Keep an eye on what's happening outside your home. Here are the best outdoor cameras to help you monitor and protect your property.
Home security cameras are a convenient way to keep an eye on your home 24 hours a day. They'll do the watching for you when you can't and they're a handy tool that can give you peace of mind while you're away or asleep.
Indoor cameras will monitor what's going on inside your home when you're away or want to keep tabs on little ones sleeping in another room. The best outdoor cameras, like a good doorbell camera, offer that same home-monitoring peace of mind. They also work to deter trespassers and help keep the things outside your home safe, all while enduring rain, pollen, heat, cold and other weather extremes.
When shopping for an outdoor camera, I'd recommend checking out wireless models first. They tend to be easier to install since you won't have to run a power cord. A wireless camera takes away the possibility someone could walk up and simply unplug your camera.
From there, you'll want to consider video quality, storage options, end-to-end camera feed and storage encryptions, two-way talk and compatibility with smart home ecosystems like Alexa, Google and Apple HomeKit. There are also nice-to-have features such as sirens, lights and facial recognition that you may want to compare as well.
We've taken these attributes and more into consideration when testing cameras and compiling our lists of the best. Here are our picks for the best outdoor cameras.
Though it's one of the pricier outdoor cameras on our list at around $160, the Arlo Pro 4 is worth the premium. It checks all the boxes of what goes into a high-quality outdoor camera -- 2K HDR resolution, a wide 160-degree field of view, full-color night vision -- and then some. It also comes with the features you'd expect like two-way talk and compatibility with Alexa and Google, as well as extras including a built-in siren, a spotlight and compatibility with Apple HomeKit.
For $3 per month per camera or $10 per month for unlimited devices, you can also get smart alerts, 30 days of cloud-stored event history and a few other useful features. If you'd rather keep your recordings local or don't want to pay for a subscription, the Arlo Pro 4 has a microSD card slot to secure your videos directly from your home security system to your Arlo Base Station.
The newest outdoor camera from Wyze doesn't sport all the bells and whistles of the Arlo Pro 4, but it's by no means lacking in functionality or performance. You'll get 1080p HD resolution and a 130-degree field of view, two-way talk and PIR motion detection to reduce false movement alarms from falling leaves, cars, etc. The night vision is also impressively clear and colorful.
Best of all, the camera kit, which comes with a camera, base and everything you need to get started, is available for just $70, less than half the price of the Arlo Pro 4. Additional cameras start at $64 and a single base will support up to four total.
Subscription services are also a bit cheaper than Arlo, or just about any other major outdoor camera manufacturer for that matter. Wyze Cam Plus, which comes with unlimited motion detection recording, package detection and a number of other useful features, starts at less than $2 per month per camera. Or, you can opt for Wyze Cam Lite and "name your price" (even if you want that price to be $0) and get 12-second videos recorded and saved in the cloud for 14 days.
The Wyze Outdoor Cam v2 features AES 128 encryption to keep your feed and recordings private and secure. It's technically not the most secure encryption (the Arlo Pro 4, for example, uses AES 256 bit encryption), but it will help to keep your content secure. Wyze has had security issues in the past, but has since taken steps to either patch vulnerabilities or phase out cameras, like the Wyze Cam v1 -- not to be confused with the Wyze Cam Outdoor v1 -- that could not be patched.
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 be a bit more tricky.
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 at keeping trespassers at bay. The $50 camera (currently on sale for $35) 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 $2.50 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.
If you need a camera to keep watch over a place where Wi-Fi won't suffice, 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 one. Of the two, we lean toward the Go 2 for a variety of reasons. For one, the Arlo Go 2 includes a microSD card slot for local storage whereas the Eufy camera does not and is instead equipped with a limiting 8GB of built-in storage.
The Arlo Go 2 also 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 potentially leverage your home's Wi-Fi signal to reduce the LTE data usage.
On another note, it was recently discovered that Eufy cameras were sending data advertised as "local-only" to cloud servers, even when cloud storage was disabled. The Eufy 4G Starlight Cam wasn't specifically mentioned in the claims, but the details are enough to further recommend the Arlo Go 2 over a Eufy device.
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 many more. While many of these devices include similar features, including 2-way talk, live streaming, app notifications and more, they may not offer the same value or functionality of the "best" picks listed above. The above picks are the best options we've found so far, but we'll update this list as more products become available.
That said, what's best for your home may come down to brand preferences (maybe you have a Google Nest Indoor Camera and want to complement your setup with the outdoor version). Or perhaps you notice a particularly good deal on an outdoor camera, like $30 off a Blink Outdoor camera. Before purchasing an outdoor camera, be sure to consider price, features and compatibility with your existing smart home systems to narrow down the best camera options for your needs.
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.
|Arlo Pro 4||Wyze Cam Outdoor v2||TP-Link Tapo C310||Arlo Go 2|
|Field of view||160-degrees||130-degrees||130-degrees||130-degrees|
|Setup||Wireless, indoor/outdoor||Wireless, indoor/outdoor||Wired, outdoor only||Wireless, indoor/outdoor|
|Extra features||Live streaming, 2-way talk, night vision, weather resistance||Live streaming, motion detection, night vision, weather resistance||Live streaming, arm/disarm modes with siren and spotlight, 2-way talk, weather resistance||Live streaming, arm/disarm modes, 2-way talk, motion zones, night vision, 4G/LTE support and an integrated siren|
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 or you can email me from my author page (just click the little orange envelope).
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.
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.
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. Arlo's lowest temperature, for instance, is 14 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas the Wyze Cam v3 can function at -4 F.