Home security cameras are a quick, easy, and cost-effective way to monitor what’s going on at home while you’re away, and over the last few years an increasing number of players have entered the space, offering a greater selection for consumers. Not all cameras are created equal, so we’re breaking down the best home security cameras of 2018 by focusing on the following criteria:
- Cost and affordability
- Video and picture quality (both day and night)
- Ease of installation and usability
- Types of video storage options
- Remote control and app capabilities
- Size, design, and overall aesthetics
If you’re looking for the all-around standalone camera for home security, then Piper is your best bet. If you’re looking for something slightly different, read on and we’ll cover the pros and cons of each camera.
#1 – Piper NV
Best indoor home security camera
The Piper NV is our top recommended home security camera. It beats out other competing cameras because it offers an all-encompassing DIY home security system with sensors and room to grow in home automation.
While most security cameras only record video footage and alert you when they detect motion, the Piper NV has a built-in siren and not only sends push notifications but actually calls you if something happens. It also allows you to add door or window sensors for a more comprehensive security setup. Tack on its high-level technical specs and free cloud storage, and you can understand why Piper is number one.
What sets Piper apart
The Piper NV looks very similar to the Piper Classic, but there’s more behind the shell that makes the Piper NV worth the extra cost.
- Built-in temperature, humidity, light, and sound sensors
- Custom security modes to set different preferences for “Home,” “Away,” or “Vacation”
- Remote access for arm/disarm and live footage functions
- Improved Series 500 Z-Wave Controller with larger range, faster data rate, and more on-chip memory than the Piper Classic Series 300 Z-Wave Controller
#2 – Canary
Runner-up for best indoor security camera
Canary is another top contender. It has some features that are better than Piper, like the ability to swap to privacy mode and a better historical video experience. You can also turn Canary on or off remotely using the mobile app, while you must turn Piper off manually. In split tests, Canary is better than Piper, Netatmo, and Dropcam in video and audio quality, but Piper edges it out for the #1 spot with added sensors and the built-in 500 Z-Wave Controller, which make Piper a more robust and well-rounded security solution.
We love Canary’s range of sensors and the fact that the camera captures everything within one of the wider fields of view at a crisp 1080p. As another one of the few quality security cameras out there to have a built-in siren, it’s only appropriate that Canary gets a top spot for including extra security features.
Unlike Piper, Canary requires a separate subscription for cloud storage. Canary provides limited storage up to 12 hours for free. It then offers 2-day, 7-day, and 30-day options, ranging from $4.99 per month to $29.99 per month. See our Canary cloud storage plans review for more info.
What sets Canary apart
- Compatibility with Wink smart home devices
- Plug-and-forget device to arm and disarm system based on your mobile phone’s location
- Temperature, humidity, and air quality detection
- Manual setting options to decrease false alarms, especially if you have pets
Read our full Canary review
#3 – Netatmo Welcome
Best minimal design indoor camera
The Netatmo Welcome was neck and neck with #4 Remocam but edged ahead for several reasons. The Netatmo Welcome’s facial recognition technology, door and window sensor options, and better camera resolution pushed it to the #3 spot. As an added bonus, the camera only records activity in the home whenever something happens. This approach appeals to buyers who want to look back at their video surveillance without hours of empty footage.
What really puts this camera near the top of the list is the facial recognition technology, which potentially cuts down on the number of false alerts you receive. With this feature, you can identify and name people who frequently visit your home. Whenever someone shows up on the camera, Netatmo sends you a notification either identifying the person by name or alerting you to an unknown face. You can disable camera alerts for specific people.
Like the Remocam, the Welcome has an SD card slot for local storage, but it also allows you to link to Dropbox to get additional cloud storage for free.
Our biggest complaint about the camera is the resolution. Netatmo claims 1080p, but that claim is questionable.
What sets Netatmo apart
- Sleek aluminum shell and minimalist cylindrical design
- Facial recognition technology that alerts users to unfamiliar faces
- Door/window sensors called “tags”
- Syncing with other devices like smoke detector, carbon monoxide monitor, or other home security alarm
#4 – Remocam
Best camera with infrared technology
The Remocam offers features similar to what you see with the Netatmo, like the SD card for local storage. It also has a built-in siren, similar to Piper and Canary.
Although you have to arm and disarm the system manually, the motion sensor operates differently from other competing indoor cameras. You can either monitor an entire room or set up a zone within a particular area you want to monitor.
Remocam’s monthly cloud service subscriptions are slightly more affordable than other cloud storage plans, ranging from $3.99 per month to $27.99 per month. Remocam has customer-friendly policies that allow you to cancel your plan at any time without having to pay any cancellation fees.
Best of all, the Remocam is built to exchange infrared signals with other existing home devices, allowing you to control other IR household items like your TV or lighting from a mobile device. Unique features like these make Remocam a good option for home security, even with its slightly lower resolution.
What sets Remocam apart
The Remocam isn’t exactly up to par with the sleeker, cylindrical, incognito-type cameras that we ranked higher, but it still has a very simple, modern design that covers more area than even the Piper.
- Spherical design with 335-degree pan and a 95-degree tilt
- Infrared illumination to distinguish night from day
- Two-way voice
- 256-bit AES encryption, the same standard of security that banks follow
#5 – CleverLoop
Best camera for pets & best camera with free storage
The CleverLoop system is our top recommended indoor security camera for pet owners. You’re less likely to deal with false alarms from a pet trigger with the built-in rapid-learning motion detection. With time, it learns to send major events to the cloud while sending less-significant video clips to local storage. The various forms of learning technology keep CleverLoop in our top five in spite of its less-than-crisp video resolution.
We also appreciate the camera’s control in terms of the scheduling and geo-fencing. With geo-fencing, CleverLoop automatically arms or disarms your home as soon as connected phones move out of range.
CleverLoop provides up to seven days of rolling cloud storage for free. It also offers the option to store footage in an 8GB SD card included with the Base Station or to plug an external hard drive into the Base Station for more extensive storage.
In terms of the buying experience, we love that owners get a choice in bundles and can mix and match between indoor and outdoor cameras. These are some of the available bundles:
- Recommended: 4 indoor cameras + 1 Base Station = about $480 on Amazon
- 2 indoor camera + 2 outdoor camera = about $490 on Amazon
What sets CleverLoop apart
The CleverLoop indoor camera design isn’t exactly subtle. It’s not a camera that will go unseen by a home intruder, but outside of aesthetics, it has a lot of features that make it worth the buy.
- Learning system that sorts events to local or cloud storage
- Geo-fencing to arm home automatically
- Rapid-learning motion detection to reduce false alarms
#6 – FLIR FX
Best video recap technology
Based on the price compared to what you actually get, the FLIR FX can’t compete with our top-ranked cameras. It does have a few unique features, however. One of the camera’s biggest selling points is the RapidRecap feature, which compiles hours of video footage and creates a short video summary for you. We also love that you can set up SmartZones to ensure it only monitors specific areas in your home.
The FLIR FX includes basic cloud storage for free. This basic plan stores three RapidRecap videos each month and 48 hours of event storage. You also have the option to purchase an unlimited cloud storage plan for $14.99 per month.
This camera is small, simple, and portable. If you want to get versatile, try some of the mounts and use your FLIR FX indoor camera for outdoor sports or driving around.
What sets FLIR FX apart
- Portability for indoor or outdoor use
- Night vision up to 33 feet away
- RapidRecap technology
- SmartZones to monitor specific areas
- Humidity and temperature alerts
#7 – Arlo
Best weatherproof wireless camera
If you follow our site closely, you’ll recall that we got some hands-on experience with Arlo when we visited the Arlo booth at ISC West in 2016. This weatherproof camera is battery powered, making it truly wireless for indoor or outdoor placement. Users say it works better inside than it does outside, but it’s nice to have both options.
You can get a couple of great video surveillance features with Arlo. For example, you can tune in live at any time, but it cuts out the fluff to start recording only whenever it detects motion. The Arlo app is easy to operate, and you can set up various settings to customize it for your monitoring needs.
Unfortunately, Arlo also has some areas that lack in comparison to competing security cameras.The camera allows you to zoom, but you won’t find any pan/tilt or audio capabilities.
Cloud storage for your video recordings comes free for the first seven days, and even though it can’t stream continuously, it does capture event footage for up to five cameras. After than, you can opt into Arlos’s cloud storage plans to add more cameras or keep the footage for a longer time.
Arlo’s camera is durable enough to withstand various weather patterns and because it’s truly wireless, you can place it in any location outside of your home to get a good view of an entrance (like a nearby tree), not just above the entrance itself. With the potential to support up to 15 cameras, the Arlo cameras seem small and simple but pack a serious punch for surveying every inch of the inside and even the outside of any home.
What sets Arlo apart
- Simple, small, and completely cordless design
- Highly weatherproof for indoor or outdoor use
- Easy installation: Check out the 10-second “Arlo mounting” clip below:
#8 – Nest Cam
Best security camera from a trusted brand
Nest Cam is the replacement for the Dropcam Pro. The camera is a popular option and easy to use but misses the mark when it comes to the functional quality we expect in a DIY home security solution.
Nest handles cloud storage slightly differently from other companies. Their subscription program, Nest Aware, not only provides additional cloud storage, but it also opens access to other features, like person alerts or customized “activity zones.” You begin with a 30-day free trial with 10 days of video history when you subscribe. After 30 days, the plan starts at $10 per month.
A couple of great features about the Nest Cam make it a solid choice. It displays everything through the clearest quality resolution we’ve encountered on a security camera. We also love that you can revisit historical video footage through Nest Aware and control what you want to see, whether it be past events, the last 30 seconds, or the next event overall.
However, while the Nest Cam has impressive features, it was disappointing to find that it had delays on some of its notifications and other functions. Keep in mind that the Nest Cam is still investing into improving their camera, so it’s certainly worth consideration, especially if you already own several other Nest products like the Nest Protect or Nest Learning Thermostat.
What sets Nest apart
- Resolution adjustments to 1080p, 720p, or 360p
- Arm/disarm scheduling
- Push notifications, two-way voice, and live streaming, but with some lag
- “Activity zones” that detect motion in set areas
Read our full Nest Cam review
#9 – iCamPRO FHD
Best security camera robot
The iCamPRO FHD is a home security robot that’s part of the Amaryllo family. Yes, we said robot. Going beyond just motion detection, this handy camera tracks and follows the object in motion with a full 360° pan range. If you pair it with the iCamPRO FHD deluxe mount, you can screw the camera robot into a standard lightbulb socket to monitor completely wirelessly.
Amaryllo offers a free basic plan to access the last 24 hours of video, or you can store footage on an SD card. You can also opt into their Gold or Platinum cloud storage plans, starting at $9.99 per month.
As you can see from our video review and test scenario, while it is technically the first security camera robot with motion detection and tracking capabilities, it’s still going to need more work to get the tracking 100% accurate. Even where it’s at now, it’s still an effective and impressive indoor camera deserving serious recognition.
What sets iCamPRO apart
- Tracking and following capabilities
- Speech and greeting features
- 10-second video alerts for quick review
#10 – iCamera Keep
Best security camera independent from a parent security system
The iCamera KEEP works best when matched with an iSmartAlarm system, but it can work alone and connect with up to four additional cameras. While we already rate the iSmartAlarm highly as a professional home security system, we’re pretty impressed to see that the iCamera KEEP HD camera can also stand alone without the full system.
Once motion or sound triggers the iCamera KEEP, it records 10 seconds of footage and sends you an alert. If the movement continues without anyone disarming the system, it will continue to record for an additional ten seconds. In total, iSmartAlarm saves up to five minutes of free cloud storage to review at any time.
We hope to see improvement from iSmartAlarm’s iCamera KEEP’s encryption. Almost all other cameras have bank-level encryption, and we’d like to see iCamera KEEP HD have the same in a future updated version.
What sets iCamera Keep apart
- Onscreen photo button that saves images from clips to your phone’s gallery
- Functionality as standalone camera or as part of iSmartAlarm system
Which camera is right for you?
The ever-increasing selection of home security cameras available on the market means that there’s a camera to meet every customer’s needs. As you make your choice, consider what’s most important to you, whether it’s home automation compatibility, image quality, or price. Use our recommendations to help you keep your home safe.