Arlo Security Camera Review 2022

Arlo has some of the best wireless security cameras out there

Arlo Pro 4
Arlo Pro 4
4.8 out of 5 stars
4.75
$199.99
  • Check
    Advanced object detection
  • Check
    High smart home compatibility
  • X
    Paid plan required
Arlo Ultra 2
Arlo Ultra 2
4 out of 5 stars
4
$599.99
  • Check
    4K video
  • Check
    Local storage
  • X
    Hub required
Arlo Essential Spotlight
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
$129.99
  • Check
    Spotlight
  • Check
    No hub required
  • X
    Paid plan required
Arlo Go 2
Arlo Go 2 White
4 out of 5 stars
4
$249.99
  • Check
    Base not required
  • Check
    Functional anywhere
  • X
    Separate mobile plan required
Brianne Sandorf
Staff Writer, Home Security & Smart Home
Read More
March 29, 2022
12 min read

Arlo sells a bunch of wireless cameras that will satisfy almost any need, and we've gathered them all here for you.

Arlo cameras aren’t the most expensive out there, and they have impressive motion detection features, making them one of our most popular security camera recommendations.

The biggest downside is that Arlo cameras require a paid subscription to access some of the best features.

Keep reading our comprehensive guide to find the best Arlo security camera for your home or apartment.



Arlo cameras comparison
Model
Image
Price
Camera quality
Learn more
Arlo Pro 4$199.992K
Arlo Ultra 2$599.99 for 2 cameras4K
$129.991080p
Arlo Go 2 White$249.991080p

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 02/22/2022) Full disclaimer 

Which cameras do we cover in this review?
Pin

Arlo keeps making newer and better cameras. In this review, we’ve focused on the cameras and camera lines that Arlo is actively selling. We didn’t include products that are sold out or discontinued, although we noted outdated products when they’re part of a line we’re featuring.

How Arlo cameras work

Arlo sells a lot of cameras, and each one works a little differently

Arlo has a lot of variety in its offerings—which is terrific because the company has a lot of different solutions for different preferences. But each camera varies in its connectivity, compatibility, and even storage plan features, so there’s a lot to consider (and a lot to discuss here).

Here’s our stab at a quick-and-dirty summary. We’ll provide more depth as the review goes on.

  • Most Arlo cameras communicate without wall-fished wires (so you won’t need an electrician unless you buy the wired doorbell).
  • Some Arlo cameras need to be continuously plugged in to work.
  • Arlo sells outdoor, indoor, and doorbell cameras.
  • Some Arlo cameras need hubs or base stations to connect to your smart home. Some don’t.
  • Some Arlo hubs and cameras have local storage. Some don’t.
  • Most Arlo cameras work with Alexa, Google, IFTTT, and HomeKit.
  • Arlo has three different cloud storage/video streaming plans. You can’t use every plan with every camera due to varying storage needs and video quality capabilities.

Video quality is the main differentiator between many of the Arlo camera lines. The Pro, Ultra, and Essential lines are all similar in features but vary in price. Those prices are primarily determined by whether the cameras stream in 1080p, 2K, or 4K.

So basically, if you’re just looking for a good camera, any of Arlo’s options should work for you. You’re one and done. But if you’re looking for a specific feature, then you’ll have to do a little more work to make sure you’re picking the right camera.

Arlo hubs

Arlo sells three categories of hubs: the base station, the base station with siren, and the Arlo SmartHub. And if that’s not enough, each category has a few different models.

The standard base station is compatible only with cameras that are now obsolete, like the Arlo Pro and Arlo Pro 2, so we won’t cover it in this review. Just know that it’s out there, and you might come across it as you look for the perfect Arlo camera.

The base stations with sirens and SmartHubs work with Arlo’s current offerings.

Arlo base station with siren and SmartHub models
FeaturesVMB4000 base stationVMB4500 base stationVMB4000 SmartHubVMB4500 SmartHub
CompatibilityArlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera, Arlo Ultra, Arlo Ultra 2, Arlo Essential Spotlight, Arlo Video DoorbellArlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera, Arlo Ultra, Arlo Ultra 2, Arlo Essential Spotlight, Arlo Video DoorbellArlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera, Arlo Ultra, Arlo Ultra 2, Arlo Essential Spotlight, Arlo Video DoorbellArlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera, Arlo Ultra, Arlo Ultra 2, Arlo Essential Spotlight, Arlo Video Doorbell
Max streaming resolution4K4K4K4K
Local storageYes, USBYes, USBYes, microSDYes, USB
Siren100 dB90 dBNoneNone
Learn more

Data as of time of posting.

Arlo storage

Arlo Secure (previously known as Arlo Smart)  features a few different storage plans, including a free option.

For the cameras with advanced object detection and other features that make Arlo worth the buy, you must get a paid Secure or Secure Plus plan. Without one, you can’t access most of your camera’s functions.

If you’re thinking, “I’ll just get the cheapest storage option, no matter what it is!” then think again. The camera you buy will determine the plan you need. And, if you have a few different Arlo cameras with different plan needs, you could end up paying for both a Secure and Secure Plus plan each month.

This is important to mention in case readers have previous experience with Arlo or have read other reviews that aren't as recent. We don't want to lose credibility because we're using a different term than what they've heard before.

Arlo storage plans
FeaturesNo PlanArlo SecureArlo Secure Plus
PriceFree$2.99/mo. for a single camera; $9.99/mo. for unlimited cameras$14.99/mo. for unlimited cameras
Max resolutionN/A2K4K
Cloud storageNone30 days30 days
Push notifications
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Custom activity zones
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Advanced object detection
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Emergency Response
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Learn more

Data current as of time of posting.

Arlo also offers continuous video recording, also known as CVR or 24/7 recording. That way, you can see everything, not just camera clips triggered by events. Because—let’s be honest—even the best motion-detection cameras sometimes miss things. It’s better to record everything if you can.

But there’s a catch. CVR costs extra money on top of your subscription plan. You’ll spend $9.99 each month for 14 days of CVR or $19.99 a month for 30 days. And that’s only for the first Arlo camera. If you want to add CVR to more cameras, it’s an additional $4.99 each for 14 days or $9.99 each for 30.

So if you have five Arlo cameras and want 30-day CVR for all of them? You’ll pay close to $60 a month on top of what you’re already paying for camera storage. That’s much higher than the typical fees for DIY camera systems.

Free camera storage
Money

If you have an older Arlo camera, like an Arlo Pro or Arlo Pro 2, you get up to seven days of cloud storage with the free plan. But the cameras we feature in this review all require a paid plan. 

Arlo Pro features

The Pro is the most basic Arlo camera
Pro Bullet Advanced object detection
Pro Bullet High smart home compatibility
$199.99

The Pro is Arlo’s standard camera offering. It features 2K video quality, color night vision, lights, zoom, and Arlo’s signature advanced object detection. With all that, nothing’s getting past your camera or you.

There have been many iterations of the Pro, some of which you may be familiar with.

Over the last few years, Arlo has discontinued the Arlo Pro, Arlo Pro 2, and Arlo Pro 3. Currently, the company sells only the Pro 3 Floodlight and Pro 4.

Arlo Pro features comparison
Model
Price
Light
Learn more
$249.99Floodlight
$199.99Spotlight

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 02/22/2022)

All Arlo Pro cameras have the following:

  • 2K video
  • Motion detection
  • Package detection
  • Person detection
  • Vehicle detection
  • Two-way audio
  • Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple HomeKit compatibility
  • Color night vision
  • Zoom
  • Projected six-month battery life

The main difference between these cameras is that the Pro 4 has a spotlight, while the Pro 3 Floodlight (predictably) has a floodlight.

Advanced object detection

Arlo’s “advanced object detection” encompasses package, person, and vehicle detection.

If you live on a busy street, motion detection push notifications can quickly become annoying. It’s better to get specific notifications, such as “Person detected” or “Package detected” so you know which notifications are important and which you can ignore. And that’s where Arlo’s top unique feature comes into play.

However, to use this feature, you’ll need a paid subscription.

Subscription

Arlo Pro cameras require an Arlo Secure Plan for 2K streaming, 30 days of storage, and full access to all features. That’s $2.99 a month for a single camera or $9.99 a month for unlimited cameras.

You’ll get three months of Arlo Secure free, and then it’s time to pay.

Or you can choose to go without a paid subscription, but you won’t be able to get the whole Arlo Pro experience. And without that full experience, it’s probably not worth it to buy Arlo. All the best features are wrapped up in the paid plans.

Subscriptions and video quality
Info Box

If you’re using a 2K or 4K Arlo camera, you can only get full video quality with a paid plan. Choosing to forego a plan will result in 1080p quality on any Arlo camera.

How to install Arlo Pro cameras

To set up an Arlo Pro camera, you’ll charge it, mount it, and follow the app’s directions to get it connected to your Wi-Fi. We’ve tried it before, and it’s a quick and easy process.

Arlo Ultra features

Ultra feature-packed; ultra-expensive
Pro Bullet 4K video
Pro Bullet Local storage
$599.99

Although the Ultra line used to include the Arlo Ultra, it’s moved on to the Ultra 2 only.

The Arlo Ultra 2 has the following:

  • 4K HDR video
  • 180° field of view
  • Motion detection
  • Package detection
  • Person detection
  • Vehicle detection
  • Two-way audio
  • Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple HomeKit compatibility
  • Siren
  • Spotlight
  • Color night vision
  • Zoom
  • Local storage
  • Projected six-month battery life

The Ultra 2 requires an Arlo SmartHub or base station, so you'll want to get one if you don't have one.

Arlo Ultra 2 pricing
Price Tag

This camera is expensive because it comes in two-packs with an Arlo SmartHub. You can buy the camera as a less expensive add-on if you already have the hub .

I like these callouts that show you've found the best link for most users, but that you're also watching out for the users who already have a hub.

180° field of view

A 180° lens gives a wide field of view so you can better see activity on your property. If someone is lurking on the edges of the camera view, you’ll still see them.

Spotlight

Spotlights are quite useful for outdoor security cameras. Folks who sneak around on other people’s property generally don’t want to be seen, so a light can be a big deterrent.

A light is also a a failsafe. If the color night vision experiences a problem, the spotlight will ensure your camera catches a clear picture of nighttime intruders.

Subscription

You’ll get a three-month trial of Arlo Secure with an Ultra 2, but after that, you’ll need to pay to get full use of your camera. Since this camera films in 4K, it uses Arlo Secure Plus, which costs $14.99 every month.

Note that the Arlo Ultra 2 comes with local storage ( a USB drive or SD card inserted directly into the hub), so you don’t necessarily need Arlo Secure for storage purposes.

How to install Arlo Ultra cameras

To install the Arlo Ultra 2, charge the camera before setting it up. Follow the app’s instructions to connect the camera to the app and the SmartHub to your router.

Once the battery charges, you’ll place it inside the camera and secure the camera to its mount. You’ll then follow the app’s instructions to complete setup and buy your Secure Plus plan.

Like other Arlo cameras, the Ultra 2 is completely wireless. You don’t need to plug it into the hub or your router to work.

The Ultra 2 is completely wireless.

Arlo Essential features

The Essential line features an outdoor camera and indoor camera
Pro Bullet Spotlight
Pro Bullet No hub required
$129.99

When we say “Arlo Essential,” we (and most reviewers) refer to the Arlo Essential Spotlight. But there’s also an Arlo Essential Indoors. And two Essential Video Doorbells.

So what makes these cameras so essential? They all have sirens and advanced motion detection, don’t use hubs, and still manage to be some of Arlo’s cheaper camera offerings. Affordable and user-friendly: nice.

Arlo Essential features comparison

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 02/22/2022)

All Arlo Essential cameras have the following:

  • 1080p video
  • Motion detection
  • Package detection
  • Person detection
  • Vehicle detection
  • Two-way audio
  • Siren
  • Night vision
  • Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Samsung SmartThings compatibility

And that’s not all. Some of the Essential cameras have additional features.

If you get the Essential Spotlight, you’ll also get the spotlight, outdoor weatherproofing, color night vision, zoom, an estimated six months of battery life, and Apple HomeKit compatibility.

Copy of arlo-essentials-spotlight-cam-1

And if you get the Essential Wired Video Doorbell, you’ll get outdoor weatherproofing plus Apple HomeKit compatibility.

You’ll also get outdoor weatherproofing with the Wireless Video Doorbell. But unlike its counterpart, this doorbell iteration won’t work with Apple, at least according to the Arlo website.

Smart home note
Heads Up

The Apple integration only works if you use the Essential with an Arlo hub.

Siren

Why would you want a camera with a siren? It’s extra protection for your home, property, and family.

For instance, maybe someone is in your yard, trying to light your home on fire. (Unlikely? Yes. Impossible? No.) Your typical security system is powerless against that. But an outdoor or doorbell camera with a siren can both alert you to the intruder’s presence and scare off the would-be arsonist.

Similarly, an indoor camera with a siren is a great way to augment a security system. It’s also a lower-cost way to get some of a home security system’s protection if you can’t afford the whole kit and caboodle.

In both these instances, an Arlo Essential camera would serve the purpose.

Storage

The Arlo Essential cameras work with the Arlo Secure Plus plan. All three cameras come with a three-month-long trial. That way, you can test the plan before spending money on it.

If you choose to connect the camera to an Arlo SmartHub, you can get free local storage too. Just remember that if you decide to go that route over a paid Arlo Secure subscription, you can’t use your object-detection features.

How to install Arlo Essential cameras

Plug the camera in and follow the app instructions to add it to your account/connect it to your Wi-Fi. Then place it on a flat surface or mount it to the wall. (The camera comes with a mounting kit.)

How to install Arlo Essential Spotlight

We got a chance to try the Arlo Essential Spotlight ourselves, and setup wasn’t difficult at all.

We charged the camera and followed the app instructions to add it to our Arlo account. It only took a few minutes. We didn’t install the mount, so we can’t speak to that in detail—but according to Arlo user manuals, it isn’t complicated. You just need the kit, a pencil, and a drill or screwdriver to get it set up.

How to install Arlo Essential Video Doorbell

If you have the wired doorbell, the installation will be complicated.

You’ll need to turn off the power in your home, remove your existing doorbell, wire the new doorbell into place, and connect everything on the Arlo app. The Arlo website has more details about this process.

Some DIYers are fine with this kind of installation, and some find it’s a little out of their comfort zone. If you’re nervous about working with home wiring, we suggest looking for an expert to help.

If you have the wire-free doorbell, things will be much simpler. You’ll charge the battery, connect the doorbell to the app, and mount your doorbell wherever you want. Yes—since it’s not wired, we mean literally wherever you want—although if it’s too far from the door, people might not know to ring it.

Arlo Go features

Take your Arlo Go 2 on the go with LTE and geolocation
Pro Bullet Base not required
Pro Bullet Functional anywhere
$249.99

We suggest the Arlo Go line if you live in a rural area, don't have Wi-Fi, or want a portable camera. This LTE-based camera works anytime, anywhere, making it a perfect first choice for your circumstances.

Currently, the only Arlo Go camera available is the Arlo Go 2.

The Arlo Go 2 has the following:

  • 1080p video
  • Motion detection
  • Package detection
  • Person detection
  • Vehicle detection
  • Two-way audio
  • Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT compatibility
  • Siren
  • Spotlight
  • Color night vision
  • Local storage
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • GPS location tracking
  • LTE connectivity

GPS location tracking

The Arlo Go 2 is designed to work as both a regular and portable security camera. If you choose to use it on the go, there’s a chance you might misplace it.

GPS location tracking solves that problem. As long as the camera battery has power, you can follow the camera location through the Arlo app.

LTE connectivity

With an Arlo Go camera, it’s not enough to have an Arlo Secure plan. If you intend to use the camera without Wi-Fi, you’re going to need a monthly Arlo Mobile plan too.

Which plan should you get? It depends on how much activity you expect. If you place the camera in a rural area with few visitors, the $5, 15-minute plan might be enough.

But if you think your camera’s going to catch a lot of footage you’ll want to review, then you’re better off with a more expensive but more extensive plan.

Minutes of Video Upload Time
30-Second Video Clips
Price
15 min./mo.30 sec./mo.$4.99/mo.
120 min./mo.300 sec./mo.$22.99/mo.
225 min./mo.450 sec./mo.$32.99/mo.

Data current as of time of posting.

According to Arlo, “the numbers of minutes and video clips per month assume” you’re using the highest video quality and longest clip settings. But “if you use lower video quality settings and set your Arlo Go to record shorter clips, your Arlo Go can upload significantly more video than indicated in the plan descriptions.”

Arlo Mobile relies on AT&T and Verizon’s LTE networks to provide camera service throughout the US. That means that the Arlo Go 2 works like a smartphone. When it’s connected to Wi-Fi, LTE is unnecessary. When it’s not connected to Wi-Fi, the camera needs LTE to function.

How to install Arlo Go 2

When setting up the Arlo Go 2, start by charging the battery. You’ll then insert a Micro SD and the LTE SIM card that comes with the camera.

Place the battery in the camera and follow the app’s instructions to complete setup. Once that’s done, you can mount the camera if you plan to keep it in one location. Otherwise, you’ll probably want to leave it mount-less for easier travel.

Arlo accessories

Arlo has a few more products up its sleeve

Arlo has some other, now-defunct camera offerings that you can buy used (such as Arlo Q and Arlo Baby). It also offers accessories that work with several of its cameras, like solar panels and easy-use magnetic mounts.

Arlo solar panels

Pro Bullet Adjustable mount
Pro Bullet Weather-resistant
Con Bullet Ultra, Pro 3, and Essential Spotlight compatibility only
$59.00

Arlo magnetic mounts

Pro Bullet Indoor/outdoor use
Con Bullet Ultra, Ultra 2, Pro 3, and Pro 4 compatibility only
$39.99

Arlo dual charging station

Pro Bullet Simultaneous dual battery charging
Con Bullet Ultra, Ultra 2, Pro 3, Pro 3 Floodlight, and Pro 4 compatibility only

Recap: What are the best Arlo Cameras?

Most users will find value in most Arlo cameras

It’s hard to go wrong with an Arlo camera. But which one is right for you? Let’s recap.

Arlo Pro: The Arlo Pro line streams in 2K. The older versions require a hub, while the two newest, the Pro 3 Floodlight and Pro 4, don’t. To access the full features, like advanced object detection, you’ll need to pay for a subscription.

Arlo Ultra: Arlo Ultras feature 4K video and advanced object detection when you use the premium paid subscription. All versions require connection with an Arlo hub.

Arlo Essential: This 1080p line features indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras. Hubs aren’t required to use the Essential cameras, but you'll need a paid plan to take full advantage of the features, including Arlo’s signature advanced object detection.

Arlo Go: The portable Arlo Go line offers portable cameras that use LTE connectivity. You’ll still need a premium paid plan for full use plus an Arlo Mobile plan for LTE access.

If you aren’t feeling Arlo, we suggest trying Reolink, which is similar but with no hubs, fewer features, and lower prices.

You can also check out cameras such as the Canary Pro and EufyCam 2.

Arlo cameras FAQ

Time to answer some frequently asked questions!

Are Arlo cameras expensive?

Arlo cameras can get expensive, but they aren’t the most expensive cameras on the market (hello, Google Nest).

The main thing that makes Arlo cameras expensive is that you typically have to buy them in a multipack or with a base, bringing the cost way up.

When you buy them one at a time, they’re much more affordable, especially if you wait and order them once they’ve been out for a while.

What color are Arlo cameras?

Several Arlo cameras now come in two different colors. Sadly, your choices are black or white. You don’t get anything fun, like turquoise or fuschia.

Are Arlo chargers waterproof?

Arlo sells both indoor and outdoor power adapters that can charge a camera or even provide a constant power supply (if you choose to always leave it plugged in).

While the indoor adapter cannot get wet, to our understanding, the outdoor power adapter is fine in inclement weather.

Does Arlo have free camera storage?

Arlo’s free option does not have any camera storage. You won’t be able to refer back to an event recorded by a camera using the free option.

There are exceptions, though. Some older Arlo cameras, like the Arlo Q and Arlo Go, come with rolling seven-day storage at no cost.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon.com. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Reviews.org utilizes paid Amazon links.

Brianne Sandorf
Written by
Brianne Sandorf
Brianne has a degree in English and creative writing from Westminster College and has spent 6+ years writing professional, research-based content. Before joining Reviews.org, she wrote safety and security content for ASecureLife.com. Her pieces and quotes are published across the web, including on MSN.com, Social Catfish, and Parents.com. Hobbies include wearing a seatbelt, wearing a life jacket, and keeping her arms and legs inside the ride at all times. Contact her at brianne@reviews.org.

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