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Motion-activated home security cameras provide the obvious benefit of allowing you to find out exactly what happened in the event of a home invasion and notifying you while they’re happening so you can quickly respond, but their benefits go well beyond worst-case scenarios. If you have pets or kids, for example, a home security camera gives you the ability to check on them while you’re away, and if you have a doorbell camera, you can check to see if packages arrived or neighbors dropped by. A home security camera is the closest way to be at home for those times when you can’t be at home.
The first step in investing in a home security camera is to decide where you want to look. If you’re using your home camera as a pet and child monitor, a more affordable indoor cam will be what you need. Trying to make sure that your sneaker order got delivered? A doorbell camera might suit your needs. If you have a larger outdoor area, such as a backyard, you’ll likely want an outdoor camera that can see clearly at night. Outdoor cameras tend to be more expensive, largely because they have to be durable enough to withstand constant sunlight, rain and other elemental challenges.
Besides function, there are other factors that determine the cost of your home security system. Some require connection to a central hub, which adds extra cost, and many of them require a monthly subscription service. There are home security cameras that rely on local storage alone, which can save on cost but may limit functionality.
Beyond cost and features, there are other concerns worth considering. Ring, for example, has been caught up in thorny privacy issues. These include partnerships with police that allow departments to access footage without a warrant, raising concerns among groups like the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The truth is that most companies will have their own privacy flaws, which means that before you decide how much information you want from your camera, it’s also important to consider how much information your camera wants from you.
We’ve rounded ups some of the best motion-detection home security cameras on Amazon.
1. Google Nest Cam Outdoor 2-Pack
If you’re looking for an option to guard your front door or backyard (or both) consider this two-pack system from Nest, Google’s smart-home focused line of products. It features motion and audio detection, sending alerts to your phone. You can also talk to visitors through the built-in speaker and mic, and it uses a wired connection, so you don’t have to worry about battery life.
Subscription: Nest Aware starts at $6 a month. Functionality is very limited without a subscription.
2. eufy Security 2K Indoor Cam
NO MORE BLIND SPOTS
The problem with many home security cameras comes down to placement. You have to position them just so, and even then you’ll always have blind spots. That’s what makes this option from eufy, Anker’s home electronics-focused sub-brand, so great. It features a pan and tilt feature, allowing you to see more. You can do this manually through the app, but it also has a smart feature that allows it to automatically follows moving people or pets. It can also do local storage via an SD card.
Subscription: Starts at $2.99/month, but not required if using local storage.
3. Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera
WARDS OF WOULD-BE INTRUDERS
By connecting directly to WiFi, Arlo’s spotlight camera eliminates the need for a dedicated hub. It’s battery-powered, making it easier to install outside without the need to worry about wiring. You can also hear and speak to visitors through the built-in mic and speaker, and motion detection also sends you alerts when you get visitors. And if any unwanted guests stop by, the spotlight and siren features will help ward them off.
Subscription: Cloud storage starts at $2.99/month for a single camera. Subscription not required for features like local storage and notifications.
4. eufy Security, WiFi Video Doorbell
eufy comes from Anker, which is one of the top brands for portable chargers. This doorbell camera delivers some unique features that make it a great option compared with pricier top-tier brands. It allows you to store your data locally to an SD card. That means that you can use the eufy camera without enrolling in a costly subscription service. The AI uses motion sensors to alert you to people, rather than other passing objects that can result in unnecessary alerts. This option does require hardwiring to existing doorbells, though eufy has other options that do not require this.
Subscription: None required, unless you want cloud storage, which starts at $2.99/month.
5. Wyze Cam Smart Home Camera
Some motion-activated cameras can feel more expensive than the stuff you’re trying to protect, which is why this budget-minded camera from Wyze is such a great option. It connects directly to your home’s WiFi and can send you alerts based on audio and motion detection. You can get up to 14 days of cloud storage for free, as well as the ability to record locally to an SD card.
Subscription: None required for 14 days of cloud storage.
6. Google Nest Cam Indoor Wired Home Security Camera
If you’re looking for a feature-rich indoor motion-activated camera and are willing to spend a little more money, consider this camera from Google Nest. It has eight infrared LEDs that make for clear vision in nighttime conditions, and two-way talk allows you to check-in while you’re away. The camera is flexible, allowing you to adjust it depending on how it’s mounted.
Subscription: Nest Aware starts at $6/month.
7. Arlo Video Doorbell
In addition to their outdoor cameras, Arlo also offers a smart and sleek video doorbell. Like Arlo’s cameras, this doorbell offers motion detection and alerts through their app. You can also customize activity zones, helping to reduce alerts from factors like passersby and street traffic. The larger camera angle allows you to see visitors from head to toe. For a handsome-looking motion-activated camera, this is a fantastic option.
Subscription: Some features can be used without the subscription, but access to the cloud starts at $2.99/month.