2023's Best Outdoor Cameras: Vetted by Security Experts |

With weather-resistant design, these are the best outdoor cameras on the market as tested by our experts.

An outdoor security camera is a home surveillance device that lets you monitor what’s happening around the outside perimeter of your home. What sets outdoor cameras apart from normal security cameras is that they’re specifically built for outdoor use. They typically have weatherproof casing, excellent night vision, and various options for powering like electric cords, batteries, or power-over-Ethernet or PoE. Battery Operated Camera

2023's Best Outdoor Cameras: Vetted by Security Experts |

>> Read More: Best PoE Security Cameras

Outdoor cameras serve the same functions as other types of security cameras – they give you visual access to your property, record important events and incidents, and detect burglars. However, being outdoors means they have to go over and beyond some normal security camera features.

In testing scores of outdoor cameras, we’ve learned that some of the best features they should have are:

By looking at those features, comparing security cameras that offer them, and testing those cameras ourselves, we were able to round up the best outdoor security cameras available. So without further ado, here are the best security cameras to use outdoors – from the most rugged to the smartest.

Pro Tip: Never miss a beat with the SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera Pro paired with a SimpliSafe security system. Learn more in our SimpliSafe review (you’ll love the Video Verification feature).

Lorex Technology had the best selection of industrial-quality outdoor security cameras. Compared with leading home security cams, Lorex Wi-Fi and IP cameras were even more durable and high-performing. They were virtually vandal proof and had long depths of field with color night vision. For instance, the 1080 HD Outdoor Wireless Security Camera ($149) had a 115-foot range in the dark. Resolution on some Lorex camera models was“ultra-high” at 4K, whereas resolution on others was merely “high” at 1080p. Weatherproof Lorex cameras with 4K resolution started at just $159.

>> More info: Best 4K Security Cameras

Thanks to their affordable per-camera pricing, it’s easy to build a Lorex system that can easily cover an entire property, whether to watch over a small front yard or an entire football stadium. Lorex cameras can cost as low as $100 (or less) per camera. There are even four-camera bundles (DVR included) that cost $300.

Many of the Lorex camera systems we saw can support as many as 16 cameras. You don’t need that many for an average-sized home. In our case, four cameras were plenty enough for full coverage. Even still, should you need more than 16 cameras, simply adding another DVR will do the trick. Keep an eye on the number of channels of the DVR. A 16-channel DVR supports 16 cameras; an eight-channel supports eight cameras; and so on.

Nest, a Google-owned brand, is a leading smart home and home security brand. It offers products like video doorbells and smart speakers, but their flagship home products belong to the Google Nest Cam line of security cameras. Two of those cameras work outdoors.

The best outdoor camera in Nest’s lineup is the Nest Cam (battery). As the name suggests, this small but sturdy camera comes with a battery, making installation a breeze. You don’t need to plug it in or connect it to a recorder. A strong Wi-Fi signal and a fully-charged battery is all it needs.

And while the other outdoor camera, the Nest Cam Floodlight, requires hardwiring, it’s relatively easier to install than other smart light-equipped cameras. If you buy the Nest Cam Floodlight, it comes with complete mounting accessories, including wire connectors, mounting plates, and even screws. And since it’s hardwired, you’ll never have to take down the Nest Cam Floodlight to recharge.

To avoid too many alerts, we used activity zones, which excluded sections of the viewing field from motion detection. For example, we got notifications when there was motion at the perimeter of our property, but not because our kids were running back and forth in the yard. Payment was required for us to see and save security video with Nest Aware. Two plans were offered: $8 per month with 30 days of event storage or $15 per month with 60 days of event storage plus 10 days of continuous video recording. Both plans can cover cloud storage for unlimited Nest Cams, whether inside your home or outside.

Nest security cameras had best-in-industry compatibility with Google Assistant. By incorporating a Google Home speaker, we controlled our security cameras and video with phrases like “Hey Google, show the garage camera.” We live-streamed, saved video to our tablet, used Chromecast TV, and more.

We also used voice to control other equipment monitored by the Nest hub. For example, we got a child’s room ready for bed by saying, “Okay, Google. Dim the lights in the baby’s room.”

Overall, Nest was the best option for DIY security cameras with continuous recording. They even offered professional installation for $79. Nest Aware pricing is competitive, too, at $6 per month.

For people seeking totally DIY home security, Arlo offered the best selection of outdoor wireless security cameras for $189 and up. Color night vision, floodlights, and facial recognition were among their special features. We chose from three lines of cameras that worked indoors or out. The main difference among these was the resolution: 1080p for the Essential line, 2K for the Pro line, and 4K for the Ultra.

We liked the Pro line in particular because it offered a good balance of price and features. The Arlo Pro 4, which costs $199, offers a 2K HD resolution with HDR, person detection, a built-in smart spotlight, up to 12 times digital zoom, and a six-month battery life.

The Arlo brand was also a great option for indoor video security. The Essentials Indoor, which is a plug-in indoor camera, is particularly popular because of its affordable price (around $60), clear video quality (1080p HD), and affordable cloud storage. And since Arlo’s app can stream from all Arlo-branded security cameras, you can build an entire security camera system combining Arlo’s impressive outdoor camera features with its affordable indoor cameras.

The Arlo app made monitoring Arlo cameras a breeze. All the cameras we added to our account appeared on the app, and from there, we were able to check on them, use features like two-way talk, activate their built-in smart lights and sirens, and review recordings.

Speaking of recordings, Arlo cameras need a cloud subscription. You can get one for one Arlo camera for $4.99 per month, which we admit is a little pricey especially since there are options like the Wyze Cams that have limited free cloud storage. If you have multiple Arlo cameras though, you can make your subscription worthwhile by upgrading to the $12.99 premium service. For that price, Arlo will store recordings from an unlimited number of cameras. The more cameras you add, the more value you’ll get.

Some special features of Arlo Pro outdoor security cams include:

Arlo’s main products were indoor cameras, outdoor cameras, and security floodlights. All in all, Arlo has the best deals on high-end home security cameras that we monitored ourselves. Their three weatherproof options covered the spectrum from 1080p to 4K, with infrared or color night vision. Discounts were given on two or more, and Arlo cloud storage for continuous video recordings was low-priced.

Ring first made it big with rather small cameras: doorbell video cameras about 2.5 inches wide and five inches tall. At the time of our review, Ring provided video security for entire properties, from the foot of our driveway to inside our home. As camera owners, we handled video security 100 percent independently instead of paying Ring for professional backup.

The outdoor security camera selection from Ring was impressive. While other companies had just one or two models, Ring had multiple options. For power, we were offered our choice of batteries, solar energy, or plug-in equipment. The cameras were priced fairly and had the best outdoor security features overall. Before discounts, Ring outdoor cameras started at $99 and up. Examples of special features on Ring’s weatherproof cameras included sirens, two-way talk, LED floodlights, and infrared night vision. The 100-decibel sirens on Ring’s outdoor cameras were activated via the motion of a trespasser or when we pressed a button in our Ring mobile app.

>> Learn More: Best Solar-Powered Security Cameras

Now, if you want security sensors in addition to security cameras, you could integrate a Ring Alarm security system. It’s a simple DIY solution with wireless sensors for security and home safety. The Ring Alarm is great for indoor monitoring, and with Ring’s outdoor cameras keeping watch of the perimeter, you’ll have a ring of security around your home.

We also liked that Ring integrates well with Alexa, the Amazon-made voice assistant. In particular, we enjoyed using Ring cameras with Alexa smart displays like the Echo Show 8 we reviewed. We could say commands like, “Alexa, show me my front lawn,” and the Ring cameras would start streaming live footage.

Ring works with Google smart displays too, like the Google Nest Hub we reviewed, but since Ring is owned by Amazon, we much preferred using Alexa.

These features were included with some or all weatherproof Ring camera models:

Typical setup time took five to 20 minutes per security camera, depending on its design, and no hardwiring was required.

DIY monitoring of Ring cameras with cloud video storage started at $3.99 per month, which was a best-in-industry deal. Ring securely stored all motion-triggered clips for our review, and we could keep the clips for up to 60 days each. For comparison, the cheapest Nest camera plan was $6 per month and included only 30 days of storage. Unfortunately, Ring did not let us record continuously, so only motion-triggered clips were saved, but for those with multiple cameras, a $10 per month plan exists that can store videos from any number of cameras installed in one location.

Wyze is best known for its value cameras, and the Wyze Cam Outdoor v2 is one of the latest additions from the brand. At $73.99 for a starter kit, it’s definitely a good purchase. It has a slew of value-adding features, like its six-month battery life, its use of PIR motion detection, and its ability to listen for smoke and CO alarms.

Our favorite feature has to be its support for local storage. Like most cameras from Wyze, the Wyze Cam Outdoor has an expandable local storage via a microSD card. It supports microSD cards up to 32 GB, and simply plugging one into the camera activates continuous recording. Even though the camera is small, it’s quite capable of protecting homes because of that.

The Wyze Cam v2 is just a part of the larger Wyze family of security cameras. And technically, almost every Wyze camera model can work as an outdoor camera. The base model, the Wyze Cam v3, is IP65 weatherproof. Just give it an outdoor-ready power cord and it’ll work outdoors.

The same is true for the more AI-heavy Wyze Cam v3 Pro, which has the same body as the Wyze Cam v3 but an upgraded 2K image resolution and faster AI detection.

Together, these other Wyze cameras can help the battery-powered Wyze Cam Outdoor make your home more secure.

Another thing that sets Wyze apart from the competition is that it can be monitored professionally, just like a home security system.

Here’s how it works:

When the monitored camera is triggered, its AI will kick in to determine if a person triggered the motion sensor or something else. If it’s not a person, it will only notify you. If it’s a person, the camera will send footage to the monitoring center. There, an agent will verify the alarm. If it’s a real alarm, they’ll try to get in touch with you and at the same time call the police if necessary.

Professional monitoring is available through the Wyze Cam Protect plan, which costs $3.99 per month per camera.

Blink sells dependable security cameras for as low as $34.99 and up and outdoor cameras (named Blink Outdoor) for as low as $99.99. Its cameras include mobile alerts and a bit of local storage via the Sync Module 2 without monthly fees, helping the brand and the Blink Outdoor take credit for being the most affordable outdoor camera option.

Cameras by Blink weren’t feature-rich but were good value for DIY video security. They were easy to install, had motion detection with customizable zones, and recorded with infrared vision at night.

How much storage did Blink provide for free? Each Sync Module 2 can connect with up to 10 Blink cameras, and while it doesn’t have any sort of built-in video storage, you can plug in a USB flash drive up to 256 GB to use as storage. Given the Blink cameras’ video resolution, 256GB should be enough to store months of motion and sound event videos.

If you wish to have cloud backup, though, Blink’s cloud plans are affordable, too. They start at $3 per month for 60 days of cloud storage for one camera, and go as high as $10 per month for 60 days of cloud storage for unlimited cameras.

As you compare outdoor security cameras, keep these important factors in mind:

There were always many factors to consider when choosing any type of security camera, but with outdoor security cameras, the factors only increased. To create our Best Outdoor Camera list for 2023, we started with our necessary features test. All of these cameras were weather-resistant and worked throughout the seasons for a variety of climates. Whether we were looking for wired or wireless, we were sure we didn’t want a camera that would hurt our wallets too much. Read on to learn more about our selections for 2023’s Best Outdoor Camera list, their costs, why we chose them, and more.

Clearly, there was a huge variation when it came to the pricing of outdoor security cameras, with the most expensive device listed at well over $200 and the most affordable coming in at just under $50. Of course, generally speaking, we got what we paid for, so we recommended buying a higher quality camera for a bit more money rather than a cheaper camera that had fewer necessary features. Regardless, we knew to be prepared to spend roughly $200 purchasing an outdoor security camera and additional funds on monthly or yearly storage plans.

So just how did we pick out the outdoor security cameras on our list? In this section, we discuss the methodology that led to our selections in detail.

Aside from simple aesthetics, we considered whether we wanted our camera to be wired or wireless. While having a camera wired to our home definitely made installation harder, we liked the idea that we wouldn’t have to worry about changing a battery. However, we also wondered how far many of the outdoor cameras would reach from outdoor outlets. Additionally, some cameras required hubs, bridges, or DVRs, so we also took those costs into account before we made our purchases.

The main thing we looked for design-wise was durability. That came in the form of a temperature range and an IP rating, which measured how susceptible an object was to both solids and liquids.

Make sure wherever you live and its weather conditions are compatible with your outdoor security camera before purchasing— you’ll thank me later.

Of course, like with any security camera, we applied our necessary features test to all of our outdoor cameras. Dive in with us as we review our thought process behind each type of feature we sought during the selection of 2023’s best outdoor security cameras.

Display-wise, we looked for a camera that had at least 1080p HD video display, the current industry standard. We also preferred cameras that zoomed-in optically and that had fields of view that were 120 degrees or greater. That gave us the widest, clearest, and most detailed view possible.

We looked for cameras that had both speakers and microphones built-in, as that enabled two-way audio and let us speak to whoever the camera was focused on. This proved quite useful not only for telling our kids to come in for dinner but also for scaring away luckers or potential intruders remotely. This was a security camera, after all!

We specifically selected cameras that included infrared night vision rather than color night vision via a bright white light. Infrared was much more inconspicuous, which was definitely a quality we looked for in a smart security camera. Additionally, we always tested out the camera’s night vision before making a purchase.

We were also big on ensuring that our cameras came with enough storage to make owning an outdoor security camera worthwhile. We preferred cameras that offered both cloud and local storage, whether that was through a Dropbox, micro-SD card, hard drive, or what have you.

Since smart security was pretty much the standard, we searched for cameras that fit perfectly into our smart home, whether it was through Amazon, Google, or Apple.

Another thing we preferred in outdoor security cameras was person detection, which helped us differentiate between people and other moving objects like animals, cars, etc. A. It made our notifications smarter and more specific, so it was easier to monitor our home with minimal effort.

We considered it extra points if the camera had facial recognition, which, after a period of time, learned specific familiar faces and identified unfamiliar ones.

The convenience of easy installation was a big deal for us, as most of the cameras we selected were DIY. While we knew we could always hire a professional if we weren’t confident, the majority of these cameras were designed to be installed by non-professionals in less than 20 minutes.

As we witnessed in the pricing rundown, the tags on these cameras varied. Nevertheless, when we decided to buy something, we always double-checked to ensure the price coordinates logically matched with the number of necessary features met.

Apps were our mobile command center for our outdoor security cameras. With each camera’s respective app, we live-streamed footage, viewed storage, received notifications, had conversations with visitors via two-way audio, and more. One mobile app element we searched for was a good rating on either the Apple or Google Play store, depending on the type of mobile device we owned. To meet our app standards, apps needed ratings of at least three-stars or higher. Of course, a lack of high ratings did not necessarily mean a deal-breaker since apps could always be updated.

Outdoor security cameras are typically wireless, powered by either batteries or solar panels. However, there are plug-in outdoor cameras available to those with nearby outdoor outlets. To power outdoor security cameras, either recharge your camera in the home, replace the batteries, plug it into an outlet or attach a solar panel.

The best outdoor security cameras are from the brands Lorex, Google Nest, Ring, Arlo, and Blink.

The best wireless outdoor security camera is the Arlo Pro 3.

Outdoor security cameras can range anywhere from $50 all the way up to $400, with the majority falling around $150 to $250.

2023's Best Outdoor Cameras: Vetted by Security Experts |

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