Complete 2018 Outdoor Security Camera Guide

Security, it is best implemented in layers. From web security to prisons and military bases everything revolves around layers. Much like an onion, each layer makes the collective defensive impact exponentially more effective.

When it come to home security the outer most layer begins with the perimeter of your property as this is the furthest you can extend your defenses without stepping on other people’s toes. The principals of solid property security detailed in this guide apply to both residential and commercial property.

Obviously you cannot install surveillance or motion detection equipment on surrounding public land or private property, as much as you’d like to try!

So, working backwards from your property perimeter we will go over the best tactics and tools needed for implementing an effective, layered, early-detection security system for your home.

How To Secure Your Home Perimeter

home security guide

If you don’t know where property lines begin or end you’ll need to find that out before proceeding with strategizing an effective perimeter home security system.

If the agent or seller you purchases your property from does not have copies of your exact property lines they can also be obtained from your local municipality as they are all stored for legal reasons.

It is important to know your own borders so you don’t accidentally over-extend your security network or even worse, miss some critical area if land you were unaware existed.

For most home owners though your property will be small enough to easily manually survey yourself.

With a notebook and pencil, sketch out your property lines, your house, and commonly used points of access like walkways, sidewalks and driveways.

These will be your routes of ingress and egress and will have to be secured with semi-permanent systems as opposed to other areas which can be secured by fixed structures/systems like fences and walls.

Once you have everything sketched out on paper you can go about actually developing, purchasing, implementing and testing (don’t forget to always test!) your complete layered home and property security system.

Step 1: Secure Your Borders

Survey your property borders. If there are no natural obstacles like bodies of water, cliffs or impenetrable undergrowth you will need to erect your own wall.

Walls can range from simple wooden fences (the least secure) to tall brick/stone walls, which are the preferred medium as they can be build much taller and much stronger than typical wooden fences.

property security system

Plans for building your own wooden fence can be found online or at your local hardware store. Doing this work yourself is smart as it is not overly technical and you can save a lot of money that you can then later spend on electronic security equipment.

Stone and brick walls on the other hand require more expertise than wooden or metal mesh fences and thus are best contracted out to skilled laborers.

*It is prudent to hire a local company to do this work as you don’t have to worry about details of your property being shared with 3rd parties.

It also isn’t a bad idea to have all construction workers and builders sign a non-disclosure agreement so they are legally prohibited from sharing sensitive security information about your property.

Most people stop with just a wall. While this is better than nothing it is far from optimal. In complete darkness there is nothing to stop a potential intruder from scaling your fence or wall as it is just one easily overcome obstacle.

There are however ways to make it much harder for an intruder to breach your security perimeter unnoticed.

Step 2: Rig Your Border With Motion Activated Systems

One of the biggest weaknesses of walls is that under the cover of night an intruder has almost unlimited time to devise a strategy to scale and overcome your border security.

Installing motion-sensing lights along your wall is one effective way to both scare off intruders and limit more determined intruders time to breach. Putting pressure on potential intruders is key in gaining the upper hand in securing your property.

While you could run an electrical line all around your perimeter and install traditional electrical motion sensing lights we instead recommend using solar powered light units.

Outdoor Motion Sensor Security Lights

There are a wide variety of solar powered motion sensing lights that can be had at VERY affordable prices. In fact, the average per-unit cost for solar powered lights is so cheap today that you can easily secure miles-long perimeters without breaking the bank.

The benefits of solar outdoor motion lights are numerous:

  • Much cheaper than running electrical lines underground
  • Compartmentalized security: as opposed to cutting one electrical line, each unit operates independently, making mass deactivation difficult
  • Long lifespans. With solar panels and high efficiency LEDs some lights go decades without needing maintenance.
  • Easily replaceable: because of their cheap cost broken/damaged units can regularly be replaced
  • Weather-proof: unlike electric lights, these self-contained, sealed units are impervious to all weather conditions
  • Flexible: Being wireless you can position these at your most critical security points for maximum protection

We particularly like wall mounted lights so you can mount them up high with a ladder during the day which makes them harder to tamper with and allows them to illuminate more ground than ground-based lighting systems.

The two most customizable, most effective, best bang-for-your-buck units available online are:

InnoGear Solar Lights

These are some of our favorite solar power motion sensing wall lights. There are a lot of different shapes and styles but we like the InnoGear 77 LED lightning system because they are long and narrow, so they can be mounted discreetly.

InnoGear Upgraded Solar Lights 2-in-1 Waterproof Outdoor Landscape Lighting Spotlight Wall Light Auto On/Off for Yard Garden Driveway Pathway Pool,...
603 Reviews
InnoGear Upgraded Solar Lights 2-in-1 Waterproof Outdoor Landscape Lighting Spotlight Wall Light Auto On/Off for Yard Garden Driveway Pathway Pool,...
  • Upgraded frosted solar panel, no protective film needed. IP65 waterproof, heatproof and super bright-200 lumen output, 4 x 50 lumen enhanced LED
  • 2-in-1 Tool-free Installation - Stick into the ground / Use included screws to mount on the wall.
  • Auto on at night / Auto off at sunrise; 2 Level Brightness working modes; Longer Working Time with built-in 18650 lithium rechargeable battery (2200mAh)
  • Adjustable Light and Solar Panel - Full range adjustable light angle to illuminate perfect spot and adjustable solar panel angel for optimum sun exposure
  • Note: Please make sure to turn on the switch before use. The spotlight is light sensitive and won't light up in bright place. To turn on the light in the daytime, please fully cover the solar panel and make sure there is no light source or sunshine detected.

The 77’s also come with 77 individual LEDs built into each unit, which produce a LARGE amount of bright light per unit, so you theoretically need fewer units than when buying smaller packages.

Mr. Beams MB360XT Wireless Spotlights

While the InnoGear lights provide wide, broad illuminating power, the MB360XT’s are spotlight units, meaning they can be positioned to focus on a specific place and shine a particularly intense (200 lumen) LED spotlight.

Mr. Beams MB360XT Wireless Battery-Operated Outdoor Motion-Sensor-Activated 200 Lumen LED Spotlight, Brown, 2-Pack
545 Reviews
Mr. Beams MB360XT Wireless Battery-Operated Outdoor Motion-Sensor-Activated 200 Lumen LED Spotlight, Brown, 2-Pack
  • Bold, durable, weatherproof design allows it can be installed almost anywhere including garages, doorways, decks, porches, sheds, fences and trees
  • Motion activation, auto shut off and a light sensor help to prolong battery life
  • Two-pack Brown mb360xt spotlights. Screws included
  • Install the wireless, battery-powered light in 5 minutes - no electrician needed
  • This next generation battery LED spotlight provides 200 lumens of bright outdoor security lighting

These are more spotlight style motion lights compared to the fixed position LED units mentioned above.

With full 360 degree swiveling capabilities these are great for positioning around particularly sensitive areas of ingress like driveway entrances or by doorways.

Speaking of driveways, now that we have our perimeter secured we can focus to the points of entry and exit that need more adaptive technologies to secure.

Step 3: Securing Entrances With Driveway Alarms

After first securing the borders of your property with fixed obstacles you then must turn your focus to the holes in your walls, mainly your driveway.

The driveway will be the first place a potential intruder will breach with force. Given the need for fast get aways, especially for properties where escape on foot is not practical, securing the driveway will be the single most important task for any home owner who values complete privacy.

The most secure form of security is a retractable fence system, preferably made of high tensile metal, complete with an intercom system, so that all visitors can be screen and are required to manually be allowed to enter.

If you aren’t securing your driveway with a fence the next best thing will be to put up motion activated sensors that can subtly notify you when someone enters your driveway.

Best Wireless Driveway Sensors

When it comes to outdoor motion sensing driveway alarms reputation matters because if you skimp on quality and have a defective unit you open yourself up to being completely surprised.

Within the consumer-grade motion detecting alarm space there are two giants of alarm manufacturers.

Chamberlain Alarms

Chamberlain has been in the alarm game for decades and have really dialed in their technology. Their units are small, weatherproof,  have solid battery life and transmit alarms up to 1/2 mile away.

Chamberlain CWPIR Weatherproof Outdoor and Alert System Add-On Sensor, Includes 1 Sensor
1,309 Reviews
Chamberlain CWPIR Weatherproof Outdoor and Alert System Add-On Sensor, Includes 1 Sensor
  • Additional PIR sensor works with Chamberlain CWA2000 base receiver (Sold Separately)
  • Weatherproof outdoor sensor with adjustable sensitivity control
  • Detects motion up to 30 feet away with wide 120-degree angle coverage
  • Transmits signal to base station (Chamberlain CWA2000) up to a half-mile away in ideal situations
  • Easy Installation / easy operation. 2 year battery life. Includes mounting bracket

Each Chamberlain unit can detect motion up to 30ft away and have customizable sensitivity settings which you can modulate if you are getting too many false negatives.

You can combine up to 4 sensors to connect to one alarm, so you can monitor multiple points of entry if you wish.

We also like that the motion sensor housing is protected by a little pill-box style slot. This keeps the sensor itself from getting damaged by brush or debris.

At just under $50, with a 1-year warranty these are also some of the more affordable driveway motion-activated alarm systems on the market.

Guardline Alarms

Guardline wireless driveway alarms are the best selling consumer-grade alarm systems on the market. They have proven themselves to be extremely durable, simple to install and come with a full 2-year warranty.

Guardline Wireless Driveway Alarm- Top Rated Outdoor Weatherproof Motion Sensor & Detector- Best DIY Security Alert System- Stay Safe & Protect Home,...
1,719 Reviews
Guardline Wireless Driveway Alarm- Top Rated Outdoor Weatherproof Motion Sensor & Detector- Best DIY Security Alert System- Stay Safe & Protect Home,...
  • EXTREMELY DEPENDABLE - Two years of testing went into developing a reliable motion detector that will dependably alert you to motion around your property. Tested through thick forestry, hail storms, gusty winds, heavy rains, scorching heat, and snow. False alarms are minimized due to an adjustable detection width option for the sensor "eye" and a swivel mount to focus the detection angle of the sensor.
  • SUPER EASY TO INSTALL- Quick Start Guide has you operational in minutes! Set includes one sensor & one receiver. Expandable up to 16 sensors and unlimited receivers for complete coverage of your perimeter. Over 30 fun & unique chimes to choose from. Match different chimes with different sensors around your property to differentiate where motion is being detected. Detects movement from humans, cars, and large animals.
  • REALISTIC RANGE- 500 ft long range has been tested in real world settings with trees, buildings, walls, and vehicles in order to make true and realistic wireless range claims (please note: extra heavy interference such as thick walls, metal siding, tall hills, and many trees will diminish the wireless range. The 1/4 mile long range Guardline driveway alarm model is available for longer range and heavy interference installations).
  • BUILT TO LAST- Outdoor sensor is made with industrial grade PVC housing, rubberized weather resistant seal, and a sunshade. Wireless sensor can be installed anywhere and runs on (4) AA batteries for up to one year. Receiver is packed with features including LOUD & adjustable volume, battery backup, and a 12-volt relay to add wired external alarms.
  • AWESOME SUPPORT- Guardline Security is a Seattle-based small business that has been manufacturing security products since 1999. We are local guys who are driveway alarm geeks and we're obsessed with building reliable, quality products. We offer friendly and knowledgeable USA based tech support that will help you both before and after your purchase. Two Year Manufacturer's Warranty

Guarline units are generally a little more customizable than their Chamberlain counterparts. They come with 30 different alarm sounds, and can expand up to 16 sensors for one alarm unit, compared to the 4 unit max for the Chamberlain system.

The motion sensing units themselves also ship in nice covert olive green and army brown colors which help them blend in with natural surrounding well for reliable, discreet driveway monitoring.

We also like they put their face to their products on their Amazon page so you can see the people behind the Seattle-based brand.

Now that we’ve covered perimeter security and motion detection it’s time to tackle actual surveillance equipment.

While border security and motion detection are designed to alert you to an intruder, cameras and microphones will allow you to get a better picture of what type of intruder it is so you can better prepare an action plan.

Step 4: Outdoor Wireless Cameras

Installing cameras around your property both allow for early threat detection when mounted discreetly along a fence or wall or even camouflaged amongst trees or natural foliage.

You can also use higher definition cameras with microphone and keypad functions integrated to install near your front door or entrance to your driveway. These types of cameras are not meant to be hidden but instead are assist the property owner to confirm identities of visitors.

The type of outdoor camera depends on the intended function of the camera. We break down the best wireless models based on whether they are designed for discreet surveillance or if they are designed for identification and communication.

Best Weatherproof Wireless Surveillance Cameras of 2018

These cameras are designed to survey property, whether there is motion/intrusion or not and are primarily designed to be hidden or installed in low-profile fashion that conceals their presence.

Some key traits that all wireless surveillance systems have include the following:

  • Small, modular units that are DIY-friendly and compact
  • Part of a scalable system, so you can incorporate multiple units to cover large properties
  • Discreet design, for subtle placement concealing their location to potential intruders
  • Durable and all-weather friendly
  • Sync with a centralized software system to an entire property can be monitored from one single command center
  • Affordability is important as surveillance requires covering broad areas, meaning a single property owner may need dozens of cameras

So, with that in mind, below are some of the most popular, best selling brands that can all be found highly reviewed and purchasable on popular e-commerce sites like Amazon.com.

Best Outdoor Security Cam of 2018: Dericam PTZ

The Dericam Wireless Outdoor IP camera is professional-grade surveillance equipment at consumer prices. These are top of the line designs that are currently being used internationally by high net worth individuals and corporations alike to secure their properties.

Sale
Outdoor WiFi Security Camera, HD 960P ,PTZ Camera, 4x Optical Zoom, Auto-focus, Night Vision, IP65 Weatherproof (No Memory Card)
66 Reviews
Outdoor WiFi Security Camera, HD 960P ,PTZ Camera, 4x Optical Zoom, Auto-focus, Night Vision, IP65 Weatherproof (No Memory Card)
  • 2018 New Updated Version: Dericam Wireless Outdoor IP camera with 960P solution at 25 fps ,4X optical Zoom lens, Support 2.4G wifi with powerful 5db Antenna included .
  • Mini PTZ camera with 4x Optical Zoom :Dericam Wireless Outdoor PTZ camera is with size 8.41*9.25 inch and 4X optical zoom ,The Zoom feature allow you to get closer and cleaner to your target , You could set up outside ,front door , warehouse to monitor your Car , belongs etc .
  • Complete 360° Coverage : Dericam WiFi Camera support 355° Horizontal Pan and 90° Vertical Tilt rotation range,you will not miss any movement . Camera is with 5ft cable ,Easy for you to go through wall when installation.
  • Free Secure Personal Data Supports: Supports Remotely Recording and Playback by a Installed Micro SD card (not included, supports up to 128GB Space). You could follow the instruction to install the SD card by your Own .Available to Set Up a FTP Web Server or NAS to Store Snapshots and Video Recordings, or Email Alerts as a Free Secure Personal Cloud Server. Support Remotely viewed by IOS ,WEB ,Tablet .
  • 5 Mins easy Setup & 12 months warranty: Easy Setup & Flexible Compatibility. Quick Setup via iOS and Android Devices by Free Dericam App. Compatible with Third-Party App like Live Cams Pro,Tinycam. Compatible with Blue Iris, Zoneminder, iSpy. Also Dericam system provide the One year warranty and Life time Support .

What makes the Dericam so special? It has eagle-eye design that allows for high up installation making it easy to put in a place well above eye-sight line of potential intruders.

The unit has everything a security enthusiast could dream of, including:

  • Compact, self-contained design for ultimate weather protection
  • Full 350 degree horizontal rotational capabilities and 80 degree up-and-down vertical rotation capabilities
  • Built in infrared camera with 4X optical zoom and built in memory of up to 32gb.
  • Clear, zoomable night vision up to 65 feet
  • Easity control and command via computer, iOS or Android device
  • Ready-to-use out of the box, with no hidden costs

This is one of the best selling brands in the professional surveillance industry and is the model we use on our personal storage properties at home.

We have units installed on sheds that have been operational for over 5 years now without any problems, installed on a pole shed in northern Minnesota, which sees brutal summer storm and winter blizzard conditions.

Wireless LED Bulb Hidden Cameras

There are a wide variety of LED Bulb cameras on the market because of their ingenious design of hiding your surveillance unit in plain site.

Light Bulb Camera VR Panoramic IP Wireless WiFi Camera with Cloud Storage 360 Degree Fisheye Lens Lighting Lamp for Home Security Camera Bulb 960P HD...
17 Reviews
Light Bulb Camera VR Panoramic IP Wireless WiFi Camera with Cloud Storage 360 Degree Fisheye Lens Lighting Lamp for Home Security Camera Bulb 960P HD...
  • WIDE VIEW ANGEL WITH 3D EFFECT : Wireless WiFi IP panoramic bulb camera that's plicable to various security scenarios, perfect for baby, pet and home security monitoring. a supporting 5 different viewing modes and loop recording in the micro SD card
  • DIMMABLE LIGHT BULB WITH APP AND IR NIGHT VISISON : Support remote turn on/off light,even if you lie on the bed or forget to turn off the light, and you can control the brightness of the light, and even set into automatic or timing patterns.Infrared vision with 960P HD camera provides complete coverage,never miss any area during the night
  • MOTION DETECTION WITH TWO WAY AUDIO : The motion detection sensors'feel' it when something is moving in the room and send information immediately to phone. Perfect for surveillance,Talk or listen to camera, communicate with family, friends and your pets on your phone
  • INVISIBLE WITH SMART DESIGN : It looks like a normal LED bulb to others.This is also a smart lighting bulb.The IP camera can also be applied as security camera to keep your place safer. with the light on, it's virtually impossible to see the camera at all
  • EASY OPERATION : Put the TF card in slot , screw the bulb into the socket Download App Store or scan the QR Code on the manual to install(supports IOS and android) Register an account and log in Follow the manual to add the camera and start to use.We provide one year warranty and 90-day money back guranteed

Bulb cams are made for both indoor and outdoor use and sport some unique features that set them apart from traditional hidden outdoor cams. These include:

  • Hide-in-plain-sight design useful for properties lacking natural flora to camouflage other camera types.
  • Compact design makes them easy to fit in small/tight spaces that larger units cannot
  • Most sync directly with smartphone’s for use anytime, anywhere.
  • Unique 360 degree camera integration because of their spherical shape/design
  • Integrated two-way voice control

We personally like the Pzozpad Bulb cams because they are specifically designed for either indoor or outdoor use.

Other models like the JBonest only state they are to be used indoors, although with adequate water protection (mounting under eaves for example) they may also be used for perimeter security.

Make sure you specifically read your bulb cam specs before purchasing to make sure it is designed to work outdoors.

Fake Outdoor Light Fixture Camera by Kuna

Kuna is a unique entry to the hidden outdoor surveillance field because like the bulb cam, it audaciously hides its surveillance tech in plain site, the last place a potential intruder would look.

Sale
Maximus Video Security Camera and Outdoor Light - Craftsman Black - Compatible with Alexa
1,126 Reviews
Maximus Video Security Camera and Outdoor Light - Craftsman Black - Compatible with Alexa
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa. Control your Kuna powered smart lights. Kuna is a smart home security camera in a stylish outdoor light that detects and allows you to interact with people outside your door.
  • The security device includes HD live and recorded video, two way intercom, alarm, smart motion detection alerts to your phone, and more
  • Easy 15 minute installation with no batteries to replace so you have continuous protection around the clock
  • Be protected at all times. Access HD live video with 720P wide angle camera and two way intercom, 100 dB alarm siren, smart light control. WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 for easy setup with iOS or Android devices. 120V to 240V Energy efficient continuous power supply. US and Canada ONLY
  • Access live video or review and download events for 2 hours for 30 days on an optional subscription plan, starting as low as 4.99 per month

The Maximus is designed to look like your typical run-of-the-mill outdoor lighting fixture with a boring black metal cage and frosted glass. Hidden in the stem of the fixture however is a HD camera that records when motion sensors activate the light.

Since the unit is entirely integrated it can be installed in as little as 15 minutes and provides constant access via wifi or Bluetooth 4.0 via iOS or Android deices.

We really like the design here incorporating the light with the camera which saves tons of money compared to high-end infrared models that depend on sophisticated night-vision technology to work.

Xtreme Life Rockcam SC7000

The SC7000 RockCam hidden outdoor camera from KJB technologies is one of the most creative applications of consumer surveillance tech we’ve seen in a long time.

Embedded in a giant artificial rock is an optical camera unit and ultra-long life battery that can record from about shin-level up whenever something trips its motion sensors.

Xtreme Life RockCam Outdoor Hidden Camera and DVR with Remote Control
4 Reviews
Xtreme Life RockCam Outdoor Hidden Camera and DVR with Remote Control
  • Camera: CMOS under 1 Lux
  • 55 Degrees
  • 128 MB Flash Memory
  • External Micro SD Card
  • Up to 320X240 MPEG4

Using it’s size to its advantage the RockCam has a whopping 1-year battery life. No, that is not a typo, this thing will work for up to a full year on a single battery charge!

As we mentioned in the introduction to this guide, the most effective security is a layered system. If you install cameras at eye-level or in traditional locations you open yourself to the risk of potential identification and avoidance by a potential intruder.

Layering your eye-level surveillance tech with some ground level tech is a sure-proof way to capture every single visitor. Seriously, when was the last time you looked towards the ground to locate a camera! Genius!

The rock is hyper realistic looking so it can sit in a rock bed or be placed to look like a doorstop next to an entrance point.

The RockCam is also a complete beast in terms of durability. We don’t need to make the “built like a rock” pun here do we?

The rough exterior means this camera system is fully weather-resistant and durable as hell.

Minox Wireless Game Cams

Last, but certainly not least, are Minox wireless game cams.

The compact cammo design are dead giveaways as to why these hunting-specific cameras make excellent property threat-detection and recording devices.

Sale
Meidase Trail Camera 16MP 1080P, Game Camera with No Glow Night Vision Up to 65ft, 0.2s Trigger Time Motion Activated, 2.4' Color Screen and Unique...
62 Reviews
Meidase Trail Camera 16MP 1080P, Game Camera with No Glow Night Vision Up to 65ft, 0.2s Trigger Time Motion Activated, 2.4" Color Screen and Unique...
  • 【High Quality Day and Night Image】With large aperture, full glasses, wide view angle, high resolution lens component, plus deep optimization on image sensor, this trial camera captures full HD 1080P video or max 16MP clear still photos each time motion is detected of wildlife game. Using no glow, invisible infrared flash illumination technology, this trail camera can capture great night vision up to 20M/65ft in total darkness (black and white at night).
  • 【Very Easy to Use】With TV remote style keypad, and user-friendly UI designed, 2.4 inch LCD color screen built-in, using standard SD card slot, the trail came is easy to operate and program. With the multi-functions keypad as shortcut and screen prompt, you can directly playback/review/manage the photos or video what you have.
  • 【Fast Trigger Speed & Long Trigger Distance】Fast 0.2 second trigger time motion activated and total 120° detection angle (When side motion sensors enabled), and up to 25M/82ft long trigger distance (below 77°F/25°C at the normal/high sensitivity level), you won't miss anything.
  • 【IP66 Waterproof & Reliable】With reliable, sturdy mechanics design and multi-levels waterproof design and manufacturing, this trail camera can achieve IP66 waterproof(dust-proof, drop-proof and rain-proof), and perform in kinds of environment like desert or tropical rain forest throughout the seasons for hunting or security surveillance or wildlife observation.
  • 【Flexible Settings & Excellent Functions】3 modes available (photo only, video only, photo + video), Up to 32GB SD card (not included in the package), Loop recording, Temperature/date/time/moon phase imprint, Serial number for identifying multiple camera, Time Lapse, Timer for setting working period, Password protected. Extremely long in-field battery life (in standby mode) up to 6 months with 8*AA batteries (not included in package).

Game cams work great for outer perimeter security as they have been designed to withstand the most rugged outdoor conditions and are also designed to elude hyper-sensitive live game, which means they’re also great for avoiding human detection.

Any reader of License-to-Shoot will know we are huge fans of the Minox range of scopes, binoculars and game cameras. The durability and reliability of the German engineered tech is the gold standard when it comes to digital camera tech.

For a full overview of Minox surveillance cameras visit our complete guide here.

Wireless Cameras for Identification & Communication

While the above models are all designed to avoid detection, the models reviewed below are all designed to be detected. Sometimes the best security is simply the act of making your security known to deter potential intruders.

The below camera models have all been recommended based on the following criteria:

  • Reputable brand names with fair consumer warranties
  • Wireless function for easy installation and monitoring
  • Scalability, meaning you can have one or multiple units synced to one viewing station to monitor larger areas
  • Weather-resistant so they operate without issue during all seasons and in all climate types
  • Microphone integration for recording and potential communication functionality
  • Night vision, because let’s face it, 80% of potential threats will seek the cover of darkness to make their strike

So all the systems reviewed below will at the minimum have the above features checked off. Let’s dig into some of these gadgets shall we!

Nest: Smartest Modular Smart Home Security Cam

If you’ve been in the surveillance space for any time you will have undoubtably heard about Nest. They are at the forefront of “active surveillance and response” tech.

This means they don’t just record, they seamlessly sync with one another with intuitive applications for smartphones and all the intelligent technology that comes with them.

Sale
Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera 2 pack, Works with Alexa
3,970 Reviews
Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera 2 pack, Works with Alexa
  • Works with Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately).
  • 24/7 live video130º wide-angle view lets you look after your home in 1080p HD, day and night
  • Alerts on your phoneGet an alert when Nest Cam detects activity. WeatherproofCamera, cable and adapter are all weatherproof
  • IPCC-7210W HDPro - 4x Optical Zoom, HD 2.0 Mega Pixel, WIFI, Plug and Play, Outdoor Dome PTZ IP Camera, Nightvision, Audio, Blueiris Compatible
  • Talk and listenSpeak up to get someone's attention, or tell the mailman to leave the package at the door. At 720p, each camera requires 200 to 500 Kbps of upload bandwidth while streaming video.At 1080p, each camera requires 450 to 1200 Kbps of upload bandwidth while streaming video.

One of the smartest functions of the Nest security cameras is their built-in integration with Alexa voice control. This allows the cameras to be guided and accessed with simple voice control, something many other cameras do not have.

The design of Nest is small and compact, very discreet. While it isn’t designed to be completely hidden, they are definitely small enough to not be noticed by the casual observer.

Nest cams don’t just record, they react and think. For example, instead of pure motion detection the camera units actually listen to sounds. If they hear a loud crash or bang, like the shattering of a window or breaking of a door for example, they will send alerts directly to their owners phones.

Each unit also has a built in microphone and speaker for two-way communication. This allows the operator to interact with visitors or warn potential threats not to enter/possibility of deadly force being used.

The connectivity of Next to other functions is what truly makes them “smart”. For example, Next systems can be integrated with smart LED lights around your property, both inside and outside, to turn on lights when motion or sound is detected.

This is great for maintaining security even when you are not at home, like when on vacation or at work.

Nest systems are all integrated with the cloud, so even if a potential intruder tries to destroy a camera, the crisp, clear 1080p video will be backed up digitally in the cloud, out of reach.

Since these cameras are modular, you can install multiple units around your property and control them all with one smartphone.

These truly are on the cutting edge of predictive, active home surveillance and intruder deterrence.

Arlo Pro 2 by NETGEAR

The Arlo Pro 2 are very similar to Nest units in that they are Alexa-capable, all-weather home security cameras that sync with the cloud and provide active deterrence from home intrusion.

Sale
Arlo Pro 2 - Wireless Home Security Camera System | Rechargeable, Night vision, Indoor/Outdoor 1080p | 3 camera kit (VMS4330P)
2,383 Reviews
Arlo Pro 2 - Wireless Home Security Camera System | Rechargeable, Night vision, Indoor/Outdoor 1080p | 3 camera kit (VMS4330P)
  • 100% Wire-free - Free of power cords and wiring hassles. 1080p HD - High quality video with sharper and brighter details
  • Activity Zones - Highlight areas in your camera's view where you want to receive motion alerts (Available when plugged in and used indoors). Camera range is up to 300 feet line of sight. Wireless coverage is suitable for a typical 2500 square foot residence
  • Optional 24/7 Continuous Video Recording - Upgrade to keep nonstop recordings in the cloud (Available when plugged in and used indoors)
  • 3-Second Look Back - Capture activity 3 seconds before a triggered event (Available when plugged in and used indoors).Night vision:850 nm LEDs- illuminates up to 25 feet,IR cut-off filter
  • Works with Amazon Alexa/Echo Show/Fire TV/Google Assistant - View your live video with a simple voice command. Works with IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings, and more

The ability to connect the Arlo Pro 2 cameras to other integrated cloud-based services makes them one of the best options for 21st century surveillance.

For example, you can connect your Pro 2 cameras with Amazon’s Alexa, or even Google services like Google Assistant, which is perfect for Android lovers.

How do you choose between the Arlo Pro 2 and the Nest? Well we break down some of the main differences below to help make the decision easier.

Arlo Pro 2 vs. Nest Cam

Similarities:

  • Both record at a super high definition 1080p
  • Both have integrated night vision
  • Both have 130 degrees of viewing angle
  • Both have zoom functionality
  • Both have two-way communication functionality courtesy of built-in speakers and microphones
  • Both integrate with Email, Alexa, Push and IFTTT notification platforms
  • Both monitor both sound and motion
  • Both work with iOS and Android

Differences:

  • Arlo Pro 2 can charge via battery, solar, mount or wires. Next is only via a power outlet.
  • Nest units are easier to steal, but easier to install because of their simple user-friendly mounting systems
  • Nest monthly subcription rates are cheaper than Arlo Pro 2 at roughly $5/month vs $9.99/month. Yearly rates are also cheaper for Nest at $50/year vs Arlo’s $99/year

If all these “smart” cameras are a little bit more than you need then there are still plenty of other more traditional outdoor camera units on the market for much cheaper prices that work just as well, just lack some of the “intelligence” of the Next and Arlo Pro 2.

PTZ Outdoor Cam by Foscam

The PTZ is a hanging-style camera which we like because it provides maximum flexibility in terms of horizontal and vertical movement to track and better zoom in on visitors/threats.

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Foscam Outdoor PTZ (4x Optical Zoom) HD 1080P WiFi Security Camera - Pan Tilt Wireless IP Camera with Night Vision up to 196ft, IP66 Weatherproof...
212 Reviews
Foscam Outdoor PTZ (4x Optical Zoom) HD 1080P WiFi Security Camera - Pan Tilt Wireless IP Camera with Night Vision up to 196ft, IP66 Weatherproof...
  • Incredible Image Quality. 1080p at 25fps brings real 1080p smooth video experience thanks to powerful Ambarella chipset. 355° horizontal & 85° vertical rotation range cover a much bigger vision range. True 4x optical zoom captures more details of your viewing objects. Intelligent WDR corrects dark faces under heavy light to ensure a clear image in every lighting environment. Image Distortion Correction tech will fix common image distortion flaws.
  • Superb Outdoor/Night Use. IP66 level weatherproof design leaves you free of worrying about rain or dust in outdoor condition. This model uses a Sony Starvis sensor and deliver true colorful vision image during low-light condition while most of cameras can just show black/white image then. Night vision range up to 196 ft with the 6pcs high performance infrared array LED lights.
  • Security Matters. Detect movement and send notification to you through Email or smartphone App. Captured image could be stored in multiple ways like Micro SD card (up to 128GB, not included), computer, NVR, FTP, NAS or Foscam cloud. Easily configure your alarm schedule or block the area you do not want to monitor. New design makes installing Micro SD card so conveniently with just removing the two screws. Additional I/O socket could add other sensor devices to monitor your home in multiple way.
  • Foscam Cloud use US-based AWS server that is of high-level encrypted security and privacy protection. Foscam Cloud Storage plan protects recordings against any footage loss that could result from damage such as theft of the camera. 8 Hours Free Cloud storage with 12 months' validity is available on this camera, and NO data space limitation during the last 8 Hours. Able to view live or play back or save all alert captures and video clips on the cloud. More options for Cloud Storage are available.
  • Easy setup via iOS and Android devices by free Foscam App. Comes with Foscam VMS (Video Management Software), compatible with third party VMS Blue Iris & ONVIF recording devices, compatible with IE, Chrome, Firefox browsers. Foscam is striving to provide security cameras with great price, quality and after-sales service with hassle free for RMA even after Amazon 30-day return & refund terms with full US Warranty. Contact us for any help by email support@foscam.com and call 844-344-1113.

The PTZ is a beautifully self-contained egg-shaped unit that sports full 1080p resolution, full 355 degree horizontal panning and full 90 degree vertical tilt.

Of course the unit is also weather proof and has integrated night vision for 24/7 security around the clock.

Like the more expensive Nest and Netgear brands Foscam also offers a cloud storage solution that comes with a monthly or yearly subscription, although it isn’t required and you can just used the integrated WiFi and a home storage system instead.

One real stand-out feature of the PTZ is it’s industry leading night vision technology. While most outdoor security cams have nigh vision limited to 30-60ft the PTZ’s night vision extends up to 196ft, which is by far one of the best night vision systems currently available on the market.

Foxcam PTZ can also integrate with your smartphone, send alerts/notifications and is backed up with an ironclad 2 year warranty on their CE and FCC approved camera units.

It’s no wonder this small upcoming company is constantly reviewed as one of the best outdoor camera solutions

Zmodo Security Cameras

Zmodo are known as some of the most reliable outdoor cameras for budget-minded consumers. Starting at well under $100 per unit it is hard to match the quality and functionality offered by Zmodo.

Zmodo Wireless Security Camera System (4 Pack) , Smart Home HD Indoor Outdoor WiFi IP Cameras with Night Vision, 1-month Free Cloud Recording
4,298 Reviews
Zmodo Wireless Security Camera System (4 Pack) , Smart Home HD Indoor Outdoor WiFi IP Cameras with Night Vision, 1-month Free Cloud Recording
  • Works with Alexa: Zmodo Wireless Outdoor Camera is compatible with Echo Show for voice control. (Alexa device sold separately). Please check and update your product to the latest device version in order for it to interact with Amazon Alexa.
  • IP65 Weatherproof - This weatherproof camera can be placed both indoors and outdoors, with a supported temperature range from -10℃ to 50℃. Protect every inch of your home through every season.
  • Always Stay Connected - Seamlessly stream video remotely via the mobile Zmodo app for iOS and Android or via Internet browser on user. zmodo. com anywhere anytime. Receive intelligent motion alerts on your mobile phone when motions detected. Playback motion videos to check for the missed moments. Improved motion detection enables you to set a motion detection zone on the area you care about .
  • IR Night Vision - Equipped with infrared lights and IR cut, the camera can automatically switch to black and white night vision view when in the dark to ensure you a crystal view. The night vision sensitivity is adjustable. You can share the device to your family and your friends on the app to enjoy the happy moments in your house.
  • Zmodo Cloud Service - All users are eligible for a 1-month free cloud of our 7 day cloud recording plan. With the plan, you can review, save, and share footage at any time, and reduce false alerts with cloud intelligence.

For an unbeatable price you get some great features that are regularly only seen in higher end units that run hundreds of dollars. This includes cloud storage integration, night vision, IP65 weatherproofing, and a no-questions asked 3 year warranty that we love.

These are also very robust units. Sure, the design looks a little dated as they sport the traditional rectangular box look with big wifi antennas poking out the top, but it is a time-tested and proven design. Why mess with a good thing?

The only sacrifice to be made with the Zmodo’s is that they only record in 720p. Oh no! Only 720p! Yeah, it doesn’t concern us all that much, especially given the bargain pricing.

We would gladly sacrifice 1080p resolution for 720p if it means we have the ability to purchase twice as many units to secure our property.

If you are looking for outdoor home surveillance on a budget then the Zmodo security cams should be on your list of considerations.

In addition to the Zmodo we also recommend cameras by Wansview, 4SDOT, and Amcrest as they are all extremely budget friendly brands who manufuctur decent quality cameras with warranties.

Zmodo vs. Wansview vs. 4SDOT vs. Amcrest

Zmodo Wireless Security Camera System (4 Pack) , Smart Home HD Indoor Outdoor WiFi IP Cameras with Night Vision, 1-month Free Cloud Recording
Wansview Outdoor Security Camera, 1080P Wireless WiFi IP Surveillance Bullet Camera,IP66 Weatherproof W2-Black
Outdoor Security Camera,1/4"CMOS WIFi Camera Outdoor,720P Wireless IP Camera with IR Night Vision,Surveillance Video Camera with Motion Detection,IP66...
*Professional Grade
Amcrest 2K 3MP Wireless Outdoor Security Camera ProHD 1080P / 1296P (2304TVL) Bullet IP WiFi Outdoor Camera - Full HD 1080P @ 30fps and 1296P @ 20fps,...
Zmodo Wireless Security Camera System (4 Pack) , Smart Home HD Indoor Outdoor WiFi IP Cameras with Night Vision, 1-month Free Cloud Recording
Wansview Outdoor Security Camera, 1080P Wireless WiFi IP Surveillance Bullet Camera,IP66 Weatherproof W2-Black
Outdoor Security Camera,1/4"CMOS WIFi Camera Outdoor,720P Wireless IP Camera with IR Night Vision,Surveillance Video Camera with Motion Detection,IP66...
Amcrest 2K 3MP Wireless Outdoor Security Camera ProHD 1080P / 1296P (2304TVL) Bullet IP WiFi Outdoor Camera - Full HD 1080P @ 30fps and 1296P @ 20fps,...
$115.00
$59.99
$37.99
$89.89
4,298 Reviews
679 Reviews
271 Reviews
1,679 Reviews
Zmodo Wireless Security Camera System (4 Pack) , Smart Home HD Indoor Outdoor WiFi IP Cameras with Night Vision, 1-month Free Cloud Recording
Zmodo Wireless Security Camera System (4 Pack) , Smart Home HD Indoor Outdoor WiFi IP Cameras with Night Vision, 1-month Free Cloud Recording
$115.00
4,298 Reviews
Wansview Outdoor Security Camera, 1080P Wireless WiFi IP Surveillance Bullet Camera,IP66 Weatherproof W2-Black
Wansview Outdoor Security Camera, 1080P Wireless WiFi IP Surveillance Bullet Camera,IP66 Weatherproof W2-Black
$59.99
679 Reviews
Outdoor Security Camera,1/4"CMOS WIFi Camera Outdoor,720P Wireless IP Camera with IR Night Vision,Surveillance Video Camera with Motion Detection,IP66...
Outdoor Security Camera,1/4"CMOS WIFi Camera Outdoor,720P Wireless IP Camera with IR Night Vision,Surveillance Video Camera with Motion Detection,IP66...
$37.99
271 Reviews
*Professional Grade
Amcrest 2K 3MP Wireless Outdoor Security Camera ProHD 1080P / 1296P (2304TVL) Bullet IP WiFi Outdoor Camera - Full HD 1080P @ 30fps and 1296P @ 20fps,...
Amcrest 2K 3MP Wireless Outdoor Security Camera ProHD 1080P / 1296P (2304TVL) Bullet IP WiFi Outdoor Camera - Full HD 1080P @ 30fps and 1296P @ 20fps,...
$89.89
1,679 Reviews

License-to-Shoot Summary

This is by no means a 100% complete guide, this is a guide based on personal experience, aggregate reviews and common sense. There are hundreds of different security camera manufacturers out there but we’ve selected units we’ve personally spent money on or would personally spend on.

If you have used a camera system from a different brand for your home outdoor security please let us know in the comments below as we’d be interested in researching it ourselves.

Remember, security is a matter of layers. Ultimately we like to have at least two camera systems installed on our residences, one discreet hidden system so we can monitor potential intruder without being aware, and another non-hidden system so we can view visitors and communicate with them from a distance.

We detailed both solution types above and highly recommend you consider implementing a two-tier surveillance and communication system yourself to cover all potential bases.

 

Last update on 2018-11-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API