We spent months putting six of the finest outside home security camera systems through its paces, setting off alarms, and monitoring innumerable notifications. In the end, we discovered that the Nest – Cam Outdoor is the fastest, hardest working, most precise, and best outdoor security camera system overall. We liked how you could rapidly flip through older, uninterrupted video on your PC or smartphone. A close second was the Arlo – Pro 2.
Why do you need a home security camera system?
There are a ton of encouraging and cautionary photos captured by exterior security cameras that may be found online. It is priceless to have a camera recording for peace of mind, even when there is no real risk.
How are self-monitoring systems different?
A self-monitoring security system and a monitored security system have significant distinctions. Traditional monitored systems have alarms and signals that, in the event of an emergency, will notify the authorities. Wi-Fi and your home internet connection are required for self-monitored systems to get updates.
Monitored security system:
- Connected to a fire department and a police station
- Special hardware is required for smoke and CO2 detectors.
- Alarms for open windows
- Alarm-equipped hub station
- A qualified installation
- Connects to both your computer and smartphone
- Solely notifies you of motion in line with your chosen settings
- Other alert hardware addition can be challenging.
- Depends on the internet connection at home
- There are still subscription costs, but they now come with new perks.
Some cameras have extra features that improve home security but not all cameras are created equal.
How do self-monitoring home security cameras work?
Security cameras that can monitor themselves are a terrific way to watch over your house. Depending on the type of camera and internet service provider you select, installation takes less than 30 minutes.
Compare the best outdoor security camera systems
|Product||Price||Video Resolution||Field of View||Zoom||Wireless Option with Battery?||Wired Power Option?|
|A. Nest – Cam Outdoor||$$$||1080p HD||130°||8x||No||Power Outlet|
|B. Arlo – Pro 2||$$$$||1080p HD||130°||8x||Yes||Solar Only|
|C. Blink – XT System||$||720p HD||110°||Fixed Lens||Yes||No|
|D. Ring – Spotlight Cam||$$$$||1080p HD||140°||Fixed Lens||Yes||Solar Only|
|E. Amcrest – ProHD||$$||1080p HD||100°||Fixed Lens||No||Power Outlet|
|F. Vimtag – B3-S Outdoor||$$||1080p HD||70° (Pans 360°)||8x||No||Power Outlet|
Important features to consider
Cameras should be weatherproof and able to operate in freezing temperatures up to 130 °F. They should have high-resolution day and night cameras with a field of view of at least 100 degrees. Some cameras even let you broadcast your voice through an app while talking.
Since most cameras only have a small amount of storage, you can usually only retrieve your data for a few hours to a few days at a time. The secure apps that came with each of the cameras we tested allowed for easy customization, notifications, and monitoring of the live video feed.
How secure are outdoor cameras?
The majority of residential Wi-Fi networks have additional firewalls and are password-protected for security. Botnet attacks frequently target cameras that are connected to the internet. Only one person can be logged into the Arlo – Pro 2 app at once, and fingerprint authentication is required.
How we tested
The garage, which was set up to monitor who entered and exited the house, was the best location for setup. Additionally, it was put up to keep an eye on the whereabouts of our dogs and children.
To download the apps for Android and iOS devices, we went to the iTunes and Google Play stores.
Easiest Install: Blink – XT Home Security Camera
The serial number and QR code displayed on every camera can be scanned with a smartphone to turn on the camera’s Wi-Fi connection.
Thanks to the magnetic foundation of the Nest and Arlo, installation was simple and it functions in both indoor and outdoor settings. The length of the power chord for this kind of camera is the only thing that could have been made longer.
Motion activity and sensitivity
However, some cameras may have performed a little bit too well. The Amcrest’s “Anti-Dither” was one of our favorite features. The Ring provided the clearest nighttime views; as soon as motion was detected, two strong lights turned on to improve the video.
Wi-Fi and self-monitored systems
A live feed’s and a notification’s effectiveness depends on how precisely and rapidly they are ingested. There are a few things that could delay or alter the delay time, but all of the cameras we tested had a live stream delay of no more than five seconds and notifications arrived in under ten.
Best Wireless Camera: Arlo – Pro 2
You can mount your cameras wherever in your house thanks to the base extenders that are included with both the Arlo and Blink cameras. A decent generalization is that if your phone can detect Wi-Fi, then your camera can, too.
Ease of use
Any degree of computer knowledge can quickly set up a self-monitoring system. You may learn a lot about home security by visiting the websites and assistance sections of each business. If it simply isn’t working for you, you might hire a skilled installer.
Top pick: Nest – Cam Outdoor
A excellent software layout that highlights “footage action points” and records continuously around-the-clock. We feel at rest when we receive instant email or phone motion alerts. The 25-foot cord is the longest of all the ones we examined, giving you greater freedom to reach the farthest reaches of your house.
Best Overall: Nest – Cam Outdoor
An frightening process became easy to understand and less stressful thanks to the Nest camera system. The 8x zoom feature of the app allows you to examine details that the Nest has already captured but that are hidden on your phone. The only camera that allows you to quickly scroll through an entire day’s worth of video is the Nest.
The phone app for the Nest camera allows for complete customization. Of all the cameras we examined, the Nest’s two-way talk was the loudest. You will receive a push notification on your phone if your home’s power goes out, your Wi-Fi disconnects, or the cord is cut.
If you want to build up a linked smart home, the Nest system provides the most varied product selection. This simple system records continuously, notifies you when and how you wish, and captures more information so you can zoom in when reviewing.
- The Nest – Cam Outdoor stands out from the competition because to its constant recording and simple video scrolling.
- Because you may share notifications with others, this security choice is suitable for families.
- Since cameras may be adjusted for a 360-degree range of motion, setup is simple.
- If the camera is disconnected, a fantastic security function transmits a “last image” to your phone.
- If you wish to set up a smart home, it synchronizes with a variety of gadgets.
Runner-up: Arlo – Pro 2
A battery-operated, self-monitored security system is the Arlo – Pro 2. You may configure the Arlo to best suit your needs with options for motion zones, picture quality, times to record, and alarms. Compared to the Nest, the base restricts the range of positioning angles, but it was not a deal-breaker.
At the lowest picture quality, batteries can last up to three months. The camera only captures footage when it detects movement and stores the files on the phone app. There is a free option that merely records motion if you don’t want to pay extra for the CVR upgrade.
Although the options were perhaps too many to choose from, the Arlo may be entirely customized to meet your needs. The Arlo’s 100-decibel siren is a good feature. It was sharp enough to make our testers jump and loud enough to grab attention from neighbors.
Runner-up: Arlo – Pro 2
The 100-decibel siren on the Arlo is a handy tool to frighten off intruders. Since the hub is where the siren broadcasts, you should put the hub close to a window. The Arlo may have been the winner, but the Nest narrowly edged it out for first place.
- For individuals who don’t want to manage wires, the battery-operated Arlo – Pro 2 cameras offer a cleaner installation.
- This model reduces the amount of storage needed by only recording when motion is detected.
- When motion is detected in your predefined zones, the 100-decibel siren provides an additional means of deterring possible intruders.
- As a wireless system, battery life is our sole consideration, and you will have to compromise some visual quality to achieve the best battery life.
Best for power users: Amcrest – ProHD
The best camera for business use and intricate setups is the Amcrest – ProHD IP3M-943 plug-and-go camera. When motion is detected, the system is set up to record it and send out an alert. Of all the cameras tested, the camera produced one of the clearest images.
Best for Techies: Amcrest – ProHD IP3M-943
The greatest choice for someone who enjoys working with complex camera setups is Amcrest – ProHD. Full video feed customization and sharp night vision. Numerous customizing possibilities may be too much for some users. includes four hours of free storage as well as free viewing on your computer and on your app.
- Of all the systems we evaluated, the Amcrest – ProHD IP3M-943 has the most customization options, which could be too much for some users.
- The Amcrest can disregard small movements that would otherwise take up all of your recording space thanks to a “Anti-Dither” feature.
- Amcrest had the most visible red light when recording, but it also had the finest nighttime image.
Other finalists we tested
Blink – XT Home Security Camera
A straightforward, easy-to-use outside camera is the Blink – XT Home Security Camera. This is a fantastic alternative for someone who wants to set it and forget it because the battery life is two years. Installing the two AA batteries is the only configuration required in addition to downloading the app.
Fuss-Free Pick: Blink – XT Home Security Camera
The Blink – XT Home Security Camera is free and has a two-year battery life. The software is simple to set up and use, and alerts appear in within 20 seconds. For people that need to monitor any area without the hassle of a complex system, this is a wise option.
Ring – Spotlight Cam
The motion-detector floodlights that have been commonplace for decades have been replaced by the built-in lights of the Ring camera. The camera may be tilted 45 degrees and rotated 360 degrees while hanging from a mount. Only one battery is provided; all other necessary hardware is in the box.
Also Great: Ring – Spotlight Cam
The optional siren on the Ring is easily activated or deactivated from your phone. The device itself plays the 110-decibel siren, which is amplified by the surrounding walls. In terms of features, the Ring – Spotlight Cam lags behind the Arlo.
Vimtag – B3-S Outdoor Camera
The Vimtag – B3-S Outdoor Camera is a robust camera that looks like a 90s TV prop. You can simply turn on and off your phone’s camera with the Vimtag software. Although it continuously records, it does not save; rather, it keeps videos in 30-minute chunks.
The Vimtag outdoor security camera is best used for business purposes; nevertheless, it is not something that the typical individual would use in their home.
Best Overall: Nest – Cam Outdoor
No of your level of technical expertise, the Nest system delivers a simple, trouble-free setup with a clear and approachable app. We think that making this tiny commitment will help you protect the things you care about the most.
The bottom line
A wonderful way to increase your home’s level of self-monitored protection is with a Nest Cam Outdoor. App’s simplicity of use and ability to sift through days of footage An honorable mention for a technologically advanced, commercial product goes to Amcrest ProHD IP3M-943.