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 nameHoop Home Security CameraVimtag P1Amcrest Pro HD
Product imageHoop indoor cameraVimtag indoor cameraAmcrest indoor camera
List price*$59.99$79.95$74.99
Resolution720p960p1080p
Field of view130 degrees120 degrees w/o pan and tilt90 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 07/30/2020 12:00 MST).

#1 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.

#2 Vimtag P1 Smart Cloud 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

  • 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. Plus 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. And at around $80, 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.

* Amazon.com List Price (as of 07/30/2020 12:00 MST).

#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#4
Product nameReolink 4MP PoE IPAmcrest ProHDZmodo 1080p Outdoor Camera
Product imageReolink outdoor cameraZmodo outdoor camera
List price*$42.99$64.99$29.99
Resolution1440p1296p1080p
Field of view80 degrees100 degrees96 degrees
Push notifications

Yes

Yes

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

*Amazon.com List Prices (as of 07/30/2020 12:00 MST).

#1 Reolink 4MP PoE IP Camera

Tech specs

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

Pros

  • High resolution
  • Clear night vision
  • Adjustable motion zones

Cons

  • Complex setup
  • No local video storage (FTP only)

Why we recommend Reolink

This Reolink is an IP66-rated, 4 MP outdoor security 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.

* Amazon.com List Price (as of 07/30/2020 12:00 MST).

#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

  • 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 $65, 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.

* Amazon.com List Price (as of 07/30/2020 12:00 MST).

#3 Zmodo Wireless Outdoor Camera

Tech specs

  • 1080p resolution
  • 96-degree field of view
  • Cloud storage only
  • 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 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 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.

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.

  • 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.