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The Best Security Cameras of 2021

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.
Updated Mar 5, 2021

Security Cameras

Security cameras are one of the most popular home security devices known. They’re the best way to keep an eye on what’s happening inside your home and its surroundings. Today’s surveillance systems have all the features you need to see live activity, talk to visitors and playback videos from your smartphone in seconds. Our top security camera picks detect motion, send instant video clips and more to give you full control and peace of mind.

Here are the 5 Best Security Cameras of 2021

What Should I Look for in a Security Camera?

If you’re shopping for a security camera, there are a few must-have features to give you the best prevention, control and peace of mind. Keep in mind that your surveillance camera choice will significantly depend on your home security needs.

  • HD video quality

    The higher the video quality resolution, the better. Security cameras with a 1080p HD resolution or better usually have a crystal clear view of what’s happening at your home. The best security cameras on the market have up to 2K resolution. If you plan to use a digital video recorder (DVR), it will need to have HD quality for the best videos.

  • Field of view

    The field of view will determine how much of your home’s surroundings you can in one picture. Cameras with a field of view of 110 degrees or better usually show more of your home’s view than others. You’ll also want to watch out for cameras that give a distorted fisheye’s view.

  • Digital pan, tilt and zoom function

    If your camera doesn’t have an optimal field of view or you need a closer look, it’s nice to have digital panning, tilting and zooming. You’ll be able to zoom in and out or tilt your camera using your smartphone. This feature is good for those with big yards or long driveways that still need to see activity outside of the camera’s field of view.

  • Smart home compatibility

    You’ll likely be able to control your camera using a mobile app and your smartphone, but you’ll have more convenience with smart home capabilities. Some cameras work using Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice commands. Some camera providers also work with other devices to control everything with one app or device.

  • Two-way audio

    Two-way audio lets you speak to guests outside your home or kids in the family room using an intercom-like feature. Use the mobile app and your smartphone to conveniently see and talk to guests whether you’re home or on-the-go. Two-way audio is favored across all cameras, including video doorbells, indoor and outdoor cameras.

  • Mobile control

    Mobile apps give you full control of your camera using your smartphone. You’ll get motion-triggered alerts and see live activity on your smartphone. The mobile app may also give you two-way audio functionality, video storage for easy playback and get person detection alerts when someone is at your home.

  • Storage options

    Security cameras give you a choice between cloud and local storage to store your videos. Local storage will require a memory card. Cloud storage keeps your videos on a server to access them using your smartphone. Your options will depend on the camera and whether you want to pay extra for cloud storage. Many homeowners worry about hackers, but it all comes down to personal preference. The best cloud storage options encrypt your clips to keep them secure.

  • Motion detection

    Motion detection keeps you from worrying about whether someone’s outside. Most security cameras are equipped with motion detection to trigger an alert when someone’s at your home. The best security cameras have custom activity zones to choose the areas that will alert you when there’s any activity, such as someone in your backyard or driveway.

Video Doorbell Cameras

If you want to monitor your front door or any entry point 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.

Compare the Best Security Cameras

We’ve chosen the best security cameras for your home based on our Safety Score methodology. Our team heavily weighed cameras with preventative features and those that give you control, reliability and the best response. We looked at all surveillance options, including indoor, outdoor and cameras that double as both.

Arlo Pro 3

Check price
Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro

Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro

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Simplicam

Simplicam

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Abode Smart Outdoor Camera

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Blue by ADT Home Security Camera Review

Blue by ADT Indoor Camera

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Blink Outdoor

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YI-pet-camera-min-300x300

YI Dome Camera

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ADT Indoor Camera

ADT Indoor Camera

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Lorex 4K Nocturnal Camera

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Safety Score
8.27.16.8.6.6.56.46.45.95.95.9
Cost
$159.83$399$99.99$199.00$199.99$74.99$21.49$199.99$149.99$99.00
Indoor/Outdoor
BothOutdoorBothBothIndoorOutdoorIndoorIndoorOutdoorIndoor
Video Resolution
2K1080p1080p1080p1080p1080p1080p720p4K1080p
Video Angle
160140120152130110111126.8113115
Power Source
BatteryPower CablePower CablePower CablePower CableBatteryPower CablePower CablePower CablePower Cable
Installation
DIYProfessionalBothDIYDIYDIYDIYProfessionalDIYDIY
Video Storage
CloudCloudCloudCloudCloudCloud and LocalCloud and LocalCloudLocalCloud
Smart Home Compatibility
✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Zoom
✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Night Vision
✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Two-Way Audio
✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
CVR
✔️✔️✔️

Best Outdoor Cameras

  • Best Outdoor Camera System with Hub

    1. Arlo Pro 3

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Arlo Pro 3 is our top security camera pick. It doubles as an indoor and outdoor camera to help keep your home safe. You’ll need to self-install the camera, but it’s easy to install multiple without interrupting your home’s electrical wiring. The Arlo Pro 3 is equipped with color night vision and 2K resolution for crystal clear footage. It works with popular smart home devices, including Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant and more. One notable feature is the camera’s built-in spotlight that can be controlled using your smartphone or automatically when motion is detected.

    Stand-out features include

    • Built-in spotlight that can be motion-activated or controlled using your smartphone
    • Works with Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit and Google Assistant
    • 2K video resolution for crystal clear viewing and videos
  • Best Outdoor Security Camera
    Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro

    2. Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro is one of the next best options to help keep your home safe from lurking criminals. This outdoor camera uses Vivint’s Smart Deter feature to sound a siren and shine an LED light if someone lingers around your home for too long. You’ll also receive a mobile alert to keep you aware of what’s happening at home. The camera can distinguish between people, cars and animals to help reduce false alerts. And if you need a closer view of what’s happening outside your home, the Vivint outdoor camera has 3x digital zoom that’s easy to control using the Vivint mobile app. But note that Vivint’s Outdoor Cam Pro requires the Vivint home security system for service.

    Stand-out features include

    • Includes Smart Deter feature to scare off lurking thieves
    • 3x digital zoom for an easy, close up view of your home
    • Only works with Vivint’s home security system
  • Best Indoor Security Features
    Simplicam

    3. Simplicam by SimpliSafe

    Our rating

    Our take

    We love the SimpliCam because it doubles as an indoor and outdoor camera that can be used as a standalone camera for your home or business. It’s most commonly used indoors but can be used outdoors with an outdoor kit. Or you can connect it to your SimpliSafe system for whole-home security. If the camera detects motion from a person, you’ll receive a mobile alert to check your smartphone’s live activity. The SimpliCam includes a smart motion detector to distinguish the heat between people and objects to reduce false alerts. Your clips will also be safe from hackers with 256-bit encryption. If you choose SimpliSafe for your surveillance needs, you’ll have optional 30-day cloud storage and professional monitoring.

    Stand-out features include

    • Encrypted video surveillance
    • Smart motion detector to detect humans
    • Works as a standalone or with SimpliSafe security system
  • 4. Abode Smart Outdoor Camera

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Abode Outdoor Smart Cam doubles as a video doorbell, indoor or outdoor security camera. It works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control of your video doorbell. The video doorbell has two-way audio, infrared night vision and person detection. You’ll receive mobile alerts when a person or motion is detected to check live activity from your phone. It’s easy to self-install with an existing doorbell system. You can also use the Abode Outdoor Smart Cam as a standalone surveillance system and don’t require an Abode security system to work. 

    Stand-out features include

    • Works as a video doorbell, indoor and outdoor camera
    • Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices
    • Includes person detection
  • Best Smart Security Camera
    Blue by ADT Home Security Camera Review

    5. Blue by ADT Indoor Camera

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Blue by ADT Indoor Camera offers good indoor surveillance for renters and frequent movers. It’s built with all of the popular surveillance features, including two-way audio, custom motion zones and a battery backup if there’s a power outage. Best of all, the camera can detect and alert you of the sound of fire and carbon monoxide detectors. The camera also sends alerts if it recognizes a familiar face, such as your kids or nanny. The Blue by ADT Indoor Camera requires DIY installation, but cloud storage and professional monitoring are optional.

    Stand-out features include

    • Recognizes smoke and carbon monoxide detector sounds
    • Facial recognition included to alert you of familiar faces
    • Optional cloud storage and professional monitoring

Best Indoor Cameras

  • cove-yi-indoor-camera

    2. YI Home Camera

    Our take

    The YI Indoor Home Camera works seamlessly with Cove security systems or can be used as a standalone surveillance camera with two-way audio. It’s easy to self-install and control using the YI mobile app. If motion is detected, you’ll receive an instant mobile alert to check your smartphone footage. You’ll also have 4x digital zoom and night vision for a close-up view of what’s happening, day or night. If you choose the YI Indoor Camera, you’ll have the choice between free YI cloud storage with encryption or local storage to save your videos.

    Stand-out features include

    • Choice between encrypted cloud storage or local storage
    • Two-way audio
    • Motion-triggered mobile alerts
  • ADT-indoor-cam-min-300x360

    3. ADT Indoor Camera

    Our rating

    Our take

    ADT’s indoor camera gives you full control over your home’s surveillance with a mobile app, voice control and the system’s touchscreen control panel. When motion is detected, you’ll receive an instant mobile alert to see live activity from your smartphone, record footage and playback the clips later. You’ll also be able to check your camera’s video history and adjust settings using your smartphone. Additionally, you’ll have two-way audio and night vision to see and speak to guests using your phone, even in the dark. The camera must be professionally installed and requires an upgraded package for surveillance features. 

    Stand-out features include

    • Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
    • Only works with ADT’s home security system
    • Two-way audio to see and speak to guests using the mobile app
  • 4. Lorex 4K Nocturnal Camera

    Our rating

    Our take

    Lorex’s popular outdoor camera gives you 250-feet of night vision, 4x zoom and 4K video resolution to provide you with the best view of what’s happening at all times. However, Lorex only offers local storage to save and playback your videos, and you’ll get a 3TB hard drive. You can connect up to eight cameras for full coverage of your home. This outdoor camera is easy to set up with Power over Ethernet and the Innovative Lorex Cloud™ mobile app. You’ll be able to use the app to get motion-triggered alerts and playback videos anytime.

    Stand-out features include

    • 4K video resolution
    • 250 feet of night vision
    • Local storage with a 3TB hard drive
  • 5. Scout Indoor Cam

    Our take

    Scout’s indoor camera is perfect if you’re looking for a standalone camera option but works seamlessly with Scout’s packs. The indoor camera has several popular features, including night vision, 1080p HD video resolution and motion-triggered alerts. The moment the Scout camera detects sound, it will automatically record activity. You can see recorded clips using the Scout mobile app. If you choose Scout, you’ll have an easy DIY setup, 60-day money-back guarantee and a three-year warranty.

    Stand-out features include

    • Works as a standalone camera or with Scout’s security system
    • Motion-triggered camera recordings
    • Three-year product warranty

What is the best home security package for you?

Use our Package Finder to find the right package based on your home security needs!

How Security Cameras Work

Security cameras are powered using PoE, a power cable, a battery or solar energy. You’ll need to connect your WiFi to access features, including seeing live activity and saving video clips using your smartphone and mobile app. Here’s how overall security camera installation works. 

  • 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 (e.g., 10 days, 30 days) before the recordings are discarded.

Security Camera Field of View

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. Your security camera’s mobile app also lets you use two-way audio and custom motion zones.

Understanding Different Types of Security Cameras

When you’re shopping for a new security camera, you’ll have several options to choose from. Here are a few choices you’ll have to make. Keep in mind that some cameras give you multiple options in one device for more flexibility.

You’ll have a choice between indoor and outdoor security cameras, depending on what area of your home you’re trying to protect. The best security cameras are designed to work both indoors and outdoors to give you more for your money. Popular options include Abode’s Smart Outdoor Cam and SimpliSafe’s SimpliCam. Here’s the big difference between indoor and outdoor security cameras.

Indoor security cameras are often used to monitor a room inside your home. Most indoor camera features include two-way audio, night vision, mobile alerts and HD resolution. They’re also more likely to be smart home compatible with other home automation devices using one app. You may choose an indoor security camera to check on kids in different rooms, self-monitor your valuables or talk to loved ones in another room without yelling.

Outdoor security cameras keep an eye on your home’s exterior and surroundings. You’ll still get night vision, two-way audio and HD resolution. But there are a few other features that are especially important with outdoor surveillance, including motion-triggered alerts, sirens, facial recognition and custom activity zones. They’re also weather-resistant, unlike indoor cameras. Outdoor cameras are often used to see when the kids arrive home from school, check to see when a package comes or see when someone arrives at your home.

Both cameras can have sleek designs to be less noticeable to intruders. They also have several power sourcing choices, including batteries and wired options. No matter which camera you choose from our list of favorites, you’re bound to have some of the industry’s best features to help keep you safe.

Next, you’ll want to determine your camera’s power source. You can choose between wired and wireless cameras.

Wired security cameras are often used by homeowners looking for a more permanent option. It will connect to your home’s electrical wiring for power. If you choose a wired camera, you’ll likely need professional installation for a proper setup. On the bright side, your camera will always have power and a stable internet connection. And if there’s a power outage, most wired cameras have a battery backup to keep your camera working.

Wireless cameras are more popular for renters who cannot drill or rewire. You’ll likely plug the camera into a wall outlet or use a rechargeable battery. Wireless cameras are easy to self-install. You can manage video storage and other features using WiFi for wireless cameras. Both cameras still provide the same features. It just boils down to your preference for power.

Lastly, you’ll want to determine whether you’d like DIY or professional monitoring for your camera.

DIY monitoring means that if there’s an emergency or intruder, you’ll have to alert emergency responders yourself. You’ll be able to record, save and share video with authorities if needed. Fortunately, you’ll save on monitoring fees and long-term contracts.

Or you can choose professional monitoring for your cameras. Most monitoring centers won’t have access to your camera footage for your privacy, but the company will likely offer video verification to see footage if your alarm is triggered. As of now, ADT, Vivint and SimpliSafe offer video verification services to give you peace of mind. Professional monitoring may require a month-to-month payment or require a contract depending on the provider.

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 guarantees these benefits.
  • Convenient Control

    Today’s surveillance cameras pair with mobile apps to control your security camera using your mobile device with instant notifications, real-time video and motion-triggered recording.

  • 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.

Consider a Full Home Security

Explore our top recommendations to learn about the benefits of a whole home security system.

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.

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    Jalesa Campbell avatar

    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.

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