Bose Home Speaker 500 with Alexa AND Bluetooth wants a piece of Sonos One’s sweet, sweet home AI action
August 30, 2018
Enjoy Big Screen Entertainment With These Tiny Pocket Projectors
September 6, 2018
Show all

Best security camera 2018: the wireless smart cameras that watch over your gran or pets and watch out for burglars

There are now a growing number of security cameras that livestream whatever’s happening in your house to your phone or browser window, wherever you are in the world. To help you pick through the multitude of cameras on sale, we’ve picked out the best.

Whether you want the highest quality footage, the easiest access to your camera, the most intelligent warning system or just the best value for money, we can help by suggesting the right model – read on for our picks of the best security cameras on the market today.

What is the best smart home security camera?

The Netgear Arlo Pro 2 is our favourite camera because of the fact it can be used wirelessly, indoors or out. It’s weatherproof and includes some cloud storage for free, without the need to take out any extra subscriptions.

In fact if you buy a few Arlo security cameras of differing descriptions, then you’re not a million miles away from something approaching a professional security camera setup, albeit one that you have to monitor, rather than having ADT or whoever do it for you.

For indoor use, we’re big fans of the Logi Circle 2 Wired from Logitech – though it’s more of a gran or pet cam than a serious security camera. It’s wired (although a battery pack is available), and as it’s weatherproof it can technically be used outdoors. Video quality is very good too, and it’s simply a lot of fun to use.

There are a number of other very good smart security camera options, including the Nest and Canary cams (see below for more) but another one that stands out is the Hive View. Not for its features – which, to be honest, are pretty basic – but for the fact that it actually looks quite boldly stylish rather than just resembling a small CCTV camera or an eye on a plinth, as most of its rivals do.

How to choose the best security camera for you

This selection of cameras has it all, whether you need infrared for filming at night, or automatic motion sensing so you know as soon as something has happened. Some of the smarter cameras add facial recognition, and can tell the difference between a stranger and a member of your family.

For the most comprehensive coverage of your property, you want something that includes night vision and can record at a decent quality – and almost all cameras now come with HD resolution at least.

We’ve also tried to limit this list to cameras that can serve up alerts that are reliable and actually useful – if your camera is pinging your phone every time a leaf blows past, you’re soon going to get tired of having to check it.

If you want to be able to communicate with whatever’s on the other side of the camera – your kids, your pets, your elderly parents – then make sure you go for an option that includes two-way audio. You’ll also need something with an alarm if you want to scare off intruders as well as film them, though this is a less common feature.

With all those factors and considerations in mind, here are our choices for the best security camera in 2018 – you should find something to suit your needs.

The 10 best security cameras you can buy today

Netgear Arlo Pro 2

Netgear Arlo Pro 2

1. Netgear Arlo Pro 2

The best home security camera range with a solution for everyone

Specifications
Subscription fees: £6.49 per month or £64 per year for 14 days or £9.99 per month or £99 per year for 60 days of cloud backup of video. Additional plans for 24/7 video monitoring also available.
Reasons to buy
+Good night vision+Waterproof and wireless+7-day backup with no sub
Reasons to avoid
Not for constant streamingRequires hub plugged to your routerThe app is not great

Netgear’s Arlo isn’t just a single camera, it’s a rapidly-growing range that shares the same software platform – at the time of writing you’ve got six different cameras to pick from. You can also choose between packs of one, two or more units, and accessories such as a Wi-Fi expander hub for outdoor use.

We’ve named the Arlo Pro 2 as our top pick, with its wire-free operation, two-way audio 1080p HD video, weather resistance, built-in security siren, Amazon Alexa support and the option to store footage on a USB drive. Cheaper models are available if you don’t need such sharp video or a different set of features. The new Arlo Go, for instance, works with cellular networks if you need a camera out of range of your home Wi-Fi.

As with most security cameras, you can tap into your video feeds from anywhere using your phone, and get motion alerts – but where the Arlo range stands out is with the wireless, battery-charged operation and waterproofing.

For free, you get seven days or up to 1GB of cloud storage for up to five cameras, which compares very well with rivals such as Nest. These recordings are only triggered when motion is detected, but it should be enough for most users – how many meaningless shots of nothing happening in your back garden to you need?

Logi Circle 2 Wired

2. Logi Circle 2 Wired

The best home camera for indoor use

Specifications
Subscription fees: £2.99 per camera per month for 14 days of cloud backup of video. £7.99 per month or £79.99 per year for 31 days of footage and more advanced features.
Reasons to buy
+Versatile set of features+Really fun to use+Responsive to commands
Reasons to avoid
More of a lifestyle/pet cam than a security camFull functionality requires a subThe wireless alternative could be better

No current smart home camera is as fun to use as the Logi Circle 2: it’s a bit like the home monitoring equivalent of a Fitbit. For example, it preps “day brief” videos that show a sped-up version of the day’s action of the day (so you don’t have to sift through reams of footage of the slightest motion). That makes it more suitable for keeping an eye on the dog while at work, rather than scanning for burglars.

There’s two-way talking too, fast responses to remote commands, speedy zooming, and an adjustable field of view. The app is nice and slick, complimenting the camera’s own neat design, and you can control the Circle via Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit or one of Logitech’s Pop smart home buttons.

There are some negatives: you only get 24 hours of cloud storage for free for instance. For longer-term access, you have to pay: £2.99 a month snags you 14-day Cloud access, or £7.99 a month for 31 days. You need to subscribe to the top tier to set you custom motion zones and detect people in front of the camera.

Buy a rechargeable battery base as well and you can put the weatherproof camera anywhere in Wi-Fi range (it lasts up to three months off a charge). There’s also a fully wireless incarnation, but this is a different shape to the wired version and has a different range of accessories. It might lack some security features, but as a smart home camera for watching pets or your gran, the wired version of Circle 2 is hard to beat.

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

The Nest Cam IQ is one of the most intelligent Wi-Fi cameras on the market, with  facial recognition, a 4K image sensor, and person tracking. See below for the indoor version, but this exterior version comes with IP65 weatherproofing: it’ll stay recording whatever the British weather throws at it, and can operate in temperatures from -40°C to 45°C.

Picture quality is excellent both during the day and night, and the motion tracking (which zooms in and follows motion) and facial recognition (which only alerts you to unknown faces) are incredibly useful features which actually work.

It’s a top-notch package but it’s expensive, and to get the most out of it (like cloud storage archives or motion zones) you really need to sign up for a subscription too. You can just about get by with the live motion alerts and livestreaming (no subscription required) if you’re on a budget.

The previous, cheaper version of the outdoor Nest cam is still on sale too if you want to save some money – it does have a cable attached though, rather than working wirelessly, which means it’s a bit easier to sabotage for potential intruders.

 

4. Hive View

The most stylish home security camera

Specifications
Subscription fees: £4.99 per month for 30 days of cloud backup for video and SMS alerts.
Reasons to buy
+An eye-catching design+Simple to set up and use+Cheaper subscription
Reasons to avoid
Rather lacking in featuresNot the sturdiestLimited wireless option

We wouldn’t recommend Hive View as a ‘proper’ security camera per se but if you want an attractive camera for monitoring pets and relatives that can also alert you to felons, it’s really good. We’re big fans of its striking, stylish looks, and the monthly subscription is unusually cheap (you get one day of video stored for free).

Admittedly the Hive View is rather limited features-wise at present, but Hive products have a tendency to get better with age, and we’re reasonably confident it’ll add Alexa support (as it has for its other smart home devices) soon. A recent update added two-way chat so you can sooth the pets or ward off burglars.

The basic mount and wall mount make it easy to setup at an angle to your liking – the 130-degree field of vision helps – and there’s the option to remove it from the mount and use it wirelessly, albeit only for an hour. That could be useful for baby bedtime duties, although we struggle to think of many other applications.

You can download and share videos, should you need to, motion detection works as advertised, and image quality is decent – with a choice of 720p or 1080p maximum resolution depending on your signal strength.

Nest Cam IQ Indoor

Nest Cam IQ Indoor

5. Nest Cam IQ Indoor

Much more premium update of the Nest Cam

Specifications
Subscription fees: £4 per month or £40 per year for 5 days of cloud backup for video and various advanced features. £8 per month or £80 per year for 10 days. £24 per month or £240 per year for 30 days.
Reasons to buy
+Super-clear cam footage+Recognises people (with subscription)+Top-quality companion app
Reasons to avoid
No weatherproofing hereOn the expensive sideBest features need a sub

Say you like the design chops of Canary and the app it produces, but you don’t want something as bulky as the Canary Smart Security Camera, or you want to monitor the garden outside – what’s a person to do? Get the Flex HD instead.

It works with a wire or without, with a Canary Smart base station or without, and can operate indoors or indoors – you get a lot of flexibility from this little device. We like the 1080p HD video quality, the 116-degree field of view, the motion detection, and the removable magnetic base which is simple to install.

You get night vision here, and weatherproofing of course so it can be used outdoors. It’s compact, versatile, and functions very well – the Canary app is easy to work your way around and lets you adjust the sensitivity of the motion detection, so you’re not constantly getting interrupted with alerts.

As with the other Canary camera in this list, you need to cough up for a subscription to get more than a day’s worth of streaming stored in the cloud, and to access two-way audio. Still, you get a decent amount of features without a subscription too.

Somfy One

Somfy One

9. Somfy One

An all-in-one security camera solution

Specifications
Subscription fees: Subscription fee: £3.99 per month 1 day of cloud video backup or £7.99 for 7 days.
Reasons to buy
+A more comprehensive system+Fine HD video quality+Support for Alexa/Google Home
Reasons to avoid
Costs can mount upSetup isn’t the easiestStreaming limited to 720p HD

Designed to stop intruders before they’ve even made it through the front door, the Somfy One is part of a wider security platform from Somfy, and is ideal if you’re looking for a more comprehensive setup that covers every corner of your home (it can work with sensors on the doors and windows, for instance).

You get 1080p HD streaming, a 130-degree field of view, the usual movement alerts, and a 90+ dB alarm that is likely to scare off any approaching burglar before they’ve got too far into your home. The privacy-conscious will be pleased to hear there’s a physical shutter you can close over the camera when you’re at home and don’t want to be recorded.

We also like the way you can share alerts with friends, family, and neighbours, so even if you can’t deal with an emergency, maybe someone else can. The app is streamlined and simple to use, and lets you cancel the wailing alarm remotely if it’s been triggered by something that it shouldn’t have.

As usual, you need to pay for a subscription to get a serious amount of cloud storage with this, though your £3.99 a month doesn’t unlock any extra features on the camera itself. If you don’t want to sign up for a subscription, the Somfy One is worth considering.

Ezviz Mini 360 Plus

Ezviz Mini 360 Plus

10. Ezviz Mini 360 Plus

A cheap and cheerful security camera

Specifications
Subscription fees: £4.99 per month for 7 days of cloud storage, £7.99 per month for 31 days of cloud storage.
Reasons to buy
+Compact, 360-degree security camera+Integrated privacy shield+Two-way audio and night vision
Reasons to avoid
No advanced zone or facial detectionApp could use some workNo cloud storage without a subscription

There’s a lot to like about the little Ezviz Mini 360 Plus, including its low price – even if it doesn’t quite match the bigger names in terms of design quality and extra features. If you want the basics of a security camera in a compact package, check it out.

It can pan and tilt and rotate all the way through 360 degrees with the help of the official app, once it’s installed on your smartphone, and like the Somfy One there’s a privacy shield that can be pulled down when you’re at home. We’re sure no one at Ezviz wants to spy on your family, but it’s there just to be safe.

You get all the basics of motion detection and smartphone alerts, plus some basic zooming ability and two-way audio as well, if you want to admonish your pets or your kids for whatever reason. Night vision is supported and you can access a limited number of the camera’s commands via Alexa too.

The subscription isn’t a must-have either – it just gives you cloud storage for your video recordings. If you can live without that, you can install a microSD card inside the camera and not have to pay a monthly fee. Taking everything into consideration.