A full-fledged home security system would be awesome to have, but not many people have the necessary budget. If you've got champagne tastes on a beer budget, a smart home security camera might be the right fit for you. Not only are these bad boys *slaps roof of car* more economical, but their capabilities are advanced given their small size.
Smart home security cameras are just security cameras that are wifi enabled and let you actively monitor them from afar. They're perfect for both outdoor surveillance and just keeping an eye on what's going on inside your home. If you're considering one to keep your home safer, some features you should be looking at include:
- Video resolution/frame rate: because what's the point of seeing your Amazon packages get stolen if the guy looks like a blurred out Sim
- Field of view: how wide is the area that's visible to the camera? Could someone sneak around the camera unnoticed?
- Night vision: how many feet is the night vision accurate? Let no raccoon bandit go unseen.
- Cloud storage cost: Some companies will give you the cloud storage free, others will charge you a monthly/annual subscription fee to upload your footage
- Motion & sound alert: Will the camera alert you if unusual noises or sounds happen?
Amazon is home to a wide variety of them, so we did some digging to find out which one would be best for you.
If you're nervous about smart devices or having your home under watch makes you nervous, we recommend you invest in a a state-of-the-art safety doormat:
Here are our 5 favorites from Amazon:
Ring Stick Up Cam HD Security Camera
This Ring Camera can work inside or outside, and you can charge it through plug-in or power over ethernet. It also has two-way talk so you can communicate with someone who comes back. You can add voice control by combining this device with your Amazon Alexa.
Video Resolution: 1080 p HD
Field of view: 150° horizontal, 85° vertical
Does it have night vision: Yes, it has infared night vision
Cloud storage cost: The only free feature offered is free instant alert images, which are sent to you when unusual activity happens. The Basic plan costs $3 per month or $30 for the year per device; the Protect plan costs $10 per month or $100 for year, and it covers an unlimited amount of Ring cameras, offers a lifetime product warranty and gives you an additional 10% off future purchase.
Motion and sound alerts: You can customize your Ring camera to sends alerts to your phone, tablet and PC whenever motion is detected.
Amazon feedback: Ring's Stick up camera received an average of 4.2/5 stars from 279 reviews.
"Flexible mounting options are great - I cannot imagine a scenario where it couldn't be mounted. Dual power wire options (indoor/outdoor). Customizable alert area functionality is exactly what I needed for observing a room where two disabled kids are located - any funny business and I get an alert. This is awesome!" - Kenneth Schlorf
"I got the new Ring Stick Up Cam to put in my Sunroom so that I could monitor the dogs use of the doggie door. It was exceptionally easy to setup, much easier than previous cameras. It has worked flawlessly and I should know because I get a lot of motion detection with dogs going in and out at all hours of the day and night. I was especially impressed with the night vision of this camera. Night motion videos are clear, not grainy, and very detailed. I do have a couple of old Stick Up Cams located outside. They are nice but not nearly as nice as the new Stick Up Cam. I'm going to keep this one in my Sunroom, but eventually, I will slowly replace my other Stick Up Cams with the new Stick Up Cam." - BobCz
"We’ve had the ring stick up cam installed for 3 days now and so far I love it. Installation was easy and connecting to wireless network went super smooth. The video quality is excellent and all of the components seem to be really good quality.
I’d tried a cheaper version before , ZMODO, and never got the cameras to work with my dual band router after wasting 2 days. The cameras were a third the price of Ring and the ZMODO customer support seemed good but in the end I didn’t have time to waste reconfiguring my routers and trying different things without success. The ring camera attached to my existing wireless network without changing anything and I really like the option of connecting via a lan cable if I decide I want a hardwired solution." - BT
All-new Ring Stick Up Cam Wired HD Security Camera: $179.99, but Ring promo codes can help you save.
Blink XT Home Security Camera System with Motion Detection
Blink's home security system claims its battery life will last for 2 whole years. It's weather-proof and easily mountable, with a low set-up time. You're able to integrate these cameras with your Amazon Alexa. However, the Blink XT doesn't provide a 2-way audio system.
Video resolution: 1080p HD
Field of view: 110 degrees diagonal
Night vision: The camera has both infrared night vision and LED illumination to help you see at night.
Cloud storage cost: Blink offers completely free cloud storage with no monthly fees or service contracts.
Motion and sound alerts: Blink cameras detect motion in your home and send alerts with HD video and audio right to your smartphone.
Amazon feedback: They received an average rating of 3.8/5 stars from 5,635 ratings.
"Really awesome and easy to setup and use. Very user friendly. Everyone in my house has access to the cameras and alerts, so it's peace of mind for all. Wife is super happy (there's the real review....). Checked Arlo...meh...it looks prettier, but this one has better options. Free cloud storage for one. That was a big seller for me. I expect the system to detect motion, have excellent sound, good night vision, etc., which this system has and more.
1. Price was very competitive (price seems to be creeping up though). I paid $479
2. Easy of use and setup for the family (kids especially). App works really well.
3. Distance cameras located from the house (50 feet is my furthest and still great - I have a rented standard Comcast router/modem at 75 mps)
4. Pic quality with sound is impressive (like the sound part)
5. Very easy to install. Installed the cameras in less than an hour. Deciding where to put them? Take your time B4 making a decision.
The other nice feature is the ability to add more cameras easily and to move cameras to a new or temporary location." - Amazon Customer
"The biggest thing that this system has going for it is it's dead simple to setup. The biggest problem I'm having is that if I set the new XT to sensitivity 5 or higher I get to many false alerts. When I have it set to 4 all I get is a late trigger that shows the back of the person's head as they've already dropped off whatever they delivered at my front door and I see them walking away. Needs to trigger recoding way sooner. If that part worked right I would give it 5 stars because for the price and quality of video it can't be beat. No one else gives you so much free recording like blink does up to 7,200 total seconds of video (or 1,440 five-second events). Hopefully it's something that can be fixed in software." - Amazon Customer
"Great cameras. I have purchased several units and love the availability to view at any time. Great features, motion, audio (one way of course), temperature, and battery condition. The easiest system to get up and working - amazingly easy to install. (Throw the included mounting screw away, the head will strip if using in hard wood)
I have reviewed other systems, wireless, and these are by far the best. There are other systems that claims to be better, their features are identical, yet they cost 50% more?? Not sure why they are better.
This is not a perfect system, you still rely on your internet, which is the ONLY drawback. I have had great luck installing these at some distance from my router in the house, to the module in my garage, about 75 feet from the router, then about 100' + to the camera - very pleased at how far they will still connect with a clear picture."
Blink XT Home Security Camera System with Motion Detection: $319.99, but you can snag a 10% off discount with Blink for Home promo codes.
Arlo - Wireless Home Security Camera System with Motion Detection
This Arlo system comes with four cameras, so it's well-suited to a larger or more intricately laid-out property. The cameras are weather-resistant and have a battery life of 3-4 months. They will only record when motion is actually detected, so no battery power goes to waste.
Video resolution: 720p
Field of view: 110 degrees
Night vision: Yes, the cameras do have night vision.
Cloud storage cost: You can get 7 days of free cloud storage, and then after that will have to purchase a subscription.
Motion and sound alerts: You will get motion alerts through both email and push notifications.
Amazon feedback: Arlo's home security cameras got an average rating of 3.6/5 stars from 16,481 reviews.
"Bought these for my parents house, my mother-in-laws house and I'll probably use these once my own CCTV system ages at my own house. Extremely easy to setup, very simple install (just drill a single screw into the wall), and the app is very effective at keeping an eye on your residence.
It's not a $5k type of CCTV system; however, if you're house isn't storing bars of gold this will get the job done. Only suggestion is get rechargeable CR123 batteries, it will save you tons of money every few months when the batteries die." -Chris W
"Really like these cameras but have to rate as 4 stars because of the amount of lag time it takes to begin recording after sensing movement, as other reviewers mention. Set up was relatively easy but understanding how the "rules" work was a challenge. However, information and advice is plentiful to help accomplish that, thanks to all the people who contribute.
The motion sensitivity seems inconsistent, I think possibly due to changing light conditions throughout the day(?) and seems to change more as batteries weaken. After 2 months of use, I had to replace batteries twice in camera #1, which overlooked my driveway, then swapped it's location with camera #3 and now have better battery life in #1. Still doesn't prove that #1 is not defective in some way but it looks like it will be alright as my back door monitor. I chose these cameras because I didn't want to run cables and couldn't decide how large of a recorder, etc., I needed. After buying and liking the first one, it was convenient to add the kit with 2 more and now I have an extra base as well." - Rob
Arlo - Wireless Home Security Camera System with Motion Detection: $278.95, but you can save with Arlo promo codes.
Kasa Cam Smart Home Security Camera
This TP-Link camera lets you control what alerts you receive by creating up to 4 custom activity zones, at no charge, around areas that are important to you, and you're able to manually zoom in when needed. It works with either a 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz Wi-Fi network connection. You can watch up to 10 minutes of continuous, live viewing.
Video resolution: 1080p
Field of view: 13o degrees
Night vision: The night vision works up to 30 feet away.
Cloud storage cost: You are given up to 2 days of free cloud storage. After this, TP-Link offer subscription plans. The Plus plan is $4 a month or $40 per year per camera for 14GB and 14 days of video history. The Premium plan costs $7 a month or $70 per year per camera for 30GB and 30 days of history.
Motion and sound alerts: Your smartphone will receive motion alerts when they're detected.
Amazon feedback: The average Amazon rating for this camera is 4/5 stars from 437 reviews.
"I first purchased a Philips home security camera - two of them - when they were just coming out and very expensive. The image was terrible and they had no night vision. Generally, they weren't worth the money. It soured me on buying anything new for quite a while.
But when the TP-Link came along with a reasonable price and a familiar quality, I joined their beta program and tried it out. I continue to be amazed by the image quality. I can zoom in (using my iPhone's accessibility zoom) to quite large and eavesdrop on my little, old cat while she investigates things she shouldn't and I can even talk to here although she ignores me. I was in the hospital and had some friends take care of my cat and was able to direct them via the camera and our voices as to where things were and what lights to leave on. I also had to allow a pest-check company have a look while I wasn't there and could not only see everything they did (they were perfectly professional) but also hear everything they said.
For the price, this camera is a find and it can also record based on sensitivity zones small enough to catch my cat climbing into the kitchen cupboards. It's well worth your time if you have such a need." - Gordon Gross
"I have a TP-link modem and a TP-link wireless router. I have tried 5 different cameras and I have sent all of them back because of picture quality, connection issues, shutting off issues, ability to save pictures/videos, ability to set multiple motion zones, etc.. I decided to give the Kasa Cam a try since it was a TP-Link product and I couldn't be happier. Truly took only 5 minutes to set up, has been recording and monitoring ever since. I can turn the camera on and off based on when I need it recording/ready and it never has problems. The picture quality is so good, I left it set on standard vs high quality. The app is great and not a third party "try to make it work with this camera" app. You can instantly download videos it has captured from motion detection, I can see the live feed and hear clearly what is going on. The ability to set up multiple motion detection zones is a huge plus, I set up multiple zones in order to not detect the dogs movements but still cover all of the important areas. Highly recommend this camera!" - Amazon customer
"The hardware is pretty impressive. Slim profile, good image quality both in daylight and at night. Quite easy to install with the smartphone app. It's a little more sensitive to changes in light than I'd like - e.g., someone turning on a light in another room and what leaks into the room the Kasa Cam is in is often enough to trigger a motion alert. But hopefully that can be refined with software updates.
Like all security devices, there are plenty of false alarms - it's just the nature of the business. What kept me from giving 5 stars is that the app is a bit clumsy for cleaning up these false alarms. Having to click on "More", then "Delete", then "Yes" to confirm for each individual false alarm gets tedious. Would be better to have a place to tick each false event, then hit Delete to eliminate all ticked ones at once (similar to email apps). And for some odd reason, while you can delete the video for a false alarm event, you seemingly can't get rid of the whole event. You will still have text sitting there saying that an event occurred at a certain date and time. Since you may well have 10+ false alarms for every legitimate event, there's lots of unwanted text to wade past." - S. Wilson
Kasa Cam 1080p Smart Home Security Camera: $79.00, but TP-Link promo codes can score you up to 50% off of their products.
Wyze Cam 1080p HD Indoor Wireless Smart Home Camera with Night Vision
This budget-friendly Wyze security camera gives you a live stream straight to your phone or computer. The camera even recognizes the unique sounds of smoke alarms and CO monitors and alerts you to these specific emergencies. In terms of internet, it works with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks but does not support 5GHz Wi-Fi.
Video resolution: 1080p HD
Field of view: 180 degrees
Night vision: The night vision is accurate up to 30 feet.
Cloud storage cost:
Wyze offers free cloud storage, but it comes with some concessions. First, videos are only recorded when motion occurs and just for 10-12 seconds, and then these videos are only stored for 14 days before they're erased. However, you could also purchase a SIM card and use that to store recordings.
Motion and sound alerts: You'll receive both motion and sound alerts to your device of choice.
Amazon feedback: On average, these cameras were rated 4.2/5 stars from 3,733 reviews.
"Good inexpensive basic camera. Picture quality is good, but not very feature rich, smart home-wise. Storage is free 14 days from recording via Amazon cloud, which is nice. Camera feed is reachable only trough their iOS or Android app, but No Alexa or smart integration at this time, so you can't set it to record when you leave or have IFTTT integration. I think that's one of the only drawbacks I can see..." - Alex B
"These little stinkers are surprisingly good quality. It may not be easy for anyone to set up on Android but it works out. (For instance, my phone was on 5g wireless, it did not give me any other wifi options until I reconnected my phone non 5g ) not a big deal for me, but I am sure a few will have an issue. (Another example is that the keyboard is always in the way of the next button)
Overall if anyone complains about this camera then they are expecting a Ferrari for a Pinto price. This camera works amazingly well! I have 16 GB micro SD cards in mine and can check every moment when we want to dig deeper into 15 second clips. You can use multiple Wyze cams without killing your router since they only relay the 15 second clips unless you ask the camera for particular footage. This camera is unbeatable for the price. ( We pay monthly fees for ring and nest cameras, and nothing for these Wyze cams) I wish I didn't get the Nest cams and waited. :( The nest and doorbell cams are accessable through the Amazon Alexa Show in the kitchen but we barely use it. The phone app works just fine. Hopefully the camera will allow Wink or Smart things communication in the future. Cheers!" - William Duc
"I just got 3 of these today. I set all of them up in about 45 minutes, including prompted camera updates, and I am impressed so far. I came from another service after they stripped features I had for free over for over a year and asked me to pay a monthly fee to get them back. Wyze offers many of the same services for free, plus more. There are a few bugs in the app like the volume muting when you talk and the app not staying awake while viewing video, but they have said these will be addressed. I also do not like that I have to manually turn notifications on and off, for all 3 cameras. Hopefully they can address that some way as well. For the price though, I am blown away with how awesome these little things are! I am sure the app will continue to be improved." - Rizz
Wyze Cam 1080p HD Indoor Wireless Smart Home Camera with Night Vision: $25.98, but you can save with Waze promo codes.
If you're interested in getting a smart home security camera of your own, our security & surveillance promo codes can help you save.