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Best Cheap Security Cameras We Actually Recommend

You don’t have to shell out half your paycheck to add a little security to your home. If you’re not in the market for a fully monitored security system, a cheap security camera could be just the thing to add some protection to your home without dipping too far into your budget. There are a lot of great options for under $150. Take a look at our best cheap security cameras below.

Best cheap or inexpensive security cameras

Rank#1#2#3#4#5
Product image
NameVimtag VT-361 HDYI Home Camera 2Arlo VMS3130Zmodo Pivot 1080pAmcrest ProHD
View productView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
Rank
Product image
Name
View product
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Vimtag VT-361 HD YI Home Camera 2 Arlo VMS3130 Zmodo Pivot 1080p Amcrest ProHD
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon

#1 Vimtag VT-361 HD

Vimtag VT-361 HD - The top rated cheap or inexpensive security camera

Tech specs

  • Pan/tilt/digital zoom (PTZ)
  • 1280 x 720p resolution
  • Two-way audio
  • Motion detection
  • 12 IR LED night vision
  • 25 fps (frames per second)

Pros

  • PTZ
  • Local storage SD card (not included)
  • Two-way audio
  • Easy setup and installation
  • Motion detection

Cons

  • Only 720p
  • No remote recording
  • Needs AC power (no battery backup)

The Vimtag VT-361 HD pops up on a lot of best security camera lists—including our own—because this little guy packs in a ton of value for a sub-$100 camera. PTZ (pan, tilt, and zoom) capability, motion detection, and motion tracking give you a 320° x 120° viewing area, which means you’ll have corner-to-corner coverage no matter where you install this camera.
The VT-361 HD comes ready to “plug and play,” which is exactly what it sounds like. Simply plug the camera in and you’re ready to record video locally using a microSD card (not included)—setup and installation could not be easier.
My one knock on the VT-361 HD is that the video footage is only 720p instead of 1080p, but that’s the price you pay—or rather don’t pay—for getting it for under $100. Overall, the Vimtag VT-361 HD gives you a ton of utility with a relatively small price tag and is my top choice for best cheap security camera.

#2 YI Home Camera 2

YI Home Camera 2 - Top Inexpensive Security Camera

Tech specs

  • 1920 x 1080p HD resolution
  • 2.3 x 2.75 x 4.5 inches
  • 130° field of view (wide-angle)
  • MicroSD card local storage
  • Motion detection
  • 11 IR LED night vision

Pros

  • Clear HD video quality (1080p)
  • Modern design
  • SD card local storage
  • Motion detection
  • Auto-record and notifications
  • No service fees
  • Easy setup and installation

Cons

  • AC power source
  • No cloud storage option

The only reason the Yi Home Camera 2 didn’t take the top spot is because it has a stationary 130° field of view instead of PTZ like the Vimtag VT-361 HD. That being said, the YI Home Camera 2 is a better camera in every other way.
You’ll pay between $30 and $40 more for the YI Home Camera 2 than for the VT-361 HD, but you’ll get better video quality (1080p resolution), more local storage support (up to 64GB microSD), and a smoother mobile app experience. Think of it as a Nest Cam without the service fees. The YI Home Camera 2 has the best video quality and is the best overall value for a cheap security camera.

#3 Arlo VMS3130

Arlo VMS3130 Cheap Security Camera

Tech specs

  • 2.8 x 1.7 x 2.6 inches
  • 1280 x 720p HD resolution
  • 110° field of view (wide-angle)
  • Motion detection
  • Night vision range up to 25-feet

Pros

  • Indoor/outdoor use
  • 100% wireless
  • Weatherproof
  • Motion detection
  • Free cloud storage
  • Easy-to-use app
  • Easy setup and installation
  • Add-on cameras

Cons

  • Depends on battery power
  • No email notifications
  • No sound recording
  • Does not work in cold climates (below 14° F)
  • Motion triggering can be slow

Arlo only offers 720p resolution and a 110° field of view, but it stands out from the rest in a few ways. It’s the only truly wireless camera on our list, and the fact that it’s both battery-powered and weatherproof means you can install it virtually anywhere inside or outside. Simply put, Arlo offers versatility that other cameras just don’t have. If you’re planning to use it outdoors, keep in mind that it might not be the best choice for cold climates because it stops working if the temperature drops below 14° F.
Arlo gives you the ability to connect more cameras through the Arlo app. You can add up to five cameras for free and up to 15 if you pay for a subscription. This makes it easy to build on your security system as your budget allows.
Although its MSRP isn’t “cheap” at $219.99 for a single camera, Arlo is almost always marked down below our $150 maximum for this article. If you’re looking for versatility and a system that you can build on, it’s worth checking the Amazon price for this camera.

#4 Zmodo Pivot 1080p

Zmodo Pivot 1080p Inexpensive Camera

Tech specs

  • 5.3 x 3 x 3 inches
  • 360° rotating view
  • 1920 x 1080p HD resolution
  • Door and window sensors
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled
  • Motion detection
  • 16GB local storage
  • 4x digital zoom
  • IR LED night vision up to 30 feet

Pros

  • Easy setup and installation
  • Clear HD video (1080p)
  • All-in-one security device
  • Door and window sensors
  • Monitors temperature and humidity
  • 360° rotating view
  • Two-way audio
  • Local storage 16GB
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Motion detection

Cons

  • No cloud storage
  • Doesn’t work with other smart devices
  • Slow to pan and track

Zmodo Pivot 1080p is the Swiss Army knife of cheap security cameras. It’s an all-in-one security device that gives you a little bit of everything, starting with clear 1080p HD video quality. I recommend installing the camera in a central location in your home to take full advantage of its 360° rotating view and 1080p high-resolution picture.
The Zmodo Pivot comes with two door and window sensors that can signal the camera to focus on a particular sensor when it’s triggered, which is pretty impressive and only slightly spoiled by how slowly it pivots—it’s slow. The Zmodo Pivot also uses motion detection and motion tracking to initiate and capture footage that you can store internally on 16GB of local storage.
On top of the security features, the Zmodo Pivot also has temperature sensors, humidity sensors, and even a Bluetooth speaker, all controlled from the Pivot mobile app. If you’re looking for a cheap all-in-one security camera with some cool extras, the Zmodo Pivot is turning some heads on Amazon.

#5 Amcrest ProHD

Amcrest ProHD Cheap Security Camera

Tech specs

  • 90° field of view (wide-angle)
  • 1920 x 1080p HD resolution
  • Pan/tilt/zoom motion
  • 30 fps
  • MicroSD card local storage
  • Night vision up to 32 feet

Pros

  • PTZ
  • Clear HD video (1080p)
  • Easy setup and installation
  • Cloud and local storage options
  • Two-way audio
  • Easy-to-use mobile app

Cons

  • Only 90° field of view
  • Does not integrate with other devices
  • Cloud storage costs extra

The Amcrest ProHD feels almost like a clone of the Vimtag VT-361 HD. It does everything that the VT-361 HD can do and even one-ups my number-one pick by sporting a higher video resolution (1080p). It has pan, tilt, and zoom with 360° motion tracking, just like the VT-361 HD, so you can cover every inch of your home.
So what’s the bad news? The Amcrest ProHD only has a 90° field of view, which means it doesn’t capture as much on camera in a single shot as its competitors. Even though PTZ allows the Amcrest ProHD to cover every inch of the room, it’s going to have to move a lot more to get that coverage because it lacks a wider viewing angle. The smaller angle creates the risk of missing something important if the camera can’t pan fast enough to keep up.
The Amcrest ProHD is still a great cheap security camera option with better video quality than my top pick. If you’re into crystal-clear footage and aren’t worried about panning and field of view, this is a solid choice.

Best cheap security cameras recap

  • Vimtag VT-361 HD
  • YI Home Camera 2
  • Arlo VMS3130
  • Zmodo Pivot 1080p
  • Amcrest ProHD

Cheap security beats no security

I’ll always recommend trying to budget for a professionally monitored security system, but that’s not always possible, and a cheap security camera is a great way to start protecting your home. No matter which cheap security camera you go with, you’ll feel better knowing you can keep an eye on things while you’re away.

 

Something to consider: If you’re are interested in reading our overall rankings of  Top Rated Security Camera Reviews and how we ranked them, or if you have specific things you’re looking for, consider checking out any of these articles: Best Night Vision Cameras, Best HD Security Cameras, Best Outdoor Security CamerasBest Hidden Cameras or Best Dash Cams.

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About Kyle Lemmon

Kyle Lemmon
Kyle is all about first-hand experience and hands-on testing. He has BA in Creative Writing from Weber State University and comes to ASecureLife.com with extensive experience testing and installing security cameras, security system equipment, and personal safety devices. With two kids at home, Kyle’s also a huge advocate for safety in the home and is passionate about sharing his findings with as many people as possible.
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