The Best Outdoor Security Cameras of 2022

Keep trespassers and potential burglars at bay with one of these outdoor security cameras.

By Tony Carrick | Updated Jan 19, 2022 12:22 PM

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The Best Outdoor Security Camera Option

Photo: walmart.com

Residential outdoor security cameras were once reserved for the well-to-do. Thanks to advancements in technology, outdoor video cameras became more affordable in the past decade and accessible to many. These aren’t your basic wireless cameras. They offer state-of-the-art features such as infrared night vision, high-resolution video, movement sensors, and other tech.

For the uninitiated, these high-tech monitoring devices can quickly become confusing. This guide breaks down features to consider when shopping for the best outdoor security camera. Learn about why these recommendations are among the top-performing models available.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Arlo Ultra – 4K Wire-Free Security 1 Camera System
  2. BEST BUDGET: EZVIZ Security Camera Outdoor 1080P Wifi
  3. BEST WIRED: Reolink 4k PoE Security Camera System
  4. BEST SOLAR: Reolink Argus PT w/ Solar Panel – Wireless Pan Tilt
  5. BEST HIDDEN: Panasonic HomeHawk Outdoor Wireless Security Camera
  6. BEST SMART TECH: Google Nest Cam Outdoor 2-Pack Outdoor Camera
  7. BEST WITH SIREN: Ring Floodlight Camera Two-Way Talk and Siren Alarm
  8. BEST FLOODLIGHT: Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free 2K HDR Floodlight Camera
The Best Outdoor Security Camera Option

Photo: amazon.com

Types of Outdoor Security Cameras

One of the most significant differences between the types of outdoor security cameras is whether they are wireless, hard-wired, solar, or floodlight.

Hard-Wired 

Each camera is directly connected to a power source and the internet using a cable. A hard-wired security camera system uses a recording device and as many as four (or more) cameras, maximizing your ability to monitor your property. Since hard-wired cameras have a constant power supply, they can run 24/7 without draining batteries.

These systems can be more difficult and time-consuming to install as they involve running wiring from the cameras to the base unit on the home’s interior.

Wireless 

Wireless models use a battery or standard electrical plug for power and connect to the internet via a wireless router. Since they do not involve running wire from the cameras to a base unit, they are much easier to install.

Some wireless cameras are truly wireless, running off a rechargeable battery, while others must be plugged into an outdoor outlet. Wireless cameras that use a battery cannot run 24/7. To maximize battery life, they use sensors that turn the camera on when triggered by motion or sound. A wireless camera’s batteries can last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on how often the camera operates.

Solar 

While most outdoor security cameras rely on wiring for their power supply, some models come with solar panels for continuous, reliable use and energy-efficiency. While most solar security systems come in bundles (security camera, a backup battery, and a solar panel), some cameras have the panel and backup battery built-in for easy installation.

The main benefit of a solar outdoor security camera is that it can be installed virtually anywhere as there are no wires required. Plus, these solar units have WiFi connectivity to provide you a live feed. However, on rainy or cloudy days, the quality and battery life of your outdoor security camera may diminish as it will rely on the backup battery only.

Floodlight

For those who want ample visibility in case of intruders, floodlight security cameras attach to an outdoor light box and are equipped with motion sensors so when an animal or person comes in view of the camera, the light box will switch on and illuminate the area. While many options are available with floodlights built-in, there are some that can be connected to lights you currently have installed.

These models operate on battery power and use WiFi connectivity to access a live feed and record. Most floodlight security cameras also come with 700 to 2,000 lumens or brightness. Depending on which model you select, this means your floodlights can cover front steps to an entire driveway or yard.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Outdoor Security Camera

Understanding how outdoor cameras work is crucial to picking the right one for your home or creating a DIY security system yourself. Below are some of the factors to keep in mind when shopping for an outdoor security camera.

Smart Home Compatibility 

Many outdoor cameras offer smart home integration with support for systems such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. Smart home outdoor security cameras allow you to access footage from the camera on a wide variety of devices, including from a computer, smartphone, and even the screen on a smart refrigerator.

This powerful capability allows you to see who’s knocking at your door while you’re on vacation hundreds of miles away or in the house. When integrated into your smart home network, an outdoor security camera system can work in concert with other smart home devices that open locks, adjust thermostats, and turn lights off and on.

Connectivity

There are different options for connectivity depending on your choice between a hard-wired and wireless system. Many outdoor security cameras connect to your home via WiFi, enabling you to access the camera from a variety of smart devices. Other devices use Bluetooth technology. Hardwired systems use ethernet cables for connectivity.

Visible vs. Hidden

Outdoor security cameras can be visible or hidden, depending on whether you’re using the camera as a deterrent or to catch trespassers. Since statistics show that thieves tend to return to homes they’ve already burglarized, a hidden camera can allow you to catch a repeat offender in the act.

Visible cameras have the advantage of deterring would-be trespassers. Burglars or vandals are much more likely to bypass your house for unprotected homes if it’s clear they will be filmed. A visible camera will also cover your property better than a hidden camera with an obstructed view.

Video Resolution 

While outdoor security cameras may prevent crime from occuring on your property, they can also identify trespassers or burglars, making the camera a valuable law enforcement tool. That only works if the camera offers a high enough resolution. Outdoor security camera resolution ranges from 720p to 4K.

Most quality security cameras for homes offer 1080p, which is 1080 pixels tall and 1920 pixels wide. Higher-end systems use high-definition 4K, which is 3,840 pixels wide by 2,160 pixels tall. The higher the pixel count, the clearer the resolution is.

Motion and Sound Detection 

Many wireless and some hardwired video cameras begin recording when they detect sound or movement. This reduces the amount of footage that needs to be saved to the cloud or on a local hard drive. Motion or sound detection also enables the user to check specific times when the camera picked up something of interest, eliminating the need to review hours of security video footage.

Siren, Spotlight, and Security Service

Some outdoor home security cameras include an integrated spotlight and/or siren, which activate when motion is detected. These features should be set for sensitivity; a camera siren that goes off every time a squirrel or the family cat walks by is not only ineffective but will likely make you unpopular with the neighbors.

If you don’t feel like a siren or a spotlight is enough to ward off potential intruders, you can opt to pay for monitoring service. Most monitoring services involve signing a lengthy contract in exchange for hundreds of dollars in hardware, as well as the monitoring. If you’re not interested in signing a long-term contract, some companies offer contract-free monitoring services for an outdoor security camera system.

Ease of Installation

Many manufacturers of wireless systems offer easy installation as a selling point, keeping the cost of the system down by eliminating the expense of a professional installation. Battery-operated wireless systems that use WiFi connectivity are the easiest for users to install themselves.

Additional Features

Some outdoor home security cameras include additional features for protecting your home. These include cameras that zoom in and out and infrared cameras that can “see” in the dark. Some outdoor security camera systems also include an option to subscribe to a cloud data storage service for a monthly fee. These services typically save up to a month’s worth of video footage.

Our Top Picks

From multi-camera, high-definition systems to discreet hidden cameras, read on to learn more about some of the most reliable security cameras.

Best Overall

The Best Outdoor Security Camera Option: Arlo Ultra - 4K Wire-Free Security 1 Camera System
Photo: walmart.com

This is one of the more expensive security cameras you can buy, but it proves the old adage that you get what you pay for. With the Arlo Ultra, you get a lot. The camera streams and records video in ultra-high definition 4K resolution.

It’s loaded with plenty of useful features, including motion tracking, color night vision, automatic zooming, a 180-degree field of vision, and a spotlight. Once the camera identifies a potential threat, it can activate any of several response features, including an integrated siren, two-way audio, and one-click 911 connectivity.

The Arlo Ultra is operated by a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 6 months on a single charge and uses a magnetic mount. It connects wirelessly to a WiFi base unit that monitors camera connectivity, letting you know when a camera has lost its connection. Cloud video storage data is available with Arlo’s Smart Premier Plan, which is a subscription service with a monthly fee.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wireless
  • Visual vs. Hidden: Visual
  • Video Resolution: High-definition 4K

Pros

  • Provides a live stream and records
  • Siren and two-way audio included
  • Motion tracking, color night vision, and automatic zooming
  • 180-degree field of view

Cons

  • Expensive price point
  • Monthly fee required with cloud video storage plan

Best Budget

The Best Outdoor Security Camera Options: EZVIZ Security Camera Outdoor 1080P Wifi
Photo: amazon.com

You don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars for a decent security camera. This model from EZVIZ is an affordable option for extra security on your property. It features a 1080p wireless WiFi camera that works with various smart home systems and platforms, including Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT.

Despite its low cost, the EZVIZ provides a surprising number of features, including night vision, push alerts, and a motion detector that begins recording automatically upon detection. Cloud storage for video footage is available through a paid subscription to Ezviz Cloud. You can even remotely activate a siren and strobe light to scare off trespassers.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wireless
  • Visual vs. Hidden: Visual
  • Video Resolution: 1080p HD

Pros

  • Night vision, push alerts, and motion detection included
  • Compatible with Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT
  • Remotely controlled siren and strobe light

Cons

  • Monthly plan required for added cloud storage

Best Wired

The Best Outdoor Security Camera Options: Reolink 4k PoE Security Camera System
Photo: amazon.com

For those looking to get maximum coverage from a security camera, there’s the Reolink 4K Camera System, which features not one but four 4K cameras. Each camera has motion sensors that send alerts when movement is detected. If that’s not enough coverage, the system can expand to accommodate up to eight cameras.

Each Reolink camera connects to a central base, which includes inputs for a monitor and router. The base offers continuous 24/7 recording with a two-terabyte hard drive for playback, while an app allows you to access the cameras remotely from a smart device.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wired
  • Visual vs. Hidden: Visual
  • Video Resolution: 4K

Pros

  • Alert motion sensor
  • Accommodates up to 8 cameras
  • Can be connected to a monitor and router
  • 24/7 recording included

Cons

  • Expensive price point

Best Solar

The Best Outdoor Security Camera Option: Reolink Argus PT_ Solar Panel – Wireless Pan Tilt
Photo: amazon.com

For ample visibility, this Reolink Argus PT comes with a fully adjustable lens with Starlight night vision and 1080p HD image resolution. This panoramic camera can be tiled 355 degrees horizontally and 140 degrees vertically, can see objects that are over 33 feet away, and comes with two-way audio.

For live feeds and recording, this security camera system comes with 128GB of local storage for storing footage without purchasing a subscription. Plus, these feeds can be accessed by up to 8 people at a time through the Reolink app, and is compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa. This wireless outdoor security camera is solar-powered, but the 6500mAh rechargeable lithium backup battery can also last for 1-4 weeks.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Solar
  • Visual vs. Hidden: Visual
  • Video Resolution: 1080p HD

Pros

  • Starlight night vision-enabled panoramic camera
  • Two-way audio included
  • Compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa
  • 128GB local storage included

Cons

  • Limited durability with the mount
  • Some users report connectivity issues

Best Hidden

The Best Outdoor Security Camera Option: Panasonic HomeHawk Outdoor Wireless Security Camera
Photo: amazon.com

The HomeHawk from Panasonic offers an excellent range of view with wide-angle lenses, 720p resolution, and full-color night vision. The super-wide angle lens offers a 172-degree view from your front door, allowing you to capture a broad swath of your front yard. With its flat, low-profile look, the HomeHawk camera is unobtrusive.

You don’t need to pay for an expensive cloud service with the HomeHawk. Unlike many available models, this pick provides free cloud storage with the use of an SD card that can be removed and inserted into a computer for viewing. The camera is completely wireless with a long-life rechargeable battery. It also features an alert system that texts or emails you when triggered and a two-way talk option for communicating with visitors.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wireless
  • Visual vs. Hidden: Hidden
  • Video Resolution: 720p

Pros

  • Super wide-angle lenses; 172 degree view
  • Built-in night vision, two-way audio, and push notification alert system
  • SD card memory; free cloud storage

Cons

  • Less resolution than comparable models
  • SD card data fills up quickly

Best Smart Tech

The Best Outdoor Security Camera Option: Google Nest Cam Outdoor 2-Pack Outdoor Camera
Photo: amazon.com

With plenty of cool extra features and the ability to connect with the Nest smart home line of products, this outdoor camera from Google is a formidable deterrent for trespassers and burglars. Nest connects to your home’s WiFi network, allowing you to view the camera from any Google Smart Device from any location. It includes 2 3-megapixel cameras, each with 8x digital zoom, and night vision, allowing you to capture excellent 24/7 live video regardless of the lighting.

A subscription to Nest Aware saves footage for up to 60 days. A motion activity sensor sends alerts directly to your phone or email, while a speaker and microphone allow you to interact with visitors. This impressive camera uses a magnetic mount or wall plate, making installation a breeze. A 25-foot weatherproof power cable and power adapter supplies electricity to the Google Nest Cam via an outdoor outlet.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wired
  • Visual vs. Hidden: Visual
  • Video Resolution: 3 megapixels

Pros

  • Compatible with any Google Smart Devices
  • 8x digital zoom, night vision, and 24/7 live video included
  • Saves up to 60 days of footage
  • Motion-activated sensor sends push notifications

Cons

  • Wired connection may take time to install
  • Heavy compared to similar cameras
  • May have poor video quality compared to similar models

Best With Siren

The Best Outdoor Security Camera Option: Ring Floodlight Camera Two-Way Talk and Siren Alarm
Photo: homedepot.com

This security camera from Ring features two ultra-bright LED floodlights that come on when the camera detects motion, enabling you to see who entered your property. Depending on who your visitor is, you can then choose to engage the camera’s integrated siren to scare them away. The Ring security camera includes two-way talk, so you can see and hear people on your property with the built-in microphone and speakers.

This security camera works with compatible Alexa devices, which will instantly display live video when motion is detected. Through Alexa, you can use voice commands to unlock the door or sound an alarm depending on whether the visitor is a friend or foe. An optional Ring Protect subscription service allows you to save security footage in the cloud.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Floodlight
  • Visual vs. Hidden: Visual
  • Video Resolution: 1080p HD

Pros

  • Two LED floodlights included
  • Siren can be manually activated
  • Two-way talk included
  • Compatible with Alexa

Cons

  • Subscription required for added cloud storage
  • Expensive price point

Best Floodlight

The Best Outdoor Security Camera Option: Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free 2K HDR Floodlight Camera
Photo: walmart.com

For those that want the convenience of warding off an intruder while also recording in 2K HDR resolution, the Arlo Pro floodlight camera may be for you. Its powerful 2,000 lumen floodlight connects to your WiFi network and triggers the siren or light automatically or manually from the Arlo App. Or, use Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, or Samsung SmartThings to control your camera.

This outdoor camera also has a 160 degree diagonal view, colored day and night vision, and can be connected to a magnetic charging cord for an added 1,000 lumens of light, totalling at 3,000 lumens of brightness. Recorded footage can be kept for 30 days after installation, but a subscription to cloud video storage must be bought after this period.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Floodlight
  • Visual vs. Hidden: Visual
  • Video Resolution: 2K HDR

Pros

  • 160 degree, night vision-enabled camera
  • Colored day and night vision
  • Built-in 2,000-lumen floodlight
  • Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, or Samsung SmartThings

Cons

  • Only records footage for 30 days; subscription required
  • Magnetic charging cord not included

Our Verdict

When it comes to home security, one of the most versatile and reliable options on the market is the Arlo Ultra security camera. With its wireless design, this outdoor camera produces high-definition 4K resolution, a siren and two-way audio, motion tracking, color night vision, and a 180-degree field of view. Alternatively, if you prefer a wired option, the Reolink 4k security camera with its 1080p HD video quality, night vision and motion detection, and it is compatible with Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT.

How We Chose the Best Outdoor Security Cameras

Protecting your home from intruders and having the convenience of knowing who is at your door can provide peace of mind for years to come. The best outdoor security cameras on the market ensure excellent video quality, adjustability, ease of installation, and added special features for increased security.

We researched the most sought-after outdoor security cameras in their respective categories and discovered that wireless options are favored for their ease of installation and effective monitoring. But, many outdoor security cameras are also solar for energy-efficiency, wired for reliability, or come with floodlights for effectively warding off intruders. High resolution imaging is also prioritized in this list as most models come with 1080p HD resolution, while others come with 4K and 2K HD picture.

Installation is easy with most models as these cameras can be placed wherever needed. Plus, wide-view lenses, night vision, motion sensors, and compatibility with smart home systems allow for ample adjustability and monitoring when required. Finally, select picks have built-in SD cards for local storage of footage, but be advised that most of the above cameras do not provide free cloud storage and require a subscription.

FAQs

If you’re wondering how security cameras work, if they can be hacked, or whether you can use your camera as a baby monitor, read on to find answers to these and other pressing questions about outdoor security cameras.

Q: How do wireless cameras work?

Wireless cameras use a radio signal that transfers the camera images to a hub located inside your home. That hub connects to your home’s WiFi network, which allows you to view the video via a computer or smart device.

Q: Can my security camera be hacked?

Security cameras can be hacked, but it’s almost always due to a lack of security measures taken by the homeowner as opposed to a deficiency of camera equipment or provider. Follow these measures to protect your camera against hacking:

  • When setting up a password for the account, make sure to use something unique. Avoid using the same password from other accounts as hackers often use data breaches from credit bureaus and banks to hack into a user’s other accounts.
  • Use two-factor authentication if you can. When you attempt to log in, the camera company or security company will send a one-time security code to your phone that you must enter to access the camera.
  • Make sure your camera’s firmware is up to date. Manufacturers’ reputations rely on their ability to keep their customers’ privacy intact, so they’re continually updating their software to plug holes in potential security breaches. By updating your firmware, you get the most secure version of the camera’s software.

Q: Will a security camera work as a baby or pet monitor?

Given that outdoor cameras have cool features such as night vision, movement detection, and sound detection, a security camera may seem like a great option for monitoring your little one. However, while security cameras offer 24/7 video coverage, most don’t provide continued sound coverage.

So if your child starts crying, you won’t be alerted by their crying, but rather by an alert tone telling you a loud noise has been detected. The sounds of a crying baby will awaken you from a dead sleep at 3 a.m., but you might sleep through an alert tone.

Q: What is two-way audio?

Two-way audio is a feature that allows you to communicate with a visitor to your home through a microphone and speaker integrated into the outdoor camera. Once the camera detects a person, you’ll be alerted. You can then use your smart device to communicate with the person through the camera.

Q: What is a base station?

A base station is the hub that the cameras communicate with. The camera uses a radio signal to send images to the hub, which then connects to your home’s WiFi network via the router. You can then access those images and any recorded video footage via a computer or smart device connected to the home network.