We have tested several other outdoor security cameras. These are the ones we like that just missed out on a place above.
Imou Knight Spotlight Camera for $180 or £100: A smart design and solid feature set make this an attractive security camera for the right spot. It can record at up to 4K with HDR, has a 600-lumen spotlight around the lens, and can take microSD cards up to 256 GB (sold separately) to record locally. The app offers a wide range of features, including detection zones, cross line alerts, and human or pet detection, though the AI sometimes gets it wrong. Sadly, the low frame rate (15) too often results in blurry footage, but this came close to snagging a spot above.
Reolink Go PT Ultra for $250: If you need a wireless security camera that can connect to cellular 3G or 4G LTE networks, you could do worse than this offering from Reolink. It is a pan-and-tilt camera that can record up to 4K video on a local microSD card (sold separately), or you can subscribe for cloud storage. It has a wee spotlight and decent color night vision, and it comes with a solar panel to keep the battery topped up. The detection is reliable but doesn’t always categorize subjects correctly. Loading time and lag will depend on the strength of the signal. Just make sure you check carrier compatibility and get a SIM card before you buy.
Annke NC800 for $350: Capable of capturing high resolution footage up to 4K, the NC800 boasts color night vision without a spotlight. This is an IP camera designed for local use with an NVR (network video recorder), though you can also insert a microSD card for local recordings. There is PoE (power-over-Ethernet) or you can plug in via Ethernet to your router with a separate power connection, but either way you will have to run cables. I had some trouble with the frame rate to my phone at higher resolutions, but it delivers good picture quality with no lag. I also like that the app supports 2FA with fingerprint unlock. But configuration is tricky and far from intuitive.
Defender Guard Pro for $134: Previously our top tethered pick, the Defender Guard Pro (7/10, WIRED Recommends) ticks most boxes. It’s affordable, delivers 2K video, two-way audio, and local storage via an included microSD card. Plus, there’s a spotlight and siren. Setup was glitchy and you must run a power cable inside, so it’s a hassle to install. The price has also increased since we first recommended it, and stock seems to be limited.
Wyze Cam OG for $24 and Wyze Cam OG Telephoto for $34: This interesting pair of affordable cameras from Wyze work well together, and you can get them bundled with a stack kit for $56. The OG gives you a 120-degree wide view and sports a spotlight, and the OG Telephoto has a 3x optical zoom. For example, you might have the OG cover your backyard and use the Telephoto to focus on the gate area, and you can set up a picture-in-picture view in the Wyze app. Both are IP65 rated, but if you want to use an outdoor socket, you must buy the Wyze Outdoor Power Adapter ($15).
Swann AllSecure650 4 Camera Kit for $700: This kit includes four wireless, battery-powered cameras and a network video recorder (NVR) that can plug into a TV or monitor via HDMI. The cameras can record up to 2K, and footage is crisp and detailed enough to zoom in on, though there is a mild fisheye effect. The night vision is reasonably good, but the two-way audio lags and sounds distorted. I like the option to view all camera feeds simultaneously, the backup battery in the NVR makes it a cinch to swap batteries when a camera is running low, and everything is local with no need for a subscription. Unfortunately, the mobile app is poor, camera feeds sometimes take several seconds to load, and there doesn’t seem to be any 2FA. The NVR interface is also clunky to navigate with the provided mouse.
Arlo Pro 4 for $160: This camera was our top pick and it is still an excellent buy that is widely available. Its successor, the Pro 5, has slightly better battery life and enhanced color night vision, but there isn’t a huge difference. This camera provides crisp, clear footage, responds swiftly, and has an excellent detection and notification system, but you must also factor in the cost of an Arlo subscription starting from $5 per month for a single camera.
Reolink Argus 3 Pro for $120: There’s a lot to like with this security camera, not least the affordable price. It offers 2K video, local or cloud storage, two-way audio, a siren, and person recognition. The live feed loads fast, and it’s cheap to buy a solar panel accessory for power. The app is a little confusing, but Reolink recently added 2FA. I also tested the Reolink Argus PT with solar panel ($160), which is a solid pan-and-tilt camera with an otherwise similar feature set. Both Reolink cameras also support dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz).
Eve Outdoor Cam for $250: This stylish floodlight camera must be wired in, and installation is tricky (you may want an electrician). It can replace an outdoor light to give you motion-activated light (up to 1,500 lumens), 1080p video (157-degree field-of-view), and two-way audio. But as a Homekit camera, you will need an Apple Homekit hub (Apple TV, HomePod, or iPad) and an iCloud+ storage plan. Sadly, the video and sound quality are average, it only works on 2.4-GHz Wi-Fi, and there’s no Android support.
Toucan Wireless Outdoor Camera for $50: Toucan’s wireless camera resembles our top pick from Arlo with a smart magnetic mount and easy installation. The 1080p video is good in ideal conditions but struggles with mixed lighting (no HDR). Two-way audio is passable. The app works well and loads the live feed quite quickly, but this is cloud-only, which means you need to subscribe (from $3 per month) if you want tagged events, more than the last 24 hours recorded, or to download more than five videos per month.
Wyze Cam V3 Outdoor Camera for $35: This camera has an IP65 rating making, it suitable for outdoor use. It comes close to matching the Wyze Cam Outdoor on video quality and features, but because it must be plugged in, you might easily end up spending more on a lengthy cable than on the camera itself. Local storage is also limited to a microSD card on the device.
Toucan Security Light Camera for $130: You can simply plug this camera into an outlet, and it comes with an 8-meter waterproof cable. It has a motion-activated light (1,200 lumens), records 1080p video, and supports two-way audio. I found the footage quite detailed, but it struggled with direct sunlight. You can record locally on a microSD card (sold separately), and you get 24 hours of free cloud storage, but it has limitations. Plans start from $3 per month. Even with motion detection set to the lowest sensitivity, this camera triggered too often during testing, and there’s no way to filter for people, so I got frequent false positives (blowing leaves, moths, and birds all triggered alerts).
Ezviz C3X for $80: The C3X gets the basics right, offering crisp footage and reliable alerts. It sports a dual-lens camera for better night vision, offering full-color video without the need for a spotlight. It is also easy to set up, takes a microSD card, and supports convenient two-factor authentication with a fingerprint. Unfortunately, you have to run a power cable (there’s optional Ethernet too), and the cloud subscription is too expensive. I also tested the wireless Ezviz EB3 (£40), a 2K, battery-powered outdoor security camera with on-device person detection and a microSD card slot, but it’s only available in the UK.
Blurams Outdoor Lite 3 for $50: This is a feature-packed security camera for the price, with support for pan, tilt, and zoom functionality, spotlights, siren, motion tracking, continuous recording, and two-way audio. You can store footage locally on a microSD card (sold separately) or subscribe to a cloud plan. Video quality is reasonable, but the app is very glitchy and loading the live feed was inconsistent (sometimes it just buffered indefinitely).
SimpliSafe Wireless Outdoor Security Camera for $180: A solid set of features, crisp 1080p video, and support for HDR sounds tempting, but you need a Simplisafe security system (9/10, WIRED recommends) and monitoring plan to make this camera worthwhile, making it too expensive for what you get. (The Arlo Pro 4 offers better-quality video and more features.) It may be a useful add-on for existing SimpliSafe customers, though.