The Best Motion Activated Cameras | Safety.com

The Best Motion Activated Cameras

 Best for Deterrence Features

Arlo Ultra

Arlo Ultra

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Our Rating

  • Features color night vision
  • Works with smart assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Watch
  • Built in spotlight and siren as deterrence features

 Best monitoring service

Deep Sentinel

Deep Sentinel

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  • Proactive monitoring
  • Sophisticated, waterproof equipment
  • Two-way audio

 Best camera/floodlight combo

Maximus Camera Floodlight

Maximus Camera Floodlight

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  • Pre-recorded messages
  • Two-way audio
  • Wi-fi enabled

 Best Outdoor Camera System with Hub

Arlo Pro 3

Arlo Pro 3

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Our Rating

  • Clear 2K HDR video
  • Color night vision
  • Built-in spotlight

 Best Panning & Tilting Camera

Wyze Cam Pan

Wyze Cam Pan

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Our Rating

  • Provides a 360-degree view with panning feature
  • Compatible with Alexa and IFTTT
  • Access to cloud and local storage

If you want to protect your home and family, and your home security system isn’t equipped with outdoor security cameras, now may be a good time to consider adding this crucial tool to your system. Motion-activated cameras not only provide the opportunity to keep tabs on your property and gather evidence in the event of a crime, they also have the advantage of being “smarter” than regular cameras. A motion detector camera can alert you when there’s activity around your home, start recording when someone enters view, and in some cases even tell the difference between people and animals to cut down on false alarms. 

We’ll go over our top 10 best motion-activated security cameras, looking at what’s so great about them, what to look for in a camera system and how to pair your motion cameras with other smart home devices.

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

All of the cameras and camera systems below made our top picks for a reason, and they all have something to offer. But if you want to cut to the chase, our favorite is the Arlo Ultra. Although not for everyone due to its cost, the Arlo Ultra has the best specs across the board, is consistently well-reviewed and goes above and beyond with features such as color night vision and 4K resolution.

The Arlo Ultra is smart home compatible, easy to install and flexible as well. It can be used as an indoor or outdoor camera, offers activity zones to reduce the number of false notifications, includes a motion-sensing spotlight and has high-quality two-way audio. The only thing you may want that Arlo doesn’t offer is professional monitoring. But if you’re looking for an amazing self-monitored camera, the Arlo Ultra is a cut above.

Arlo Ultra

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Deep Sentinel

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Maximus Camera Floodlight

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Arlo Pro 3

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Wyze Cam Pan

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Tend Insights Lynx Indoor 2

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ZModo Pivot Cloud

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Canary Pro (All-in-One)

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Blink Outdoor

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Nest Cam IQ Indoor

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Equipment Price $248.49 $499 for 3-camera system $189.99 $199.99 $29.99 $59.99 $119.99 $169 $99.99 $299
Monitoring starting price N/A $49/mo. N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A $19/mo.*
Installation DIY DIY DIY Self DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY
Monitoring Self Professional Self Self Self Self Self Self Self Self or Pro*
Night vision Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Field of view 189 degrees 130 degrees 155 degrees 160 degrees 120 degrees 125 degrees 135 degrees 147 degrees 110 degrees 130 degrees
Video resolution 4K HDR 1080p 1080p 2K HDR 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p
Smart home capability Yes No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
  1. Best for Deterrence Features
    Arlo Ultra

    1. Arlo Ultra

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Arlo Ultra is Arlo’s latest wireless security camera. It can be installed indoors or outdoors using a magnetic or hardwired mount. It uses 4K HDR for sharp video footage and close-up zoom for a closer look at activity. This weatherproof security camera includes enhanced night vision and advanced dewarping to see your home’s vicinity clearly without the ‘fisheye’ view that most cameras show with a wide-angle lens.

    Stand-out features include

    • Includes enhanced night vision to see clear live or recorded video footage in color
    • Works with the Apple Watch, Google Home Hub and Amazon Alexa
    • Includes a built-in spotlight that is automatically triggered when motion is detected
    • Battery powered with a rechargeable battery
  2. Best monitoring service
    Deep Sentinel

    2. Deep Sentinel

    Our take

    Deep Sentinel is a little different than other security or camera companies. This company offers one type of camera and one service: proactive, advanced professional monitoring assisted by artificial intelligence and human agents. Deep Sentinel’s monitoring service responds faster than other services by detecting intruders before they enter, rather than waiting for a breach to take action.

    Stand-out features include

    • Proactive monitoring
    • Sophisticated, waterproof equipment
    • Two-way audio
  3. Best camera/floodlight combo
    Maximus Camera Floodlight

    3. Maximus Camera Floodlight

    Our take

    Similar to its better-known competitor the Ring Floodlight, The Maximus Camera Floodlight offers features not available on its rival, like a 155-degree field of view, motion detection up to 70 feet, free cloud storage and wall and ceiling mounting options. The Maximus Camera Floodlight doesn’t come with professional monitoring, but with a subscription of anywhere between $5 and $20 per month, you can get AI motion detection, more cloud storage and motion detection zone capability.

    Stand-out features include

    • Pre-recorded messages
    • Two-way audio
    • Wi-fi enabled
  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

    • Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit
    • Comes with deterrence features like a siren and spotlight
    • Sharp 2K video recording
    • 160-degree field of view
  5. Best Panning & Tilting Camera
    Wyze Cam Pan

    5. Wyze Cam Pan

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Wyze Cam Pan is designed with a 360-degree swivel for a pan-view of your home. It shows crystal clear camera footage with 1080p HD video quality, digital zoom, a 120-degree field of view and night vision. This wireless security camera also works with Amazon Alexa for hands-free camera control. The Wyze Cam Pan automatically records 12-second videos when your camera detects motion and sends an instant push notification to view real-time footage. Wyze also offers free cloud storage for up to 14 days of footage and continuous recording and storage using local storage such as a microSD card.

    Stand-out features include

    • 120-degree field of view
    • 1080p HD video quality
    • Works with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT
    • Equipped with two-way audio to speak with guests
    • Continuous video recording
  6. Best for flexibility
    Tend Insights Lynx Indoor 2

    6. Tend Insights Lynx Indoor 2

    Our take

    The Tend Insights Lynx Indoor 2 is affordable and flexible, making it perfect for renters or homeowners who want to have control over how their camera system is used. With Alexa compatibility, Wi-Fi capability and two-way audio, along with clear, 30-frames-per-second, 1080p resolution, this camera can be used in a number of ways to add security and help you monitor both the inside and outside of your home.

    Stand-out features include

    • Affordable
    • Two-way audio
    • Facial recognition
  7. Best complete security
    ZModo Pivot Cloud

    7. ZModo Pivot Cloud

    Our take

    If you want to give Alexa eyes, The ZModo Pivot Cloud might be for you. This is a mid-priced indoor camera that can rotate almost all the way around to give you a 350-degree view of any room and acts as a smart home hub compatible with Alexa. It comes with four door/window sensors, which makes it a near-complete self-monitored home security system.

    Stand-out features include

    • 350-degree rotation
    • Alexa compatible
    • Door/window sensors included
  8. Best Built-in Alarm
    Canary Pro (All-in-One)

    8. Canary Pro (All-in-One)

    Our rating

    Our take

    A unique camera, the Canary Pro is capable of detecting motion as well as monitoring 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.

    Package Features

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

    10. 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

    • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
    • 1080p HD video with a 4k sensor
    • Access to artificial intelligence features like facial recognition with subscription

Showing 5 of 10 products

Showing 10 of 10 products

What Should I Look for When Buying a Security Camera?

What Should I Look for When Buying a Security Camera?

  • Resolution

    Security cameras are generally available in resolutions all the way up to 1080p (HD). The higher the resolution you choose, the sharper and clearer your video footage will be, and this always makes it easier to find out who is involved in a crime. Remember, if you choose to go all-in on HD resolution, that any DVR (digital video recorder) you use to record will have to have HD capabilities as well (most do).

  • Night Vision

    Night vision and low light vision are both incredibly important for security cameras. For the best night view, consider a camera system with infrared technology. We recommend a camera with at least 100 feet or more of night vision. Another useful feature here is a built-in IR cut off, which will turn on IR capability when lighting conditions require it and turn it off when they don’t.

  • Mobile Alerts

    Many systems will notify you if significant activity is detected within view of the camera or within designated areas (see “custom activity zones”). Find out if these notifications can be sent to you via push notification, text message, email or even a phone call, and consider whether these notifications are also sent to your monitoring service.

  • Cloud Storage

    As with any camera system, you’ll want to consider how much storage is available in the cloud. This is a crucial piece of information when deciding what resolution to consider, since higher resolutions take up more space. Remember to also consider how long your data is stored. Most services won’t keep footage forever, so find out how long they will keep it.

  • Custom Activity Zones

    Camera systems that allow custom activity zones are invaluable in cutting down false alarms and bad notifications because they let you set up the most important areas to concentrate on, and capture movement only in these crucial areas. This way, you’re notified of every fly that buzzes around and car that drives by.

What Smart Devices Should I Pair With My Security Camera?

What Smart Devices Should I Pair With My Security Camera?

Security cameras are almost never used alone. Instead, they’re an integral part of a complete home security system. A complete home security system can in turn be a part of a larger smart home system, allowing you to control a multitude of features, including your camera.
How We Chose the Best Motion-Activated Security Cameras

How We Chose the Best Motion-Activated Security Cameras

We scoured our database for the 10 most stand-out motion-activated cameras, looking at factors such as affordability, monitoring options, video resolution and extra features like two-way audio, activity zones, facial recognition and smart home compatibility. We picked cameras that met a minimum set of feature requirements and also offered great resolution, night vision and other basic quality features that any great camera should have. Only cameras and camera systems that met our basic requirements, received consistently good reviews and offered up something special made our list.

Conclusion

Conclusion

Security cameras in general are known to enhance security both for homes and businesses, and motion-activated cameras are an even more advanced version of this crucial technology. Hopefully, you now have a good sense of the benefits of motion sensor cameras. You know what to look for when you’re ready to shop, as well as how motion camera systems and outdoor security cameras fit into the big picture when it comes to your home security system and smart home. And you know what our research has revealed about the top camera systems available today. You can use this information to make an informed choice about your system and enhance your home’s safety, whether you’re already using a home security system or are just starting out.

Motion Activated Security Camera FAQs

Motion Activated Security Camera FAQs

Do I need Wi-Fi for my security camera?

Not necessarily. Some camera systems communicate via cell networks and others such as Deep Sentinel communicate with a smart hub that talks to the home office directly.

How much should I expect to pay for a motion-activated security camera?

Motion cameras come in a wide range of prices from as low at $29.99 for the Wyze Cam Pan all the way up to $300 for the Nest Cam IQ Indoor.

Do all cameras have two-way voice?

No. Many cameras such as the Arlo Pro 3 do include two-way voice communication but some cameras leave this feature off.

Can my security camera be hacked?

Yes, some cameras can be hacked, exposing data and images to intruders who might have bad intentions. It’s important to make sure you protect your camera system from hackers so that your valuable camera data isn’t exposed. Fortunately, if you take the proper steps, your chances of having your camera hacked are greatly reduced.

What other home security products should I consider?

At the least, you should consider a reliable, basic home security system with entry detectors. Professional monitoring is highly recommended to make sure your home is looked after at all times. From there, consider motion detectors, doorbell cameras and door and window sensors to cover all your home security bases.


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Researched by the

Safety Team

The Safety Team is a group of experts that handle provider research, product reviews and recalls to make your home safety and security search as easy as 1-2-3.