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The best cheap security camera in 2022

Best cheap security camera - Wyze Cam v3
(Image credit: Wyze)

Smart home technology has made home security systems cheaper than ever. And while you can still pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a comprehensive system covering the interior and exterior of your property, it’s possible to pick up an internet-connected, high definition security camera for significantly less.

While many readers will be aware of smart security cameras from Nest, Ring and Arlo, these generally carry three-figure price tags. For this article, we’re focusing on security cameras that cost significantly less, and which are closer to the $50 level. This means they don’t necessarily have the same intelligence as more expensive options, but they still get the job done, and provide your smart home with an extra level of security.

Some smart security cameras at this price come from brands you might be less familiar with. But fear not, because startups like Wyze have a proven track record for offering extraordinary value, quality products and a good set of desirable features. The US company’s Cam v3 is even weather resistant for outdoor use, connects to Alexa and Google Assistant, and has color night vision, yet costs just $30.

Similarly, the Blink Mini (opens in new tab) is an Amazon product that integrates with your existing Alexa-powered smart home system, with 1080p Full HD resolution, but costs under $40.

But there is a limit as to how far your money will go. Generally speaking, smart security cameras in the $50 range miss out on 4K video, have fairly small imaging sensors, and tend not to have the same artificial intelligence features as more expensive models. So, while most will start recording when movement is detected, they can’t all spot the difference between a potential burglar and next door’s cat.

As with many smart security cameras, it is often the case that more advanced features (and the ability to save footage to the internet) are only accessible if you pay a monthly subscription. In the case of Wyze, for example, the company’s Cam Plus service is $1.99 a month and makes recordings available to view online for 14 days.

Best cheap security cameras

(Image credit: Wyze )

1: Wyze Cam v3

Best budget home security camera overall

Specifications

Resolution: 1080p Full HD
Field of view: 130 degrees
Night vision: Yes, colour
Smart home integration: Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT
Cloud storage: Unlimited for 14 days with Cam Plus
Monthly fee: Cam Plus, $1.99 a month (optional)
Audio: Two-way
Local storage: Yes, microSD
Movement detection: Yes, improved with Cam Plus
Person detection: With Cam Plus
Power source: : Plug-in
Size: 52 x 51 x 58.5mm
Weight: 98.9g

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent value for money
+
Weatherproof for outdoor use

Reasons to avoid

-
Fairly narrow lens
-
Lacks Apple HomeKit support

Seattle-based Wyze is a startup that has made a name for itself when it comes to cut-price smart home tech. The Cam is the company’s most popular product, and the third-generation example featured here includes Full HD video, color night vision via a Starlight sensor, waterproofing for outdoor use, and smart home integration via Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT.

The Wyze Cam v3 has a microphone and speaker for two-way audio, plus a siren, an adjustable stand and a microSD card for local storage. Alternatively, Wi-Fi opens the door to cloud storage, which costs $1.99 a month and automatically holds an unlimited amount of recorded footage for 14 days.

(Image credit: Amazon)
Best cheap security camera for Alexa users, but with a fee

Specifications

Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Field of view: 110 degrees
Night vision: Yes, but range not stated
Smart home integration: Alexa
Cloud storage: Optional extra
Monthly fee: From $3 a month or $30 a year
Audio: Two-way
Local storage: No
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: No
Activity zone: No
Power source: : Plug-in
Size: 50 x 49 x 36mm
Weight: 48g

Reasons to buy

+
Deep Amazon and Alexa integration
+
Lots of additional features, but at a cost

Reasons to avoid

-
No local storage
-
Most features require subscription

Blink is an Amazon company, so naturally this camera is a good option for those already invested in the Alexa smart home ecosystem. However, while this is a compact and well-priced indoor security camera, most features require a Blink subscription, which costs $3 or $10 a month depending on the plan you choose.

Without paying, the Blink Mini will notify you about movement, then show a live stream for up to five minutes, but video is not recorded, as there is nowhere for a microSD card, and cloud storage requires a subscription. On the plus side, we like how the camera and its speaker double as a chime for Amazon’s range of Ring video doorbells.

(Image credit: Reolink)
A cheap panning security camera for a complete view

Specifications

Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Field of view: 87.5 degrees stationary, 355 degrees motorised pan, 50 degrees vertical pan
Night vision: Infrared, up to 12 metres (40 feet)
Smart home integration: Google Assistant
Cloud storage: No
Monthly fee: No
Audio: Two-way
Local storage: Yes, microSD up to 128GB
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: No
Activity zone: Yes, called Guard Point
Power source: : Plug-in
Size: 76 x 70 x 107mm
Weight: 198g

Reasons to buy

+
Motorized tilt and panning
+
Resolution is higher than Full HD

Reasons to avoid

-
Night vision isn’t in color
-
Lack of artificial intelligence (for person detection)

Motorized panning and tilting gives this camera a near-360 degree view of its surroundings, helping you view an entire room from one point. The Reolink uses fast 5GHz Wi-Fi, has a 1440p resolution and includes infrared night vision that works up to a distance of 12 metres or 40 feet. Google Assistant integration means you can ask with a voice command to see a live video feed on your Google or Nest smart display.

Footage is stored locally to a microSD card (not included), so there’s no reliance on cloud storage or a subscription.

(Image credit: Eufy)

4: Eufy Solo IndoorCam C24

A cheap compact security camera with AI detection and 2K resolution

Specifications

Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Field of view: 105 degrees
Night vision: Infrared up to 10 metres (32.8 feet)
Smart home integration: Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit
Cloud storage: Yes
Monthly fee: No
Audio: Two-way
Local storage: Yes, microSD
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: Yes
Activity zone: Yes
Power source: : Plug-in
Size: 57 x 57 x 104mm
Weight: 104g

Reasons to buy

+
AI person and pet detection
+
Dual cloud and local storage options

Reasons to avoid

-
Narrow field of view
-
Not compatible with EufyCam HomeBase

Like Wyze, Eufy is another smart home company selling a range of connected products. This wired, indoor security camera features a 2K resolution and artificial intelligence. This helps the camera spot the difference between a person and a pet, and can also identify the sound of a crying child, turning the device into a baby monitor too.

Infrared night vision works to just over 30 feet, and the Eufy’s smart home credentials are strong, thanks to integration with Alexa, Google Assistant and, rare at this price point, Apple HomeKit. Video can be recorded to the cloud or a microSD card, and a 24/7 recording mode is also available.

(Image credit: TP-Link )
This budget panning camera doubles as baby monitor

Specifications

Resolution: 2304 x 1296
Field of view: 114 degrees vertical, 360 horizontal (motorised)
Night vision: Infrared
Smart home integration: Alexa, Google Assistant
Cloud storage: Yes, via Tapo Care subscription
Monthly fee: From $3.49
Audio: Two-way
Local storage: Yes, microSD (up to 256GB, not included)
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: Yes
Activity zone: Yes
Power source: : Plug-in
Size: 85 x 86 x 117mm
Weight: 190g

Reasons to buy

+
360-degree motorized panning
+
Can double as a baby monitor

Reasons to avoid

-
Baby cry detection requires subscription
-
Lacks HomeKit support

Another panning camera, this time from TP-Link. The Tapo has a 2K resolution and night vision, plus artificial intelligence to help tell the difference between a person and a passing vehicle. There’s also a microphone and speaker for two-way audio, support for microSD cards of up to 256GB, and integration with Alexa and Google Assistant.

The Tap also doubles as a baby monitor, but upgrading the artificial intelligence to recognise crying requires a subscription to Tapo Care, which starts at $3.49 a month. This also includes 30 days of cloud storage, notifications with video snapshots and the creation of privacy zones.

(Image credit: Kasa )

6: Kasa Spot Pan Tilt

Motion-tracking security camera for under $30

Specifications

Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Full HD
Field of view: 113 degrees vertical, 360 degrees horizontal (motorised)
Night vision: Infrared, up to nine metres (30 feet)
Smart home integration: Alexa, Google Assistant
Cloud storage: With Kasa Care subscription
Monthly fee: From $3
Audio: Two-way
Local storage: MicroSD (not included, up to 64GB)
Movement detection: Yes, plus sound detection
Person detection: No, but motion is tracked when detected
Activity zone: Yes
Power source: : Plug-in
Size: 82 x 82 x 113mm
Weight: 425g

Reasons to buy

+
Great price
+
360-degree view

Reasons to avoid

-
Narrow vertical view
-
Local storage limited to 64GB

We think this Kasa indoor security camera is great value, at under $30. It shoots in Full HD, has infrared night vision and works with the Alexa and Google Home smart home systems. It also offers full, 360-degree coverage of whichever room you put it in, and rotates to track options as they move. Customizable activity zones mean you can set the camera to only react when movement is spotted in a certain part of its view, preventing false-positives.

Cloud storage is also available, but only when subscribing to Kasa Care which starts at $3 a month for each camera you install. 

(Image credit: TP-Link)
3K video and the option for 21 days of storage

Specifications

Resolution: 2304 x 1296
Field of view: Not stated
Night vision: Infrared, up to nine metres
Smart home integration: Alexa and Google Home
Cloud storage: No
Monthly fee: N/A
Audio: Two-way
Local storage: MicroSD card (not included, up to 256GB)
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: No
Activity zone: No
Power source: : Plug-in
Size: 68 x 55 x 99mm
Weight: 70g

Reasons to buy

+
Works with larger-capacity microSD cards than most
+
Compact dimensions

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks activity zones
-
‘Ultra-high definition’ video claims are misleading

A small and simple security camera, the Tapo 2K by TP-Link records in greater than HD, but not the ‘Ultra-high resolution’ mentioned on the manufacturer website. There’s two-way audio and it accepts larger microSD cards than most cameras, at 256GB, which is enough for 512 hours or 21 days of recordings.

This camera works with Alexa and Google Assistant, but lacks more advanced features like activity zones and person detection.

(Image credit: EZVIZ)

8: EZVIZ C1C

Cheap security camera that doubles as a baby monitor

Specifications

Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Field of view: 130 degrees
Night vision: Infrared, up to 12.2 metres
Smart home integration: Alexa, Google Assistant
Cloud storage: Optional
Monthly fee: From $5.99
Audio: Two-way
Local storage: MicroSD (not included, up to 256GB)
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: No
Activity zone: Yes
Power source: : Plug-in
Size: 63 x 63 x 102mm
Weight: Not stated

Reasons to buy

+
Longer night vision range than most
+
Convenient magnetic base

Reasons to avoid

-
Cloud storage more expensive than some
-
Resolution capped at 1080p

Marketed as a security camera and baby monitor in one, the C1C has a longer infrared range than most others, at about 12 metres or 40 feet. It records at 1080p Full HD, which isn’t as high as some other cameras in this price bracket, but has a simple, compact design and a convenient magnetic base for attaching to different mounting kits.

We like how the C1C accepts microSD cards up to 256GB in size, and while cloud storage is available as an optional extra costing a fairly steep $5.99 a month, the focus here is to opt for local storage instead.

(Image credit: Wyze)

9: Wyze Cam Outdoor v2

Wireless outdoor security camera on a budget

Specifications

Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Field of view: 130 degrees
Night vision: Colour
Smart home integration: Alexa and Google Assistant (base station required)
Cloud storage: With subscription
Monthly fee: Cam Plus, $1.99 a month
Audio: Two-way
Local storage: MicroSD (not included, up to 128GB)
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: Yes
Activity zone: Yes
Power source: : Battery, up to six months
Size: 117 x 66 x 66mm
Weight: 277g

Reasons to buy

+
Wireless and weather resistant
+
Colour night vision

Reasons to avoid

-
Voice assistants require additional hardware
-
Some features require subscription

Although straying beyond our $50 budget, we have included this outdoor camera from Wyze because it is weatherproof, battery powered and therefore wireless, making it easy to install. It also features color night vision and uses passive infrared sensors to tell the difference between people and the movement of nearby trees.

Wyze’s CamPlus subscription costs $1.99 a month and unlocks extra features, including 14 days of unlimited cloud storage for recordings, and enhanced artificial intelligence with person, pet, package and vehicle detection.

(Image credit: Abode)

10: Abode Cam 2

A great starting point for a whole-home security system

Specifications

Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Field of view: 121 degrees
Night vision: Full colour
Smart home integration: Alexa, Google Assistant
Cloud storage: Yes, with subscription
Monthly fee: From $6
Audio: Two-way
Local storage: No
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: Yes
Activity zone: Yes
Power source: : Plug-in
Size: 50 x 50 x 50mm
Weight: 187g

Reasons to buy

+
Compact design
+
Full-color night vision

Reasons to avoid

-
No local storage
-
Most features request subscription

Lastly, the Abode Cam 2 is a compact indoor security camera with support for Alexa and Google Assistant. It lacks local storage, so you’ll need to pay a subscription to store recordings online, but it benefits from person detection, weatherproofing for outdoor use and a starlight sensor for full-color night vision.

What we like here is how Abode sells a wide range of devices, making it easy to build up a security system that includes window and door sensors, as well as cameras and motion sensors. This camera doesn’t currently work with Apple HomeKit, but Abode says it is constantly evaluating whether to change this or not.

Other useful home security buying guides: 

Best outdoor security cameras (opens in new tab)

Best indoor security cameras (opens in new tab)

Best baby monitor cameras (opens in new tab)

Best HomeKit cameras (opens in new tab)

Best PoE cameras (opens in new tab)

Best NVRs (opens in new tab)

Best PTZ camera (opens in new tab)

The best doorbell cameras (opens in new tab)

The best body cameras (opens in new tab) for personal security

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