Best home security cameras of 2021 – CNET

If you’re looking to keep your home safe and secure, it might be time to invest in a home security camera. There are plenty of excellent security cameras and video surveillance systems to choose from, with cameras that offer features such as two-way communication, motion tracking, night vision, cloud storage, smart notifications, professional monitoring and HD video for top-notch video quality. With numerous options on the market — including specifically indoor, outdoor, wireless or DIY security cameras — it can feel daunting to find a perfect match for the camera system you have in mind. 

We’ve tested dozens of cameras and condensed everything we’ve learned into this best home security camera list. Below, you’ll find the best home security cameras in every major subcategory, from smart doorbells to the models that work well with Google AssistantAmazon 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. 

If you’re looking for the best home security camera, get ready to dive in. We’ll update this best home security camera list periodically.

The best of the best

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Wyze

Wyze disappointed some of its customers when its ridiculously cheap cameras got slightly less ridiculously cheap. But at $30, the Wyze Cam remains a great budget surveillance camera — and a great camera. Period.

The WiFi security camera features HD video quality live streaming, motion detection, night vision, a decent app and, best of all, 14 days of free motion-based cloud storage. This Wyze security camera also features a built-in microSD card slot if you want local video storage rather than relying solely on its cloud service (you have to buy the microSD card separately).

This home security camera works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands and features a motion detection zone and the ability to listen for and alert you to special frequencies, like smoke alarms.

Read our Wyze Cam (2020) review.

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Now this is a smart security camera. The $150 Arlo Video Doorbell (currently $20 off) has a lot going for it. While 130 bucks isn’t cheap, it’s more affordable than most of the other smart buzzers I’ve tested. As a doorbell camera, it’s built to be an outdoor camera, so you don’t have to ever worry about the elements. Similar to the Arlo Pro 3 outdoor security camera, the Arlo Video Doorbell has arm/disarm modes, two-way audio, motion zones and an integrated siren.

The security camera system also has a competitive cloud storage subscription plan, starting at $3 per month. If you pay for cloud storage, you get access to advanced features like custom person, animal, vehicle and package detection for your outdoor camera video surveillance.

Read our Arlo Video Doorbell review.

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David Priest/CNET

Arlo’s latest Pro security system series camera is a fantastic home security camera system device with features to spare. It boasts 2k resolution, a 160-degree field of view, 2-way talk, full-color night vision, a built-in siren and spotlight, compatibility with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit — the list goes on.

This powerhouse of a camera costs only $200 — pricier than super-affordable options like Wyze, but easily worth the premium. For $3 per month, you can also get smart alerts, motion zones, 30 days of event history and a few other cool features. In short, the Arlo Pro 4 is a fantastic security camera for most people.

Read our review.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Google’s newest — and smartest — Nest Cam is a specifically-indoor and wired gadget that offers a slew of great features in a pretty package. The wired camera comes in four unique colors too, because who doesn’t love a light pink security camera? This “wired” designation separates it from the Nest Cam (Battery), a heftier Google Nest model designed for indoor or outdoor use, that was announced earlier this year. Armed with the latest software features like object identification, activity zones, and Google Home app viewing and support, this new Google Nest device has both beauty and brains. 

The $100 Nest Cam (Wired) is not only the most affordable Nest camera yet, but it’s also our favorite from the brand. Thanks to the easy set-up, the attractive design and, most importantly, the free smart features, it takes the top spot of all Google Assistant cameras. 

While Wyze currently offers better options for cloud storage and cheaper price tags, the Nest Cam (Wired) indoor security camera is one of the best home security cameras on the market for Google Assistant loyalists. 

Read our review.

Final thoughts

When installing wireless 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 doorframe, brick or siding. If the connection is spotty on your wireless security camera, you’ll notice significant lag times, pixelation in the live feed and other WiFi security camera delays that make security cameras a pain to use. 

With a good Wi-Fi connection, you should be in good shape to use your indoor camera or outdoor security camera without any major camera system issues. Still have questions? Take a look at my home security camera buying guide.

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