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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, 1080p HD video.

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, free cloud storage, IR LEDs, floodlights, spotlights, Wi-Fi 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. Here are our top picks of the best outdoor home security cameras. 

David Priest/CNET

Arlo's latest Pro series camera is a fantastic device with features to spare. It boasts 2K HDR 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 $239 -- pricier than super-affordable options like Wyze Cam V3, 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. This wireless security camera has a local storage option to secure your videos directly from your home security system to your Arlo Base Station. In short, the Arlo Pro 4 is a fantastic security camera for most people.

Read our Arlo Pro 4 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 video storage and a built-in micro SD card slot for local video 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. The battery life of this outdoor cam can last up to 3-6 months between each charge.

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. Arlo Video Doorbell is battery powered and the cam battery lasts up to six months between charges.

Read our Arlo Video Doorbell review.

 

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 we've used. 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.

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