Imagine if there were a way you could keep an eye on your property and stay in contact with your loved ones even when you are away from home. You could make sure that your children and pets are safe while you are at work, and if you head out on a vacation, you could check in periodically on your home and values. All of that is possible with a basic home security camera. These systems are now quite reasonably priced and include all kinds of helpful features such as night vision, activity zones, and fast and easy setup.
If you are thinking about buying a home security camera, but are not sure where to begin in your search for the right product, the comparison table below can get you started.
|Nest Cam Indoor|
|Nest Cam Outdoor|
Still need some more guidance before you pick the best home security camera for your needs? Read on to find out everything you need to know to make a smart purchase.
What is a Home Security Camera?
A home security camera is exactly what you are probably picturing going off of the name. It is a small deice which you set up somewhere discreet in your home (many models include magnetic stands which can adhere nicely to a variety of surfaces) and turn on. It provides you with a streaming feed of what is going on inside your house 24/7. Many cameras provide a wide-angle HD view so that you can watch an entire room. Most also allow you to save a history to the cloud, but some may charge you to access it.
Questions to Ask When Shopping for a Home Security Camera
How often will you use your home security camera, and what for?
If you are planning only on using your home security camera now and again while you are on a trip, you are going to have very different requirements than you would if you plan to use it every day to keep an eye on children or pets.
What devices will you use for monitoring?
Also make sure that you have thought about which devices you will be using to check on your streaming video feed. Not all security cameras are compatible with all devices and operating systems. You would not want to buy an Android- or iOS-only device to monitor using a smartphone with a Windows-based OS.
Features and Add-Ons to Look For When Shopping for a Home Security Camera
Video and audio quality
As previously mentioned, many home security cameras nowadays can deliver crystal-clear high definition video. Look for a wide frame of view which can capture an entire room. That way you will not miss anything that is going on. Pay special attention to sound quality as well.
If you are going to be using your home security camera to monitor children or pets, you will find two-way communication a very useful feature. This feature allows you not only to watch and listen, but also to talk. So if you are going to be late coming home from work, you can tell your kids, or if your dog is anxious, you can talk to him to soothe him.
Alerts and sensitivity settings
You can set up most home security cameras now to send out customized alerts to your mobile device based on different triggers that you set. You can also usually adjust sensitivity on these triggers. So say for example you have motion-sensing technology in your home security camera, but you have a couple of large dogs you do not want triggering false alerts. You can adjust sensitivity downward on some systems so that your dogs are less likely to set off false alarms.
Your home security camera will not do a lot of good if you cannot see the footage clearly at night. For true 24/7 video monitoring, you need high-quality night vision.
Quick and easy setup
When you are getting started with a home security camera, the last thing you want to deal with is a complicated and challenging setup process. Look for a camera which you can get up and running and connected online in a matter of minutes. Reading customer reviews will help you to identify cameras with fast installation procedures.
Free cloud storage and/or affordable data plans
This is a very important consideration. Most home security cameras are capable of saving histories to the cloud, usually for up to 30 days. But whether or not you can use the cloud storage and access it for free varies from one manufacturer to the next. In some cases, you may have to pay a monthly fee. In other cases, you may have to sign an annual contract. Still other providers allow you to use cloud storage entirely for free—or store and access several days of data for free, but pay if you want more than that.
What type of plan you need depends on what you plan to use the camera for. If you are just using it to monitor your home a couple times a year on vacation, getting locked into an annual contract would be a waste of money.
Security is an increasing concern with cameras, baby monitors, and other home devices. Some have weaknesses which can be exploited by hackers. Make sure that the home security camera you are thinking of buying lacks backdoor credentials, unencrypted data flows, and other security flaws.
You now know more about home security cameras and some of the most important features you can shop for, as well as important questions to ask yourself about where you plan to install your cameras and how you plan to use them. You should be ready to select the perfect camera to fit your needs. Scroll up to the top of this page to take a closer look at our comparison chart. There you can view features and prices for highly-rated, top-selling home security cameras on Amazon.com.
Nest Cam Indoor: Perfect for Monitoring Babysitters & Nurses
With it’s reasonable price tag, built-in mic and use friendly app, Nest Cam is the perfect home security camera for checking up on caretakers. Like most modern day home security cameras, it records professional quality high definition videos and can be configured to send out alerts via SMS and email.
- Very popular on Amazon. This security camera’s reasonable price tag and wealth of positive reviews helped it become the #1 Home Monitoring System product on Amazon.
- HD video. Footage captured with the Nest Cam looks crystal clear in 1080p.
- Motion detection. This camera’s motion sensor allows you to use it as a security camera.
- Excellent app. The Nest Cam app allows you to quickly and easily flip through your footage.
- Built in mic. The mic allows you to listen and hear what’s going on when you’re not around.
- Monitor your loved ones. The Nest Cam’s price point and impressive range of features makes it ideal for keeping tabs on babysitters and nurses.
- Get alerts on your phone. If something unexpected happens, you’ll be the first one to know.
If you want to add on additional functionality and get more cloud storage, you have to pay the pricey Nest Aware monthly subscription fee.
Canary: Watch Over Your Home From Afar
Canary’s most special feature is its air quality sensor. Few other home security cameras can monitor the atmosphere. Another unique thing about this useful gadget is that it allows you to trigger an alarm manually. If you’re looking for a cheap way to beef up your home security without spending an arm and a leg, Canary could be the way to go.
- Manual and automatic alarms. Most home security cameras come with some type of automatic alarm functionality, but the Canary is unique in that it allows you to sound a 90 decibel siren manually.
- No monthly fees. Some home security camera makers try to get you to sign up for various tiered services, but you can use all of Canary’s extra features without having to pay more.
- Plug-and-play setup. Just set up Canary in the space that you want to monitor and start recording.
- High quality video. This camera’s HD recordings look absolutely superb.
- Responsive alerts. If something happens when you’re not there to see it, you’ll get an alert 13 seconds later.
- Monitors air quality. Canary is one of the few home security cams we’ve seen that can monitor the air.
- Enhances your home security. If you want basic home security technology but don’t want to pay for a full blown home security system, you’ll be quite happy with this product.
This cam sends out a lot of false alarms out-of-the-box, but Canary’s AI learning capability allows it to “learn” from its mistakes.
Netgear Arlo VMC3040: A Pricey but Powerful Home Security Camera
If you want to buy a solid all-around home security cam with lots of features, Arlo VMC3040 is worth a hard look. Most security camera manufacturers force you to buy a tiered service plan if you want to store your archive online. With Arlo VMC3040, you get free cloud video storage plus 2-way-communication functionality.
- Free cloud backup. With Arlo VMC3040, you can setup a free 7 day online archive of video security footage.
- Easy setup. Installation takes 5 to 10 minutes, tops.
- Hard-wired power. Arlo VMC3040’s AC adapter eliminates the need to worry about batteries.
- HD quality. Like most modern security cameras, this one is capable of recording super high resolution videos that look amazing.
- Excellent night vision. Some cams struggle with night mode, but Arlo VMC3040’s ability to see in the dark is impressive.
- 2-way communication. This camera doubles as a telephone because it allows you to send and receive live audio.
- 24/7 recording. Many cams go to sleep if they are not recording, but Arlo VMC3040 is capable of running in “always on” mode.
The Arlo VMC3040 is definitely a top-of-the-line home security camera, but it’s also one of the most expensive ones we’ve seen thus far.