The Best Security Cameras of 2020

We reviewed the 15 best security cameras; our picks offer unique features and aspects making them capable of covering your home’s safety and security needs.

 Best for Privacy Features

Simplicam

Simplicam

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Our Rating

  • Designed to capture and stream audio as well as video
  • Comes with a 3-year limited warranty
  • Features video encryption to help keep your recordings private

 Best for Color Night Vision

Lorex 4K Nocturnal IP Camera

Lorex 4K Nocturnal IP Camera

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Our Rating

  • Crisp 4K resolution
  • Access to color night vision in low-light conditions
  • Provides a wide 111 degree field of view

 Best Smart Home Security Camera

Nest Cam IQ Indoor

Nest Cam IQ Indoor

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Our Rating

  • Includes a built-in Google Assistant for voice commands
  • Easy to control with other Nest smart home and security equipment using the Nest mobile app
  • Ability to recognize familiar guests with Nest Familiar Face Alerts

 Best Smart Home Indoor Security Camera

Blue by ADT Indoor Camera

Blue by ADT Indoor Camera

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Our Rating

  • Works with popular voice assistants including Amazon Alexa and IFTTT
  • Includes built-in Amazon Alexa voice control
  • Instant smartphone alerts include video previews

 Best Indoor & Outdoor Camera

Blink XT2 Camera

Blink XT2 Camera

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Our Rating

  • Doubles as an indoor and outdoor camera
  • Customizable motion detection
  • Two-year extended battery life
Security Cameras

Security Cameras

Home security cameras are a crucial investment in protecting your home. Burglars may even get away scot-free if your home isn’t equipped with the right technology to ID any robbers. The latest outdoor security cameras combine the convenient features of any smart home device with advanced camera technology so you’ll always have an eye on your home. Our top picks for security cameras will send alerts to your phone when they detect motion, be able to record in HD quality even at night, and are designed to withstand any type of weather.

Here are the 10 Best Security Cameras of 2020

Our Top Picks for The Best Outdoor and Indoor Security…

Our Top Picks for The Best Outdoor and Indoor Security Cameras

Simplicam

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Lorex Smart Outdoor Wi-Fi Security Camera

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Nest Cam IQ Indoor

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Blue by ADT Indoor Camera

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Blink XT2 Camera

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Best For Privacy Features Active Deterrence Smart Home Security Smart Home Indoor Camera Indoor & Outdoor Camera
Price $99.99 $149.99 $299 $199.99 $74.99
Resolution 720p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p
Indoor/Outdoor Indoor Outdoor Indoor Indoor Indoor/Outdoor
Power source Power cable Power cable Power cable Power cable Battery
Installation DIY or Pro. DIY DIY or Pro. DIY DIY
Night vision ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Two-way audio ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Subscription required
Warranty 3 Years 2 years 2 years 30 days 3 months
The Best Security Cameras

The Best Security Cameras

  1. Best for Monitored Home Security
    ADT Indoor Camera

    1. ADT Indoor Camera

    Our rating

    Our take

    ADT’s indoor camera comes equipped with motion detection, two-way audio, and night vision. Whenever motion is sensed in your home, the camera will record a video clip and send it to your phone. With the ADT mobile app, you can check your video history, view a live feed, and more.

    Stand-out features include

    • Indoor camera
    • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
    • 90-degree field of view
    • 720p HD video quality
    • View real-time and historical footage via mobile device
    • Connects to additional smart home and security equipment
  2. Best Smart Indoor Camera
    Nest Cam IQ Indoor

    2. Nest Cam IQ Indoor

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Nest Cam IQ Indoor features a 130-degree field of view, infrared night vision, person alerts, and HD two-way audio. You can also get Familiar Face Alerts with a Nest Aware subscription and use Google Assistant for hands-free control.

    Stand-out features include

    • Indoor Camera
    • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
    • 1080p HD video with a 4k sensor
    • Access to artificial intelligence features like facial recognition with subscription
  3. Best for Artificial Intelligence Features
    Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

    3. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is a weatherproof and tamper-resistant outdoor camera with a 130-degree field of view. You’ll get instant alerts if your camera spots someone, and with Nest’s mobile app, you can view a 3-hour snapshot history.

    Stand-out features include

    • Outdoor Camera
    • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
    • Supersight
    • Person Alerts
    • Familiar Face Alerts (with Nest Aware)
  4. Best Outdoor Camera System with Hub
    Arlo Pro 3

    4. Arlo Pro 3

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Arlo Pro 3 can help you guard your home with deterrence features like a siren and spotlight, designed to make lurkers think twice. This camera has sharp 2K resolution and a 160-degree field of view. Watch recordings, set up custom motion zones, and more with Arlo’s mobile app.

    Stand-out features include

    • Indoor/Outdoor Camera
    • Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit
    • Comes with deterrence features like a siren and spotlight
    • Sharp 2K video recording
    • Wide 160-degree field of view
  5. Best for Active Deterrence
    Lorex Smart Outdoor Wi-Fi Security Camera

    6. Lorex Smart Outdoor Wi-Fi Security Camera

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Lorex Smart Outdoor Wireless Camera doubles as both an indoor and outdoor camera. It’s equipped with 1080p HD resolution and night vision for up to 50 feet. It also uses local storage with a 32GB micro SD card to save recordings.

    Stand-out Features

    • Outdoor camera
    • Works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
    • Control using Lorex’s mobile app
    • Includes person and vehicle detection with mobile alerts
  6. Best Smart Home Indoor Security Camera
    Blue by ADT Indoor Camera

    7. Blue by ADT Indoor Camera

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Blue by ADT Indoor Camera features a 130-degree field of vision and is capable of storing up to 24 hours of clips you can play back. If the camera senses motion, smoke, or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in your home, you’ll be alerted.

    Stand-out features include

    • Indoor Camera
    • Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Z-Wave
    • Detects fire and carbon monoxide
    • Uses Facial Recognition technology to spot familiar guests
    • Plugs into a standard wall outlet and includes battery backup
  7. Best for Privacy Features
    Simplicam

    8. Simplicam

    Our rating

    Our take

    The SimpliCam indoor security camera is Wi-Fi enabled and protects your footage with end-to-end encryption. This SimpliSafe camera also includes a privacy shutter that can be opened and closed as desired. It’s equipped with two-way audio, night vision, and can detect motion.

    Stand-out features include

    • Indoor camera
    • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
    • 720p HD video
    • Smart motion detection to reduce false alarms
    • 120-degree field of vision
  8. Best Outdoor Camera
    Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro

    9. Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro delivers HD video with a 4K HDR sensor and provides a 140-degree field of view. This camera also comes with deterrence features: a red LED light and a warning tone to let lurkers on your property know they’ve been identified.

    Stand-out features include

    • Outdoor Camera
    • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
    • Built-in deterrence features with a red LED light and siren
    • Custom zone-setting
    • Advanced analytics to distinguish real potential threats versus false ones
  9. Best Built-in Alarm
    Canary Pro (All-in-One)

    10. Canary Pro (All-in-One)

    Our rating

    Our take

    A unique camera, the Canary Pro is capable of detecting motion as well as monitor your home’s temperature and air quality. It features AI-powered person detection so you can receive smart alerts. The Canary Pro is also compatible for use with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

    Stand-out features include

    • Indoor Camera
    • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
    • 147-degree field of view
    • 1080p HD video quality with two-way audio
    • Includes a 90-decibel alarm

Showing 5 of 10 products

Showing 10 of 10 products

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What Should I Look for in a Security Camera?

What Should I Look for in a Security Camera?

High-definition (HD) video quality

The higher the camera resolution, the sharper the images. Ideally, you’ll want 1080p or higher resolution for the best view. Keep in mind that if you connect your camera to a digital video recorder (DVR) to record your camera’s footage, it will also need to be HD compatible to have crystal clear photos and videos.

Night vision

Clear night vision is one of the most important features for outdoor security cameras. To get the best and brightest night view, consider a camera with infrared (IR) technology to send bright light through wavelengths. The number of infrared LEDs used in a camera determines how far your outdoor security camera will be able to clearly show what’s outside your home. Look for surveillance cameras that have at least 100 feet or better of night vision. Many models also have a built-in IR cut-switch that automatically enables and disables the infrared technology depending on the lighting conditions.

Pan, tilt and zoom function

Cameras with remote-controlled pan, tilt, and zoom functionality are ideal for providing coverage to larger areas and allow the user to get the best viewing angle possible without manually re-positioning the camera.

Mobile control

Many outdoor security cameras available today are able to live stream a feed directly to your mobile device. If you want to be able to check in during the day or while away for extended periods, this is a valuable feature to have. Be sure to choose a camera that is compatible with your device. Generally, remote access, mobile alerts or cloud-based features require monthly or yearly fees with your home security monitoring provider.

Cloud storage

Finding out what type of storage a security camera offers is very important. You’ll want to look for cloud storage, meaning that your recordings will be saved online. Find out whether there’s a cap on cloud storage or if it’s unlimited. You’ll also want to know how long your recordings are stored online.

Activity notifications

Activity notifications alert the user whenever significant activity is detected near the camera. Find out if you can get notifications via push notifications, text messages, and or email. They’ll keep you abreast of anything happening in real-time.

Custom activity zones

Some security cameras allow you to set up custom activity zones, meaning that you choose the areas that are most significant for capturing movement. One of the biggest benefits of this feature is it prevents you from being notified of insignificant activity, like a car driving by or an insect flying by your camera.

Two-way audio

Two-way audio allows you to be able to hear and speak with visitors (both welcome and unwelcome ones). You’ll typically find this feature with video doorbells, but many indoor cameras have this feature as well. If an unwelcome visitor comes by, you can use two-way audio as a deterrence feature.

Understanding Different Types of Security Cameras

Understanding Different Types of Security Cameras

There are a few essential specifications to look for when choosing a security camera. If you’re leaning towards a monitored system, start by comparing providers and offers to pick the perfect one for your home.

Outdoor or Indoor Home Security Cameras

The type of security camera you choose will depend on the area(s) you’re looking to protect.

  • If you want to monitor your home’s exterior, car, or even check in on a pet, an outdoor camera is best as most feature HD video and have weatherproof qualities. Some outdoor cameras that you’ll find today also come with deterrence features that are designed to help ward off unwelcome guests, like an automated light and siren.
  • If you want to monitor a room in your home, an indoor camera will provide you with the features you need. Most indoor cameras feature HD video, two-way communication, and night vision. With two-way communication, you can use an indoor camera to not only monitor for suspicious activity, but to also check-in on loved ones, like children or an elderly parent.

Indoor Security Cameras

  • Check on the kids in other rooms
  • Self-monitor your valuables
  • Chat with loved ones when you’re away

Outdoor Security Cameras

  • See when a package arrives
  • Keep an eye on dogs playing in the yard
  • Keep an eye on who’s entering and leaving your home

Wired vs. Wireless Security Cameras

Another aspect to be aware of when choosing a security camera is whether the camera is designed for wired or wireless use.

  • A wired security camera is powered by a cable connection, and in some cases, a wired connection may be required for recording and storing footage. Today, you’ll typically find wired security cameras that are powered over an Ethernet connection (PoE).
    • Wired cameras may require drilling or professional help for installation. One benefit of a wired security camera is that it will consistently receive power, and you won’t have to be concerned with recharging a battery or having sunlight for solar energy.
  • A wireless security camera may require a cable connection for power but may use Wi-Fi for storing footage. One benefit of a wireless security camera is its ease of installation. You won’t have to drill holes to run cables, but you may need to up the camera closer to a power outlet.
    • A wireless security camera is also a better option for renters and those who may move more frequently because of the light setup. Here are some of the pros and cons of purchasing a wired or wireless security camera.

Wired Security Cameras

  • Better for larger homes and properties
  • Consistent power
  • No internet interference issues

Wireless Security Cameras

  • Great for renters and frequent movers
  • Easier installation
  • Can use Wi-Fi for storing footage

Self vs. Professionally Monitored Security Cameras

Do you want your camera to be professionally monitored or would you rather fully monitor it on your own?

  • If you want your security camera monitored, there are providers that offer video alarm verification which allows a monitoring specialist or police officer to view footage in the event your alarm is triggered. Brands like ADT, Vivint, SimpliSafe, and Bay Alarm offer video alarm verification services. You’ll need to choose a professional monitoring plan with these providers in order to have your camera monitored.
  • If you want to fully self-monitor your security camera, we’d recommend choosing a DIY home security provider or purchasing a standalone camera.
    Brands like Ring, Arlo, and Nest allow you to self-monitor your camera and or security system if you purchase one with them.

Self vs. Professional

Self-Monitored Cameras

  • Better if you don’t want to give access to monitoring centers
  • You’re in charge of monitoring your cameras

Professionally Monitored Cameras

  • Better if you want to give monitoring centers access for verification
  • You can still check your camera feeds

Video Doorbell Cameras

If you want to monitor your front door or any point of entry to your home, we recommend purchasing a video doorbell camera. We’ve put together a list of the best video doorbell cameras, as well as less expensive doorbell camera options you should check out.

Most of the doorbell cameras on our lists provide HD video, two-way audio, notifications, and more. If you download the provider’s mobile app, in most cases you’ll be able to check your notifications, view live streaming video, clips, activate two-way audio, and more.

How Security Cameras Work

How Security Cameras Work

Power Options

Most security cameras today are powered in these ways:

  • PoE (Power over Ethernet) – Wired
  • Power cable – Wired
  • Battery – Wire-free
  • Solar energy – Wire-free

Typically, you’ll need to connect your camera to your home Wi-Fi in order to check the footage and any video clips by mobile app.

Here’s a general look at the setup and operation process:

  • Install your camera in the appropriate location
  • Connect your camera to the appropriate power source or simply turn it on
  • Download the mobile app for use with your camera
  • Connect the camera to your home Wi-Fi
  • Adjust settings and more with your camera’s mobile app

Security Camera Storage
For most security cameras, you can store your footage locally, in the cloud, or a combination of both. Here’s a breakdown of each type:

  • Local storage: This type of storage allows you to save your recordings on an SD card, DVR (digital video recorder), or NVR (network video recorder).
  • Cloud storage: This type of storage allows you to save your recordings to the internet. Typically, most providers allow you to store a certain amount of footage on the cloud or footage for a certain time period (ie. 10 days, 30 days) before the recordings are discarded.

Security Camera Range
A camera’s range generally refers to its field of view. Many cameras today provide at least a 100 degree field of view, allowing you to see more space at one time without the need for adjusting the angle or direction of the camera.

Mobile App Control
Most cameras come with mobile app control so you can adjust settings, video recordings, set up custom activity zones, activate any deterrence features, and more.

Benefits of Security Cameras

Benefits of Security Cameras

Outdoor security cameras hold a number of home safety and security advantages. Regardless of the lens, video recorder, or other features, any outdoor security camera is guaranteed to deliver these benefits.
  • Convenient Control

    Today’s surveillance cameras pair with mobile apps to control your security camera using your mobile device. You’ll automatically receive notifications when the camera’s power is disrupted or motion is detected. You’ll even be able to view real-time video, record, and review directly from your smartphone.

  • 24/7 Home Surveillance

    Whether day or night, your security camera system is designed to watch over your home even when you’re away. It’s powered to automatically detect and alert you of any activity.

  • Improved Safety

    If any motion is detected, the camera automatically sends you mobile alerts and records the activity for you to review. The best security cameras also offer a real-time view and are equipped with two-way audio to scare off intruders using your mobile device. Some fully-monitored home security systems also notify your security provider’s monitoring center of motion-triggered activity.

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How We Rank the Best Security Cameras

Safety.com ranks security cameras based on the following factors: value, consumer ratings, video specifications & quality, storage, installation, power source, smart home functionality, and monitoring options.

  • Value: We consider the overall value that customers are getting when ranking cameras. Price and video specifications together are considered when determining value, and this influences our ranking process.
  • Consumer Ratings: For our buying guides, we look for security cameras that have high consumer ratings and reviews. Cameras with the best ratings are placed higher on our guides.
  • Video Specifications & Quality: We look for cameras that provide the best video quality, such as high definition (HD) video resolution, and additional features like night vision, two-way audio, cloud & local storage, lighting, a siren, and much more. Cameras that offer these features and more are ranked higher in our buying guides.
  • Storage: We look for cameras that offer local, cloud, or a combination of both storage types. Cameras with a combination of these types receive preference in our rankings.
  • Installation: The best security cameras are easy to install and have flexible installation options. Ease of installation and flexibility (DIY and professional options) are taken into consideration.
  • Power Options: Each customer will have different needs concerning power options. While wired power might be a preference for some customers, battery power might be a preference for others. Flexible power options are given more weight.
  • Smart Home Functionality: Smart technology is now available for a number of products we use on a daily basis. Security cameras that offer Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and various other smart technologies are ranked higher in our guides.
  • Professional Monitoring: Brands that offer professional home security monitoring with their cameras are also considered in our rankings. Typically, professional monitoring is provided through the brand’s home security system. Customers may have to purchase the full system with their camera to access this feature.
Home Security Camera FAQs

Home Security Camera FAQs

How does video surveillance security work?

In the past, a surveillance security system typically consisted of several cameras connected—either hardwired or wireless— to a digital video recorder (DVR), which recorded the images and displayed them on a closed circuit television (CCTV) or monitor. Nowadays, it’s much easier to have a standalone security camera. Whether you have one camera or several, they work with your home’s internet network to send footage right to your computer or mobile device. Most consumer cameras store data internally, on a removable microSD card, or remotely on the cloud.

How much home security camera coverage is needed?

The camera’s viewing angle determines how much space the camera will cover. Wide-angle lenses reduce the number of cameras required to monitor your home. Some outdoor security cameras have a wide-angle lens that may show a 360-degree view, but the best security cameras have a view of at least 100 degrees or better.

What’s the best outdoor security camera shape?

There are two outdoor security camera designs – dome or bullet-shaped. The dome-shaped outdoor security camera is known to be less obvious to unwelcome visitors because they offer a 360 swivel that makes it difficult to determine their direction. On the other hand, bullet-shaped cameras are more common. They have a cylinder shape that clearly stands out to alert thieves that your home is under surveillance.

How does home security camera video storage work?

If you want to playback your home’s outdoor activity, you’ll need a camera with onboard video storage or cloud recording capabilities. Most cameras with recording capabilities have a built-in secure digital (SD) or microSD slot that allows for sufficient recording space. Once the memory card is full, you’ll need to delete footage or store it elsewhere. Some popular cameras automatically override expired videos, which may not be most ideal if you need to keep a video. On the contrary, some security camera providers offer cloud storage monthly plans to securely store videos on the cloud. You can easily access them anytime, anywhere by signing into your account on your mobile device or using a mobile app.

What energy saving features are available?

Surveillance cameras can eat up a lot of energy. It’s important to find an outdoor security camera that only records when motion is detected to cut electricity costs or battery usage. Some security cameras are also powered by solar panels to reduce energy costs but include a rechargeable battery and adapter to use as needed.

Can home security cameras be hacked?

Yes, the short answer is security cameras can be hacked, but there are steps you can take to prevent this from happening. First, make sure that your home Wi-Fi is secured with a hard-to-decipher password. From there, look for security camera options that offer video encryption and privacy features.

Can home security cameras record sound?

Yes, some security cameras may be able to record audio. As far as legality of sound recording, this varies by state. If you don’t want any audio to be recorded, you should check the camera’s specifications before purchasing.

Where to place home security cameras?

The best places to install a home security camera are at entrances and areas of high traffic. Having a video doorbell can help you monitor your front door, while having an outdoor camera can help you monitor an area around your home. For the interior, consider placing a security camera in your living room or den.

How many home security cameras do I need?

The number of cameras you need will depend on how many areas you want to monitor. Always consider the camera’s field of view to help you determine how many cameras you’ll need for monitoring large areas. If the camera pans or tilts, you may be able to cover an entire room or area with only one.

Are home security cameras worth it?

We believe that having a home security camera can bolster your family’s safety. A security camera can let you know if there’s activity outside or inside your home while you’re away.

Do wireless cameras need wifi?

Yes, most wireless cameras will require a Wi-Fi connection so that you can get notifications and use features in the mobile app.

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Safety and Security Reporter

Jalesa Campbell

Jalesa is one of Safety.com's staff experts on home security, natural disasters, public safety, and family safety. She's been featured on Today.com and elsewhere.