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The best smart home cameras are now more intelligent than ever before, offering the ability to both integrate with your other smart devices while automating and streamlining your smart home security system. Whether you’re looking for the best smart camera for indoor use or for keeping an eye on the outside of your home, we’ve covered everything you could ever want to know to find the best smart home camera for every requirement.
Whether you’re looking to add an intelligent level of connected security to your home, want to keep an eye on the kids (or pets) when you’re not in the same room, or simply want to get started in the area of smart visual devices, the best smart home cameras are transforming the space between home monitoring and automation, making it easier than ever to achieve all of these goals.
An essential element of the truly interconnected smart home, the best smart cameras, and intelligent visual recording devices are increasingly becoming a prominent feature in the modern home technology market, offering a wealth of features and advanced smart functionality, as well as the offering an unbeatable value for money when it comes to bang for your buck.
Now more accessible, affordable and easy to set up than ever, the best smart home cameras effectively offer a convenient solution to remote viewing, monitoring and of course, smart security within your home environment.
Advances in technology mean that smart cameras are now simultaneously both smaller and more capable of offering higher quality images than ever before, allowing a level of performance and value that simply wasn’t available even a couple of years ago.
In this guide, we’ve covered everything you could ever want to know about the very best smart home cameras currently on the market from the functionality and feature sets of individual devices, through to the strengths and weaknesses of specific models in every use case.
Whatever your budget or specific requirements, our guide to the best smart home cameras will help you find the best smart camera for your needs.
Smart Home Camera Essentials
In order to fund the best smart camera for the job, it’s a good idea to get to grips with the foundational elements of what smart cameras are, what they’re capable of, and the ways in which they can serve you when integrated into your smart home ecosystem.
Whether you’re looking to link a smart camera setup into your smart home system as part of a larger home automation build, or are just looking to buy and install a single unit inside or out to improve the security of your property, it’s useful to understand the kind of things you can expect from different devices, as well as getting a handle on some of the key terminology used when referring to features and specs.
What Are Smart Home Cameras?
Smart home cameras, also known as ‘wireless indoor security cameras’, or simply ‘smart cameras’, are effectively visual recording devices that integrate a number of connected (or ‘smart’) features which allow you to operate them remotely as well as providing connectivity options with other smart devices, and allow you to utilize functionality such as scheduling and motion detection/activation.
The best smart home cameras on the market today all offer a combination of these features (and many provide a whole lot more besides) as the entry level classifier for being considered ‘smart’.
Most of the best smart cameras will be designed to work either directly or through a third-party device or app, with other smart home equipment you’ve installed in your home.
A classic example of this is the ability to have voice control over your cameras using a system such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home.
Some of the best smart visual capture devices will allow integration directly with other devices as well as a further extension of this kind of functionality using the web-based IFTTT service to ‘trigger’ actions in smart devices based on input either from external events (such as receiving an SMS or changes in the weather) or as a result of an action from another smart device which is also tied up to the system.
All of this is to say that the potential for connecting a smart camera to your wider home environment is pretty awesome and allows you to get pretty creative in terms of the level of automation and integration you can achieve with a system of smart devices in place.
The Best Smart Home Cameras – Our Top Picks
We’ve taken a look at the best smart home cameras currently available and compiled the definitive list of the best devices for keeping an eye on the things that matter in your home. If you’re looking for the best smart home camera to meet your needs, we’ve got you covered.
Offering everything you’d expect from one of the best smart home cameras, the Cloud Cam provides 24/7 monitoring of your home with 1080p full HD capture.
With 1080p and a 120-degree diagonal field of view, the Cloud Cam is well placed to capture activity in your home with excellent clarity throughout the day.
This is reinforced by the inclusion of Night vision meaning the Cloud Cam is able to keep watch over your home whatever the light levels.
As with many of the best smart home cameras on this list, the Amazon Cloud Cam is able to detect motion, activating whenever the device senses movement.
On top of this motion-sensing functionality, the Cloud Cam allows the additional option to enhance this functionality with person detection which is available on the additional, advanced features plan.
Two-way audio means you can also communicate with whoever’s at the other end of the camera, directly through the companion app on your smartphone – perfect for talking with the cleaner or stopping the dogs from barking when you’re not home.
Being a native Amazon device, the Cloud Cam unsurprisingly works with Alexa (the company’s AI and voice control system) right out of the box, meaning if you own other Amazon devices (such as the Fire TV system or an Amazon Show device), you can ask the system to bring up a live feed on the screen, just by using your voice.
The Cloud Cam is designed to carry out all of the standard tasks of a best in class smart home camera but also represents a fundamental component to the company’s new smart home delivery service – Amazon Key – which is looking to allow the integration of smart device tech to replace the need for you to be home when ordering online items for delivery.
|Field of View:||120 Degrees Diagonal|
|Size:||104mm x 42mm x 60mm|
|Power and Placement:||Wired/Indoor|
|Storage:||Cloud – 24 Hours of clips for free, 30 days with plan|
|Additional Features:||Two-Way Audio, Night Vision|
The first thing you’ll notice about the Arlo Pro from Netgear is the distinct lack of wires, which in the world of smart home cameras makes for a super-flexible device, effectively allowing placement wherever you need it most.
Combine this with a completely weatherproof design and construction built for durability, and you’ve quickly got one of the best smart cameras for use either inside of your home or outside depending on your specific needs.
There are a few distinct features that make the Arlo Pro one of our favourite smart home cameras on the market today and one of the best of these is the wireless design and inbuilt rechargeable battery which allow you to place the cameras wherever you need to around your house for maximum benefit.
The complimentary feature to this mobility of the Arlo Pro is the weatherproof design which allows you to place them anywhere on the exterior of your property as well as inside, ensuring you’ve got every angle covered.
In terms of the hardware onboard the Arlo Pro, the device utilizes motion and sound-activated alerts and features a 130-degree wide angle lens with night vision capability for operation after hours.
On top of the ability to capture and store 7 days of free HD video in the cloud, the Arlo Pro also features 2-way audio (offering the ability listen and speak through the device using your smartphone) as well as a 100-decibel smart siren for deterring unwelcome visitors.
|Field of View:||120 Degrees Diagonal|
|Size:||79mm x 48mm x 71mm|
|Power and Placement:||Wireless/Indoor and Outdoor|
|Storage:||Cloud – 7 days of free rolling cloud storage and local USB storage|
|Additional Features:||Two-Way Audio, Night Vision, Smart Siren|
The Samsung SmartCam HD Pro features all of the functionality you’d expect from the brand behind leading smart home devices such as the SmartThings hub and the other units within the range.
Featuring 1080p HD resolution and a 128 degree super wide-angle lens alongside true night and day dynamic light range, the SmartCam HD Pro is a solid choice if you’re looking for an all-round performer.
Up to 10 cameras can be connected to your network in tandem with each unit also containing an SDXC memory card for local storage – an excellent addition to any smart home camera if you don’t want to be dependent on cloud storage alone.
Samsung’s take on the best smart home camera utilizes full HD at 1080p, as well as a wide-angle lens offering a 128-degree field of view.
Automation is provided in the form of advanced audio and motion detection for picking up activity in your home and relaying it back to you via real-time notifications to an Apple or Android smartphone or tablet.
The motion detection functionality on the camera is taken a step further with what Samsung calls Motion Zone Select which allows you to fine-tune the area you want the camera to focus on when picking up movement – for example a specific window or door in the camera’s field of view.
One of the major benefits of the SmartCam HD Pro is the inclusion of a built-in slot for a microSDXC memory card, allowing you to store audio and video locally on the device for review later.
As with most of the best smart home cameras, the HD Pro includes a two-way talk feature which lets you both hear what’s going on around the camera as well talking back to the listener at the other end through your smartphone. The device also includes an audio jack if you want to build a set of external speakers into this system on the receiving end.
|Field of View:||128 Degrees Diagonal|
|Size:||84mm x 119mm x 79mm|
|Power and Placement:||Wired/Indoor|
|Storage:||MicroSDXC Local Storage and Cloud|
|Additional Features:||Two-Way Audio, Night Vision, Motion Zone Detection|
Nest are well established in the world of smart home devices and their indoor take on the smart camera is a testament to the reputation of the brand.
The Nest Cam Indoor delivers continuous live video streaming so that you can always stay visually connected to your home, whether you’re in the living room or on vacation in another country.
The two-way communication functionality of the Nest Cam Indoor means it can be used for roles as varied as a baby monitor, or as a means of communicating with people in your home if you’re away like the cleaner or house sitter if you’re on vacation.
Simple installation and quick connectivity to the free smartphone app means you’ll be up and running in no time.
The Nest Cam Indoor is built around a 1080p HD camera with an all-glass lens offering a 130-degree wide-angle view.
A snapshot alert system allows the Nest Cam to send you a phone alert or email with a photo if it detects unexpected activity in its field of vision.
Night vision and 2-way communication capability come as standard with the device and while it also comes with a free trial of Nest Aware (the full suite of more advanced features), you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription for any additional functionality after the trial expires.
|Field of View:||130 Degrees Diagonal|
|Size:||114mm x 73mm x 73mm|
|Power and Placement:||Wired/Indoor|
|Storage:||Cloud – 3 hours of detected stills for free, 30 days continuous footage with plan|
|Additional Features:||Two-Way Audio, Night Vision|
The HD+ WiFi smart camera from Belkin is designed to work seamlessly alongside WeMo products, making it a perfect addition to an interconnected smart home system that also features other Belkin devices.
Considering the low price-point this camera coes in at, the device packs in a lot of functionality with built in night vision, a wide-angle lens, and HD capture quality.
On top of all of this, the NetCam HD+ also features a motion detector to capture everything that matters while you’re away from home.
The NetCam HD+ incorporates a 720p HD camera with wide-angle lens for observing the largest possible area from a single vantage point.
A built-in motion sensor within the device will notify you via email whenever movement is detected and the camera’s activated.
Utilizing what Belkin call a ‘Day/Night filter’, the NetCam offers infrared night vision to ensure you’re able to capture activity even in complete darkness.
Push-to-talk functionality allows two-way communication using an on-board microphone for making yourself known to anyone within earshot of the camera.
While the NetCam HD+ does work with a number of other smart devices, it’s important to note that the device is not compatible with Amazon Alexa out of the box, so if you’re planning on integrating a smart camera around a voice control solution like the Amazon Echo or Show, you’re going to want to go for one of the more expensive models in this list such as the Nest Cam or Amazon’s own Cloud Cam.
|Field of View:||78 Degrees|
|Size:||67mm x 85mm x 125mm|
|Power and Placement:||Wired/Indoor|
|Storage:||Cloud – Subscription plan, 30 day trial included|
|Additional Features:||Two-Way Audio, Night Vision, Motion Alerts|
The Arlo Q Plus is one of the most flexible smart home cameras in our list and allows a number of setup options including wireless (using WiFi) or via wired Ethernet connection.
Offering a resolution of 1080p, 2-way audio, and enhanced night vision means the Arlo Q Plus is well equipped to tackle any security or visual monitoring tasks you set it to.
Compatibility with Amazon Alexa right out of the box will see you able to hook this smart camera up to an Alexa enabled visual device such as the Echo Show or Spot and view your live stream simply by saying the command.
One of the stand-out features of the Arlo Q Plus is undoubtedly the inclusion of multiple connection options through WiFi, Ethernet or PoE.
Video is captured by the device in 1080p HD at any time of the day or night thanks to night vision.
As with many of the best smart home cameras, a built-in speaker and mic provide the option for two-way communication and the device has sensors for both motion and sound, alerting you to the detection of either with instant alerts.
In terms of storage, the Arlo Q Plus offers the ability for local recording or backup through an SD card slot as well as a rolling 7 days of totally free cloud recording (the same as the Arlo). Both of these are considerable features when it comes to retrieving any video captured by your device after the event.
|Field of View:||130 Degrees|
|Size:||114mm x 152mm x 124mm|
|Power and Placement:||Wired/Indoor|
|Storage:||Cloud – 7 days of free rolling cloud storage, local SD card storage|
|Additional Features:||Two-Way Audio, Night Vision, WiFi and Ethernet|
The Blink XT Home Security Camera System is a weatherproof smart camera system offering wireless, battery powered operation among a host of other smart features for securing your home – both inside and out.
A highly attractive subscription-free cloud storage package, alongside excellent compatibility with other smart home devices such as the Alexa range of voice controllers, make this one of the best smart cameras if you’re looking for a solution which is both flexible and scalable as you grow your system over time.
Arguably the two most exceptional features of the Blink XT smart camera system include the ability to operate outdoors (and wirelessly), as well as the inclusion of cloud storage which doesn’t require a subscription plan.
Wireless functionality is thanks to the power-plant of the Blink units which comes in the form of 2 lithium AA batteries which achieve a stated run-time of up to 2 years thanks to a proprietary chip within each camera.
The camera itself is capable of delivering HD quality at 720p resolution with a field of view of 110-degrees and infrared night vision for use in dark conditions.
Once the base system is in place (initial camera and the Blink bridge), up to 10 Blink XT devices can eventually be combined in a single setup with notifications and alerts sent to your phone if the onboard motion sensors detect unexpected movement in your home.
|Field of View:||110 Degrees|
|Size:||63.5mm x 152mm x 193mm|
|Power and Placement:||Wireless/Indoor + Outdoor|
|Storage:||Cloud – Subscription-free cloud storage|
|Additional Features:||Weatherproof, Temperature Sensing, Night Vision|
If we had to pick one feature to get started with in describing the Netatmo Welcome it has to be this.
Facial recognition technology.
This incredible camera can recognize the faces of people you tell it to and alert you for example, when a friend or family member walks by – sending their name to your smartphone – this would be a particularly useful feature to let you know if the kids were back from school safely or if the cleaner had arrived.
Similarly, and equally importantly, the Netatmo Welcome will alert you whenever it detects a stranger.
The perfect addition to your smart home setup and ideal for keeping watch over your home whenever your away.
Keep an eye on your home while you’re away with this smart camera from Zmodo.
Activated automatically using a built-in motion detector, the Zmodo can store up to a week’s worth of video locally.
Have alerts sent directly to your smartphone and utilize remote viewing from your phone’s interface wherever you are.
An attractive natural finish conceals one smart piece of kit.
With a camera that provides night vision and streaming video capabilities, the Withings Home Wi-Fi Security Camera also contains an air quality sensor to alert you to changes in air quality.
This incredible piece of kit will keep watch on those things you can see as well as those you can’t.
The Canary All-in-One Home Security Device is the complete package when it comes to smart home security.
A wide-angle full HD camera (with night vision) accompanies high-quality audio recording, motion activated recording and a siren if something untoward is detected in your absence.
This device also measures temperature, humidity and air quality in your home.
The All-in-One really is the smart device that does it all.
This wireless smart camera from Oco offers night vision and a motion sensor alongside HD video capture and streaming at 720p.
Alerts can be set up to notify you when the camera detects movement or sound changes.
Two-way talk allows you to communicate with others in your home – a pretty useful feature for talking with pets if you’re out of the house.
A device offering excellent video quality and 60-second setup ranks highly on our list, and the Dropcam Pro from smart home experts Nest delivers both.
Connect to your mobile or smart device using either a Bluetooth or wireless connection and you can be set-up and ready to record in under a minute.
Smart learning, two-way talk and cloud storage of recorded footage all come as standard with this smart camera meaning you’re good to go as soon as the mobile app is installed.
Extending the System – The Best Smart Home Camera Companion Devices
Smart visual capture devices and the potential for automated sound and vision recording certainly doesn’t begin and end with smart home cameras.
In many ways, it’s actually with the addition of complimentary smart devices such as smart locks, video doorbells, voice controllers, display devices, and a whole range of the best smart home sensors that you can really start creating an immersive and automated smart home and security environment.
If you’re looking to build a fully autonomous smart home, pairing up your smart cameras with one or more other smart devices in your setup will allow a level of connectivity and automation to get a lot done with minimal input required.
Whether it’s a smart camera system working alongside a smart door lock to monitor an online delivery when you’re not in (see Amazon Key below for more on this), or you’re simply creating a more elaborate smart security network throughout your home with the addition of additional motion sensors, smart lighting, and alarms, integrating your cameras with other devices can massively extend the functionality of your device, making it a core component in a wider smart home ecosystem.
While not standalone smart camera devices in their own right, the latest and greatest video doorbells do include the primary functionality of many of the best smart cameras, offering the ability to capture both video and audio (often with two-way communication), and relaying it back to you through a smartphone or tablet via an app interface to let you know who’s calling.
Providing the ability to see who’s at the door is particularly useful when you’re at work or away from home and means you can not only communicate with whoever comes knocking (couriers, neighbours etc), but can also grant remote access if used in conjunction with a smart lock device attached to your front door.
In this part of the guide, we’re taking a look at some of the best smart doorbells which incorporate smart camera and sound functionality.
The Video Doorbell Pro from smart doorbell brand Ring features an ultra slim design alongside 1080 HD video, motion sensors and two-way comms to give you complete oversight when it comes to answering the door.
As with the other video doorbells in this list, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro allows you to watch a live video feed of your porch and automatically sends an instant alert to your smartphone, tablet or PC when a visitor presses the doorbell or enters the field of view of the onboard motion sensors.
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro utilizes a camera offering a 160-degree field of view and 1080p HD capability.
Motion sensing allows the device to automatically activate and send you notifications when someone is approaching the door, at which point you can simply switch to the device’s live view mode to see who’s there.
Infrared night vision allows you to activate the device at any time of the day or night, offering maximum peace of mind when it comes to your integrated smart home security system.
While requiring existing doorbell wiring to get set up, the Ring offers quick and easy install as well as 4 interchangeable faceplates which are included with the device.
|Field of View:||160 Degrees|
|Size:||114mm x 47mm x 20mm|
|Power and Placement:||Wired/Outdoor|
|Storage:||Plan based cloud storage with 60 day video save period|
|Additional Features:||Two-Way Audio, Night Vision, Motion Tracking|
Available in two styles including a slimline model (pictured) and the original rounded version, SkyBell offers all of the key features you’d expect from one of the best smart home video doorbells on the market today, from 1080p and motion sensing capabilities, through to full color night vision and two-way audio commuication.
Much like the best smart home cameras, the SkyBell allows you to start a live video stream whenever you want, thanks to ‘always on’ functionality and will also allow you to download any of the video that it captures for free at a later point in time
Two-way audio communication is essential if you’re looking for a truly effective video doorbell, and the SkyBell includes this feature, allowing you to have a full communication with whoever is at the door when you can’t get there yourself.
One of the features which is particularly useful on the SkyBell is the option to activate a ‘Silent Mode’ which deactivates the chime and allows you to receive notification direct to your iOS device – great if you don’t want to disturb someone in the house or to preempt the inevitable barking dogs.
|Field of View:||120-130 Degrees|
|Size:||Slim: 122mm x 37mm x 29mm|
|Power and Placement:||Wired/Outdoor|
|Storage:||Videos stored for free, available for download when needed|
|Additional Features:||Two-Way Audio, Night Vision, Silent Mode (App Notifications), Weatherproof|
Smart Door Locks
The inclusion of smart door locks in this guide is mainly down to the fact that the ability to build a security system around a dual approach of access and monitoring is becoming increasingly prevalent in the smart home environment.
It’s a pretty natural extension of any home security strategy to want to monitor and record any unwanted visitors outside your home (a role carried out by the best outdoor smart cameras and video doorbells), as well as having full control over who can gain access at any one time (the role of the smart lock).
Companies such as Amazon are taking the next step in this symbiotic smart security relationship with the launch of services like Amazon Key which effectively allows delivery of packages inside of your front door through a smart lock-smart camera integration allowing a single access window which you can monitor at all times.
While Amazon Key is backed by the company’s guarantee, this kind of integration can just as easily be achieved by partnering any remotely operated smart lock with a smart camera which provides live streaming and recording. Although you may not feel comfortable letting a courier in this way, there are obvious applications for letting in other people you trust such as family, friends, neighbours, or cleaners.
Here we’ve taken a look at some of the best smart locks for pairing with your internal and/or external smart home cameras for achieving a full-spectrum connected security solution.
August are undoubtedly one of the top names when it comes to smart locks and home security and the latest generation of the Smart Lock Pro is a testament to this reputation.
Allowing you control and monitor your door remotely from anywhere through your smartphone, the Smart Lock Pro also lets you grant remote keyless access to your home for friends, family members, or housekeepers without having to provide multiple sets of keys.
By connecting directly to the existing deadbolt on your door, the Smart Lock Pro is not only simple to install with the device sitting inside of the door, but the exterior hardware doesn’t change meaning you can still use your existing keys at any time.
One of the most useful features of the Smart Lock Pro is the ability of the system to lock automatically behind you when you leave the house. This system is made even better with the integration of what the company calls DoorSense, a proprietary technology that lets you know the door is closed and locked once you’ve left.
Searching for keys in the dark or with your arms full is also a thing of the past with Smart Lock Pro as the device automatically unlocks the door for you when you arrive home.
The Smart Lock Pro is fully compatible with all of the major voice control systems meaning you can simply ask Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant to lock or unlock your door whenever needed.
Source: Smart Home Tech