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The best outdoor home security cameras for 2021

Take a look at our favorite outdoor security cameras.

Setting up an outdoor camera or two is a good way to know exactly what's happening around your house in hopes of keeping your people and property as safe as possible. These days, that can be done quickly for a relatively low cost (though there are ways to upgrade your video surveillance system with high-end devices). The video quality standard among the many security camera options on the market is steadily improving. Standard features include night vision and motion sensing, and some options even include things like two-way audio and facial recognition. You can get a doorbell camera or smart security camera that connects to your existing smart home set up, which you can monitor with your mobile device. You're really only a few cameras away from a full-blown security system that maximizes safety.

The best outdoor security cameras have to tackle wind, snow and all sorts of other weather changes and still perform well and record watchable footage. We've tested a lot of weather-resistant models to arrive at this short list of favorites for keeping an eye on everything outside.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The $500 Arlo Pro 3 (two-camera pack, plus hub) is an excellent security camera. It has 2,560x2,560-pixel streaming, color night vision, 12x zoom, a built-in siren and a built-in spotlight. Out of the box, you get motion and sound alerts and access to the live feed.

Otherwise you do need to pay an optional monthly fee, starting at $3 a month for the Arlo Smart subscription service. Arlo Smart adds a bunch of additional features, including detection zones and advanced notifications (people, animal, vehicle and package). The $10 price tier adds in E911, a feature that lets you contact local law enforcement from the Arlo app, no matter where you are. 

The Arlo Pro 3 isn't cheap, but it's an excellent home security camera if you have the money to spend.

Read our Arlo Pro 3 review.



Wyze makes a variety of solid, affordable smart home devices -- and the $26 Wyze Cam (2020) 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 $150 Arlo Video Doorbell performs well as a security camera, has a long list of features and competitive cloud storage fees, starting at $3 per month. 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, 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.

Now playing: Watch this: Wyze's awesome outdoor security camera is only $50

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