Best Home Security Cameras of 2024 – CNET

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security camera outside house

CNET has tested tons of home security cameras over the years, and can help you find the right one for your needs.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Hundreds of home security cameras are on the market, ranging drastically in price, functionality and quality. With all the options, it can be hard to not become overwhelmed fast, especially when you’re considering something as important as your home’s safety. After CNET’s years of testing home security cameras, we have some tips if you’re on the hunt for a new one. Here are a few parameters to consider:

Privacy

This, of course, is a big one. You don’t want anyone peeping on your property or hacking into your camera. Wireless home security cameras can be more susceptible to hacking due to their connectivity to Wi-Fi networks and remote access, especially if you have poor router security. Wired home security cameras that don’t use Wi-Fi at all are generally more secure. (Read more about the pros and cons of wired vs. wireless systems here.) As we mentioned above, data breaches and security vulnerabilities can also be dangerous for your privacy, so it’s important to consider a company’s recent reputation.

Indoor vs. outdoor

One of the first things you’ll need to consider is where you want to place your home security cameras. If you want your camera to be located outside, recording your porch or yard, you’ll likely want an outdoor camera that’s also weather-resistant or features night vision. 

While many cameras can be used interchangeably for indoor or outdoor purposes, some cameras are solely made for indoor usage, like the Wyze Cam Pan v2, so make sure you’re buying cameras that can handle the outdoor elements. 

Wyze Cam Outdoor security camera placed on a table Wyze Cam Outdoor security camera placed on a table

David Anders/CNET

Video resolution

Video quality should be a major consideration when buying a home security camera. In simplest terms, your camera won’t be effective if the only footage being recorded is grainy and unreadable. 

The higher the resolution, the better the video quality. Most home security cameras on the market now have 1,080p resolution, but others even have 2K resolution (like the Arlo Pro 4) or 1,536×1,536-pixel resolution (like the Arlo Video Doorbell). Just remember, the higher the video quality, the more bandwidth it takes up and the more likely your camera is to experience lag times or glitches. 

Field of view

Field of view (usually provided diagonally) refers to how broad the camera’s view is. Broader is generally better because it captures more space and makes it easier to spot activity. The average security camera tends to top out around 130 degrees, although some go beyond that. Pan and tilt features make the field of view less important since the camera can move around.

Battery or wired power

Battery and wireless cameras versus wired options are a matter of taste, since both types have pros and cons

Wireless options are usually easier to install and operate, and often use cloud storage, so you can access your footage from anywhere. Wireless security cameras have their own power supply, so even during an internet or power outage, they can still record and save footage. One of the biggest disadvantages, though, is you’ll need to manually change the batteries or charge them every so often, unless you get a solar-powered home security camera.

Wired cameras are hardwired to a steady connection, so they don’t need to be recharged and can often boost a high-quality video resolution. They tend to be more reliable, secure and consistent in video quality while not requiring monthly cloud storage fees. On the negative side, wired home security cameras often need to be professionally installed and don’t integrate with smart home systems like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

Google Nest Cam Indoor Wired Google Nest Cam Indoor Wired

Some Wired home security cameras (like the Google Nest Cam Indoor) typically have better video and audio quality. 

Molly Price/CNET

Local vs. cloud storage

Not all video storage is equal. You have two main options and picking one is up to your personal preference. There’s cloud storage, which sends your video footage to a remote server to be saved, and local storage, which relies on a separate accessory or piece of hardware, usually a microSD card, to hold any footage you’d like to save. Usually, cloud storage requires a monthly fee. 

Wi-Fi quality and range

When you’re installing wireless home 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 door frame, brick or siding for your home security camera. If the connection is spotty on your wireless security camera, you’ll notice issues like significant lag time, pixelation in the live feed and other Wi-Fi delays. These issues make the video quality poor and home security cameras a pain to use.

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

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