Home security is most efficient when monitored by a professional company, but a full system may not be right for everyone. When it comes to do-it-yourself security monitoring, two of the best options are Arlo and Canary. These cameras watch for motion, notify you via your smartphone if anything seems amiss, and give you the option to alert police with the press of a button.
Arlo vs Canary comparison
|Field of view||110⁰||147⁰|
|App compatibility||iOS, Android, Apple TV, web browser||iOS, Android, Apple Watch|
|View Product||View on Amazon||View on Amazon|
- 720p resolution
- 110-degree FOV
- Automatic night vision
- Motion detection
- 2.4GHz Wi-Fi
- 4–6-month battery life
What Arlo lacks in video clarity, it makes up for in portability. The camera records in 720p resolution, which won’t give you as sharp a picture as Canary’s 1080p resolution. However, the Arlo requires no wires, making it easy to move from indoors to outdoors, and the long battery life means it requires less maintenance than the Canary.
- IFTTT integration
- More service plans and pricing options than Canary
- No contract
- Apple TV and web browser compatibility
- Wireless capabilities
- Digital pan and zoom
- Lower resolution than Canary
- No built-in siren
- 1080p resolution
- 147-degree FOV
- Automatic night vision
- Motion detection
- 2.4GHz Wi-Fi
- Wired Ethernet
Although the Canary is an indoor-only camera, it excels at what it does. It requires minimal wiring, streams and records in a high-resolution 1080p, and has a wide field of view. Its HomeHealth technology monitors conditions like air quality, making the Canary a solid option for anyone looking for do-it-yourself security.
- High resolution
- Built-in siren
- More app functionality than Arlo
- Apple Watch compatibility
- No contract
- Indoor use only
- Only 24-hour video-review window (with free membership plan)
- No IFTTT integration
- No battery backup
- No desktop compatibility
Security and capability
Arlo and Canary are both do-it-yourself security cameras, which means they both lack professional monitoring. The cameras are equipped with sensors that notify you whenever they detect motion. You can view the livestream from your phone and decide whether to alert the police or ignore the activity (like if a pet triggered it). Users control both cameras via their respective apps.
While Canary’s app has more features than Arlo’s, both cameras will record activity and notify you as it happens, allowing you to access the livestream or contact the police. Unlike the Arlo, the Canary has a 90-decibel siren that you can activate to draw attention to any activity and scare intruders. If you have more than one camera set up in your home, switching between the streams is as easy as swiping left or right (Canary) or scrolling through the list and selecting the feed you want (Arlo).
One feature that sets Canary apart is its four distinct modes.
- Away: When all members of the home are away, Canary monitors for activity and sends notifications if it detects motion.
- Home: When a family member is home, Canary can be customized to send notifications, record activity without motion-based notifications, or disable the camera and microphone.
- Night: Night mode lets Canary monitor for activity during specified time periods.
- Privacy: The mic and camera can be disabled.
The four modes are activated and deactivated via geofencing. When your smartphone comes within a certain proximity of the Canary, it will automatically change to “home” or “privacy” mode, depending on your settings.
The Timeline feature records the date and time that modes change, as well as any activity and the recording that accompanies it. Arlo has a similar timeline, but it tracks only activity and motion, not mode changes.
Home automation and expanded functionality
Canary also stands out with its HomeHealth monitor feature. The sensor monitors the air quality, temperature, and humidity inside your home and notifies you if any of these things change drastically.
Arlo has a few features that set it apart from Canary, like weatherproofing. You can place the Arlo inside or out depending on your needs, and because the Arlo is 100% wire-free, you can move it with relative ease. Another feature is the IF This Then That (IFTTT) integration, which allows you to link your Arlo camera to many home automation systems.
Canary doesn’t yet integrate with home automation systems, but the Canary Plus (releasing soon) will be able to. Arlo’s current functionality and integration with existing systems puts it ahead of Canary in terms of automation—for now.
Overall, the Canary records and streams at a higher resolution, and the siren makes it more reliable for do-it-yourself home security.
Pricing and packaging
Because Arlo has fewer features than the Canary, it is the more budget-friendly option when it comes to membership and the cost of the camera. It also provides more pricing options than Canary.
Canary offers a free plan, but it gives you only 24 hours of video history. The wording on Canary’s website is a bit confusing, but what this means is that you can review video from only the previous 24 hours—not the best choice if you’re traveling and unable to access Wi-Fi. These 24 hours are divided between each of your cameras, so if you have four cameras, you only have six hours of video history per camera. This means the membership is almost required for any functional usage from Canary.
A single Canary camera costs $199, while a two-pack costs $379. Membership costs are based on the number of cameras you have, and you can save by paying annually rather than monthly.
- One camera: $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year
- Two to three cameras: $14.99 per month or $149.99 per year
- Four cameras: $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year
- Additional cameras beyond the first four: $4.99 per month per device
The membership provides the following benefits:
- Up to 30 days of video history
- Insurance deductible reimbursement up to $1,000 (for qualifying incidents only)
- 24/7 incident support
- Extended two-year warranty
- Arlo and adapter: $179.99
- Two cameras: $329.99
- Three cameras: $449.99
- Four cameras: $499.99
- Five cameras: $629.99
Arlo also provides three separate membership options for customers.
|Cloud storage||7 days||30 days||60 days|
|Number of cameras||5||10||15|
*You can get a discount by paying for a full year up front.
Arlo is the more budget-friendly of the two companies—you can get a camera and membership for $189.98, while the same package from Canary costs $208.99. Arlo also offers support for more cameras at the same price as Canary. For those looking for security on a budget, Arlo is probably the better choice. Canary has more features, but you’ll pay more for those features.
One of the most important aspects of any security device, including DIY camera systems, is customer service. If something goes wrong, you’ll want the issue resolved as quickly as possible.
Canary provides several ways for customers to get in touch, including 24/7 phone support, Twitter, and email. The company’s website also provides a searchable database of articles to help you troubleshoot any problems.
The primary complaint about Canary’s customer service is that representatives often point to the app’s technical issues, promising the problem should work itself out in a few hours. Multiple reviewers stated this was not the case, and their Canary was essentially useless until the problem was fixed, leaving them temporarily unprotected.
Arlo provides a few other ways to get in touch: live chat, email, and community forums. Arlo also offers phone support, but it’s free for only the first 90 days. After that, you can get an Arlo subscription or pay a fee for each call. Like Canary, Arlo offers a database of support articles.
The main complaint regarding Arlo’s customer support is a common one: callers get transferred to other departments a lot and would have to start the entire process from scratch several times. Multiple customers reported receiving almost no help from the customer support line, even when they were able to get in touch with a representative. The company also isn’t particularly responsive to customer complaints in forums around the internet—NETGEAR, Arlo’s parent company, responds to perhaps one customer out of four.
Canary wins in the customer service department. There were far fewer complaints about Canary’s customer service than Arlo’s, and its customer service is always free. No one wants to pay for technical support on a device they’ve spent several hundred dollars on.
Canary’s higher cost gets you better features
Arlo’s membership offers support for multiple cameras and extended video history, but it doesn’t include insurance deductibles, incident support, and an extended warranty. The customer service also leaves something to be desired. While Arlo’s home automation integration is a great feature, it isn’t enough to make up for the difficulty of correcting problems.
Canary is a better option than Arlo for do-it-yourself security. Although Arlo costs less, Canary’s functionality more than justifies the additional expense. The higher-resolution streaming, wider field of view, and siren are all great features, but when you consider the Canary membership and the benefits it offers, the choice is clear.