Keeping your home secure from vandals, porch pirates, and even wandering animals is important to ensure the safety of you and your family. However, corded security cameras can turn off when the power goes out, leaving you unprotected. Battery-powered security cameras can be a good option to prevent this problem, but unless they are continually charging, these devices will eventually become just as useless.
Solar-powered security cameras use an internal battery to store energy from direct and ambient sunlight, regardless of whether it’s overcast or the sun is shining brightly. The solar panel will gather energy any time the sun is up, and when the sun goes down, the camera operates on the internal battery so you don’t have to worry about the camera losing power. Look through the list of top products below, and continue reading for more information that can help you find the best solar-powered security camera for your home.
- BEST OVERALL: Reolink Argus PT w/ Solar Panel – Wireless Pan Tilt
- RUNNER-UP: Outdoor Security Camera, Conico Wireless Solar
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Security Camera Outdoor Wireless WiFi, ZUMIMALL
- BEST 3G/4G LTE: Reolink 3G/4G LTE Outdoor Solar-Powered Cellular
- BEST FOR SMART HOME: Ring Stick Up Cam Solar HD security camera
- BEST BULLET: ieGeek Wireless Outdoor Security Camera, WiFi Solar
- BEST DOME: SOLIOM Home Security Camera Outdoor, Wireless WiFi
Features to Look for When Choosing the Best Solar-Powered Security Camera
When searching for a solar-powered security camera to go with other security features around your home, like door and window alarms, driveway alarms, or doorbell cameras, it’s crucial to consider several factors, including the capacity of the solar panel, how data is transmitted from the security camera, and the image resolution of the video. After all, it would be almost entirely pointless to have a security camera that only captures blurry, misshapen blobs instead of clear lines and details.
Solar Panel Capacity
The capacity of the solar panel refers to the quantity of energy the unit is able to gather and send to the internal battery to store. Some solar panels can be less or more efficient, but the average solar-powered security camera will have one or two solar panels that operate for between 6 and 8 hours a day in order to store enough energy to fill the battery capacity.
The storage capacity of an internal battery of a solar-powered security camera is measured in milliamperes per hour or mAh, and these batteries can vary in size depending on the number of features the camera needs to power, like two-way audio, Wi-Fi connections, and night vision. However, the average rechargeable battery on these cameras takes about 6 to 8 hours to fully charge and can operate for anywhere between 1 week to over 3 months without additional charging. Keep in mind that most solar-powered cameras are actively recording only when the motion detector is triggered or the user connects to the camera.
Solar-powered security cameras can come equipped with internal memory cards that store the recorded audio and video images. These SD cards are then uploaded to a computer for easy viewing. However, wireless connections through Wi-Fi have quickly become a standard feature in security cameras, allowing the user to view and manage the data through a computer, tablet, or mobile device.
Data can also be transmitted through a 3G or 4G network in areas where Wi-Fi isn’t readily available or if it isn’t reliable. These security cameras feature the same 3G or 4G service that a smartphone or tablet can use when they cannot connect to Wi-Fi. Just keep in mind that this service will likely come at an additional cost through a local and compatible wireless carrier.
When you are reviewing video footage of your home provided by the solar-powered security camera, you want to be certain that the quality of the picture is crisp and clear so it’s easy to make out distinguishing characteristics in the case of a break-in, vandalism, or theft. To help ensure that you can identify individuals outside your home, it’s a good idea to invest in a security camera with between 780-pixel (p) and 1,080-p resolution. You may find units with even higher resolution, but this isn’t necessary for most users.
- 780-p resolution is usually seen in lower-end products that may prioritize price over image quality, but these cameras are still considered acceptable for obtaining relatively clear images.
- 1,080-p is the standard for most solar-powered security cameras. This allows them to capture and transmit video in high definition, making it much easier to determine characteristics such as height or eye color, if necessary.
Design and Weatherproof Rating
Solar-powered security cameras can roughly be sorted into two common categories based on their shape and design, including bullet and dome.
- Bullet security cameras have a tubular shape and a wide field of vision with a fixed view that can be adjusted manually or by remote control. These cameras are commonly used at the front and back entrance, and they will often include motion-sensing and night-vision capabilities.
- Dome security cameras generally have a smaller field of vision, but they also operate on a near-360-degree rotation that gives them almost complete coverage. This makes them a great option for commercial and industrial settings. They are also sometimes used in residential settings, though dome cameras designed for home use are typically less robust than those made for commercial and industrial applications.
You should also look for a waterproof rating so you know the camera will work outdoors. This rating is provided in the format of IPXX, where IP stands for ingress protection. The first X is representative of the debris resistance, ranging from large solid objects, like a leaf, to minute solid objects, like dust and sand. The second X represents the waterproof rating, which ranges from not water resistant at all to being able to be submerged in several feet of water for extended periods of time with no ill effects. Ideally, you want to find a solar-powered security camera that has a rating of at least IPX5 so that you can feel confident that the camera won’t shut down in heavy rain.
Compatibility and Features
Before choosing a really great solar-powered security camera, it’s important to determine whether it’s compatible with your existing Wi-Fi, smart home, or 4G service provider. For most products, this information can be found in the product specs, or it may be provided directly from the seller or manufacturer. Keep in mind that most products will work with any type of Wi-Fi, but the ability to connect directly through a built-in 3G or 4G network and the capability to integrate with a smart home are less common features, so you will need to be certain that the security camera will function as expected.
Other popular features for solar-powered security cameras include two-way talk, which allows you to communicate via a built-in microphone and speakers on the camera so you can have a conversation with someone on your porch even when you are at work, for example. You should also look for products with motion-detection and night-vision capabilities so that the home is safe and secure throughout the night. PIR motion detection is an advanced feature that uses computer algorithms to determine whether the object detected is human. If the object is not human, then the motion-detection system doesn’t send an alarm.
The installation process varies among products, but typically installing a solar-powered security camera is relatively easy. This is because these cameras don’t require a wired connection to any systems inside your home. Instead, they can be mounted on a brick wall, siding, or even the roof.
One key consideration is to make sure that the solar panel is placed in a location that receives sunlight every day. The more sunlight the solar panels are exposed to, the more effective they will be at absorbing and recharging the internal battery. Some products have a separate solar panel and solar-powered security camera so that these two devices can both be placed in ideal locations for their individual purposes. However, other products have one or more solar panels built into the security camera, so you need to find a place that will be able to absorb sunlight and keep an eye on your home.
Our Top Picks
The list below of the best solar-powered security cameras has been compiled using the above-noted shopping tips and product considerations. Additionally, product efficacy and overall value were factored in to help you find the best solar-powered security camera to help keep your home safe and secure.
The Reolink Argus solar-powered security camera has an impressive range including a 355-degree horizontal rotation and 140-degree vertical tilt. The camera also has a broad field of vision that stretches up to 105 degrees and an intuitive PIR motion-detection system, so users can be confident that this camera will track and record any human movement around the home.
The solar-powered security camera continuously charges the 6,500-mAh battery, which can operate the camera without charging for up to 4 weeks. It can also connect through Wi-Fi to popular smart home systems, like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as through the Reolink app with a mobile device for remote access to the camera from any Wi-Fi–accessible location. The camera has a 1,080-p resolution and built-in night vision capable of seeing and recording up to 33 feet away at night.
The Conico solar-powered security camera is a WiFi-enabled product that connects remotely to the CloudEdge app, where the user can see through the security camera in real time and can even speak through the camera and receive responses using the two-way audio system. This camera includes a 15,000-mAh internal battery, and it comes with night vision that can extend to a range of 50 feet with a 120-degree field of vision.
The bullet-style solar-powered security camera is a good choice for busy entrances to the home because it is designed with PIR motion detection, which will distinguish between a random bird flying by and a person walking up to the door. The camera also has a 1,080-p video resolution and an IP65 weatherproof rating so users know they can rely on the camera to continue functioning in bad weather.
The affordable ZUMIMALL solar-powered security camera has a compact design, and a white painted finish looks good with most home exteriors. The camera comes with an IP65 weatherproof rating that ensures it won’t short out during a heavy thunderstorm. The 1,080-p video resolution and night vision allow it to see and record up to 33 feet away in near darkness, though having a porch light on at night will help with the video clarity.
The solar-powered security camera is WiFi-enabled and can upload the video and audio data to online cloud storage. However, if the user isn’t comfortable with online storage, this camera is also compatible with local SD storage, though it doesn’t come with an SD card. The camera doesn’t record continuously because the data storage would fill quickly with unnecessary video. Instead, it begins recording when the PIR motion-detection system detects a human within 33 feet, so the user only gets relevant video.
This solar-powered security camera has a bullet-style design with a 110-degree field of vision that records video in 1,080-p resolution. The camera is a good option for locations outside the range of the Wi-Fi router, like the garage, workshop, shed, or barn. This is because the camera has a built-in 3G/4G network that can provide wireless connectivity through mobile carriers including T-Mobile, US mobile, Ting, Freedompop, Cricket, and Mint.
Up to 7 days of audio and video data can be stored free on the Reolink cloud server, where it can be reviewed and managed using the Reolink app and a compatible tablet or smartphone. The solar-powered security camera has night vision with a 33-foot range, and it’s equipped with PIR motion detection, which triggers the camera to begin recording. The rechargeable, high-capacity battery allows the camera to function without charging for up to 6 months, so the home is monitored even when the power goes out.
The Ring solar-powered security camera is made with a two-way audio system and is compatible with Amazon Alexa, allowing users to integrate their home security with the rest of their smart home devices. It includes the ability to control the camera through voice commands and view a live feed from the camera through compatible devices like Echo Show. It’s also designed to resist rain, sleet, and snow with an IP65 weatherproof rating.
The solar-powered security camera comes with several privacy features that offer the option to customize privacy zones so the camera isn’t picking up audio from the next-door neighbors. Video is recorded in 1,080-p resolution, and it can be viewed, shared, or simply stored for up to 60 days with the Ring Protect Plan at an additional monthly cost.
The ieGeek solar-powered security camera comes with a sleek bullet-style design and features a separate solar panel and dual antennas that enhance the Wi-Fi signal reception. This security camera has an impressive visual range, capable of tracking and recording motion up to 65 feet away, even at night, using the built-in infrared night-vision mode.
The camera is designed with a wide 130-degree field of view, which partly makes up for the fixed positioning of bullet-style cameras. It also features 1,080-p resolution and PIR motion detection that uses algorithms to improve human recognition. When real-time alerts are received via the CloudEdge ppa, the user can communicate with the individual at the front door through the two-way audio system, warning off vandals or speaking to package delivery personnel.
The dome-style solar-powered security camera comes with the option to store video and audio data internally on an SD card (not included) or to save the data directly to online cloud storage. It features a versatile design that can capture video and audio from almost any direction due to the movement of the camera head. The camera has PIR motion-detection technology that is made to automatically move the camera head within a 320-degree horizontal rotation and 90-degree vertical tilt, ensuring that the 120-degree field of view captures relevant images to be reviewed immediately or stored for later viewing.
The camera has a motion-activated spotlight and built-in night vision with a visual range of 32 feet in dim lighting. It records the video data in 1,080-p resolution, so it’s easy to see who has visited the home, and users can even communicate directly in real time through the two-way audio system and Soliom+ app, which is free to use.
FAQs About Solar-Powered Security Cameras
If you have a few more questions about how solar-powered security cameras function, how long they last, and some of the important details about installation, then continue reading to find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about solar-powered security cameras.
Q. Can security cameras work without electricity?
Solar-powered security cameras are designed to work by absorbing energy from direct and ambient sunlight. If the camera were placed in a completely dark room, then it would continue working in night-vision mode for as long as the internal battery held a charge. After this point, the camera would no longer function until it was recharged.
Q. How do you install a solar camera?
Typically, a solar camera will require the camera and the solar panel to be mounted on a wall, post, or even the roof. The solar panel should be placed in the best available position to absorb sunlight, while the camera needs to be placed in the best location for keeping an eye on the house. This can be near the side door, front door, back door, windows, garage, or anywhere else you need coverage. Regardless of the product, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for placement and installation to help keep your home safe.
Q. How long do solar-powered security camera batteries last?
The rechargeable batteries in solar-powered security cameras can last from 1 to 3 years before they need to be replaced, ensuring ongoing home security.
Q. Do solar-powered security cameras need to be installed in direct sunlight?
It’s always a good idea to place a solar panel in the location with the best sunlight, but it isn’t necessary for the security camera to work. The solar-powered security camera will still gather energy from ambient sunlight if it isn’t under direct sunlight.
Q. Do solar-powered security cameras work in the winter?
Solar-powered security cameras work in the winter, though they may gather less energy from the sun because the days are shorter. Outdoor security cameras make up for this energy shortage by limiting electrical output to motion sensors that trigger the camera so that the camera is not always on.