Arlo Security Camera Review 2020

Arlo has some of the best wireless security cameras out there. The one you choose depends on what you want it to do.
arlo reviews
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Wire-free; can go anywhere
Reliable, easy-to-use app
Expensive

Who wants to deal with wires anymore? Literally no one. They’re ugly, the cats chew on them, and they dictate where you can put whatever it is they’re connected to.

Arlo has eight wireless (or wire-free) cameras that you can stick anywhere you want—the boring old corner of the room trick, or in a tree to keep an eye on those suspicious squirrels.

These cameras aren’t perfect (we’ll get into that), nor do they offer comprehensive home security, but they perform consistently and the features justify the price, which is why they consistently rank high on our security camera best-of lists.

What Arlo cameras do

Ranging from pretty basic (Arlo) to super fancy (Arlo Ultra), they’re good for anyone from beginners to smart-device nerds.

Other than their rechargeable batteries, weather-resistance, and 25 feet of night vision, each Arlo camera does something different. Here’s how the rest of their features compare:

Arlo camera price and feature comparison
ModelArloArlo ProArlo Pro 2Arlo Pro 3Arlo Ultra
Price for kit$449.99$419.99$479.99$499.99$599.77
Number of cameras4*2222
Resolution720p720p1080p2K4K
Field of view110°110°130°160º180°
Night vision25 feet25 feet25 feet25 feet25 feet + color video
SpotlightNoNoNoYesYes
Audio1-way2-way2-way2-way2-way
WeatherproofYesYesYesYesYes
Local storageNoneUSBUSBUSBMicroSD
DetailsView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

Data effective 10/16/2019. Offers subject to change.

* Arlo no longer offers a two-camera system on Amazon for the original Arlo cam.

Which Arlo camera is right for you?

Arlo camera lineup

Source: Arlo

You should get the Arlo if . . .

  • You want a budget-friendly video monitoring system
  • You don’t need a lot of bells and whistles

You should get the Arlo Pro if . . .

  • You want two-way audio
  • You find it at an amazing price (otherwise, just upgrade to Arlo Pro 2)

You should get the Arlo Pro 2 if . . .

  • You want the option to continuously record
  • You want a wider field of view (20° wider than Arlo Pro)

You should get the Arlo Pro 3 if . . .

  • You want a camera with a built-in spotlight and siren
  • You want 2K video resolution

You should get the Arlo Ultra if . . .

  • You want higher-quality video and audio
  • You want extra security features like a spotlight and siren
  • You plan on subscribing to a security plan
  • You want to use it with your Apple Watch

As far as specs go, there’s a huge difference between the original Arlo camera and the Arlo Ultra, for example. But if you’re deciding between the Arlo Pro and the Arlo Pro 2, you’ll be getting most of the same features. Just decide which extras are worth paying for before you settle on a specific model.

Arlo cameras pros and cons

Arlo’s cameras have their ups and downs, so weigh your options before you buy.

Sorting through all of Arlo’s camera features online can be tricky, so we’ve called out our favorite and least favorite features to make your life easier.

What we like about Arlo cameras

Free cloud storage (plus more options)

Every Arlo wireless camera comes with seven days of free cloud storage. That’s more than Blink cameras, which only give you two hours of free cloud storage, but it still means you’ll need to review your clips every few days so you can save anything important.

Local storage

The original Arlo is the only camera that doesn’t let you store footage locally. Every camera from the Arlo Pro and above lets you connect either a USB or a MicroSD so you have a backup copy and don’t have to rely on the cloud.

Monthly monitoring packages

Arlo Smart is Arlo’s monthly subscription monitoring packages and they offer more than just additional cloud storage. Arlo Smart plans let you access advanced features you won’t get with just the camera itself, including artificial intelligence and emergency call services.

Arlo Smart cost and cloud storage comparison
FeaturesArlo SmartArlo Smart PremierArlo Smart Elite
Price$2.99/mo.$9.99/mo.$14.99/mo.
Cloud storage30 days30 days60 days
Artificial IntelligenceYesYesYes
Push notificationsYesYesYes
Custom activity zonesYesYesYes
Emergency call serviceNoYesYes
DetailsView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

Data effective 10/16/2019. Offers subject to change.

Arlo Ultra comes with a free year of Arlo Smart Premier. But if you want only the original Arlo cameras, you’re probably fine with one of the lower-tier monitoring plans or even the free option. However, if you’re going to be paying more for a fancier camera, you’ll need a fancier monitoring plan in order to get the most out of your camera.

Wired option

The fact that none of these cameras have to be plugged in to work is one of the best things about Arlo cameras. Even better, though, is that Arlo Pro, Arlo Pro 2, and Arlo Ultra can be plugged in if you want.

Why would you want to plug in your camera?

  • So you don’t have to worry about batteries dying (good for rental properties)
  • So you can record continuously
  • So you can use the 3-second look-back feature

Netgear also offers a solar panel on Amazon compatible with every camera except the original Arlo, so you won’t have to worry about wires or batteries (just cloudy days).

Weatherproof

Every Arlo wireless camera is rated IP65 for outdoor use, so you can move your cameras from inside to outside without thinking about it.

You can also get silicone skins on Amazon to protect against scratches and to help the cameras either blend in with their surroundings or better match your decor. You can even find a full ghillie skin that will make your camera look like a plant. Now that’s covert.

Heads Up icon
Warning
If you’re using a camera with a wired option, know that the cords are not rated for outdoor use, even though the cameras themselves are . . . so make sure you plug them into inside plugs only.

What we don’t like about Arlo cameras

Lag time

The number one complaint you’ll hear about the Arlo cameras is its 3–5 second recording lag time after a motion or audio event triggers a sensor.

If someone is breaking into your back door, they probably won’t be able to do it in under 5 seconds, but 5 seconds is plenty of time for a package thief to spot the camera and hide their face while they snatch your stuff.

Arlo Pro 2 attempts to address the infamous lag with a feature that allows you to look at the three seconds before a triggered event . . . buuuuut it’s  only available when it’s plugged in.

Pin icon
Remember
Arlo’s power cable isn’t weatherproof, which means you’ll only get the 3-second playback feature if you’re using your camera inside or you drill through your wall to access an internal plug.

We’re glad Netgear has tried to improve this, but it’s still frustrating that this known bug hasn’t been fixed across all camera models.

Some models are not backwards compatible

If you already have some older model Arlo cameras but want to add a few Arlo Ultras to the mix, you’ll have to get a new base station. It’s a weird quirk, but your older Arlo cameras will work with the new SmartHub that comes with the Arlo Ultra . . . and your Arlo Ultra won’t work with your older base station.

User experience

All Arlo cameras are easy to set up and use, plus they play nice with just about every smart home integration system.

We can comfortably recommend Arlo cameras to just about anyone because they’re easy to set up and the app is user-friendly. If you’re a renter who, like me, moves every year, Arlo is easy to install . . . and then reinstall in your next place.

Integrations

Arlo cameras integrate with most modern smart device networks, so no matter where your loyalties lie, there’s an Arlo camera for you.

Arlo camera smart integrations
ModelArloArlo ProArlo Pro 2Arlo Pro 3Arlo Ultra
Amazon AlexaYesYesYesYesYes
Google AssistantNoYesYesYesYes
IFTTTYesYesYesYesNo
Apple HomeKitNoYesYesNoNo
StringifyYesYesYesYesNo
DetailsView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

Note that the newest Arlo cam, the Arlo Ultra, doesn’t work with IFTTT, Stringify, or Apple HomeKit yet but hopefully these integrations will be available in the future.

Arlo app

A smart device is only as good as its app—and the Arlo app, which has four stars on both Google Play and Apple App Store, is pretty good. You’ll see the usual complaints about issues after upgrades, but Netgear (Arlo’s original parent company) has historically been good about fixing bugs.

The app is where you’ll get alerts, review clips, and change settings. With Family Sharing enabled in the app, up to six users can monitor the same system, so you can hit up the roommate group chat when there’s a stranger poking around the backyard or when the cat is doing that weird thing again.

Similar products

If you’re looking for a different combination of features and a slightly lower price, there are some decent alternatives.

Canary

If you want something similar to the original basic Arlo camera but don’t want to deal with a hub or a higher price, the Canary might be a better option for you.

It’s not wireless, but has slightly better specs, is compatible with your Apple Watch, and has sensors for temperature and air quality. The Canary is indoor-only, making it an ideal low-cost option for a small apartment.

Fits these needs:

  • Low price
  • Higher resolution (1080p)
  • Apple Watch compatible
  • Home health sensors

Nest Cam IQ

The outdoor Nest Cam IQ falls somewhere between Arlo Pro 2 and Arlo Ultra. It has a 4K image sensor but no spotlight or siren. It’s also not wire-free, so you’ll have to figure out what to do with the cord, and that’s a bit of a drawback.

It does have one great feature that none of the Arlo cameras have, though: familiar face recognition. If your camera’s guarding the front door, that’s a really useful feature.

Fits these needs:

  • Familiar face recognition
  • Lower price
  • Standalone (doesn’t require a hub)

The bottom line

With a free storage option, wireless setup, and broad compatibility, you really can’t go wrong with any Arlo camera.

arlo reviews

All the Arlos we’ve mentioned are great—but that being said, some are better deals than others.

The original Arlo isn’t super expensive for a basic camera, but Canary is cheaper. Unless you find an amazing deal on Arlo Pro, you might as well just upgrade and go for Arlo Pro 2. Arlo Ultra has a lot of unique, cool features, but its price point makes it only worth it for someone who is really going to use all it has to offer.

Still not sure which camera is best for you? Check out our Best Home Security Cameras review to see all the best models on the market.

  • PRO 2810

    I have the Arlo 2 camera system and worked perfectly for 1 yr then one camera went “offline” and does not respond. Talked to Arlo customer service and they believe camera is corrupted and the system may be as well. So it is useless and they have no resolution. Terrible customer service. Great system until something goes wrong then trash. go on their community and see all with the same issue.

  • El Titis

    Batteries life…less than a week….not good…how can I get a refund?

    • Maria Millett

      Hi El! I am sorry to hear that! We do not represent or have jursidiction over the companies we review. I highly recommend reaching out to the company directly to figure out battery issues or a return. Good luck!!

  • Rod Won

    TERRIBLE CAMERA! CANT SET IT UP! I WANT A REFUND TOO! POS! BACK TO SAMSUNG!

  • Ron Radcliffe

    Dissatisfied: purchased new, failed to work immediately. Connected as directed and the base station failed to power up properly. Would not come out of a single amber light to proceed syncing the cameras. So we called the company, terrible customer service. They told us you may have a defective base station thank you for that offered no other solution. Contacted support, after a very lengthy wait the tech told us to use a different ethernet cable. Who has one of those lying around the house? Went thru a battery of tests, unplug plug in, reset for 30 seconds and on and on nothing. Told to call the store we purchased it from? Not sure how they can help, all in all bad experience. Returning to the store tomorrow for full refund plus the two years service contract, Looking at something not Arlo. Glad someone has a good experience with them. Not us, will not recommend to others based on the customer experience and service we didn’t receive.

    • Maria Millett

      Dang, Ron! This sucks to hear. Thanks for letting us know.

  • Tony C

    The lag is a very big issue . Preventing anyone from using it for two way communication is totally useless ( false advertising) and live view is never working correctly!NOW EVEN WORSE ONCE THIER PROGRAMERS SCREWED IT UP MORE WITH THIER LAST UPDATE !!!! (More false advertising, that you can live view) netgear knows this problem since original product but plays stupid and blames internet speed or user installation , I’m sure they’d say Alien interference if people would fall for it . thousands of complaints daily by angry customers and they still won’t admit product defective.
    ! I sold mine cheep and went with other options sice netgear could care less about fixing issue I won’t ever but netgear products again

  • Reno Sparks

    Terrible camera. Lag is bad. Motion detection is awful. Doesn’t record much, especially at night. Battery life is bad. I was sold this system at frys and was lied to about nearly every feature. I was told the batteries were rechargeable with micro usb and they last 6 months. I’ll be returning this POS as soon as possible and going back to my wired system. I should have gotten the dvr I came for.

  • Ivan Knudsen

    Stay away! I bought the netgear arlo q for monitoring my dog while im at work. The camera has problem conecting, falling out “buffering” not connecting at all and the camera sometimes get very hot. I do not recommend this camera if you want something that is stable and work. I have a high speed internet connection and very good wifi at home.

  • Matthew

    Terribly awful system! Don’t waste your money! Serious lag issues!! By the time it starts to record there is nothing in the frame. They do not communicate as advertised. Picture quality is awful!! Have had it a week and havnt gone 24hrs without a problem!!! Motion notifications take forever rocket come in, my house would be emptied by the time the notification came in and even then can’t get a clear picture. Daytime video give black face and nighttime picture bright face with no clarity. Taking it down this weekend and sending it back for a refund… would throw it away if someone gave it to me for free at this point.

  • Tom B

    The Arlo Pro 2 is Best Buy’s deal of the day (130 for base and 2 1080 cameras) my concern is how hackable they are I ask because someone in my apt building has an Arlo system and only can tell cus his base is broadcasting the SSID publicly as ‘Arlo something something’ is that changeable or able to not broadcast SSID? I assume if you have cameras wired though then there’s no SSID broadcasting? Just doesn’t seem like good idea in Chicago to announce your security system like that… Great article though really wasn’t biased or a bore because I actually read the whole article!

    UPDATE: I just read the reviews on here and decided the Arlo system might not be best route to take… ouch Arlo.

  • Julia Gonzalez

    Worst camera system ever. Arlo camera suck…. Money down the drain.