Best Outdoor Security Cameras

The best outdoor security cameras may depend on your climate.

Best Outdoor Security Cameras Overview

ModelResolutionField of viewOperating temperatureLearn more
Nest Cam IQ1080p HD + 4k color sensor130°–40° to 113°F (–40° to 45°C)See price
Arlo Pro 21080p HD130°32° to 122° F (0° to 50° C)See price
Amcrest 2K 3MP Pro HD Outdoor1296p HD100°IP67 rating (no temp. available)See price
Nest Outdoor Cam1080p HD130°–4° to 104°F (–20° to 40°C)See price
Ring Floodlight Camera1080p HD140°-22°F to 120°F (-30°C to 48.5°C)See price

Have you ever bought something and believed it’s exactly what you want, only to get halfway through setting it up and realize you didn’t think it through? That’s how we felt when we bought our first outdoor security camera. But we’re happy to be the guinea pig here—and we’re excited to share what we’ve learned about the best outdoor security cameras since then (a whole lot).

Outdoor security cameras deter would-be burglars. It’s been proven1. Cameras can act as a first line of defense for protecting your home. That being said, not all outdoor security cameras can weather the storm (sorry, dad joke). Each one comes with few unique features you should consider before deciding which is right for you.

We’ve highlighted what we consider the most important features for an outdoor camera and recommend a few of the stand-out options available.

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Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Security Camera — Best overall

The best outdoor camera available if you’re willing to do some serious installation.

Tech specs

  • Resolution: 1080p HD + 8-megapixel (4k) color sensor
  • FOV: 130°
  • Operating temperature: –40° to 113°F (–40° to 45°C) IP66 rating
  • Power source: Indoor AC outlet
  • Night vision: High-power 850 nm infrared LEDs
  • Dimensions: 5 in. x 3.7 in. x 3.7 in.
  • Weight: 20 oz.

What we like

“Supersight” 4k image sensor + person detection

Nest Cam IQ’s “Supersight” feature really makes it stand out from its competitors. It’s a big reason why we’ve chosen this camera as our top pick. Supersight combines 1080p HD video, High Dynamic Range (HDR), human detection, and an 8-megapixel (4K) image sensor to produce super-clean and detailed footage. The IQ Outdoor can detect and follow human motion and use digital zoom (12x) to track their movements. (Pretty useful for catching bad guys, right?)

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Understanding the tech

A 4K image sensor is not the same thing as 4K video. The Outdoor IQ cannot record 4K video—the image sensor simply allows the IQ to use digital zoom without losing clarity.

Operating temperature range

Technology and weather usually don’t play nice together. But that’s one thing we love about the Nest Cam Outdoor IQ: it has one of the largest operating temperature ranges of any of our recommendations. With an IP66  rating, it passes the weatherproof test. But it also works in temperatures well below freezing (-40°) and almost 20 degrees colder than its closest competitor, Ring Floodlight Cam.

What we don’t like

Difficult installation process

The installation process sucks—and it will either make or break this camera for you. Because the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor relies on AC power and therefore needs to be plugged in, you have to install it within 25 feet of a power outlet. But that’s not all. The power cable itself is not weatherproof and requires an internal power outlet, so you’ll have to drill through an exterior wall, close enough to an internal outlet where the 25-foot cord can reach.

You’ll have to decide whether a difficult and intrusive installation process is worth the killer features the Outdoor IQ offers over its competitors. For us, it’s a toss-up.

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Extra security

The mount allows for the power cable to pass through it into the wall, keeping the exterior cable hidden from view. This makes the Nest Cam Outdoor IQ safer than cameras with exposed wires because a would-be intruder cannot simply cut the cord and disable your camera.

Nest Aware subscription

With Nest cameras already on the pricier side of things, it’s a bummer that most of the better features are attached to a monthly subscription. If you want to unlock your Outdoor IQ’s advanced features, you’ll have to sign up for a Nest Aware subscription, which looks like this:

10-day video history30-day video history
Cost per month$10/mo.$30/mo.
Cost per year$100/yr.$300/yr.

Features included in Nest Aware subscription:

  • Intelligent Alerts: Notifies you when a person is detected.
  • Activity Zones: Allows you to highlight important areas.
  • Timelapse: Lets you quickly review footage.
  • Recorded footage: Stores your footage up to 30 days.

Arlo Pro 2 — Best camera system

An awesome camera system that ditches the power cord, but it comes with a high price tag.

Tech specs

  • Resolution: 1080p HD
  • FOV: 130°
  • Operating temperature: 32° to 122° F (0° to 50° C) IP65 rating
  • Power source: Rechargeable battery or indoor AC power outlet
  • Night vision: 850 nm infrared LEDs (up to 25 feet)
  • Dimensions: 3.1 in. x 1.9 in. x 2.8 in.
  • Weight: 4.8 oz.

What we like

Flexible powering option

Arlo takes wireless security cameras to the next level by tackling the biggest hurdle (in our opinion) that outdoor cameras have had for a long time: being restricted to a power outlet. With the Arlo Pro 2, you can choose to use rechargeable batteries to power your camera, which means you can install it anywhere you like, and you’re not limited by a power cable length.

No wires brings a lot of bonuses like easier installation, protection from tampering, and the ability to install the Arlo Pro 2 in more locations than a standard camera.

The Arlo Pro 2 also comes with an internal outlet power cable, which requires a more invasive installation (like the Nest Cam Outdoor IQ) but also unlocks more features like advanced motion and sound detection. Keep in mind that because the batteries are rechargeable, you will actually have to recharge them at some point, which means there’s the potential for gaps in your video footage when a battery dies or you’re recharging it.

Local backup storage

Because the Arlo Pro 2 uses a central hub to connect cameras together, you have the option of connecting a USB drive to use as local backup storage. You don’t have to rely on the cloud to keep your footage, although it is available if you want it, and Arlo offers seven days of free motion- and sound-triggered recordings.

What we don’t like

High price

The main difference between the Arlo Pro 2 and the rest of the cameras on our list is that it’s meant to function as part of a camera system, not as a standalone camera. This means you have to purchase the Arlo hub along with it (which usually comes with two cameras), which will make a bigger dent in your wallet. The Arlo Pro 2 costs almost twice as much as any other camera on our list, but it does occasionally drop in price on Amazon, so check it out.

Required hub

We mentioned the hub’s impact on Arlo Pro 2’s overall cost, but we want to expand on the hub itself. We get that it’s a camera system, working together in harmony with other Arlo cams and all that, but we’d really like a standalone Arlo Pro 2 that can use the Arlo app as the main hub, similar to Nest or Ring. Having the hub seems unnecessary when competitors simply use a mobile app. The Arlo Pro 2’s expensive, (and arguably unnecessary) hub keeps it from being our overall pick.

Amcrest 2K 3MP ProHD — Best budget pick

Under $100, and with better video quality than any of our top picks, but small FOV gives this camera tunnel vision.

Tech specs

  • Resolution: 1296p HD (2K)
  • FOV: 100°
  • Operating temperature: Unknown (IP67 rating)
  • Power source: 12V AC power
  • Night vision: 98 ft.
  • Dimensions: 6 in. x 2.5 in. x 2.8 in.
  • Weight: 1 lb.

What we like

Better than 1080p + long-range night vision

At 1296p HD resolution (2K), the Amcrest ProHD Outdoor has the highest video quality of any of our recommended pictures. And we’re talking true video quality, not add-on image sensors like the Nest Outdoor IQ.

What that means is that you’ll be able to make out things like facial features and license plate numbers much more easily than you could with a lower resolution, especially in low-light settings. The Amcrest ProHD also has extremely long night vision range, up to 98 feet in the dark, which makes it a great option for keeping an eye on larger properties.

Budget price

Where most of the cameras on our list come in over $200 MSRP, this little guy can almost always be found on Amazon for less than $100, which is a screaming deal for a camera that has such high resolution and killer night vision. It’s by far the most affordable, high-quality camera out there right now.

What we don’t like

Narrow field of view

The whole point of a security camera is to keep an eye on as much as possible. So we’re a little underwhelmed by Amcrest’s limited FOV (100°). Because it’s a fixed camera, which means there’s no range of motion at all, having a limited FOV is kind of like putting horse blinders on your security camera. It’s still great for the area that it covers, but you’ll be able to capture more with any other option on our list.

Nest Cam Outdoor—Best interface

A solid outdoor camera made better by the integration Nest’s ecosystem provides.

Tech specs

  • Resolution: 1080p HD
  • FOV: 130°
  • Operating temperature: –4° to 104°F (–20° to 40°C)
  • Power source: AC power
  • Night vision: 850 nm (8 high-power infrared LEDs)
  • Dimensions: 6.5 in. x 3.8 in. x 6.6 in.
  • Weight: 1.8 lbs.

What we like

Easy setup and installation

Nest is known for its simplicity, and it’s no different with the Nest Cam Outdoor. If you already own a Nest product, simply open the Nest app and scan the QR code included in the box to connect your Nest Cam Outdoor to your system. It’s really that simple.

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Even if this is your first Nest product, camera set-up is a breeze. It will take you more time to download and sign up for a Nest profile (5 mins.) than it will to connect your camera.

Nest Cam Outdoor includes a magnetic mounting bracket that holds the camera in place magnetically and allows you to swivel and adjust it by hand without needing to tighten screws. Unlike the Nest Cam Outdoor IQ, the non-IQ camera has a weatherproof power cord. You just have to be within 25 feet of an outdoor power outlet.

Smooth Nest interface and integration

The Nest app and interface is so easy to use that you can navigate, add devices, and set up notifications within minutes, even if you have zero familiarity with Nest products. Nest includes both in-app instructions and printed guidelines with each product, but it’s honestly so intuitive that you shouldn’t be surprised if you don’t need them.

What we don’t like

Nest Aware

We’re not big fans of hiding features behind a paywall. We get it. It’s a service. But Nest equipment is already on the expensive side, so it’s hard to swallow shelling out a monthly subscription on top of the up-front price. That’s not to say it’s not worth it. Check out what you get with a Nest Aware subscription and decide for yourself:

Without Nest Aware ($0/mo.)

  • Live video
  • Motion/sound notifications (no recording)
  • Two-way audio
  • Night vision

With Nest Aware ($10/mo. or $30/mo.)

  • Live video
  • Motion/sound notifications
  • Two-way audio
  • Night vision
  • Activity Zones
  • Clips
  • Timelapse
  • Alert summaries
  • All-day recording
  • 10- or 30-day video history

Though, with the Nest Cam Outdoor being less expensive than its IQ counterpart, springing for Nest Aware isn’t as much of a strain on your budget. It just depends on what you’re looking for.

Ring Floodlight Cam — Best 2-in-1

Super-cool camera-floodlight combo that will definitely deter burglars, whether with its camera, lights, or giant, unsightly design.

Tech specs

  • Resolution: 1080p HD
  • FOV: 140° (camera), 270° (motion sensors)
  • Operating temperature: -22°F to 120°F (-30°C to 48.5°C)
  • Power source: Hardwired (100–240 V)
  • Night vision: IR night vision with two 3K-lumen LED floodlights
  • Dimensions: 12 in. x 6.5 in. x 9.5 in.
  • Weight: 3 lbs.

What we like

Camera-floodlight combo

Both outdoor lights and security cameras are on the list of biggest deterrents for potential burglars, so why not blend the two? We love the combination. Ring is best known for its video doorbell but this might be our favorite Ring offering yet.

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Bonus points

Ring Floodlight Cam connects to a standard junction box (100–240 V), so you don’t have to do any electrical wizardry to install this as an outdoor light.

The camera portion offers 1080p HD video that you can access via the Ring app, while the floodlights boast two 1500-lumen bulbs with a 270° spread. This power couple ensures that the Floodlight Cam will both capture and shed light on any suspicious activity. If only it had a sweet celebrity couple name.

Advanced controls in Ring app

The Ring mobile app gives you some cool control features for your Floodlight cam. Along with checking a live video feed, you can zoom and pan with the camera, flash the floodlights, and even activate a 110-decibel siren.

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Parent tip

You can also use your mobile device for two-way communication through the Ring Floodlight Cam, so you can scare your daughter’s boyfriend off when you catch him trying to sneak around to the backyard. Thank you, motion detectors.

What we don’t like

Potential eyesore

The Ring Floodlight Cam sticks out like only a giant floodlight can. It’s both a good and bad thing, really. For security purposes, you probably want it to be seen. It just makes it an even better deterrent.

But on the other hand, we’re still a little hesitant to hang it over our garage, It doesn’t exactly have the desired curb appeal. It’s one of those fashion-over-function choices you’ll have to decide for yourself.

No recorded video without subscription

The heading says it all. You’ll have access only to live footage unless you sign up for Ring’s cloud storage (which is relatively cheap, starting at just $3 per month). We think it’s worth the added expense, especially when compared to Nest Aware prices, but it is a bit of a downer knowing you have to pay on top of your up-front cost.

Best outdoor security cameras recap

  • Nest Cam Outdoor IQ is the best overall—if you’re willing to take on the installation.
  • Arlo Pro 2 goes completely wireless but costs a whole lot more than individual cameras.
  • Amcrest ProHD Outdoor 3MP is a fantastic bang-for-your-buck pick, even with limited FOV.
  • Nest Cam Outdoor makes a great alternative to the IQ if you don’t mind exposed wiring.
  • Ring Floodlight Cam has great security-light-and-camera combination potential, even if it does stick out like a sore thumb.

What to look for in an outdoor security camera

Outdoor security cameras have some unique features that you need to consider before purchase. Take a look and see what we believe are the most important considerations.


The better the picture quality, the easier it is to spot bad guys. Seriously though, you want a camera with at least 1080p resolution so you can make out facial features and license plate numbers in greater detail. If you get a camera with subpar video resolution, all you’ll get is a grainy, garbled mess that doesn’t help anyone.

Field of View (FOV)

Field of view is similar to resolution in that the more you have, the better. Putting up a security camera is all about keeping an eye on your property, and a wide FOV gives you more coverage. It’s that simple. Try for a FOV of 110° or more. There may be a few exceptions or tradeoffs, but the general rule is get as wide of an angle as possible.

Operating temperature and weatherproofing

Make sure you take the climate into consideration before buying an outdoor security camera. Not all outdoor cameras are designed for every climate, and you want to make sure you get one that can handle extreme heat or below-freezing temperatures if you live in an area with those types of weather.

On a similar note, make sure to go a step beyond “weatherproofing,” and by that we mean, check the IP rating. We recommend trying to stick to an IP65 or more.

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Did you know?

IP ratings refer to how well a device holds up against solid objects and liquids. Think rain or dust and sand blowing in the wind.

Power source

How is your camera powered? This is pretty simple, but it’s an important distinction to think about ahead of time. Rechargeable batteries make installation more flexible, but those have the potential to lose power at inconvenient times.

Traditional wall-socket AC power will limit your installation options to within close proximity to an outlet. Also, you’ll want to double-check if your power cable is weatherproof or if it requires an indoor outlet (like a Nest Cam Outdoor IQ or Arlo Pro 2 hardwired install). It’s way more difficult to install an outdoor camera that needs an indoor outlet.

Night vision

Most outdoor cameras come with night vision, but depending on the size of your property, you’ll want to double-check how far into the dark can it see and the level of nanometers (nm) used for infrared.

Without getting too much into the science, infrared is just light that has a longer wavelength than visible light, which allows it to reproduce images in low-light settings. A standard sweet spot to shoot for is 850 nm.


How do you access recorded video (if you can at all)? Look to see whether a camera offers cloud storage or local storage using a USB drive or micro SD. Many cameras require a monthly subscription to access recorded footage stored on their cloud services. Decide how much storage you need and how you’d like to access it before you make your decision to buy. (Remember, HD footage takes up more storage space, you’ll probably the maximum your budget allows.)

What about a full-blown professional security system with cameras?

Many professionally monitored home security systems offer security cameras as part of their top-tier plans. Check out our best home security systems review to explore even more security camera solutions available.