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A quick search for security cameras online will turn up thousands of results. There’s no shortage of good security cameras to be sure, and it’s an overwhelming selection to sift through. But, if you’re looking for one specifically without the need for WiFi, suddenly the pool gets much smaller and the choices become slimmer.
Do You Need WiFi for a Security Camera?
It’s safe to say that the majority of home security cameras were made with either WiFi or a wired connection in mind. And why not? Most people have WiFi at the least nowadays, not to mention entirely interconnected smart homes, so it seems like a no-brainer. But not everyone. Parents and elderly relatives might be the first situation that comes to mind, as they usually aren’t up on the latest and fastest internet connection (or any, at all) but still want the safety of a security camera keeping an eye out and alerting them to anything out of the ordinary. There are plenty of other scenarios too where WiFi just isn’t going to work: an RV while traveling, a vacant rental or storage property, or private land that you own far from a router or outlet.
What Are the Best Non-WiFi Security Cameras?
You don’t need to hook your security camera up to WiFi in order to monitor your home. Many companies are now making non-WiFi security cameras that don’t require a connection. Here’s what to keep in mind when shopping for the best WiFi-free security camera for you.
Live Feed: If you won’t need to be keeping an eye on your feed in real-time, that makes things a bit easier. Most cameras can record a ton of footage onto an SD card, which you pop out and can view whenever you want. A live feed makes things a little more difficult, but definitely not impossible. Some WiFi-less security cameras will work wherever there’s regular cellular data, while others can rely on local frequencies when placed nearby.
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Monitors: With the majority of home cameras, the default viewing screen is going to be your phone, tablet, or laptop via the company’s app. There’s nothing wrong with that, but not everyone is going to want their device tied to the camera, with frequent and often annoying interruptions. The best solution we found was a completely separate viewing screen that comes with the cameras, autonomous from any personal device while still providing a clear view of the cam’s FOV.
Durability: If vandalism is the first concern that comes up when you consider installing a camera outdoors, go for one that’s designed to take some damage. Weather and the natural elements are also a big factor, and while protection from rain and snow might seem obvious, things like extreme summer heat can affect it too.
1. Defender PHOENIXM2 Security Cameras
This is a tank of a security camera setup, and doesn’t just work without WiFi, but also doesn’t even need any internet at all.
“It’s completely private, unhackable and a true plug and play product” says Founder and CEO Raj Jain, who started the company after his electronics store was broken into. Based in Canada, Defender builds their aluminum cameras to resist the harshest outdoor conditions, from rust and dust to sub-zero temps. “The system is robust, resilient and ridiculously easy to use”, says Jain, “providing peace of mind for home and business owners.”
Night vision automatically clicks on at sundown, and allows you to see up to 40 feet in long-range infrared. There’s also crisp two-way audio, so you can communicate with whoever approaches.
Up to four 480p cameras with 64º FOV can be hooked up to the included split-screen monitor (which lets you view all four simultaneously) with a range of just under 500 feet, along with SecureGuard encryption and the ability to store up to 128GB of video.
Customer service is fast and friendly, and this was effortlessly quick to set up and get going.
2. Reolink 4G LTE Cellular Security Camera
Operating on a 4G LTE network, the GoPlus is awesome when it comes to WiFi-free surveillance in 2K super-HD, with a 16x digital zoom, 4MP resolution and the ability to clearly see up to 10 meters away in the dark.
The camera’s Smart Detection system is able to recognize what’s passing by, whether a car or person, with the option to filter videos by which ones you want to replay. When it senses motion, this automatically records to a microSD card up to 128GB, along with the choice of ReoLink’s Cloud service.
The large 7800mAh battery can last weeks or months without a recharge, comes with solar panels, and the unit is rated IP65-weatherproof for safe use outside. Their app is easy for anyone to use and offers perks like time-lapse, plus up to 12 people can view a cameras feed at once, with the ability to two-way talk remotely in real-time.
3. Konpcoiu Mini Security Camera
No need for a WiFi signal here, or wires or a power outlet – this camera works best as a nanny-cam, or even a body cam (with an attached clip) for things like biking and livestreaming.
The wide-angle lens captures footage in 1080p HD, with a 130º wide-angle lens, and the 1100mAh battery, along with the portable battery, can last over 30 hours. Its user interface is extra-simple, with only a few buttons, and includes a small SD card to get started too.
4. Divine Eagle Mini Spy Camera
This tiny camera is exceptionally lightweight, at not even one ounce, and is ideal for catching a thief in the act when you suspect something fishy is going on.
The included stickers to cover the SD card slot are a clever addition too. The resolution is crisp and clear, recording in 1080p HD, with a 90º field of view, and motion detecting ability works up to about 15 feet away.
This functions with both Mac and PC (you’ll need a microSD card, up to 256GB) and is capable of continuous loop recording 24/7.
5. Rockspace T1 360º Outdoor Motion Detection Camera
This completely cable-free two-pound camera lets you see in just about every direction. And if there’s ever a power outage or weak connection, everything is stored to a backup SD card.
Panning and tilting gives you significantly better viewing angle options than stationary cameras, with the ability to livestream in 1080p and digitally zoom in on a target up to 65 feet.
The 9000mAh battery inside is rechargeable via microUSB or solar panel (not included), and this works as a two-way intercom as well. Plus it’s IP65 waterproof and dust proof.
If you do choose the cloud storage option, data is fully encrypted, and there’s a 30-day free trial.