Best Cheap Security Cameras of 2021

Get smart security cameras at an affordable price.
  • Best Indoor Camera

    Wyze Cam Pan

    Pro:
    Multiple accounts
    Con:
    Person detection requires subscription
  • Indoor Runner Up

    YI Indoor Wireless

    Pro:
    Panoramic photo capture
    Con:
    Pricey storage plan
  • Best Outdoor Camera

    Blink Outdoor

    Pro:
    Unlimited camera plan
    Con:
    No zoom capabilities
  • Outdoor Runner Up

    ZOSI C190

    Pro:
    Color night vision
    Con:
    No cloud storage options

Want a security camera? Great, so do we. Since cameras are so friggin’ expensive (looking at you, Nest and Arlo), we’ve rounded up the best options for $100 and under. Enjoy!

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Security camera basics
At a minimum, we like to see motion detection, night vision, and two-way audio in a security camera. In most cases, these features are necessary for standard security. We talk more about what to look for in a security camera in our FAQ section.
Best cheap security cameras of 2020 comparison
ModelImagePriceIndoor or outdoorLearn more
Wyze Cam Pan$37.59IndoorView on Amazon
YI Dome*$33.99IndoorView on Amazon
Hoop Security Camera$29.99IndoorView on Amazon
Blink Outdoor$99.99OutdoorView on Amazon
ZOSI C19$32.99OutdoorView on Amazon
Reolink Argus 2Reolink Argus 2$109.99EitherView Camera

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 04/02/2021 10:00 MST) Full disclaimer

*Currently not sold by the manufacturer on Amazon

Best cheap indoor cameras

You can get a lot in an indoor camera for less than $100.

Wyze Cam Pan: Best cheap indoor camera

It pans, it tilts, it zooms, and it doesn’t break the bank. The Wyze Cam Pan is crazy affordable and a great indoor security camera.

Pros

  • 1080p vision
  • 120º viewing angle
  • Pan and tilt
  • Night vision
  • Two-way audio
  • Motion detection
  • Person detection
  • Sound detection
  • Zoom
  • Local and cloud storage
  • Multiple accounts on one camera
  • Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT compatibility

Cons

  • Premium service required for person detection

What we like

Most cameras have two-way audio, night vision, and motion detection. Wyze Cam Pan has all that plus panning, tilting, zooming, and person and sound detection.

The Wyze Cam Pan also has a multiple-account feature. You can give more than one person digital access to the camera and its settings. Both you and your partner or roommate can control the camera.

Wyze subscription plans
Plan nameMonthly priceAnnual priceLearn more
Cam Plus$1.99 per camera$14.99 per cameraView on Amazon

Data effective 04/02/2021. Offers are subject to change.

Best of all, this camera is pretty much dirt cheap. You can get two cameras and two annual subscription plans at just over $100.

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Wyze subscriptions
You won’t get additional storage days with a Wyze subscription. The camera already comes with 14 days, and that’s the maximum. But your camera does record longer video clips with the paid plan.

What we don’t like

This camera requires a subscription to access your person detection. If you use the local storage, you’ll forego that feature.

YI Dome Camera 1080p: Cheapest indoor camera

The YI Dome is the cheapest indoor security camera we recommend. But don’t let the low, low price make you think YI is skimping. YI actually offers a few features you don’t get with Wyze.

Pros

  • 1080p vision
  • 112º viewing angle
  • Pan and tilt
  • Night vision
  • Two-way audio
  • Motion detection with motion tracking
  • Sound detection (including baby cry detection)
  • Zoom
  • Panoramic photo capture
  • Local and cloud storage
  • Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant compatibility

Cons

  • No person detection
  • Pricey storage plan
  • No multiple account feature

What we like

The YI Dome has some of the same features as the Wyze Cam Pan. It has pan, tilt, and zoom, and it detects motion and sound too. Specifically, the YI Dome is sensitive to babies crying, making it a good potential baby monitor.

This camera can also take panoramic photos. We’re guessing that’s for security purposes, not for Instagram. Still, it can be beneficial to capture everything in a room.

Kami Cloud subscription plans
Plan nameStorage lengthMonthly priceAnnual priceLearn more
Entry7 days$5.00 for 1 camera$40.00 for 1 cameraView on Amazon
Standard15 days$12.00 for up to 5 cameras$100.00 for up to 5 camerasView on Amazon
Plus30 days$19.00 for up to 5 cameras$150.00 for up to 5 camerasView on Amazon

Data effective 04/02/2021. Offers are subject to change.

What we don’t like

Though the camera is cheap, the subscription plan adds up. Bizarrely, the plan costs more than the camera itself.

Also, unlike the Wyze, the YI doesn’t have person detection or multiple-account access.

Hoop Security Camera: Best indoor safety features

Hoop offers security features we don’t usually see in lower-priced cameras. It has geofencing (so it knows when you’re at home and when you’re away), and it can let you know when your smoke or carbon monoxide alarms go off.

Pros

  • 1080p vision
  • 130º viewing angle
  • Pan and tilt
  • Night vision
  • Two-way audio
  • Motion detection
  • Sound detection (including fire and CO alarms)
  • Zoom
  • Geofencing
  • Text-to-speech
  • Local and cloud storage
  • Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant compatibility

Cons

  • No person detection
  • More expensive
  • No multiple account feature
  • Storage plan not transparent

What we like

The Hoop Security Camera has excellent security features. With two-way audio, push notifications, sound and motion sensors, geofencing, and smart speaker compatibility, it’ll integrate nicely into your home security plan.

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Hoop sound detection
The Hoop Security Camera can listen to your CO and fire detectors and alert you when they go off. A lot of security companies don’t even offer that feature yet, putting Hoop way ahead of the home security game.

With Hoop, you can set voice reminders from the camera to keep you on task throughout the day. 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.

What we don’t like

Hoop says this camera comes with five days of free cloud storage, which is good, but it doesn’t explain how much it costs to get more.

When we reached out to customer support, we got this response: “As of now, we have to roll out our new subscription plan. However, you are more than welcome to sign up for our newsletter to receive information on the new subscription model when it becomes available.” Interpret that as you will.

You can always fall back on local SD card storage, but that’s just not as convenient.

The Hoop camera is also a lot more expensive than the other two cameras on the list. While its features are cool, they may not be worth it if you’re trying to get the best deal.

Best cheap outdoor cameras

Outdoor cameras tend to cost a lot. Not these ones.

With Blink Outdoor, you won’t miss anything. This camera is a little basic, but it’s a reliable option from a well-known brand, making it our top choice for a cheap outdoor camera. It also has a stupendous cloud storage plan.

Pros

  • 1080p vision
  • 110º viewing angle
  • Night vision
  • Two-way audio
  • Motion detection
  • Local and cloud storage
  • Batteries
  • Amazon Alexa compatibility
  • Unlimited camera plan

Cons

  • No person detection
  • No sound detection
  • No light
  • No siren
  • No zoom
  • Unclear weatherproofing

What we like

The smart home world knows Blink by name. Its cameras aren’t flashy by any means, but they get the job done.

The Blink outdoor meets all the raw requirements for an outdoor smart home camera. Plus it has batteries, which is the Holy Grail for outdoor gadgets. Without those juice boxes to provide power, you’d have to plug or wire the camera right into the side of your house.

Blink subscription plans
Plan nameStorage lengthMonthly priceAnnual priceLearn more
Basic60 days$3.00 for 1 camera$30.00 for 1 cameraView on Amazon
Plus60 days$10.00 for unlimited cameras$100.00 for unlimited camerasView on Amazon

Data effective 04/02/2021. Offers are subject to change.

Blink’s subscription plans are better than average in both storage lengths and prices. An annual lump sum for an unlimited number of cameras with 60 days’ storage is an astounding deal!

And with the Plus plan, you also get an extended warranty and 10% off other Blink products (so you truly can buy an unlimited number of cameras).

What we don’t like

Blink is super basic.

Again, Blink is super basic. You won’t get person detection or even sound detection with this one. But this simple camera is a healthy choice for your budget, especially when you consider the subscription savings with the unlimited camera option.

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Weatherproofing
Blink claims its outdoor camera is weather-resistant, but it hasn’t publicly given the product an IP rating.

ZOSI C190: Cheapest outdoor camera

The ZOSI C190 is unbelievably cheap; we don’t see how a decent outdoor camera could go for less money. But despite the price, ZOSI has a lot of useful extras.

Pros

  • 1080p vision
  • 90º viewing angle
  • IP67 weatherproofing
  • Color night vision
  • Two-way audio
  • Light
  • Siren
  • Motion detection
  • Person detection
  • Local storage

Cons

  • No sound detection
  • No zoom
  • No cloud storage
  • No compatibility

What we like

ZOSI’s got the works: color night vision, person detection, a light, and a siren. Some of the most expensive cameras on the market don’t even have these features, which makes ZOSI’s price incredibly impressive. Seriously, some cuts of meat cost more than this camera.

What we don’t like

The biggest con to this outdoor security camera is its lack of cloud storage. You can’t get cloud even if you’re willing to pay for it. You’ll need an SD card to use the local storage instead.

Also, ZOSI isn’t compatible with, well, anything. It’s not possible to integrate this guy into your smart home.

Reolink Argus 2: Best outdoor safety features

The Reolink Argus 2 is an affordable camera with outdoor-specific security features. Its extra-clear night vision, zoom, and siren all add to the security of your home.

Pros

  • 1080p vision
  • 130º viewing angle
  • IP65 weatherproofing
  • Starlight night vision
  • Two-way audio
  • Siren
  • Motion detection
  • Zoom
  • Local and cloud storage
  • Batteries
  • Solar power
  • Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility
  • Indoor use

Cons

  • No person detection
  • No sound detection
  • No light
  • Power source not included
Reolink Argus 2

What we like

The Argus 2 is optimal for outdoor security. It has everything you need to notice, view, and scare off intruders.

This security camera has starlight night vision, zoom capabilities, and a siren to go along with its motion detection and two-way audio. And it’s easy to keep charged with a choice of batteries or solar power.

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Reolink Argus 2 use
Although we recommend using this camera primarily outdoors, it’s technically an indoor-outdoor camera. You can place it wherever you want.
Reolink subscription plans
Plan nameStorage lengthMonthly priceAnnual priceLearn more
Standard Plan30 days and 30 GB$4.99 for up to 5 cameras$49.99 for up to 5 camerasView Plan
Premier Plan30 days and 80 GB$9.99 for up to 10 cameras$99.00 for up to 10 camerasView Plan
Business Plan60 days and 150 GB$14.99 for up to 20 cameras$149.00 for up to 20 camerasView Plan

Data effective 04/02/2021. Offers are subject to change.

This Reolink camera comes with seven days of free storage, which is nice. And while the paid plan structure is similar to YI’s, overall it’s a better deal. You get more storage time for more cameras for the same price.

Reolink’s plans definitely aren’t as good as Blink’s.

What we don’t like

We wish this camera had lights to round out its outdoor security features. (Its successor, the Argus 3, does, but that camera is more expensive.)

The Reolink Argus 2 also doesn’t come with a power source. You need to buy a cable and/or a solar panel yourself to keep it going. That adds a little $$ to the overall price.

Recap: Which cheap security camera is best?

Time to summarize our cheap security cam picks.

All six of the cameras we’ve talked about are $100 or less, and each has its unique features.

Wyze Cam Pan: Best cheap indoor camera—With its many features and low price, Wyze Cam Pan is the best value for an indoor camera.

YI Dome Camera: Cheapest indoor camera—This YI Dome Camera with baby cry detection is the lowest-cost indoor camera we’d recommend for our readers.

Hoop Security Camera: Best indoor security features—Hoop’s sound detection and geofence features make this camera’s indoor safety features better than average.

Blink Outdoor: Best cheap outdoor camera—Blink Outdoor has only basic features, but Blink offers an unlimited camera plan that makes it a good value.

ZOSI C19: Cheapest outdoor camera—This super-cheap ZOSI camera comes with lots of extras.

Reolink Argus 2: Best outdoor safety features—The Reolink Argus 2 camera has features uniquely suited to outdoor security.

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.

We also have reviews of entire camera brands, like Arlo and Vivint.

Is your house ready for security cameras?

We know you’re on a budget, but even the best security cameras may not work optimally without good internet.

Recommended internet plans

If you have just one camera and a few other devices connected to the internet, you don’t need the fastest speeds. But the more connections using your Wi-Fi, the more Mbps you’re going to need.

Recommended internet plans for security cameras
ServicePlanPriceDownload speedDetails
Xfinity Internet - WestBlast! Pro$80*300 MbpsView Plan
Verizon Internet - Fios GigInternet 400/400$59.99/mo.400 MbpsView Plan
AT&T FiberInternet 1000$60/mo.940 MbpsView Plan
Data effective 11/04/20. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
w/ Auto Pay + taxes & equip charges
for 12 mos, plus taxes & equip. fee. $10/mo equip. fee applies

Cheap security cameras FAQ

What should I look for in a surveillance camera?

Buying a camera or camera system is no joke. You want 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)

Most of the security cameras in this review are wired and use motion-activated recording. All of them are smart cameras that use apps to connect to your phone.

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.

Quality

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

Ensure the camera quality is high before you purchase. Some companies might cut corners on the build to reduce costs, which can be especially devastating for an outdoor camera. You should also look at the warranty and the company’s reputation for customer service.

Software

The camera software is also important. The software needs to work efficiently and reliably and be secure against hackers. You don’t want someone to tap into your connection and case out your home with your own security camera.

Storage

Finally, look at the storage options. Local storage is one option, but you’ll lose all your footage if a thief decides to take the camera. Cloud storage sends the video to a place where it can’t be stolen, but as you know, it 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 awesome 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 stellar cameras, and Blue by ADT came out with a nice selection too.

Do I need a full surveillance system?

For some people, a single camera is sufficient. But 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.

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  • 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.