Best Wireless Indoor Home Security Cameras of 2019 Tested & Ranked
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Video & Audio||Convenience & Operation||Help & Support||Storage Type||Monthly Pricing||Warranty||Customer Support||Scheduled Recording||Ease of Use||Location Detection||Video Quality – Night||Still Images||Video Quality – Day||Standout Feature||Supports 5 GHz Wi-Fi||Home Automation Platform||Connection Quality||Two-Way Audio||Sound Detection||Audio Quality||Field of View||Resolution||Digital Zoom||Night Vision Range|
|Nest Cam||View Deal||4.5/5||9.3||9.1||10||Cloud||$10||2 Years||All||86%||✓||78%||✓||97%||Excellent Low-Light Video||✓||Nest||90%||✓||✓||80%||130º||1080p||8x||20 ft|
|Flir FX FXV101-H||View Deal||4.5/5||9.9||7.8||8.6||Cloud/microSD||$9.99||1 Year||All||75%||89%||✓||100%||Best Overall Video||N/A||90%||✓||✓||90%||160º||1080p||5x||20 ft|
|D-Link DCS-2630L||View Deal||4.5/5||9.3||8.8||8||microSD||N/A||1 Year||Phone, Email||✓||93%||78%||✓||100%||Widest Field of View||✓||N/A||80%||✓||✓||70%||180º||1080p||8x||16 ft|
|Samsung SmartCam HD Pro SNH-P6410BN||View Deal||4.5/5||9.4||7.9||8.6||microSD||N/A||1 Year||All||86%||89%||✓||97%||Excellent Nighttime Video||✓||SmartThings||70%||✓||✓||70%||128º||1080p||10x||62 ft|
|Netgear Arlo Q VMC3040||View Deal||4.5/5||9||8.4||8.6||Cloud||$9.99||1 Year||All||✓||75%||67%||✓||100%||Excellent Daytime Video||✓||N/A||90%||✓||✓||80%||130º||1080p||8x||25 ft|
|Belkin NetCam HD+ F7D7606||View Deal||4.5/5||8.4||8.5||9.4||Cloud||$5.99||2 Years||Phone, Chat||86%||100%||✓||84%||Best Nighttime Video||WeMo||90%||✓||50%||95º||720p||15 ft|
|Oco||View Deal||4/5||7.8||9.3||8.6||Cloud||$3.99||1 Year||All||✓||96%||✓||56%||✓||81%||Best Mobile App||IFTTT||80%||✓||✓||80%||120º||720p||23 ft|
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.
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.
Best Video Quality
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.
Excellent Daytime Video
The Netgear Arlo Q's wide field of view and sharp video make it one of the best daytime security cameras we've tested. While it does well in bright and low-light environments, it struggled to produce similar results at night.
While we experienced some connection problems during testing, the camera had one of the most stable connections overall. When we originally tested the camera, it wasn't compatible with any smart home platforms, but now works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT and Stringify. We also like that Arlo cameras come with seven-day cloud video storage at no cost, though you can upgrade to better plans starting at $9.99 a month. In addition to less-than-optimal nighttime video, Arlo Q's warranty is only one year long compared to two-year coverage offered by Nest and Belkin. Unlike other security cameras we tested, Netgear doesn't offer free 24/7 technical support after the first 90 days. After that, you must pay for a cloud storage plan to access 24/7 technical support.
Excellent Nighttime Video
The Samsung SmartCam HD Pro competes well with Belkin and Flir in terms of nighttime video quality, making it one of the best security cameras for total-darkness video recording. Its daytime video is also impressive, but slightly lower quality than the top performers in our tests.
This security camera uses microSD cards up to 64GB to record video, so there aren't any ongoing fees. You can use the mobile app to customize the video quality to optimize camera performance or save storage space. This is an especially helpful feature that isn't in every security camera. The audio quality on this camera doesn't compare well with the competition, but is clear enough when using the two-way audio function. We had some issues with the camera dropping its Wi-Fi connection during testing, but not enough to make the camera unusable. The SmartCam's one-year warranty is average for security cameras, but half as long as the warranties from Nest and Belkin.
- Iris Outdoor Security Camera IRIS BCAMPK1-LW: This security camera has night vision that can see as far out as 32 feet and automatically turns on when it gets dark. It also features a built-in microphone, so you can hear as well as see. This Iris outdoor security camera allows you to monitor your home using a smartphone or tablet. (Announced November 2018 for $149)
- Arlo Ultra - This device shoots in 4K HDR and features night vision, a spotlight, 180-degree viewing and noise cancellation, making it one of the most powerful security cameras on the market. (Announced November 2018 for $399)
- SimCam - This camera features facial recognition, two-way audio and a weatherproof exterior. To top it all off, there are no cloud costs for saving and storing video. In the long run, this will be one of the least expensive security cameras. (Announced January 2019 for $199)
- Reolink Argus 2: This 1080p outdoor security camera uses a rechargeable battery and can connect to a Reolink Solar Panel. The original Reolink Argus was the product of a successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. (Released in January 2018 for $129.99)
- Nest Cam IQ Outdoor: This is the outdoor version of the Nest Cam IQ. It has 4K video and intelligent features such as facial recognition and people recognition. (Released in November 2017 for $349.00)
- Guardzilla 360: This indoor security camera has 360-degree field of view that records video on every side of the camera. (Released in October 2017 for $229.99)
- Amazon Cloud Cam: This 1080p indoor security camera works with Amazon's popular Echo digital assistant. There's also an Amazon Key version that works in tandem with a smart lock to allow Amazon deliveries when you're out of the house. (Released in October 2017 for $119.99)
- Honeywell Lyric C2: This 1080p indoor security camera has sound recognition and can send you a notification when your baby cries or smoke alarm goes off. (Released in September 2017 for $169.99)
- Ring Spotlight Cam: This 1080p outdoor security camera from the makers of the Ring Video Doorbell comes in wired and battery versions. The battery version can use a Ring Solar Panel for charging. (Released in July 2017 for $199.00)
- Logitech Circle 2: This 1080p camera can be used indoors and outdoors and has an extremely wide 180-degree field of view. It also comes in wired and battery-powered versions. (Released in July 2017 for $179.99)
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 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 Much do Wireless Security Cameras Cost?
You can expect to pay around $150 on average for a wireless home security camera, though you can find products for as low as $25 (Wyze Cam) and as high as $350 (Nest Cam IQ Outdoor). Most Wi-Fi security cameras under $100 come from generic brands, which may have shorter warranties and fewer features than products from established brands such as Nest, Samsung, Netgear, D-Link and others. You can also expect to pay for local or cloud video storage. Local storage is essentially a microSD card, which is generally a one-time purchase, while cloud video storage costs an average of $5 a month or $50 a year.
How We Tested
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
More Home Security Guides:
- The Best Home Security Systems
- The Best DIY Home Security Systems
- The Best Whole-Home Surveillance Systems