X

Best Home Security Cameras of 2024

We've tested and reviewed the best home security cameras for indoors and outside your home. These are our top recommendations for security cam brands like Arlo, Ring, Google Nest and more.

Updated Feb. 12, 2024 7:00 a.m. PT

screenshot-2024-01-19-at-9-12-19am.png
macy-meyer
Written by  Tyler Lacoma Macy Meyer
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
screenshot-2024-01-19-at-9-12-19am.png
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
macy-meyer
Macy Meyer Editor I
Macy Meyer is a N.C. native who graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2021 with a B.A. in English and Journalism. She currently resides in Charlotte, N.C., where she has been working as an Editor I, covering a variety of topics across CNET's Home and Wellness teams, including home security, fitness and nutrition, smart home tech and more. Prior to her time at CNET, Macy was featured in The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer, INDY Week, and other state and national publications. In each article, Macy helps readers get the most out of their home and wellness. When Macy isn't writing, she's volunteering, exploring the town or watching sports.
Expertise Macy covers a variety of topics across CNET's Home and Wellness teams, including home security, smart home tech, fitness, nutrition, travel, lifestyle and more. Credentials
  • Macy has been working for CNET for coming on 2 years. Prior to CNET, Macy received a North Carolina College Media Association award in sports writing.
CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET
16171819202122232425+
Years of Experience
14151617181920212223
Hands-on Product Reviewers
6,0007,0008,0009,00010,00011,00012,00013,00014,00015,000
Sq. Feet of Lab Space

CNET’s expert staff reviews and rates dozens of new products and services each month, building on more than a quarter century of expertise. Read how we test products and services.

$180 at Amazon
A hand reaches to adjust the Arlo Pro 5S 2K camera on white trim on the outside of the house.
Best overall home security camera
Arlo Pro 5S 2K Spotlight Camera
View details
View details
$150 at Amazon
nest-cam-indoor-outdoor-1
Best versatile home security camera
Google Nest Indoor/Outdoor Cam (2nd-gen)
View details
View details
$100 at Crutchfield
The Ring Stick Up Cam against a pink background.
Best portable home security camera
Ring Indoor/Outdoor Stick Up Cam (2nd-gen)
View details
$170 at Amazon
The Eufy 4G Starlight Cam against an orange background. It's a battery-powered, indoor/outdoor security camera that connects over Wi-Fi or LTE.
Best cellular/LTE home security camera
Eufy 4G "Starlight" Camera S230
View details
View details
$200 at B&H Photo-Video
The Lorex spotlight camera and a smartphone showing its app live view on a red background.
Best local storage home security camera
Lorex 4K Spotlight Indoor/Outdoor Security Camera
View details
$149 at Amazon
Google Nest Video Doorbell Battery in white
Best video doorbell camera
Google Nest Doorbell 2nd-gen (battery)
View details
View details
$20 at Amazon
The Tapo C210 indoor camera and smartphone with app against an orange background.
Best budget home security camera
TP-Link Tapo Pan/Tilt C210 Camera
View details
View details

The best overall home security camera for 2024

After more than 150 hours of testing and reviewing the latest home security cameras both indoor and outdoor, our top pick for those who want everything in one compact cam is the Arlo Pro 5S 2K Spotlight Camera. Arlo’s home security camera comes packed with the features we look for, including strong resolution backed by HDR optimization, excellent night vision, healthy battery life and an extra-wide field of view.

While the Arlo Pro 5S may be at the top of a crowded field, we know it’s not for everyone -- particularly if you want to avoid paying for a monthly subscription. So we’ve included other top picks from Google Nest, Ring, Lorex, Eufy and more. Whether you want a cam with mobility, prefer staying away from online video cams or are looking for the best cheap security camera, our guide has you covered.

Check out more below to learn how we landed on these picks and more about what matters most when buying a security camera. We’re also covering answers to common questions you may have about using a security camera in your home. For a closer look at our security camera recommendations, see our picks for the best outdoor security cameras, the best indoor security cams and the best cheap home security cameras if you’d like to keep some cash in your (digital) wallet.

Best home security cameras of 2024

Show less
$180 at Amazon

Best overall home security camera

Arlo Pro 5S 2K Spotlight Camera

The best security cameras can work anywhere and adapt to any situation, based on the type of security you need -- what you want to watch over, when and how you look and how you get alerts. The Arlo Pro 5S comes so packed with features, we had trouble thinking of something it couldn’t do. The up-to-2K resolution with HDR, color night vision and digital zoom all ensure you can keep an eye on any detail, while the 160-degree field of view is astounding for a cam this size.

Users have their pick of smart features too, including two-way audio and smart alerts with detection zones. The motion detection, honed by Arlo’s years of experience, can identify objects like people or packages and activate the built-in spotlight during dark conditions. And with an operating temp range down to minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit, you won’t have to worry too much about weather, either.

Buyer’s note: You can use this cam indoors or outdoors, and if you don’t want to rely on the battery it does come with an indoor cable (outdoor-rated cables are sold separately). The one issue for the cost-conscious is that inescapable subscription fee: The Arlo Secure plan enables so much, from full 2K streaming and cloud recording to 24/7 emergency responses, that it’s more-or-less necessary to get the most out of this already pricey camera. Local storage is possible, but you’ll need to buy a compatible SmartHub or Base Station, which again bumps up the cost.

Show expert take Show less
$150 at Amazon

Best versatile home security camera

Google Nest Indoor/Outdoor Cam (2nd-gen)

You can install Google’s battery cam nearly anywhere, inside or outside, and unless conditions drop well below freezing, you don’t have to worry about the local weather. That versatility isn’t easy to find in smart security cameras, and Google’s AI detection makes an excellent companion feature, able to identify people, animals, vehicles and (with a subscription) familiar faces so you get useful alerts.

This 1080p/HD Nest cam includes important security features like two-way audio and night vision with HDR. We found the design useful when you can pop the cam off the magnetic base for a quick recharge if the battery is running low. And even though this is a Google Home cam through and through, it still works with Alexa if you prefer Amazon’s voice assistant.

But one of the biggest reasons we’re giving this Nest cam the nod is its valuable video storage package. Unlike other cameras, Google Nest provides three hours of video storage for free, so you don’t need a subscription to get those cloud video benefits. That can lead to significant savings over time if you don’t like monthly fees, although you will miss out on some of the more advanced AI features.

Show expert take Show less
$100 at Crutchfield

Best portable home security camera

Ring Indoor/Outdoor Stick Up Cam (2nd-gen)

Mobile wireless cameras offer one big advantage: You can move them anywhere on a whim, from a sunroom or playroom to the kitchen or living room, all depending on your plans. This Ring Stick Up Cam model boosts that benefit even more by allowing you to take the cam outside to a deck or patio if you want -- without worrying about leaving it out in the rain.

In addition to its mobility, Ring’s Stick Up camera offers motion detection with alerts, two-way audio and the ability to customize motion or privacy zones to focus the camera on important areas. A home/away feature lets you quickly switch between modes to help save on battery life when you’re home, and if you ever find the perfect spot, the cam also comes with a wall mount.

For even more upgraded features (but, oof, a significantly higher price), you may also want to check out the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro. Either way, this is another cam where we’d rate the subscription, Ring Protect, as mandatory. Without that subscription, you can’t save videos, use person recognition or enable those home/away modes we mentioned, so you may want to include it in the overall cost. While Ring Protect Basic has started at $4 in the past, please note that Ring is bumping that price up to $5 per month in spring 2024.

Show expert take Show less
$170 at Amazon

Best cellular/LTE home security camera

Eufy 4G "Starlight" Camera S230

Home security cams get recruited for all kinds of tasks, and you may have a spot in mind that’s well away from Wi-Fi. Even the exterior of larger homes can be beyond Wi-Fi’s reach, not to mention outdoor garages and granny pods, weekend camping sites or construction sites. A PoE (power over Ethernet) cam is one solution but not without a connecting cable. This cellular security cam from Eufy is a far more versatile option, powered by a SIM card that you can buy pre-loaded with minutes for simple operation.

The S230 cam comes with an extra-high IP67 rating to stay active even in extreme weather, 2K resolution and a starlight sensor to keep details high at night. The battery is rated for about three months, but if you include a compatible Eufy solar panel, you may not have to worry about battery charging for a long time. Eufy’s AI detection also helps limit alerts to those involving people (plus customizable detection zones), and if the cam is close enough, you can activate the two-way audio for communication.

Finally, this go-anywhere cam doesn’t have cloud storage or a subscription. Instead, it has 8GB of onboard storage to save captured video. No fees are involved, but you will have to clear out the storage when it fills. If you don’t mind paying more for a higher-end version, we also really liked the Arlo Go 2 in our head-to-head.

Show expert take Show less
$200 at B&H Photo-Video

Best local storage home security camera

Lorex 4K Spotlight Indoor/Outdoor Security Camera

Is cloud video storage a sore spot for you? Many people are uncomfortable trusting companies with their home video footage, especially when data breaches keep cropping up. The brands on our list do fairly well at security, but if you’re looking for an alternative, Lorex is made for you. Their cameras, like this model, come with a 32GB (potentially upgrade-able) microSD card to save videos locally instead of on the cloud.

This indoor/outdoor 4K camera shines a customizable LED spotlight wherever you need extra illumination, letting you change the color to match different camera modes or purposes. It also comes with color night vision and built-in object detection for people, vehicles, animals and packages at no additional cost.

Whether you’re searching for a high-definition 4K camera or what to stick with local-storage only to avoid being part of the cloud, we recommend a Lorex cam like this as the answer. However, local storage does take a little more effort to manage, especially when the hard drives get crowded with old video footage. Lorex wired cams like these are set by default to continuously record, so that storage can fill up very fast without some settings changes, like switching to scheduled or motion-activated recordings.

Show expert take Show less
$149 at Amazon

Best video doorbell camera

Google Nest Doorbell 2nd-gen (battery)

Our tests found a number of high-performing video doorbells like the Arlo 2K 2nd-gen Doorbell, but we’re recommending this Google Nest model for a specific reason. Video doorbells tend to capture more footage than most security cams: Even with AI detection, they still record everyone who comes and goes from your home and often people jogging or walking dogs along the street. That can fill up cloud storage or local storage quickly, which is why Nest’s free 3 hours of cloud storage are so useful. You can fill them up and clear out the storage via app whenever you want, at no additional cost or subscription (although the Nest Aware plan does expand these capabilities).

We also found the Google Nest Cam to be easy to install and use, simple to recharge, and excellent at detecting packages as well as alerting you when those packages have been removed with great accuracy. There’s a wired version of the camera available, but you get more options for placement with the battery model, which is useful for conforming to any awkwardly shaped entryway. The doorbell also comes with a wedge to slant it in a specific direction if your space is tight.

Google includes important security camera standbys like two-way audio and night vision for its doorbell. However, resolution is pretty low for a modern security cam, not even reaching full 1080p/HD. But since doorbells tend to focus on close-at-hand action, this isn't as important as it would be for other cameras.

Show expert take Show less
$20 at Amazon

Best budget home security camera

TP-Link Tapo Pan/Tilt C210 Camera

Most of our feature-packed picks are over $100, and some are well over that mark. If that’s a dealbreaker for you and your wallet, this HD Tapo camera has a much lower offer. For under $30, TP-Link offers a remarkably complete indoor security camera with pan and tilt capabilities so it can capture an entire room via app controls.

Even at this low price, the C210 camera manages to include important extras like two-way audio, a built-in siren and 30-foot night vision. It also uses both motion and audio detection so you can get alerts when there’s unexpected movement or noise around the house. That makes it a great budget pick for an open floor plan, keeping watch in a playroom or baby’s room, and all sorts of other tasks. It also comes with the ability to split live viewing between two different devices at the same time, so both people can look through the cam at once.

While the Tapo C210 isn’t the best pan/tilt model we’ve reviewed -- the Eufy S350 tops that list -- it’s certainly the most affordable and has a fantastic number of security features for the price. When it comes to video storage, you can either buy a microSD card for local storage, or tap into the Tapo Care plan, which starts at a low $3.50 per month.

Show expert take Show less

Other home security cameras we've reviewed

Wyze Cam v2: Wyze cams have a lot to love, particularly their low prices and user-friendly interfaces, which is why models like the Cam v2 have qualified as previous top picks. But over the past several years, Wyze has encountered a string of security vulnerabilities that don’t seem to be getting any better, including a late 2023 video caching error that had users looking out of stangers’ live views. We’re putting Wyze on hold for now until it’s clear they have security issues sorted out, but if that doesn’t bother you (many brands have periods where they struggle with a vulnerability), then it could be an option for budget cams.

Lorex 2K Wi-Fi Floodlight Camera: Our local storage Lorex pick is an all-purpose cam, but Lorex has more role-specific options too. One version we especially liked was the floodlight camera, ideal for position over a garage or patio to get shine extra light on your property.

Eufy SoloCam S230 with integrated solar panel: Going solar in the right outdoor spot can help remove battery woes. Eufy makes this sunny solution simple by combining the cam with a built-in solar panel on top. If you can position it correctly, you may not need to worry about battery life until the middle of winter.

Lorex 2K Wi-Fi Indoor Camera: If you want an indoor camera that needs no subscription, this is another good pick from Lorex. However, when combined with the Lorex Smart Home Security Center, you can enter an entirely offline mode where your system doesn’t use the internet at all -- something privacy-conscious users may be looking for.

Blink Mini: Tiny and super easy to use, we recommend this Blink Mini cam as a good option if you have a rented room or dorm that you want to keep watch over. But it’s a potential option for anyone wanting a small, affordable camera…although a subscription is necessary to get some important benefits.

Home security cameras compared

Best security cams: Arlo Pro 5S 2K Spotlight CameraGoogle Nest Indoor/Outdoor Cam (2nd-gen)Ring Indoor/Outdoor Stick Up Cam (2nd-gen)Eufy 4G Camera S230Lorex 4K Spotlight Indoor/Outdoor Security CameraGoogle Nest Doorbell 2nd-gen (battery)TP-Link Tapo Pan/Tilt C210 Camera
Price $250$180$100$170$180$180$25
Resolution 2K with 12x digital zoom1080p/HD1080p/HD2K4K720p1080p/HD
Night vision Color night vision with spotlightNight vision and HDRColor night visionStarlight night visionNight vision with spotlightNight vision with HDRNight vision
Power Battery or cableBattery or cableBattery (wired model available)BatteryWiredBattery (wired model available)Wired
Video storage Cloud storage with subscription or local storage with SmartHub3 hours free cloud storage, more with subscriptionCloud storage with subscriptionBuilt-in local storageLocal storage with microSD3 hours free cloud storage, more with subscriptionCloud storage with subscription, local storage with microSD
Motion detection Yes, object detection with subscriptionYes with person, vehicle, animal, and familiar faceYes, with privacy zonesYes, with audio and human detectionYes with person, vehicle, animal, and package detectionYes, with person, vehicle, animal, package and familiar face detectionYes with audio and person detection
Smart home support Amazon Alexa, Google Home/Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTTAmazon Alexa, Google Home/AssistantAmazon AlexaAmazon Alexa, Google Home/AssistantAmazon Alexa and Google Home/AssistantAmazon Alexa, Google Home/AssistantAmazon Alexa, Google Home/Assistant
Review score N/A8.4/108/10N/A7.5/10 (similar model)8/10N/A

How we test home security cameras

Hands-on testing is core to our evaluation of any home security products. When it comes to security cameras, we start by identifying new and test-worthy products from established manufacturers -- cameras you'd be most likely to come across when shopping online or at your local hardware or electronics stores. When these products hit the market, or sometimes even earlier, we get our hands on them and thoroughly test them in a real-home environment over the course of a week.

We begin testing by setting the camera up according to the included and/or app instructions, making note of any difficulties encountered along the way. Once the camera is ready to roll, we evaluate all features, paying close attention to resolution, night vision, notification latency, local or cloud storage and compatibility with smart home ecosystems like Google, Alexa and Apple HomeKit. 

Such evaluations can take less than a day, but we monitor the camera over the course of a week for a more complete look at the camera's performance day and night. And if that general use doesn't give us all the data we'd like to see, we'll create a mock situation -- like staging a porch pirate scenario -- to see how quickly and accurately the camera and app send notifications and record the event.

If you want to read more about our review process, check out our in-depth article on how we test home security cameras and video doorbells.

Factors to consider when choosing a home security camera

security camera outside house

CNET has tested tons of home security cameras over the years, and can help you find the right one for your needs.

Chris Monroe/CNET

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 one. Here are a few parameters 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 and remote access, especially if you have poor router security. Wired home security cameras that don't use Wi-Fi at all are generally more secure. (Read more about the pros and cons of wired vs. wireless systems here.) And as we mentioned above, data breaches and security vulnerabilities can also be dangerous for your privacy, so it's important to consider a company's recent reputation.

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 Wyze Cam Pan v2, so make sure you're buying cameras that can handle the outdoor elements. 

Wyze Cam Outdoor security camera placed on a table
David Anders/CNET

Video resolution

Video quality should be a major consideration when buying a home security camera. In simplest terms, your camera won't be effective if the only footage being recorded is grainy and unreadable. 

The higher the resolution, the better the video quality. Most home security cameras on the market now have 1,080p resolution, but others even have 2K resolution (like the Arlo Pro 4) or 1,536x1,536 resolution (like the Arlo Video Doorbell). Just remember, the higher the video quality, the more bandwidth it takes up and the more likely your camera is to experience lag times or glitches. 

Field of view

Field of view (usually provided diagonally) refers to how broad the camera's view is. Broader is generally better because it captures more space and makes it easier to spot activity. The average security camera tends to top out around 130 degrees, although some go beyond that. Pan and tilt features make the field of view less important since the camera can move around.

Battery or wired power

Battery and wireless cameras versus wired options are a matter of taste, since both types have pros and cons

Wireless options are usually easier to install and operate, and often use cloud storage, so you can access your footage from anywhere. Wireless security cameras have their own power supply, so even during an internet or power outage, they can still record and save footage. One of the biggest disadvantages, though, is you'll need to manually change the batteries or charge them every so often, unless you get a solar-powered home security camera.

Wired cameras are hardwired to a steady connection, so they don't need to be recharged and can often boost a high-quality video resolution. They tend to be more reliable, secure and consistent in video quality while not requiring monthly cloud storage fees. On the negative side, wired home security cameras often need to be professionally installed and don't integrate with smart home systems like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

Google Nest Cam Indoor Wired

Some Wired home security cameras (like the Google Nest Cam Indoor) typically have better video and audio quality. 

Molly Price/CNET

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. 

Wi-Fi quality and range

When you're installing wireless home security cameras, keep in mind that the smart home camera you buy (and your security system as a whole) will only be as good as the quality of your Wi-Fi connection at the location where you plan to install it. So check your Wi-Fi speed before you drill holes in the walls or otherwise mess up your door frame, brick or siding for your home security camera. If the connection is spotty on your wireless security camera, you'll notice significant lag times, pixelation in the live feed and other Wi-Fi delays that make the video quality poor and home security cameras a pain to use.

With a good Wi-Fi connection, you should be in good shape to use your indoor home security camera or outdoor home security camera without any major camera system issues and get clear footage every time. Still have questions? Take a look at my home security camera buying guide and the below FAQs. 

Home Security Camera FAQs

What should you look for when buying a home security camera?

There's a lot to consider when purchasing a home security camera because it's a massive, growing category that covers everything from professional firms like ADT and Vivint to standalone DIY devices like cameras, sensors and locks from brands like Wyze and Arlo. The first decision you'll need to make is whether you're looking for a professionally installed system or a DIY security system. 

The next decision you'll have to make involves the device specs and features. Do you want livestreaming? Is two-way talk a priority? What about night vision? Modern home security cameras are loaded with neat extra features: Motion detection, professional monitoring, push notifications, cloud video storage, weather resistance, sound and motion alerts and integration with third-party devices. Narrowing down which smarts you want your device to have will help you make a final decision. 

Can a security camera record sound?

We get this question frequently, and the answer is a broad no. Laws about recording sound vary from state to state and country to country, with many requiring “two-party consent” where both sides of the conversation know and agree about the audio recording. So security brands take the path of least resistance and prevent audio recording entirely. That’s why you can store videos but there’s typically no audio. However, you can always go live with the two-way audio for a real-time conversation. 

Do security cams work with existing security systems?

Some do, but you’ll have to check the specifics. Look up your current security system and see if any other brands or cameras are compatible with your app, panel and hub. For example, Vivint has a “Works with Vivint” page that discusses how you can use Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Philips Hue devices (among others) with the Vivint platform. Don’t assume that a device will work with your security system. Always get the details first, and call support if necessary.

Is the Matter standard important for security cams?

Matter is a compatibility and security protocol, an important upgrade for smart homes that address some data security and platform support struggles that people have been having for a long time. However, it’s not a high priority for home security cameras right now, because Matter doesn’t currently support video or smart video devices. The standard receives regular updates to add compatibility with new devices, so once Matter at last adds security cams, it will become a more important consideration.

Can wireless home security cameras work without Wi-Fi?

Many wireless cameras cannot fully function without an internet connection. Some cameras -- especially those that are part of a larger home security system -- use alternative radio protocols to transfer information. Those cameras will require a separate hub. Other cameras, if they have local storage, will be able to record and store footage -- on a microSD card, for example -- even if the internet is out. Lorex is one of the best brands for avoiding the internet altogether, but it will take some work.

Can a home security camera be hacked?

Cameras can really strengthen your home's security, but they can also degrade its privacy. Hackers have made headlines by spying on people or using two-way talk features with children in their rooms. Simply put, yes, your security cameras can be hacked, but it depends how vulnerable your devices really are. Major professionally monitored security systems -- and even individually sold cameras from reputable developers like Google Nest and Wyze -- include high-end encryption, which scrambles messages within a system and grants access through keys. In layman's terms this means as long as you stay current with app and device updates, you should have little to fear of being hacked via software or firmware vulnerabilities.

Will you be able to tell if a security camera is actively recording you? It depends, too. Most security cameras will include a small light that will turn on when it's recording, though that may not be a reliable indicator if the camera has been hacked. Others, like Arlo's indoor camera, include design features that make it totally clear when the camera is watching and when it's not. In general, though, devices with physical shields are always a solid option if you're worried about maintaining your privacy.

How much should you spend on home security cameras?

Home security cameras can vary widely in price, ranging anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to a few thousand. It depends on the services, model, features or video storage you want for your camera. With this in mind, you can expect to spend anywhere from $30 to $500 for a home security camera.

Home security cameras don't have to be expensive, though. All of the best home security cameras CNET tested fall between the range of $25 and around $250. We'd suggesting budgeting around $100 if possible, but our budget camera picks still do a lot with what they cost.