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Article updated on October 31, 2023 at 11:30 AM PDT

Best Cheap Home Security Cameras for 2024

Looking for a cheap home security camera under $100 -- or even under $30? We've tested dozens to find the best budget security cams from trusted brands including Blink, Arlo, TP-Link and more.

Our Experts

Written by 
Tyler Lacoma
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
Tyler Lacoma Editor / Home Security
For more than 10 years Tyler has used his experience in smart home tech to craft how-to guides, explainers, and recommendations for technology of all kinds. From using his home in beautiful Bend, OR as a testing zone for the latest security products to digging into the nuts and bolts of the best data privacy guidelines, Tyler has experience in all aspects of protecting your home and belongings. With a BA in Writing from George Fox and certification in Technical Writing from Oregon State University, he's ready to get you the details you need to make the best decisions for your home. On off hours, you can find Tyler exploring the Cascade trails, finding the latest brew in town with some friends, or trying a new recipe in the kitchen!
Expertise Smart home, smart security, home tech, energy savings, A/V
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What to consider

Privacy

Indoor vs. outdoor

Local vs. cloud storage

Do you want local storage from a hub or microSD card that you manage without relying on a company's cloud services? Or do you prefer the easier access and downloads from cloud storage, which may (usually) require a subscription fee?

Field of view

Is the field of view wide enough for your needs? Is it complemented by a high resolution to take in important details?

Smart home compatibility

Battery vs. wired

Our Picks

$24 at Amazon
The Tapo C210 indoor camera and smartphone with app against an orange background.
Best overall cheap home security camera
TP-Link Tapo C210 Pan/Tilt
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$60 at Best Buy
A Blink outdoor camera mounted to a wooden fence in a backyard.
Best cheap home security camera for outdoors
Blink Outdoor 4
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$40 at B&H Photo-Video
The Lorex indoor security camera sitting on a small black table with a cup and saucer and a child's photo.
Best cheap home security camera for local storage
Lorex 2K Indoor Cam
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$40 at Amazon
The Amcrest Outdoor Camera ASH22-W against a pink background.
Best cheap home security camera for night vision
Amcrest Outdoor Camera ASH22-W
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$50 at Arlo
An Arlo essential cam shown connected to home exterior siding with the spotlight on at night.
Best cheap home security camera with spotlight
Arl Essential Wireless Security Camera (2nd-gen)
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$30 at Amazon
tp-link-tapo
Best cheap home security camera with a built-in alarm
TP-Link Tapo C310
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$85 at Amazon
The Reolink Argus camera mounted with a solar panel on white siding outside with rain and sunlight.
Best cheap home security camera with solar charging
Reolink Argus Eco + Solar Panel
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What is the best cheap home security camera?

After reviewing several top budget-friendly cams and executing more than 100 hours of testing in our smart home and warehouse lab, we've settled on the top budget security cams to keep your home safe for less: TP-Link’s Tapo C210 Pan/Tilt camera is the best cheap home security cam, with the most important features we look for at a price we love. This Tapo cam can view an entire house from a central location while giving you motion alerts and letting you talk via two-way audio -- and won't cost you more than $30.

If you’re looking for a security camera without pan/tilt movement, or you want something fit for monitoring outdoors, we’ve collected other budget-worthy picks too -- most below $50 without sacrificing quality or features. These cheap DIY cameras offer some of the latest features from security brands like Amazon’s Blink, Lorex, Arlo, Reolink and more while staying easy on your wallet. We made sure to include the specs you’re looking for like Google Assistant and Alexa compatibility, HD and higher resolutions, and if subscriptions are required.

If you’re considering expanding your price range or checking out other options, be sure to take a look at our picks for the best indoor and outdoor home security cameras overall. Whether you're living with roommates and want an affordable camera for your room, or you're putting together a homes security plan on a budget, take a look at our full list and tips for getting the most out of a cam.

Best cheap home security cameras of 2024

$24 at Amazon

Best overall cheap home security camera

TP-Link Tapo C210 Pan/Tilt

We like a security camera that can do a little of everything. This indoor HD Tapo camera from TP-Link uses a pan/tilt design to view any part of a room, along with important features including motion detection with person tracking, two-way audio (plus a siren) and night vision, all managed via app. The resolution is also better-than-average at 2K for extra detail. We like to see all those specs in modern security cameras, but what took us off guard was the price: TP-Link is selling this camera for $30, and with frequent discounts, you can often find it for even lower.

But the Tapo C210 isn’t done yet. It offers video storage with two choices: Either the Tapo Care plan at $3.50 per month with cloud storage or a local storage microSD card slot. A microSD card isn’t included, but you can find very affordable options if you want to avoid fees while storing video (and we highly recommend storage capabilities). If you have a current smart home set up, note the cam works with Google Home and Alexa as well.

You do give up a couple of things for this price, however. There’s no zoom option, which is too bad on a pan/tilt cam, and it’s a wired cam so you will need to find a spot near an outlet. But those are minor issues compared to the bevy of features and incredible pricing on this indoor cam.

$60 at Best Buy

Best cheap home security camera for outdoors

Blink Outdoor 4

We’ve liked Blink’s outdoor cams as a budget-friendly outdoor option for a few years now. Outdoor cameras can be expensive due to durability and battery requirements, but this Blink series keeps prices low. The latest model, the Outdoor 4 cam, is the most impressive yet with a powerful battery rated for up to two years. While battery life is determined largely by how often motion detection is triggered, a two-year battery is nearly unheard of for outdoor security cameras and a great pick for those who don’t want to worry about recharging all the time.

The HD Blink Outdoor 4 brings expected features like night vision and two-way audio, plus Alexa compatibility (Amazon stops short of supporting Google Home or Assistant). Cloud video storage is only included with a subscription plan -- which also adds person recognition -- but this cam is bundled with a Sync Module 2, which allows you to connect a USB drive for local storage without the fees.

$40 at B&H Photo-Video

Best cheap home security camera for local storage

Lorex 2K Indoor Cam

While Lorex may not be as recognizable as brands like TP-Link, Ring or Arlo, it’s carved out a space for reliable local storage cameras. These cams are perfect for people who want to stay away from cloud video storage due to privacy concerns or prefer to stay off the internet completely. They come with a microSD card for local video storage, which takes a little more effort to manage as the card fills with auto-captured video, but there’s no subscription to worry about and no additional fees.

Lorex also stays on top of some very important security camera features like two-way audio, night vision and free object detection of people and animals. The 2K resolution is also particularly high for this price, ideal for capturing more detail. Smart platform aficionados should note the cam works with both Google Assistant and Alexa. And while the camera doesn’t have any panning features, you can “bend” it to adjust the angle and get the perspective you want when placing it on a shelf or table.

$40 at Amazon

Best cheap home security camera for night vision

Amcrest Outdoor Camera ASH22-W

Basic night vision is fine for monitoring an indoor room, but if you have a larger yard, driveway, or other property space to watch over you’ll want superior night vision. This Amcrest HD cam stays affordable offering nearly 100-foot night vision capabilities with its infrared LEDs. It’s also equipped with antennas to more easily pick up your Wi-Fi network when keeping watch outdoors.

With an IP67 rating you won’t need to worry about this camera in nearly any weather or temperature. While there’s no two-way audio (only a one-way listening option), you do get motion detection with alerts and a couple of options for video storage including cloud storage and a microSD card slot (card not included).

Note that while it’s outdoor-friendly, this camera is wired so you’ll need to arrange a cable connection when installing. Sometimes that can require additional electrical work by a professional, so include that possibility when planning.

$50 at Arlo

Best cheap home security camera with spotlight

Arl Essential Wireless Security Camera (2nd-gen)

Adding a spotlight to an outdoor security camera tends to bump the price up, often well beyond $100 or even $200. But this Arlo Essential HD cam is just $50 but still provides a small but bright spotlight to shine in the dark corners of your yard or porch. This battery-powered camera is easy to place anywhere, indoors or outdoors, and includes two-way audio, color night vision and motion alerts.

The battery life, rated at four months, is limited compared with Blink’s Outdoor camera, but we find this is perfectly fine if the camera is within easy reach to bring it down for periodic recharging. There are also a couple of interesting extras hiding in the cam, including a built-in siren and a 12x digital zoom. However, if you want video storage, you’ll need to pay for an Arlo plan, which starts at $8 per month.

$30 at Amazon

Best cheap home security camera with a built-in alarm

TP-Link Tapo C310

The TP-Link Tapo 2K HD Outdoor Security Camera ($50 and often found discounted) comes with powerful deterrents against intruders, including a highly focused siren. When armed and triggered, the camera activates two lights and a sound alarm to scare off potential intruders. The lights aren't super bright, but they will definitely put any trespassers on notice. As for the sound, it's loud and intimidating, but not so loud as to excessively disturb the next-door neighbors, if at all.

As with other Tapo cameras, you have a choice between buying a microSD card for local storage or using a Tapo subscription plan. Either way, you'll get motion alerts and the ability to communicate with two-way audio. Like our Amcrest pick, this is another camera with excellent night vision range, making it suitable for all kinds of driveways and yards.

You can turn the alarm on or off, of course, and program specific times, activity zones or line-crossing detection to trigger it. Additional features include color night vision up to nearly 100 feet away, two-way audio and local storage of 128GB (SD card not included). Cloud storage is available with a Tapo Care subscription starting at around $3 per month.

$85 at Amazon

Best cheap home security camera with solar charging

Reolink Argus Eco + Solar Panel

Adding a solar panel to a battery security camera gives you a range of placement options while keeping the battery charged regularly in sunny conditions, cutting out a big chunk of your maintenance. One problem -- solar-included security cameras tend to be expensive. Reolink breaks the trend with a bundle that, while more expensive than other options on our list, is still very affordable for solar power.

In additional the solar panel, this camera includes a 2K resolution plus 10x zoom, objection recognition for people and vehicles and night vision powered by six infrared LEDs. Video storage is available via a microSD card slot (card not included), and the cam works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Also, while the field of view may look a little low, it's horizontal while most are provided as diagonal, so the angle is a bit better than it seems.

Cheap home security cameras compared

Best cheap home security camsTP-Link Tapo C210Blink Outdoor 4Lorex 2K Indoor CamAmcrest Outdoor Camera ASH22-WArlo Essential Wireless Security Camera (2nd-gen) TP -Link Tapo C310Reolink Argus Eco + Solar Panel
Price $25$65$50$40$50$30$85
Resolution 1080p/HD1080p/HD2K1080p/HD1080p/HD2K2K
Night vision Infrared night visionInfrared night vision32-foot night vision98-foot night visionColor night vision98-foot night vision32-foot night vision
Power WiredBatteryWiredWiredBatteryWiredBattery with solar panel
Audio Two-way audioTwo-way audioTwo-way audioOne-way audioTwo-way audioTwo-way audioTwo-way audio
Video storage Cloud storage with subscription, local storage with microSDWith subscription or with included local storage hubIncluded 16Gb cardSubscription or local storage via microSD card (not included)Subscription onlySubscription or local storage via microSD (not included)Subscription or local storage via microSD (not included)
Motion detection Yes with audio and person detectionYes, with person detection (plan required)Yes with person detectionYes, with detection zones and person recognitionYesYes with person recognitionYes with vehicle and person recognition
Voice assistant Amazon Alexa, Google Home/AssistantAmazon AlexaAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantN/AAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Review score N/AN/AN/AN/A7.6/10 (earlier model)N/AN/A

Factors to consider when choosing a cheap home security camera

There are hundreds of home security cameras on the market, ranging drastically in price, functionality and quality. With all the options, it can be hard to not become overwhelmed fast, especially when you're considering something as important as your home's safety. After CNET's years of testing home security cameras, we have some tips if you're on the hunt for a new, budget camera that still meets your quality expectations. Here's what to consider:

Privacy

This, of course, is a big one. You don't want anyone peeping on your property or hacking into your camera. Wireless home security cameras can be more susceptible to hacking due to their connectivity to Wi-Fi networks. It's not an enormous concern, especially if you have a strong Wi-Fi password, but it's good to be aware of a potential risk.

A bigger privacy issue comes from the cloud storage and management of video. Trying to keep track of data breaches and security vulnerabilities is exhausting, which is why we're taking care of that side for you. We keep track of companies that have had security troubles and improved like Ring, and companies that have changed their policies on sharing video with the police -- like Ring again. And we track companies that are struggling to show any improvement in their security, like the ongoing troubles of Wyze.

Indoor vs. outdoor

One of the first things you'll need to consider is where you want to place your home security cameras. If you want your camera to be located outside, recording your porch or yard, you'll likely want an outdoor camera that's also weather resistant or features night vision. 

While many cameras can be used interchangeably for indoor or outdoor purposes, some cameras are solely made for indoor usage, like the Lorex 2K indoor cam, so make sure you're buying cameras that can handle the outdoor elements with an IP rating that shows weather resistance. 

Local vs. cloud storage

Not all video storage is equal. You have two main options and picking one is up to your personal preference. There's cloud storage, which sends your video footage to a remote server to be saved, and local storage, which relies on a separate accessory or piece of hardware, usually a microSD card, to hold any footage you'd like to save. Usually, cloud storage requires a monthly fee. 

Field of view and resolution

Field of view refers to how wide the angle the camera lens can capture, in degrees. The very top cameras can reach 160 degrees or above, but this is rare. For a budget camera, between 110 and 130 degrees is common and will suffice for most security purposes when angled correctly. Or you could choose a pan/tilt camera, which can move to capture any angle within view.

Likewise, resolution is typically around 1080p for budget cams like these. If you can find 2K resolution on an affordable cam -- and a few of our picks have it -- it can be a sizable feature upgrade.

Smart home compatibility

What smart home systems do security cameras work with? If you already like using Google Home and Google Assistant or Alexa’s platform, then you’ll want a camera that’s compatible -- and most will work with these voice assistants. Apple Home and Siri compatibility is much harder to find. If you have brand-based whole-home system from a company like Vivint, Abode or Frontpoint, you’ll want to check and see if a specific security camera can integrate with your system.

Once the Matter standard comes to security cameras, it will be the best way to guarantee compatibility, but that protocol hasn’t adopted cameras quite yet.

Battery vs. wired

Battery-based cameras are very DIY and apartment friendly, and you can install them anywhere you want. However, you will have to recharge them every few months on average, or use a solar panel to help out (they’ll let you know via app when batteries are low).

Wired cameras are more limited and often more difficult to install, but you never have to worry about recharging a battery. And if you choose a PoE (power over Ethernet) camera, you don’t have to rely on Wi-Fi, either.

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How we test cheap home security cameras

Hands-on testing is core to our evaluations of any home security products. When it comes to home security cameras, we pay special attention to resolution, night vision and latency, extra features, general performance and overall value. We evaluate each attribute in a home environment over the course of a week to get a sense of how the camera and accompanying app responds to real-life activity and sounds during the day and night. 

Check out our in-depth article on how we test home security cameras and video doorbells to learn more about our testing practices.

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Other cheap home security cameras we tested

Each of the cameras listed above is available for under $100, but we've also tried out a number of other low-cost, high-quality cameras, some of which came close to making our list -- but not quite close enough. Here are a few example

Wyze Indoor Cam v3: We appreciate Wyze's low price, the useful service offerings, and the helpful features of its indoor cam supported by an intuitive app. But we just can't get beyond the repeated security vulnerabilities that Wyze has encountered and appears unable to solve, the latest a 2023 flaw that let people see through stranger's cameras. That's definitely something you don't want your security camera doing.

Amazon Blink Indoor Security Camera: The Blink indoor camera has many of the same features we liked so much in the Outdoor 4 cam that made it on our list. But ultimately, the indoor version was a little too expensive for what you got in return.

Amazon Blink Mini: The Blink Mini remains a great budget camera with a compact design that hardly takes up any space. But that compact design also means you have to pay a subscription for video storage, and it doesn't come with a hub alternative like the Blink Outdoor 4, or extra features to make up for it like the Arlo Essential cam.

Eufy Indoor Cam 2K: Eufy's cam is an excellent budget pick for Apple users, one of the few security cams that supports HomeKit. Ultimately we gave the list pick to Lorex for its local storage approach to home security, but Apple fans should certainly consider this Eufy model as well.

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Cheap home security camera FAQs

What's the cheapest home security camera?

Which security cameras have no monthly fee?

What is the easiest home security camera to install?

Where should I install a security camera?

Can I return a home security camera?

Do home security cameras get discounts?