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Best Outdoor IP Camera Recommendations

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Picking the right IP camera for your DIY Smart Home is tough, I know. Your time is valuable, and what you need is solid, well-researched, actionable advice that you can use right now.

We have built up a reputation for providing exactly that sort of buying advice. And I don’t take that responsibility lightly.

So I have created this brand new up-to-date list of the best outdoor IP cameras for 2020

I separated indoor IP cameras into its own guide. At the end of this article, you will find our recommendations for specific purposes and thoughts on the other popular cameras which didn’t make the cut.

CONTENTS

  • How to use this IP camera buying guide
  • Best Outdoor IP Camera – 2020 Recommendations Summary
  • Recommendation Methodology
  • General Purpose IP cameras (Bullet style)
  • Vandal resistant IP cameras (Dome style)
  • Discreet Vandal-resistant IP Cameras (Turret style)
  • PTZ IP Cameras
  • Best Outdoor IP Cameras for specific purposes
  • The ones that didn’t make the cut
  • What to look for in an outdoor security camera
  • Conclusion

How to use this IP camera buying guide

Choosing your own DIY IP cameras can be overwhelming. So if you are brand new to this, it’s a good idea to first read up on IP camera basics. It contains all the frequently asked questions about IP cameras.

All the cameras I recommend in this article are DIY cameras that are not cloud-reliant or even Internet-reliant. None of them are crippled by their manufacturers to make you pay a monthly fee.

If you start with one of these cameras, you will always be able to continue using them in your future setup. Of course, as long as you ensure all the pieces in your future kit support open industry standards such as ONVIF and RTSP.

While I do recommend sticking to one single brand for convenience and maximum compatibility, thanks to the ONVIF and RTSP standards you can mix and match as I have done with our DIY home security camera setup.

How to choose an IP camera if you are new to DIY

I created the EasyDIY/ProDIY framework to help you choose the best system for your needs:

  • EasyDIY: Check out our Best All-in-one DIY Security Camera Systems with Smart Security
  • ProDIY:
    • Want to start with a single IP camera that can do everything, and maybe expand later with an NVR or NAS NVR? Awesome, that’s how I started! Pick a camera with on-board storage (SD card slot) from the recommendations below.
    • Want to start with a NAS as an NVR, with the freedom to add IP cameras later? Awesome, any camera recommended below will work for you! Skip down to the recommendations below.

How to choose an IP camera for an existing NVR

  • If your existing NVR doesn’t support ONVIF, choose the same brand IP Camera as your NVR.
  • If your existing NVR supports ONVIF, any camera recommended below will work for you.

Best Outdoor IP Camera – 2020 Recommendations Summary

So here’s a handy summary of all our outdoor IP camera recommendations for 2020, split by use case:

Award Camera MegaPixels
Best Outdoor IP Camera – Bullet
Best Budget (Wired/Wi-Fi) Reolink RLC-410 & RLC-410W 4MP / 5MP
Best Overall Amcrest IP8M-2496E 8MP
Best High-End DS-2CD2085G1-I 8MP
Best Outdoor IP Camera – Dome
Best Budget (Wired/Wi-Fi) Reolink RLC-422 5MP
Best Overall Amcrest IP8M-2493E 8MP
Best High-End Hikvision DS-2CD2185FWD-I(S) 5MP
Best Outdoor IP Camera – Turret
Best Overall Amcrest IP8M-T2499E 8MP
Best High-End Hikvision DS-2CD2383G0-I(U) 8MP
Best Outdoor IP Camera – PTZ
Best Budget Amcrest IP2M-853EW 4MP
Best Overall Reolink RLC-423 5MP
Best High-End Dahua SD59430U-HNI 4MP

 


 

Recommendation Methodology

IP cameras come in all shapes and sizes. The most common way to categorise them is location – outdoor or indoor. Another common way of differentiating between them is by form-factor: bullet style, dome style, mini-dome/turret/eye-ball or PTZ.

But your choice of camera will depend ultimately on a few factors such as the location of installation and how visible you want the camera to be. So for 2020, I thought of a more practical way of categorising my recommendations:

  • General Purpose IP cameras (Bullet style)
  • Vandal resistant IP cameras (Dome style)
  • Discreet Vandal-resistant IP Cameras (Turret style)
  • Patrolling (PTZ style)

Bearing this in mind, I will split this 2020 Best IP Camera round-up into outdoor/indoor camera posts and then by use case.


 

General Purpose IP cameras (Bullet style)

This is the most recognisable type of security camera – the classic bullet shape. This also makes it a natural choice for a home CCTV system as a very visible deterrent. If a burglar sees one of these, he knows its not worth risking jail time to break into your house. But do make sure that you have got multiple cameras covering your entry/exit points and that your bullet cameras are high up and out of reach of vandals, because a well-aimed missile can potentially knock it off target.

Best Budget Pick: Reolink RLC-410 & RLC-410W

 

 

FEATURES

 

  • 5MP CMOS image sensor
  • 80° Viewing Angle
  • Infrared LEDs for night vision with 30m range
  • Ethernet port with Power over Ethernet (PoE)- RLC-410
  • Dual band WiFi with 2T2R MIMO (802.11ac/b/g/n, 2.4 and 5.0 GHz)- RLC-410W
  • ONVIF and RTSP protocols supported
  • IP66 weatherproof rating
  • Metal body construction

 

PROS:
  • 5MP, very good video quality
  • On-board storage and built-in NVR features
  • Email notifications and push alerts
  • Great value for money
  • Works with any 3rd party ONVIF-compliant device such as Synology and QNAP NAS

 

CONS:
  • No WDR
  • No audio/alarm connections
  • Viewing angle of only 80° with the standard 4mm lens
  • Ethernet connection needed for initial setup
  • No model with both PoE and Wifi

 

I started reviewing Reolink products in 2017 and have been impressed with the consistently high quality yet affordable products they have put out. For 2020, they have once again simplified their product line-up significantly. Reolink continues to be our favourite for budget-friendly outdoor IP cameras.

The RLC-410 earlier had 3 variants: the 410, 410S and 410WS. The 410S and 410WS have been and replaced by a single new model called 410W. Both the 410 and 410W variants now have local storage in the form of an on-board SD card slot. The only difference between them is that 410 is PoE-only and 410W is WiFi-only. Both models have on-board microphones. I think this was a much needed consolidation because SD card slots are really a must-have feature in 2020.

So the RLC-410 is a tried and tested model that is now in its fourth year. The camera can be easily ceiling mounted and comes with elbow joints as opposed to the ball and socket joint that Hikvision bullets use. There is a true IR cut removable filter (ICR) to ensure excellent night time videos and faithful colour reproduction during the day. Noise reduction and backlight compensation are also available.

One of the features I look for and often fail to find in budget cameras is our beloved built-in NVR feature. So imagine our surprise to find that both the RLC-410 and RLC-410W have the built-in NVR feature. This feature is great if you are just starting out and have a single camera or do not have a dedicated NVR. So you can set up the camera to do basic motion detection, and it will overwrite older videos automatically. Another interesting feature is an automatic reboot timer which will restart the camera at a time you determine.

However the camera doesn’t support continuous recording to the on-board SD card, which is fine because its not something I recommend anyway. You will just end up wearing out the SD card sooner. SD cards are best suited to intermittent motion detection clips being written, rather than continuous data recording. The cameras can instead record to a Reolink NVR or any 3rd party NVR or software that supports the ONVIF standard and RTSP protocol.

Back to comparison table

Best Overall 4K: Amcrest IP8M-2496EB

 

 

FEATURES

 

  • 4K 8MP CMOS image sensor
  • 112° viewing angle
  • Infrared LEDs for night vision, 40m range
  • True 120dB WDR
  • Ethernet port with Power over Ethernet (PoE)
  • ONVIF and RTSP protocols supported
  • IP67 weatherproof rating
  • Metal body construction

 

PROS:
  • 4K resolution
  • On-board storage and built-in NVR features
  • Email notifications and push alerts
  • Great value for money
  • Works with any 3rd party ONVIF-compliant device such as Synology and QNAP NAS

 

CONS:
  • No WDR
  • No audio/alarm connections
  • No model with both PoE and Wifi

 

While Amcrest cannot match the price points that Reolink hits, they differentiate their products by adding a few premium features without a huge price tag. Features like 4K and true 120dB Wide Dynamic Range (WDR).

There are two versions of this IP camera with the only difference being the colour of the enclosure. If you want a more discreet look, go for the black version (IP8M-2496EB), whereas the white version (IP8M-2496EW) is more conspicuous and so works better as a deterrent.

The Amcrest is powered by a Sony Starvis image sensor and Ambarella S3LM chipset that can put out UltraHD 4K video at 15 fps. At the same time, true 120dB WDR helps to avoid washed-out scenes in bright daylight. Bumping the resolution down to 3MP will result in a max frame-rate of 30 fps. Personally, I am happy with 15 fps as it reduces the disk space required and so extends the hours of video recorded.

Just like the Reolink above, this Amcrest also sports onboard storage. So pop in an SD card (up to 128GB) and the camera can work in a fully standalone manner. It can record motion detection triggered clips and snapshots straight to the SD card without requiring a PC, NVR or anything. This built-in NVR of the Amcrest can be accessed through a web browser or the Amcrest . The same app also delivers push notifications to your smartphone.

Back to comparison table

Best High-end 4K: Hikvision DS-2CD2085G1-I

 

FEATURES

 

  • 4K 8MP CMOS image sensor
  • 102° viewing angle
  • Infrared LEDs for night vision, 30m range
  • True 120dB WDR
  • Ethernet port with Power over Ethernet (PoE)
  • ONVIF and RTSP protocols supported
  • IP67 and IK10 weatherproof rating
  • Metal body construction

 

PROS:
  • 4K resolution
  • On-board storage and built-in NVR features
  • Email notifications and push alerts
  • Great value for a high-end camera
  • Has advanced motion detection
  • Works with any 3rd party ONVIF-compliant device such as Synology and QNAP NAS, or BlueIris

 

CONS:
  • No audio/alarm connections

 

Hikvision was the first IP camera brand that I bought when I started my DIY home security camera journey. These cameras are absolute workhorses that just keep going on and on.

 

Over the years, the Hikvision product range has undergone many changes. While they have launched retail-focused brands like EZVIZ, the models sold under the Hikvision brand are the best premium options.

The Hikvision DS-2CD2085G1-I is Hikvision’s main 4K bullet camera for 2020. It sports a DarkFighter branded CMOS sensor that can put out UltraHD 4K video at 20 fps. This means it can produce colour images and video down to 0.016 lux. Not bad at all. When the light level goes further down, you have EXIR LEDs to maximise low light performance. True 120dB WDR helps to bring out detail in the shadows both at day time and at night.

Just like the Reolink & Amcrest above, the Hikvision DS-2CD2085G1-I also has onboard storage. If you add an SD card (up to 128GB), the camera can work in a fully standalone manner. It can record motion detection triggered clips and snapshots straight to the SD card without requiring a PC, NVR or anything. There are no alarm/audio connections available.

An interesting feature that’s rare on bullet style cameras is the IK 10 vandal protection certification. Of course, there’s still the risk that the camera can be knocked off target. But it is certainly more resistant to this sort of attack than your regular bullet camera.


Vandal resistant IP cameras (Dome style)

Dome IP cameras are meant to be used in areas where the camera is within reach and could be physically attacked by an intruder. The dome cover protects the camera so its difficult to knock the camera off or to dislodge it. Moreover any decent dome camera will have vandal-proof certification, expressed in the IK standard.

Best Budget Pick: Reolink RLC-422 & RLC-422W

 

FEATURES

 

  • 5MP CMOS sensor
  • 33-98° Viewing Angle with 2.7-12mm Motorized Zoom
  • 30m IR range
  • SD card slot, Power over Ethernet (PoE)
  • Wi-Fi model available: RLC-422W
  • ONVIF and RTSP protocols supported
  • IP66 weatherproof rating
  • Metal body construction

 

PROS:
  • 5MP sensor, good image quality
  • Easy to use with clear setup process
  • Great value

 

CONS:
  • No audio/alarm support at all
  • Lacks advanced motion detection methods

 

The RLC-422 was first released in 2017 by Reolink. At the time, the camera sported a hitherto unseen resolution of 5MP in the budget camera range. The camera has been continuously improved by Reolink and it is still the most affordable dome IP camera for 2020.

Of course you can still run the camera at 2MP, 3MP or 4MP resolutions also. The 4x motorized vari-focal lens are also a surprise at this end of the market. Kudos to Reolink for introducing such advanced features in such an affordable package!

The camera has a built-in NVR feature and together with the SD card slot, you can operate the camera in a standalone manner. No NVR needed unless you want a secure storage location for motion triggered clips or 24/7 continuous recording. The motion detection feature is a bit lacking as it supports only simple MD, but it does support zones and you can adjust the sensitivity in each zone.

However advanced motion detection methods that would help cut down false alerts are not available. The Reolink mobile app is stable and lets you live view all your Reolink cameras simultaneously and access the built-in NVR feature of the timeline. The app is of high quality and I really like it as I use it daily as one of our apps.

The camera has a metal body and is IP66 weatherproof and IK10 vandal proof. In case you cannot conveniently wire the camera up at your installation location, you can get the Wi-Fi version – the RLC-422W which supports both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. Reolink does not make a model with both PoE and Wi-Fi features.

Best Overall 4K Dome: Amcrest IP8M-2493E

 

FEATURES

 

  • 8MP CMOS sensor, fixed lens
  • 30m EXIR LED range
  • True hardware WDR, 10Mbps bitrate
  • SD card, Power over Ethernet (PoE)
  • Audio and alarm in/out
  • ONVIF and RTSP protocols supported
  • IP67, IK10 weatherproof rating
  • Metal body construction

 

PROS:
  • 8MP, superb image quality
  • True hardware-based WDR
  • Audio and alarm in/out
  • SD card for local storage
  • Built-in NVR
  • Works with Alexa

 

CONS:
  • No microphone
  • Audio not full-duplex
  • No advanced motion detection support

 

Last year, Dahua featured prominently in this guide. But this time around you won’t find any Dahuas here. The reason is that Amcrest cameras are just rebranded Dahua cameras. While Dahua doesn’t really support retail customers, Amcrest is purely targeted at retail customers like you and me. And the cost is about the same. So why not go for something that you can buy with 100% peace of mind with a full warranty and the ability to return to Amazon if you don’t like it.

The Amcrest IP8M-2493E is a great camera for the DIY enthusiast. You get a brilliant 4K camera with the latest Ambarella S3L33M chipset and true 120dB WDR capability, a wide-angle lens and on-board SD card storage.

This is one of the very few dome cameras to feature audio in/out and alarm in/out interfaces without costing an arm and a leg. However the audio is not full-duplex, check out the Vivotek models at the end of this article if that’s what you need. The camera also supports the latest H.265 and H.265+ encoding standards with a very high 10Mbps bitrate. The only drawback versus Dahua cameras is the lack of advanced motion detection such as trip wire, intrusion detection, face detection etc.

By the way, it works with Alexa too (not that I would use it that way)!

Best High-End 4K: Hikvision DS-2CD2185FWD-I(S)

 

FEATURES

 

  • 8MP CMOS sensor, fixed lens
  • True 120dB WDR
  • 30m IR range
  • SD card slot, Power over Ethernet (PoE)
  • ONVIF and RTSP protocols supported
  • IP67, IK10 weatherproof rating
  • Metal body construction

 

PROS:
  • Super sharp 8MP 4K resolution
  • H.265+ encoding, true hardware-based WDR
  • SD card for local storage
  • Audio and alarm in/out
  • Built-in NVR
  • Advanced motion detection support

 

CONS:
  • Viewing angle could be a bit wider
  • No microphone
  • Audio not full-duplex

 

The DS-2CD2185FWD-I(S) is the latest iteration of Hikvision’s high quality dome cameras. Having tried various alternatives, I still find myself returning to Hikvsion cameras for their no-nonsense performance, reliability and great price-point.

What makes this IP camera high-end? For starters, it can do 30 fps at 8MP resolution. It has advanced motion detection methods such as line crossing detection, intrusion detection, unattended baggage detection, and object removal detection to reduce false motion detection alerts. You also get 120dB WDR, low-light colour vision, and audio/alarm connections.


Discreet Vandal-resistant IP Cameras (Turret style)

When you want the ultimate in discreetness and vandal protection, turret style IP cameras are the best choice. These cameras can easily pass for motion activated LED lamps.

They are also called eyeball cameras because in some brands, the body of the camera rotates inside the housing like an eyeball.

Best Overall 4K Turret: Amcrest IP8M-T2499EW

 

FEATURES

 

  • 8MP Starvis CMOS sensor
  • 112° Viewing Angle
  • 50m EXIR Range
  • True 120dB WDR
  • ONVIF and RTSP protocols supported
  • IP67, IK10 weatherproof rating
  • Metal body construction
  • SD card slot on-board
  • Built-in mic

 

PROS:
  • Superb 4K video quality
  • Great value for money
  • Quite rare to find a turret with local storage and a mic onboard

 

CONS:
  • No audio/alarm connections on the turrets
  • No full duplex 2-way audio support
  • No advanced motion detection

 

The Amcrest IP8M-T2499E is very similar to the Dahua IPC-HDW4831EM-ASE. In fact I think its the very same camera, rebranded by Amcrest. Apart from the Sony IMX274 Starvis sensor, the camera has an incredibly powerful 50m IR range and an on-board microphone.

 

There are two models available – one with the 2.8mm lens and another with a 4.0mm lens.

Best High-End 4K Turret: Hikvision DS-2CD2383G0-I(U)

 

FEATURES

 

  • 8MP CMOS sensor
  • Wide-angle lens with 102° field of view
  • SD card slot, Power over Ethernet (PoE)
  • ONVIF and RTSP protocols supported
  • Onboard mic
  • IP67 weatherproof rating
  • Metal body construction

 

This Hikvision turret has all the usual features such as PoE, SD card slot, and true WDR. But what sets it apart is the advanced motion detection methods such as line crossing, intrusion detection and face detection. It also has an onboard microphone.

 

It doesn’t have audio or alarm inputs though.

PROS:
  • Great image quality
  • Advanced motion detection methods
  • True WDR

 

CONS:
  • No alarm/audio connections
  • No full duplex 2-way audio support

 

 


PTZ IP Cameras

Best Budget PTZ: Amcrest IP2M-853EW

 

FEATURES

 

  • 4MP CMOS sensor, 120dB WDR
  • 5.3-64mm motorized vari-focal lens
  • 5-58° Viewing Angle
  • 100m IR night vision range
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE 802.3at)
  • IP66 weatherproof rating

 

PROS:
  • Very good image quality
  • Great value for money
  • 30 fps is available at 4MP resolution
  • There is an audio in/mic
  • SD card slot for local storage
  • Works with Alexa

 

CONS:
  • No alarm connections
  • No advanced motion detection methods

 

The Amcrest IP2M-853EW PTZ was launched last year and has become a popular affordable PTZ that has a lot of the features Dahua has. For a PTZ, the 4MP sensor is plenty fine. You also get up to 30 fps at 4MP with true 120dB WDR. There is an SD card slot and you get an incredible 100 metres Infrared night vision range. Also of note is the extreme magnification possible, but the downside being a lack of wide angle viewing.

 

Just like all other Amcrest IP cameras, this PTZ also works with Alexa.

Back to comparison table

Best Overall PTZ: Reolink RLC-423

FEATURES

 

  • 5MP CMOS sensor
  • 2.8-12mm motorized vari-focal lens
  • 33°-98° Viewing Angle
  • 60m IR Range
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE 802.3at)
  • IP66 weatherproof rating

 

I first reviewed the 4MP version of the Reolink RLC-423 in 2017 and were very impressed with the quality and features that Reolink managed to cram into this PTZ at a very affordable price. In 2020 Reolink has a 5MP version of the same camera.

No it still doesn’t have auto or advanced motion detection, on-board storage/SD card, alarm connections or WiFi but as I said last time round, these are not deal-breakers for those who are after their first PTZ for home use.

Check out our review of the 4MP RLC-423 PTZ here:

8.5
Review: Reolink RLC-423 4MP PTZ IP Camera

Review: Reolink RLC-423 4MP PTZ IP Camera

While I have owned and reviewed quite a few outdoor IP cameras and pan-tilt indoor cameras regular readers will note …
PROS:
  • Very good image quality
  • Fast panning/slewing speed of up to 180°/second
  • Great value for money
  • 30 fps is available at 4MP resolution
  • There is an audio in socket

 

CONS:
  • No alarm connections
  • No SD card slot for local storage
  • Slow focus speed relative to PTZ speed
  • No advanced motion detection methods

 

 

Best High-end PTZ: Dahua SD59430U-HNI

FEATURES

 

  • 4MP CMOS sensor with WDR
  • 4.5-135mm vari-focal lens, 30x optical zoom
  • 100m IR Range
  • H.265 encoding
  • Auto-tracking & IVS
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE 802.3at)
  • IP66 weatherproof rating

 

So you have played around with beginner PTZ models and now want to go up one level to the exciting world of auto-tracking PTZs. I have just the camera for you – the Dahua SD6C430U-HNI. This PTZ can identify a person from over 270 metres according to Dahua! The auto-tracking feature is super cool as you can see in this video.

If you want 4k resolution, check out the Dahua 6AE830VNI model which has a 12MP STARVIS sensor and 200 metres IR range.

PROS:
  • Brilliant high resolution PTZ
  • Fast panning/slewing speed of up to 240°/second
  • H.265 encoding, 120dB true WDR
  • Advanced motion detection including face detection
  • Audio and alarm in/out
  • SD card slot for local storage

 

CONS:
  • No Wi-Fi option

 

 

Best Outdoor IP Cameras for specific purposes

Best Battery-Powered Outdoor IP Camera

 

Reolink Argus:

Wire-free or battery operated Wi-Fi cameras became mainstream a couple of years ago and I started reviewing them on VueVille. I wouldn’t recommend using only battery powered cameras in your DIY security camera system because they are not a 100% reliable. Batteries will run out, or fail at the most inopportune moment. But as a secondary camera covering areas already covered by mains powered or , are an excellent choice.

Based on our testing and review over many months, the Reolink Argus family is the best battery powered outdoor camera out there right now. The Argus 2 has a 1080p sensor and coupled with with PIR motion sensing and SD card storage, its a perfect DIY camera. Being battery powered, you can’t really expect it to support RTSP or ONVIF. But it does support colour night vision, 2-way audio, solar charging, and supports Voice Assistant and Alexa.

The other new models for 2020 include the Argus Pro, and the Argus Eco which is the only bullet-style battery powered camera I have seen.

 

Check out our detailed review below:

8.1
Review: Reolink Argus Wire-free Security Camera

Review: Reolink Argus Wire-free Security Camera

I’ll admit it – I have never been a fan of battery powered security cameras and have stayed away from them in the past. …

Smallest Outdoor PoE IP Camera

 

Axis P1224-E Outdoor Pinhole Camera: If you are looking for the smallest yet high quality PoE IP camera that is rated for outdoor use, you will struggle to find anything better than the Axis P1224-E Outdoor Pinhole Camera. The sensor unit is 20.0 mm (0.8 in) in diameter and is IP66 weather-proof. It is made of NEMA 4X-rated aluminium casing. 720p resolution is available with a very wide 145° horizontal viewing angle. H.264 and Motion JPEG are also supported.

The sensor unit is connected to the main electronics unit by an 8 metre (26 feet) cable. This makes it easy to position the sensor unit wherever you want even if its exposed to the elements.

The main unit has a polycarbonate casing and measures 104 mm (4.1 in) x 18 x 76 mm (3 in) x 31 mm (1.2 in). It has an SD card slot for local storage.

Thermal IP Camera

 

AXIS Q1931-E Thermal IP camera: If you have a long boundary to protect, there is something better than blanketing the scene with PTZ cameras and Infrared illuminators – thermal cameras. FLIR made thermal cameras popular with their handheld devices but how can you integrate thermal imaging into your IP camera ? That’s where Axis thermal cameras come in.

The AXIS Q1931-E is just like any other Axis IP camera and you can use all the usual motion detection techniques such as line crossing but on a thermal image. So you don’t need to change anything about the rest of your system, this camera just fits right in.

 


 

The ones that didn’t make the cut

 

Netatmo Presence: Netatmo made a splash when they moved from weather stations into home security by launching the Netatmo Welcome, their first indoor security camera. They then followed it up with an outdoor camera, the Netatmo Presence. The standout feature of these cameras is their groundbreaking video analysis software which can detect people, animals and vehicles with startling accuracy.

While the Welcome has face recognition, the Presence has only face detection. Make sure you understand the distinction to avoid disappointment – recognition is recognising and putting the right name to the right person, whereas detection simply detects that a person is in the frame. The Presence has a feature that no other security camera has – a built-in floodlight in addition to its IR LEDs.

However for all its innovative features, it is reliant on the Netatmo servers to function as promoted. It can store clips locally but you cannot access them without an Internet connection. It does support IFTTT so you could link it to your home automation system.

 

 

Nest Cam & Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Security Camera: Last year our observation was that Nest had crippled their cameras by forcing you to pay for a cloud service to make use of their pretty good hardware. With the IQ, Nest has caught up with Netatmo and can now detect people and faces. This is all good but the basic restrictions remain – there is no local storage so if your internet is disabled by the intruder, your camera records nothing. That’s a pretty dumb camera if you ask me. So nope I cannot recommend this camera unless you have the same area covered by proper security cameras that are not cloud and Internet-reliant.

 

 

Oco Pro: Since I first looked at Oco cameras, they have refreshed and expanded their product portfolio. I still do not like the fact that the cameras are designed to tie you into a monthly cloud subscription if you want to access recorded clips. Even though there is an on-board SD card slot, you cannot access those clips unless you have a cloud subscription.

 

 

Netgear Arlo: Netgear Arlo has been around for over 3 years now. The latest model range consists of the battery powered Arlos and the more traditional PoE powered Arlo Q Plus. Only the battery powered models are suitable for outdoor use but again they are cloud-reliant which is a pity.

 

 

Blink XT Outdoor Wireless Camera: Blink has has gone the Netatmo route and done away with monthly subscription plans but there is no local storage. So again these cameras require an Internet connection to be of any use and are cloud reliant. Now the breaking news here is that Amazon has acquired Blink. Amazon’s own Cloudcam security cameras are cloud reliant, so it remains to be seen what will happen to Blink’s zero monthly fee promise.
Blink-XT - Best Outdoor IP Camera 2019 - VueVille.com

 


 

What to look for in an outdoor security camera

Every year IP camera technology advances and you get more features for your money. But what exactly should you be looking for? The most important must-have features to look for in an outdoor security camera are:

  • Video Resolution – at least 4MP resolution. This is to ensure an increased chance of positive identification of faces, especially at night. 4MP is recommended as it costs no more than 3MP models these days and you can also fall back on the 2MP(1080p) or 3MP setting if you want to reduce bandwidth usage and disk space usage.
  • Field of view – at least 80 degrees horizontally. This depends on the focal length of the camera lens. The shorter the focal length, the wider the field of view. Ignore diagonal measurements, what matters is horizontal field of view.
  • Night vision – Should at least have InfraRed LEDs for night vision with an auto IR cut filter to avoid false colour in the daytime.
    Every camera I recommend in this article has an auto IR cut filter.
  • Weather proofing – Expressed in IP ratings, the first digit is the solid ingress rating and the second digit is the water ingress rating (higher is better always). An X instead of a number indicates a product is unrated for that component. An IP weather-proof rating is preferable, IP66 is the standard for good security cameras. Vandal resistance is expressed in the IKXX rating and is good to have in high traffic areas.
  • Should not be Internet or Cloud reliant – Can the security camera function without an internet connection? Do you have to pay a monthly subscription for core features such as recording video clips, storing them, accessing them later on, for motion detection? I only recommend cameras that do not need an Internet connection to function, are not cloud reliant and have the ability to write video clips and images to a local device such as an NVR, a NAS, or SD card. This is because for something as critical as home security, your camera should be able to record and store clips without requiring anything more than just a power source. Get a UPS and you can keep your cameras running even if an intruder cuts your home’s power supply.
  • RTSP stream capable so that third party apps such as camera viewers and Home Automation controllers can access the camera video stream.
  • ONVIF compatibility so that you can connect it to an NVR like the Amcrest which can support any ONVIF compatible camera.
  • Software features – Motion detection, Email alerts on motion detection

The nice-to-have features to consider are:

  • Wireless – Support for WiFi and/or Bluetooth if you have to install the camera in a spot you can’t run an ethernet cable to. But really I do not recommend going with only wireless cameras for your whole network – Wi-Fi is not that reliable.
  • Continuous Video Recording instead of just automatic event triggered or manual recording. Requires a storage medium though, like an NVR which adds to the cost.
  • Software features – Built-in NVR feature, advanced motion detection methods to reduce false alerts, push notifications to smartphone apps
  • Local storage – in the form of a microSD card slot, or internal flash storage. A built-in NVR function is a plus.
  • Motion detection method – PIR motion sensor is preferable to cut down on false alerts
  • Power source – Ethernet port preferable with PoE (Power over Ethernet) support, internal battery good for power backup purposes
  • Audio – Microphone built-in would be a nice to have, full-duplex capability is superb but very rare
  • Advanced features:
    • API available for interfacing with home automation controllers such as the Vera Plus or Fibaro Home Centre
    • Full duplex 2-way audio support, built-in mic or audio and alarm connections
    • PIR sensor to reduce false alerts

Conclusion

The wide range of outdoor IP cameras above should give you a good overview of the freedom and flexibility going Pro-DIY brings you. Have I missed a camera that really ought to be on this list? Please leave a comment below – I love hearing from you!

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