Keeping our homes and loved ones safe is a priority for us all. One of the best ways to create peace of mind is to buy a wireless security system for your home or office. With handy new features like two-way audio, adjustable sensor sensitivity, and the ability to save footage, you and your family can feel safe. Here are our picks for 2020’s top wireless security cameras.
At a glance
- The best wireless security camera: Arlo Pro 3 Security Camera
- The best backyard wireless security camera: Ring Stick Up Cam
- The best DIY wireless security camera: Blink XT2
- The best front porch wireless security camera: Ring Spotlight Cam Battery
- The best MicroSD card wireless security camera: D-Link HD Wi-Fi Security Camera
- The best wireless security camera with facial recognition: Netatmo Welcome, Home Security Camera
The best wireless security camera: Arlo Pro 3 Security Camera System
Why we picked the Arlo Pro 3:
The Arlo Pro 2 held our pick for the best wireless security camera for some time, but the Arlo Pro 3 edges out the Pro 2. It offers high-definition, super crisp 2K video resolution in a weather-proof two-camera system. Footage is clear even at night, thanks to high-quality night vision capabilities. The camera even has color night vision, with a built-in LED spotlight you can activate manually or in response to motion. You can also use the motion-detection feature to begin recording an event once the motion or sound sensors are triggered. With a 160-degree viewing angle, the camera has an even wider field of view. Plus, there’s a built-in siren for added protection.
This indoor/outdoor camera also includes the convenience of noise-canceling two-way audio, meaning there are a built-in mic and speaker that let you communicate with someone on the other end. The audio quality is excellent, and conversation flows naturally. The Arlo Pro 3 camera system comes with two cameras, but you can add on additional cameras if you’d like. It is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you’ll be able to view video in real time on your smart display just by saying a simple command out loud. Conveniently, you won’t have to deal with any pesky wires, since this camera is wire-free. The Pro 3 also includes a three-month trial of Arlo Smart, so you get access to advanced features like 30 days of recording history, activity zones, E-911 calling, and advanced detection features (which can send you alerts when people, packages, vehicles, or animals enter your camera’s view).
Check out our full review of the Arlo Pro 3.
The best backyard wireless security camera: Ring Stick Up Cam (2019 version)
Why we picked the Ring Stick Up Cam:
Amazon’s new iteration of the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery retails for only $100. This sturdy indoor/outdoor cam can record footage from pretty much anywhere, but it especially shines when it comes to outdoor placement: The base offers numerous mounting options for any corner, wall, fence, or perch that you want, and provides broad (it has a 130-degree field of view) 1080p images with pretty good night vision.
The Ring app is always a solid choice for cam management, but it pairs especially well with the Stick Up Cam, allowing you to view and save footage, view live footage, get alerts, adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensor, and check on the battery. If you want to use the cam indoors or use an Echo Show to check out live footage, the cam is also compatible with Alexa voice commands.
Ring has received some criticism, as some users have reported their Ring cameras being hacked, and a handful of Ring employees have reportedly been fired for accessing customer video feeds. To promote privacy, Ring has added additional privacy and security features, like two-step verification.
Check out our review of the Ring Stick Up Cam
The best DIY wireless security camera: Blink XT2
Why we picked the Blink XT2:
Not only does the Blink XT home security camera stream high-quality 1080p video, but it’s also very simple to set up on your own within minutes. You won’t have to set it up near an outlet or work with any confusing wires — simply turn it on, sync it up to your mobile device, and it’s ready to be used.
The built-in motion sensor will alert you when the detector is triggered, and the camera will immediately begin recording a clip of the event. You can even customize motion zones. The camera is also conveniently powered by the included AA lithium batteries, with a two-year lifespan. Cloud storage is also totally free, without any monthly fees or subscription contract. You can create a Blink XT home security system with just one camera if you only want to keep an eye on the front door, or you can include up to 10 cameras on one Blink Sync Module. This camera is also weatherproof, so you can put it outside.
The best front porch wireless security camera: Ring Spotlight Cam Battery
Why we picked the Ring Spotlight Cam:
While both the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery and Spotlight Cam Solar stream high-quality, crystal-clear video footage, it takes things a step further by also including a 110-decibel siren, which you can sound if you have suspicious activity happening around your home. It’s perfect for catching porch pirates. The camera also has a built-in motion detector that will shine lights and begin recording video whenever motion is detected, helping to prevent possible crimes before they happen. Thanks to two-way audio, you can see, hear, and speak to people who are at your home, using just your iOS or Android smartphone, tablet, or Mac or PC laptop.
You can set up this camera and begin using it in just minutes, even if you’re not the handiest person. Plus, this wireless version of the Ring camera gives you the added convenience of not having to deal with any outlets or tangled mess of wires, while the Spotlight Cam Solar offers a solar panel to help you charge the battery using just the sun.
Check out our full review of the Ring Spotlight Cam.
The best MicroSD card wireless security camera: D-Link HD Wi-Fi Security Camera
Why we picked the D-Link HD Wi-Fi Security Camera:
Some people don’t like dealing with cloud storage and prefer the tangible assurance of a memory card. The wireless D-Link DCS-2630L does not offer a cloud-based storage solution, so all recorded footage will go into a microSD card. There are no recurring fees, and you can view footage all at once by inserting the SD card into your laptop or computer. Footage comes out clear, thanks to 720p HD video resolution that you can view live using your smartphone or computer.
The camera also boasts built-in sound and motion detectors, so you can program the app to send you notifications whenever a recording is triggered by the sensors. With infrared night vision, the camera can show you up to 16 feet in total darkness. While this user-friendly camera is certainly an ideal option for some homes, it does have limited scheduling abilities.
The best wireless security camera with facial recognition: Netatmo Welcome, Home Security Camera
Why we picked the Netatmo Welcome, Home Security Camera:
This stand-alone security camera offers one feature that many do not: Facial recognition. The Netatmo Welcome camera can quickly learn to recognize the faces and names of everyone in your family, and then the camera will create user profiles so it can monitor everyone’s comings and goings. This technology will let you know that your teenager arrived home from school safely, or that the dog walker did indeed come to pick up Fido that day. The camera’s 1080p footage is also crisp and sharp and offers a 130-degree field of view so you can see more of your home at once. Night vision guarantees you’ll get a clear view even when there’s little to no light in the home.
While you’ll want to hide most security cameras on a high shelf or in the corner of a room, you can display this one proudly, thanks to the attractive aluminum finish and cylindrical shape that makes it look less like a camera and more like an Echo device. Recorded videos are stored locally on an included micro SD card, so you’re guaranteed total privacy. Plus, you have the option of using your FTP server or your Dropbox account as extra storage. Set it up inconspicuously on any shelf, table, or nook of the room — there are no wires that will give away the camera in the corner.
Research and buying tips
- How do wireless security cameras work?
- Do wireless security cameras work well?
- Are wireless security cameras secure?
- Can wireless security cameras be hacked?
- How far will wireless security cameras work?
- Do wireless security cameras slow down your internet?
- How much are wireless security cameras?
- Can you hardwire wireless security cameras?
- How does Digital Trends test wireless security cameras?
How do wireless security cameras work?
Wireless security cameras connect to Wi-Fi (as opposed to being hardwired), and they send data through the home Wi-Fi network instead of through a physical cable.
Because so many cameras are Wi-Fi, some people think of wireless security cameras as units that don’t have any wires. These types of cameras are solar-powered or powered by batteries (most of the time rechargeable batteries), as opposed to plugging into wall outlets. This makes it so you don’t have to worry about hiding a wire during installation.
Do wireless security cameras work well?
Generally speaking, yes. There are so many wireless security cameras on the market and of course, they’re not all created equal, but you shouldn’t expect poor performance from a security camera just because it’s wireless.
Are wireless security cameras secure?
Overall, yes. But, this also depends largely on the user. Provided you secure your wireless network, use a strong password, and take measures to protect your security (like two-factor authentication and installing outdoor cameras properly), your camera should be relatively secure.
Can wireless security cameras be hacked?
It is possible for a hacker to breach a wireless security camera, but if you secure your passwords and your internet network, this is rare.
How far will wireless security cameras work?
It depends on the camera and your network. However, you can remotely view your camera feed on your phone using the camera’s app from virtually any location, as long as your phone has an internet connection.
Do wireless security cameras slow down your internet?
Not to a noticeable degree. Your Wi-Fi camera should not slow your internet speeds significantly provided you have a strong enough network to support the number of devices you have running.
How much are wireless security cameras?
You can buy a wireless security camera for under $50, or you can buy one for upwards of $200. It depends on the brand and features.
Can you hardwire wireless security cameras?
Yes, some wireless cameras also work with hardwiring. Depending on the camera model you have, you may be able to hardwire it with an Ethernet cable. Or, adding the camera directly to your LAN may be an option. That said, the appeal of many wireless cameras is their versatility. If you skip hardwiring, you can move your cameras around your property as necessary. Depending on your property layout and camera configuration, going hardwired might be preferable. Still, wireless cameras offer versatility should you change your mind later.
How does Digital Trends test wireless security cameras?
Smart home cameras are a handy security solution when they work well. Worry-free operation and streamlined apps that let you interact with your camera without headaches are vital points.
Good image quality is preferable, but you don’t need the highest resolution when it comes to keeping your home safe or checking in on your kids or pets. While the image quality is a factor, we also look at a combination of features. Things like night vision, alerts, two-way audio, and integration with other services are among our considerations. We also take price into account, because affordability may be your top priority. There is quite a range of pricing in the current smart home camera market, which is good. It also means we have to take care to explore and compare the features available at each tier. We also consider what features come standard versus what features you have to pay extra for (with a subscription plan).