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Article updated on March 28, 2024 at 3:00 PM PDT

Best Home Security Cameras Without a Subscription for 2024

Many home security companies are pushy with subscriptions. These cams give you the features we find especially important, without any monthly fees.

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

Resolution and view

Video storage

Smart home

Object detection

App usability

Night vision

Two-way audio

Our Picks

$93 at Amazon
A Eufy S350 camera perchs at the corner of a black desk.
The best overall home security camera with no subscription
Eufy Indoor Cam S350
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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 local storage home security camera with no subscription
Lorex 2K Indoor Camera
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$200 at Amazon
The Reolink Argus camera mounted with a solar panel on white siding outside with rain and sunlight.
Best outdoor home security camera with no subscription
Reolink Argus Track Cam
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$40 at Amazon
An illustration of the Tapo C120 camera mounted to white siding outside in the rain.
The best versatile home security camera with no subscription
TP-Link Tapo C120 Indoor/Outdoor Cam
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$200 at B&H Photo-Video
The Lorex floodlight cam mounted on house siding above a glass door.
Best high-end home security camera with no subscription
Lorex 2K Wi-Fi Floodlight Security Camera
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$60 at Amazon
A Blink outdoor camera mounted to a wooden fence in a backyard.
Best battery-powered home security camera with no subscription
Blink Outdoor 4 with Sync Module 2
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The Lorex floodlight cam mounted on house siding above a glass door.

Lorex is a popular choice for buyers who want to stay off the cloud and away from subscriptions.

Lorex/Amazon

What's the best subscription-free home security camera?

Our experts have spent over 150 hours testing multiple kinds of indoor and outdoor security cams, including dozens of cameras that don't require those annoyingly common subscription fees: Our top pick for a no-fee camera that still does everything is the Eufy Indoor Cam S350. From close-in zooming to human and pet detection, this home security cam has an excellent assortment of features with a focus on local storage and zero subscriptions.

Eufy's cam is an indoor-only model, but don't worry if you've got grounds to keep watch over. We've also picked top options for outdoor and floodlight cams, as well as budget models to save even more money -- all offering key features like video storage without the need for a cam subscription, which usually starts at $5 to $10 per month. If you've got saving money on your mind, take a minute to stop by our guide to the best cheap home security systems and budget video doorbells too. 

The best home security cameras without subscriptions

$93 at Amazon

The best overall home security camera with no subscription

Eufy Indoor Cam S350

Eufy’s pan/tilt/zoom dual-cam model can see anywhere, and with the right vantage point it can cover multiple doors or areas in a home, all at an excellent 4K resolution for the wide-angle lens and 2K resolution for the telephoto lens. It also has 32-foot night vision and the ability to recognize people or pets and quietly follow them -- and it’s surprisingly small for these features, so you can easily find room on a shelf. It offers support for both Amazon Alexa and Google Home/Assistant, but no Apple HomeKit at this time (some Eufy cams do offer Apple support, including the budget pan/tilt 2K model).

Eufy also nabs the top spot on our list for its subscription policies: You don’t need one. Nothing significant is locked behind ongoing fees unless you really want cloud storage, and the cam comes with a slot for a microSD card (purchase the size of your choice) to add local storage.

You also have the option of adding a HomeBase S380 hub if you prefer more storage, better AI capabilities and other useful features, still without any necessary subscription. The one downside to Eufy’s cam is that the Eufy app is a little janky and may time patience to learn, but that’s a minor tradeoff.

$40 at B&H Photo-Video

Best local storage home security camera with no subscription

Lorex 2K Indoor Camera

Lorex brings to the table not only a high-resolution camera, but a whole camera system built around keeping your data out of the cloud. It comes with a 16GB microSD card and no subscription options at all. You can also use Lorex Fusion with a recorder device for more video storage capacity, but it’s not necessary. Or, if you add the cam to the full Lorex home security system with its touchscreen controls, you can switch to a mode that keeps you offline entirely.

In addition to these plentiful privacy options, Lorex offers person detection and compatibility with both Alexa and Google Assistant. While there are no pan/tilt features here, the cam can be adjusted to a variety of angles and includes two-way audio for communication.

$200 at Amazon

Best outdoor home security camera with no subscription

Reolink Argus Track Cam

Reolink’s Argus Track is designed for highly efficient outdoor use, combining a 4K cam that can easily spot details across the yard with a solar panel you can set up to keep the battery charged on this wireless model. It’s also got pan/tilt features with the ability to track movement, color night vision and, of course, onboard storage with a microSD card slot.

Those powerful features don’t require any subscriptions to use, making this one of the best options for a no-fee outdoor camera that can detect people, vehicles and animals. While the wireless design does make it easy to place, you may have to do more work finding the right installation spot for both the cam and its solar panel, which benefits from a sunny destination.

$40 at Amazon

The best versatile home security camera with no subscription

TP-Link Tapo C120 Indoor/Outdoor Cam

While Tapo cams have won spots on our other lists for their affordable, feature-rich cams, for this list we’re choosing the versatile C120 indoor/outdoor cam -- a little more expensive, but still easy on the wallet. The Tapo blend of subscription-free features (there is a Tapo plan, but it’s far from necessary) offers person recognition and onboard video storage with the purchase of a microSD card.

Another advantage of the C120 is its 2K resolution, higher than many of TP-Link’s budget models, along with a magnetic base that makes placement easy regardless of indoor or outdoor use, although you will need to find a safe outlet to use. It also comes with color night vision and compatibility with both Alexa and Google Home/assistant. TP-Link's app also allows for a couple of neat tricks, including digital boundary lines that action as motion zones, and customizable siren/light alarms.

$200 at B&H Photo-Video

Best high-end home security camera with no subscription

Lorex 2K Wi-Fi Floodlight Security Camera

If you’re looking to invest in a higher-end outdoor cam and don’t mind spending extra for a full suite of features when you know no subscriptions will be coming your way, Lorex has an excellent floodlight camera for looking over a large outdoor space. It offers a 2K resolution, color night vision, two-way audio and an included 32GB microSD card. That’s a fairly complete package, even without the free person, vehicle and animal protection that’s also included or the support for Alexa and Google Assistant.

But the biggest feature of this cam is the two LED floodlight. We like Lorex’s floodlight approach more than most: You can adjust the angles and set specific brightness and color temperature levels, as well as how easily they are activated. That’s a level of customization that is comparatively rare in home security lighting.

$60 at Amazon

Best battery-powered home security camera with no subscription

Blink Outdoor 4 with Sync Module 2

Blink does offer a subscription pan with video recording and storage, but we’re adding it as an effective option because of the Sync Module 2 -- this compact, square hub connects to the Blink Outdoor 4 and allows you to plug in a USB flash drive and use it for local storage. That largely removes the need for any subscription. You still get Blink’s motion-activated alerts and incredibly easy-to-use app, so subscription fees become very optional.

Otherwise, the Blink Outdoor 4 is a common recommendation of ours because of its long two-year battery life and easy wireless setup. You will miss out on outdoor person detection, which is locked behind the subscription, but otherwise this cam deserves consideration if you don’t mind purchasing a hub to work with.

Best home security cameras without subscriptions compared

Best Home Security Cameras Without Subscriptions Compared

Best security cams without subscriptionsEufy Indoor Cam S350Lorex 2K Indoor CameraReolink Argus Track CamTP-Link Tapo C120 Indoor/Outdoor CamLorex 2K Wi-Fi Floodlight Security CameraBlink Outdoor 4 with Sync Module 2
Price $100$50$210$40$250$65
Resolution 4K/2K2K4K2K2K1080p/HD
Field of view 360 degrees with pan/tilt125 degreesNearly 360 degrees with pan/tilt120 degrees122 degrees143 degrees
Power source WiredWiredBattery with solarWiredWiredBattery
Motion detection Motion, people, petsMotion, peopleMotion, people, vehicles, animalsMotion, people, pet vehicleMotion, people, vehicle, animalMotion only with no subscription
Night Vision 32-foot night visionYesColor night visionColor night visionColor night visionYes
Audio Two-way audioTwo-way audioTwo-way audioTwo-way audioTwo-way audioTwo-way audio
Storage options Local with microSD card or Eufy HomeBaseLocal with included microSD cardLocal with microSD cardLocal via microSD card or cloud storage with subscriptionLocal via microSD card (included)Local via Sync Module 2 Hub
Voice assistant Apple HomeKit/Home/SiriAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantAmazon Alexa, Google Home/AssistantAmazon Alexa, Google Home/AssistantAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantAmazon Alexa
Review score N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
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Other home security cams without subscriptions that we've tested

A Lorex pan/tilt indoor camera sits on a gray desk next to a closed laptop, coffee mug, and lamp.

Lorex's pan/tilt camera makes for an excellent nanny cam in the right position.

Lorex/Amazon

TP-Link Tapo C210: This is one of our favorite affordable cameras at the moment, but we prefer Eufy's better specs that also come with local storage.

Blink Mini 2: The Blink Mini 2 has a surprising amount of features for its small size and affordable price (plus outdoor compatibility), but it's a little too short range and the required Sync Module 2 for local storage greatly increases the price.

Google Nest Indoor/Outdoor cam: Nest doesn't have any local storage options, and the 3 hours of video storage means you need to act quickly, so it's a complicated compromise for those who want to avoid subscriptions altogether. We went with simpler, local storage approaches for this list.

TP-Link Tapo C310: The C310 makes a fine outdoor camera ready for a microSD card, but we found Tapo's indoor/outdoor camera a little more useful for the average person.

Google Nest Doorbell: The Nest Doorbell is an excellent device that benefits greatly from Google AI and Nest's high-quality construction, but it also doesn't have any local storage, so you'll have to that three-hour limit.

Lorex 2K Indoor Pan/Tilt Camera: This Lorex cam is an excellent local storage alternative, but ultimately we chose the floodlight model for its great outdoor usability. 

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Factors to consider when buying a home security camera

The Blink app showing a viewing option for a cam and notification about a person detected.

Blink's person detection works well enough, but it's a subscription-only feature.

CNET/Tyler Lacoma

Resolution and view

We always pay attention to resolution and field of view for home security cameras. Checking detail, up close and at a distance, is very important for live views and the quality of recorded video. It's important to pay attention not only to resolution numbers and how wide the field of view is but if a brand locks higher resolutions behind a subscription (some do).

Video storage

Video storage refers to how easily video can be recorded and shared, typically either in the cloud or locally through an attached hub/hard drive. Cloud storage is almost always locked behind a subscription except in rare exceptions like Google Nest and some others. Local storage is generally a better way to avoid subscriptions and still get this important quality of life.

Smart home integration

Smart home support for voice assistants (Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant) or platforms like Google Home or Apple Home aren't often locked behind subscriptions: What you see in the specs is what you get. That can be limited to a single platform (Amazon likes to keep its devices focused on Alexa for now) or spread out between several platforms. If you already use a voice assistant or a full smart home security system, look for a cam that's compatible with it.

Object detection

Object detection, like recognizing packages or human-shaped beings approaching, is another feature often locked behind a subscription. Some cameras offer free object detection. Eufy uses human detection for many of its cams, TP-Link Tapo cams offer some free detection and several Lorex cams provide package and people detection.

App usability

High-quality secure cams come with apps that are intuitive with settings that are easy to manage. It's also a big bonus if they don't have constant pop-ups telling you to sign up for a subscription.

Night vision

We always take a close look at night vision and its distance to make sure that it's working properly and offers plenty of utility for capturing images on the other side of your yard or room.

Two-way audio

Two-way audio features help scare away intruders, talk to strangers or tell the kids to get inside for dinner. They're always free, but we take a close look at their quality and range, too. 

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How we test security cameras

Our experts follow a complete testing process that examines how all the features on a home security camera function. Today’s cams have motion detection, audio communication, resolution, night vision, object recognition and much more to test.

We walk through these features with a number of visual and audio experiments to see how cams match their claims -- and the capability of comparative models. There’s a lot that goes into this process, and you can catch plenty more details over at our guide on how we test.

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The best home security cam placement and installation

A Eufy cam mounted outside on a wood board wall with the Eufy solar panel installed above it facing the sun.

Eufy's solar panel makes a great pairing with this open-range security cam.

Eufy

Placing a home security camera is one of the hardest decisions today's DIY cameras require. Every home is different, so you'll need to customize the location to get the best angle to capture a room or yard. Sometimes central locations are best for pan/tilt cameras or a high shelf for an overview. For installation, we like the stability of a screw-in mount or the versatility of a horizontal surface. For more, take a look at our guide on the best spots to install home security cameras.

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Security camera FAQs

What features are locked behind home security camera subscriptions?

That can vary from subscription to subscription, but there are expectations in common. Companies like Ring, Arlo and others lock their cloud video storage features in subscriptions, and while there are sometimes local workarounds, they’re rarely convenient or cheap. Advanced object detection is frequently accessed only through subscriptions, as are “rich” notifications and alerts that provide more detail about what’s happening. Certain video features, like extended live views, snapshot timelapses or home/away modes can also be trapped in subscriptions.

More advanced subscriptions typically expand the plan for multiple devices and may add in professional home monitoring and similar services.

How much do microSD cards cost for a security camera?

They’re getting more affordable all the time. You can find a 256GB (a massive amount of storage for a home security camera) microSD card for under $20 these days. Smaller cards will cost significantly less.

Do cameras offer free cloud video storage?

If you like keeping and accessing your video in the cloud, you’ll probably have to pay a subscription. Free cloud storage does exist, but it’s hard to find. Google’s Nest cams offer free video storage for 3 hours, but you’ll need to act within that timeframe to save the video, so you’ll need to check alerts fast.

How fast does local video storage fill up for a security camera?

That depends how often and long it records. A 32GB card like the one Lorex provides in some cams can record for a few hours at 1080p, much less at higher resolutions. Upgrading to a larger card means you don’t have to worry about deleting videos as often.

What is NAS?

NAS stands for network-attached storage and is often used in conjunction with NVR or Network Video Recorder. An NVR is similar to a DVR, except it records footage from your cams. NAS storage like this is typically used for large security systems with an array of cams that records a lot of footage and needs a central database to store and view it. An NVR isn’t necessary for the average home security system with local storage.