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If the smart indoor camera is the foundation of a good home security system, the smart outdoor camera is a great next step. Setting one up will allow you to capture would-be thieves the moment they get onto your property, which gives you more options to be proactive before they enter your home.
A smart outdoor security camera will also give you the ability to check your front stoop for packages or see who’s at the front door before deciding whether or not to open it. You can also set them up to keep an eye on specific parts of your house, like your basement door, or side basement window, that aren’t being monitored by an indoor security camera.
One of the best parts about the smart outdoor cameras in this guide is that they’re made by companies that produce a lot of security hardware, so you may be able to integrate the one you get into a larger system, and manage it all through a single app. The days of stringing cables all over your backyard, or making holes to keep them underground or inside your home are over.
In many cases, you can set these cameras up within 15 minutes once you’ve decided where to put it. Just make sure to have a WiFi network that’s strong enough to reach the cameras; if your connection is spotty, we have some recommendations on how to improve it here.
Outdoor Security Camera Buying Guide: What to Look For
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right smart outdoor security camera for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Resolution: The most important technical spec of a smart outdoor camera is its resolution. The higher the resolution, the clearer the picture. You’ll want the best-looking video possible in case of a break-in, because it’s the piece of evidence you’re going to review, and possibly turn over to the police. All of the cameras on this list capture video in HD (either 720P or 1080P), so you’ll get a very high-quality recording of any suspicious activity.
Smart-home integration: All smart outdoor security cameras have the ability to send you alerts when they sense motion, and send a live video feed to your smartphone, tablet, or computer at all times. But many also integrate with smart-home platforms like Amazon’s Alexa, allowing you to arm or disarm the camera with just your voice.
Durability: You’re going to keep these cameras outside, so they need to be designed to withstand the elements without getting damaged. The durability of technology is measured on the IP (Ingress Protection) scale, which tells you how susceptible it is to dust and water. Any rating above an IP64 means the gadget is capable of being exposed to rainstorms without the risk of serious damage. All of the cameras on this list have a higher IP rating than that, though, so they shouldn’t fail due to inclement weather.
Power source: There’s a good chance you have more outlets available inside your home than outside, so we made sure to pick a lot of outdoor cameras that have rechargeable batteries with a long life. In some cases, the smart outdoor security camera comes in a battery or cabled version. Using a battery-powered camera does mean you’ll have to recharge it once or twice a year, but it’s worth the minor inconvenience since it allows you to place your camera anywhere on your property.
Subscriptions: Some smart outdoor security cameras require you to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee to store video clips in the cloud, so 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.
What Are the Best Outdoor Security Cameras?
We review some of the best outdoor security cameras on the market, based on performance, durability and features. Here are the top-rated outdoor security cameras to buy online right now.
1. Blink Outdoor Camera
This battery-powered camera is completely wireless and will help you stay vigilant day and night.
The camera captures video at 1080P, has an infrared night mode, two-way microphone system, and blue LED to signal it’s on and armed. It’s also the only camera to run on two AA batteries, which the company says can last up to two years before being replaced.
Not to mention, its compact design makes it easy to place the Outdoor Camera in little corners that prospective burglars wouldn’t notice.
You can monitor live video from the Outdoor Camera on your smartphone (iOS or Android), or Amazon Alexa-enabled gear. It’ll send you a notification when it detects motion, but you’ll need to pay for a paid subscription if you want the camera to save clips in the cloud. The subscription costs $3 per month or $30 per year.
You can also get Blink’s second-generation Sync Module, which allows you to save video clips locally instead of paying a monthly fee. You’ll also need a flash drive. This method will cost you more up front (roughly $50), but you’ll save money over time.
If you want your outdoor security camera to look subtle, and don’t want to worry about paying a monthly fee for cloud storage or changing batteries, Blink’s Outdoor Camera is the right choice.
2. eufyCam 2C Pro
If you want to set up a more robust security system that comes in one box, the eufyCam 2C Pro delivers.
This kit comes with two cameras that capture video in 4K, which means video will look even clearer than HD video. Each camera has a spotlight, which allows them to record high-resolution color footage at night. the EufyCam 2C Pro has a IP67 durability rating, 180-day battery life and two-way microphone system. It also includes the company’s HomeBase 2, a hub that connects the cameras to the internet, and stores up to three months of video clips on a 16GB (gigabyte) storage card.
Eufy says they’re going to allow you to expand the storage via a USB flash drive in a future software update.
All of the cameras in this guide are smart, but the ones in this kit can do more than show you a live video feed on your smartphone (iOS or Android) or Alexa-enabled device.
Each one has AI built in to identify humans to focus and sharpen its clarity. You can also set “detection zones” to avoid getting motion alerts every time a car drives down your street. The spotlight on the camera allows it to capture color video when the sun goes down instead of black and white footage from the infrared camera.
The Eufy 2C 2-Camera Kit is a great fit for people who want to monitor the front and back of their home in one shot, and are seriously invested in getting the best quality video at night. The only downside is that eufy hasn’t delivered on its promise of expandable storage, which remains to be seen.
3. Ring Stick Up Cam
Ring made a name for itself by releasing the first mainstream smart security doorbell, but the company’s outdoor security camera uses the same technology to monitor other parts of your property.
It captures video in 1080P, has a night vision mode, two-way microphone system, IPX5 durability rating, and is available in three power configurations: battery (which we recommend), plug in (requires an outlet), and solar (comes bundled with a panel). If you get multiple Ring Stick Up cameras, you aren’t committed to choosing one style, so you can mix and match.
Staying within the Ring ecosystem does mean you’re committed to using hardware from a single company, but the upside is you can monitor your entire home from a single app (iOS and Android). You can also monitor a live video feed from your Alexa-enabled device.
The one drawback to Ring’s Stick Up Cam (and all of its hardware) is that you need to pay a monthly or annual fee to get video clips stored in the cloud. The camera will alert you when motion is detected, so you can review the situation in real-time, but if you miss it, it’s gone.
A basic Ring protect plan costs $3 per month ($30 annually), which will get you access to 60 days worth of video clips from one device, and a feature called “snapshot capture,” which shows you pictures taken by the camera throughout your day.
The company also offers a pro plan that costs $10 per month ($100 annually) for 60 days worth of video clips from all of your devices, an extended warranty on all devices, 10% off select Ring products, and 24/7 professional monitoring.
If you want to set up a robust home security system, and don’t mind subscribing to a Ring Protect plan for cloud storage, Ring’s Stick Up Cam is hard to beat.
4. Wyze Cam Outdoor
This wireless outdoor camera has a built-in battery lasting six months on a single charge. It comes with a base station included to easily connect to your Wi-Fi network. Through the Wyze app, you’ll receive step-by-step instructions to help you set your new home security camera up from start to finish.
This outdoor security camera has all the features you need: high definition video, clear night vision, two-way audio and compatibility with both Alexa and Google Assistant. There are also motion detection features so you’ll receive alerts if an intruder enters your custom set motion zones.
Your new security camera will also record 12-second video clips every time motion is detected — for longer clips make sure to get the Wyze Cam Plus cloud subscription, starting at $1.99 per camera. With that, you’ll even get Person Detection, letting you know when a human versus an inanimate object triggers your motion zones.
The build is great too, boasting an IP65 weather resistance, which means it should withstand light rain or snow with ease. And, there’s even a travel mode available that lets you record video offline on a micro SD card (sold separately) — so you always feel safe.
5. Arlo Pro 4
For those of you that need higher quality video, the Arlo Pro 4 is a great choice,
There’s 2K HDR video coupled with color night vision, so you’ll always know what’s happening outside your door. Plus, this outdoor security camera easily connects via Wi-Fi, eliminating the need for a smart hub.
There’s even a two-way microphone and a weather-resistant design built to withstand both high and low temperatures. Battery life can also last up to six months and with fast charging, your camera will be up and running in no time.
This outdoor security camera also has additional security features like an in-built siren to spook intruders as well as three months of Arlo Secure included. With Arlo Secure you’ll get access to past video recordings, get smarter alerts with object detection and be able to adjust what notifications you wish to receive.
The Arlo Pro 4 is also compatible with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Smart Things and the Apple Home, Kit so no matter which AI runs your smart home, your new security camera will easily fit in.