Home security cameras are handy tools to help you keep an eye on your house or even your beloved pet and give you peace of mind when traveling or at work. These smart gadgets have great features including wireless installation, night vision, HD video quality, motion detection, and automatic alerts sent to your phone.
The Good Housekeeping Institute Media and Tech Lab tested 25 indoor and outdoor WiFi smart security cameras. Cameras were evaluated based on ease of use, performance, style, and durability. We tested video quality under multiple light settings, motion detection accuracy, sound quality, and field of view. We also scored ease of use during installation, troubleshooting, and each camera's app. Our favorite home security systems are from brands with excellent performance in our evaluations and new models with innovative features based on our expertise in the category.
What's important to know when buying a home security camera?
- Wired vs. wireless: Home security cameras are available both as wired cameras that need to be plugged in and wireless styles. Wired cameras tend to be for larger properties that require more constant surveillance, as they stay fully charged while wireless cameras have to be charged if they don't have a solar panel. Most online reviewers prefer wireless cameras as they're easier to move around and switch locations when needed.
- Indoor vs. outdoor: If your main goal is to prevent theft, go with an outdoor camera as it'll capture footage before someone enters your home and can deter a burglar with motion activated technology. Indoor cameras are a great way to supervise any mischievous pets while also being an extra level of security. Outdoor cameras can also be used indoors, but indoor cameras are not weatherproof, so cannot be outside.
- Price: Before buying a home security camera, you should know that most home security cameras require a subscription for complete access to all footage the camera captures. Many online reviewers found the features included with purchase to be enough for their needs and didn't buy a subscription, but some were unaware they wouldn't have complete access without paying extra. For most of the featured cameras, brands offer a monthly or yearly subscription which gives you full access to all footage instead of shorter clips and other advanced features such as facial detection, so you won't get intruder alerts for your babysitter or family members.