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What is the best overall home security camera?
With so many home security camera options, it can be difficult to find the right one for your space. Based on our testing, we’ve named the Wyze Cam our best home security camera pick overall, with its many useful features for a reasonable price. The Wyze Cam is built for indoor and outdoor use, comes with the option of free 14-day cloud storage and is priced lower than many security cameras on the market.
While the Wyze Cam is CNET’s current favorite on the market, there may be other cameras better suited for your specific needs, which is why we’ve tested dozens of home security cameras and condensed everything we’ve learned into this best home security camera list. Below, you’ll find the best home security camera for your home in every major subcategory, from smart doorbells to the models that work well with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri voice commands. Some are fairly simple, with a motion sensor that sends a push notification to your smartphone when they detect movement, while others come with features such as professional monitoring and cloud storage that prevent you from having to sift through hours of footage. No matter your need, you can find a satisfactory home security camera from the options below. (We update this best home security camera list periodically.)
Best home security cameras of 2023
Home security cameras compared
|Our picks||Wyze Cam (2020)||Wyze Cam Pan v2||Arlo Video Doorbell||Arlo Pro 4||Nest Cam|
|Resolution||1080p||1080p||1,536 x 1,536||2K||1080p|
|Field of View||130 degrees||120 degrees||180 degrees||160 degrees||135 degrees|
|Setup||Movable, indoor/outdoor||Movable, indoor only||Wired, outdoor||Wireless, indoor/outdoor||Wired, indoor only|
|Extra Features||Live streaming, motion detection, night vision, weather resistance, integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant||Live streaming, two-way talk, sound and motion alerts, color night vision, panning and tilting functions||Live streaming, arm/disarm modes, two-way talk, motion zones, night vision and an integrated siren.||Live streaming, two-way talk, night vision, weather resistance||Two-way talk, night vision, 4 colors, object identification, activity zones, and integration with Google Assistant|
How we test home security cameras
Hands-on testing is core to our evaluation of any home security products. When it comes to security cameras, we start by identifying new and test-worthy products from established manufacturers — cameras you’d be most likely to come across when shopping online or at your local hardware or electronics stores. When these products hit the market, or sometimes even earlier, we get our hands on them and thoroughly test them in a real-home environment over the course of a week.
We begin testing by setting the camera up according to the included and/or app instructions, making note of any difficulties encountered along the way. Once the camera is ready to roll, we evaluate all features, paying close attention to resolution, night vision, notification latency, local or cloud storage and compatibility with smart home ecosystems like Google, Alexa and Apple HomeKit.
Such evaluations can take less than a day, but we monitor the camera over the course of a week for a more complete look at the camera’s performance day and night. And if that general use doesn’t give us all the data we’d like to see, we’ll create a mock situation — like staging a porch pirate scenario — to see how quickly and accurately the camera and app send notifications and record the event.
If you want to read more about our review process, check out our in-depth article on how we test home security cameras and video doorbells.
Factors to consider when choosing a home security camera
There are hundreds of home security cameras on the market, ranging drastically in price, functionality and quality. With all the options, it can be hard to not become overwhelmed fast, especially when you’re considering something as important as your home’s safety. After CNET’s years of testing home security cameras, we have some tips if you’re on the hunt for a new one. Here are a few parameters to consider:
This, of course, is a big one. You don’t want anyone peeping on your property or hacking into your camera. Wireless home security cameras can be more susceptible to hacking due to their connectivity to Wi-Fi networks and remote access. Wired home security cameras are more secure. (Read more about the pros and cons of wired vs. wireless systems here.)
Indoor vs. outdoor
One of the first things you’ll need to consider is where you want to place your home security cameras. If you want your camera to be located outside, recording your porch or yard, you’ll likely want an outdoor camera that’s also weather resistant or features night vision.
While many cameras can be used interchangeably for indoor or outdoor purposes, some cameras are solely made for indoor usage, like the Wyze Cam Pan v2, so make sure you’re buying cameras that can handle the outdoor elements.
Video quality should be a major consideration when buying a home security camera. In simplest terms, your camera won’t be effective if the only footage being recorded is grainy and unreadable.
The higher the resolution, the better the video quality. Most home security cameras on the market now have 1,080p resolution, but others even have 2K resolution (like the Arlo Pro 4) or 1,536×1,536 resolution (like the Arlo Video Doorbell). Just remember, the higher the video quality, the more bandwidth it takes up and the more likely your camera is to experience lag times or glitches.
Battery or wired power
Battery and wireless cameras versus wired options are a matter of taste, since both types have pros and cons.
Wireless options are usually easier to install and operate, and often use cloud storage, so you can access your footage from anywhere. Wireless security cameras have their own power supply, so even during an internet or power outage, they can still record and save footage. One of the biggest disadvantages, though, is you’ll need to manually change the batteries or charge them every so often, unless you get a solar-powered home security camera.
Wired cameras are hardwired to a steady connection, so they don’t need to be recharged and can often boost a high-quality video resolution. They tend to be more reliable, secure and consistent in video quality while not requiring monthly cloud storage fees. On the negative side, wired home security cameras often need to be professionally installed and don’t integrate with smart home systems like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
Local vs. cloud storage
Not all video storage is equal. You have two main options and picking one is up to your personal preference. There’s cloud storage, which sends your video footage to a remote server to be saved, and local storage, which relies on a separate accessory or piece of hardware, usually a microSD card, to hold any footage you’d like to save. Usually, cloud storage requires a monthly fee.
A few more considerations
When you’re installing wireless home security cameras, keep in mind that the smart home camera you buy (and your security system as a whole) will only be as good as the quality of your Wi-Fi connection at the location where you plan to install it. So check your Wi-Fi speed before you drill holes in the walls or otherwise mess up your door frame, brick or siding for your home security camera. If the connection is spotty on your wireless security camera, you’ll notice significant lag times, pixelation in the live feed and other Wi-Fi delays that make the video quality poor and home security cameras a pain to use.
With a good Wi-Fi connection, you should be in good shape to use your indoor home security camera or outdoor home security camera without any major camera system issues and get clear footage every time. Still have questions? Take a look at my home security camera buying guide and the below FAQs.