Adding outdoor surveillance to your home security solution can be a practical and economical way to protect and secure your home. However, there are many options for consumers to sift through and not every home has the same outdoor surveillance needs.

We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you identify your home surveillance needs and choose the best outdoor surveillance cameras for your home. Keep reading or click on a section to get started.

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What to consider for your outdoor surveillance system

One of the most important features of an outdoor security camera is whether it’s been rated weatherproof and waterproof. However, there are several other factors to consider when choosing an outdoor surveillance camera for your home.

Here are some questions you’ll need to consider to help you choose the best outdoor surveillance system for your home.

  • How much outdoor surveillance coverage do you need?

    The camera’s viewing angle determines how much space the camera will cover. Wider angled lenses help cut down on the number of cameras required for overall coverage of your property. Depending on the coverage you need and each camera’s viewing angle, you may need to purchase multiple cameras or multi-packs to monitor more space around your home.

  • Does the camera have high-quality video resolution?

    Another factor to consider when outdoor surveillance camera shopping is the camera’s resolution. The higher the camera resolution, the clearer and easier the images will be to see. Ideally, you’ll want 1080p or higher resolution for the clearest images. Keep in mind that if you connect your camera to a DVR or other recording device, it will also need to be HD compatible in order to keep the image at a high quality.

  • Does the security camera have night vision?

    Monitoring at night is one of the most common uses for outdoor surveillance cameras, and in order to get a high-quality image, you’ll want to purchase a camera with infrared (IR) technology. Many models have a built-in IR cut-switch that automatically enables and disables the infrared technology depending on the lighting conditions. The number of infrared LEDs used in a camera will help determine how far of a night vision range a camera has.

  • What’s the best camera style for your needs?

    There are two main styles of outdoor security cameras — dome or bullet. Both camera styles are fairly obvious to potential intruders, however, it is more difficult to determine which direction a dome-style camera is pointing, which may help deter a potential intruder. Another thing to keep in mind regarding camera style is whether you want to mount it on the ceiling or wall.

  • Does the camera have sufficient recording capacity?

    If you want to watch a playback of the goings-on around your home, you’ll need a camera with onboard storage capacity or cloud recording capabilities. Most cameras with recording capabilities have an onboard SD or microSD slot that allows for sufficient recording space.

    Some systems also record to DVD or mini-disc, but most are now transitioning to DVR (digital video recorder) technology. A computer-based camera system records your video to the PC’s hard disc, making it fast and easy to review your video history.

  • Do you want to access your camera with a mobile device?

    Many outdoor surveillance 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.

  • Do you want a wired or wireless security camera?

    Wireless cameras are easy to install and reposition, but you’ll want to check the battery levels periodically to ensure you’re fully protected. Wired units usually require professional installation and access to a power outlet, but tend to provide clearer images than their wireless counterparts.

  • Does the camera have pan/tilt/zoom features?

    Cameras with remote controlled pan, tilt and zoom are ideal for providing coverage to larger areas and allow the user to get the best viewing angle possible without having to physically reposition the camera.

  • Do you want a camera with energy saving features?

    Surveillance cameras can eat up a lot of energy, but if you find a model that only records when motion is detected, it can help to cut down on operating costs. Many models will even send you push or email notifications when something out of the ordinary is detected, so you don’t need to be continually monitoring yourself.

  • How much do you want to spend?

    You can get a CCTV security system for as little as $99, but this is probably a case of “you get what you pay for.” A good-quality, basic system (one camera) typically costs between $100-200 and can climb to thousands of dollars for multi-camera, indoor/outdoor, fancy systems with every feature imaginable.

The 25 best outdoor surveillance cameras

With the above tips in mind, in no particular order, here are 25 of the outdoor surveillance cameras that we consider to be the best for 2017:

1. Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera, Amazon Alexa Compatible

nest-cam-outdoor-security-camera

Weatherproof with a built-in speaker and microphone, this smart outdoor security camera is compatible with Amazon Alexa. The all-glass lens records in crisp 1080p HD, for a high-quality picture day and night.

Key features:

  • 130° wide-angle view
  • Get phone and email alerts with snapshots when Nest Cam Outdoor detects activity
  • Weatherproof camera, cable and adapter
  • Talk and listen with the built-in speaker and microphone

Learn more

2. Hikvision DS-2CD3132 2.8mm Lens 3MP Mini Dome Camera 1080P POE IP CCTV Camera

Available in a choice of lenses, this dome-style camera features a compact design that makes it ideal for mounting in a variety of places and provides a full 1080p HD video feed.

Key features:

  • Vandal-resistant
  • 3MP, 2.8mm lens
  • Up to 90 ft night vision range

Learn more

3. Amcrest 720P HD Over Analog (HDCVI) 8CH Video Security Systems

Available in a choice of configurations, this video security system features a plug-and-play setup that allows you to begin monitoring your home in less time. Thanks to a 2TB hard drive, you can record up to 360 hours of monitoring on all eight channels.

Key features:

  • USB backup
  • Real-time feed
  • 3.6mm lens with 75-degree viewing angle

Learn more

4. Swann – SWPRO-760CAM – PRO-760 – Super Wide-Angle Security Camera

This bullet-style security camera features a professional-grade wide-angle lens that is suitable for capturing images in both day and night settings. It features a durable weatherproof casing and power cord, RCA connector, user guide, and deterrent stickers.

Key features:

  • Up to 98 ft night vision range
  • 75-degree viewing angle
  • 1-year warranty

Learn more

5. Arlo Smart Home Security Camera Systemarlo-smart-home-camera

Available in single or multipacks for all your home monitoring needs, this wireless security camera provides crystal clear HD video live or recorded to your smart phone, PC or other devices. Mounting hardware and batteries are included.

Key features:

  • Motion-driven alerts sent to your smart phone
  • Weatherproof housing
  • Includes 1GB secure cloud storage

Learn more

6. TriVision NC-336PW HD 1080P Wireless Outdoor Home Security Camera System

Available in a choice of two different lens sizes, this bullet-style surveillance camera provides high definition 1080P video to your Android, iOS, or PC device. It can be used wirelessly or hardwired and features a microSD slot for onboard recording.

Key features:

  • Up to 50 ft night vision range
  • Email notifications
  • 3MP, 4mm lens

Learn more

7. VideoSecu Outdoor Day Night Vision Infrared IR Bullet Security Camera

This bullet-style outdoor surveillance system boasts an adjustable 4-9mm lens and 48 infrared LEDs for superior night vision. It provides superior color images in all lighting conditions and anti-noise technology to help cut down on data volume.

Key features:

  • Vandal-proof
  • Power supply included
  • NTSC video format

Learn more

8. Hikvision DS-2CD2032-I Outdoor HD 3MP IP Bullet Security Camera

Available in a choice of configurations for your home security needs, this bullet-style security camera boasts a 3MP, 4mm lens that provides stunning HD images. It features built-in digital noise reduction and adjustable frame rates.

Key features:

  • Up to 90 ft night vision range
  • 75.8-degree viewing angle
  • Built-in motion and tamper alarms

Learn more

9. Foscam FI9805P 960P Outdoor HD Wireless IP Camera

foscam-outdoor-surveillance-camera

This bullet-style outdoor surveillance system provides quick and easy setup in just minutes and boasts a 1.3MP, 4mm lens for full HD video resolution. Images can be recorded to the Foscam cloud (free trial included) or directly to your computer.

Key features:

  • Up to 100 ft night vision range
  • 70-degree viewing angle
  • iOS and Android compatible

Learn more

10. Foscam FI9828P 1.3 Megapixel 3x Optical Zoom H.264 Wireless Outdoor PTZ IP Camera

This outdoor surveillance camera comes complete with a fully waterproof enclosure and boasts a 1.3MP lens that provides HD images. You can remotely pan, tilt, and zoom to get just the right viewing angle. Images can be recorded to the Foscam cloud (free trial included) or directly to your computer.

Key features:

  • Up to 25 ft night vision range
  • iOS and Android compatible
  • Built-in audio jack

Learn more

11. Amcrest 960H Video Security System

Available in a choice of configurations, this surveillance system comes complete with four weatherproof bullet-style cameras and a 500GB hard drive that can be expanded up to 3TB to provide up to six days of continuous high-resolution recording.

Key features:

  • Remote viewing iOS and Android compatible
  • USB backup
  • Up to 65 ft night vision range

Learn more

12. Lorex LW2731 Live LCD SD Recording Monitor with Wireless Camera

This wireless camera is available in a choice of configurations and features time and date stamped recordings. It can be set to record based on motion, a schedule, or manually.

Key features:

  • Up to 40 ft night vision range
  • Includes microSD slot
  • View up to four cameras at once

Learn more

13. Defender PX301-013 Digital Wireless DVR Security System Receiver and 2 Long Range Night Vision Surveillance Cameras

defender-surveillance-camera

This outdoor surveillance system is wireless for a clean and easy setup that connects to any television in your home to allow you to monitor the comings and goings around your home. It can be controlled directly from the unit or via the included remote control.

Key features:

  • Available in choice of configurations
  • Includes a 2GB SD card
  • Up to 40 ft night vision range

Learn more

14. FI9803P Plug and Play 1.0 Megapixel (1280x720p) H.264 Outdoor Wireless IP Camera

This bullet-style outdoor camera features a wireless design with a plug-and-play installation that allows for quick and easy setup. Remotely monitor your feed via an Android, iOS, PC, or Mac computer.

Key features:

  • Motion-driven alerts sent to your smart phone
  • Up to 65 ft night vision range
  • 2-year warranty

Learn more

15. Wireless iCamera 1000 Outdoor/indoor Night Vision

Compatible with the ADT Pulse system, this camera provides a clear picture of the goings-on around your home. Night vision and motion tracking features give you peace of mind your home is secure no matter what time of day.

Key features:

  • Water- and dust-resistant
  • Hardwire or use wirelessly
  • 60-degree diagonal view angle

Learn more

16. Sensormatic Adt Oc810adt Oc810 Indoor Outdoor Wifi Camera ADT Pulse Ready

Compatible with the ADT Pulse system, this WiFi-enabled camera can be used as a standalone home monitoring solution and features an integrated microcomputer and a high-quality digital image sensor for crystal clear images.

Key features:

  • Built-in speaker and microphone
  • Can be used wirelessly or hardwired
  • Built-in motion detection

Learn more

17. Spy Tec AEON OT – 1080p HD POE Mini Bullet Outdoor IP Camera

This weatherproof bullet-style security camera features clear 1080P HD images and is compatible with iOS and Android devices for remote monitoring no matter where you are in the world. You can connect up to 32 cameras for a complete home monitoring solution.

Key features:

  • Up to 50 ft night vision range
  • Motion-driven alerts sent to your smart phone
  • Onboard microSD slot

Learn more

18. Amcrest WLD895US 720P 4CH 7-Inch Wireless Video Surveillance System, Bullet IP66 Camera

This wireless video surveillance system features a bullet-style camera and monitor and can be expanded to include up to three additional cameras for a whole home monitoring solution. It boasts 720P real time video streaming along with audio, so you can hear what’s happening around your home.

Key features:

  • Motion-activated feature
  • Up to 32 ft night vision range
  • iOS and Android compatible for remote monitoring

Learn more

19. Alptop AT-B603W HD 720P Wifi Wireless IP Security Camera

alptop-wifi-wireless-ip-security-camera

Suitable for use both indoors and outdoors, this wireless security camera connects to your home’s network and provides high definition 720P video.

Key features:

  • iOS and Android compatible for remote monitoring
  • 3MP, 3.6mm lens
  • Power adaptor and network cable included

Learn more

20. Zmodo Smart Wireless Security Cameras- 4 Pack- HD Indoor/Outdoor WiFi IP Cameras with Night Vision

Available in single or multipacks, these weatherproof wireless security cameras can be used both indoors and outdoors and sets up in just minutes. It boasts a 3.6mm lens and 77-degree viewing angle.

Key features:

  • Motion-based push alerts
  • iOS and Android compatible for remote monitoring
  • Up to 65 ft night vision range

Learn more

21. Trivision NC-335PW Waterproof Wireless Outdoor Home Security Camera System

trivision-nc-outdoor-surveillance-camera

With intuitive operation and quick setup, this wireless security camera supports remote viewing and captures clear images in both daytime and nighttime, up to 30 feet away. Store up to 128GB on a microSD card.

Key features:

  • Choice of lens sizes
  • iOS and Android compatible for remote monitoring
  • 90-degree viewing angle

Learn more

22. Best Vision BV-IR140-HD 1000TVL Bullet Security Camera

This bullet-style outdoor surveillance camera boasts true analog HD video output along with adjustable zoom (2.8-12mm) and focus. It is ideal for use in any lighting condition and features optional motion detection.

Key features:

  • Up to 164 ft night vision range
  • NTSC video format
  • Compatible with an analog DVR with BNC connection

Learn more

23. ZOSI 1/3″ 1000TVL 960H CCTV Home Surveillance System Bullet Security Camera

zosi-cctv-home-surveillance-camera

This waterproof bullet-style security camera boasts a 1000TVL, 4.6 mm lens for clear, high definition video. It is suitable for use both indoors and outdoors and connects into any DVR, VCR, TV, or security monitor with a BNC connection.

Key features:

  • Up to 100 ft night vision range
  • Lifetime technical support
  • 1-year warranty

Learn more

24. HOSAFE 1MB1W HD IP Camera Outdoor 720P Night Vision

This waterproof outdoor surveillance camera boasts a 1MP, 3.6 mm lens that provides clear images in all sorts of lighting conditions. It features motion-based email alerts to notify you of any out of character goings-on around your home.

Key features:

  • Choice of two colors
  • Up to 66 ft night vision range
  • iOS and Android compatible for remote monitoring

Learn more

25. Microseven HD 1080P SONY 1/2.8″ 2.4MP CMOS Sensor Wireless IP Camera

This wireless video security camera features a plug-and-play setup that allows you to begin monitoring your home in less time. You can remotely view recorded videos stored online for free and can connect up to 16 cameras for a complete home monitoring solution.

Key features:

  • iOS and Android compatible for remote monitoring
  • Advanced motion detection
  • Up to 65 ft night vision range

Learn more

What are the benefits of a video surveillance system?

The best thing about a home video surveillance system is the extra sets of eyes. How many times has someone left home and realized twenty minutes later that the thermostat wasn’t turned off or that the front door was unlocked? Perhaps the nanny is new and the ability to check in would be invaluable. Each family’s individual needs will dictate unique benefits.

  • 24/7 surveillance capabilities everywhere a camera is installed
  • Recording feature keeps a log of past events
  • “See” other areas of the house or areas outside from anywhere
  • “Watch” for kids to arrive home from school
  • Check in on elderly relatives’ safety
  • Monitor pets’ activity
  • See who’s outside the door

How does video surveillance security work?

A surveillance security system will typically consist of several cameras connected—either hardwired or wireless— to a digital video recorder (DVR), which records the images and displays them on a monitor. The monitor may be a closed circuit television, which can be monitored from the home, or the DVR can send the images to a web-enabled device such as a computer, tablet or smartphone, where they can be watched live or upon demand.

Video surveillance features

While there are many bells and whistles available for home video surveillance systems, the individual mandates of home and family members make choosing relatively simple. The size of a property, the age of family members, and even the safety of a neighborhood are a few things to consider. A few worthwhile features are listed below:

  • Motion detectors
  • Night vision
  • Recording capability
  • High-resolution photography for clearer viewing
  • Microphones and/or speakers
  • Weather and/or vandal proof cameras
  • Remote alerts
  • Expandable to accept additional cameras to the system

Should I get video surveillance?

A video surveillance system is an invaluable part of any home security system. Both the ability of day-to-day connection to your home and family and the stepped up protection from intruders make it beneficial for nearly anyone. So, who should consider this extra set of eyes?

  • Homeowners looking for a 24/7 visual connection to home and family
  • Anyone who is away from home all day or travels frequently
  • Families with several people coming and going often—gardeners, housekeepers, babysitters
  • Families with elderly members, infants, or small children and pets who may need monitoring from different parts of the home
  • Homeowners who want the added security and peace of mind that come with video surveillance

Wrap up: Best outdoor surveillance cameras for your home

There is no one-size-fits-all to home surveillance. The system you choose will be based on your budget, your home’s layout, your climate, your security concerns, and other factors. Start your search with a basic idea of what you want and a reasonable budget, and then get researching. Different systems, even those in the same price range, mix and match features differently, so keep looking until you find one that offers what you need at a price you can afford.

For more information on video surveillance for your home, see our Buying Guide for Outdoor Security Cameras.