Best Cheap Security Cameras

Home security can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. While top-of-the-line cameras have all the bells and whistles, they may not be the most accessible to people on a budget.

We’ve taken a look at some of our favorite cheap security cameras for both indoor and outdoor use under $100 to show you that it’s possible to keep your family safe without breaking the bank.

Let’s look at the best cheap security cameras.

The top three indoor cameras under $100

Whether placed in the corner of a room or facing the doors, indoor cameras are your last line of defense when a burglar targets your home.

We looked for cameras with cloud recording and high video resolution. Those features mean the police will have a much better chance of identifying the perpetrator from the video in case of a burglary. We also considered the resolution, the field of view, push notifications, and several other factors when choosing our top three picks.

Our ranking#1#2#3
Product nameWyze Cam v2Hoop Home Security CameraAmcrest Pro HD
Product imageWyze Cam v2Hoop indoor camera
List price*$25.98$59.99$74.99
Resolution1080p1080p1080p
Field of view110 degrees130 degrees90 degrees w/o pan and tilt
Push notifications

Yes

Yes

Yes
Two-way audio

Yes

Yes

Yes
View productView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

*Amazon.com List Prices (as of 10/28/2020 2:30 MST).

#1 Wyze Cam Indoor Wireless Smart Home Camera

Tech specs

  • 1080p resolution
  • 110-degree field of view
  • 14 days of saved alert videos
  • SD card slot
  • Two-way audio
  • Push notifications

Pros

  • Night vision
  • Motion detection
  • Sound detection
  • No subscription requirements
  • Easy to share
  • Alexa compatibility
  • Google Assistant compatibility
  • 8x digital zoom
  • Magnetic base

Cons

  • Not well made

Why we recommend Wyze

This inexpensive camera has tons of upgrades we’d love to have in our homes. It detects both sound and motion and has digital zoom and a magnetic base for easy mounting. The camera footage can be shared across multiple accounts, and you can use it with either Alexa or Google Assistant.

The only issue is how this camera looks. The Wyze Cam looks insubstantial, even frail. It reminds us of one of those B-series Star Wars droids (but in a bad way).

#2 Hoop Home Security Camera

Tech specs

  • 1080p resolution
  • 130-degree field of view
  • Two-way audio
  • Push notifications

Pros

  • High resolution
  • Push notification filtering
  • Sound detection
  • Motion detection
  • Voice reminders
  • Text-to-speech
  • Geofencing
  • Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility
  • Multiple colors

Cons

  • Needs SD card for storage

Why we recommend Hoop

The Hoop Home Security Camera has all the necessary security features. With two-way audio, push notifications, sound and motion sensors, geofencing, and smart speaker compatibility, it’s designed to integrate nicely into your home security plan.

But Hoop also emphasizes convenience and efficiency. With Hoop, you can filter the security notifications that show up on your phone. You can set voice reminders from the camera to keep you on task throughout the day, and you can even remotely send a text message to the camera. The camera will “read” your message out loud to your kids or spouse at home.

#3 Amcrest ProHD Camera

Tech specs

  • 1080p resolution
  • 90-degree field of view
  • Pan and tilt
  • Two-way audio
  • Push notifications

Pros

  • High-resolution video
  • Third-party software compatibility
  • Magnetic base for easy mounting

Cons

  • Complex setup process
  • Need SD card for storage

Why we recommend Amcrest

The first thing you’ll notice about the Amcrest ProHD is its spherical shape. The camera has only a 90-degree field of view, though it can pan and tilt. The fact that the camera can be adjusted to view anything around it helps make up for that, but it would have to move swiftly fast to keep up with someone running through the room.

The ProHD also has two-way audio and clear night vision up to 32 feet.

What sets the ProHD apart from many other cameras is its third-party compatibility. While Amcrest provides its own app for use with the camera, users who prefer Blue Iris, tinyCam, or another popular option for surveillance software can integrate it with the ProHD.

The top three outdoor security cameras for under $100

Outdoor security cameras need to fulfill all the requirements of indoor security cameras, but with an extra feature: they have to be weatherproof. The field of view is also different and often much smaller, but a smaller field of view means higher clarity in the image. An outdoor camera is usually used only for a specific part of the yard, while your indoor camera might cover the entire room—but wouldn’t need clarity at distance.

Our ranking#1#2#3
Product nameAmcrest ProHD**Reolink Argus 2Zmodo 1080p Outdoor Camera**
Product imageReolink Argus 2
List price*$64.99$89.99$29.99
Resolution1296p1080p1080p
Field of view100 degrees130 degrees96 degrees
Push notifications

Yes

Yes

Yes
IP waterproof rating676565
View productView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

*Amazon.com List Prices (as of 10/28/2020 2:30 MST).

**Currently not for sale by the manufacturer

#1 Amcrest ProHD Outdoor Camera

Tech specs

  • 1296p resolution
  • 100-degree field of view
  • 4 hours of cloud data storage
  • Push notifications
  • IP67 waterproof rating

Pros

  • High resolution
  • Wide field of view
  • Long night vision range
  • No monthly subscription requirements
  • Alexa compatibility

Cons

  • Potentially buggy software
  • Only 20 frames per second in video at highest resolution

Why we recommend Amcrest

The Amcrest ProHD is another camera that goes above and beyond with resolution. Packing a 1296p resolution on top of a 100-degree field of view, this camera lets you see a lot with just a glance.

The ProHD also has digital zoom functionality and night vision that is effective up to 98 feet. This camera gives you multiple local storage options, as well as cloud storage—though the free trial only includes four hours of storage.

With intelligent detection, the Amcrest ProHD can distinguish between small animals and actual threats in your yard. It also sends you notifications of activity on your phone through the Amcrest app.

The Amcrest ProHD has no monthly fees tacked on to it. However, multiple users reported problems with the software “forgetting” their settings and failing to operate properly.

#2 Reolink Argus 2 Camera

Tech specs

  • 1080p resolution
  • 130-degree field of view
  • Cloud storage
  • SD slot
  • Push notifications
  • IP65 waterproof rating

Pros

  • “Starlight” night vision
  • Motion detection
  • No monthly subscription requirements
  • Google Assistant compatibility
  • Alexa compatibility
  • Magnetic base
  • Rechargeable battery

Cons

  • More expensive

Why we recommend Reolink

This Reolink is an IP65-rated outdoor security camera. It has a 130-degree field of view with clear colored night vision as far as 33 feet away. The Reolink uses push notifications and emails to notify you of any activity, and it even has a solar option if you don’t want to keep recharging the battery.

This is definitely one of the pricier cameras we feel comfortable recommending on a budget page, so you’ll pay a lot more with this one than you would with some of our other picks.

#3 Zmodo Wireless Outdoor Camera

Tech specs

  • 1080p resolution
  • 96-degree field of view
  • Cloud storage
  • Push notifications
  • IP65 waterproof rating

Pros

  • Clear night vision
  • Also for indoors

Cons

  • No local video storage

Why we recommend Zmodo

Zmodo has recently begun to make strides in the industry with its products, and this camera is no exception.

The field of view is a curious 96 degrees, but the camera itself is sturdy. Night vision is clear to 65 feet, and the Zmodo app provides push notifications to users through a mobile device or a web browser.

The Zmodo doesn’t provide local storage, but it does offer free cloud storage. For us, cloud storage is a convenience rather than a necessity, so we would prefer to have the option for both.

Recap

Take the time to evaluate your specific needs and then take a look at the options above. If you’re still curious about other options, check out our review of the Yi Home Camera 2. Or, if you don’t need to stick with a super-cheap camera, take a look at our Blink and Blink XT2, Arlo, and Nest Cam reviews.

Cheap security cameras FAQ

What should I look for in a surveillance camera?

Buying a camera or camera system is no joke. You want to get the best bang for your buck.

When choosing the right security camera for you, we suggest looking at the following:

  • Video quality
  • Night vision
  • Motion detection
  • Two-way audio
  • Weatherproofing
  • App
  • Power source (batteries or wired)
  • Storage type (cloud storage or physical storage)
  • Video recording type (continuous recording or motion-activated recording)

What should I look out for with cheap security cameras?

When trying to save money, it’s natural to look for the most affordable options. However, that can be dangerous when it comes to security cameras.

Ensure the quality of the camera is high before you purchase it—some companies might cut corners on the build to reduce costs, which can be particularly devastating for an outdoor camera. You should also look at the warranty, as well as the company’s reputation for customer service.

Ensure the quality of the camera is high before you purchase it…

Another important element is the camera’s software. Not only does it need to work efficiently and reliably, but it should also be secure against hackers. After all, you don’t want someone to tap into your connection and case out your home with your own security camera.

Finally, look at the storage options. Local storage is one option, but can be risky in that you’ll lose all your footage if a thief decides to take the camera, too. Cloud storage sends the video to a place where it can’t be stolen, but often comes with a subscription cost.

Can I get a cheap security camera with facial recognition?

The Tend Insight Lynx 2 is the cheapest security camera with facial recognition that we’ve reviewed.

Other, more expensive cameras with facial recognition include any Blue by ADT camera and the Nest Cam IQ cameras.

How do I choose the right security camera for the right situation?

Home security doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. There are multiple cameras listed above that we would personally purchase, but what works for us may not be the right choice for you.

Think about your home and the area you want to monitor: is it brightly illuminated at all times? Then you may not need a camera with great night vision. Do you need to watch a wide area with a single camera? Then one with a large field of view may be the better choice.

Should I get a security system with cameras?

If price is your number-one concern, you probably shouldn’t go with a full security system. Even if you choose a system with no monthly subscriptions, you usually have to shell out megabucks for a basic setup. That usually doesn’t even include a camera.

But if safety is your primary worry, then by all means, go for a full system. It’s more comprehensive security than cameras alone. Ring has some great cameras, and Blue by ADT just came out with a nice selection, too.

Do I need a full surveillance system?

For some people, a single camera is sufficient. However, if you have a large property or many doors and windows, one smart security camera may not be enough. In that case, you might want to look into investing in a full security camera system.

Why are there no NVR options?

If you’re looking for NVR or POE, try the Reolink 4MP PoE IP camera.

  • guns4life

    On the Reolink, some info is wrong according to my testing. I use the Reolink with BlueIris software($60) and a 10 TB NAS with out any issues. Also it has a 16gb internal card(14 usable) that I don’t even touch because of my NAS. Mine was super easy to setup also. Not sure what problems you encountered but mine has been running for over a year.

    I run it POE and have it, the NAS, and PC for the BlueIris software on a battery backup system. Also the cable is ran though armored conduit to resist cutting attempts.