The best outdoor security cameras for 2021
Don’t give a stranger any reason to snoop around your home. Crimes such as burglary can easily be deterred by ensuring that you have all parts of your property monitored by a handy outdoor security camera.
When it comes to protecting your home, cameras positioned outdoors provide homeowners and apartment dwellers peace of mind when they’re not there. They’re even more useful when they’re strategically positioned around the home from better vantage points. There are even outdoor cameras that are ideal for backyard outings, as well as ones that can still watch over your home when the power goes out.
Whatever you’re looking for, we’ve reviewed dozens of home security cameras, from affordable models to highly secure ones, and even nighttime and weatherproof cameras, including the Arlo Pro 4, which is the best outdoor security camera in our opinion. Here’s our list of the top models.
Best outdoor security cameras at a glance
- Best outdoor security camera: Arlo Pro 4
- Best budget camera: Wyze Cam Outdoor
- Best without a subscription: SimCam Alloy 1S
- Best for night vision: Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
- Best for cold weather: Lorex V261LCD-E
- Best wireless camera: Ring Stick Up Cam Battery
- Best value security camera kit: EufyCam2
Best outdoor security camera: Arlo Pro 4
Arlo Pro 4
Why we picked the Arlo Pro 4:
The Arlo Pro 3 was our pick for the best outdoor security camera for some time, but after testing the Arlo Pro 4, it brings a couple of new additions that help it earn our top pick. Just like its predecessor, it packs 2K video resolution and a wide 160-degree viewing angle. Also included are a weatherproof camera with color night vision, built-in LED spotlight, and a built-in siren that can alert you to danger.
What makes this latest model superior is the fact that it no longer is tethered to a hub in order to talk with your home’s Wi-Fi network. You won’t need it this time, which certainly streamlines the setup process. And best of all, not only does it perform as exquisitely as the Arlo Pro 3 when it comes to safeguarding your home, but it now boasts a lower starting cost of $200 for a single camera — whereas the Arlo Pro 3 started at $500 for a 2K camera system.
The Arlo Pro 4 includes a three-month free trial of Arlo Smart, which gives you access to advanced features like 30 days of recording history, activity zones, enhanced 911 calling, and advanced detection features.
Best budget outdoor camera: Wyze Cam Outdoor
Wyze Cam Outdoor
Why we picked the Wyze Cam Outdoor:
Wyze had a home run with its indoor wireless security camera and replicated the success with its first outdoor camera, the aptly named Wyze Cam Outdoor. Don’t let its $50 sticker price fool you! It’s certainly affordable, but it’s impressively versatile.
First of all, the Wyze Cam Outdoor covers all the basics with an outdoor camera, featuring 1080p recording, night vision, two-way audio, and a handy time-lapse mode. What makes it incredibly versatile is that it can be used indoors, or even on the go when you’re on vacation. That’s because it’s able to record offline video to a microSD card!
When you factor in all of these features with the Wyze Cam Outdoor‘s $50 cost, it’s tough to consider anything else. How often can you take your outdoor camera with you? Not at all.
Best outdoor camera without a subscription: SimCam Alloy 1S
SimCam Alloy 1S Outdoor Camera
Why we picked the SimCam Alloy 1S: Today’s security cameras are typically attached to subscription services in order to get the most out of them, so that typically means monthly costs for cloud storage and other advanced features. If you’re not too keen about having to pay more than just the hardware cost for a camera, then consider the SimCam Alloy 1S.
Sure, the standout feature of the SimCam Alloy 1S is the ability to leverage on-board A.I. (artificial intelligence) for detection, such as being able to distinguish pets, people, and vehicles, but it’ll save you some money because it doesn’t require a subscription. That means you’ll be able to access all of its features, while still being given the option to save video clips to a microSD card or an external NAS storage for longer video history. Videos remain local and in your possession, as opposed to leaning on a cloud storage service.
Best outdoor camera for night vision: Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Security Camera
Why we picked the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor: One of the most popular outdoor security cameras on the market for good reason, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor lets you keep an eye on your property at all times. It plugs directly into power, so you’ll never have to worry about replacing any dead batteries. The camera also sends live alerts directly to your smartphone if it hears any loud sounds, like a window smashing. The model comes equipped with excellent two-way communication, letting you ask the FedEx person to leave the package on the porch, or help you scare away any would-be thieves.
What’s most impressive about the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is the superior night image quality. At maximum strength, images at night are extremely crisp, even from long distances away. The camera also features an Enhance mode, where you can zoom in on various locations and get a clear image of what you’ve zoomed in on. You can also focus and zoom in on people in the camera’s field of view.
Best outdoor camera for cold weather: Lorex V261LCD-E
Lorex V261LCD-E Outdoor Camera
Why we picked the Lorex V261LCD-E: When you live in an area with harsh winters, it’s especially important to find a camera that can withstand the frigid temperatures. That’s why the Lorex V261LCD-E Outdoor Camera earns our pick, thanks in part to its weather-resistant construction. In fact, it has been designed to work in cold temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most cameras are constructed to withstand no more than -20 degrees Fahrenheit, but the Lorex V261LCD-E goes beyond that. Frigid weather won’t give this camera much of a problem. In addition to its 1080p video capture, it’s equipped with dual LED floodlights to produce a light intensity of 4,000 lumens to illuminate the conditions in pitch black. Paired with a 137-degree field of view, it should have enough of a wide coverage to cover your property while you’re away.
Best outdoor wireless camera: Ring Stick Up Cam Battery
Ring Stick Up Cam
Why we picked the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery: While there are plenty of wireless outdoor cameras on the market, we like Ring’s Stick Up Cam Battery because of how versatile and affordable it is. It comes with a base that can be bent in multiple directions and allow for mounting on a ceiling, wall, fence post, or wherever you want to stick it. Setup of the device takes just a few minutes via Ring’s fantastic app.
The Stick Up Cam Battery features 1080p video quality, adjustable motion detection, and two-way audio with noise cancellation. Night vision is decent too.
Ring has faced a bit of scrutiny lately over the level of security and privacy their devices provide. Some users have reported their Ring cameras being hacked, and a handful of Ring employees have reportedly been fired for accessing customer video feeds. Ring announced it will be adding a privacy dashboard as well as additional privacy and security features.
Owned by Amazon, all Ring products (including the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery) are compatible with Alexa, so if you have an Echo Show or Echo Spot device, you’ll be able to view video footage from the camera on those devices.
Best value security camera kit: EufyCam 2
Why we picked the EufyCam 2: Anker’s smart home brand, Eufy, has made great strides in the last couple of years. The EufyCam 2 is particularly noteworthy because of its value, a combination of stellar features at a value price for a 2-piece camera kit.
At $350, you get an outdoor camera built to withstand the weather with its IP67 rating, 1080p video resolution, night vision, Alexa compatibility, 365-day battery life, and no monthly fee thanks to its secure local storage option. The entire package is made better knowing that it performs solidly as a security camera, offering excellent video footage and clear night vision. Add to that, it can scare off unwanted intruders with its built-in 100 dB siren.
Considering that you’re getting two cameras for the price, the EufyCam 2 really is a value that’s hard to overlook.
Research and buying tips
- Where do I place outdoor security cameras?
- How many security cameras do I need?
- Can you use an indoor security camera outdoors?
- Can outdoor security cameras be used indoors?
- Do all outdoor security cameras have two-way audio?
- How well does night vision work on an outdoor security camera?
- How well do outdoor security cameras detect motion?
- Can outdoor security cameras survive severe weather?
Where do I place outdoor security cameras?
FBI crime data indicates that most (around 55%) home intruders try to get into homes through either the front or back door. So, you may want to have your security camera scoping out your doors. It’s also a good idea to cover other entry points, like back windows, that are hidden away where someone could break in without being seen.
Where exactly to mount your outdoor cameras, however, depends on your property and your individual needs. You may have a shed in the back that contains expensive lawn equipment, for instance, and you might want to place more focus on that area. Perhaps your neighborhood has experienced a few break-ins recently, and the intruders typically enter through the garage, so you want to cover your garage area.
How many security cameras do I need?
Typically, having at least two outdoor cameras is ideal, not including your video doorbell. If you have a video doorbell to watch your porch, combined with an outdoor security camera covering the front and back areas of your home, this should be sufficient. However, if you have a large property, if you live in an area where there’s a lot of property crime, or if you have vehicles or valuables stored on your property, you may want to add in an extra camera or two.
Can you use an indoor security camera outdoors?
No. An indoor camera does not have the necessary protection from the elements, so it won’t hold up outside. Some cameras are rated for indoor or outdoor use, and you can use those cameras outside. If you want to point your indoor camera out a window to watch the outdoors, you technically can do so. However, the camera’s features probably won’t work as well, and you’re better off just buying a cheap outdoor camera.
Can outdoor security cameras be used indoors?
Yes, although it’s not usually recommended because the cameras designed for outdoor use may not work optimally indoors. Again, you can opt for a camera that’s rated for both the indoors and outdoors, like a dome camera.
Do all outdoor security cameras have two-way audio?
The short answer is no. Many wired outdoor cameras feature two-way audio, which allows you to speak back and forth with someone through the camera via an app on your phone, but not all outdoor cameras have this feature.
If two-way audio is something you’re interested in, consider doing research on which cameras have it, and of the ones that do, read up on which are better. Not all two-way audio is created equal — some companies do it well, while others do not. Keep in mind that cameras with two-way audio might cost a bit more than those that don’t feature the technology.
How well does night vision work on an outdoor security camera?
Night vision on cameras typically uses infrared light to illuminate dark images at night. Essentially, cameras with night vision use this technology to backlight images to help you see what’s happening in the field of view. Most outdoor security cameras feature night vision, but the quality varies from model to model.
If you’re looking for superior night vision, Arlo camera listed above, or research night vision quality before making a purchase.
How well do outdoor security cameras detect motion?
Motion sensitivity in outdoor security cameras varies widely, but generally, the technology works well regardless of the model you choose. Most cameras, even inexpensive ones, do an excellent job of detecting motion, and, if the camera is connected to an app, it will send a motion alert to your phone. Most people find that motion settings on cameras are too sensitive, meaning that things like rain, bugs, or even bright sunlight can trigger an alert.
If you’re concerned about motion alerts, consider buying a camera that not only sends you motion alerts so you can monitor what’s happening on your property but also allows you to adjust the motion sensitivity so that small things aren’t triggering it all the time.
Can outdoor security cameras survive severe weather?
Most outdoor cameras have a rating of IP65 or higher, which means they are waterproof and can withstand someone spraying a hose on them. That usually (but not always) means that a camera with that rating can withstand extreme temperatures ranging from -40 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit or similar.
Cameras vary slightly in terms of survival in extreme weather, but anything with a rating of IP65 or higher will be fine for most climates. If you live in an extremely hot or extremely cold climate, you might want to consider a camera with a rating of IP66 or higher.
Thank you for the review! It was very helpful.