The best security cameras 

If you’re searching for a security camera and surveillance system, we have a roundup of the best picks in 2020.

Top 3 security cameras

The benefits of purchasing a security camera

Factors to consider before buying a security camera

Do you need indoor or outdoor surveillance?

Before purchasing a security camera, you should first decide its function. Do you want to monitor the exterior of your home? Or are you more interested in keeping tabs on your pets or family members within the house? You could also purchase security cameras that cover both spaces, but overall it is important to consider the areas you want to monitor. 

What’s your budget?

As you research security cameras, you’ll also want to keep cost in mind. Security cameras can range anywhere from $25 to upwards of $500, all depending on brand, camera type and features. You may find that you don’t have to purchase an expensive security camera to get the elements you need. 

Will you be moving soon? 

If you might be changing locations in the near future, you’ll want to make sure the security cameras you’re researching are easily portable. In this case, you’ll want to look for wireless or totally “wire-free” cameras, meaning that no power cable or ethernet cables are needed. If, however, you don’t plan to move soon, you could consider wired options, which are more suitable for larger homes where multiple cameras may be needed.    

Would you like to communicate while you’re away?

Do you want to be able to speak with service professionals or family members? Most security cameras now feature two-way talk so you won’t only be able to see what’s going on, but you can also chime in. One way that you can use the two-way talk feature is to deter lurkers or suspected intruders by letting them know they’ve been caught on camera. 

Are there any unique features important to you?

Security cameras can also include night vision, lighting, sound and more. Night vision is especially handy so that you can clearly see no matter the time of day. Additional lighting could also enhance your safety by discouraging intruders. Some cameras even come with the ability to sound an alarm if someone is on your property. 

10 best security cameras

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Amazon Cloud Cam

Key features:

  • Free, 24-hour cloud storage
  • Zones to prevent unwanted alerts
  • Audio detection for specific sounds

Product description:

Get free, 24-hour cloud storage for up to three cameras with the Amazon Cloud Cam. To help prevent unnecessary alerts, you can also set zones that you want to monitor. Built-in audio detection alerts the Cloud Cam of certain sounds like a baby’s cry, a dog’s bark or even breaking glass. 

Arlo Pro 2

Key features:

  • Smart siren
  • Flexible options for power
  • Three-second recording before triggered events

Product description:

The Arlo Pro 2 has a number of well-designed features to help you monitor your home and deter unwanted visitors. It has flexible power options, allowing you to use it on battery-power or by cord. It’s designed with a smart siren, that can be turned on remotely or triggered automatically by motion or sound. You won’t have to wonder what happened before triggered events with the Three-Second Look Back feature, which provides you with footage before triggered activity.

Blink XT2 One Camera System

Key features:

  • Wireless design
  • Free cloud storage
  • Customizable motion zones

Product description:

With the Blink XT2 One Camera System, you’ll get free cloud storage for up to a year, and you can customize motion zones to monitor the areas most important to you. With a completely wireless design, the Blink XT2 has a two-year battery life with two lithium metal batteries. You’ll be able to interact with family members and visitors over two-way audio and get reliable motion alerts. 

EZVIZ C3W ezGuard Wi-Fi Security Camera

Key features:

  • Built-in LED strobe light and siren
  • Infrared night vision
  • Dual Wi-Fi antennas to prevent interference

Product description:

The EZVIZ C3W ezGuard Camera is built with deterrence features which include an LED strobe light and siren. You can mount the camera outside of your home, and also speak with visitors through two-way audio. Infrared night vision allows you to see over 98 feet away, giving you a comprehensive view.

iCamera KEEP Pro

Key features:

  • Free cloud and local storage for footage
  • Sound detection
  • Custom activity zones

Product description:

To enhance your safety, the iCamera KEEP Pro features sound detection to identify alarms for smoke and carbon monoxide. You can also set custom activity zones to focus on areas of your home that matter most. With free cloud and local storage, you’ll also be able to review footage whenever needed.

Logitech Circle 2

Key features:

  • Can be used indoors or outdoors  
  • Wireless or wired design
  • Works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit

Product description:

The Logitech Circle 2 is brimming with features, which include a wired or wireless setup, weatherproof design and a wide, 180º field of view. This camera can also provide a smart time-lapse, capturing the important parts of the day. You can use the Logitech Circle 2 with Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit. 

Nest Hello Doorbell

Key features:

  • Facial recognition
  • Pre-recorded responses for visitors
  • 24/7 live video feed and recording

Product description:

The Nest Hello Doorbell is a robust doorbell camera that provides special alerts for packages and even has facial recognition. You won’t have to get up to answer your door (you can reply from the convenience of your phone) and you can also play recorded messages for visitors. Note: Some features are only available if you purchase the Nest Aware subscription.

Reolink Argus 2

Key features:

  • Flexible powering options by rechargeable battery or solar energy  
  • Can be used indoors or outdoors
  • Completely wireless design

Product description:

The Reolink Argus 2 can be powered by battery or solar energy, giving you flexible options for charging. It can be used indoors or outdoors and is equipped with two-way audio and Starlight night vision, allowing you see up to 33 feet. Get alerts via push notifications or emails, keeping you alert of what’s happening at home.

Ring Peephole Cam

Key features:

  • HD video
  • Motion alerts
  • Compatible with Alexa

Product description:

The Ring Peephole Cam is a practical solution for those who live in an apartment or rental unit. It’s designed to cover your door’s peephole and allow you to see as well as speak with visitors remotely. You’ll get notifications even if visitors don’t knock, and you can add-on professional monitoring with Ring Protect Plus.

Wyze Cam Pan

Key features:

  • Inexpensive security camera compared to related products
  • 360º rotation
  • Free, 14-day cloud storage

Product description:

The Wyze Cam Pan can provide 360-degree coverage in less than three seconds. Using Pan Scan™, the camera can patrol up to four different points of entry and detect movement. The resolution is 1080p HD, so the images are crystal clear, and you can use the camera with Alexa and Google Assistant.

Frequently asked questions about the best security cameras

What’s the difference between wired and wireless security cameras?

Wired security cameras are typically powered by a cable and may also use a coaxial or ethernet cable for video storage. Wireless cameras may be powered by a battery and they don’t need an ethernet cable for video storage. If you only need one or a few cameras for your home but want to be able to easily transport them when needed, then a wireless security camera would be best. Wired cameras are typically used for more permanent solutions and larger homes or buildings.

What are custom zones, and why are they good to have?

Custom zones are set areas of your home or yard that a security camera will monitor. Having the ability to set custom zones can be essential for some customers. For instance, if you have a pet, setting a custom zone can help you to avoid unnecessary alerts whenever the camera is triggered. They also allow you to focus on the areas that matter most to you. 

Do I have to pay for cloud storage? 

Paying for cloud storage will depend on the manufacturer. Some cameras come with free cloud storage, but for a limited period of time, while other cameras require additional fees for cloud storage. 

Can I get professional monitoring for my camera?

Some camera manufacturers advertise a monthly subscription plan for professional monitoring. In most cases, you’ll self-monitor cameras that don’t come with a home security provider, but  with some cameras, like the Ring Door View Cam, you can add on monitoring for an additional fee.

What is two-way audio?

Two-way audio is a feature that allows you to interact with family members, visitors or pets remotely. It can also be used to deter intruders, giving you the ability to let them know they’ve been caught on camera. It should be noted that some security cameras may require you to download and use an app to access this feature.