Best Outdoor Security Cameras

Watch your property and deter snoops with these smart outdoor cameras

Best Outdoor Camera
Arlo Pro 4
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
$159.99
  • pro
    Wirefree
  • pro
    Advanced object detection
  • con
    Extra cost for best features
Best Budget Buy
Blink Outdoor
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
$119.99
  • pro
    Affordable
  • pro
    Two-year battery life
  • con
    Barebones
Best with a Security System
Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro
4 out of 5 stars
4
$399.99
  • pro
    Security system integration
  • pro
    Intruder deterrents
  • con
    Expensive
Best Security Light Camera
Arlo Essential Spotlight
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
$129.99
  • pro
    Spotlight
  • pro
    Advanced object detection
  • con
    Extra cost for best features
Best Facial Recognition
Blurams Outdoor Pro
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
$49.99
  • pro
    Facial recognition
  • pro
    Flexible cloud storage
  • con
    Unknown brand
Brianne Sandorf
Nov 14, 2023
Icon Time To Read9 min read

We may earn money when you click our links.


If you haven't invested in an outdoor security camera yet in 2023, now is a good time to start looking. ADT research indicates the presence of an outdoor security camera can be a burglar deterrent and keep you and your family safe from attempted break-ins and crime.

There are so many brands and security cameras to choose from, so it's hard to know which cameras are the best that can withstand the snow, rain, and cold temperatures. Our top recommendation is the Arlo Pro 4, which is easy to use, full of useful features, and not crazy expensive.

And if the Arlo Pro 4 doesn’t cut it for you, we have four other stellar recs for you to pick from.


Outdoor security camera comparison
Provider
Price
Subscription price
Video quality
Details
Arlo Pro 4$159.99Starts at $2.99/mo.2K
Blink Outdoor$119.99Starts at $3.00/mo.1080p
Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro$399.99Starts at $44.99/mo.1080p
Arlo Essential Spotlight$129.99Starts at $2.99/mo.1080p
Blurams Outdoor Pro$49.99Starts at $1.99/mo.2K

Data effective 11/14/2023. Offers subject to change.

What to look for in an outdoor security camera

When looking for an outdoor camera, the top priority is weatherproofing. Only cameras marked explicitly as “outdoor” should go outside; indoor cameras are often cheaper but can’t withstand the weather. You'll want a camera that can handle the snow, sleet and rain, while functioning through different temperatures throughout the seasons.

After that, check for wireless capabilities. We recommend an outdoor wireless security camera system so you don't have to deal with plugs, or, worse, fish wire through your walls. In some cases, a plug-in or wired camera will be the best fit for you, but it's good to get wireless when you can.

You’ll also want a camera with decent resolution and night vision to easily see people and objects in clips. Built-in lights are also helpful.

Next, look for any features that help you detect visitors and deter intruders. We’re talking motion detection, people detection, package detection, facial recognition, two-way audio, sirens, stuff like that.

Outdoor camera features that work best for outdoors:

  • Weatherproof builds so that your camera can actually work outdoors and withstand any type of weather
  • High-resolution video of 1080p or higher so you can clearly see the footage
  • Continuous video recording (also referred to as CVR.) Some cameras only take snapshots or start recording when motion is detected, CVR ensures you have audio and video recording 24/7.
  • Night vision so you can see what happens in the dark—color or starlight night vision are the best
  • Built-in lights to startle thieves and help with night vision
  • Two-way audio/talk so you can both hear what’s happening and shout at passersby to get off your lawn
  • Customizable motion zones so you can decide where on your property you want to detect motion
  • Facial recognition so you know who’s frequently caught on camera

Apartment-dwellers may not benefit from outdoor cameras. You get the most bang for your buck when your outdoor camera is mounted in a private outdoor space (on porches, siding, fences, etc.).

If you decide to use an outdoor security camera with an apartment, you probably only need one camera. In contrast, if you live in a home, you’ll want an entire outdoor security camera system with multiple cameras.

Indoor cameras vs. outdoor cameras

Weatherproofing, typically. Not all indoor cameras can put up with rain, snow, sleet, hail, cold, and heat. All outdoor cameras can, to some degree. Check the weatherproof IP rating to know exactly how weatherproof your outdoor camera is.

Of course, just because a camera is weatherproofed doesn’t mean it needs to go outside. All outdoor cameras work indoors—but they tend to be more expensive than cameras specifically designed for indoor use.

Indoor cameras are the default, so they aren't usually labeled as such. For instance, the Blink Mini doesn't have "indoor" in its name, but the Blink Outdoor's name includes "outdoor."

Doorbell cameras vs. outdoor cameras

Though they’re technically outdoor security cameras, doorbell cameras serve a different purpose than the cameras we’ve reviewed here. If you’re looking for a device to watch your packages and notify you of visitors, check out our review of the best video doorbell cameras.

Play Video

Arlo Pro 4: Best outdoor camera

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
pro Wirefree
pro Advanced object detection
pro Amazon, Google, IFTTT, Apple, and Samsung compatibility
Price:
$159.99

Arlo Pro 4 is our top choice for an outdoor camera. It packs a punch with features and ease of use, and it’s wirefree.

The Arlo Pro 4 comes with color night vision, a built-in light, and 2K video quality, so you’ll never have a dark or blurry picture. 

This camera is also wirefree rather than wired, meaning, in this case, that it uses batteries and not a plug or electrical wiring. Without those constraints, you can put it anywhere you want: on your house, on a fence, in a tree, wherever.

Arlo also has advanced object detection, which means it can quickly tell you the difference between an animal, person, vehicle, and package. That might not sound that helpful, but trust us—it can save you a lot of unnecessary push notifications.

Finally, Arlo has geofencing, which allows your Pro 4 to turn itself on and off based on your location. Most folks who choose to use geofencing want their camera on only when they leave the house.

The only downside is that you have to pay to use object detection and geofencing as part of your Arlo storage subscription.

Arlo subscription plans
Plan
Price for one camera
Price for unlimited cameras
24/7 Emergency Response
24/7 Professional Monitoring
Cloud storage
Details
Self-monitor$0.00/mo.$0.00/mo.
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Arlo Secure$4.99/mo.$12.99/mo.
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes, 30 days
Arlo Secure PlusNA$17.99/mo.
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes, 30 days
Arlo Safe & Secure ProNA$24.99/mo.
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes, 30 days

Data effective 11/14/2023. Offers subject to change.

If you want your Arlo camera to record everything, not just motion-activated events, you can sign up for continuous video recording at $9.99 a month for 14 days or $19.99 for 30.

Here are a few things to consider about the Arlo Pro 4 hardware:

  • The Arlo Pro 4 comes in two colors, black and white. You can pick whichever color you like better or think would be more inconspicuous in your yard.
  • The Arlo Pro 4 is wireless and comes with rechargeable batteries. These batteries are supposed to last six months, although our tests show they probably won’t last quite that long. Either way, when the batteries come up empty, you can remove them from the shell and charge them.
  • The Arlo Pro 4 has free local storage if paired with an Arlo base station or SmartHub. (Local storage means you’ll use an SD card to store footage instead of the cloud.)
  • The Arlo Pro 4 works with other security and smart home devices from Amazon Echo, Google Home, IFTTT, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings. This is a huge win if you’re into the smart home scene. 

Blink Outdoor: Best budget buy

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
pro Affordable
pro Two-year battery life
pro Amazon compatibility
Price:
$119.99

If you feel like your bank account is strained to the max, you will love the Blink Outdoor. It’s incredibly affordable. It even has a projected two-year battery life, so it will be a while before you have to buy more batteries.

Seriously, it’s rare to find a good 1080p outdoor camera that's affordable. Whenever we find one, we’re all, “Score!” especially when it’s from a critically acclaimed brand like Blink.

As a trade-off for the low price, the Blink Outdoor doesn’t have a lot of features. It’s missing the fancy motion-detection extras that you’ll see in most of our recommended cameras. But it has everything an outdoor camera really needs:

  • IP65 weatherproofing
  • Enhanced motion detection
  • Infrared night vision
  • Two-way audio

Alongside your super-affordable Blink camera, you’ll need a Blink subscription plan. Blink plans cost about as much as Arlo Secure, but they offer twice as much storage. That’s another way you can stretch your dollar with Blink.

You’ll also get an extended warranty with your Blink subscription plus 10% off other Blink equipment.

Blink subscription plans
Plan
Monthly price
Yearly price
Cloud storage
Details
Basic Plan$3.00/mo.$30.00/yr.
Icon Yes  DarkYes, 60 days for 1 device
Plus Plan$10.00/mo.$100.00/yr.
Icon Yes  DarkYes, 60 days for unlimited devices

Data effective 11/14/2023. Offers subject to change.

You can also use local storage with Blink through a USB flash drive.

The Blink Outdoor takes two AA lithium batteries. And for once, batteries are included. Even better, you shouldn’t have to replace them for a while—Blink estimates that those li’l batteries will last two whole years.

You can connect your Blink Outdoor to your Amazon Echo for some smart home-style perks. For example, Alexa can announce every time you get a camera alert. We don’t necessarily recommend that—most cameras get quite a few false alarms—but if you’re hard of sight or don’t want to be tied to your phone 24/7, it’s a great feature.

Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro: Best with a security system

4 out of 5 stars
4
pro Security system integration
pro Intruder deterrents
pro Amazon, Google, and Z-Wave compatibility
Price:
$399.99

Are you more interested in a complete security system than a single outdoor camera? We recommend the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro, a fancy high-tech camera that works with one of the fanciest, most high-tech security systems we recommend.

We've spent a lot of time with the 1080p Outdoor Camera Pro, and we prize its intruder deterrent features. On top of the typical features (night vision, two-way audio, a siren), this camera has Smart Sentry.

Smart Sentry scares off loiterers by lighting up and making a noise. But it doesn’t have facial recognition, so its alerts are indiscriminate. It might even try to scare you off when you’re working in your yard.

The camera also has a siren extender. If your alarm goes off, your camera will make noise too. It’s a handy way to scare off intruders while also alerting your neighbors.

Vivint subscription plans are expensive partly because you’re paying for home security monitoring plus camera storage. But TBH, compared to most other security systems, Vivint still costs a lot more.

Vivint subscription plans
Plan
Monthly price
Devices covered
Details
Smart Security Monitoring$29.99/mo.1
Smart Home Monitoring$39.99/mo.1
Smart Home Video Monitoring$44.99/mo.1

Data effective 11/14/2023. Offers subject to change.

If you want more than one Vivint camera, you’ll pay $5 per month for every extra camera you add to the system.

Your Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro needs to be hardwired into your home’s electrical system, which limits the places you can install it. Luckily, you don’t have to hastily befriend an electrician to get your camera set up. Vivint will send a pro to install your camera and security system for you.

Vivint is known for its intensely smart equipment with an in-app smart home setup. You don’t need third-party equipment to create an entire smart ecosystem, but Vivint pieces are also compatible with Amazon, Google, and Z-Wave if you want to look elsewhere.

That means that your Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro will work with other Vivint devices plus Amazon and Google smart assistants plus a whole host of other products that use the Z-Wave  protocol.

If you want a camera that works with a more affordable home security setup, look at Ring Alarm cameras as a Vivint alternative.

Ring sells the Ring Spotlight Cam, the Ring Floodlight Cam, the Ring Stick-Up Cam Battery, and more. All these cameras work with the Ring Alarm system, and their subscription costs can be covered affordably with a Ring Protect plan.

Just know Ring has some controversy surrounding it.

Arlo Essential Spotlight: Best security light camera

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
pro Spotlight
pro Advanced object detection
pro Amazon Echo, Google Home, IFTTT, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings compatibility
Price:
$129.99

If you want to shed a little light on your yard, our favorite pick is the Arlo Essential Spotlight. It’s got a spotlight and all the fancy Arlo features at a lower price than the Arlo Pro 4.

Speaking of the Arlo Pro 4, the Arlo Essential Spotlight also has color night vision, two-way audio, and a spotlight. It's also wireless like the Arlo Pro 4. It uses the same advanced object detection to help you receive more accurate alerts and cut down on notifications. You can also use geofencing.

The main difference between the two cameras is the video quality. The Arlo Essential uses 1080p vs. 2K—but 1080p is more than adequate for viewing security camera footage in most cases.

Which may have you asking, what's the difference between 4K and 2K cameras? The higher the resolution, the sharper the videos will be. A camera with 4K resolution will offer better image quality.

A 2K camera will still get the job done, but the video quality will lack compared to 4K. Going with a 4K security camera is worth it if you can afford it, but it's not necessary unless you strongly feel you need to see potential intruders as clearly as you can. Most homes can get by just fine with 2K.

All Arlo cameras use the same plans at the same prices. (That includes the cost for upgrading to CVR.)

Arlo subscription plans
Plan
Price for one camera
Price for unlimited cameras
24/7 Emergency Response
24/7 Professional Monitoring
Cloud storage
Details
Self-monitor$0.00/mo.$0.00/mo.
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Arlo Secure$4.99/mo.$12.99/mo.
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes, 30 days
Arlo Secure PlusNA$17.99/mo.
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes, 30 days
Arlo Safe & Secure ProNA$24.99/mo.
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes, 30 days

Data effective 11/14/2023. Offers subject to change.

The Arlo Essential Spotlight shares even more similarities with the Arlo Pro 4:

  • While Arlo cameras traditionally come white, the Essential also comes in black. It’s a win for 2004 goths everywhere.
  • The rechargeable battery is supposed to last six months, but after just a few days of testing, it dropped by 10%. We’re sure the sensitivity settings had something to do with it—we set ours to be pretty sensitive—but either way, we’re confident that the batteries will not last a full six months without a recharge.
  • You can skip the monthly payments and opt for local storage with an Arlo base station or SmartHub. But without the subscription, you have to say buh-bye to all the cool features that make us recommend this camera. Sigh.
  • The Arlo Essential works with most smart home brands: Amazon Echo, Google Home, IFTTT, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings.

Blurams Outdoor Pro: Best facial recognition option

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
pro Facial recognition
pro Flexible cloud storage
pro Amazon, Google, and IFTTT compatibility
Price:
$49.99

Is there a particular person that you’re trying to avoid? Do you just want to know who’s on your property? Sounds like you’re looking for facial recognition, and in that case, you probably want to try the Blurams Outdoor Pro.

The Blurams Outdoor Pro offers quite a few features:

  • 1080p video quality
  • Two-way audio
  • Starlight night vision
  • Motion detection
  • Sound detection

It's also affordable. But the crowning jewel is the facial recognition.

Facial recognition is tricky. We have yet to test a camera with reliable, well-working facial recognition. Facial recognition software also tends to make cameras very expensive. But Blurams is a happy medium—if you don’t get what you need from your software, at least you spent only a modest sum (for an outdoor camera).

Blurams facial recognition will keep track of faces it sees more than once and allow you to put identifying names on them. This works best with people you know, but if strangers show up repeatedly on your camera feed, you can always assign them names. Like, “Bearded man with tattoos,” “Woman in pink tracksuit,” “Kid who stole all the candy from my Halloween bowl.”

The Outdoor Pro has local storage and 24 hours’ free cloud storage. But if you want the convenience of more cloud storage (and most people do), you’ll need to sign up for a Blurams subscription.

Blurams subscriptions are flexible—you can sign up for as few as three days’ storage and as many as 30. Most folks will want more storage, not less, but some choose to only opt into storage, say, when they’re on vacation.

Blurams subscription plans
Plan
Monthly price
Yearly price
Storage
Details
Blurams Guard 3 Days$1.99/mo.NA3 days
Blurams Guard 7 Days$4.99/mo.$49.00/yr.7 days
Blurams Guard 15 Days$5.99/mo.$59.00/yr.15 days
Blurams Guard 30 Days$14.99/mo.$149.00/yr.30 days

Data effective 11/14/2023. Offers subject to change.

The Blurams Outdoor Pro uses a plug, so you’ll want to install your camera within reach of an outlet.

Also, this camera is compatible with Alexa, Google, and IFTTT.  Through these platforms, you’ll be able to indirectly connect your camera with most major smart home devices. You just won’t have direct integrations that allow your camera to “communicate” with other products.

Cameras we also considered

We considered 51 different cameras when making this list. Here are a few that didn’t make the top five but that we still wanted to spotlight (ba dum ching! Get it? Like spotlight camera?):

  • Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera at $249.99: If you want something extra bright, a floodlight cam ought to do the trick! You can even adjust the brightness up to 3000 lumens.
  • Arlo Ultra 2 at $299.99: If you love the Arlo brand and want the ultimate experience it has to offer, try the crisp 4K vision of the Arlo Ultra 2. It even has a noise-canceling feature to block distracting background sounds.
  • Eve Outdoor Cam at $249.95: Eve is the first camera brand designed exclusively for Apple fans. This camera uses Apple HomeKit Secure Video and all its footage is stored with iCloud+.
  • Logitech Circle View at $159.95: The Circle View has been on and off our best camera lists for a while. It has an awesome tilt feature, and the latest version, like Eve, works with HomeKit and iCloud+.
  • Ring Spotlight Cam Pro at $229.99: This camera is especially good for Ring brand evangelists. It's an updated version of a popular camera with all-improved audio capabilities.
  • Wyze Cam Outdoor v2 at $80.83: Wyze wouldn’t you consider Wyze?! This incredibly affordable outdoor security camera packs a real punch with its six-month battery and starlight night vision.
  • Wyze Cam v3 Pro at $59.00: If you don’t mind a wired camera, you can get another affordable Wyze option. The 2K video quality and spotlight set it apart from its predecessors.

Cameras we don’t recommend

We’ve previously featured Google Nest Cameras (like the Google Nest Cam and Nest Cam with Floodlight) as some of our best outdoor security cameras. But this time, we felt like they weren’t the best options.

Here’s why. Google Nest Cams have low weatherproof ratings: IP54 versus the typical IP6-something. Not having high weatherproofing kind of kills the purpose of having an outdoor camera security system.

And if that’s not enough, Google came right out and said that it can’t guarantee its cameras will work in super-cold weather. With that knowledge, we don't feel comfortable recommending Google Nest cameras for outdoor use. 

Methodology

We weren’t joking when we said we researched 51 cameras before picking our top five. It sounds like a lot of work because it is, but we’re happy to do it so you don’t have to. Altogether, we spent about seven hours on camera comparison alone.

When comparing cameras, we consider multiple factors, such as:

  • Price
  • Features
  • Subscription costs
  • Power source
  • Performance

And we don’t just read about the products we pick. Whenever possible, we spend several hours with the cameras we review. We test for video and audio quality, mess with the app and settings, critique user interface and ease of use, and take note of how each camera makes our lives easier and better (or harder and worse, if that’s the way things go).

For this review specifically, we looked for features that would make a camera suitable for easy outdoor use, including weatherproofing, installation options, night vision, and spotlights.

Outdoor cameras FAQ

Generally, no. We recommend keeping your home security camera where others can clearly see it.

First of all, the presence of a camera can be a deterrent. In our experience, people behave differently (read: better) when they know someone is watching. After all, if they’re doing something sketchy, they don’t want to be caught. So if your goal is to keep away intruders and vandalizers and such, a visible camera helps.

Secondly, hidden cameras can cause legal issues. If you catch the wrong thing on your hidden camera, you could find yourself in trouble (depending on where you live).

Any of our favorite outdoor cameras have decent, if not excellent, night vision. After all, what good is an outdoor camera if it misses all the action as soon as the sun goes down?

But if you want the outdoor camera with the best night vision, we'd pick the Arlo Pro 4. The motion-activated spotlight not only startles intruders (and cats), but it gets you color night vision.

Alternatively, the Ring Spotlight Cam records in a slightly lower resolution, but you still get color night vision. If you're looking for more options, check out our review of the best night vision cameras.

And don't forget, you can supplement any outdoor camera's night vision with good outdoor lighting.

You can generally use most outdoor security cameras without a subscription or monthly fee.

Without a monthly subscription, you'll be able to use any of the cameras listed and you'll still get features like live video streaming, two-way audio, and push notifications.  

If you want features like video recording, downloading and saving video clips, and professional monitoring then you'll have to sign up for a monthly subscription.

Brianne Sandorf
Written by
Brianne Sandorf
Brianne has a degree in English and creative writing from Westminster College and has spent 6+ years writing professional, research-based content. Before joining Reviews.org, she wrote safety and security content for ASecureLife.com. Her pieces and quotes are published across the web, including on MSN.com, Social Catfish, and Parents.com. Hobbies include wearing a seatbelt, wearing a life jacket, and keeping her arms and legs inside the ride at all times. Contact her at brianne@reviews.org.

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