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.

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 five picks.

Our ranking#1#2#3
Product nameVimtag P1Amcrest Pro HDD-Link
Product imageVimtag indoor cameraAmcrest indoor cameraD-Link indoor camera
List price*$69.95$44.99$59.99
Resolution960p1080p720p
Field of view120 degrees w/o pan and tilt90 degrees w/o pan and tilt120 degrees
Push notifications

Yes

Yes

Yes
Two-way audio

Yes

Yes

No
View productView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

* Amazon.com List Prices (as of 03/24/2020 4:25 MST).

#1 Vimtag P1 Smart Cloud Camera

Vimtag indoor camera

Tech specs

  • 960p resolution
  • 120-degree field of view
  • Pan and tilt
  • Up to 128 GB local storage
  • Two-way audio
  • Push notifications

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Pan and tilt capabilities
  • No subscription requirements

Cons

  • Smaller field of view without pan and tilt
  • Potentially tricky-to-use software

Why we recommend Vimtag

While Vimtag’s camera doesn’t offer the same resolution as the FLIR, it does provide an almost all-encompassing field of view by using pan and tilt. Two-way audio allows you to speak to your kids when they get home from school, and push notifications let you know whenever any activity is detected. At around $70, the Vimtag camera is a solid option for someone on a budget.

Vimtag doesn’t have a subscription program—instead, the P1 can hold up to a 128 GB SD card, which equals about 16 hours of footage. This should be more than enough if you record only motion-detected activities at home.

#2 Amcrest ProHD Camera

Amcrest indoor camera

Tech specs

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

Pros and cons

Pros

  • High-resolution video
  • Third-party software compatibility

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. Best of all, the camera is only around $45 in black.

#3 D-Link HD Wi-Fi Camera

D-Link indoor camera

Tech specs

  • 720p resolution
  • 120-degree field of view
  • Up to 24 hr local storage
  • Push notifications

Pros and cons

Pros

  • High resolution
  • Low price
  • No subscription fees
  • Smart assistant compatibility

Cons

  • Potentially difficult setup
  • No two-way audio

Why we recommend D-Link

While D-Link is known for its routers more than its security cameras, this camera delivers on multiple levels. It has a 720p resolution and a 120-degree field of view, which are pretty solid features for the price. While it lacks two-way audio, the D-Link has other features to make up for it, like its compatibility with both Alexa and Google Assistant.

The D-Link camera automatically records whenever it detects motion and notifies you of the event. To make it even more budget friendly, it doesn’t come with any monthly subscriptions, and it gives you access to all of its features right out of the box. The mydlink Lite app can be found on Apple and Android devices and even on some Windows mobile devices.

The top five 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#4
Product nameReolink 4MP PoE IPAmcrest ProHDZmodo 720p Weatherproof Camera
Product imageReolink outdoor cameraZmodo outdoor camera
List price*$42.99$59.99$38.99
Resolution1440p1296p720p
Field of view80 degrees100 degrees81 degrees
Push notifications

Yes

Yes

Yes
IP waterproof rating666765
View productView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

* Amazon.com List Prices (as of 03/24/2020 4:25 MST).

#1 Reolink 4MP PoE IP Camera

Reolink outdoor camera

Tech specs

  • 1440p resolution
  • 80-degree field of view
  • Capable of expansion for 24/7 recording
  • Push notifications
  • IP66 waterproof rating

Pros and cons

Pros

  • High resolution
  • Clear night vision
  • Adjustable motion zones

Cons

  • Complex setup
  • No local storage (FTP only)

Why we recommend Reolink

The Reolink is an IP66-rated, 4 MP camera. This gives it a resolution of around 1440p, matching the quality of the FLIR. It has an 80-degree field of view with clear night vision as far as 100 feet away. The Reolink uses push notifications and emails to notify you of any activity, and it also lets you create detection zones.

At around $45, the Reolink is an affordable camera that operates on both Wi-Fi and Ethernet. The Reolink is a power-over-Ethernet (POE) camera, meaning it can transmit data and power with a single cable, eliminating the risk of multiple tangled cords around the camera housing. You can also expand to an NVR recording network if you want to store footage permanently.

#2 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 and cons

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 is slightly more expensive than the Reolink at around $60, but it has no monthly fees tacked on to it. However, multiple users reported problems with the software “forgetting” their settings and failing to operate properly.

#3 Zmodo Wireless Security Camera

Zmodo outdoor camera

Tech specs

  • 720p resolution
  • 81-degree field of view
  • Cloud storage only
  • Push notifications
  • IP65 waterproof rating

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Clear night vision
  • Also for indoors

Cons

  • No local storage

Why we recommend Zmodo

Zmodo has recently begun to make strides in the industry with its products, and this camera is no exception. With 720p resolution, the footage is not the clearest it can be, and the field of view is a curious 81 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 unlimited cloud storage. For us, cloud storage is a convenience rather than a necessity, so we would prefer to have the option for both.

Things to watch out for

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 sufficient 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 sufficient 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.

Choosing 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.

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, Arlo, and Nest Cam reviews.

  • 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.