If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
One of the most common reasons people put off getting security cameras is the notion that it’s expensive to get good ones.
It used to cost hundreds of dollars to find cameras, hook them up, and connect them to a surveillance system that allowed you to record and review videos.
That’s changed a lot over the past few years, and you can get an excellent smart security camera for under $50. These cameras can capture high quality video, send a notification if their motion sensor has been triggered, and allow you to communicate with a would-be thief through a microphone and speaker system.
Many of them are small enough that you can keep them tucked away on a shelf without anyone noticing, which is great if you’re uneasy with the idea of feeling watched in your own home.
We’ve also made sure to pick cameras that allow you to build up a larger security system over time. Picking one camera up every few months will allow you to monitor every entrance and exit of your place.
If you’ve been on the fence about setting up home security cameras because you’re afraid of sticker shock, the ones in this guide are the perfect solution.
What Are The Best Smart Security Cameras Under $50?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right smart security camera under $50 for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Resolution: A security camera’s most important tech spec is its resolution, which determines the quality of video it records. The higher the resolution, the clearer the picture. This is crucial because you’ll want the best-looking video possible if you need to turn footage over to the police. Every camera in our guide can record video in at least 1080P (full HD), so you’re guaranteed to get a great recording.
Smart Home Integration: All modern security cameras are connected to the internet, which allows you to watch a live video feed when you’re out of the house, and receive alerts when motion is detected. But, many integrate with smart-home platforms like Amazon’s Alexa, allowing you to arm or disarm the camera with your voice.
Subscriptions: Many smart indoor security cameras require you to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee to store video clips in the cloud, you can view them later. Video clips are taken each time the camera senses motion. You’ll always have the option to save a video clip to your phone if you catch the notification on your phone when motion is detected without paying the fee. A subscription allows you to review clips if you miss that notification.
1. Blink Mini
The Blink Mini is the latest camera from the Amazon-owned company, and it checks all the right boxes for a budget-friendly smart security equipment.
The camera can capture 1080P video, and has infrared night vision to take clear recordings in the dark. Many of Blink’s cameras run on batteries, but the Mini must be plugged into an outlet at all times. This limits your placement options, but that downside is mitigated by its extremely small size. The camera is a 2 inch square that can be laid flat on a surface, or perched on a stand (included).
Because Blink is an Amazon company, the Mini is tightly integrated with the Alexa smart home ecosystem. You can arm or disarm the camera using your voice, and even get a live video feed on an Amazon Echo Show smart speaker.
Blink charges $3 a month to store video clips from one of its cameras in the cloud. If you want to store clips from multiple cameras, it’ll cost you $10 a month. You also have the option to get a Blink Sync Module 2 and USB drive to store video clips locally instead.
If you’re setting up a smart security system on a budget, the Blink Mini is a great place to start.
2. Wyze Cam Pan
The Wyze Cam Pan is a smart security camera that sits on a 360-degree rotating stand, so it can follow moving objects around your room.
The camera records 1080P footage day or night thanks to a night vision mode composed of six infrared LEDs. It’ll send your phone a notification each time its motion sensor is triggered.
We’ve gotten a chance to try the Wyze Cam Pan, and its namesake feature really works. When armed the camera would follow us around the room, keeping us in frame at all times. The camera can also tilt up and down, which is great if you’re keeping an eye on a pet or child, who are shorter than an adult.
Wyze will store clips up to 12 seconds long in the cloud for free, which is a great deal compared to most other cameras. If you want to store clips of any length in the cloud you;ll need a Wyze Cam Plus subscription, which costs $18 per year. You also have the option to store a continuous video feed locally by popping in a Micro SD Card.
The Wyze Cam Pan works with both Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant, so you have multiple ways to control it without opening up an app. If you choose to use Amazon’s Alexa, the Wyze Cam Pan has all of the same features as the Blink Mini, including the ability to stream live video to an Amazon Echo device.
If you want a security camera that can track an intruder, and don’t mind that it’s a little on the tall side, we recommend the Wyze Cam Pan.
3. Eufy Security 2K Indoor Cam Pan
Eufy’s Security 2K Indoor Cam is the most technically advanced camera in this guide, and the right pick if you want a more premium experience.
As its name implies this camera can record video at 2K resolution, which is better than 1080P. The result is a clearer looking video. It has an infrared night mode that eufy says can work from up to 32.8 feet away, so it’ll be able to detect moving objects from across the room.
This camera sits on a rotating stand, so it can follow people or pets as they move around. Artificial intelligence built into the camera can detect what it’s seeing, and the built-in microphone can alert you if it hears crying.
At 2.95 inches tall this is the mid-sized camera in our guide; it’ll stick out, but has a sleek design. You have the option to take the camera off its rotating stand, which makes it smaller but reduces its functionality. This camera is the only one in our guide that can be used with Amazon’s Alexa, the Google Assistant, and Apple’s HomeKit, which covers you regardless of which smart home ecosystem you belong to.
Eufy charges $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year to store 30 days worth of video clips in the cloud, but you also have the option to store video locally on a MicroSD Card.
The eufy Security 2K Indoor Cam Pan’s blend of better video hardware and smart home flexibility help it stand a notch above similar cameras in this price range.
Note: Eufy is offering a $5 off coupon on Amazon, which brings the price of this camera down to $46.99. The coupon is available on the product page, and can be redeemed instantly.
4. Reolink E1 Pro Indoor Camera
Keeping your home secure means having a good eye on the inside, and the Reolink E1 Pro indoor security camera has one of the best HD camera’s we’ve seen at its price point.
It’s easy enough to set up, and the brand says it’s compatible with both 2.4 and 5.0 GHz frequencies. All you need to do to start it up is scan the QR code on the camera through the Reolink app, and in a few minutes, you’ll be able to closely monitor any room you want.
You’ll get clear, Quad HD video (2560 x 1440p) which is essentially an upgrade from regular HD video cameras. Since there’s night vision up to 40 feet, you can keep an eye on your pet or child even in low light conditions. Plus, the camera can tilt and rotate up to 355 degrees horizontally allowing you to pan over the room. Adjust this home security camera easily through the Reolink app.
If your pet or child is in distress, you can even talk to them via the convenient two-way audio feature. If you’re worried about the safety of your home there are also customizable motion zones available through the app. This means if anyone triggers the motion zones you’ve set, the Reolink security camera will automatically alert you with a photo or video clip of the intruder. This will even help you detect when someone leaves a new package at your door or your pet or child comes home.