Best Wireless Indoor Home Security Cameras of 2018

John Carlsen ·
Updated
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We've reviewed wireless security cameras since 2012 and spent more than 105 hours in the last year testing quality in four categories: video, audio, ease of use and connection. When our testing concluded, the Nest Cam Indoor earned our highest score as the best security camera overall. It has excellent video quality, works with countless smart home devices and has exceptional customer support.  

Best Overall

Nest Cam Indoor

Nest Cam Indoor has excellent video quality, especially in low light. It's easy to set up and has excellent smart home compatibility.
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Best Value

Belkin NetCam HD+

The Belkin NetCam HD+ is the best value in our comparison because of its unmatched nighttime video quality, despite average daytime video quality and poor audio performance in our tests.
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Best Video Quality

Flir FX

Flir FX produced the top video quality and clarity in our tests, especially in bright daylight environments, though its setup process takes at least 30 minutes.
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Our Test Results

Product
Oco
Price
Overall Rating
9.3
9.2
8.9
8.9
8.8
8.7
8.6
8.3
Video & Audio
9.3
9.9
9.3
9.4
9
9.4
8.4
7.8
Convenience & Operation
9.1
7.8
8.8
7.9
8.4
7.3
8.5
9.3
Help & Support
10
8.6
8
8.6
8.6
8.6
9.4
8.6
Storage Type
Cloud
Cloud/microSD
microSD
microSD
Cloud
Cloud/microSD
Cloud
Cloud
Monthly Pricing
$10
$9.99
N/A
N/A
$9.99
$4.99
$5.99
$3.99
Warranty
2 Years
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
2 Years
1 Year
Customer Support
All
All
Phone, Email
All
All
All
Phone, Chat
All
Scheduled Recording
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Ease of Use
86%
75%
93%
86%
75%
69%
86%
96%
Location Detection
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Video Quality – Night
78%
89%
78%
89%
67%
67%
100%
56%
Still Images
Video Quality – Day
97%
100%
100%
97%
100%
97%
84%
81%
Standout Feature
Excellent Low-Light Video
Best Overall Video
Widest Field of View
Excellent Nighttime Video
Excellent Daytime Video
Best Audio
Best Nighttime Video
Best Mobile App
Supports 5 GHz Wi-Fi
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Home Automation Platform
Nest
N/A
N/A
SmartThings
N/A
N/A
WeMo
IFTTT
Connection Quality
90%
90%
80%
70%
90%
80%
90%
80%
Two-Way Audio
Sound Detection
N/A
Audio Quality
80%
90%
70%
70%
80%
100%
50%
80%
Field of View
130º
160º
180º
128º
130º
120º
95º
120º
Resolution
1080p
1080p
1080p
1080p
1080p
1080p
720p
720p
Digital Zoom
8x
5x
8x
10x
8x
8x
N/A
N/A
Night Vision Range
20 ft
20 ft
16 ft
62 ft
25 ft
24 ft
15 ft
23 ft
Best Overall

Nest Cam Indoor

Our tests revealed that the Nest Cam Indoor works best in low light during the day, and it does well recording well-lit rooms, too. We had some issues during our nighttime tests – as objects close to the camera were washed out by the LED – but nothing that would be a deal breaker for most home security scenarios.
We especially like the simplicity of Nest's mobile app, which makes it relatively easy to set up the camera using a QR code. The Nest app also lets you view videos and control other Nest products, and this model works with more smart home devices than other security cameras, including the August Smart Lock, IFTTT, Philips Hue and Scout Alarm. Nest Cam's audio records well enough for most people, but it wasn't as clear as the Foscam C2 and the Flir FX. Also be aware that you can’t schedule when the camera records. Nest Cam Indoor doesn't require a paid subscription to view live video, get sound alerts and motion alerts. However, you need to pay for Nest Aware subscription to record video, download clips and create time-lapse videos. The Nest Cam Indoor's two-year warranty is the best in our review.
Pros
  • Excellent low-light daytime video
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Strong smart-home compatibility
Cons
  • Highest cloud monitoring fees
  • Average nighttime video quality
  • No scheduled recording options
$170.50Amazon
Best Value

Belkin NetCam HD+

The Belkin NetCam HD+ is one of the most affordable security cameras we tested, selling for around $75 on Amazon at the time of this writing. The price makes it an excellent value, especially considering it earned the highest nighttime video score in our tests with excellent range and clarity in total darkness.
In daytime testing, the NetCam had average video quality in bright and low-light situations, and while its 720p video resolution doesn't hold up to the 1080p cameras in our review, it’s sufficient for most people. Unfortunately, the Belkin NetCam HD+ had the lowest audio quality in our tests; it was unintelligible. However, audio is arguably less important than video for the purposes of an inexpensive security camera. We had some trouble setting up this camera, largely because it felt less stable than other cameras we tested. After setup, it was relatively easy to use due to an intuitive mobile app, though it doesn't let you schedule when to record video. Belkin uses the cloud to store video recordings from the NetCam, as long as you pay a subscription fee of $5.99 each month – very competitive with other cloud storage plans. The camera also works with Belkin's WeMo smart home devices as well as voice control services such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. The Belkin NetCam HD+ has a two-year warranty, the longest in our comparison. Only Nest offers a comparable security camera warranty.
Pros
  • Best nighttime video quality in our tests
  • Very affordable
  • Smart home compatibility
Cons
  • Average daytime video quality
  • Poor audio quality
  • No scheduled recording options
$39.94Amazon
Best Video Quality

Flir FX

No security camera we tested scored perfectly in both low-light and bright daylight environments, though the Flir FX certainly produced the best video quality overall.
In bright daylight, the camera showed sharp details, providing a clear image of everything in the room. The Flir FX doesn't have the same clarity in ambient daylight, but still produces excellent video. In nighttime video tests, the Flir FX was a close second behind our top performer, Belkin NetCam HD+, though its video clarity weakened beyond 10 feet. Setting up Flir FX is unusual, as it doesn't work until its batteries, one in the camera and one in its base, charge for at least 30 minutes. However, no other security camera in our review has a battery backup. We didn't like that the mobile app makes you hunt for the button to view video, which isn't as convenient as putting it on the main screen when the app opens. The app has custom alerts, though it doesn't let you schedule recording or connect it to a smart home. The Flir FX has both local and cloud storage options. With local storage, you can use a microSD card up 64GB. The Flir FX has a unique feature, called RapidRecap, which edits numerous hours' worth of footage into a short summary. It also has a one-year warranty, though Nest and Belkin both offer two-year warranties.
Pros
  • Best daytime video quality in our tests
  • Excellent nighttime video quality
  • Excellent audio quality
Cons
  • Only has one-year warranty
  • No smart home compatibility
  • Must charge prior to setup
$144.46Amazon

Why Trust Us?

We started reviewing security cameras in 2012 and have devoted hundreds of hours to research and testing since then. Our research focuses on which types of cameras are best for beginners. We chose to focus on indoor cameras, since inside is the best place to put your first one. Each camera we tested connects via a mobile app and Wi-Fi. We specifically focused on fixed cameras with a wide field of view, at least 80 degrees, so they can monitor an entire room from a corner.

We chose cameras with similar pricing between $70 and $200, though cost doesn't currently play a role in our scores. In terms of features and quality, this is a step above budget security cameras. The cameras have 720p HD video resolution or greater and night vision, which are essential attributes in modern security cameras.

We also researched ways to test the cameras in real-world scenarios, rather than relying on confusing technical benchmarks. We hold each camera to the same standards and test them in similar conditions. We use the data from our tests to find the different strengths of each camera and to inform our recommendations.

How We Tested

Video
For daylight video tests, we wrote on a poster and placed it 16 feet away to compare each camera's indoor video quality. We used two lighting settings: natural light with the lights on and natural light on its own. We found the video was often better with the lights on than with natural light alone. The Flir FX and Foscam C2 had the best results with lights on. In low-light conditions, the Nest Cam Indoor and the D-Link DCS-2630L were better.

Aside from overall daytime video quality, we also looked at each camera's picture clarity. Predictably, higher-resolution cameras yielded the best results in this test, with 1080p cameras showing greater detail than 720p models. The Flir FX, D-Link DCS-2630L and Netgear Arlo Q had the clearest video among 1080p cameras, while the Belkin NetCam HD+ was the best among 720p cameras.

We concluded testing by evaluating how well each camera handled motion. The D-Link DCS-2630L and the Netgear Arlo Q recorded movement well, while the other cameras had at least some lag and image distortion. Internet speed can affect lag, so motion is often worse on live video feeds, while recordings have fewer problems than live streams.

Nighttime videos use infrared light instead of visible light, so they don't match the color or detail of daytime videos. Therefore, we assessed the brightness of the nighttime picture instead, with brighter video producing more detail. The top nighttime security camera was the Belkin NetCam HD+, which illuminated our room better than other cameras.

Audio
Our audio tests took a simple approach:we listened for loud, understandable audio. Some cameras were loud but the audio was distorted, while others cameras lacked distortion but were too quiet, making it harder to hear activity. The Foscam C2 was the only camera we tested with no audio distortion. Built-in speakers on each camera we tested, except the Y-cam Indoor HDS, let you use the mobile app to talk to anyone near the camera.

Ease of Use
To test ease of use, we tracked setup issues and whether we had to contact customer support. Cameras that quickly connected to Wi-Fi and had simple setup steps scored well.The Samsung SmartCam HD Pro had the easiest installation. Next, we looked for useful smartphone apps that show recordings, live streaming and basic settings on the first screen you see. The apps from Oco and D-Link were the easiest to use.

Connection
Our final test evaluated the Wi-Fi connection. To do this, we connected each camera to our Wi-Fi network along with a video streaming service and a smartphone. If a camera had connection problems, while the other devices and the router still worked, we deducted points accordingly.

Other Things to Consider When Buying a Security Camera 

Video Storage: Local or Cloud?
There are two kinds of storage, local and cloud, neither of which had any effect on our scoring because it boils down to personal preference. The cameras with local storage in our review use micro-SD memory cards to save video footage. This lets you access your video without subscription fees, though you might need extra memory cards or to write over older footage if you plan to keep your camera recording at all times.

Cloud storage holds more video than local storage, but there are often subscription fees. You typically don't need a subscription to view a live feed. However, if you can't reach the company's video servers, you can't access the recordings. On the other hand, cloud storage is easier to use than local and is more likely to record everything the camera sees. The Y-cam Indoor HDS is the only camera in our review with free cloud storage.

Field of View
If you choose a camera with a very wide field of view, at least 160 degrees, you can expect to see every part of the room in front of the camera. The widest field of view in our review is the D-Link DCS-2630L at 180 degrees. A wide field of view, which the majority of the cameras we reviewed have, is anything larger than 80 degrees, and it works best if you mount the camera high in a corner that overlooks the room.

Digital Zoom
Digital zoom allows you to select part of the video and enlarge it. While this helps you get a closer look at something, the quality of a digitally enlarged video won't match that of the original. The Samsung SmartCam HD Pro has the highest digital zoom in the review at 10x.

Smart Home Platform
Before you buy, check if any home automation or DIY home security systems work with the camera. These systems can use Wi-Fi security cameras to control smart locks, thermostats and other devices in your smart home. Likewise, these devices can tell the camera to record or not, based on your personal preferences. The biggest appeal with these systems comes from using a single app to control all of the smart home devices.

Warranty
It is common among consumer electronics to find a one-year warranty. Longer warranties give you more time to replace the unit if it stops working due to a manufacturing defect. The longest warranty we saw, found on both the Nest Cam and the Belkin NetCam HD+, is two years.


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