The best outdoor security cameras in 2024

Looking for the best outdoor security camera for your home or business? This guide will take you through the top systems, and discuss the different features, so you can decide on the best outdoor security system for your budget – and buy it at the best price.

Adam Juniper with a drone
Adam Juniper

Adam has been obsessed with looking at cameras and gadgets for his whole life, and has developed a deep knowledge of special-purpose cameras, including PTZ cameras, webcams and action cams. (He's also our drone expert, and has written several bestselling books including The Drone Pilot's Handbook).

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Top tips for picking the best outdoor security camera system:

  • Ecosystem Does the camera use wi-fi or its own base station, and if the later do you have to pay extra for the base station? Are you willing to? Is the ecosystem wide enough for all your needs? Smart doorbells, for example, have quite a crossover with outdoor cameras. 
  • Subscription Is there a subscription (or multiple subscription options), and do they charge per camera or per home? Are you willing to pay?
  • Local recording? Is there the option to record locally, and is it in the camera or a base station? If you’re recording into the camera, can you be confident the recording is secure? 
  • Power supply Many outdoor cameras are battery powered, which makes for an easier install but more maintenance. Some offer solar panel accessories, like the Blink Outdoor Solar Mount, to save on battery swapping, charging or replacement. 
  • Lighting Floodlighting, or more subtle options like bright LEDs on the Google Nest IQ or Ring Spotlight Cam can both offer color when you’re seeing in the dark and surprise trespassers.
  • Sirens Can deter those you don’t want on your property. High decibel counts can be most effective, but may be more than your neighbors need!
  • Two-way-talk Can let you check in with the kids in the garden, or let you talk to a trespasser.
  • Camera quality Resolution is important, but certainly isn’t the only factor; outdoor cameras are often used mainly at night, so low-light imagery matters and that depends as much on infrared lighting as pixel count. It's also sometimes true that you need to dial down image resolution to save on bandwidth usage and battery consumption.
  • Live View Live view refers to the live video you can see from the camera on your app. It’s also worth looking for latency – the delay between real life and what you see on your phone.
  • Event The cameras have sensors of one kind or another to detect humans, animals or vehicles before activating the camera, alert, lights or siren, and each occasion is referred to as an ‘event’ in the jargon. Some cameras or subscriptions only record video in clips after an event, while others offer 24/7 options.
  • Connection loss If your outdoor camera uses wi-fi you need to factor in the quality of the connection available at your install site. Wireless signals and brick walls aren’t friends. On-board storage like a MicroSD can provide a backup.
  • DFG Drop Free Glass is a technology based on electrowetting-on-dielectric microfluids; in layman’s terms, energy can be passed through parts of the glass to guide water droplets away more quickly (and using less power) than a wiper (so the lens is free of water drops).
  • Person detection Not the same thing as individual recognition, at best you’ll receive notifications in genres like ‘Person,’ ‘Animal’ and ‘Vehicle.’ Whether you want an alert when there is an animal in your garden depends on how much your rose bushes matter to you, for example.  
Adam Juniper
Managing Editor

With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 

Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 

He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones, The Smart Smart Home Handbook, 101 Tips for DSLR Video and The Drone Pilot's Handbook