- Reviewed on: 6 February 2019
The Hive View Outdoor is an excellent combination of things including style, design and features. Only those scared of power tool need to pay extra for installation.
We're impressed with the range of features and the durability here. It's easy to set up and use, and the View Outdoor makes even more sense if you already have a Hive system.
It's an all-rounder and you don't need to take the monthly subscription unless you really need more than 24 hours of footage.
Read our Hive View Outdoor review.
- Reviewed on: 16 November 2016
It isn’t perfect, it isn’t cheap and it lacks a few features we’d like to see added to the app, but overall we really like the Netatmo Presence. It doesn’t look like a security camera and the LEDs do a good job of replacing an existing outdoor light. Plus, it’s not difficult to install and there’s no subscription to pay.
Read our Netatmo Presence review.
- Reviewed on: 19 October 2017
It isn’t flawless, but for this price the Mini 360 Plus is a very good security camera which records great-quality video. It undercuts all the big names despite offering pan and tilt with motion tracking.
There’s no free cloud storage, but recording to microSD means you get the full quality and not a compressed, lower-resolution stream.
Read our Ezviz Mini 360 Plus review.
- Reviewed on: 13 July 2017
For the price, the Arlo Q offers quite a lot – free cloud recording, night vision, two-way communication and a well-designed app available for iOS, Android and Fire OS, providing users with basic home security.
Thanks to compatible Arlo accessories you can slowly build out the system over time.
Read our Netgear Arlo Q review.
- Reviewed on: 15 June 2018
The Argus 2 might not offer 4K but for most people that doesn't matter. What you get here is a versatile security camera you can use inside or outdoors and it's still cheaper than a lot of rivals despite a price rise.
Reolink has made a much welcome change to a rechargable battery and the optional solar panel makes this even better.
The camera itself offers a decent set of specs and features including 1080p streaming, a microSD card slot, smart sensors, two-way audio and night vision. There's not much more we could ask for.
Read our Reolink Argus 2 review.
- Reviewed on: 5 September 2017
The Logi Circle 2 is a vast improvement on the original Circle, with higher resolution streaming, a wider viewing angle and a range of accessories that extend the functionality of the smart camera. It’s small, robust, and the Logi Circle app is well-built with a range of features and options for the camera.
It is a little pricey, though, and it’s worth bearing in mind that some features (person detection, dedicated motion zones) are locked to the £7.99 per month Circle Safe Premium subscription.
Read our Logi Circle 2 review.
7. Canary Flex
- Reviewed on: 27 September 2018
The Flex is a great security camera. It's simple to set up, monitors your home and offers good-quality video.
It's unfortunate that you now have to pay to access certain features, but this is par for the course with security cameras that record to the cloud these days. If you really don't want to pay for a subscription, you'll have to go for a camera that records to an SD card such as the Netatmo Presence or EZVIZ Mini Plus.
Read our Canary Flex review.
8. Somfy One
- Reviewed on: 28 March 2018
Despite a high price tag, the Somfy One offers a decent amount of bang for its buck. The 1080p, 130-degree wide-angle camera is crisp and clear, the motion detection is accurate and the ability to edit motion zones is a nice touch. It even boasts advanced features, like Night Vision, Smoke Alarm Detection and a built-in 90dB siren to deter intruders.
The downside is that the paid plan to access longer video clips is a little pricey (£3.99 to access longer clips from only the past 24 hours), especially when you consider the initial price you have to pay for the camera. There's no angle adjustment either, which can make placement a little difficult. Oh, and the fact that you can’t disable email notifications is bound to annoy some, too.
Read our Somfy One review.
- Reviewed on: 17 May 2017
Ring’s Stick Up Cam is a great option for those looking for an intelligent outdoor security camera. Thanks to its design, setup is a breeze even for those with little or no DIY experience and the built-in battery means that there’s no need for wires. While video is capped at 720p HD, overall quality provided is great and the night vision is more than enough for most gardens. Ring’s motion detection feature is far beyond what competitors offer with advanced ‘zone’ detection, and alerts you on your smartphone, tablet or PC.
Battery life isn’t perfect, but you have the option of hooking up a solar panel or plugging it in to a power supply if charging it every 6/8 weeks isn’t an option.
Also check out our Ring Smart Doorbell review.
Read our Ring Stick Up Cam review.
- Reviewed on: 8 March 2017
It may lack a speaker for two-way communication, but if you need an outdoor camera the Y-Cam is a good choice. The app is one of the better ones out there, allowing you to easily bring up motion events over the last seven days. It's reliable, too.
The only snag is that while rolling 7-day storage was previously free, this now applies only to the first 12 months.
Read our Y-Cam Outdoor HD Pro review.
How to choose a security camera for home
Most home security cameras perform the same basic functions – they detect an event, record the event and send you an alert – but they don’t all do it in the same way.
Also, there are two main types: those that record only when motion is detected and those that record constantly (like CCTV).
Certain cameras go beyond those basics and some can be mounted outdoors. Don’t forget to read our reviews to find out how well each camera works in practice and whether its day and night video quality is any good: don’t rely on a manufacturer's specifications or claims.
You should get notifications on your phone when the camera detects an event. Without watching the live feed constantly, this is the only way to keep tabs on your home in relative real time.
Some can send alerts to multiple people; others will send emails in addition to text messages.
Many manufacturers now offer cloud-storage plans with their camera. They record video to a server in the cloud and store it for anything from 24 hours to a couple of weeks. Sometimes offered free, these cloud plans typically require a monthly subscription, but may be worth buying for their convenience and 24/7 recording.
Important note: Y-Cam has changed its policy on free cloud storage. Previously it offered seven-day rolling storage for free, which made it the most generous of any smart security camera. Now, it says it cannot afford to do this for longer than one year. After that the storage costs £2.99 per month per camera, or £4.99 per month if you opt for the Plus Premium service (this is a 50 percent discount off the usual price and the deal lasts for one year).
Netatmo's Welcome (and Nest with its Cam IQ) offer facial recognition so you can get alerts when certain family members arrive home - or only if an unfamiliar face is spotted. It does work, but not as well as you might hope.
Neither of these cameras makes it into our top chart here, for different reasons.
Some cameras include memory card slots so you can store video on the device. We like this option as it can eliminate the cost of monthly storage fees - but if a thief steals your camera they take the evidence with them. Ezviz's cameras let you record both locally and to the cloud simultaneously.
All the latest cameras can be accessed (some even set up) via a smartphone or tablet app. In addition to offering a way to view the camera’s live feed, apps often let you adjust settings and turn on and off recording, motion detection and more.
Often you'll only be able to customise notifications, adjust motion and sound detection sensitivity, and set detection areas via the web portal, but it's great if you can do this in the app.
Motion detection is one of the most desirable features in a security camera. Built-in sensors (or software algorithms) pick up movement within the camera’s field of view and trigger video recording. Because you're not interested in any old movement, it’s important the system also offers the ability to narrow the range of detection, adjust the sensor’s sensitivity or otherwise customise this feature to cut down on false alerts.
Some cameras can identify people, cars and pets, while others aren't as smart.
Most burglaries happen after dark, so this feature is nearly as important as motion detection. Every camera here will switch to night vision automatically in low-light conditions, and most allow you to customise when and how it should be activated. This won't work through windows, where you'll see a reflection of the LEDs - that's why you need an outdoor camera to monitor your garden or driveway.
Pan, Tilt & Swivel
Most security cameras can be manually tilted and swivelled to focus on a certain viewing area. A true pan/tilt camera is equipped with a motor so that you can move its lens using its app or browser-based app, such as the Ezviz Mini 360 Plus.
No amount of security video will help you if it’s blurry, jittery or otherwise distorted. Look for a camera that offers the highest possible resolution. However, bear in mind that many 1080p cameras will reduce the quality to 720p in order to upload it to the cloud, so it's not the advantage you might think. In most cases, it's only 1080p cameras with local storage benefit from the extra resolution.
Scheduling features allow you to tell the camera to turn on and off, detect motion, and/or send alerts at specified times. This is useful when you want to be notified only when your children get home from school, or when you’re away. It can reduces the number of false alerts.
While the idea of a security camera implies eyes-on monitoring, the ability to also hear what’s going on gives you a more complete picture of what’s happening at home. This feature can also allow you to speak through the camera.
The camera’s field of view determines how much it can see. Some are wider than others: check our reviews for sample images from each camera.