Looking for the best indoor security camera solution for your home or office? This guide will take you through all the best options, at a range of features, so you can choose the one that suits your needs – and tell you the best current price.
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering exactly what was happening back at home, or needed to remotely reassure your favorite pet, a smart security camera is exactly what you need. The best ones offer a high definition view, built-in speakers, and simple and familiar set-up and settings via an app.
Your home Wi-Fi provides the ideal backbone for an immensely sophisticated home security system, one which can take advantage of the power of artificial intelligence, remote backup and the screen you carry with you all the time. As well as the system’s own app, look for compatibility with your preferred smart home platform e.g. (Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant/Apple HomeKit) or IFTTT (useful if you want to temporarily disable the recording for some reason, or set the cameras to come on automatically when you leave).
Rather than just record hours of footage, the cameras in this list all feature some form of motion activation and, in some cases, human detection which can decide whether to take a clip or alert you using your phone, a custom app and the alert mechanism.
That means choosing a camera is as much about choosing its ecosystem as the device itself; Nest, Ring, Blink, Wyze, Arlo and other brands features in this list also have cameras in our best outdoor security cameras list, as well as offerings in the video doorbell space. If you like a tidy smartphone without too many apps, sticking with a single brand will help.
Among the features you should look for are night vision. This is usually lit by a tiny infrared light in the camera, so the picture appears black and white but the light itself is invisible.
Another consideration is how many cameras you’ll want; in most cases any subscription charges for video recording or detection features are charged per camera, at least for the first few. To keep this cost down, take a look at the field of view – a wider angle view (like 130˚) will give you a slightly more distorted image, but allow you to see more space with just one camera.
If you are in a rented space, installing indoor cameras is unlikely to upset your landlord; most can be placed on a shelf or using magnets which prevents damage. You should give a little thought to whether you’ll upset the privacy of visitors or colleagues; some camera apps offer features to help control this. In some States (and the UK) it might be worth researching CCTV warning stickers if you’re recording members of the public.
The best indoor security cameras in 2021
The Nest Cam makes plug-and-play simplicity the central aspect of its offering; it comes in elegant packaging with a 3m USB lead which supplies the power, using your local wi-fi network to send a live 1080P stream to your Nest app. That feed can be recorded with the Nest Aware service but even without a subscription you’ll receive alerts and can pop into the app and see 3 hours of activity as still photos. If you have a Nest Thermostat, each Nest Cam you add appears as a small view on your app’s home screen and you can tap on it for more details. You will not find it short of features, but usability is excellent. The camera is manufactured from quality materials too, which tells in its surprising heft, something easily explained away when you remember the base is magnetic. The camera isn’t the cheapest, you can easily reposition it as you need and you get software without problems.
The IQ takes an already high-end device and boosts the features (and, of course, price). That not insignificant extra outlay buys you an 8-megapixel sensor capable of 12x digital zoom (beating 3MP and 8x respectively on the junior sibling), so the picture is great and you can look in very closely, but despite having the pixels the camera still only outputs 1080P. The main advantage of this extra zoom is ‘Supersight’, the person-detection function which automatically zooms in on those it spots (saving you the effort of pinch-and-zoom). The system is well implemented, making use of picture-in-picture and showing sensible detail depending on whether you’re using a phone or computer display. If you do have a Nest Aware subscription, you can also enable facial recognition; this improved the detail you get in text alerts. Finally the camera has Google Assistant built-in, so you can talk to it just like any other smart speaker, and a cool glowing circular light around the rim.
Amazon’s Ring series of cameras – offered in black or white to fit any room – are simple to install, and not only can you see a live view via a phone app but if you have an Echo Show (Alexa with a screen) you just need to ask. The system is backed up by an integrated cloud service, of which you get a 30-day free trial, called Ring Protect, and offers phone alerts when it spots motion in an area of the camera’s view you define from the 140˚ field of view. A really nice touch is that the camera is offered as a basic model at a price to beat its competitor from Nest, but if you want extras – like battery backup or weather protection – you can choose different models with similar styling (though, oddly, ever-so-slightly narrower fields of view). There’s even a Solar HD option for the outdoor version, and a special app, Neighbors by Ring, to build a neighborhood watch group.
While Amazon’s Ring series already start at a fairly reasonable price, the Blink Mini is even cheaper and even smaller. Despite that, its cunning design allows the base to be connected to either the bottom or the back of the camera, or detached altogether, for different and discrete mounting options. There’s also a cable tidy. The camera is easy to set up and captures very natural color, which – with a Sync Module 2 – can be recorded without subscription to a MicroSD card. In night mode the infrared light (invisible to people) seem to flood subjects, but it can be turned down in the settings. Even though this camera is so accessibly priced, it is compatible with Echo Show (Alexa with a screen) and has a fully featured app (iOS/Android) – the only thing that’s missing is a simple way to dismiss the red-circle notification alert without deleting footage.
A relatively recent addition to the Blink line is a refreshed indoor model which strips the weatherproofing but still offers power from two AA cells rather than USB. Setting this up can be considerably less than irksome than running another cable around your home, and like its Blink Outdoor cousin the battery will manage an impressive two years, and the camera has been boosted to 1080P. On the downside, you can’t record an extended live view without pressing a button on your app, but the software is well designed, and it’s easy to use features like the two-way talk. The app makes it straightforward to limit alerts regions as well as time and sensitivity for the motion trigger; you can even mark areas for non-recording for privacy or, at the other end of the scale, disable the camera’s blinking status light for discretion. A mount is included in the box. As with the Blink Mini, you can record footage locally using the optional Sync Module 2.
The original Wyze Cam compact cubic camera could do a lot for comparatively little, so where could they go next? It turned out that, while staying true to the competitive pricing, the next step was a version which can physically pan 360˚ in 3 seconds. Ideal if you want to position it somewhere central in a big kitchen/diner and define up to 4 waypoints the camera can turn to and monitor. Admittedly the camera does seem to have a habit of panning a little over enthusiastically, and at 15fps the video could be smoother, but the field of view is large enough to see a rogue dog anyway. In fact the ability to pan is superbly suited to keeping an eye on pets (or raccoons) exploring and you can always at least give them a verbal warning via the two-way speaker. A nice plus is, if mounted off the horizontal, the pan still works and – if you’re interested – you can choose to have a box highlight the motion the camera spotted.
The Arlo series of cameras offer a lot in terms of features, though you’ll pay for them (the Pro 3 is usually sold in a kit with two cameras and base station - and is available in black or white). The Pro 3 offers 2K HDR video, twice the sharpness of the more common 1080P though still not Arlo’s highest (the Arlo Ultra is 4K). Arlo also offer you the flexibility of wire-free installation; batteries are rechargeable and will keep the device working for about 4 months. The camera offers 12x zoom which isn’t to be sniffed at, and 2K recordings of events give you a lot of detail. There is also an air quality sensor in there, and a white light which can add some color to night view. Arlo’s services allow for people, animal or vehicle detection to be individually turned on and off, and a nice touch is that clips can be transferred from the app into the Photo app to be kept forever. The Arlo system is well worth a look for anyone making use of the Apple Home app.
Just to clear something up, the Arlo Baby can be physically twisted so the “head” is looking where you want it, but it’s not motorized for remote adjustment. What you can do is adjust the field of view in the app (from 90˚to 130˚) so there is still a good deal of flexibility. Better still, the app can also remotely engage a white noise generator, lullaby player and hue-adjustable night light. Having seen some of my young son’s kids TV preferences, I can see why this would appeal, and you can detach those cute ears as soon as he or she announces they are too grown up. In terms of sensors, there is a thermometer, humidity sensor and Volatile Organic Compound detector (which would spot Methane, Carbon Monoxide, or an especially strong fart). The video quality is excellent, comfortably beating most baby monitors, but a surprising secondary benefit is tidying other devices (night-light, music player, two-way speaker) out of the room.
The Eufy 2K cameras, including this pan-and-tilt version (PTZ) and a more traditional cube, take advantage of their crisper image resolution to help the on-device AI detect humans or pets and determine if what’s happening is relevant to you. They’ve also managed to beat the big names in terms of smart home integration, matched only by Arlo (thankfully Eufy doesn’t have a reason not to play nice with Apple HomeKit). Night light infrared manages 10m/30ft thanks to eight LEDs, and on the reverse is a MicroSD card slot for recording footage to. There is also a Micro USB socket for power and, on the base, a sturdy mounting plate attachment. Setup is made easy by the app, and it seems to offer no complaints about choosing the local storage option even though there is no subscription (admittedly your footage is potentially only stored within reach of a bad actor). Ultimately, though, it’s great to be able to choose whether you want a fee-paying subscription or not and still get to record.
You get a lot for your money with the Kami mini cameras; the 1080P camera provides a good resolution view which is bolstered by the 8 built-in infrared LED lights at night. The human detection makes for better alerts and simple motion, so your phone won’t be screaming about pets minding their own business, and the face detection makes reviewing footage extra efficient by summarizing everyone who’s been in frame. The device works with Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as YI Cloud, so should sit nicely with a smart home. There are also a good range of Yi cameras, including a dome-like PTZ model and outdoor ones, and the firm has developed their app well in recent years. The app has received a lot of development, with nice touches like gyroscope pan/tilt (when zoomed in), and in terms of child care there is the ability to listen for crying as well as strong invisible night lighting and two-way audio.
How to choose a home security camera
Think about where you want to put each camera; is that area subject to water ingress (in which case, look at our outdoor cameras list). Think too about how you will power the camera? Some have built in batteries, others need constant power – so will need access to a socket.
It’s also worth considering privacy; if the camera is making a recording, can it simply be played or will the recording require a password to play? If the recording is only accessible by app, then it’ll probably need a password.
3. AI features
Something you absolutely shouldn’t neglect is person or pet detection of some form (and whether it’s in the camera or only available via the subscription). It makes a massive difference because the better the detection system, the less likely the system is to alert you with unwanted false alarms.
4. Subscription options
Understanding what you do, and don’t get, for the tier of subscription you choose is significant. Manufacturers are keen to sell AI features, but in reality they’re often dependent on the fee – so are you happy to pay it? In most cases you don’t have to, but you’ll get little more than live view and two-way talk (features which require no third-location server support).
Other useful buying guides:
The best body cameras for personal security