The best outdoor security cameras in 2023
We take a close look at the best models that let you keep a close eye on your home.
Arlo’s powerful collection of camera-based and cloud-based features makes it well worth the cost.
You can choose between package detection or vehicle, person, and animal detection with this camera.
This hardwired security camera is one of the cheapest on the market.
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Over the past 8 or 10 years, the outdoor security camera market has changed dramatically. What was once a small market has become massive, with reports showing even more growth in the coming years. That’s great news for consumers; market growth means there will continue to be competition, which has kept prices for security cameras pretty low. It also forces higher-end features in commercial outdoor security cameras, such as 4K resolution image sensors and AI-enhanced capabilities, to appear more quickly on lower-end DIY models. Although there’s been plenty of focus on doorbell cameras to catch package theft and indoor cameras to ensure the pets aren’t wreaking havoc in the home, outdoor security cameras give you robust peace of mind over your entire property. The best outdoor security cameras are easy to use, smart, and include important security features like two-factor authentication to protect consumer data.
I’ve written about many types of different cameras, including outdoor security cameras, for a number of publications over the years, including PCMag.com, Consumer Reports, The New York Times, Tom’s Guide, and Gearbrain. I brought my expertise in this area to help discover the best outdoor security cameras. I also looked at critical reviews, user recommendations, and did a lot of research to narrow down our list to find the best models.
To find the best ones, I carefully considered a number of factors, including specific features such as video resolution, night vision capability, and audio, as well as more expansive qualities, like ease of use, versatility, and smart home compatibility.
You’ll find a variety of outdoor security cameras on this list, which should also accommodate a wide range of budgets and needs, from inexpensive models that cost as little as $30 to more feature-packed models that cost closer to $300. One of our picks should give you a better eye on your driveway or backyard and can help complement and strengthen a home security system.
Arlo included a few impressive improvements in this version of their Pro 5S 2K model, which is the successor to its popular Pro 4 model. Although they both can capture 2K-resolution video (2,560×1440), the newer model comes with a 12-bit image sensor, allowing you to shoot at a higher bit rate. That translates into better-quality video. The Pro 5S 2K also improved wireless connectivity; this version supports routers with dual-band WiFi (both 2.4GHz and 5GHz), while the Pro 4 only had the lower band—2.4GHz.
You still get many of the great features found on the Pro 4, including its 160 degrees field of view, a 12x digital zoom, color night vision and black-and-white infrared night vision, a built-in spotlight, two-way audio, and the ability to use smart-home technologies like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. However, it lacks support for Apple HomeKit.
Some might find this Arlo 5S 2K pricier than many others in its class. Plus, it also doesn’t offer any free cloud-based plans to access your video and photos. In order to access your videos stored in the cloud, you’ll need to sign up for one of Arlo Secure plans (starting at $4.99), which gives you the ability to access 30 days of your video recordings and provides you with additional features such as person, vehicle, and animal detection (and the ability to distinguish between them), and smart activity zones, which allow you to focus motion detection on a specific area within your camera’s field of view. The model is a bit pricey, but Arlo’s powerful collection of camera-based and cloud-based features makes it well worth the cost.
As a brand, Lorex has made very good quality outdoor security cameras for many years. This model is no exception. It stands out because it captures high-quality 4K-resolution video and has a very good 8-megapixel sensor that lets you shoot photos with more detail and data. It also comes with WiFi 6 technology, allowing faster data transmission to deliver impressive 4K resolution with fast loading time. Plus, it includes 2.4/5GHz dual-band WiFi for better connectivity. You can also use one of two smart-motion features: Person, Vehicle, and Animal Detection or Package Detection (both cannot be used simultaneously).
It’s not ideal for everyone, though. It has a 140-degree field of view, which is narrower than most in its class. It’s hardwired, so you may be more limited in where you need to place this model. It also doesn’t have a battery backup, which can be useful for units that are wired.
Although image sensors have made incredible improvements over the years, you still often need a powerful light source to capture very good-quality video. That’s why this model from Eufy is an excellent buy. It captures 2K resolution video and has flood lights to make the subjects more defined and detailed, but the lighting is adjustable—for instance, you can adjust the color temperature of the lights. Also, the camera itself can pan 360 degrees horizontally so that you can see more of the setting outside your home. And the lights aren’t fixed, so you can turn and position the lights in different directions.
It doesn’t come with a battery backup, which can be helpful if your power goes out. Also, if you use cloud storage, it will reduce the video footage to 1080p. That’s still great video resolution, and most consumers will be quite pleased with the quality and versatility of this outdoor security camera.
One thing almost every outdoor security camera requires is access to your home’s wireless network. But what if you have poor reception or don’t have a WiFi network at all? If you’re one of these people, consider the Arlo Go 2. It not only lets you hook up to a WiFi network, but you can also use a cellular plan. However, if you choose the latter, you’ll have to buy both a cellular plan and a SIM card. Also, it only works with Verizon, U.S. Cellular, and T-Mobile.
It does have color night vision and two-way talk and audio, but it’s not perfect for everyone. For instance, it provides you with the option of using cloud storage via one of Arlo’s Secure plans (plans start at $4.99), which also lets you access special features or store your videos on local storage. Still, if you use local storage, you can’t access the Secure plan features, which include not only 30-day video recording but also person, vehicle, and animal detection (and the ability to distinguish between them) and smart activity zones, which allow you to focus motion detection on a specific area within your camera’s field of view.
This hardwired security camera is one of the cheapest on the market, performing very well and capturing very good quality video. It also provides you with the option of storing your videos in cloud storage or on local storage using a microSD memory card.
But it’s not the perfect option for all users. Those looking for high-res video probably won’t be happy since it shoots just 1080p video. It also shoots at a lower frame rate than other models: For Daytime and Color Night Vision, the frame rate is 20 frames per second (fps), and with Night Vision with IR lights frame rate of 15fps. This means choppier video upon playback However, remember to consider your needs—you’re most likely not looking for producing cinema-quality video. You simply want your security camera to capture decent video. And for that type of video, this model fits the bill.
If you want to install an outdoor security camera, you’re certainly not alone. According to a 2021 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of installed surveillance cameras grew nearly 50 percent, from 47 to 70 million in the United States from 2015 to 2018.
Here are some important factors to think about before you purchase an outdoor security camera:
You’ll often see 1080p, 2K, or 4K resolutions in outdoor security cameras. A higher resolution means you’ll get a crisper image. A higher resolution will also fill up your local or cloud storage faster. That’s a problem if your subscription plan or card has a fixed limit to its capacity. If you’re trying to balance subscription costs for cloud storage with what resolution you’ll need, consider how detailed of a picture you’ll need. If you need more detail, go with a higher resolution.
Light has always been incredibly important when it comes to capturing digital video and photos. That’s why if you need your outdoor security camera to capture better-quality video or photos, you should consider buying a model with flood lights. Such models not only allow for improved image quality, but they can also act as a deterrent to intruders.
When planning to set up your new outdoor security camera, you’ll need to think about where to install it. This is not as much of an issue for models that only use battery power. However, hardwired connections require a direct connection to your home or an outdoor outlet with a weatherproof cord. This limits where you can place it. You make up for the lack of creative control with video and audio quality, which is better in a hardwired connection.
This will mostly depend on the strength and quality of the wireless network you plan to use and its position in your home. You should note that physical objects, like walls, will weaken WiFi signals. Try to place your outdoor security camera as close as you can to your wireless router.
It depends on your setup and where you’d like to position your outdoor security cameras. For instance, if you don’t have easy access to an electrical outlet, you may want to use a battery-powered model. However, you’ll need to remember to replace or recharge the battery. Wired security cameras give you better audio and video quality, but you need access to an outside outlet or direct connection to your home’s electricity.
One of the benefits of having a 4K outdoor security camera is that, depending on the model you buy, you’ll have more resolution and possibly more detail. However, the quality of the video depends mostly on the lens and sensor quality. Another thing to consider when buying a 4K outdoor security camera is that it will fill up your storage capacity more quickly. 1080p is a great option if you’re trying to balance video resolution with storage capacity.
Some outdoor security cameras don’t have the highest resolution or quality, at least compared to cameras found on cellphones or stand-alone cameras. They also don’t have as many features and aren’t as versatile.
Many outdoor cameras on the market today offer 4K resolution, perfect for ultra-detailed shots. Cloud storage makes it possible to keep that footage safe, secure, and easily accessible—you’ll have to pay a subscription for it, however. Otherwise, look for an option that allows for external storage, like a microSD card. Regardless of the model you choose, an outdoor security camera is a great way to watch your entire home, whether you’re away, at work, or in your house.
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Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.Best overall: Best with 4K resolution: Best wired with lights: Best with cellular:Best budget: How we chose the best outdoor security camerasThe best outdoor security cameras: Reviews & RecommendationsBest overall: Specs Video resolution:Field of view:Power:System compatibility: Storage options:Size:ProsConsBest with 4K resolution: Specs Video resolution:Field of view:Power:System compatibility:Storage options:Size:ProsConsBest wired with lights: Specs Video resolution:Field of view:Power:System compatibility:Storage options:Size:ProsConsBest with cellular:Specs Video resolution:Field of view:Power:System compatibility:Storage options:Size:Pros ConsBest budget: SpecsVideo resolution:Field of view:Power:System compatibility:Storage options:Size: ProsConsWhat to consider when buying the best outdoor security camerasFAQsQ: How far can an outdoor security camera be from WiFi?Q: Is it better to have wired or wireless security cameras?Q: Which is better: 1080p or 4K CCTV?Q: What are the disadvantages of security cameras?Final thoughts on the best outdoor security camerasBest overall: Best with 4K resolution: Best wired with lights: Best with cellular:Best budget: Why trust us