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The Best Smart Home Cameras of 2020

It doesn’t matter if you’re building a smart home around Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple’s HomeKit – there’s a smart home camera that’ll work for you.

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Nest

Smart cameras are running home security companies like ADT out of business. Brinks’ home security division went bust a couple of years ago, and it all stands to reason — home security cameras are to subscription-based security systems what HBO GO is to cable. Plus, there’s no need to shell out a lot for something that you only use one percent of the time. The new generation of smart cameras are perfect for a modern smart home. The only question left is: which one is right for your home?

The Most Important Features To Look For

Most of today’s home security cameras have a lot in common. Motion sensors, night vision, two-way talk and a companion app that allows you to, at any time, get a live feed of what’s happening in front of the camera are all standard baseline features. When it comes to differences, there are four main things to consider:

Compatibility: If you already own smart home devices, you’ll want a home security camera that plays well with them. An Alexa-only camera is likely a bad fit for your Google-based smart home no matter how cheap or capable is.

Price: When it comes to the basics, affordable options like the Wyze Cam v2 will have you covered with features like 24/7 live feed, two-way talk, night vision, motion alerts. More expensive cameras can offer better app experiences or advanced (but niche) functionality. Generally, a cheaper camera will work just fine, especially to start.

Subscription: Many smart home security cameras require a monthly or annual subscription fee to get its more advanced features like facial recognition, person alerts, the ability to share clips and to access recordings stored in the cloud. You likely won’t need a subscription like this to see what’s going on live, but factor in the cost if you require more than that.

Wired or Battery: Some security cameras are battery-powered, giving you more freedom in where they are placed, at the cost of having to remember to charge them. Depending on your situation, the tradeoff might be worth it.

Here’s the rundown of our favorite families of home security cameras, and the models available to suit various needs . Remember, just because a camera is expensive doesn’t necessarily make it immediately better. A lot of the more expensive options are only worth buying if you know you’ll use it a lot and you’re willing to pay a reoccurring subscription fee.

Wyze

Wyze makes the most affordable home security cams out there, and is a terrific go-to option for anyone who’s flirting with the idea of a camera. Better yet, they support Amazon’s Alexa as well as Google Assistant, which makes them versatile.

Wyze Cam V2

Compatible with: Alexa and Google Assistant
Subscription: $1.49 per camera for 14-day cloud storage.
Field of view: 110 degrees
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired
Storage: 128MB, microSD card (sold separately)

The Wyze Cam is the cheapest smart security you can buy, and despite its super-low price and admittedly cheap design, it actually packs most of the same features as other indoor security cameras. It shoots 1080p video, supports two-way talk, and it will automatically record video clips (up to 12 seconds) if it detects motion or hears a loud sound. You can also access a live feed any time you want by opening the Wyze app. The kicker is that it comes free with 14 days of cloud storage, without any subscription, which is huge.

BUY NOW: $20 (Wyze) BUY NOW: $26 (Target) BUY NOW: $26 (Amazon)

Wyze Cam Pan

Compatible with: Alexa and Google Assistant
Subscription: $1.49 per camera per month for 14-day cloud storage.
Field of view: 120 degrees (plus panning)
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired
Storage: 128MB, microSD card (sold separately)
Key features: 8x digital zoom, 24/7 live video feed, night vision, panning

The Wyze Cam Pan is essentially an upgraded version of the Wyze Cam. It has all the same abilities but it “pans,” hence the name. If you open the Wyze app, you can actually control what the camera is looking at. You can tilt it left or right, up or down. Unlike the cheaper Wyze Cam, the Wyze Cam Pan offers motion tracking; if motion is detected in a specific area of its field of view, the camera will use its Zoom capabilities to track the subject. A downside is that the Pan doesn’t have a magnetic base or stand.

BUY NOW: $30 (Wyze) BUY NOW: $38 (Home Depot) BUY NOW: $38 (Amazon)

Nest

Nest cameras are optimized for anybody building a smart home around Google’s ecosystem. Even though these Nest Cam cameras will work with Alexa, it’s worth remembering that since Google owns Nest, its line of home security cameras will always be more likely to work more smoothly within a Google smart home ecosystem.

Nest Cam

Compatible with: works with Alexa and Google Assistant
Subscription: $5+ per month for extended cloud storage and intelligent alerts
Field of view: 130 degrees
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired
Storage: 3 hours of free cloud storage; Nest Aware subscription gets you up to 30 days of cloud storage
Key features: night vision, two-way talk, motion alerts, 24/7 live video feed

The Nest Cam comes in two different models, one for indoors and one for outdoors, and both are the most entry-level security cameras that the company makes. The two cameras have pretty much the exact same abilities – same field of view, video resolution, night vision, alerts and storage – but there are some differences. The Indoor camera has better zoom abilities (8x versus 4x optical zoom), while the Outdoor camera is weather-resistant and comes with a much longer cord (25 feet vs 10 feet). Overall, these are the most entry-level security cameras in the Nest lineup.

Nest Cam Indoor

BUY NOW: $199 $129 (Google) BUY NOW: $199 $129 (B&H)

Nest Cam Outdoor

BUY NOW: $199 $149 (Google) BUY NOW: $199 $149 (B&H)

Nest Cam IQ

Compatible with: works with Alexa and Google Assistant
Subscription: $5+ per month for extended cloud storage and intelligent alerts
Field of view: 130 degrees
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired
Storage: up to 30 days with a Nest Aware subscription
Key features: 12x digital zoom Supersight, facial detection, night vision, two-way talk, motion alerts, 24/7 live video feed

These are the upgraded versions of the Nest Cam Indoor and Outdoor. The biggest difference is that the two IQ cameras have a 4K image sensor, which enables a feature called “Supersight,” which allows the cameras to identify familiar and unfamiliar faces, as well as zoom in and track those subjects while they’re in the frame. The IQ cameras will also send you real-time alerts when it detects motion (should you enable it). The catch is that in order to get these premium features, you’ll need to have a Nest Aware subscription.

Nest Cam IQ Indoor

BUY NOW: $299 $229 (Google) BUY NOW: $299 $229 (B&H)

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

BUY NOW: $399 $329 (Google) BUY NOW: $399 $329 (Home Depot)

Amazon (Blink and Ring)

Amazon has taken a different approach to the smart home. Instead of making its own products, like Google, Amazon has decided to buy other companies and optimize their products for an Alexa smart home ecosystem. That’s exactly what Amazon did with Blink in late 2017, Ring in 2018 and eero in 2019, to name a few. This is why Amazon has ceased production of its Cloud Cam, and instead focused on making Blink and Ring smart home cameras even better.

Blink Mini

Compatible with: works with Alexa
Subscription: $3/month (or $30/year) for 60 days of rolling video storage for a single camera. $10/month (or $100/year) for unlimited cameras
Field of view: 110 degrees
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired
Storage: subscription or external local storage module
Key features: night vision, motion alerts, 24/7 live video feed

Released in April 2020, the Blink Mini is the company’s newest, smallest and most affordable smart home camera. It’s a camera that only works with Alexa, and therefore is really optimized for homes that already use Alexa as a voice assistant, as well as an Amazon Fire TV, Fire Tablet, Echo Show or Echo Spot (with any of these devices you can ask Alexa to show you a live feed from a specific Blink Mini).

BUY NOW: $35 (Amazon) BUY NOW: $35 (Best Buy) Read the Review

Blink XT2 Outdoor/Indoor

Compatible with: works with Alexa
Subscription: None, comes with free cloud storage to keep clips for up to a year
Field of view: 110 degrees
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: portable
Storage: free cloud storage
Key features: night vision, motion alerts, 24/7 live video feed

The Blink XT2 is an indoor/outdoor smart home camera that’s completely wire-free. In fact, it has a pretty incredible two-year battery life (runs on two AA batteries), which is longer than pretty much all other battery-powered smart home cameras. The Blink XT2 looks very similar to its predecessor, the Blink XT, but it adds a bunch of must-have features, including two-way talk, night vision, motion alerts (with custom activity zones) and person detection. It also has an IP65 weatherproof rating and built-in temperature sensors, so it’s safe to leave outside and it’ll give you an accurate temperature reading. A mount is included with purchase.

BUY NOW: $100 (Amazon) BUY NOW: $100 (Staples)

Ring Indoor Cam

Compatible with: works with Amazon Alexa
Subscription? Yes, Ring offers two different cloud storage subscription options, a Protect Basic ($3/month) and Protect Plus ($10/month)
Field of view: 140 degrees
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired
Storage: no free cloud storage
Key features: 24/7 live video feed, night vision, motion alerts

The Indoor Cam is a smaller and cheaper version of Ring’s Stick Up Cam (below), and it has most of the same abilities as every other entry-level security camera on the market. The difference is that, if you already own Ring’s video doorbell or security system, any of Ring’s cameras will work seamlessly with that existing ecosystem. They’ll also work well with Alexa smart ecosystem. The Indoor Cam is a solid smart camera for anybody building a smart home around Amazon Alexa and people who already have a Ring smart home device.

BUY NOW: $60 (Amazon) BUY NOW: $60 (Ring)

Ring Stick Up Cam

Compatible with: works with Amazon Alexa
Subscription: Yes, Ring offers two different cloud storage subscription options, a Protect Basic ($3/month) and Protect Plus ($10/month)
Field of view: 130 degrees
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired, battery-powered or solar powered
Storage: no free cloud storage
Key features: 24/7 live video feed, night vision, motion alerts, ability to wall mount

The Stick Up Cam comes in three different models – wired (Plug-In), battery-powered (Battery) or solar-powered (Solar) – and it’s also essentially a larger (and slightly better) version of Ring’s Indoor Cam. All three models shoot 1080p video, and have two-way talk and night vision. The battery-powered models come with a rechargeable battery pack and, since they’re portable, you can stick them (or use included wall mounts) to place them anywhere in your home that has Wi-Fi. A big difference from the Indoor Cam is that the Stick Up Cam are designed for indoor and outdoor use, which is why they’re more expensive. If you just want an entry-level indoor security camera, the Ring Indoor Cam probably makes more sense. However, if you want a more versatile camera that you can place essentially anywhere (so long as it’s connected to Wi-Fi), that’s where the Stick Up Cam comes in. It works best within an Alexa smart home.

BUY NOW: $100 (Amazon, Plug-In) BUY NOW: $100 (Amazon, Battery) BUY NOW: $100 (Ring)

Arlo

Arlo’s home security cameras are unique for two main reasons. First, they’re battery-powered, meaning you can place them anywhere around your house. And two, every Arlo’s camera system requires you to have a SmartHub, which allows you to control all the cameras through the Arlo app. This separate hub also gives you to locally store video files, as opposed to the cloud.

Arlo Ultra

Compatible with: works with Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit
Subscription: Yes, with the purchase you get a one-year free subscription to Arlo Smart
Field of view: 180 degrees
Video resolution: 4K with HDR
Wired or portable: battery powered
Storage: 7-days cloud storage free; up to 30 days with subscription; interal storage via microSD
Key features: 12x zoom, motion tracking, noise cancellation audio (for wind and rain), night vision, motion tracking

Ultra is Arlo’s high-end line of security cameras. They shoot the best quality video, 4K with HDR, with the widest field of view. The Ultra is really for who wants the best completely wireless security system, which works with either Alexa and Apple HomeKit, and they’re not afraid to invest in a multi-camera system. (You can always purchase additional add-on cameras later down the road.)

BUY NOW: $400 (Starter Kit, Walmart) BUY NOW: $400 (Starter Kit, Amazon)

Arlo Pro 3

Compatible with: works with Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit
Subscription: Yes, with the purchase you get a 3-month free subscription to Arlo Smart
Field of view: 160 degrees
Video resolution: 2K with HDR
Wired or portable: battery powered
Storage: 7-days cloud storage free; up to 30 days with subscription; internal storage via microSD
Key features: 12x zoom, motion tracking, noise cancellation audio (for wind and rain), night vision, motion tracking

The Arlo Pro 3 is the company’s newest wireless security camera system and it delivers many of the abilities of Arlo’s high-end Ultra line, but just at a much more accessible price point. There are tradeoffs with the Pro 3, obviously. It captures 2K video instead of 4K, and doesn’t have quite the same field of view. And you only get a 3-month free trial of Arlo Smart, the company’s cloud-storage service, instead of an entire year. If you’re thinking about an Arlo system, the reality is that a Pro 3 system will more sense for most people. It’s significantly cheaper and the video quality, even though it’s not at the same 4K level, is still very good.

BUY NOW: $450 (Starter Kit, Walmart) BUY NOW: $450 (Starter Kit, Amazon)

eufy

Eufy is Anker’s smart home division and they make everything from smart home cameras to robot vacuums, video doorbells to alarms system. The great thing about Eufy is that all its newest products work with most smart home systems. (Its older systems weren’t compatible Apple HomeKit.)

eufyCam 2

Compatible with: works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit
Subscription: Yes, the Basic plan costs $3/month (or $30/year) per camera and grants you 30 days of rolling video storage. The Premier plan costs $10/month and covers up to ten cameras.
Field of view: 140 degree
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: battery powered
Storage: cloud and local
Key features: motion alerts, face recognition, night vision, IP67 rating

The eufyCam 2 is the company’s newest system of battery-powered smart cameras. Released in early 2020, the eufyCam 2 system needs a smart home hub, called the HomeBase 2, to work. The two defining features of the eufyCam 2 system are, one, its battery life – each camera can last 360 days between charges – and, two, the fact that you don’t need to pay extra for premium features, such as facial recognition and object detection. As far as video storage, videos can be stored in the cloud or locally, which is a great option for those with privacy concerns. Each camera has an IP67 rating, so they’re for indoor or outdoor use. The eufyCam 2 is a solid option for people who want a relatively affordable system of battery-powered cameras. It also works with HomeKit, as well as Alexa and Google Assistant, which is a rarity among smart home cameras.

BUY NOW: $350 (Best Buy, Starter Kit) BUY NOW: $350 (Amazon, Starter Kit)

Logitech

Logitech makes all kinds of gadgets and its been in the webcam and home camera business for years. For a while, the Circle 2 was one of the only smart home cameras to work with HomeKit, but Apple is branching out and supporting more options as of 2020.

Logitech Circle 2

Compatible with: works with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
Subscription? Yes, Circle Safe gives you the option of paying for cloud storage for video recordings from either 14 or 31 days.
Field of view: 180 degrees
Video resolution: 1080p
Wired or portable: wired (and battery)
Storage: cloud
Key features: 24/7 live video feed, IP65 rating, night vision, two-way audio and motion detection

Logitech’s Circle 2 is a weatherproof security camera (IP65) that can set up indoors or outdoors; its base can work as a traditional stand or be swapped out for a wall/window mount. The Circle 2 is really notable because it’s one of the few smart security cameras that works with Apple’s HomeKit (it also supports Alexa and Google Assistant). It should be noted that Logitech makes the Circle 2 in wired and wire-free models, but HomeKit only works with the wired model. Logitech offers two different subscription plans; if you don’t pay for a subscription, you can only access video recordings for the last 24 hours.The Circle 2 was released in June 2018 and is often on sale. It’s a good camera for people looking for an affordable option that works with Apple HomeKit.

BUY NOW: $180+ (Logitech) BUY NOW: $150 (Apple)

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

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