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Best security camera: keep an eye on your home from your smartphone

Best smart security camera
Image Credit: Ring

Smart security cameras designed for both inside and outside your home are a must if you want to know what's happening when you're not around.

Unlike basic security cameras, which store data to a small PC, or enterprise systems that charge you for a subscription package, smart cameras use both cloud storage and a real-time video feed. This provides you with the flexibility to check on your property whenever you like and wherever you are. 

What's more, most smart cams can often be controlled from your other smart devices, like your Amazon Echo Show or Google Home Hub. Which means they're quickly becoming a smart home staple.

That said, the security camera you choose to buy shouldn't be the only line of defense for your home (don't forget to grab a smart lock, a smart doorbell like the Nest Hello or Ring Video Doorbell Pro and an alarm system, too). Instead, it should be part of a defensive strategy that keeps you and your family safe. 

There are plenty of different security devices out there for you to choose from and in this guide we'll talk you through the best smart security cameras that we’ve tried out. 

We’ll be adding to this list with new devices as we review them, so keep checking back throughout the year.

Best smart security cameras at a glance:

  1. Anker Eufycam 2
  2. Arlo Pro 3
  3. Ring Indoor Cam
  4. Arlo Go
  5. Nest Cam IQ
  6. Hive Camera
  7. Logi Circle
  8. Netatmo Presence
  9. Nest Cam Outdoor
  10. Swann Spotlight Outdoor Security Camera

Best overall security cameras

Best security camera

(Image credit: Eufy)

1. Anker Eufycam 2

The best overall smart camera you can buy in 2020

Resolution: up to 1080p | Footage recording: As much fits onto a 16GB BaseStation | Audio: HD two-way

No monthly subscription needed
365-day battery life
Weather-proof IP67 rating
Only records when triggered
1080p video resolution

In the world of smart security cameras, the Anker Eufycam 2 is known for being a solid mid-range option at an affordable price. It has a seriously large feature set and while it doesn't offer 24/7 monitoring, it also doesn't require a month subscription whatsoever.

Eufy’s wireless outdoor camera offers an IP67 rating that makes it almost entirely weatherproof and a claimed 365-day battery life that never seems to quit. It also stores all of its encoded clips directly to the included BaseStation in your living room, which means you don’t have to worry about someone somewhere else in the world looking at your clips.

Bottom line? If you want a system that doesn’t cost anything to maintain and love being in charge of how/where the video is stored, the Eufy Video Doorbell is great. It gives you complete control with no overhead cost.

Read our full review: Anker Eufycam 2

Best security camera

(Image credit: Arlo)

2. Arlo Pro 3

An advanced system for those who take home security seriously

Resolution: up to 2K (2560x1440) | Footage recording: Free cloud recordings for seven days | Audio: HD two-way

Free cloud recordings
Crystal-clear video
Expensive system
Limited without subscription

With a classy weatherproof design, a host of awesome smart home features, the Arlo Pro 2 quickly rose as one of the best security cameras out there. 

Now, however, there’s a new boss in town in the 2K, HDR-compatible Arlo Pro 3, a successor to the Arlo Pro 2 with a number of refinements and improvements.

The Arlo Pro 3 is aimed at improving on the Arlo Pro 2, but not stepping on the toes of the 4K-capable Arlo Ultra. As such, you won’t get a 4K resolution here - but you will get plenty of other great features that make this camera a super solid choice for those who don’t want to spend top dollar on a security system.

Read our full review: Arlo Pro 3

Best indoor security cameras

(Image credit: Future)

3. Ring Indoor Cam

A great, affordable way to keep an eye on your home

Resolution: Up to 1080p HD | Footage recording: 24 hour as standard, 30 days with subscription | Audio: Two-way

Very affordable
Great recording
Some features need monthly fee

The Ring Indoor Cam is a great addition to the company’s growing suite of security products. It may be cheap, but the Ring device doesn’t disappoint when it comes to features or performance. 

We particularly like just how customisable the device is, making it suitable for placement in any room of the house. As well as being able to control the camera via your mobile device, it’s also useful to log into your Ring account via the web so you can keep an eye on your property from your office PC should you wish. Set-up is fairly straightforward too, helped by the flexible mounting options as well as video tutorials available via the app.

If you’re in the market to beef up your home security then this Ring is for you.

 Read our full review: Ring Indoor Cam

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Netgear Arlo Go

(Image credit: Netgear/Christ Price)

4. Arlo Go

A super portable, totally wireless camera

Resolution: 720p HD | Footage recording: Free cloud storage | Audio: Two-way

Super portable
Good design
Needs good signal
Expensive - ongoing costs

Unlike most other security systems, the Arlo Go from Netgear has an interesting proposition: it's totally wireless.

It works using a 4G LTE signal rather than WiFi, which means it works whenever it has mobile coverage. Add to that its IP65-certified waterproof rating and you've got yourself a portable camera that really can go anywhere. Well, anywhere with mobile signal.

Arlo offers limited cloud storage allocation for free, as well as a microSD slot. This sets it apart from similar security brands that charge for a subscription. Unfortunately, you do have to pay for a mobile data plan to get the Go up and running. 

Installation is easy peasy, just pop in a SIM card, sync it up with the Arlo App on your phone and you're ready to go. You can place it anywhere and if you're putting it outside you can screw it to a metal stand. Although we worry this could put it at risk of being stolen, that's irony for you. 

The Arlo Go records HD at 720p. Although this is lower than other cameras in our buying guide, many of us don't really need best-in-class 4K recording on a security camera - especially if you're trying to transmit that kind of data via 4G. It also has a bunch of solid recording features, including motion sensing, timing options and geo-fencing, which turns the camera off when you're on your way home.

The main downside is that it won't get perfect 4G coverage everywhere, especially in the countryside where good 3G is sometimes hard to come by. And if it doesn't have it, it just stops working as there's no option to use a mobile hotspot or to connect to Wi-Fi as a backup. 

Read our full review: Netgear Arlo Go 

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Nest Cam IQ

5. Nest Cam IQ

A security camera that’s gone all-in on artificial intelligence

Resolution: 4K sensor, 1080p HDR streaming | Footage recording: with subscription | Audio: HD two-way

Fantastic build quality
Very high video quality
Quite expensive
Subscription fees

The Nest Cam IQ has IQ in the name for a reason: it’s intelligent. Really intelligent. Not only can it notify you if there’s movement in your home, it can differentiate between people and animals, and – what’s really remarkable – it can even identify if it’s a familiar or unfamiliar person. 

The Nest Cam IQ also has the best image quality of any of the cameras we’ve tested, shooting in 4K and HDR (high dynamic range). If someone is in your home, you’ll have crystal clear images of them. 

The main drawback with the Nest Cam IQ is its price. Not only is it fairly expensive to start with, to use its full range of functions you’ll have to purchase a subscription to Nest Aware. But if you want the best quality, and are prepared to shell out for it, the Nest Cam IQ is probably the camera for you.

Read our full review: Nest Cam IQ 

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Hive Camera

6. Hive Camera

A slightly older, still very reliable security camera

Resolution: HD streaming | Footage recording: SD card slot for on-camera storage | Audio: two-way

Records without subscription
Dedicated app
Installation is hit-and-miss
Plastic design

The Hive Camera is the original connected camera from Hive, and if you’re not bothered about the View’s swish looks and advanced features it may be more up your street. It’ll be lighter on your pocket too.

The Hive Camera doesn’t work with the Hive ecosystem, and instead has its own dedicated app, which is either going to be a positive or a negative depending on if you already have Hive products, or are planning on building out from your camera purchase. What’s nice is that the Hive Camera has a slot for an microSD card so that you can record footage directly on the camera, with no need for a subscription.

The design is more traditional, with a white plastic casing, and a black surround for the camera lens. It has some tricks up its sleeve, like being able to sound an alarm or even replicate the sound of a barking dog if you see someone in your house who shouldn’t be there.

 Read our full review: Hive Camera 

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Logi Circle

7. Logi Circle

An all-seeing-eye that edits the day’s footage into a ‘highlights reel’

Resolution: 1080p HD streaming | Footage recording: one day free, 14 days with subscription | Audio: two-way

Easy setup
Charming design
Full functions require subscription
Lacks smart home integration

The Logi Circle lacks the integration with smart home systems that you’ll get with more advanced systems like the Nest Cam IQ. Rather, it’s a fun standalone option if you just want a security camera without any fuss. And yes, we did just say fun – it’s not a word you typically associate with home security, but that was our reviewer’s experience when spending time with the Logi Circle.

It has some intelligent features that allow you to set zones in your home – so, for example, if you want to know every time your dog jumps up on the couch, you can designate the couch as a zone, and any movement in that zone gets included in your digitally edited highlights reel of the day.

The camera only records footage where there’s movement or audio, so at the end of each day you don’t have to watch hours of footage to find the few moments where something actually happened. Like the Hive View it has an onboard battery, and so can be removed from its dock and used wirelessly for a short time.

Read our full review: Logi Circle 

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Best outdoor security cameras

Netatmo Presence

8. Netatmo Presence

A floodlight camera that can distinguish people from traffic

Resolution: 1080p HD streaming | Footage recording: microSD | Audio: One-way

Powerful, dimmable LED floodlight
Accurate motion sensor
Large and unwieldy design
Quite expensive

The Netatmo Presence is a definite statement of a security camera. Its hefty black body feels significant to hold, and is difficult to miss. This is both a strength and a weakness, as aesthetically it’s probably not going to complement your house design, but it does mean it’s a strong deterrent for anyone thinking about breaking in. 

Adding to the deterrence factor is the powerful dimmable LED floodlight, which you can adjust to your specified brightness. The Presence itself is an all-metal unit waterproofed to IPX7 standard, so you don’t have to worry about it being outdoors in a storm.

You can adjust your notifications so that you’re only alerted when the camera identifies a person (or animal, or car).  One frustration is that the camera works over Wi-Fi, and that means it needs to be within communicating range of your router to work. A clear benefit is that the Netatmo has a slot for a microSD card, meaning you don’t have to pay hefty subscription fees to record video, so you can quite quickly recoup the price difference for the fairly expensive unit.

Read our review: Netatmo Presence 

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Nest Cam Outdoor

9. Nest Cam Outdoor

A fantastic camera, but vulnerable to being stolen

Resolution: 1080p HD streaming | Footage recording: With subscription | Audio: two-way

Good smart home integration
Excellent app 
Recording requires subscription
Design is susceptible to theft

The Nest Cam Outdoor is, unsurprisingly, the outdoor camera from Nest. Much like its indoor counterpart, the Outdoor boasts brilliant image quality and a fantastic app – which is no surprise given Nest’s origins as a Google company, now existing as part of Google’s parent company Alphabet. 

The Nest Cam Outdoor requires a subscription in order to unlock the full suite of features, but that’s fairly common with security cameras. The one fault we have to pick with the Nest Cam Outdoor is that it connects to its base with a magnet, meaning a thief could feasibly pluck it from the base, and, er… steal it.

Nest is obviously aware of this flaw, and there is an upgrade in the works in the shape of the Nest Can IQ Outdoor, which has the smarts of the Nest Cam IQ (above), but is ‘tamper-proof’. A claim we'll be sure to put to the test when it comes out.

Read our full review: Nest Cam Outdoor 

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Swann Spotlight Outdoor Security Camera

Image Credit: Swann (Image credit: Swann)

10. Swann Spotlight Outdoor Security Camera

Swann's latest outdoor camera is a safe bet

Resolution: 1080p HD streaming | Footage recording: Free for 7 days | Audio: two-way

Good value for money
1080p camera lens
Built-in spotlight and siren
Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections
Unhelpful app
Requires mains power
Only 7-day cloud storage

During our review of this smart camera, we found that Swann’s Security app does have some rough edges, and you may need to be patient as you go through the initial set-up process. 

Even so, the sturdy design, outdoor accessories, and extensive set of security sensors ensure that the Spotlight Outdoor camera is a good, affordable option for keeping an eye on your garden or other areas outside your home.

Read the full review: Swann Spotlight Outdoor Security Camera review

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