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Best wireless home security cameras of 2021

Ditch the power cords! We tested a bunch of wireless security cameras to find our favorites. Here's what we recommend.

Finding an outlet inside your house for a security camera is a breeze, but what about for those outdoor cameras? Concealing power cords under your house's siding or running it along a fence can work -- but it takes a ton of time, and if you're not a pro, it's easy for the install to look sloppy. But these days you can find wireless smart cams that are just as good as wired options. That means you can install a security camera on a fence or put a hidden camera in a tree -- or really 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 battery-powered security cameras out there if you want to ramp up your home security system. All of the cameras on the market have different security features, from motion sensors to color night vision to backup batteries. You can also get a smart security camera that connects to your existing smart home setup. Some of the higher-end wireless security camera 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 setup.

But who has time to sift through all of the options? I made time. I've picked a handful of the best battery-powered security cameras 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: 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 outdoor security camera 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 Arlo Pro 3 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 $60 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 Wyze Cam Outdoor review.

 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Arlo's Video Doorbell is our favorite doorbell cam on the market, and the Essential Wire-Free device is identical -- other than the fact that it's battery-powered. The Wire-Free Doorbell is $200 (plus $3 a month for the subscription service), but you get a bunch of great perks for that price, including smart notifications, a 1:1 aspect ratio, motion zones, two-way talk and more.

Read our Arlo Essential Wire-Free Video Doorbell review.

 

Logitech

The Logitech Circle 2 comes in two versions -- the $180 wired model and the $200 battery-powered camera 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. The rechargeable battery is 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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