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The best home security cameras of 2021

Want to keep tabs on your home? We've got you covered with a list of our favorite smart security cameras available now.

Editor's note, Aug. 5, 2021: Google has announced three new Nest Cams that will replace current indoor and outdoor models in late 2021. We will update our recommendations accordingly once we've reviewed the new models.


If you're looking to keep your home safe and secure, it might be time to invest in a home security camera. There are plenty of excellent security cameras and video surveillance systems to choose from, with cameras that offer features such as two-way communication, motion tracking, night vision, cloud storage, smart notifications, professional monitoring and HD video for top-notch video quality. With numerous options on the market -- including specifically indoor, outdoor, wireless or DIY security cameras -- it can feel daunting to find a perfect match for the camera system you have in mind. 

We've tested dozens of cameras and condensed everything we've learned into this list. Below, you'll find the best home security cameras in every major subcategory, from smart doorbells to the models that work well with Google AssistantAmazon Alexa and Siri voice commands. Some are fairly simple, with a motion sensor that sends a push notification to your smartphone when they detect movement, while others come with features such as professional monitoring and cloud storage that prevent you from having to sift through hours of footage. 

If you're looking for the best home security camera, get ready to dive in. We'll update this list periodically.

The best of the best

Wyze

Wyze disappointed some of its customers when its ridiculously cheap cameras got slightly less ridiculously cheap. But at $36, the Wyze Cam remains a great budget surveillance camera -- and a great camera. Period.

It features HD video quality live streaming, motion detection, night vision, a decent app and, best of all, 14 days of free motion-based cloud storage. This Wyze camera also features a built-in microSD card slot if you want local video storage rather than relying solely on its cloud service (you have to buy the microSD card separately).

This home security camera works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands and features a motion detection zone and the ability to listen for and alert you to special frequencies, like smoke alarms.

Read our Wyze Cam (2020) review.

 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Now this is a smart security camera. The $150 Arlo Video Doorbell (currently $20 off) has a lot going for it. While 130 bucks isn't cheap, it's more affordable than most of the other smart buzzers I've tested. As a doorbell camera, it's built to be an outdoor camera, so you don't have to ever worry about the elements. Similar to the Arlo Pro 3 outdoor security camera, the Arlo Video Doorbell has arm/disarm modes, two-way audio, motion zones and an integrated siren.

It also has a competitive cloud storage subscription plan, starting at $3 per month. If you pay for cloud storage, you get access to advanced features like custom person, animal, vehicle and package detection for your video surveillance.

Read our Arlo Video Doorbell review.

 

Chris Monroe/CNET

The $299 Nest Cam IQ Indoor camera has a lot of the same smarts and features as the Nest Hello speaker. This indoor cam features HD live streaming, motion detection, person alerts and access to the Nest Aware service option. Starting at $5 per month, a Nest Aware subscription offers advanced features like facial recognition. Create a database of friends and family and get alerts telling you "Molly" or "Andrew" is at the door.

But this model also features a Google Assistant built-in speaker. So just like the Google Home and other Google-Assistant-enabled smart speakers and displays, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor responds to the wake phrase "OK, Google."

Read our Nest Cam IQ Indoor Security Camera review.

 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Arlo Pro 3 is also our top pick of the best outdoor camera for home security. Its weatherproof exterior makes this outdoor Wi-Fi security camera highly capable of video recording in rain, snow, heat and beyond. The simple magnetic mount that comes with your purchase makes it incredibly easy to remove the cameras when you need to charge the battery -- no matter where this Arlo camera is installed.

Read our Arlo Pro 3 review.

 

Chris Monroe/CNET

The indoor-outdoor Logitech Circle 2 is one of the few home security cameras that works with Apple's smart home platform, HomeKit, including responding to Siri commands from a HomePod smart speaker. This home security camera works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant too, giving you access to all of the main voice assistant features. (Note the Circle 2 has been discontinued.)

Read our Logitech Circle 2 Security Camera review.

 

Final thoughts

When installing wireless 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 doorframe, brick or siding. If the connection is spotty on your wireless security camera, you'll notice significant lag times, pixelation in the live feed and other delays that make security cameras a pain to use. 

With a good Wi-Fi connection, you should be in good shape to use your indoor camera or outdoor security camera without any major issues. Still have questions? Take a look at my home security camera buying guide.

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