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 logo
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Wire-free; can go anywhere
Reliable, easy-to-use app
Expensive
Recent Updates: 1 month ago
We updated pricing info for Arlo cameras.

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 a bunch of 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 night vision, each Arlo outdoor camera does something different.

Light Bulb icon
Arlo camera updates
The Arlo and Arlo Pro cameras are some of Arlo’s older offerings. We didn’t include them in this section because we recommend going with a newer, more feature-rich version.

Here’s how the outdoor, indoor, and other Arlo cameras compare.

Arlo outdoor camera price and feature comparison
ModelArlo Pro 2Arlo Pro 3Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight CameraArlo UltraArlo Essential
Price for kit$479.99$499.99$249.99$599.99
$129.99
Number of cameras22121
Resolution1080p2K2K4K1080p
Field of view130°160º160º180°130°
Night vision

Yes

Yes, in color

Yes, in color

Yes, in color

Yes, in color
Spotlight

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes
Siren

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes
Audio

2-way

2-way

2-way

2-way

2-way
Weatherproof

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes
Local storage

USB

USB

USB

MicroSD

None
DetailsView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

Amazon.com List prices as of 09/28/2020 3:00 MST.

Arlo indoor camera price and feature comparison
ModelArlo QArlo Q PlusArlo Baby
Price$149.99$198.81$128.98
Resolution1080p1080p1080p
Field of view130°130°110º
Night vision

Yes

Yes

Yes
Light

No

No

Yes
Audio

2-way

2-way

2-way
Local storage

SD card

SD card

None
DetailsView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

Amazon.com List prices as of 09/28/2020 3:00 MST.

Arlo miscellaneous camera price and feature comparison
ModelArlo GoArlo Video Doorbell
Price$429.99$149.99
Resolution720p2K
Field of view110°180°
Night vision

Yes

Yes
Light

No

No
Audio

2-way

2-way
Siren

No

Yes
Local storage

SD card

None
DetailsView on AmazonView on Amazon

Amazon.com List prices as of 09/28/2020 3:00 MST.

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 package, which offers 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 Smart (no plan)Arlo Smart PremierArlo Smart Elite
PriceFree$2.99/mo. for a single camera; $9.99/mo. for up to five cameras$4.99/mo. for a single camera; $14.99/mo. for up to five cameras
Max resolution1080p2K4K
Cloud storage

None

30 days

30 days
Artificial Intelligence

No

Yes

Yes
Push notifications

Yes

Yes

Yes
Custom activity zones

No

Yes

Yes
Advanced object detection

No

Yes

Yes
DetailsView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

Data effective 09/28/2020. Offers subject to change.

Arlo Ultra comes with a free year of Arlo Smart Premier.

An older Arlo camera will work with only the free or Smart Premier plan. It won’t be compatible with the Smart Elite plan.

To use the Ultra, you have to have a paid plan. It comes with a free year of Arlo Smart Premier to start you off. However, if you’re already going to pay more for the Arlo Ultra, we suggest upgrading to the Smart Elite plan when your free year is up. That way, you’ll get the most out of your schmancy camera.

But wait; there’s more. To take full advantage of cameras that continuously record, you also need to purchase a 24/7 recording plan. You’ll pay $9.99 for 14 days or $19.99 for 30 days of Continuous Video Recording (CVR).

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 outdoor camera smart integrations
ModelArlo Pro 2Arlo Pro 3Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight CameraArlo UltraArlo Essential
Amazon Alexa

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes
Google Assistant

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes
IFTTT

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes
Apple HomeKit

Yes

Yes (with VMB4540 SmartHub)

Yes

Yes

No
Stringify

Yes

Yes

Unclear

No

No
DetailsView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

Data effective 09/28/2020. Offers subject to change.

Note that the Arlo Ultra and Arlo Essential don’t work with Stringify yet, but hopefully this integration will be available in the future.

Arlo indoor camera smart integrations
ModelArlo QArlo Q PlusArlo Baby
Amazon Alexa

Yes

Yes

Yes
Google Assistant

Yes

Yes

Yes
IFTTT

Yes

Yes

Yes
Apple HomeKit

No

No

Yes
Stringify

Yes

Yes

Yes
DetailsView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

Data effective 09/28/2020. Offers subject to change.

Arlo miscellaneous camera smart integrations
ModelArlo GoArlo Video Doorbell
Amazon Alexa

Yes

Yes
Google Assistant

Yes

Yes
IFTTT

No

No
Apple HomeKit

No

No
Stringify

No

No
DetailsView on AmazonView on Amazon

Data effective 09/28/2020. Offers subject to change.

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, facial recognition is 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 logo

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 the Arlo Pro 2 camera. 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.