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Best Outdoor Home Security Cameras

From spotlight cameras to masterful motion detection, here are the top brands and models if you're looking for the best outdoor security cams for your home.

Updated Feb. 2, 2024 3:00 a.m. PT

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Written by  Tyler Lacoma Ry Crist
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
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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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Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
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$140 at Amazon
Arlo pro 4
Best overall outdoor security camera
Arlo Pro 5S 2K
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$30 at Amazon
The Tapo C310 camera mounted on outside trim with graphics of rain falling on it.
Best for driveway monitoring and security
TP-Link Tapo C310
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$250 at Amazon
Arlo's Go 2 camera mounted on wooded exterior siding in the rain.
Best LTE camera
Arlo Go 2
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$170 at Amazon
ring-spotlight-camera-wireless
Best outdoor security camera with spotlight
Ring Spotlight Cam Plus
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$100 at Best Buy
A Blink outdoor camera mounted to a wooden fence in a backyard.
Best outdoor security camera for battery life
Blink Outdoor 4
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$250 at B&H Photo-Video
The Lorex floodlight cam mounted on house siding above a glass door.
Best floodlight outdoor security camera
Lorex 2K Wi-Fi Floodlight Camera
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$148 at Amazon
A Google Nest Cam mounted on an indoor wall.
Best versatile outdoor security camera
Google Nest Indoor/Outdoor Cam (2nd-gen)
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$500 at B&H Photo-Video
The Lorex Fusio 2K IP camera against a blue background
Best high-end outdoor security camera for video
Lorex Fusion 2K IP Cam
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$150 at Best Buy
The Eufy SoloCam S230 against an orange background.
Best solar outdoor security camera
Eufy SoloCam S230 with integrated solar panel
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When it comes to power, battery life and the sheer number of features, our top pick for an outdoor security cam is the Arlo Pro 5S 2K, a wireless, DIY-friendly camera that can fit nearly anywhere. In our more than five years of testing security cameras from brands like Ring, Blink and Nest, we've yet to encounter a more complete outdoor security camera. This high-performance cam includes smart motion detection, two-way audio, a spotlight and an intuitive app to manage it all.

The Arlo Pro 5S 2K is also an expensive camera, even more so when adding in a useful hub to help store video or a subscription to do the same in the cloud. If you're looking to spend a little less on an excellent home security camera with fewer bells and whistles, we also have other picks to explore. We've chosen a top floodlight cam for extra lumens, some great local storage camera picks and a high-grade video security option from Lorex, among others.

Take a look at our full list of best outdoor security cams below along with what you should know about home security cameras before you buy. For more options (and ways to learn more about how home security tech works), you may also want to stop by our roundup of the best home security cameras and our list of the best wireless cameras for your home.

Best outdoor home security cameras

Editors' choice
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$140 at Amazon

Best overall outdoor security camera

Arlo Pro 5S 2K

If cost is no problem and you’re looking for the latest security camera features, the Arlo Pro 5S 2K is a top-line DIY model with a solid set of features. The 2K video resolution yields extra detail (although a subscription is required for maximum resolution), a 160-degree field of view is great on a cam this size, and color night vision works very well to enhance images in dark conditions. It’s wireless for flexible installation options, and the battery is better than ever (rated up to eight months) with new low-power modes to help decrease those tiresome recharging sessions.  

The camera also has particularly useful extras for an all-purpose outdoor security camera. The integrated spotlight turns on in low-light conditions (although you can control this via app), while auto-tracking and the 12x zoom function help focus coverage on the most important details. The two-way audio is also a nice touch if you prefer to have cam-based conversations or call out strangers. And with UV resistance, weather resistance and an operating temperature range all the way down to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s ready for homes in nearly any climate.

While the camera gets added benefits like optimized battery life from being connected to an Arlo Security System or base station, it’s still easy to use it solo. The Arlo Secure subscription not only unlocks 2K resolution streaming but also enables cloud recording for saving clips, so we highly recommend budgeting for a subscription if you pick this camera. If you prefer local storage, you’ll have to add an Arlo SmartHub or Base Station, which can run well over $100.

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$30 at Amazon

Best for driveway monitoring and security

TP-Link Tapo C310

Thieves checking for unlocked car doors can be as much of an outdoor home security concern as porch pirates stealing packages off your doorstep. A good video doorbell can deter a porch pirate, but keeping opportunists off your driveway and out of your cars can present a different challenge.

A camera equipped with an automatic siren and spotlight, like the TP-Link Tapo C310 outdoor camera, can be one of your most effective tools for keeping trespassers at bay. The $50 camera (currently on sale for $30) allows you to arm the camera to watch specific zones, like a driveway, at scheduled times and blare its siren and spotlight when anyone crosses the detection line.

The outdoor camera also features 2K resolution, night vision up to 98 feet away, Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, and local storage via a microSD card slot (card not included). If you want cloud storage, Tapo Care plans start around $.50 per month per camera and include 30 days of event recording.

The only significant drawback to the camera I see is that it uses a wired power source, so you'll have to run a cord to plug it in. But if you have an accessible power outlet, perhaps in your garage or an inconspicuous location on your home's exterior, the TP-Link Tapo C310 is worth checking out for its potential to automatically drive away any unwanted guests.

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$250 at Amazon

Best LTE camera

Arlo Go 2

If you need a camera to keep watch over a place where Wi-Fi won't suffice (construction sites, adjacent workshops, camping trips), then your best bet is to shop for a smart security camera that can stay connected over cellular data instead. Your top two options are the Arlo Go 2 and the Eufy 4G Starlight Cam, each of which includes a SIM card slot for cellular connectivity along with similar features, including night vision and customizable motion alerts. They each cost about $250 too, though the Eufy 4G Starlight Cam is the slightly less expensive of the two.

Both performed well when we tested them out, and there are good reasons to go with either, but of the two models we lean toward the Go 2. For one, the Arlo Go 2 includes a microSD card slot for local storage whereas the Eufy camera doesn't and is instead equipped with a limiting 8GB of built-in storage. Also, the Arlo Go 2 can connect over both LTE and Wi-Fi while the Eufy 4G Starlight Cam doesn't support Wi-Fi. That makes the Go 2 the more flexible of the two cameras and can leverage your home's Wi-Fi signal to reduce the LTE data usage. 

Keep in mind, you'll need either an Arlo Secure plan starting at $8 per month to enable interactive notifications, the highest video resolution, and cloud recordings. A microSD card slot is available for local storage (and to help keep from running into data caps or similar issues), but you'll be giving up those additional features.

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$170 at Amazon

Best outdoor security camera with spotlight

Ring Spotlight Cam Plus

A dedicated spotlight cam focuses a beam of light in a specific direction, helping you light up dark porches, walkways, patios and corners of your yard where visibility is lacking. Spotlights also greatly improve nighttime visibility, and when motion-activated like the 1080p Ring Spotlight Can Plus, they can theoretically scare away intruders.

The design and additional features really put the Ring Spotlight Cam Plus over the top for us. Few spotlight cams have such a compact design with durable LED bars that make it easy to position and angle the camera (140-degree field of view) in many directions. When power is low, the pop-out battery is easy to recharge without messing with your perfect angle.

The 1080p cam comes with color night vision, two-way audio and a siren you can sound when necessary. There are also privacy zones and motion zones you can tweak to control where the motion detection focuses. It can also handle temperatures down to minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s no slouch during winter.

Ring’s security camera is designed to work with a Ring Protect plan, which starts at $4 per month, and we consider it more or less mandatory for this cam. It enables valuable features, including the ability to record footage to the cloud, recognize people (and ignore other movement), switch to an away mode and more. There is a wired version of the camera, but we’re picking the battery option for its versatility.

Note that Ring recently updated its policy on providing footage to police without user consent. While law enforcement can still request footage in case of an emergency or warrant, Ring is no longer providing a form for more casual police requests, an upgrade in privacy for users.

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$100 at Best Buy

Best outdoor security camera for battery life

Blink Outdoor 4

Wireless security cams offer a lot to like for the modern homeowner. You can install them at nearly any awkward angle to cover blind spots or find the perfect vantage point, and there’s never any need to call an electrician. But in return, you have to manage battery power, and that can be a tough sell when the best spot for a security camera is a hard-to-reach area. Blink’s fourth-generation outdoor cam addresses the issue head-on with a powerful battery rated for up to two years of use before you have to worry about recharging.

Battery isn’t the only thing the Outdoor 4 brings to the table. It offers a 1080p resolution, infrared night vision, two-way audio and dual-zone motion detection. Amazon’s security platform has full Alexa compatibility too, so you can look at a live view from an Echo Show, among other tricks.

Note that the Blink Outdoor 4 comes with a Sync Module 2 for local storage so you don’t have to worry about buying a hub, but you will need a USB drive to connect to it. A Blink subscription, which starts at $3 per month, adds cloud storage and person detection.

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$250 at B&H Photo-Video

Best floodlight outdoor security camera

Lorex 2K Wi-Fi Floodlight Camera

Floodlight cameras use large lights to illuminate a broad space, like an entire driveway or dark backyard. They’re usually larger than other security cameras, but the best option to keep a watch over large areas, especially if you’re concerned about nighttime dangers. This Lorex cam is our top pick for this kind of floodlight solution, a package of features that complement each other ways we really like.

For example, the 2K resolution is excellent for a floodlight cam, which tends to overlook a large space and benefits from as many pixels as possible. It pairs well with Lorex’s person-oriented motion detection, and the compatibility with Alexa and Google Home means you can use voice commands and smart displays for lots of added functionality. If the cam is close enough you can activate two-way audio, and the adjustable floodlights include not only four different light scheduling options but the ability to set brightness and color temperate, something traditional floodlights just can’t do.

Lorex avoids subscription fees, instead offering a pre-installed 32GB microSD chip, which cuts costs and helps secure privacy, but you may need to get the ladder out when that card fills up. Speaking of cam positioning, this is a wired camera, so you will need to do some wiring or possibly hire an electrician -- an existing junction box will make installation much, much easier. We’re choosing a wired version for a floodlight cam because those bright LEDs, while efficient, can still sap a lot of battery power, and the wired version will save you a lot of charging trips.

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$148 at Amazon

Best versatile outdoor security camera

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

Google Nest's small, bobbly wireless cam has secrets: It’s surprisingly powerful, offers infrared LEDs for night vision and comes with IP54 weather resistance for outside use. While it doesn’t perform its best when temperatures drop below freezing, if you live in a mild or warm climate it can be an excellent, versatile outdoor cam. The 1080p model has a 130-degree field of view, and you can quickly adjust its focus thanks to the 6x digital zoom and easy-to-install base. Motion detection, two-way audio and compatible with both Google Assistant and Alexa round this cam off nicely.

One of the things we most appreciate about Nest cam products is Google’s excellent free offerings. Without a subscription, you still get three free hours of cloud storage and customized alerts for spotting people, animals, and vehicles. Nest Aware plans add more features, but that’s a more-than-competitive deal if you want to avoid subscription fees. Plus, you can easily move it inside or outside depending on where you think you need security the most. Just be careful of temperatures that fall below freezing, as this cam isn't rated for especially cold conditions. In our experience, you'll at least get some warnings and reduced battery life, but other problems could occur if the weather gets especially chilly.

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$500 at B&H Photo-Video

Best high-end outdoor security camera for video

Lorex Fusion 2K IP Cam

If the term “spare no expense” comes to mind when you think of home security, the Lorex Fusion 2K steps up to deliver. This powerful 2K  camera can handle the most demanding security and surveillance, making it ideal for homeowners who want to keep the best eye possible on their property and belongings or for someone who runs a business (such as a daycare) out of their home. And with PoE (power over ethernet), you won’t have to worry about dropped Wi-Fi connections, no matter where you put it.

The camera alone offers pan, tilt and zoom capabilities, a 12x optical zoom and 16x digital zoom to capture any detail and infrared night vision up to a very impressive 330 feet. And with a IP66 resistance rating, you won’t have to worry. But there are also smart extras, notably the ability to create "PTZ (pan, tilt and zoom) tours" or programmed paths for the cam to cycle through so it can cover multiple directions.

You do miss out on some smart features like two-way audio and person recognition: This camera is purely dedicated to top-notch video footage. The catch -- in addition to the high price -- is that you’ll need a compatible Lorex recorder to pair with the cam. Fortunately, no subscriptions are required.

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$150 at Best Buy

Best solar outdoor security camera

Eufy SoloCam S230 with integrated solar panel

Solar cameras offer an alternative to the traditional home security teach: A cam that you can theoretically keep charged with a few hours of well-positioned sunlight every day. The problem is that juggling a separate camera and solar panel installation is tricky, especially if you’re short on room. Eufy’s 2K-resolution cam uses an integrated solar panel instead so you can find a spot where the top of the camera gets enough sunlight to keep it powered, keeping manual battery recharging minimal or unnecessary.

The SoloCam S320, which offers a 130-degree field of view, also has a 600-lumen spotlight, color night vision and motion detection with person recognition. Without sunlight, the battery lasts up to four months. You can control it with both Alexa and Google Assistant. The cam is also designed to work without any subscriptions or add-ons, but that also means it’s limited to (AES128-encrypted) 8GB of onboard storage. Eufy says that’s enough for about two months of footage, but in our experience that can fill up quickly if your cam is recording multiple detections a day.

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Factors to consider when buying an outdoor security camera

How you power the camera

Outdoor cameras need reliable power. Some users have no problems recharging a battery every several months. Others may want to place cameras in positions where regular recharging is difficult. Wired versions of cameras skip this step but often require existing wiring or electrical work. Then there’s PoE or Power over Ethernet, which supplies both an internet connection and power at the same time, but requires a dedicated Ethernet line. These days, we're also seeing a growing number of solar outdoor cameras that offer a charging alternative.

All those choices come down to ease of use: We’re looking for cams with reliable power options, excellent battery life, usable solar panels and other home-friendly aspects. The higher the camera is placed and the more power it uses, the more a wired solution becomes important.

Durability

Outdoor cams must be weather-resistant, and high-quality versions should be able to handle low temperatures as well.

Video storage and security

What do outdoor cameras do with the video they capture? The two primary choices are cloud storage through an internet connection and local storage through a hub or microSD card. Cloud storage is easy to capture and share but usually needs a subscription and raises privacy concerns when police can request video footage directly from companies. Local storage is more private but much harder to manage when storage starts getting full and needs to be culled. Our list includes options for both, plus choices like the Nest Cam which offers cloud storage for free.

Video encryption is also important to help secure video transfer and access. At this point, we would bring up the latest protocols like Matter and Thread, designed to make smart devices safer and more compatible with different platforms. While this compatibility can help many smart devices, Matter doesn’t support video quite yet, so it won’t apply to most of your data management here.

Resolution and field of view

A security cam needs high-quality video and imaging to do its job well. The minimum these days is 1080p, and we’re seeing a growing number of 2K and even 4K home security cameras available for greater detail. Don’t go below HD-level if possible. Field of view, while less important, also helps a camera capture as large of an area as possible, which can be helpful when watching the entire front of a home or a whole backyard. About the best we’ve seen here is 160 degrees, but a 130-degree cam can still do well, especially if it’s easy to angle.

Motion detection and recognition

Motion detection both saves on video recordings and helps control adjacent features like spotlights and the important mobile alerts you can get on your phone. It’s typically an automatic feature, but made immensely better when a camera has AI recognition capabilities (preferably for free). These help the camera ignore cars, leaves and possibly even animals in favor of humans, or let you choose alerts based on the subject matter. Together, the two features are a powerful mix.

Extra features like two-way audio

Two-way audio can prove helpful, if it’s high-quality and the camera is close enough to people to be intelligible. Lighting is a very useful feature on any outdoor camera, which is why around half our list includes lighting of some kind (and all have night vision).

Outdoor home security cameras compared

Outdoor Cams: Arlo Pro 5S 2KTP-Link Tapo C310Arlo Go 2Ring Spotlight Cam PlusBlink Outdoor 4Lorex 2K Floodlight CameraGoogle Nest Indoor/Outdoor Cam (2nd-gen)Lorex Fusion 2KEufy SoloCam S320
Price $250.00$30$250$170$120$250.00$180.00$500.00$200
Resolution 2K2K1080p/HD1080p/HD1080p/HD2K1080p/HD2K2K
Field of view 160-degree, 12x digital zoom130-degrees130-degrees140-degrees143-degrees122-degrees, digital zoom130-degrees, 6x digital zoom360-degree panning, 12x optical zoom, 16x digital zoom130-degrees
Power source BatteryWiredBatteryBatteryBatteryWiredBatteryWiredBattery with built-in solar panel
Lighting SpotlightN/ASpotlightSpotlightN/AAdjustable floodlightsN/AN/AN/A
Motion detection YesPerson detectionYesAdvanced motion detection with motion zonesEnhanced motion detectionSmart motion detectionYesN/APerson detection
Audio Two-way audioTwo-way audioTwo-way audioTwo-way audioTwo-way audioTwo-way audioTwo-way audioN/ATwo-way audio
Storage options Subscription or separate hubSubscription or local storageSubscription or local storageSubscription onlySubscription or separate hubLocal storage with include microSD card3 free hours of video storage, subscription to expandRecorder requiredLocal, built-in storage
Voice assistant Alexa, Google Home, SmartThingsAlexa, Google HomeAlexa, Google HomeAlexaAlexaAlexa, Google HomeAlexa, Google HomeN/AAlexa, Google Home
Review score N/AN/AN/A8.3 (earlier model)7.1 (earlier model)N/A7.4 (Floodlight model)N/AN/A

Other products we've tested

We've tested dozens of the most popular cameras from the biggest brands, including Google Nest, Amazon Blink, Amazon Ring, Wyze, Arlo, Eufy, Canary and more. If you're wondering why some cams made it on our current list and others didn't, it's important to note we're always watching the latest updates on features, susbcriptions, privacy and new models to keep our picks current. Outdoor cams we tested that didn't quite make the list this time include:

Arlo Pro 4: We found a lot to like about the Arlo Pro 4, and it once topped our list. But the Arlo Pro 5S is simply a better version, including a better battery and fuller feature set.

Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight: If you’re looking for a floodlight cam, this is a strong option. But we found the adjustable LED panels on the Lorex model more useful, and as we noted, a wired version is often better when it comes to power-hungry floodlights.

Wyze Outdoor Cam v2: Wyze remains a strong choice for budget security cameras, but Wyze continues to run into security and privacy concerns, from continued data breaches in recent years to video caching issues that let strangers see through each other’s Wyze cams in 2023. We aren’t going to recommend this cam until we’re sure all security issues have been cleared up.

Nest Cam with Floodlight: The Nest Cam does have a version with floodlights, but at $280 it’s expensive for what you get. We preferred other floodlight options, although the Nest version could be an alternative if you really want free cloud storage.

Ring Stick Up Cam: While weather-resistant, we found the Ring Rick Up Cam a little too fragile for long-term outdoor work.

Eufy EufyCam S221: The S221 is a high-quality camera model with some potential for outside use, but we disliked how a separate HomeBase 2 was absolutely required to use it, liking the versatility that Eufy’s solar cam provided instead.

How we test home security cameras

Hands-on testing is vital to our assessments and recommendations of home security cameras. We start by identifying and acquiring new or popular products from trusted brands that readers like yourself are likely to come across when shopping online or at your local big box store. 

We then set the camera up according to the instructions included in the manual or via an app and test it out over the course of a week. During testing, we pay special attention to resolution, night vision and latency, extra features and general performance to ensure it matches the camera's advertised features.

Testing takes place in a real home environment, so we're getting firsthand experience as to how effectively the camera responds to motion and sends push notifications. On occasion, we may even stage a porch pirate or trespasser situation to gauge how well the camera performs.

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.

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about outdoor home security cameras. If you have any others, feel free to reach out on Twitter.

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What type of outdoor security camera is best?

Outdoor security cameras can be used for all sorts of purposes, and your particular needs will determine which one is best. If you're looking for minimal upkeep, a camera with a power cord might be the best bet, whereas monitoring spaces far from a power outlet could make a battery-powered device a better option. In general, cameras with at least 1080p resolution, a wide field of view, night vision and deterrence features like a spotlight or alarm will serve you well.

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What are the privacy and security considerations for outdoor cameras?

If you're privacy conscious, then your best bet is to shop for security cameras that let you store the footage locally, usually on a microSD card or some other means of storage on the device itself. Once you start uploading your video for storage on a company's servers, then that footage is subject to whatever that company's policies are regarding storing it and sharing it.

On the security front, the best way to keep your footage safe from unauthorized access or hacks is to make sure that you're using two-factor authentication, which greatly reduces the odds that anyone will be able to access your account without your knowledge. If you're uploading footage to a company's servers, you'll want to make sure that the footage is encrypted along the way.

The most secure approach is end-to-end encryption, or E2EE, which means that nobody can access your footage without a unique decryption key associated with your device. With E2EE, even the company you're storing the footage with shouldn't be able to access your clips. "Encryption in transit" and "encryption at rest" are good standards as well, but they wouldn't necessarily prevent the company you're storing footage with from being able to access your clips.

One more thing: It should go without saying, but these cameras are meant to keep an eye on your own home and property. Set one up someplace where you don't have permission or where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy and you could run afoul of the law.

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What is the best security camera for cold weather?

Whether you're worried about extreme cold, rain or any other inclement weather, you'll want to be sure to check your camera's IP rating and lowest operating temperature. IP ratings of 65 or 66 are solid -- that means you won't get dust into the camera or water, unless it's totally submerged.

Generally, you'll also want to compare your regional winter temperatures to your camera's lowest operating temperature. Battery-operated cameras usually need warmer temperatures. The Google Nest Cam may start running into trouble as temperatures go below 32 degrees Fahrenheit regularly, while our top Arlo pick can work at minus 20 degrees below zero.

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What do I do if my outdoor camera records a crime?

If you believe that your camera has recorded footage of a crime, first download or transfer that footage as a shareable video file on your computer so you don’t have to worry about it disappearing. Then look up your local police website and see if they have an option to file a police report online. Most do, and you will usually have an opportunity to attach your video footage. Those steps are important for legal and insurance purposes.

If you want to pursue the incident, we suggest you immediately call the police afterward and explain your situation, clearly stating that you have evidence and are interested in taking further steps. If you aren’t seeing desired results from your conversations, consider a consultation with a criminal attorney or similar legal expert.

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