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Best outdoor home security cameras of 2021

Whether you're looking for wired or wireless options, these outdoor security cameras will keep an eye on your home -- even through wind and rain.

Keeping an eye on your house while you're away is a great way to protect your loved ones and property, and deter potential burglars. And outdoor home security cameras are some of the best devices you can buy to handle that important job. Whether you're looking to upgrade your existing video surveillance system with high-end devices or searching for more affordable home security options, there are plenty of outdoor cameras on the market to fit your needs, ranging from the classic dome camera to high-tech options with top-notch video quality.

In fact, the video quality among the many security camera options on the market is steadily improving. Standard features now include night vision and a motion sensor, and some options even include things like two-way audio, HD video and facial recognition. You can get a doorbell camera or a smart security camera that connects to your existing smart home setup, which you can monitor with your smartphone. You're really only a few cameras away from a full-blown security system that maximizes safety.

But technological capabilities are only half the battle. Unlike an indoor camera, the best outdoor security cameras have to tackle rain, wind, snow and all sorts of other weather changes and still record watchable footage. 

Are you ready to build your own outdoor security camera system? We've tested a lot of weather-resistant models to arrive at this short list of surveillance camera favorites for keeping an eye on everything outside.

David Priest/CNET

Arlo's latest Pro series camera is a fantastic device with features to spare. It boasts 2K resolution, a 160-degree field of view, two-way talk, full-color night vision, a built-in siren and spotlight, compatibility with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit -- the list goes on.

This powerhouse of a camera costs only $240 -- pricier than super-affordable options like Wyze, but easily worth the premium. For $3 per month, you can also get smart alerts, motion zones, 30 days of event history and a few other cool features. In short, the Arlo Pro 4 is a fantastic security camera for most people.

Read our review.

 

Wyze

Wyze makes a variety of solid, affordable smart home devices -- and the Wyze Cam is no exception. 

In addition to standard features, which include HD live streaming and motion detection alerts, this affordable camera comes with free two-week event-based cloud storage and a built-in microSD card slot for local storage. It has a customizable motion-detection zone, updated two-way audio and night vision and an improved field of view over the last-gen Wyze Cam.

Read our Wyze Cam review.

 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The Arlo Video Doorbell performs well as a security camera, has a long list of features and competitive cloud storage fees. The optional cloud storage subscription gives you access to advanced person, animal, vehicle and package alerts.

This smart buzzer is easy to install, too, and features two-way audio, motion detection zones, arm/disarm modes and a built-in siren.

Read more about the Arlo Video Doorbell.

 

In summary

We've tested too many outdoor security cameras to list here, so be sure to check out my gallery below for an overview of all the models. It's worth noting that whatever Wi-Fi security camera you end up buying will only be as good as your home's network connection. If the connection is spotty or unstable, you might see pixelation in the feed, lag times and other related issues, so check your Wi-Fi speed before you start drilling holes in your walls.

More home security advice to fit your needs:

First published on Oct. 31, 2019 at 12:01 p.m. EST.