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.

Outdoor security cameras have cooler features than ever before. Say goodbye to the grainy, blurry footage from the past. The best outdoor security cameras are packed with things like high-definition resolution, facial recognition, motion tracking, night vision, and built-in sirens–to name a few.

Our favorite outdoor security cameras let you keep an eye on your yard from anywhere, and store footage either locally, to the cloud, or both. Check out our top picks.

Compare outdoor security camera specs
ModelImagePriceResolutionLearn more
Arlo Ultra$399.993840 x 2160View on Amazon
Amcrest UltraHD 4K Dome Camera$109.993840 x 2160View on Amazon
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor$399.991080pView at Best Buy
Vivint Outdoor Camera ProVivint Outdoor Camera ProQuote required1080pView Camera
Reolink Argus 2$94.991080pView on Amazon
Ring Floodlight Camera$249.991080pView on Amazon
Logitech Circle 2$199.991080pView on Amazon
Kasa Cam Outdoor$139.991080pView on Amazon
Arlo Essential$340.48 (for a three-pack)1080pView on Amazon

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 9/28/20 3:23 PST).Full disclaimer

1. Arlo Ultra: Best overall

The Arlo Ultra packs a host of impressive security features into one convenient wireless camera package.

Arlo Ultra

Arlo Ultra key features

  • 4K video mode (1080p and 720p also available)
  • Built-in siren
  • Built-in spotlight
  • 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 wireless options
  • 24/7 recording (with wired option)
  • Night vision
  • Two-way audio
  • Motion detection

What we like

What’s not to love about the Arlo Ultra? As cameras go, the Ultra takes cutting edge to new heights and comes with a ton of key features we haven’t seen in any other cameras.

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. You’ll definitely more for this camera than you would for something like the Blink XT2.

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 out in our latest test, the Arlo Ultra had no connectivity issues and gave us high-quality video in a wireless camera package.

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
  • Night vision

What we like

A lot of home 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
  • Night vision
  • Two-way audio

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 Cam IQ Outdoor a top pick for an  outdoor security camera. 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 the cool tech tricks that make this one of the best outdoor security cameras. Things 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 camera’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 detection
  • Vivint security system integration
  • Night vision
  • Two-way audio
  • Motion detection

What we like

A lot of cameras that come with larger security systems aren’t the best outdoor security cameras 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 standouts are the 4K image sensor, which lets you zoom in on video and images and still keep small details clear, and the lurker detection, which alerts you when your cameras spot an unfamiliar person in your yard.

What we don’t like

Vivint has the best technology of just about any home security system, but you’ll definitely pay for that level of quality. And you can’t get the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro as a standalone device—it’s only available as part of your larger Vivint security system.

This camera’s a great pick if you’re ready to secure your whole home with a high-end system. Otherwise, look elsewhere.

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
  • Two-way audio

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 wireless, 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
  • Night vision
  • Two-way audio

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 something 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

  • Outdoor and indoor camera capability
  • Multiple mount options
  • Wired and wireless options
  • 180º wide field of view
  • Weatherproof design
  • Night vision
  • Two-way audio

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.

9. 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

Kasa Cam Outdoor features

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

What we like

Unlike Nest, Kasa 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 Kasa is relatively generous with its free cloud storage (2 days’ worth of video history).

We also like that the Kasa Cam Outdoor is 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 Essential: Best camera system

If you want a multi-camera pack, Arlo Essential cameras are a good wireless camera choice.

Three-pack of Arlo Essential cameras

Arlo Essential features

  • Connects to either Wi-Fi or the Arlo SmartHub
  • 1080p resolution
  • Night vision
  • Motion detection
  • 12x digital zoom
  • Two-way audio
  • Weatherproof housing
  • Built-in spotlight
  • Wire-free design
  • Night vision

What we like

If you want to implement a whole system of cameras that work well together, the Arlo Essential is a good choice. It’s not super expensive, at $129.99 per camera, so you can buy a few to put around your house without breaking out the big bucks.

You can buy the Arlo Essential camera in packs of one or three cameras. 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

The Arlo Essential doesn’t work with all of Arlo’s base station models. If you already have some Arlo cameras that use a base station (or the Arlo SmartHub), double check that your new Arlo Essential camera will work with your device if you want to take advantage of features like local storage.

That said, the Arlo Essential can connect directly to your Wi-Fi network, so the base station isn’t required.

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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.

Recap

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.
  • Kasa Cam Outdoor: The 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 Essential: If you want a multi-camera system, the Arlo Essential gives you versatile, wireless cameras with excellent features, sold in packs of up to three cameras.

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

FAQ

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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