/tilt: No Zoom: Digital Power source: Electric What’s included: 1 x camera, installation accessories

Nedis WIFICO11CWT

The Nedis WIFICO11CWT is also named “1080p outdoor camera” or “Wi-Fi smart IP-camera for outdoor use waterproof Full HD 1080p”. But as the name doesn’t say anything and just like all the other Nedis camera names, you really need to check the long model name to be sure.

In any case, it's a simpler outdoor camera that means you can quickly get started with for home surveillance at a cheap price.

Double apps

The Nedis app can be connected to both cameras and lamps to act as a hub for your smart home. It can also be connected to a cloud service for storage of video, if you don't want to use the camera’s built-in memory card.

It works with Google Assistant too, but we had major problems setting this up and it took a while before it agreed to cooperate. We don't get this with Tuya, which is exactly the same app and camera, but adapted to a more global market. Tuya makes an app for Nedis, and it seems as though new functions are tested out by Tuya first.

Regarding the camera in the app, it's very fast to connect and when the camera sees something, we quickly received a notification about it on our phone.

Night blind

There aren't any luxury functions like motor control for the camera here, but at any rate this very plasticky camera doesn't have any problems being outdoors in all weathers.

Despite a resolution of 1080p, you don't get the world’s most detailed image. But for smaller spaces outdoors and in the daytime, we at least get an image where we can see most things, even if faces can be a bit blurry.

It is worse at night. The camera’s IR eyes don't reach far, and just over a metre from the camera, everything becomes quite dark. It still reacts to movements, but we often have a problem seeing what's moving in the darkness.

This means the Nedis WIFICO11CWT is very limited in terms of applications. If you want a really cheap camera with a reasonable app just so you can try out surveillance, this may be an option. But the poor night vision limits the usefulness of this camera for home use.

Well-designed appboth local and cloud storage
Extremely plastickyvery short field of view in darknessonly slightly cheaper than the model with motor control

18. Somfy Outdoor Camera

Good at everything, except, sadly, images! Okay for apartment use.

Type: Security camera for outdoor use Camera: Yes (1080p) Motion sensor: Yes (motion zones) Night vision: Yes (black-and-white) Facial recognition: No Storage: In the cloud (subscription-based) Siren: No Voice control: Yes (Google Assistant, Alexa) Microphone/speaker: Yes (two-way communication) Pan/tilt: No Zoom: Digital Power source: Electric What’s included: 1 x camera, installation accessories

Somfy Outdoor Security Camera 2401560

The Somfy Outdoor Camera is a rather oddly designed camera with functions that, on paper, look really good. According to the manual, the camera doesn’t tolerate either direct sunlight or rain, which is an interesting characteristic for an outdoor camera. Don’t give up yet…

Fiddly installation

The design of Somfy’s outdoor camera blends in like any other outdoor lamp. But the entire package is rather large.

You install the camera by removing the entire back panel and screwing it to the wall. The power switch has an extra outlet for a lamp, which can be activated when the camera reacts to movements. Despite the substantial installation housing, however, there's no outlet for a wired network or POE (Power over Ethernet) so it can't be powered without internet.

The camera itself can rotate horizontally but not vertically – and only a very little way horizontally. In combination with the angled design of the camera (and the fact that it clearly can’t deal with rain or sun), you really have to think about the position before installing it to get it right.

Once in place, however, you can activate a connected lamp, talk to whoever is standing in front of the camera or activate the built-in siren if necessary. You can also use the siren as an outdoor siren if you have additional alarm parts from Somfy. The siren starts up automatically if someone tries to disassemble the camera.

What about those images?

So in terms of functions, it's not at all bad up to this point. Getting the camera into Somfy’s app doesn’t pose any problems either, and it has really good reception strength over Wi-Fi. Somfy’s app is built to act as a home alarm, with cameras as part of this. This makes the app really function rich, if a little confusing. For the camera itself, saving short video clips is included, but if you want more you can subscribe to the company's cloud service.

The camera is very good at ignoring false alarms, like swaying bushes etc. The colours in the camera are also very natural.

But the outdoor camera has the same problem as Somfy’s indoor camera; the images are lacking in detail. This is despite the fact that we test it with different Wi-Fi networks and quality settings in the app. Faces are blurred and trying to determine the registration numbers of cars is pretty much impossible during the day and at night.

At the same time, the camera has the same five-second delay as the company's indoor camera, which is much longer than their competitors’ models - and something that makes two-way conversations very frustrating, if not impossible.

Because image quality is fundamental in a security camera, we are disappointed in the Somfy Outdoor Camera, particularly at this price. The app and functions are very good, but neither the camera nor the image quality is on the same level.

Function-rich apppowerful siren
Doesn't tolerate either rain or sunlightimages extremely lacking in detailfiddly shape for installation

19. Nedis Wireless Doorbell

Too simple for its own good

Type: Doorbell with camera Camera: Yes (1280x720 pixel) Motion sensor: Yes (distance) Night vision: Yes Facial recognition: No Storage: Micro SD, in the cloud (subscription-based) Siren: No Voice control: No Microphone/speaker: Yes (two-way communication) Power: Electric What’s included: 1 x camera, installation accessories

Nedis Smartlife Wireless Doorbell

The Nedis Wireless Doorbell can be a really attractive alternative to the more expensive doorbells from companies like Ring or Nest. But at the same time, you do get what you pay for. And it’s above all the resolution that spoils this product’s performance.

Simple installation, except for the ringer

Nedis’ doorbell is very neat and stylish, although once in place it’s reminiscent of an older Logitech webcam. As long as the wires out to your doorbell deliver the right amount of current, it’s a minor issue to connect the bell.

But you can’t connect the doorbell further to a ringer indoors to hear when someone rings the bell. To do this you have to buy a separate ringer from Nedis, disconnect the power to the doorbell, run it on a mains USB cable and pair the ringer. This means the installation is much more fiddly and the complete package more expensive.

Apart from this rather pointless idea, it’s easy to set up the doorbell and Nedis’ app – or rather, Tuya’s app, because it’s the same app with different names.

It’s easy to set the settings you need in the app and see snapshots of what’s happened in front of the camera. It’s also pretty quick at delivering notifications, but could have been still quicker because after all someone ringing at your door is something you needto know about straight away.

Major limitations

Unlike the majority of doorbells with a fixed power supply, Nedis’ doorbell only copes with distance measurement for motion sensing, not delimited movement zones. And the sensitivity seems to vary quite a lot too.

The camera itself has a similar limitation. While it’s nice that stored material can be transferred to the built-in memory card or Nedis’ cloud service, there’s often not actually much useful material. For example, the camera reacts very slowly when taking a snapshot, which means that half the time you get an image of someone’s chest instead of their face.

In the daytime, the low 720p resolution is sufficient for identifying people. But at night all faces, regardless of skin colour, become blindingly white without any facial traits whatsoever, which is totally useless for seeing who’s outside the door.

Given its price, the Nedis Wireless Doorbell can seem like a good idea on paper. However, the price goes up quickly when you have to buy an extra ringer, and given that the camera isn’t even usable half the time, we can’t really recommend it.

Straightforward appstorage on memory card
Requires an extra ringerringer makes the installation fiddlypoor image in daylightuseless image at nightpoor motion sensor

Useful information about security cameras

With a domestic security camera, you can keep track of everyone coming and going around your home. But the type of security camera that’s best for your home depends entirely on your individual preferences. Some people want a completely wireless camera (i.e. a battery-powered one) that only records when someone moves in front of it. These are more advanced than the kind that react to all types of movement. Some people want to store video clips in the cloud, while others would prefer to store them on memory card in the camera itself.

These are just a few examples of the differences between home security cameras. In this section, we go through all the different types of functions and parameters so you can decide which camera will suit you best.

Image quality

Of course, the single most important function in a security camera is how good the image quality is in terms of still images and film. Without a decent picture, you can’t see who’s in the image or use the recorded material later for any purpose.

The image quality largely depends on the camera capabilities, which you can find out from the specifications. It also depends on how the camera is connected, because the image quality often varies depending on how fast the connection is (more about this below). Look for the following as a kind of initial quality check (although remember that there can be significant variation between cameras with similar specifications):

  • Resolution. The more pixels, the more surface there is to read information from. If you just want to keep an eye on the kids while they play in the garden, you only need a cheap camera with VGA resolution (640x480 pixels). But if you want to be able to see faces or registration numbers on cars, higher resolution is better. Such as full HD/1080p (1920x1080 pixels).

  • Frame rate. It’s easy to understand a sequence of events if the film records at a certain number of frames per second. A normal film on DVD has 24 images per second, and for security cameras (or mobile phones), 30 images per second is pretty standard. Cheaper cameras often have a lower image speed than this, and sometimes only a couple of images per second.

Then there are other technical specifications it can be useful to look for…

How wide is the camera’s field of view?

This is measured in degrees, exactly like when you measure angles. The larger the number of degrees, the broader the field of view.

Does the camera have night vision?

In many cases, this can be seen as a set of LEDs around or close to the camera lens (but not always). If you want to see what’s going on at night, this is an essential.

Can the camera detect movement?

Filming the entire time is often pointless. The majority of cameras have a motion sensor, and even this isn’t directly connected to image quality, it’s still important. Both for telling you if somebody’s sneaking around in your garden and for recording events in case you need to use the material later.

Cameras often have functions for setting movement sensitivity or the option to only pick out movement in a particular part of the camera’s field of view.

Connection.

How the camera communicates with the surrounding world is extremely important. We tested cameras with two connection methods – wireless (Wi-Fi) or wired (Ethernet) that can work without WIFI connection.

If you have the possibility, a wired connection is preferable as it’s almost always quickest and least sensitive to interference.

But installing wires to a camera can seem intimidating. Consequently, many cameras now connect only through your home Wi-Fi network. If you go for this option you need a stable, fast router so that image quality and notifications are as good as possible, and so that there’s good enough coverage in the place where you’re going to install the camera.

Power

Is the camera powered by mains power from an electrical outlet or by batteries? A battery-powered camera, particularly with Wi-Fi, is enormously flexible because you don’t need to install cables to it. But you will need to keep track of the battery level and how long the battery will last.

A camera with mains power requires a little more work to install because you have to consider the wires. But as a consequence, you don’t need to worry about battery levels and you often get a couple of extra functions on this type of camera that a battery-operated home security camera could not provide.

Recording

Obviously, a security camera has to store what it’s recorded. There are lots of solutions for this, but the most common for the cameras in the test is either a memory card in the camera or a cloud solution you subscribe to.

We all know how to use a memory card. Insert the card and the camera records onto it. There are memory cards of different sizes and with different storage capacities, so make sure you choose the right type for your camera. You also need to remember that it may need to be emptied at regular intervals.

The advantage of cloud services is that recorded material is still there even if your house burns down or the camera is stolen. You will have to pay a monthly or annual fee for access.

Cloud services are often specific to the particular camera manufacturer, so for example you can’t buy a camera from Nest and add it to Ring’s cloud service.

Another solution is to store the material on a networked hard disk or similar device. Often you need additional software to keep track of the cameras and recordings, but this is a very flexible solution if you want to invest a little more energy in your installation.

User-friendliness and apps

The majority of cameras in this test are connected and used through an app on your mobile phone or tablet. If the app on your phone is slow to show images from the camera, fails to give you notifications when something happens and so on, you’ll end not using it, which makes the camera pointless. You ultimately need a security camera with app functions that work well.

Thus, it’s really important to have a good app that can guide you through the installation and work well during the entire lifetime of the camera.

What does the law say?

The laws about security cameras are much more relaxed than they were just a few years ago. Yet, there are a couple of rules you have to obey. You can find all information you need, together with the opportunity to ask questions at The Swedish Data Protection Authority’s website, which is the authority that deals with the legal aspects.

To summarise the situation, for private individuals who want to monitor their home, the following applies:

  • The camera cannot film a place to which the general public has access
  • You use the security camera in your role as a private individual
  • The surveillance is carried out as part of entirely private or household activities

Price classes in our test

Budget: < £150. In this class, there are lots of cameras and the quality can vary enormously in terms of images and functions. This is also where many people start with to work out what they need and how a home security system works.

Medium: £150-280 A little over £200 is normal for most manufacturers’ modern consumer-level security cameras. These provide decent image quality and you can count on a good range of functions.

Premium: £ 280 There are lots of cameras for professional use in the higher price classes, but also more high-end consumer models. Here you can demand really good image quality and a full range of functions.

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