Best Security Cameras for Home 2017: Top Smart Camera Reviews

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Everyone likes to know that their home is secure and that everything and everyone inside is safe while we’re gone. In years past, that meant using a CCTV system to record, but few had remote access or alerts. Now you can buy a Wi-Fi-connected camera you can view from your phone.

Also see: Best Camera Deals

Modern home security cameras are very easy to set up. Some use cloud storage, so any evidence is saved online and safe from thieves who might steal your camera.

How to choose a home security camera

Most home security cameras perform the same basic functions – they detect an event, record the event and send you an alert – but they don’t all do it in the same way.

Also, there are two main types: those that record only when motion is detected and those that record constantly (like CCTV).

Certain cameras go beyond those basics and some can be mounted outdoors. Don’t forget to read our reviews to find out how well each camera works in practice and whether its day and night video quality is any good: don’t rely on a manufacturer’s specifications or claims.

Alerts

You should get notifications on your phone when the camera detects an event. Without watching the live feed constantly, this is the only way to keep tabs on your home in relative real time.

Some can send alerts to multiple people; others will send emails in addition to text messages.

Cloud recording

Many manufacturers now offer cloud-storage plans with their camera. They record video to a server in the cloud and store it for anything from 24 hours to a couple of weeks. Sometimes offered free, these cloud plans typically require a monthly subscription, but may be worth buying for their convenience and 24/7 recording.

Facial recognition

Netatmo’s Welcome (and now Nest with its Cam IQ) offer facial recognition so you can get alerts when certain family members arrive home – or only if an unfamiliar face is spotted. It does work, but not as well as you might hope.

Neither of these cameras makes it into our top 10 chart here, for different reasons.

Local storage

Some cameras include memory card slots so you can store video on the device. We like this option as it can eliminate the cost of monthly storage fees – but if a thief steals your camera they take the evidence with them. Ezviz’s cameras let you record both locally and to the cloud simultaneously.

Apps

All the latest cameras can be accessed (some even set up) via a smartphone or tablet app. In addition to offering a way to view the camera’s live feed, apps often let you adjust settings and turn on and off recording, motion detection and more.

Often you’ll only be able to customise notifications, adjust motion and sound detection sensitivity, and set detection areas via the web portal, but it’s great if you can do this in the app.

Motion detection

Motion detection is one of the most desirable features in a security camera. Built-in sensors (or software algorithms) pick up movement within the camera’s field of view and trigger video recording. Because you’re not interested in any old movement, it’s important the system also offers the ability to narrow the range of detection, adjust the sensor’s sensitivity or otherwise customise this feature to cut down on false alerts.

Some cameras can identify people, cars and pets, while others aren’t as smart.

Night vision

Most burglaries happen after dark, so this feature is nearly as important as motion detection. Every camera here will switch to night vision automatically in low-light conditions, and most allow you to customise when and how it should be activated. This won’t work through windows, where you’ll see a reflection of the LEDs – that’s why you need an outdoor camera to monitor your garden or driveway.

Pan, Tilt & Swivel

Most security cameras can be manually tilted and swivelled to focus on a certain viewing area. A true pan/tilt camera is equipped with a motor so that you can move its lens using its app or browser-based app. 

Resolution

No amount of security video will help you if it’s blurry, jittery or otherwise distorted. Look for a camera that offers the highest possible resolution. However, bear in mind that many 1080p cameras will reduce the quality to 720p in order to upload it to the cloud, so it’s not the advantage you might think. In most cases, it’s only 1080p cameras with local storage benefit from the extra resolution.

Scheduling

Scheduling features allow you to tell the camera to turn on and off, detect motion, and/or send alerts at specified times. This is useful when you want to be notified only when your children get home from school, or when you’re away. It can reduces the number of false alerts.

Two-way audio

While the idea of a security camera implies eyes-on monitoring, the ability to also hear what’s going on gives you a more complete picture of what’s happening at home. This feature can also allow you to speak through the camera.

Viewing angle

The camera’s field of view determines how much it can see. Some are wider than others: check our reviews for sample images from each camera.

Best home security camera reviews 2017


1.

Y-Cam Evo



2.

Netatmo Presence


Netatmo Presence


3.

Ezviz Mini Plus


Ezviz Mini Plus


4.

Y-cam Outdoor HD Pro


Y-cam Outdoor HD Pro


5.

Netgear Arlo Q


Netgear Arlo Q


6.

Ring Stick Up Cam


Ring Stick Up Cam


7.

Canary


Canary


8.

Canary Flex


Canary Flex


9.

Reolink Argus


Reolink Argus


10.

Nest Cam


Nest Cam

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