Best Outdoor Security Cameras of 2020

Whether you want a camera on every corner or just an extra eye on your front door, we’ve found the best outdoor security cameras out there.
  • Arlo Ultra Camera
    Multiple cutting-edge features
  • Amcrest 4K Dome Camera
    Customizable control
    Limited mobile app
  • Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
    Cool AI features
    Nest Aware subscription needed for best features
  • Vivint Outdoor
    4K image sensor

Sometimes you just want to keep an eye on things even when you’re away from home. Maybe the neighborhood kids have been getting a little too rowdy lately. Maybe a mysterious nighttime visitor toilet papered your house recently, and you don’t want to wake up to a mess again.

In any case, outdoor security cameras have cooler key features than ever before—and they’ll help you stop those TP bandits in their tracks. Check out our top outdoor security camera picks, and say hello to ultra-HD video resolution and goodbye to nefarious lurkers.

Compare outdoor security camera specs
ModelPriceResolutionField of viewLearn more
Arlo Ultra$399.993840 x 2160180ºView on Amazon
Amcrest UltraHD 4K Dome Camera$109.993840 x 216069º–112ºView on Amazon
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor$3991080p130ºView at Walmart
Vivint Outdoor Camera ProQuote required1080p140ºView Camera
Reolink Argus 2$89.991080p130ºView on Amazon
Ring Floodlight Camera$2491080p140ºView Camera
Logitech Circle 2$199.991080p180ºView on Amazon
Maximus Smart Security Light$129.99720p116ºView at Walmart
TP-Link Kasa Cam Outdoor$89.971080p130ºView on Amazon
Arlo Pro 2$479.99 (for a two-pack)1080p130ºView on Amazon List Prices (as of 6/18/20 17:35 PST)

1. Arlo Ultra: Best overall

The Arlo Ultra packs a host of impressive security features into one convenient wire-free package.

Arlo Ultra

Arlo Ultra key features

  • 4K video mode (1080p and 720p also available)
  • Internal siren
  • Internal spotlight security light
  • 12x digital zoom
  • Weatherproof design (from -4º to 140º Fahrenheit, -20º to 60º Celsius)
  • MicroSD card local storage option
  • 3–6 month battery life
  • Wire-free and wired options
  • 24/7 recording (with wired option)

What we like

What’s not to love about the Arlo Ultra? This camera takes cutting edge to new heights and comes with a ton of key features we haven’t seen in a single video camera (or at all) before.

The biggest, baddest feature is the Arlo Ultra’s 4K video streaming with HDR, which gives you incredibly crisp, clear footage that lets you zoom in on details like faces and license plates without messing up your image quality.

There’s a ton more we could say about the Arlo Ultra, but for now we’ll mention just one more thing: color night vision. Welcome to the future.

What we don’t like

All those fancy features come at a price. For just a single Arlo Ultra camera and the (required) SmartHub, you’ll pay several hundred dollars—$399.99 at the time of this writing.

The Arlo Ultra also had some connectivity issues when it first debuted, and Arlo had to pull it from store shelves for a bit. But from what we can tell, Arlo has resolved all the hiccups, and now the Ultra is just a really great cam.

2. Amcrest UltraHD 4K Dome Camera: Best dome camera

The Amcrest UltraHD 4K Dome Camera gives you high-end video and features you can customize.

Amcrest UltraHD 4K Dome Camera features

  • 4K video resolution
  • MicroSD card local storage option
  • Motion detection zones
  • ONVIF integration
  • Weatherproof design
  • Vandal-resistant cove

What we like

A lot of security cameras now are pretty restrictive in how you use them. They make you use a specific mobile device app, and sometimes you can’t even have your own local storage. But Amcrest makes high-quality cameras that still give you total control and remote access.

The Amcrest UltraHD 4K Dome Camera is only one of Amcrest’s 4K video models, all of which give you super high-quality video resolution. You’ll love 4K video so much that regular HD will just look sad in comparison.

Plus, Amcrest is ONVIF compliant, which means you can use several different third-party apps, like Blue Iris, and make the camera work with other ONVIF-compliant devices.

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What is ONVIF?
ONVIF stands for Open Network Video Interface Forum. It’s a protocol that lets cameras and security devices from different manufacturers still communicate with each other and work together. If you want a full-fledged CCTV system, ONVIF-compliant devices can be a good fit for you!

What we don’t like

Amcrest’s own app isn’t the best. It’s functional, but it’s not the prettiest or best-designed app we’ve ever seen.

That’s fine if you care about functionality more than overall design, or if you plan to use a different app entirely. But don’t be surprised if you download the Amcrest app and find it looks pretty basic.

3. Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor: Best wired camera

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has some great features, like facial recognition. But you’ll need a Nest Aware subscription.

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor features

  • Person detection
  • Custom motion detection zones
  • Face recognition
  • 4K image sensor
  • Weatherproof design
  • Built-in Google Assistant
  • Automatic zoom in on human motion

What we like

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor was one of the first to come out with a 4K image sensor in an outdoor surveillance camera. Not to be mistaken for 4K video resolution, a 4K image sensor just means you can zoom in on images without blurring out the picture quality.

That, along with facial recognition and a built-in Google Assistant, still make the Nest IQ Outdoor cameras a top pick for outdoor security. If you prefer power-over-ethernet (POE) cameras to wireless security cameras, then the Nest Cam IQ is an obvious choice.

What we don’t like

A lot of the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor (and any other Nest Cam’s) best features are behind a paywall of sorts.

You have to subscribe to a Nest Aware plan to access cool tech tricks like facial recognition and custom activity zones, as well as more than a few hours’ worth of cloud storage. (That goes for all other Nest cameras, too.)

The baseline Nest Aware plan is pretty affordable ($6 per month), and the cam’s not nearly as good without it, so plan on subscribing.

4. Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro: Best security system camera

If you want a wireless security system that includes high-end cameras, then Vivint has what you need.

Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro

Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro features

  • 4K image sensor
  • 10x digital zoom
  • Weatherproof design
  • Still photo option
  • Lurker motion detection
  • Vivint security system integration

What we like

A lot of cameras that come with larger security systems aren’t the best cams out there, which means you have to sacrifice some camera quality to get something that works with your whole system.

But the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro is different—it gives you top features we’ve seen in standalone cameras, but in a package that integrates with your Vivint system. Our favorite standout is the 4K image sensor, which lets you zoom in on video and images and still keep small details clear (like license plate numbers).

What we don’t like

Even though it’s better than a lot of other security system offerings, the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro still isn’t the best on the market—that award still goes to the Arlo Ultra. We’d love to see Vivint break some innovation barriers with its devices.

5. Reolink Argus 2: Best budget pick

The Reolink Argus 2 is an affordable camera that still comes packed with cool features.

Reolink Argus 2

Reolink Argus 2 features

  • Wireless design
  • Rechargeable or solar-powered camera options
  • Weatherproof body
  • MicroSD card local storage option
  • Multiple mount options
  • Color night vision

What we like

For its price ($89.99 at the time of writing), the Reolink Argus 2 still comes with quite the feature list. It’s wire-free, weatherproof, has a magnetic mount, and gives you HD footage and a local storage option. Not to mention, the Argus 2 has color night vision—all pretty impressive for such a low price point.

We also like that Reolink gives you a local storage option, so you don’t have to subscribe to a cloud storage plan. But if you want to, Reolink’s cloud plans start as low as $4.99 per month for 30 days’ worth of video history. (That’s a really good deal.)

What we don’t like

We love that the Argus 2 comes with a color night vision option, but the black and white version can actually be clearer and give you higher-quality footage. This isn’t really a big deal considering the Argus 2’s price and all its other features—but for the record, stick with black and white.

6. Ring Floodlight Cam: Best floodlight camera

The Ring Floodlight Cam combines an HD camera with bright smart lights and even a siren.

Ring Floodlight Cam

Ring Floodlight Cam features

  • Custom motion detection zones
  • 110-decibel internal siren
  • Noise cancellation for two-way audio
  • Smart zoom and pan
  • 3,000 Kelvin floodlights
  • Weatherproof housing

What we like

If you want visitors and potential intruders to know you have cameras and you’re watching them, then the Ring Floodlight Cam is a great way to do it. It’s meant to be noticed, with a Ring camera at the center and two very bright floodlights on either side.

The Floodlight Cam comes with all the top features we expect in Ring cameras, including HD video and smart zoom and pan that will automatically zoom in on and follow people walking in its line of sight. It’s like a security guard in camera form.

What we don’t like

Let’s be real: the Floodlight Cam is kind of ugly. If you want visible and in your face, then the Floodlight Cam will definitely give you that. But for people who prefer something a little, shall we say, subtler, we’d recommend going with a different model.

7. Logitech Circle 2: Most versatile

The Logitech Circle 2 has all kinds of options for placement so you can put it wherever you want.

Logitech Circle Cam 2

Logitech Circle 2 features

  • Indoor/outdoor capability
  • Multiple mount options
  • Wired and wireless options
  • 180º wide field of view
  • Weatherproof design

What we like

The Logitech Circle 2 takes versatility up a notch. If you want to use it as an indoor camera, you can set it on a bookshelf or even mount it on a window. If you want to put it outside, the Circle 2 is weatherproof and has a super wide field of view so you can keep an eye on the whole neighborhood.

Make sure you browse through Logitech’s Circle 2 accessories before you buy the cam to make sure you’re getting the mount and model options you want.

What we don’t like

For all its versatility, we wish the Circle 2 came with a local storage option. As it is, you’ll have to subscribe to a cloud plan to get more than 24 hours of video history.

8. Maximus Smart Security Light: Best disguised camera

The Maximus Smart Security Light gives you a classy way to put a security camera on your home.

Maximus Smart Security Light

  • Weatherproof design
  • Manually adjustable viewing angle
  • 115-decibel internal siren
  • Four light design options
  • Kuna AI integration

What we like

The Maximus Smart Security Light puts a camera right under an ordinary-looking porch light. It’s not totally hidden—it’s easy enough to see if you’re looking for it—but passersby are less likely to notice the Maximus than, say, the Ring Floodlight Cam.

The Maximus light itself is also a smart light, and the whole fixture gives you options like customizable light settings and pre-recorded messages that will play when the camera detects motion.

What we don’t like

Neither the camera nor the light is particularly impressive on its own. The Maximus Smart Security Light camera is HD, but it’s only 720p—and we’re starting to expect 1080p, if not 4K, from the security camera industry.

Plus, the camera doesn’t have infrared night vision. It relies on the light to turn on and show you what’s there, but we’d at least like some infrared backup.

9. TP-Link Kasa Cam Outdoor: Best standalone camera

The TP-Link Kasa Cam Outdoor is a versatile little camera that works well as a one-off model.

TP-Link Kasa Outdoor

TP-Link Kasa Cam Outdoor features

  • Weatherproof design
  • Internal siren
  • Magnetic wall mount
  • Custom activity zones
  • Both motion and sound detection

What we like

Unlike Nest, TP-Link doesn’t make you subscribe to a feature plan to get the most out of the Kasa Cam Outdoor. By just buying the camera, you already get things like custom activity zones, and TP-Link is relatively generous with its free cloud storage (2 days’ worth of video history).

We also like that the Kasa Cam Outdoor won’t break the bank (it costs $88.16 at the time of writing), and it’s super easy to install.

What we don’t like

The Kasa Cam Outdoor doesn’t have many smart home integrations. You can access its livestream on Google Home– and Alexa-integrated screens, but that’s about it.

10. Arlo Pro 2: Best camera system

If you want a multi-camera pack, the Arlo Pro 2 is a good wire-free choice.

Arlo Pro 2 features

  • Custom activity zones
  • Local backup storage option (through base station)
  • Wire-free and wireless options
  • 24/7 recording (with power cord)
  • Weatherproof design
  • Available in packs of up to six cameras

What we like

Before the Arlo Ultra came and blew our minds, the Arlo Pro 2 was our security camera darling. Even now, if you want to implement a whole system of cameras that work well together, the Arlo Pro 2 is a good choice.

You can buy the Arlo Pro 2 in packs of up to six cameras (plus the required base station). Just keep in mind that these are Wi-Fi security cameras and the more cameras you add, the bigger burden you put on your Wi-Fi network, and you might notice some slow-downs.

What we don’t like

Buying multiple Arlo Pro 2’s can get expensive. (A four-camera pack costs $504.72 at the time of writing.) But we can’t fault Arlo too much for that—any high-quality multi-camera system is going to hit your wallet hard.

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Want a little more protection than just a camera?
If you want to go beyond security cameras and opt for an entire alarm system, our Best Home Security Systems review review will show you all the best options.


Outdoor security cameras give you a 24/7 view of what’s going on outside your home. 

Outdoor security cameras make it easier than ever to keep an eye on your house and your family. You can choose a simple and affordable model or go high-end with 24/7 recording and cloud storage. The choice is yours.

  • Arlo Ultra: The Arlo Ultra packs more high-end features into a single camera than we’ve ever seen before. You’ll pay a high price, but you get 4K video resolution, and built-in lights and sirens in return.
  • Amcrest UltraHD 4K Dome Camera: The Amcrest UltraHD 4K Dome is ONVIF compliant, which lets you use third-party apps and integrate the cam with other devices. Plus, it has super high video resolution.
  • Nest Cam IQ Outdoor: Nest Cam IQ Outdoor was one of the first cameras to get a 4K image sensor, and it still has top-notch features like facial recognition. Just plan on subscribing to a Nest Aware plan.
  • Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro: As security system cameras go, the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro is one of the best—and it will work with the rest of your Vivint system.
  • Reolink Argus 2: The Argus 2 packs a lot of impressive features into a super affordable camera. Just stick with the black-and-white night vision over the color version.
  • Ring Floodlight Camera: The Ring Floodlight Cam is made to be noticed. Just make sure you’re okay with the aesthetic before you invest in the camera.
  • Logitech Circle 2: The Logitech Circle 2 gives you lots of accessory options to let you put the camera basically anywhere you want. It’s one of the best models for indoor and outdoor versatility.
  • Maximus Smart Security Light: If you want a subtle security camera, the Maximus Smart Security Light fits the bill. The camera’s not particularly impressive on its own, but its porchlight exterior will look much nicer than your other options.
  • TP-Link Kasa Cam Outdoor: The TP-Link Kasa Outdoor Cam doesn’t integrate with many other smart home devices, but it’s relatively affordable and super easy to put up as a standalone camera.
  • Arlo Pro 2: If you want a multi-camera system, the Arlo 2 gives you versatile, wireless cameras with excellent features, sold in packs of up to six cameras.

Still not sure which is the best camera for you? Check out our best home security cameras review for more options.


What is two-way audio?

Two-way audio is when your security camera lets you both hear what’s happening in a room (or outside) and talk through the camera yourself. The camera has a built-in speaker and microphone for two-way communication and you use the app on a mobile device to hear what people on the other side are saying and then respond. (The app works on both iOS and Android.)

Keep in mind that cameras with two-way audio usually work like walkie talkies. You push a button in the app to talk, and, while you’re talking, you can’t hear what’s happening on the other end. And while this is a pretty standard feature in indoor cameras, two-way audio is relatively rare in outdoor security cameras.

It’s becoming more popular. But for the time being, if you see an outdoor camera that offers two-way audio, go for it.

What is a base station?

When it comes to home security systems, a base station is the hub that connects all your various sensors and devices together. For home security cameras, a base station does the same thing—but the devices in question are all cameras.

Base stations are most common with 100% wire-free outdoor (or indoor) cameras. If your cameras don’t have a wire connecting them to your wireless network, then a hub serves as the mediator.

Keep in mind, base stations often have to be plugged directly in to your internet router. That’s not as convenient if you keep your router hidden away somewhere, like in a basement or garage.

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