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Best Outdoor Security Cameras of 2022
Outdoor security cameras are easier to set up than ever. And if you go with our top pick, the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro, a pro will install it for you
The holidays are here, and it’s an opportunity to protect and automate your home without breaking your budget. From outdoor security cameras and video doorbells to full security setups, you can get all the tech you need to protect your most important asset: your family.
Those aren’t sleigh bells, that’s the sound of extra change in your pocket this holiday season.
- SimpliSafe is offering 40% off a new security system.
- Arlo is offering its Essential Spotlight Wireless Security Camera 3-Pack for only $290.00 via Walmart—normally $399.99.
- Take advantage of Frontpoint's sale—a free doorbell camera to keep an eye on porch pirates.
- Cove has you covered for the holidays—grab 40%-off home security equipment and a free indoor camera/doorbell.
The best outdoor security cameras have features that will help protect your home from potential intruders and that help you keep an eye on pets and the neighborhood squirrels. When rating outdoor security cameras specifically, we look for features like built-in spotlights, facial recognition, night vision, weatherproof builds, and high-resolution video.
Our current favorite outdoor camera is the Arlo Pro 4 because it has all of those top features and more. But if Arlo’s a bit too spendy for you, we have camera picks on this list for everyone from budgeters to smart home enthusiasts.
- : Best wire-free camera
- : Best facial recognition
- : Best for a security system
- : Best budget buy
- : Best security light camera
- : Best solar-powered
- : Best battery life
- : Best pro monitoring
|Arlo Pro 4||$199.99||Cloud or local storage (with Arlo SmartHub)||View on Amazon|
|Google Nest Cam||$149.99||Cloud storage||View at Best Buy|
|Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro||Quote required||Cloud or local storage (with Vivint Smart Drive)||View Camera|
|Blink Outdoor||$99.99||Cloud or local storage (with Blink Sync Module 2)||View on Amazon|
|Ring Spotlight Cam||$199.99||Cloud storage||View on Amazon|
|Reolink Argus 3 with solar panel||$89.99||Cloud or local storage||View Camera|
|EufyCam 2||$299.00||Cloud and local storage||View on Amazon|
|Blue by ADT Outdoor Camera||$199.99||Cloud or local storage||View Camera|
What to look for in outdoor security cameras
When looking for an outdoor camera, the top priority is weatherproofing. Only cameras that are specifically marked as “outdoor” should go outside; indoor cameras are often cheaper but can’t withstand the weather.
You’ll also want a camera with decent resolution and night vision so that you can easily see people and objects in clips. Built-in lights are also helpful.
Next, look for any features that help you detect visitors and deter intruders. We’re talking motion detection, people detection, package detection, facial recognition, two-way audio, sirens, stuff like that.
Outdoor camera features that work best for homes:
- Weatherproof builds
- High-resolution video
- Night vision
- Built-in spotlights
- Two-way audio/talk
- Customizable motion zones
- Facial recognition
Apartment-dwellers may not find outdoor cameras as useful as those who live in homes. You get the most bang for your buck when your outdoor camera is mounted in a private outdoor space (on porches, siding, fences, etc.).
If you do decide to use an outdoor security camera with an apartment, you probably only need one camera. In contrast, if you live in a home, you’ll want an entire outdoor security camera system with multiple cameras.
Though they’re technically outdoor security cameras, doorbell cameras serve a different purpose than the cameras we’ve reviewed here. If you’re looking for a device to watch your packages and notify you of visitors, check out our review of the best video doorbell cameras.
Want to read more?
Arlo Pro 4: Best wire-free camera
The Arlo Pro 4 packs prime features and versatility into one small package.
Arlo cameras never let us down when it comes to tech features. The Arlo Pro 4 packs a slew of impressive specs into a single device, including crisp 2K ultra-HD resolution, smart home integrations, and an easy-to-install magnetic mount. You can put this camera just about anywhere, including in trees or on fences.
Along with all the fancy stuff, you also get standard features from the Arlo Pro 4, including night vision, motion detection, two-way audio, cloud storage, and mobile app control. Our favorite part is Arlo’s smart alerts, which tell you if the camera spotted a person, an animal, a car, or even a package.
The Arlo Pro 4 offers more features in one camera than a lot of other brands have in their whole line-ups. If you want high-quality video resolution and phone notifications that tell you more than just “motion detected,” then the Arlo Pro 4 is a great pick.
One more perk: Unlike its predecessor, the Arlo Pro 3, the Arlo Pro 4 doesn’t require a base station or hub. You can use the Arlo SmartHub if you want access to local storage, but you don’t need it just to use the Pro 4.
The Arlo Pro 4 is a wire-free camera, meaning you don’t have to worry about stringing power cords across your backyard. And it doesn’t even require a hub. The Arlo Pro 4 is the first in Arlo’s “Pro” lineup that can connect to your Wi-Fi without a SmartHub.
But you might want to get a hub anyway. One benefit of the hub is the option for local storage. The Arlo Pro 4 offers cloud storage through Arlo’s Smart subscription plans, but you can also use your own microSD card inserted into the hub for up to 128 GB of local storage. Local storage keeps your footage more secure than the cloud.
The Arlo Pro 4 gives you a lot of information about what it sees. Instead of just saying “motion detected,” this camera can tell the difference between people, cars, animals, and packages. If you only care about clips that show either people or the raccoon that visits your backyard, the Arlo Pro 4 makes it easy to do so.
You can also select custom activity zones, so the camera watches the areas you care about, rather than sending you alerts every time the neighborhood kids run down the sidewalk.
The Arlo Pro 4 has a lot going on, and not all of it works perfectly. For example, it’s a little tricky to get the full 2K resolution the camera offers. You have to use a microSD card with an Arlo SmartHub, and the camera’s live view will only be in 2K if you’re connected to your home Wi-Fi network.
This camera also has a pretty short battery life. Arlo advertises that its Pro cameras can last up to six months, but the longest we got out of the Arlo Pro 4 was 10 days. Even if you adjust the settings to use less power, the Arlo Pro 4 still can’t go very long between charges. And you have to take the whole camera down from wherever you put it so you can plug it in.
If you want access to the best and brightest of the Arlo Pro 4’s features, you’ll need to opt into an Arlo Smart subscription plan. Plans start at $2.99 per month.
Arlo equipment: How does the Arlo Pro 4 compare to the Arlo Pro 3?
The Arlo Pro 4 is the latest model in the Arlo Pro lineup, but it’s still extremely similar to the previous model: the Arlo Pro 3. For real, these two cameras are basically the same. The only real difference is that the Arlo Pro 4 doesn’t require the SmartHub.
The Arlo Pro 3 costs less than the Pro 4, and considering you can get the same features with the Pro 3, you might prefer to take it as a budget option rather than shell out some extra cash for the Pro 4.
Google Nest Cam: Best facial recognition
The new Google Nest Cam keeps all of Nest’s smartest features, but it lets you ditch the power cord.
Google rolled out the new Google Nest Cam this year to replace its previous pair of outdoor security cameras: the Nest Cam Outdoor and the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor. This model keeps all the things we know and love about Nest, like the intelligent alerts, the customizable motion zones, and the facial recognition. But this time, the Nest Cam doesn’t need a power cord. You can put this camera up just about anywhere, and its battery-life is better than the Arlo Pro 4.
The Google Nest Cam is versatile. You can use it indoors or outdoors, and you can use it with a power cord or no power cord. You can also customize your settings to alert you about specific events, like if someone you know enters your yard, or if your neighbor’s dog does.
We really like that this version of the Google Nest Cam is wire-free. All of the previous Nest Cam models required power cords, which makes it harder to set them up and sometimes required drilling holes in your walls. *gulp*
This latest Google Nest Cam runs off a battery, and it has a magnetic mount that makes installation a cinch. Google says the battery life lasts between one and seven months. Expect it to be closer to the one-month mark if you enable all the top features or put it in a high-traffic area.
Our favorite thing about the Google Nest Cam is the facial recognition. You need a Nest Aware subscription to have access to this feature, but it’s great if you mostly want a security camera to see when your family comes and goes. The Nest Cam can tell you when your kids get home from school, or when your mom came by to drop off homemade brownies.
The Google Nest Cam has one of the lowest weatherproof ratings of any outdoor security camera we’ve reviewed. It can withstand light rain and wind, but it’s not going to hold up very well if it’s exposed to direct heavy rain, extreme cold, snow, etc.
We recommend putting the Google Nest Cam under an overhang or somewhere it will be fairly protected from the elements.
Google Nest equipment: How does the Google Nest Cam compare to the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor?
The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor had a better weatherproof rating than the Google Nest Cam. But it also required a power cord, which made it harder to put it in hard-to-reach places in your yard like on top of fences or in trees. It was also bulkier than the new Google Nest Cam. We like that this one has a slimmer profile.
Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro: Best for a security system
The Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro is a premium camera that works with Vivint’s home security system.
A lot of home security systems treat cameras like a lonely afterthought. But Vivint does things differently. The Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro is one of the best outdoor cams on the market, and it has some unique theft-deterrent features we haven’t seen on other models.
If the camera spots a stranger in your yard, it can flash its LED light and make a whistling sound to let the person know they’re being watched. The sound usually makes the intruder look up as well, which means they look straight into the camera’s watchful eye and give you a full view of their face.
Along with its thief-beware features, the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro has 1080p HD resolution with a 4K image sensor. The image sensor doesn’t give you 4K resolution, but it does let you zoom in on images and still see things clearly.
If you need to check small details like a license plate of a car on the street, then the image won’t blur out as much when you zoom in.
Vivint also made the Outdoor Camera Pro super customizable. You can set exactly which notifications you want to get, schedule when the camera turns on, and change the lurker alert tone. Plus, the camera works with your full Vivint home security system, so if you want the camera to turn on whenever you arm your alarm system, it can do that.
The Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro offers two types of video recording: event-based recording and continuous video recording. Event-based recording is activated by things like motion, and it records in clips that last 20–90 seconds. With Smart Clips, you can set your Vivint camera to record a clip whenever it spots a person.
If you’d rather go with continuous video recording, which records footage 24/7, then you’ll need the Vivint Smart Drive. The Vivint Smart Drive can store around two weeks’ worth of footage.
Unlike all the other cameras on our list, you can’t buy the Vivint Outdoor Camera online and set it up in your yard. It’s available only as part of the Vivint home security system, and it requires professional installation.
The Outdoor Camera Pro is such a cool cam, we’d love to see it available as a standalone solution. But for now, you’ll need to opt in to the full Vivint experience.
Data effective as of 12/27/21. Offers subject to change.
Blink Outdoor: Best budget buy
The Blink Outdoor packs long battery life and high-quality video into an affordable camera.
At only $99.99 for a starter kit and $89.99 for an add-on camera, the Blink Outdoor is an affordable cam with excellent value.
A lot of cheap security cameras sacrifice features to make up for price, but the Blink Outdoor gives you good video quality, customizable settings, and extra-long battery life at a wallet-friendly price.
Blink’s biggest claim to fame is its cameras’ battery life. The Blink Outdoor has an advertised battery life of two years on just two AA batteries. That’s great if you don’t want to worry about recharging your camera every other month or so.
Its wire-free, battery-powered design also makes the Blink Outdoor easy to install. You don’t have to run wires or plug in power cords. Mount the Blink wherever you need it. Installation is a cinch and will only take you a few minutes.
The Blink Outdoor uses the Blink Sync Module 2 to hook up to your Wi-Fi. The Sync Module 2 also offers a local storage option—just use a USB drive. If you prefer cloud storage, Blink has subscription plans starting at three dollars a month.
For the price, we’re pretty impressed with Blink’s video quality. The Blink Outdoor records in 1080p HD resolution and images look pretty good—crisp and clear. The Blink app also gives you plenty of options to customize activity zones, notifications, and video settings.
Most cheap cameras don’t let you adjust motion zones as easily as the Blink, so we consider that a pretty big perk. Without that, you’ll end up chucking your phone across the room from all the “motion activated” alerts.
Blink is owned by Amazon, and Google and Amazon don’t always get along. All this to say the Blink Outdoor doesn’t work with Google Assistant. We hope they’ll add it as an integration at some point, but for the time being, it’s Amazon Alexa or nothing.
The Blink Outdoor’s night vision also isn’t the best we’ve seen.
Ring Spotlight Cam: Best security light camera
The Ring Spotlight Cam is a good option for a security light/camera combo.
The Ring Spotlight had a built-in spotlight and siren before it was cool. This camera is still a solid option if you want a camera with a super-bright security light, HD video, and a loud siren to scare away potential intruders.
This camera doesn't have the slimmest design in the world, but any lurkers will definitely spot it and know you have a security camera ready to catch their every move.
The Ring Spotlight gives you options when it comes to power sources. You can choose from a battery-powered, solar-powered, or hardwired model.
We like the battery-powered model because it makes installation easy, but it does mean you have to recharge the battery pack every six months or so.
If you’re worried about battery life, the Ring Spotlight actually has room for two battery packs. Only one battery pack comes with the camera when you buy it, but you can purchase a second one separately if you want double the battery life for your camera.
Security lights are some of the most effective and basic security devices you can use. We like that the Ring Spotlight combines a motion-activated security light with an HD camera.
You can adjust the light settings to be on all the time or to turn on when the camera senses motion. If you opt for the battery-powered camera, using the light a lot will drain your battery faster.
The Ring Spotlight’s features change depending on which power source you choose.
For example, if you go with a hardwired camera, you’ll be able to customize activity zones so you don’t get motion notifications outside of certain areas. But if you go with the battery-powered camera, motion zone adjustment is not as customizable. You’re limited to choosing broad areas.
Make sure the camera model you choose has all the features you want.
The Ring Spotlight is not small or subtle. It’s quite a chunky camera, and people will notice it on your house.
That could be a good thing if you’d rather the camera act as a visible deterrent to potential thieves. But just know that it might throw off your decor.
Reolink Argus 3 with solar panel: Best solar-powered
The Reolink Argus 3 is an affordable camera with a solar panel option.
The Reolink Argus 3 looks similar to Arlo’s camera designs, but comes at a much cheaper price. This wire-free camera combines a rechargeable battery option with a solar panel for constant power without the cords.
Since it doesn't have wires, you can set up the Reolink Argus 3 just about anywhere. And it offers options for both cloud and local storage.
The Reolink Argus 3 is easy to install since it’s wire-free and comes with a mounting strap. If you don’t want to (or can’t) screw the camera mount onto a solid surface, Reolink includes a strap you can thread through the back of the mount and tie around a tree or a post.
The Argus 3 also uses a rechargeable battery, so you don’t have to plug in any cords or string wires. That makes installation easier, but without the solar panel, you will have to take the camera down to charge roughly every six months.
With the solar panel, you shouldn’t have to worry about charging much at all. We tested the Argus 3’s solar panel on a sunny day and it charged about 10% every hour.
If you prefer cloud storage, you can opt for a Reolink cloud storage plan. They’re not the cheapest storage plans we’ve seen, especially considering the price of the camera. You’ll pay at least $4.99 per month.
If you don’t want to pay the fee, no worries, Reolink offers a local storage option. Just insert a microSD card into the camera itself, and you’re good to go.
As with a lot of cheaper cameras, the Argus 3 does not technically have adjustable motion zones. You can’t choose which areas of your yard you want to receive motion detections from, but you can choose areas you want the camera to ignore. This is a kind of backward way to get customized motion zones, but we’ll take it over nothing.
The Argus 3 also doesn’t have HDR. HDR stands for high dynamic range and it basically makes images look better even in mixed lighting conditions. HDR definitely makes a difference in video quality, and it’s noticeable with the Argus 3.
EufyCam 2: Best battery life
* Price for two-camera starter kit that includes Eufy HomeBase 2
The EufyCam 2 has a much longer battery life than a lot of other wire-free cameras.
Some of our other wire-free cameras on this list (the Arlo Pro 4 and the Google Nest Cam) don’t have very long battery lives. You’ll be pulling those cameras down to charge anywhere from every other week to once a month or so. But the EufyCam 2 boasts a much longer battery life than its competition.
Eufy says the EufyCam 2 can last up to one year on a single charge. We tested two of these cameras for four months and didn’t have to recharge them at all.
Aside from its impressive battery life, we like that the EufyCam 2 is wire-free. It makes installation easier. We also like that the EufyCam 2 produces smooth, sharp images with reliable motion detection and night vision. It doesn’t top our list for best video footage ever, but it’s pretty darn good.
We also like that the EufyCam 2, among several other Eufy cameras, works with Apple HomeKit. Not very many security cameras do.
The EufyCam 2 works a lot like the Arlo Pro 4 or Google Nest Cam in that it doesn’t have any wires or power cords, but it does sync with a hub.
When you buy a starter kit, it will come with the Eufy hub and a camera or two, and you can add additional cameras from there if you want.
The battery in the EufyCam 2 isn’t removable, so you’ll have to take the whole camera down to charge it. The battery’s also not replaceable. So when the battery stops working, the whole camera’s gotta go.
That shouldn’t really be an issue because the battery is rated for 300 charges, but just a heads up that you can’t swap battery packs with this one.
Amazon.com List Prices (as of 12/27/21 16:21 PST) Full disclaimer
* Price for two-camera starter kit that includes Eufy HomeBase 2
Blue by ADT Outdoor Camera: Best pro monitoring
Blue by ADT gives you access to ADT monitoring without the contract.
If you’d only ever heard of one security system, it would be ADT. It’s the best-known name in the home security biz. But ADT home security systems are pricey, and its cameras aren’t the best.
Blue by ADT solves all of those problems with high-quality cameras you can use without a contract.
Like a lot of our other favorite cameras, the Blue by ADT Outdoor Camera is wire-free and battery-powered. You can remove the battery pack to charge it without having to bring the whole camera inside.
The Blue by ADT Outdoor Camera also has smart features like facial recognition and human detection. The camera can recognize familiar people, although it works best if the person is standing less than 10 feet from the camera.
If you want a whole-home security system with professional monitoring, then Blue by ADT is a good choice. It will cost way less than a traditional ADT system, and you still get that blue sign in your yard that says “Protected by ADT.”
If you don’t care about pro monitoring or a whole system, you can still use the Blue by ADT Outdoor Camera on its own as a standalone device.
Blue by ADT’s facial recognition isn’t as good as what we’ve seen from Nest Cameras. And most notably, Blue by ADT doesn’t currently integrate with Google Assistant. If Google’s your go-to smart speaker, then Blue by ADT probably won’t work well for you.
This camera doesn’t work with HomeKit either, but so few cameras do that we can’t really fault it for that.
Data effective as of 12/27/21. Offers subject to change.
Recap: Which outdoor security camera is best for your home?
Outdoor security cameras are more versatile, accessible, and affordable than ever. Choose the model at the right price and with the right features for your yard.
- The Arlo Pro 4 gives you the best of all words: built-in siren and spotlight, wire-free design, AI features, and smart notifications all in one device.
- The Google Nest Cam gives you a bunch of high-tech features, like facial recognition, packed into a wire-free design you can put anywhere in your yard. But its weather resistance isn’t great.
- The Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro is a premium camera that works with the Vivint home security system. It’s a shame you can’t get it as a standalone, but Vivint’s system might be worth it for you.
- For what you get, the Blink Outdoor is a great value for the cost. At only about $100, you get high-quality video, customizable settings, and impressively long battery life.
- The Ring Spotlight Cam combines a really bright security light with an HD camera. We also like that it has room for two battery packs.
- The Reolink Argus 3 is affordable, and with the solar panel to power it, you don’t have to worry about charging the battery.
- EufyCam2 has a longer battery life than the Arlo Pro 4 and the Google Nest Cam, but it still gives you fairly high-quality video footage. Plus, Eufy works with Apple HomeKit.
- The Blue by ADT Outdoor Camera gives you the benefits of the ADT name but in a more accessible package. We think this camera is great for those who want the backing of a tried-and-true company but want to DIY their home security.
When comparing cameras, we consider multiple factors, such as:
- Subscription costs
- Power source
Whenever possible, we spend several hours with the cameras we review. We test for video and audio quality, and we take note of how each camera may enhance your quality of life.
For this review specifically, we valued features that would make a camera suitable for easy outdoor use, including weatherproofing, installation options, night vision, and spotlights.
What is two-way audio?
Two-way audio is when your security camera lets you both hear what's happening in a room (or outside) and talk through the camera yourself. The camera has a built-in speaker and microphone for two-way communication and you use the app on a mobile device to hear what people on the other side are saying and then respond. (The app works on both iOS and Android.)
Keep in mind that cameras with two-way audio usually work like walkie talkies. You push a button in the app to talk, and, while you're talking, you can't hear what's happening on the other end. And while this is a pretty standard feature in indoor cameras, two-way audio is relatively rare in outdoor security cameras.
It's becoming more popular. But for the time being, if you see an outdoor camera that offers two-way audio, go for it.
What is a base station?
When it comes to home security systems, a base station is the hub that connects all your various sensors and devices together. For home security cameras, a base station does the same thing—but the devices in question are all cameras.
Base stations are most common with 100% wire-free outdoor (or indoor) cameras. If your cameras don't have a wire connecting them to your wireless network, then a hub serves as the mediator.
Keep in mind, base stations often have to be plugged directly in to your internet router. That's not as convenient if you keep your router hidden away somewhere, like in a basement or garage.
How much is cloud storage for a wireless security camera?
The days of free cloud storage are dwindling! Most cameras require a monthly subscription, but luckily, they aren’t too expensive. Costs typically range from about $3 a month to $15, but it depends on the brand, the type, and number of cameras.
A few brands, like Arlo and Reolink, still offer SD card storage. It’s more cumbersome, but it’s cheaper in the long run since you only pay a one-time fee to purchase the card.
What outdoor security camera has the best night vision?
Any of our favorite outdoor cameras have decent, if not excellent, night vision. After all, what good is an outdoor camera if it misses all the action as soon as the sun goes down?
But if you want the outdoor camera with the best night vision, we'd pick the Arlo Pro 4. The motion-activated spotlight not only startles intruders (and cats), but it gets you color night vision.
Alternatively, the Ring Spotlight Cam records in a slightly lower resolution, but you still get color night vision. If you're looking for more options, check out review of the best night vision cameras.
And don't forget, you can supplement any outdoor camera's night vision with good outdoor lighting.
|Arlo Pro 4||Color/infrared||1440p (2K)||160°|
|Google Nest Cam||Infrared||1080p||130°|
|Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro||Infrared||1080p||140°|
|Ring Spotlight Cam||Color/infrared||1080p||140°|
Data effective 11/11/21. Details subject to change.
Which security system has the best outdoor cameras?
The outdoor cameras on our list will integrate well with most security systems, so you don’t have to limit your options to match your security company. But there is an added convenience when your cameras and security system are from the same provider.
If you want the crème de la crème system and camera, then you’ll want to check out Vivint. Vivnt’s cameras don’t work as standalone devices anyways, so if you’re getting a Vivint system, you should take advantage of its cameras too.
Ring’s cameras don’t have the fanciest features, but there are lots of options to choose from, and they’ll integrate seamlessly with your other Ring devices.
Any of our favorite security systems will have decent cameras, and you can always enhance your system with any compatible, third-party cameras that catch your eye.
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