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The best outdoor security cameras in 2021

Included in this guide:

Best outdoor security camera - Ring Stick Up Cam Battery
(Image credit: Ring )

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.

Since the internet provided a direct link to your pocket, and AI has even made it possible to tell package delivery from intruders, installing smart cameras can do a lot. You can check you closed the garage door from an app, tell the kids to come in for dinner via a built-in speaker, and, of course, receive alerts if something happens which shouldn’t.

See also: Best indoor security cameras

The market has seen a lot of innovation from big players as Google and Amazon have snapped up and developed the brands Nest, Ring and Blink. Inevitably there is integration with their respective smart home brands (Google Assistant and Alexa) while these firms – and some very interesting competitors – are also well aware of Apple’s HomeKit. 

Most brands here also offer cameras designed to live indoors; rather than miss good choices, we’ve created a separate list for the indoor security cameras, but don’t forget you can often mix-and-match to create your own complete system.

A significant difference between cameras is how they stream footage; some do it via wi-fi to your router all the time, others only when they detect some kind of motion (an ‘event’). To record a feed like this, you’ll usually need a subscription (and no limit on your monthly bandwidth). Others work via a base station which may make it possible to gain some local control.

In terms of on-camera tech, look out for night vision (either infrared, lit invisibly, or via a floodlight of some kind), one- or two-way speakers (which let you speak remotely from the camera), and the field-of-view.

You will need to decide how you want to fit your camera which will depend on your DIY skills, the security of the location and the access to power. Continuous power means cabling, but may also offer the option of continuous recording, while battery-powered devices will require regular visits to charge or replace batteries and will likely only offer clips. We also suggest you check local rules on the need to display CCTV warning signs, too.

(Image credit: Google)

1. Google Nest Cam Battery

Best wired outdoor security camera for software

Specifications
Resolution: 1080p HDR
Field of view: 130˚
Night vision: Yes, 6.1m (20ft)
Smart home integration: Yes; via Google Home
Cloud storage: Yes, up to 60 days (3 hours free)
Monthly fee: $5 or £5 (30 day events) or $10 / £10 (60 day events + 10 days 24/7 video)
Audio: Yes, two-way
Local storage: Yes, 1 hour (a few days events)
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: Optional
Activity zone: Yes
Power source: Plug-in USB
Size: 83 x 83 x 83mm
Weight: 398g
Reasons to buy
+Works well with a Google Home system+On-device event processing+Internet failure backup
Reasons to avoid
-Benefits from subscription-Weatherproofing could be better

In terms of simplicity, the “Nest Cam (outdoor or indoor, battery)” – yes, that’s its full name – is fantastic. Once charged, it can be mounted magnetically to your home and sends a live view to the Google Home (not Nest) app. The newer Google app allows monitoring of multiple live cameras, among other features. Smart features like person, animal, package or vehicle recognition all take place onboard the device, so you can choose which you’re notified about and don’t have to pay for a subscription for this. It also speeds things up compared to those services which rely on footage being sent to and processed on cloud servers.

Why’s the video ‘only’ 1080P? Because good HDR 1080P can be more useful than bad 4K (and uses far less battery to send via wi-fi); this is excellent quality within the limits of 1080P. There are some quirks to the design, like only being IP54 weatherproof (keep it under the eves) and the weird way the power cable looks plugged in. That said, the system seems designed to be used in battery mode. There is built-in storage to cope with internet outages, while features like two-way voice (typical of app-controlled cameras) are there.

(Image credit: Arlo)

2. Arlo Ultra 2

Best 4K outdoor security camera system

Specifications
Resolution: 4K
Field of view: 180˚
Night vision: Yes
Smart home integration: Yes; Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, SmartThings
Cloud storage: Yes, up to 30 days
Monthly fee: $5 or £5 (30 day events) or $10 / £10 (60 day events + 10 days 24/7 video
Audio: Yes, two-way
Local storage: No
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: Optional
Activity zone: Yes
Power source: Plug-in USB
Size: 76 x 46 x 46mm
Weight: 213g
Colors: Black or white
Reasons to buy
+Auto zoom with tracking+Noise cancelling on two-way speaker+Year of Premier Plan
Reasons to avoid
-Battery needs regular charging

The Arlo system, from Netgear, stands out amongst security cameras thanks to the system’s dedication to supporting all the major smart home systems – including Apple HomeKit. It works via a hub, so is best bought in a package, and while 4K is nice to have there are lower resolution options at lower cost. Arlo’s AI detects the difference between delivery man, person, pet or vehicle, which makes phone alerts less likely to cry wolf. Dispute needing to attach a hub to your router, installation is a breeze thanks to the magnetic mounts (do put them out of reach though). The camera works well near the front door thanks to the dual noise-cancelling microphones which reduce street or weather noise in a two-way chat. There is also a siren and a bright LED. Apple-enthusiasts won’t just appreciate HomeKit support; the charging cables are magnetic (though it has to be said that the promised 6 months battery life seems optimistic); you can just take the camera down or reach up and connect the cable in situ.

(Image credit: Ring)

3. Ring Stick Up Cam Battery

Ring’s outdoor camera with the solar power option

Specifications
Resolution: 1080P
Field of view: 130˚
Night vision: Yes, dual
Smart home integration: Yes, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT
Cloud storage: Yes, up to 30 days
Monthly fee: $3 / £2.50
Audio: Yes, two-way
Local storage: No
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: Yes (with Protect Plan)
Activity zone: Yes
Power source: Battery / Solar
Size: 60 x 97 x 60mm
Weight: 213g
Reasons to buy
+Easily move in and out +Solar Panel option
Reasons to avoid
-Needs installing out-of-reach -Supplied power cable at odd angle

The Ring Stick-Up camera is an ideal development of the enormously popular Ring smart doorbell brand so, if you’d like a broader view of your property all coordinated in a mature app, look no further. The Stick-up cam can be positioned indoors and out and is powered by a battery which will last about 1,000 activations. In fact much of the volume of the device is taken up by that battery which you can charge yourself or choose to keep topped up via an optional Solar Panel. You can also buy an extra battery pack so keep charged ready and speed up the transition (though it does feel a bit irksome effectively having to pay to keep the camera on while you are charging otherwise), though you could run a USB cable to the camera in situ too. Ring’s app is sophisticated and has an easy-to-follow tutorial, and the cheaper cloud event storage is probably enough for most.
• See also Best Ring cameras

best outdoor security cameras - eufyCam 2 Pro

(Image credit: Anker)

4. Eufy eufyCam 2 Pro

Best base-station security camera system for flexibility

Specifications
Resolution: 2K
Field of view:
Night vision: Yes, color
Smart home integration: Yes, Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant (Apple HomeKit coming)
Cloud storage: No
Monthly fee:
Audio: Yes, two-way
Local storage: Yes, 16GB on base, up to 128GB MicroSD
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: Yes
Activity zone: Yes
Power source: Battery
Size: 107 x 57 x 57mm
Weight: 989g
Reasons to buy
+AI Smart Image enhancement+No wire install
Reasons to avoid
-Cameras must be mounted out of reach-Better suited to multi-camera set-ups

The eufyCam 2 Pro, the latest addition to the Eufy system, caught a lot of virtual eyes at CES 2021. The new outdoor camera isn’t only prepared for the weather, with IP67 protection, but for a straightforward installation, able to run entirely from battery for a whole year. That long life is in part thanks to the Sony sensor which provides good quality low light imagery without the need for a white light, which will mean climbing the ladders to charge the camera(s) less often. Rather than a potentially expensive subscription, Eufy’s system makes use of a base station, the HomeBase, making it sensible to buy in multi-camera kits from the start. The HomeBase’s on-board 16GB can be extended via USB, and the video stored on it is encrypted, but can be accessed via the app easily. Eufy also boasts a great app with good options, a thumbnail alerts option, and great alternative cameras and doorbells if you’re looking for, say, floodlights.

(Image credit: Blink)

Easiest battery-powered outdoor security camera to set up

Specifications
Resolution: 1080P
Field of view: 110˚
Night vision: Yes
Smart home integration: Yes, Amazon Alexa, IFTTT
Cloud storage: Yes
Monthly fee: $3 / £2.50
Audio: Yes, two-way
Local storage: Yes, 16GB on base, up to 128GB MicroSD
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: Yes (with Protect Plan)
Activity zone: Yes
Power source: Battery / Solar
Size: 71 x 71 x 31mm
Weight: 113g / 4oz
Reasons to buy
+Compact +Easy to install
Reasons to avoid
-New customers no longer get free storage-Doesn’t support Google Assistant or HomeKit

Blink’s compact cameras are designed to capture short video clips when activated by motion, but avoid being hard-wired thanks to the power from 2 AA lithium batteries. These can keep the device going for up to 2 years, communicating via a mini hub called the Sync Module 2. Customers of Blink before April 2020 got free cloud storage – many customers chose Blink for this. Now, although that is no longer available for new customers, it is possible to record via a simple USB stick and the Sync Module 2 (included if you buy a system), but new features will essentially be reserved for those who subscribe; a fun one is hourly photos assembled into timelapse so you can review what happened as you slept. The Blink system’s friction installation is simple, though you’d want it out of reach for thieves. Clearly the default settings are designed to preserve battery life, but the app offers choices like ‘early motion’ so you can choose your own priorities.
• Read full Blink Outdoor review

(Image credit: Ring)

6. Ring Floodlight Camera Pro

The best floodlight security camera will scare away trespassers

Specifications
Resolution: 1080P
Field of view: 149˚
Night vision: Yes
Smart home integration: Yes, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT
Cloud storage: Yes, up to 30 days
Monthly fee: $3 / £2.50
Audio: Yes, two-way
Local storage: No
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: Yes (with Protect Plan)
Activity zone: Yes
Power source: Mains power
Size: 326 x 202 x 217mm / 12.8 x 7.9 x 8.5 in
Weight: 1814g
Colors: Black or white
Reasons to buy
+Bright lights+Person detection
Reasons to avoid
-Requires hard wiring-Pricier than simple sensor lights

The priciest of the Ring outdoor cameras (the cheaper Ring Stick-Up Camera is also on this list), this is more a bout packing a punch than saving pennies. The dual-bulb 2000 lumen floodlights and a scary 110-decibel siren sit either side of a high dynamic range camera and the whole system is weather-resistant and is claimed to work in temperatures ranging from -20°C to +48.5°C, while the app offers notifications and live view for free, meaning you can be alerted to movement and see what’s happening live at no cost. Recording footage to the cloud for up to 30 days starts from $3 / £2.50 per month with the Ring Protect service.

The system also offers a great deal of flexibility. The lights are adjustable, and Amazon’s “3D motion detection” makes it easier to prevent unwanted triggering; as well as person detection there is distance detection built-in. Finally (assuming you subscribe) you’ll get some of the most immediate clips thanks to the pre-roll feature making them more useful when reviewing security breaches.

(Image credit: Wyze )

7. Wyze Cam v3

Best low-cost security camera for inside and outside use

Specifications
Resolution: 1080P
Field of view: 130˚
Night vision: Yes
Smart home integration: Yes, Amazon Alexa, IFTTT
Cloud storage: Yes
Monthly fee: $1.99
Audio: Yes, two-way
Local storage: Yes, microSD card
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: Optional
Activity zone: No
Power source: Plug-in USB
Size: 52 x 51 x 59mm
Weight: 98g
Colors: White
Reasons to buy
+Great speaker and two-way talk+Smoke and CO2 detection
Reasons to avoid
-Can’t set threshold for color night vision-Person detection not the best-Supply shortages due to Covid

If you want a compact indoor camera which might occasionally need to be positioned outside (or under a leaky roof) then look no further than the updated Wyze Cam’s v3. This is a compact 1080P cube camera which is IP65-rated for weatherproofing and able to capture color even in the dark thanks to what Wyze calls a Starlight CMOS sensor, and its f/1.6 maximum aperture. There are two switchable infrared wavelengths built-in, for near and far illumination, so re-positioning the camera in and out poses no risk. The ‘near’ one makes things hard to see, so perhaps better for baby monitoring. Mounting is straightforward too; there is a magnetic mount or screw mount. The two-way talk system makes use of a simultaneous speaker/mic system rather than push-to-talk. All these are great features, well realized, but the choice of inserting a microSD or using the subscription service is really appreciated. In most respects it beats the fairly recent Wyze Cam Outdoor, too, unless you need a battery-powered system.

(Image credit: Alptop )

8. Alptop AT-200DW Outdoor Security Cam

Best budget Pan Tilt camera with local recording and app support

Specifications
Resolution: 1080P
Field of view: 320˚ pan / 70˚ cam
Night vision: Yes, dual
Smart home integration: No
Cloud storage: No
Monthly fee:
Audio: Yes, two-way
Local storage: Yes, up to 128GB MicroSD
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: No
Activity zone: No
Power source: Plug-in 110-240V adapter (supplied)
Size: 160 x 110 x 96mm
Weight: 839g
Colors: White
Reasons to buy
+Motorized camera with auto or app-controlled turning+Built in recording 
Reasons to avoid
-Motion detection, no human detection-App could be more polished

The Alptop camera might have a distinctly arachnid look, but that smattering of ‘eyes’ serves to provide illumination for both infrared and visible light night vision. This camera is also not priced at a point where excessive investment in industrial design is to be expected; instead this is a great way to get 1080P HD footage from locations important to you or your business. The lens itself has a fairly narrow 70˚ field of view, but this extends to 320˚ horizontal and 90˚ vertically with the pan-and-tilt. The app, camHI, could certainly be better styled, but allows pan, tilt and zooming, too, and provides motion alerts. The camera records to an on-board MicroSD card if you choose. One thing it can’t do, despite suggesting it could, is connect to a web browser; it seems it needs the now-retired Flash player. There is still software for Windows, and an RJ45 connector; a nice extra option.

(Image credit: Arlo)

9. Arlo Essential Doorbell Wire-Free

Best video doorbell with battery power

Specifications
Resolution: 1536 x 1536
Field of view: 180˚
Night vision: Yes
Smart home integration: Yes, Amazon Alexa, SmartThings & Google Assistant
Cloud storage: Optional
Monthly fee: $2.99 / £2.79
Audio: Yes, two-way
Local storage: -
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: Yes
Activity zone: No
Power source: Battery or traditional wiring
Size: 143 x 47 x 37mm
Reasons to buy
+Square field of view is wider than most+Package detection
Reasons to avoid
-No Buffer on Battery model-Longer battery life would be better

We do have a separate guide to the best doorbell cameras, but it crosses over with this one for a couple of reasons. Many of the manufacturers are the same, and they use the same apps, technology and subscriptions so you can keep things tidier and cheaper by being brand loyal! The Arlo Essential Wire-Free model is our choice because it has a square HD camera, offering a much more rational field of view for something next to a door, and because it includes package detection so it can alert you next time the delivery agent leaves something expensive in full view of passers by and drives off. 

In terms of installation, it can either connect to a traditional chime and wiring, or be topped up from time to time and connect via wi-fi. That ‘time-to-time’ seems to be about every two weeks in a busy location, which might persuade you to either do the wiring or dip into your pocket for a spare battery; charging will leave you out of action for around four hours. Despite not being an Amazon company, it can also use an Alexa Echo as a chime if you choose.  

(Image credit: Nooie)

10. Nooie Outdoor Cam

Elegant design in an affordable security camera system

Specifications
Resolution: 1080P
Field of view: 107˚
Night vision: Yes
Smart home integration: Yes, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Cloud storage: Yes
Monthly fee: from $3
Audio: Yes, two-way
Local storage: Yes, microSD card up to 128GB
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: No
Activity zone: Yes
Power source: Plug-in 5V (USB)
Size: 128 x 69 x 69mm
Weight: 295g
Colors: White
Reasons to buy
+Good value+Good styling
Reasons to avoid
-No Apple HomeKit Support-No battery option

With a low asking price and nothing to worry about when it comes to looks, you might expect that Nooie are looking to make their money back with an outrageous subscription scheme, but in reality this camera offers the choice. There is cloud storage, signed up for via the app, and the opportunity to record locally. Sometimes getting a cheap product means sacrificing the opportunity to be part of a useful ecosystem, but Nooie offer doorbells and baby monitors too. Outdoor fitting does involve running a power lead – a battery option would be nice – but given the entry price it’s hard to complain. It is true that 1080P isn’t the highest resolution out there, but it’s worth remembering that it’s good enough for Google’s Nest too; where things do fall down a little is the frame rate, which is only 15fps – enough to see what’s happening, but not TV-like.

(Image credit: Ezviz)

11. Ezviz C3X Dark Fighter

Dual lens security camera that can see color in the dark without white light

Specifications
Resolution: 1080P
Field of view: 106˚
Night vision: Yes
Smart home integration: Yes, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Cloud storage: Yes
Monthly fee: from $5.99 / £2.99
Audio: Yes, two-way
Local storage: Yes, microSD card up to 256GB
Movement detection: Yes
Person detection: Yes
Activity zone: Yes
Power source: Plug-in 12V DC (adapter supplied)
Size: 72 x 72 x 150mm
Weight: 425g / 0.94 lb
Colors: White
Reasons to buy
+Stunning video quality+Striking siren and lights
Reasons to avoid
-Only 3 day video on cheapest cloud plan-Some false positives

The C3X uses a dual-lens set up to offer color video at night even without supplemental lights. In addition building AI into the system means the camera can spot human and vehicle shapes even in difficult lighting. The system works by combining data from the infrared camera (lit using two invisible-to-human-eyes lights) with the ambient brightness with a proprietary algorithm. The resulting H.265 video is then sent on via wi-fi, ethernet or recorded locally. The system still has a bright strobe (and siren) which it can use to deter intruders; people, vehicles, or both, and in what region is up to you. The MicroSD and reset button are tucked under a screw-sealed plate, which should make it harder to interfere with as well as earn the IP67 rating. It’s handy that a cable waterproofing clip is included too. The design is also kind to those installing a long way from wi-fi bases; the dual antenna are effective.

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What to look for in an outdoor security camera?

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? 
  • 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. In fact you may end up needing to turn down the image resolution rather than dominate your internet bandwidth!
  • 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 The answer here is usually reasonably straightforward in terms of power depending on the presence of a battery, but what about the footage? How dependent is the device on an internet connection?

Other useful buying guides:

Best indoor security cameras

Best PoE cameras

The best baby camera monitors 

Best webcam for home working

Best PTZ cameras

Best dash cam

The best pet cameras

The best doorbell cameras

The best body cameras for personal security

Best camera phones in 2021

Adam Juniper

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