For most of us, there’s nothing more precious than our homes and those who live in them, so it makes sense that so many people are currently investing in new technology that helps keep them safe. A security camera is perfect for this as it not only gives us peace of mind, but can also act as a deterrent to criminals.
While security cameras of old are associated with blurry, grainy footage, the best modern cameras are the complete opposite - offering crystal clear 1080p video quality, wi-fi connectivity, night vision and many more features aside.
So how to choose which security camera to add to your home set-up? Depending on your priorities you may want a camera that is weatherproof and so can be placed outside, or it may be that motion detection is more important to you. Whatever you’re looking for, we’ve tried to make life easier by reviewing seven of the best examples below.
And if you’re a true home security nut, then take a look at our ranking of the best home security systems and get to work kitting out your entire home.
The best security cameras 2021
Are home security systems worth the investment?
Research has shown that home security systems – whether that's a video doorbell, a single camera, or a comprehensive security system – actively deter criminals . So, yes, we would say that they're worth the investment. Discover more tips and tricks in our guide to how to protect your home.
The Ring Spotlight is a motion-detecting combination security camera and light, which is packed full of handy features so you can make it your own. It's for this reason, and a few extras, why it gets our vote for the best security camera.
This security camera from Ring, put simply, has it all. With the Full HD video, and built-in microphone and speakers, you'll be able to see and speak with anyone (or anything) who is detected on your property. The 140 degree wide angle camera lens will cover a lot of ground too, so there will be no hiding around any corners.
The built-in motion-activated spotlight will broadcast crisp footage, even when it's lights out, which is a deterrent to crime in itself.
Depending on whether you choose the wired or battery powered Ring Spotlight, the set up requirements may differ but will be just as easy. The most difficult thing you will have to do is to decide where you would like it setup, and then you may need a little patience screwing it to the wall.
The Ring app is intuitive and takes around five minutes to set up. It can sync to all your other Ring devices so you can access, and control, them all on one nifty dashboard.
A tremendous strength of the Ring app is the ability to customise how the security camera works. You can draw your own motion zone for the camera and, when motion is detected, you'll receive an alert on your mobile or tablet device.
What's more, you can launch on-demand video at the sound of your voice with the Ring Spotlights ability to connect with Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire Tablets Gen. 7+ and Fire TV so you can even control your security camera hands-free!
The Ezviz security camera is a compelling option to soup up your home security, so it gets our vote for the best security camera for value and ease of set up.
Similar to the Amazon Blink, this security camera is weather resistant so it can be used around the home or in the garden – as long as it’s within Wi-Fi range. This offers incredible flexibility, and is one which is likely to save you time and money in the long run because it's also battery operated.
Roughly the size of a coffee mug, the Ezviz C3A will take just a few minutes to set up (depending on whether or not you can agree where to put it!) and connect it to the app. A quick and easy registration is all you'll need before you can start using your new security camera.
With the app on your phone or tablet device, you'll be in a position to watch over your home wherever you are in the world. Through the app, you can adjust the motion sensors so you can really hone in on the areas you're most concerned about. And if / when anyone triggers the motion sensors, you'll get an instant alert straight to your device.
- Read next: the best smart locks for a more secure home
The Ezviz C6CN is a fab little indoor camera which has all the features you need to feel secure, and it's half the price of the Nest Indoor Cam.
Yep, this security camera is for use indoors. It relies heavily on a strong Wi-Fi connection so it would be best set up in a room where you know you don't get any Wi-Fi dropouts. It will also stream and record footage to your mobile device day and night, undetected, which makes it brilliant for keeping a sneaky watchful eye on the children.
It's not wireless BUT it has a 3m (approx) mains power cable which should be able to reach to a socket or USB plug nearby.
We've briefly touched on the positioning of the camera and really, that's all there is to it. Just follow the very simple instructions on the fab Ezviz app and you'll be away.
Pretty much everything to do with controlling this camera is done through the app. You can pan / tilt, switch between image resolutions, take photos / record, engage in two-way talk and switch on / off the privacy mode. It's so easy – so long as you and the camera are within that Wi-Fi zone!
It's hard to beat the Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor's splendid picture quality, smart functions, reliable Wi-Fi connection and serious weatherproofing.
The Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor offers crystal clear images, even through its night vision function, and it receives some of the best feedback on its alert levels. While no security camera is perfect, this one comes pretty close by reliably recognizing potential intruders with very few false alarms.
This camera is great in challenging weather conditions, too — its IP66 rating means it is "dust tight" and can stand up to a pressurized spray of water. This camera is also rated for operating in an impressive range of temperatures, from -40 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor's smart features include sending live alerts to your phone if it hears loud, unusual noises, and the ability to automatically identify people (versus other moving objects) and pan/zoom for greater detail. You can also program it to recognize familiar faces, thus reducing the level of alerts.
And finally, users report that this security camera's Wi-Fi range is great — a standout feature that might even inspire you to use it indoors.
There's no way around it: This is a very pricey camera. We've chosen this version because we like the smart features. But if you don't need automatic tracking of people or recognition of familiar faces, you can get a near-identical camera for about half the price: The Google Nest Cam Outdoor.
The Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor also runs off wired power instead of batteries. That's a good thing, because you never need to worry about changing batteries; but it can also be a negative, because if the power goes out so does your security camera, and you'll need to drill a hole in a wall to run the power cord to an indoor socket. You can use an outdoor socket, instead, if you buy a separate, weatherproof power adapter.
Finally, like most high-end smart security cameras, this one requires a subscription to unlock most of the smart features. If you don't want to pay a subscription, you'll only be able to view still snapshots from the last three hours.
If you want a camera with the very widest field of vision, consider the Arlo Pro 3. It is weatherproof, too, but it can't handle the same extremes the Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor can.
The Arlo Pro 2 from Netgear is at the more premium end of the scale, but is an all-singing all-dancing security system so could be a worthwhile investment.
The Arlo Pro 2 is a wireless security camera set up which comes with its own hub. This means that you can monitor more than one room in the house, even take it outside, without staying in your home Wi-Fi zone. The cameras are IP65 rated too so they should withstand the rain, cold, heat and sunshine.
Since they're wireless, the system is powered by built-in batteries which could last for up to a couple of months. This removes the hassle of having to change batteries every so often, and faffing with any cables during the set up process.
The Arlo Pro 2 is a relatively compact system which can be set up using your laptop, or via the app. Just follow the step-by-step process, which will start with getting the hub online and then follow suit with the cameras.
Once set up, you'll be able to see the live feeds all through the app.
Through the app you can record, take a picture or speak through the microphone. It also comes with free cloud storage, saving footage of any suspicious movement or sound for seven days.
The Next Cam IQ is the smartest indoor camera out there, which is why it makes our list for the best security cameras.
As the name suggests, the Google Nest Cam IQ Indoor is for indoor use only. Just as the other security cameras in this guide, it has a Full HD picture quality so it's super clear what's going on in the home whether you're near or far. One difference is that you can't actually move or adjust the camera via the app so you'll need to adjust it manually if needs be.
You'll also need to consider where in the home there is a plug socket which is in the area you want to pay close attention to – just something to bear in mind when considering your options.
So we've just touched on the small matter that it has a plug, but if that's not a problem for you then the rest of the set up is hassle free.
When you're all plugged in, simply download the Nest app and scan the QR code on the bottom of the camera to pair it with the app. Now you're good to go!
The app can sync to your other items in the Nest ecosystem (thermostat, doorbells and locks) so you can monitor what's going on in the home, from wherever you are, and have a say with what's going on. This means that you can access 24-7 live streaming, listen-in to what's being said at home, chip in to conversations (or tell your dog to get off the sofa!) and share clips with other members of the household.
The Ezviz C3N is a really good choice if you want to keep a watchful eye on the outside of your property in colour, and you're on a tighter budget.
Designed for outdoor use, this security camera has a waterproof rating of IP66. This means that it is dust tight and protected against powerful jets of water, which is plenty enough to face up to our weather systems.
A light is built into the camera which comes on as dusk falls which stays on all night, unless you opt for it to come on when motion is detected, so you can see in colour. We found in testing that this only really works if you're in a good Wi-Fi zone, however. And the camera requires hard wiring or some form of connecting to the mains power so is something to be considered.
As with the other Ezviz cameras we've featured and reviewed, set up is mega easy using the Ezviz app. Just follow the on screen instructions, and stay within the Wi-Fi zone, and you'll be set up in no time.
The most tricky thing to do is deciding on where you want the camera…
Using the Ezviz app, you can engage in two-way conversations, activate the siren, switch between Night Vision Modes, record, take photographs... it's brilliant!
We like the Arlo Pro 3 so much that we almost selected it for the top spot in this buying guide, but a few key issues knocked it into second place. Still, if you prefer an indoor/outdoor security camera that is battery-powered, we think it's well worth a look.
What doesn't this security camera do well? Only a few things — and we'll get to those in a minute. But first, the truly impressive and well-earned kudos: Its video quality is fantastic as is its range of smart features, which include facial recognition, monitoring zones, and distinguishing between people and other moving objects.
This camera is also weatherproof (including an operating range of -4 degrees Fahrenheit to 113 degrees Fahrenheit), has a built-in siren and spotlight, offers colour night vision, and is compatible with each of the "big three" home assistants: Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant.
You can use the Arlo Pro 3 on hardwired power, or use one of their proprietary, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Other notable features include colour night vision, a built-in spotlight, and an extra-wide 160-degree field of view.
The manufacturer claims a line-of-sight wireless range of 300+ feet, but we see mixed reviews about how accurate that is. Similarly, we have mixed reviews of how quickly the cameras respond to send a live feed to your smartphone.
In both cases results tend to be either excellent or dismal, and the strength of your Wi-Fi connection plays a big part in determining what sort of results you'll get.
Heads up: You also need a base unit/hub for these cameras — they typically cost around $100.
Finally, some users don't love that once your initial three-month trial has passed, you must pay a subscription fee to use this camera's smart features or store video clips in the cloud. You can store video locally without a subscription, but you won't be able to view it in the smartphone app.
The Ring Stick Up Cam Battery's totally wire-free operation lets it go anywhere: Place it indoors or outdoors, on a ceiling, a wall, or a flat surface.
This camera takes the prize in terms of versatility, thanks to its indoor/outdoor operation and great versatility in placement options.
But of course, there's more — otherwise it wouldn't be here in our list of top buys. The Ring Stick Up Cam Battery also offers a clear 1080p picture, night vision, two-way audio, motion-activated notifications, and adjustable motion zones. It's also compatible with Amazon's Alexa.
You do need a subscription to store video and photo captures, but it's modestly priced and comes with a free 30-day trial to get you started. If you upgrade to the more expensive Protect Plus plan, you also get professional monitoring — a rare find in a home security camera.
Although the Ring Stick Up Cam does have night vision capability, it doesn't have built-in lights to illuminate your surroundings or intimidate potential intruders. You must also purchase a subscription to store any video clips.
- Read next: smart security cameras - do you really need them?
How to choose the best security camera for you
As you read through this buying guide, we urge you to ask yourself the following questions. The answers will help you decide which home security camera really is best for your particular situation.
When it comes to camera placement, every home situation is unique. But in general, the front door, back door, and first-floor windows are the most likely ingress and egress points for a criminal.
This article gives you some excellent, further pointers on camera placement.
Keep in mind that your cameras must also be close enough to your Wi-Fi router for a strong signal. Most home security cameras require a minimum upload speed of 1 to 2 Mbps, although one of the systems in this buying guide requires a whopping 5 Mbps upload speed.
How much should I pay for a security camera?
While the price point of your security camera should mainly depend on your budget, there are a few things to consider when choosing one. Even the least expensive security cameras on our list offer superbly crisp and clear image quality, which is the most important feature of a security camera. Not all, however, are equal in terms of the area that they cover and their angle of rotation. If you just want something over your front door, that's not a problem. If you're concerned about multiple access points to your home, then you'll need something with a wider angle.
Finally, think about any smart features you want your camera to have: security cameras with smart connectivity, cloud image storage, two-way talk, and other extras do cost more. Whether you think you need these features is entirely your choice.
What is the best security camera?
If you want the best security camera (in our opinion) we wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Ring Spotlight Camera. The camera will not only record in Full HD when triggered, but also has the added benefit of a motion-detected security light. Both are totally customisable, so you'll be able to see any movements from the window or the app wherever you are in the world.