Reolink Cameras Review 2021

This up-and-coming camera brand has solutions for almost any need.
  • Reolink E1
    4.75 out of 5 overall
    Three versions
    Indoor only
  • Reolink Lumus
    4.25 out of 5 overall
    Spotlight
    Plug only
  • Reolink Argus Pro
    4.5 out of 5 overall
    Solar compatibility
    Power source not included
  • Reolink Go
    3.75 out of 5 overall
    No internet needed
    Expensive

Reolink makes a diverse home security camera selection, with different models to meet different needs.

Reolink’s products don’t have all of the latest and greatest features, but they have a lot of cool stuff, like starlight night vision and solar compatibility. And best of all, most Reolink cameras fall around or under the $100 price point.

How Reolink cameras work

Here’s what Reolink has to offer.

One of our favorite things about Reolink is that each model type and version has progressively more features. That makes it easy to know what you’re getting with a new Reolink camera: it’s like the older version of the same model, but better. Not all camera manufacturers make things that simple.

At the same time, Reolink has been slow to roll out certain features. While Nest has facial recognition and package detection, only some Reolink cameras can identify people or vehicles.

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Reolink vs. Arlo
Reolink’s devices are viable competitors to Arlo cameras. They have similar exterior designs and features, but unlike Arlo, Reolink doesn’t charge the better part of a stimulus check for most of its products.

Reolink cameras are standalone devices

You don’t need a security system to use Reolink’s cameras. Each camera works independently through the Reolink app.

Reolink cameras use practically every type of storage on the market

The baseline for Reolink cameras is an SD card or cloud storage subscription. But some cameras also work with NVRs and FTP servers.

If you choose to use a cloud subscription plan, you’ll pay a modest monthly fee (or a discounted annual one) based on your number of cameras.

Reolink subscription plans
Reolink app planLimitCamerasPrice monthlyLearn more
Basic Plan7 days and 1GB1$0.00/mo.View Plan
Standard Plan30 days and 30 GBUp to 5$4.99/mo.View Plan
Premier Plan30 days and 80 GBUp to 10$9.99/mo.View Plan
Business Plan60 days and 150 GBUp to 20$14.99/mo.View Plan

Data effective 06/16/2021. Offers subject to change.

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Reolink standards
There’s a ton of variety with Reolink. For instance, installation is different with every Reolink camera model. Some require plugs, while others take rechargeable batteries or solar panels. Others call for wall-fished ethernet cables.

The big similarity between every camera? They all work with the Reolink app.

Reolink cameras use event-based recording

Unless you use the NVR storage option (which is only available for select models), your camera recordings will be motion-triggered.

PoE model features

Reolink has a ton of old-fashioned-type security cameras.

Most of Reolink’s cameras are PoE (Power over Ethernet) setups that work with CCTV or NVR systems. We counted 20+ of these Reolink PoE products (such as the RLC-510A and RLK8-520D4), making it impossible to speak about each one individually.

RLC-410-5MP-01

There’s a lot of variation among these cameras, so not all have the same features. But you might see some of the following:

  • 4K/5MP video quality
  • Person detection
  • Vehicle detection
  • 100 feet of night vision
  • Time-lapse videos
  • Playback filters
  • Audio recording
  • IP66 waterproofing
  • Pan/tilt
  • Zoom

Reolink also has PoE IP cameras that it calls “add-ons.” These are cameras that need CCTV or NVR but don’t come with those devices. You have to buy the add-on cameras separately to add them to an existing Reolink surveillance system.

E1 model features

E1 is a decent indoor camera line.

Reolink E1 is an affordable indoor camera with pan and tilt. And its successors, while more expensive, are still under $100.

Reolink E1 features comparison
ModelPriceResolutionZoomLearn more
Reolink E1$39.993MP

No
View Cameras
Reolink E1 Pro$49.994MP (2K)

No
View Cameras
Reolink E1 Zoom$64.995MP

Yes
View Cameras

Data effective 06/16/2021. Offers subject to change.

Reolink E1

All E1 cameras have two-way audio, night vision, motion detection, the ability to pan/tilt, and a siren. They also all work with Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

While the E1 line lacks some of the fanciest indoor features (read: the environmental sensors or video call capabilities offered with other cameras), it’s not too pricey and gets the job done.

Like many indoor cameras, E1s are plug-ins. They don’t require fancy wiring to work.

Lumus features

Reolink Lumus was made for the dark.

Based on the name and features, the Lumus appears to fill in where E1 leaves off. You can use it outdoors, and it offers a spotlight and color night vision to make it easier to use in the dark.

Reolink Lumus features
ModelPriceResolutionLearn more
Reolink Lumus$49.991080pView Cameras

Data effective 06/16/2021. Offers subject to change.

Reolink Lumus

Like an E1, the Lumus has two-way audio and a siren, and it works with both Alexa and Google. Unlike an E1, it can’t pan, tilt, or zoom. Also, its motion detection is more advanced, with a PIR sensor and customizable motion zones.

Even though it’s an outdoor camera, the Reolink Lumus requires a plug. That means you need to run its cord inside or install the camera near an outside power outlet.

Argus model features

The Reolink Argus cameras stand out for their night vision and solar strategies.

The Greek giant Argus saw all with his hundred eyes, and the Reolink Argus line does its darndest to live up to that legacy. With 33 feet of starlight or infrared night vision, it goes a step farther than the Lumus’s color night vision. It’s also easier to keep the Argus powered with its hybrid rechargeable battery/solar power approach.

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What’s starlight night vision?
It sounds cool, and it is cool. Reolink’s starlight night vision tech lets you see more clearly in little to no light—for instance, when there’s only starlight. We tested it, and we thought it was phenomenal.¹
Reolink Argus features comparison
ModelPriceResolutionView angleLearn more
Reolink Argus Pro$84.991080p130°View Cameras
Reolink Argus PT$139.991080p355° horizontally and 140° verticallyView Cameras
Reolink Argus Eco$69.991080p100°View Cameras
Reolink Argus 2$94.991080p130°View Cameras
Reolink Argus 2E$84.991080p120°View Cameras
Reolink Argus 3$109.991080p120°View Cameras

Data effective 06/16/2021. Offers subject to change.

The differences between each Argus camera is a lot more subtle than with the E1s, and in some cases, it seems like the big difference is just exterior design. But we’ve also established some more quantifiable upgrades:

Argus Pro
  • The “PT” in Argus PT stands for “pan and tilt,” which is something other Argus cameras can’t do.
  • The Argus Eco uses infrared LED night vision instead of starlight night vision.
  • The Argus 3 battery isn’t removable like it is in the 2. You have to take the whole camera down to mount it.
  • The Argus 3 has a motion-sensitive spotlight.
  • The Argus 2E and 3 have a time-lapse video feature.
All Argus cameras are compatible with both Google and Alexa.

There’s a lot to like with this camera line. Our only real complaint is that you have to buy Argus camera solar panels and charging cords separately.

Go model features

The Reolink Go works without Wi-Fi.

The Reolink Go is ideal for more rural areas. Instead of relying on an internet connection, it uses cellular signals to communicate with the app.

Functionwise, the Go models are basically glorified cell phones, so you need SIM cards and compatible mobile plans to make them work. The regular Go uses 4G LTE networks, while the Go PT can also use 3G.

Reolink Argus features comparison
ModelPriceResolutionView angleLearn more
Reolink Go$239.991080p110°View Cameras
Reolink Go PT$269.991080p355° horizontally and 140° verticallyView Cameras

Data effective 06/16/2021. Offers subject to change.

Unlike the original Go, the Go PT has two-way audio.

As you can see, the biggest difference between the Go and Go PT is the pan and tilt function.

Both cameras also have two-way audio. You can both listen to and talk to intruders in real time.

Reolink Go

Also, the Go PT works with a Reolink drive, not just an SD card or cloud subscription.

It’s unclear whether the Go works with any smart home protocols. So even though you’re paying (a lot) more, you may overall be getting less compatibility.

How to install Reolink cameras

Not surprisingly, every camera is different.

As we mentioned earlier, it’s hard to have a one-size-fits-all approach to Reolink, especially with installation. The different camera models have vastly different installation needs.

We’ve set up some wire-free Argus ones, and we found them super easy to deal with. But the more cords you add, the more difficult it gets. With a PoE camera, we suggest getting a professional involved.

Recap: Are Reolink cameras good?

We think Reolink cameras have a lot to offer.

If you’re looking for a security camera, chances are Reolink has something you’ll like.

Let’s quickly refresh on the different types of Reolink cameras.

PoE models: Harness the power of hardwired cameras with CCTV systems and NVR players.

E1 models: E1s are affordable indoor cameras with sirens to boot.

Lumus model: Let there be light with Lumus’s color night vision and spotlight.

Argus models: Solar capabilities and starlight night vision make these cameras unique.

Go model: If your Wi-Fi isn’t up to snuff, the Go has you covered.

If Reolink doesn’t dazzle you, we suggest checking out Arlo, Vivint, or SimpliSafe cameras instead. You can also look at our reviews of indoor and outdoor security cameras.

Is your house ready for Reolink cameras?

All Reolink cameras require either an internet or cellular connection. Here are some recommendations for potential plans you could use.

Any Wi-Fi internet plan should work with Reolink, but if you’re using a Go camera, make sure the phone plan is compatible with the camera before committing to a contract.

Recommended internet plans

Cameras can take up a lot of bandwidth, so generally, the higher the download speed, the better off you are.

Recommended internet plans for Reolink 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 FiberAT&T Internet 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.
Ltd. avail/areas for 12 mos, plus taxes & equip. fee. Autopay & Paperless Bill req'd. $10/mo equip. fee applies

Recommended mobile plans

Again, not all mobile plans work with Reolink Go, but these high-data plans illustrate what you might look for to get ideal camera connectivity.

Reolink FAQ

What’s the benefit of a PoE camera?

“Power over Ethernet” means that the camera needs only one cable connecting it to both the internet and its power source.

The major benefit of PoE cameras is that you don’t need extra wiring. But the downfall is that if the single cable is somehow damaged or destroyed, both your power and connectivity can go out.

Are Reolink cameras IP cameras?

Yes. Reolink cameras can use wireless networks (internet protocol) to save and share video. But they also use local storage, making them some of the most versatile cameras on the market.

Why should I get a security camera system?

Being able to see your property when you’re not there can make you feel safer! It can keep you safer, too, since you’ll know of any suspicious activity as it happens.

Sources

  1. Flora Luo, Reolink, “Starlight Cameras: What It Is, How it Works, Videos, Best Picks & More,” July 2020. Accessed January 20, 2021.