The Best Smart Security Cameras 2020: Local Storage vs. Cloud Storage - Rolling Stone
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These Security Cameras Save Footage to Local Storage to Keep It Off the Cloud

Saving your video clips onto a memory card or hard drive keeps your personal info and footage safe

Wyze Cam Pan

Facebook/Wyze

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Smart security cameras — both indoor and outdoor — have a lot of advantages over the old analog ones they replace. They send you alerts when motion is detected, let you stream a live video feed if something seems wrong, and save video clips that you can download to your phone to use as evidence in case you need to review any suspicious activity.

Unfortunately, most cameras save their video clips in the cloud (a.k.a. storage that lives on the internet rather than on a physical device). Sure it’s convenient (and takes up less space), but if the camera manufacturer’s server is hacked, your video clips may be intercepted as they’re being uploaded, and potentially viewed by strangers. In other cases, security camera makers have agreed to let police solicit videos from users unless they opt out.

These issues can be avoided by using security cameras that allow you to store video clips onto a memory card instead. You can still review the footage by logging into your account via an app or website, but the clips stay on a drive that you have complete control over. You don’t give up any features by choosing a smart security camera that supports local storage — it’s just an extra feature that can give you a little more peace of mind.

1. Wyze Cam

Wyze’s security camera is a two-inch cube that stacks up really well against its bigger, more expensive competition. The Wyze Cam records 1080P (full HD) footage, has a two-way microphone so you can alert burglars and trespassers that you see them, and uses four infrared LEDs in “Night Mode” to work better in the dark. The Wyze Cam is an indoor camera only; it isn’t designed to handle being exposed to water or dust.

Wyze Cam

Courtesy Facebook/Wyze

Wyze

By default, Wyze’s security camera will save video clips to the cloud, but you can opt to use local storage by popping in a MicroSD card. Once inserted, the camera will make a continuous recording to the MicroSD card, so you’ll be able to play back and review several hours worth of footage, not just clips.

You can view footage from the Wyze Cam via an app on your phone or tablet (iOS and Android), or on an Amazon Echo device with a screen, like the Echo Show. To be clear, you’ll still get alerted when the Wyze Cam detects motion, but having the longer video feed can help. The Wyze Cam is a great choice if you need a small, inexpensive indoor security camera with a quick and easy local storage solution.

Note: Wyze’s other security camera, the Wyze Cam Pan has all of the same features as the original, but sits on a rotating base that allows it to follow moving objects. It’s available on Amazon for $37.98.

2. eufyCam 2C

eufyCam 2C

Courtesy Amazon

Amazon

Eufy’s latest security system comes with three pieces: two outdoor cameras, and the HomeBase 2 hub.

The cameras record video in 1080P, have a two-way microphone, and use a built-in spotlight rather than relying on infrared lights for its night mode. The result is clear, crisp video whether it’s recording during the day or at night. Eufy’s cameras have earned an IP67 durability rating, which means they’re totally dust-proof, and waterproof enough to be submerged in up to 3.3 feet of water for 30 minutes.

These cameras are completely battery-powered and wireless, and they start recording video each time they detect motion. Rather than sending these clips to the cloud, they’re stored on Eufy’s HomeBase 2, which has 16GB of internal storage. Eufy says its HomeBase 2 can store up to three month’s worth of video clips, which you can review using the Eufy app on your phone or tablet (iOS or Android).

The company also says it uses “military-grade” encryption to make sure the videos sent between the cameras and HomeBase 2 aren’t intercepted. You can’t upgrade the HomeBase 2’s storage right now, but Eufy says the ability to upgrade its storage via an external hard drive is “coming soon.”

You should never get a gadget based on the promise of unreleased features, but that would make eufy’s security system even better. As it stands now, the Eufy 2C is an excellent wireless outdoor security system that supports local video storage.

3. WD ReadyView 4MP Surveillance System

WD ReadyView 4MP Surveillance System

Courtesy Amazon

Amazon

Western Digital’s ReadyView Surveillance System is a high-end comprehensive security system with an ample amount of local storage.

This package comes with four outdoor cameras and an on-site storage drive, and differs from similar security systems in a couple of key ways. The cameras themselves tick off all the right boxes: they can record 1520P (higher than HD) video, detect motion, and have earned an IP67 durability rating. Western Digital says the night mode on these cameras has a 98-foot sight line, so it’ll catch movements happening from pretty far away.

The cameras aren’t wireless though and each one needs to be connected to Western Digital’s storage drive with an Ethernet cable. That single cable powers the camera, and transfers recorded video onto a 4TB (terabyte) hard drive. This security system has so much local storage that it can hold several days worth of continuously recorded footage, which you can review on your phone or tablet (iOS and Android) via Western Digital’s mobile app.

This is the most fully-featured security system we’re recommending, but you can upgrade it by adding up to four additional cameras, and installing an even bigger hard drive. If you have a larger home, and want a continuous video feed covering every inch of your property that’s easy to view and stored locally, this is your best choice.

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