Your dog’s heightened hearing might detect external disturbances, but even the most persistent barking can’t explain what your pooch has sensed outside. Want a smart home surveillance solution that’s easier to understand? Send Fido to bed and install one of the best outdoor security cameras to keep an eye on your outdoor gear.
Smarter than standard CCTV, the best wireless security cams can intelligently detect, record and react to action around your abode. The top options will stream high-res live feeds straight to your smartphone, and store clips in the cloud for later inspection.
Some cams can even tell the difference between next door’s cat and an actual cat burglar, before scaring them away with a spotlight or simulated woofing. Which beats the scattergun howling of your canine guard.
From simple, stick-up sensors to watchful eyes with features fit for Fort Knox, you’ll find your ideal outdoor security camera lurking like a ne’er-do-well in the list below.
Arlo Pro 4
Arlo’s extended family of security cams features eyes for every corner of your abode. And the Pro 4 is one of the best within that brood: capable of recording 2K HDR footage across a wide 160° field of view, its integrated spotlight has things covered if naughty sorts come knocking at night. Plus 12x digital zoom means you can get a good look at their mugs.
With its magnetic mount drilled into your wall, the battery-powered Arlo Pro 4 pops into place and connects directly to your Wi-Fi for hub-free surveillance. It can talk to Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant, too. But you’ll need to stump up for an Arlo Secure subscription to unlock the best of its features.
This paid monthly plan starts at $2.99 / £2.79 for a single camera. Without it, you’re limited to viewing live feeds and receiving simple real-time alerts. With it, you get cloud storage for 30 days of full-resolution clip history, as well as interactive notifications, intelligent object recognition and the ability to specify activity zones for improved motion detection. Prefer the option of local storage? There’s no memory card slot, so you’ll need to pair the Pro 4 with a compatible Base Station.
Dimensions: 89x52x78.4mm • Sensor: 4MP • Max video resolution: 2K • Field of view: 160° • Zoom: 12x (digital) • Night vision: yes • Spotlight: yes • Battery life: up to six months • Weather resistance: Yes • Audio: two-way • Storage: cloud (paid)
Nest Cam (Battery)
A dinky detector fit for inside and out, Google’s neat Nest Cam is back with battery power. Which means you can install it in a jiffy, no wiring necessary (although the optional weatherproof cable lets you hard-wire if you want). And once it’s fitted to one of your four walls, the weatherproof watcher does all the smart stuff you’d expect.
It can tell the difference between people, pets and passing cars, meaning you won’t need to panic every time your moggy goes outside for a stretch. Fire up the Google Home app and you can view a live feed, zoom in and talk to intruders (or your tabby). And if the Wi-Fi goes down, it’ll store up to an hour of footage offline.
Clever as it is, the Nest Cam is not without its limitations. There’s night vision, but no spotlight (for that you’ll need the wired Nest Cam with floodlight). Full HD footage is clear enough for most people, but you’re limited to 3 hours of event-based history without a Nest Aware subscription (from $6 / £5 a month). Shell out and you get continuous cloud clip history, but you’re still locked into the Google ecosystem: there’s no native HomeKit support.
Dimensions: 83x83x83mm • Sensor: 2MP • Max video resolution: 1080p • Field of view: 130° • Zoom: 6x (digital) • Night vision: yes • Spotlight: no • Battery life: up to six months • Weather resistance: IP54 • Audio: two-way • Storage: internal, cloud (free/paid)
Ring Stick Up Cam Battery
Despite its name, the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery doesn’t attach to walls with Spidey-like ease. Instead, like most of the best outdoor security cameras, you’ll need some screws to fix the backplate in place. And like many of the best outdoor security cameras, you’ll need to unmount the main part to recharge the battery. So keep your ladder handy, unless you pair your camera with Ring’s optional solar panel.
Ring’s upstanding cylinder competes with a lot of the top cams when its comes to recording specs. You get 1080p footage, a 110° horizontal field of view and infrared night vision. And it’s not short on smarts, offering motion-detection zones, customisable person alerts and photo preview notifications for quicker info when triggered. It’ll capture photo snapshots throughout the day, too.
But there are drawbacks. Several of the above features are not available unless you have a Ring Protect subscription. While this starts at a relatively reasonable $3 / £2.50 per month – including 60 days of cloud video history – it doesn’t change the fact that you need to keep paying for full functionality. There’s no local storage, either, and the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery won’t integrate with Apple HomeKit or Google Home.
Dimensions: 97x60x60mm • Sensor: undisclosed • Max video resolution: 1080p • Field of view: 130° • Zoom: digital • Night vision: yes • Spotlight: no • Battery life: 1000 activations • Weather resistance: IPX5 • Audio: two-way • Storage: cloud (free/paid)
Wyze Cam Outdoor V2
Proving again that it’s hip to be square, this clever cube is equipped with a full suite of recording skills. Star of the show is the Starlight CMOS sensor: with an f/1.6 aperture, it’s designed to capture clearer night time footage in Full HD and full colour – even without a spotlight.
An articulating arm makes it simple to position the wireless Wyze Cam, with two built-in 2600mAh batteries rated for up to six months (or potentially endless coverage if you spec the sold-separately solar panel). IP65 weather-protection should see it through the seasons, while a 130° field of view ensures more of each scene is seen.
The second-gen Wyze Cam Outdoor can also tell baddies from waving branches, but the availability of its skills depends on your subscription. As standard, it will only capture a static snapshot when motion is detected within your chosen zones. Switch to the pay-as-you-like Cam Plus Lite tier for 12-second clips at five-minute intervals, plus person detection. Want full coverage? Cam Plus (which remains reasonable at $1.99 per month) offers unlimited back-to-back recordings with the total detection set: people, packages, pets and any passing Prius. Alternatively, you can install a microSD card for continuous recording.
Dimensions: 71x58x58mm • Sensor size: CMOS • Max video resolution: 1080p • Field of view: 130° • Zoom: 8x (digital) • Night vision: yes • Spotlight: no • Battery life: up to 6 months • Weather resistance: IP65 • Audio: two-way • Storage: microSD
A second Amazon cam, the Blink Outdoor is a little black box that’s built for simple surveillance. Straightforward to install and powered by a pair of AA batteries, Amazon reckons it’ll last for up to two years – although real results depend on the frequency of comings and goings.
Its budget approach is reflected in the build quality, which is weatherproof but not the most robust. Similarly, recording quality is limited after dark by the sensor size and lack of spotlight. But the Blink Outdoor still has the core skills for decent everyday coverage. There’s no subject recognition, but you can customise motion-detection zones and receive real-time alerts. Full HD footage and a 110° field of view are also fine for most scenarios.
Whether it’s right for your gaffe will depend on how you want to record and interact with footage. The Blink Outdoor lives in Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem, so you can only view a live feed on Echo Show devices or through the Blink Home Monitor smartphone app. It does support local storage on USB drives, but there’s no free tier of cloud capacity – so you’ll need a Blink Subscription Plan to save clips online (starting at $3 / £2.50 a month).
Dimensions: 71x71x31mm • Sensor: undisclosed • Max video resolution: 1080p • Field of view: 110° • Zoom: crop (digital) • Night vision: yes • Spotlight: no • Battery life: up to two years • Weather resistance: Yes • Audio: two-way • Storage: USB, cloud (paid)
Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera
Netatmo’s light-up looker isn’t the newest camera in this list, but it still has the skills to protect your property. And unlike many of the best outdoor security cameras in this list, it doesn’t require monthly wages: there are no subscription plans or recurring fees to pay. Simply insert a microSD card, install the camera on a wall and all of its guarding abilities are good to go.
That means smart object recognition, real-time alerts and customisable activity zones. It also includes full event history through the partner app, helpfully labelled with what the Netatmo thinks it’s seen. And thanks to the light bar above the lens, it can illuminate intruders at 25 paces (or use infrared night vision for undercover obs).
It’s not picky about systems, either: the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera works with Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomeKit. Vids are recorded in 1080p and encrypted on the memory card. Want to keep clips in the cloud? The camera supports Dropbox and FTP connections, as well as HomeKit Secure Video. The latter lets iCloud+ subscribers save 10 days of recordings with no impact on their allowance – or keep footage for longer using their account’s allocated cloud storage capacity.
Dimensions: 200x110x50mm • Sensor size: 4MP • Max video resolution: 1080p • Field of view: 100° • Zoom: 8x (digital) • Night vision: yes • Spotlight: yes • Battery life: up to 6 months • Weather resistance: Yes • Audio: one-way • Storage: microSD, cloud (Dropbox or FTP)
Eufy SoloCam S40
Want a cam you can set and forget? Just two hours of daily rays are enough to keep this solar-powered protector on the job. Stick it somewhere sunny and you could be looking at a lifetime of a security coverage. There’s also a built-in battery, to account for the risk of overcast crime.
It might cost more than others up-front, but besides making a smaller impact on your energy bills, the SoloCam S40 is also free from subscription fees. Instead of sending clips to the cloud, up to 60 days of video can be saved to the 8GB internal storage. Which means you can skip the cost of a monthly plan and spend the savings on further deterrents. Like a life-size cardboard cutout of an Alsatian.
The SoloCam’s sensor maxes out at a resolution of 2K, covering a garden-spanning 160° field of view. Surrounding the lens is a light ring good for 600 lumens and full-colour footage after dark. Offline AI means speedier detection of trespassers (think 200 milliseconds), plus rapid alerts when someone – or something – strays into an activity zone. It also learns from past experiences to improve its perception, which you can test with your flat-pack German Shepherd.
Dimensions: 114x85x50mm • Sensor size: undisclosed • Max video resolution: 2K • Field of view: 130° • Zoom: digital • Night vision: yes • Spotlight: yes • Battery life: unlimited (solar), four months (battery) • Weather resistance: IP67 • Audio: two-way • Storage: 8GB