Home security systems offer a simple way to keep your home safe. However, professionally installed setups often carry hefty monthly fees and come with additional devices that may not be necessary for your home. If you’re looking for a great alternative, consider checking out the best outdoor security cameras. These make it easy to monitor your property while away – and most of them can be installed yourself, without assistance from an expert.
Outdoor security cameras let you check live video feeds of your home through your smartphone or other device. Many also double as floodlights, illuminating your yard when motion is detected. The best outdoor security cameras even let you sync them with other smart home gadgets, giving you an interconnected security system that rivals those offered by professionals. Toss in weatherproofing, customizable settings, and built-in sirens, and you’ve got a compelling product.
Not all outdoor security cameras carry these features, and figuring out which is best for your home isn’t always easy. So, if you need some help narrowing down the options, here’s a look at the best outdoor security cameras of 2023.
Arlo Pro 4
Best outdoor security camera
- Sharp-looking footage
- Additional details with color night vision
- Doesn't require a hub to set up
- Smart security with Arlo Smart service
- Specs are similar to predecessor
- Spotlight required for color night vision
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, a built-in LED spotlight, and a built-in siren that can alert you to danger.
What makes this 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.
Wyze Cam Outdoor v2
Best budget outdoor camera
- Solid construction
- Excellent battery life
- Local storage
- Affordable price
- Works offline
- App has some quirks
- Inconsistent video quality
- Weak speaker
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. The latest version has an IP65 rating, which ensures that the cam can weather even blizzards and summer heatwaves, making it a great option for many different climates.
The specs on this surveillance camera also impress. 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. Voice compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant is included.
When you factor in all of these features with the Wyze Cam Outdoor's low cost, it's an easy choice for an affordable security camera system. Note that this particular bundle also includes a base station you will need to mount to receive the video data from the cam. An SD card slot is part of the device if you want to record on local storage. The battery is rated for six months before needing to recharge.
Eufy SoloCam L40
Best outdoor camera without a subscription
- Built-in onboard storage
- 2K resolution
- AI to ignore animals and trees
- No cloud storage option
Eufy's reliable cams make excellent outdoor picks, and this latest wireless model has plenty of strong features to make it a contender. However, what makes Eufy attractive to many buyers is that there's no extra monthly fee for storage. No video is uploaded to the cloud. Instead, storage is handled via an 8GB onboard storage component that's automatically encrypted for safety. There's also a card slot for expanding storage if you don't want to retrieve footage as often.
The SoloCam L40 also impresses with its detail-oriented 2K resolution, the built-in spotlight, and color night vision. It operates via a motion sensor, which can also trigger the 600-lumen spotlight (you can adjust the brightness and color temperature, too). Two-way audio can be enabled upon triggering. AI tech helps keep the camera from triggering on things like swaying branches or animals, too. The device is also compatible with both Google Assistant and Alexa.
However, Eufy has recently been the subject of privacy concerns, with questions about its encryption method popping up multiple times over the past few months. The company seems to be back on track (and the SoloCam L40 is still an excellent product), but just be sure to do some extra research on this one to ensure you feel comfortable with the company's latest statement.
Wyze Cam v3
Best outdoor camera for night vision
- Very affordable
- Works both indoors and outdoors
- More detail with color night vision
- Tons of security controls
- Integrated power cord
Night vision is a vital feature for every outdoor security cam — you don't want the darkness to hide any detail, especially if something like a break-in happens. While our top cam picks include various kinds of night vision, Wyze's indoor/outdoor cam is particularly notable thanks to its Starlight Sensor, which can record night-time video in full color for users.
This wired cam includes all the other smart features that make Wyze's cams a great pick, including a motion and sound sensor for alerts, detection zones, sensitivity settings that you can tweak for best results, and two-way audio for communication. It's also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant and is friendly with IFTTT if you'd like to set up complex routines based on the alerts the cam gives you.
The Wyze Cam v3 also has one of the best free video storage options around, with a 14-day cloud storage option for video clips at zero cost. There's also an SD card slot for local storage if you prefer that method. While it's an indoor/outdoor cam, you don't need to worry: All the outdoor IP65 resistances are included for all types of weather.
Lorex Dual-Floodlight V261LCD-E
Best outdoor camera for cold weather
- High weather resistance
- Bright dual spotlights
- SD card included
- No cloud storage
You don't need to worry about winter temperatures with this model, thanks to its IP65 rating that can endure -40 degrees Fahrenheit, suitable for even the coldest winters in the country. It also has particularly bright, 2,000-lumen, dual-LED floodlights (excellent for illuminating a large area at night) that can be triggered by motion cams. App controls also allow you to set manual start times and schedules for the lights.
That's just the start of what this winter-ready Lorex cam can do: It also includes a two-way audio option, compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant devices, and the expected motion alerts for your phone. There's no subscription plan or cloud sharing for this cam. Instead, it comes with a 32GB microSD card and port for free native storage. You can upgrade the model up to a 256GB card for extra space, which may be a good idea if you put the camera in a place that's difficult to reach without a ladder, such as above a garage.
Ring Spotlight Cam Pro
Best wireless outdoor security cam
- LED spotlight design for effective lighting
- Battery power
- Two-way audio
- Extra features like a siren and Bird's Eye view
- Really needs the Ring Protect plan
Amazon’s update to the Ring Spotlight Cam is an excellent option for those who don’t want a full floodlight camera, but would still like lots of illumination for their porch, patio, or driveway. The surprisingly bright LED lights on either side of the cam can be set to light up along with the motion detection features.
There’s a little bit of everything packed into the Spotlight Cam Pro’s design, including basics like 1080p video, night vision, and two-way audio. But Ring also has some extras, like a siren you can sound, advanced 3D motion detection, and a “Bird’s Eye” view option that gives you a model for where a subject may have gone. We also like that it's battery-powered with an option to plug into an outlet.
As with all Ring cams, you will really want a Ring Protect plan to enable video storage and video sharing, but otherwise, this is the most comprehensive wireless security cam we’ve seen to date.
Google Nest Cam 2nd-gen (battery)
Best value security camera kit
- AI-powered object recognition
- Excellent battery design
- A full set of abilities including night vision, zoom, and two-way audio
- Free hours of video storage
- Works with Google Home and Alexa
- Still significantly more expensive than our budget picks
Google’s Nest Cam benefits greatly from Google’s AI technology that can recognize people from cars, identify packages, and (with a subscription) do much more. While there is a wired version of this cam, we like the battery option for its versatility. We also love that it’s one of the few cams that offer free online video storage – three hours worth – for free, although a Nest Aware subscription does add other benefits.
Nest works with both Google Assistant and Alexa these days, so you don’t have to worry as much about which voice assistant you use. The cam itself is highly capable, with 1080p HDR video, night vision, zoom, two-way audio, and a variety of intelligent alerts. The snap-on mount is also a great way to make installation easy, no matter where you’re putting it. There’s even a feature to keep recording when the power goes down and save an hour of footage into local memory for review.
If the battery option isn’t really your thing, you do can purchase a weatherproof outdoor cable and wire the cam into place as well.
Arlo Pro 5S 2K
Best premium outdoor security camera
- Captures 2K footage
- Low Power mode extends battery life
- Impressive 160-degree field of view
- Very similar to the more-affordable Arlo Pro 4
The Arlo Pro 5S 2K doesn't cut any corners. Featuring a camera that captures 2K video, a wide field of view, sleek design, and color night vision, few products can match its performance. Unfortunately, all those features come at a price, as the Arlo Pro 5S 2K clocks in at $250.
That makes it one of the most expensive security cameras on this list, but if money is no object, it deserves a closer look. Not only does it offer every feature found on our beloved Arlo Pro 4, but it also features Dual-Band Wi-Fi for simplified installation, SecureLink Connectivity that allows it to stay protected during power outages, and a Low Power Mode that offers a 30% boost to battery life.
But beyond those features, it's eerily similar to its cheaper sibling. Still, if you need an outdoor security camera that's as cutting-edge as possible, you can't do better than the Arlo Pro 5S.
Blink Wired Floodlight Camera
Best affordable floodlight camera
- Produces 2,600 lumens of brightness
- Wired connection
- Bulky design
Blink makes plenty of great outdoor cameras, but few are as great as the Blink Wired Floodlight Camera. As one of the newest members of the Blink family, the Wired Floodlight Camera offers heaps of functionality despite its budget-friendly price of $99.
In case the name didn’t give it away, the Blink Wired Floodlight Camera isn’t just an outdoor camera – it’s also a floodlight. And a bright one at that, capable of producing 2,600 lumens of LED light. You’ll also benefit from motion detection, a wired connection that offers a constant power supply, and color night vision. Its design is a bit bulkier than others on this list, but that’s largely due to the massive floodlights that loom over the camera.
Anyone in the market for an outdoor camera that’s both affordable and powerful (and comes with shockingly bright floodlights) should give strong consideration to Blink’s new product. But if you’re looking for something with a more streamlined design, consider looking back at the Ring Spotlight Cam Pro mentioned earlier in our roundup.
Wyze Cam Floodlight Pro
- Affordable price
- Bright 3,000 lumen floodlights
- Records 2.5K QHD footage
- Bulky design
With the ability to capture 2.5K QHD footage and built with three adjustable floodlights that product 3,000 lumens of brightness, the Wyze Cam Floodlight Pro is a premium camera that doesn’t carry a premium price. It’s best for capturing large backyards or driveways (thanks to its powerful floodlights), but they can also be dimmed if you don’t need quite as much power.
Rounding out the package is automation that senses when the sun goes down, support for microSD cards to store footage locally, two-way audio, and compatibility with Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. Because it’s a floodlight, it’s a bit bulkier than most other products on this list, but it’s a great option if you like the idea of filming in 2.5K QHD and want to light up your yard when motion is detected.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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 indoors and outdoors, like a dome camera.
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.
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, go for the Arlo camera listed above, or research night vision quality before making a purchase.
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.
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.
This depends a lot on the brand and the model. Generally, if a security cam has a memory card slot, you can use native storage without paying anything — it’s just a little trickier to manage. If you want video footage to be uploaded to the cloud for easier viewing and saving, you’ll often have to pay for it. Brands like Arlo and Ring only allow for free livestreaming video and require a plan if you want to save video for any length of time. Google is one of the best options here because its Nest cam offers a certain amount of free online storage without needing a subscription.
It can be, although privacy laws haven’t entirely caught up with home security cams yet. Generally speaking, you can’t point a camera where people have the expectation of privacy. Pointing a cam at your porch and the street in front? Totally fine, it’s considered a public area. Pointing a camera so that it captures footage of your neighbor’s backyard or looks into their windows? Illegal, and you could get successfully sued for it.
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