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Best wireless home security cameras for 2021

Great security cameras can run on batteries.

If you've ever tried to install a wired security camera outside, you probably know how much of a pain it can be -- and how tacky that power cord can end up looking. Luckily, wireless cameras are more common than ever, and many of them are even weather-proof. That means you can install a security camera on a fence or put a hidden camera in a tree -- basically, you can install a camera pretty much anywhere your Wi-Fi network reaches -- to scale up your home security system, augment the peace of mind you get from your indoor camera and video doorbell and keep an eye on your house by deterring intruders.

There are plenty of options out there if you want to ramp up your home security camera system. All of the cameras on the market have different security features, from a motion sensor to color night vision to a backup battery. You can also get a smart security camera that connects to your existing smart home setup. Some of the higher-end models even have things like two way audio and facial recognition. This just means that you really have to do a deep dive to find the outdoor camera (or cameras) that works best with your home and existing set up.

But who has time to sift through all of the options? I made time. I've picked a handful of models I especially like, taking into account things like video quality, field of view, video storage, whether it offers a mobile app with recording options, if it connects to your existing smart home setup and its battery life. Keep reading if you're looking for the best wireless camera to meet your home security needs.

Read more: The best video doorbells

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The Arlo Pro 3 home security camera can handle the elements well and will last for a few months on a single charge, depending on usage. Basically, it's absolutely perfect for outdoor security.

In addition to its convenient rechargeable battery, the Pro 3 has a lot of standout features: a built-in siren; arm/disarm modes; and person, animal, vehicle and package motion detection alerts (with an optional Arlo Smart subscription plan). The device also allows for two-way communication and has both color and black and white night vision for a crystal clear view of what's going on in your yard. And the video quality is top-notch.

Read our review.

 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Wyze's wireless outdoor camera is a great gadget for people trying home monitoring for the first time. Wyze's devices are quick and easy to set up, and surprisingly affordable. The $47 Wyze Outdoor Cam is a great budget pick, offering 1080p resolution and two weeks of free cloud storage -- a pretty fantastic deal for people hoping to avoid costly monthly subscription fees.

Read our review.

 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Ring's Peephole Cam costs $130 and replaces a traditional peephole with a smart doorbell. It's easy to install -- and simple to configure and connect to Wi-Fi in the Ring app. Like other Ring doorbells and security cameras, the Ring Peephole Cam has live streaming and motion alerts out of the box, but you have to pay for the optional Ring Protect cloud service to view a database of saved video clip recordings in the Ring app.

Editors' note, March 25, 2021: Ring has been called out for its partnership with local police departments in the US, leading privacy advocates to express concern about the data Ring shares with law enforcement and how they use that information. In December 2019, thousands of Ring users' personal information was exposed, leading us to stop recommending Ring products.

Ring has since updated its security policies, from offering customers a Control Center dashboard to more easily access privacy and security settings to requiring two-factor authentication. We have resumed recommending Ring's products with this caveat: If you have concerns about Ring's privacy policies, make sure to familiarize yourself with its privacy statement. You can read more about how we factor Ring's privacy policies into our recommendations here.

Read our Ring Peephole Cam review.

Read our Ring Peephole Cam review.

 

Logitech

The Logitech Circle 2 comes in two versions -- the $180 wired model and the $200 battery-powered model. I reviewed the wired model, but spent time testing both. 

The battery-powered Circle 2 is a solid camera. Like the Pro 3 and the Blink XT2, the Circle 2 connects to your wireless network and is weather resistant. It has 1080p HD live streaming for crystal clear picture, night vision, two-way talk and a time-lapse feature. It's supposed to last between one to three months on one charge. It also offers free 24 hour cloud storage, storing 10 to 60 second motion based videos. Push notifications are sent via app to your phone when the camera detects movement.

It also works with a variety of accessories -- the $30 plug mount, a $40 window mount and a $20 magnetic mount. If you use either the plug or window mount with your Circle 2 battery-powered camera, it will work with Siri (via Apple HomeKit and HomeKit Secure Video), as well as its standard support for Amazon Alexa.

Annoyingly, the battery-powered Circle 2 does not support Apple HomeKit without either the plug or window mount accessories.

Read our Logitech Circle 2 (wired model) review.

 

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