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Wyze Cam: The cheapest security camera I've ever tested might be my favorite

Wyze's tiny $20 security camera is surprisingly awesome.

Megan Wollerton Former Senior Writer/Editor
3 min read

The Wyze Cam costs just 20 bucks -- and it's pretty darn good. 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

If this $20 indoor security camera by Seattle-based smart home company Wyze looks familiar, you'd be right. This cheap cam, called the Wyze Cam, is very similar to iSmartAlarm's Spot. The Spot used to cost $99, but is now available from iSmartAlarm for $40. While affordable, that's still double the price of the Wyze Cam -- and it looks like Wyze has made a couple of design updates (although I don't have a Spot handy for a direct side-by-side comparison). 

The Wyze Cam has the same key performance and features as Wyze's $30 Cam Pan, another solid, affordable indoor camera from the brand. But instead of a panning base, the Wyze Cam has a static base that you can manually angle, raise and lower. It has free person alerts, free 14-day event-based cloud storage and a microSD card slot if you want continuous, local recording. The value of those free features alone is a big deal -- factor in its cheap initial cost and the value is totally bonkers. 

Is this my favorite security camera ever? I'm not quite ready to call it yet, but here's how testing has gone so far. 

All of the indoor home security cameras we've tested

See all photos

$20? Can't beat that price

When I began testing security cameras in 2013, most DIY indoor cameras cost $200, or somewhere in that ballpark. But, as I've written before, that camera paradigm is shifting and Wyze is one of the companies at the forefront, offering solid products for significantly less than the competition. The Wyze Cam is a big part of that shift. 

Again, here are the things you get with your $20 purchase -- no subscription required. I've put the ones that often come with a fee in bold:

  • 1080p HD resolution
  • Alexa and Google Assistant voice support
  • IFTTT integration
  • Motion alerts
  • Sound detection with smoke and carbon monoxide alarm detection
  • Person alerts (but no facial recognition)
  • Motion detection zone
  • 14-day cloud storage (motion- and sound-alert based)
  • MicroSD card slot (microSD card sold separately)
  • 110-degree field of view
  • Adjustable, magnetic base
  • Night vision
  • Two-way audio via a built-in speaker and microphone
  • Time-lapse 

So, that's a lot of features. For free, with the exception of the microSD you'd have to buy if you want to go the local storage route. I love a good deal almost as much as CNET's Rick Broida, aka The Cheapskate, who writes about the best deals on consumer products -- and the Wyze Cam's value is hard to beat

It works, too 

More good news: The Wyze Cam also performs well, provided your Wi-Fi network connection is decent. During my initial testing, I received quick and accurate motion, sound and person notifications. I haven't tried out the smoke and carbon monoxide feature just yet.

The motion detection zone was easy to set up and worked well. I wish you could create more than one, but it's solid for a free feature. 

The live view is crisp, although, not as clear as Nest's IQ cameras with their 4K image sensors. But for 20 bucks, the Wyze's view is pretty great -- you can adjust it in the mobile app between standard and high definition, too, if your connection is spotty. It also has auto night vision, or you can adjust it manually. And again, the cloud database saves footage for two weeks that you can review for free.


The Wyze app is highly customizable.

Screenshots by CNET

You also have a lot of customizability in the app, from adjusting motion and sound sensitivity to opting in -- or out of -- features like the smoke and carbon monoxide alerts and person alerts (which might raise privacy concerns for some).

Related to privacy, you can check out Wyze's privacy statement for more details. The company uses cloud platform Amazon Web Services (AWS) for cloud storage and Xnor.ai for person detection.

A great Wi-Fi security camera for a lot less

I'm impressed. For $20, you get a camera with free two-week cloud storage, optional local storage (with the purchase of a microSD card), person alerts, a detection zone and advanced audio detection. 

It's a great camera and at just 20 bucks, it's definitely affordable. The Wyze Cam isn't perfect. The app, available for Android and iOS devices, could be more polished and I wish you got more than one detection zone, but for the price, those things don't bother me much. 

I plan to continue testing the Wyze Cam over time, especially the smoke and carbon monoxide feature. But I can comfortably say that the Wyze Cam is worth a closer look if you want an affordable indoor camera with features you typically only find on cameras that cost a lot more. 

Watch this: How to buy the right security camera for you