14 DIY cameras to safeguard your stuff

A home security camera can go a long way toward securing your peace of mind, and these 14 DIY options offer simpler installations and better prices than their contract-and-fee-based counterparts.

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Archos Smart Home Starter Pack

We had mixed results with this security camera starter kit from Archos. You get a few extra sensors along with two low-quality cameras, but a required tablet accessory makes the whole package awkward.

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CNET Editors' Rating
2 stars Mediocre

ArcSoft Simplicam

This isn't the most reliable camera we've reviewed, but its facial recognition feature might be useful if ArcSoft ever works out the software kinks.

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CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

Belkin NetCam HD+ Wi-Fi Camera

This is a solid entry-level camera with an affordable $130 price tag. Its biggest issue is a fee-based system for storing video clips.

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CNET Editors' Rating
4 stars Excellent

BOT Home Automation Doorbot

We like the idea DoorBot camera-equipped doorbell, but poor video quality and a spotty hold-to-talk feature hold it back.

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CNET Editors' Rating
2.5 stars OK

D-Link Pan & Tilt Day/Night Network Camera

D-Link's security cam works well for basic real-time video monitoring, but its notification system is too unreliable.

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CNET Editors' Rating
2 stars Mediocre

Dropcam Pro

The DropCam Pro remains the gold standard for smart security cameras. It's one of the most expensive products in its category, coming in at $199, but it video quality, ease-of-use, and overall feature-set put it above its competitors. Integration with products from new owner Nest Labs also doesn't hurt.

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CNET Editors' Rating
4 stars Excellent

Foscam Plug and Play Wireless IP Camera FI9826P

The technical specs of this one are great: 300-degree panning, 120-degree tilt, and 3x optical zoom. You can also store clips locally or via Foscam's cloud service. The software is badly in need of a mobile-era update, however. This one is only for the PC-centric.

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CNET Editors' Rating
3 stars Good

Piper

Icontrol Networks' $199 Piper is a DIY home security system that packs an IP camera, environmental sensors, and motion detectors into its compact frame. The camera has a 180-degree glass fish-eye lens that claims to offer 1080p like the Dropcam Pro, although Dropcam's IP camera delivered sharper video quality in our tests.

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CNET Editors' Rating
4 stars Excellent

Ion the Home Wi-Fi Video Camera

The $130 Ion the Home Wi-Fi Video Camera is priced to compete with entry-level models, like the $130 Belkin NetCam HD+. But, Belkin’s cloud storage starts at $10/month, whereas Ion the Home has a free, rolling 24-hour cloud storage option.

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CNET Editors' Rating
3 stars Good

iSmartAlarm camera

iSmartAlarm is another crowdfunded home security system. With packages starting at $199 and no required monthly fees, this is a decent DIY option -- just not if you want a good camera. We had a really hard time getting it to work.

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CNET Editors' Rating
4 stars Excellent

Manything

While this technically isn't a camera, this iOS app can turn an old iPhone into a connected security camera for free (BYO stand). The image quality is not as good as most dedicated cameras. Again, though: free.

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CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

Oplink

You can buy Oplink's IP cameras individually for $100 each or as part of a kit, like the brand's $350 Oplink Security TripleShield. These cameras have motion detection and night vision capabilities and require a 16GB flash drive for local storage. $10 monthly fees apply for group monitoring and event recording.

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CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

Samsung SmartCam HD Pro

Samsung's $189 SmartCam HD Pro is a direct Dropcam Pro competitor, but it didn't quite match the crispness of Dropcam's videos on either the Web or its mobile app.  Its components also felt cheap in comparison. It does have a ton of useful features, though, including local SD card storage.

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CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

Viper Home

This camera comes as a part of a larger home security system from car alarm giant Viper. The camera itself is competitive, but the real bonus is that it works in conjunction with Viper's whole home kit, that also integrates with your car. No other camera or security kit we know of can say the same, at least yet.

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CNET Editors' Rating
4 stars Excellent

Where to Buy

Archos Smart Home Starter Pack

Part Number: CNETArchos Smart Home Starter Pack

MSRP: $250.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Where to Buy

Arcsoft Simplicam

Part Number: CNETArcsoft Simplicam

MSRP: $149.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Where to Buy

Belkin NetCam HD+ Wi-Fi Camera

Part Number: P-F7D7601
MSRP: $130.00 Low Price: $99.99 See all prices

Where to Buy

BOT Home Automation Doorbot

Part Number: 88D100TA000

MSRP: $199.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Where to Buy

D-Link Pan & Tilt Day/Night Network Camera

Part Number: CNETD-Link Pan & Tilt Day/Night Network Camera
MSRP: $120.00 Low Price: $119.99 See all prices

Where to Buy

Foscam Plug and Play Wireless IP Camera FI9826P

Part Number: FI9826PW
MSRP: $219.99 Low Price: $219.99 See all prices

Where to Buy

Blacksumac Piper

Part Number: CNET-piper

MSRP: $239.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Where to Buy

Ion The Home

Part Number: CNETIon The Home
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Where to Buy

Manything (iOS)

Part Number: id639672976

Free

Where to Buy

Oplink Security TripleShield

Part Number: TripleShield 2-C 6-S

MSRP: $349.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

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