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Best Night Vision Security Cameras

best night vision security cameras of 2017If you want to protect your home from bad guys after dark you should consider a security camera with the right night vision capabilities.  Most modern security cameras have some form of night vision, but understanding what makes a good night vision security camera can help you avoid the grainy, green footage we see all over YouTube. With a combination of infrared sensors, image quality, and a wide field of view, a good night vision security camera can capture criminal activity in the darkness with almost the same clarity as its daytime equivalent.

I’ve compiled my top picks for both indoor and outdoor night vision security cameras to shed some light on the subject.

Indoor night vision cameras

#1 Yi Home Camera 2

Yi Home Camera 2: Best Overall Camera for Night VisionIn terms of pure picture quality for both day and nighttime footage, the Yi Home Camera 2 tops our list with full 1080p HD resolution stretching up to 30 feet in the darkness. The Yi Home Camera 2 boasts 11 IR LEDs—also a best on this list for indoor cameras—to capture and reconstruct images in the dark. What I like about Yi is that it’s essentially a more affordable version of the Nest Cam and allows for local storage using a microSD card.

Knocks on Yi Home Camera 2 come from its less-versatile design—because it’s unable to disconnect from it’s mounting bracket, like Nest—and its lack of cloud storage capability. But if you’re looking for extremely high-quality night vision images and the ability to store your own footage, Yi Home Camera 2 is a great choice.

Night vision:

  • 11 IR LEDs

Other Tech specs:

  • 1920 x 1080p  HD resolution
  • 4.53 x 3.15 inches
  • 0.29 pounds
  • 130-degree wide-angle FOV
  • IR range of 30 feet

#2 CleverLoop Indoor Camera

CleverLoop Night Vision Indoor CameraThe CleverLoop indoor camera gives you extremely clear night vision footage with the added bonuses of smart system functionality by the CleverLoop base station. I’ve tested all kinds of security cameras since getting my hands on the CleverLoop system months ago, and it’s still my favorite DIY security camera solution out there.

Although CleverLoop requires a base station—unlike many of its competitors—its smart detection ability lets it learn common patterns. Basically, that means it knows the difference between an intruder breaking into your home and your cat jumping up on the couch, so you won’t be bombarded you with unnecessary notifications. CleverLoop also offers free cloud storage giving it a leg-up on close competitors like Nest or Yi who charge subscriptions or only offer local storage.

CleverLoop’s indoor camera maintains a clear 720p HD picture quality up to 30 feet into the darkness and gives you a 115-degree wide-angle field of vision. This is a great option for your living room or entryway at night because it can monitor so much surface area at once. Take a look at the snapshot below to see what night vision looks like through the CleverLoop indoor camera.

Real Night Time Footage from the CleverLoop Night Vision Indoor CameraNight vision:

  • 8 IR LEDs

Other Tech specs:

  • 1280 x 720p HD resolution
  • 0.8 pounds
  • 115-degree wide-angle FOV
  • Night vision range of 30 feet

#3 Nest Cam Indoor

Nest Cam Outdoor Night Vision CameraNest Cam’s versatile design and ability to integrate into the larger Nest ecosystem make it worth a look on any list of best security cameras. For night vision, Nest employs 8 IR LEDs—not quite as many as Yi—and a 130-degree wide-angle field of vision. The image quality matches its best competitors at full 1080p HD, but what differentiates Nest from Yi specifically (for better or worse) is the cloud storage program Nest Aware.

Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of Nest Aware as it requires you to subscribe to the service for $10 per month in order to access recorded footage. That being said, the Nest Cam’s design and picture quality warrant the small subscription fee, especially if you couple the indoor cam with the Nest Cam outdoor or combinations of multiple Nest Cams. When it comes to uncovering bad guys in the dark, Nest Cam indoor does it just as well as anyone.

Real Night Camera Footage from the Nest Cam Outdoor Night Vision CameraNight vision:

  • 8 IR LEDs

Other Tech specs:

  • 1920 x 1080p HD resolution
  • 6.5 x 3.8 x 6.6 inches
  • 1.8 pounds
  • 130-degree wide-angle FOV

Outdoor night vision cameras

#1 Foscam FI9901EP

Foscam FI9901EP Night Vision CameraThe Foscam FI9901EP is the most powerful outdoor night vision camera on our list with 30 IR LEDs that help penetrate the darkness up to 65 feet away. It also has the highest picture quality of all the cameras we’ve included with better than full HD resolution—2560 x 1440p.

My only hesitation with the Foscam FI9901EP is that it needs to be hardwired, which means drilling holes for installation. On the plus side, the camera connects through an ethernet cable that also provides power, so you only need to string one cable and are not limited by outlet proximity. If you’re ok with a little extra installation, the Foscam FI9901EP is the best choice for outdoor, after-dark surveillance.

Night Camera Footage from Foscam FI9901EP Night Vision CameraNight vision:

  • 30 IR LEDs

Other Tech specs:

  • 2560 x 1440p HD resolution
  • 3.85 x 2.5 x 2.4 inches
  • 106-degree wide-angle FOV
  • Night vision range up to 65 feet

#2 CleverLoop Outdoor Camera

 CleverLoop Outdoor Night Vision CameraThe CleverLoop outdoor camera doesn’t have the same better-than-HD resolution as the Foscam, nor does it have as wide a viewing angle—60 degrees—but with 24 IR LEDs giving it a night vision range of up to 65 feet and the CleverLoop smart system features mentioned earlier, I couldn’t leave it off the list.

CleverLoop does outshine Foscam with its Wi-Fi capabilities, meaning it’s an easier DIY installation with less drilling and no ethernet cable stringing. The CleverLoop system also offers geo-fencing so your cameras will automatically engage or disengage by reading your smartphone GPS as you’re coming and going.

Real Night Camera Footage from CleverLoop Outdoor Night Vision CameraNight vision:

  • 24 IR LEDs

Other Tech specs:

  • 1280 x 720p HD resolution
  • 60-degree wide-angle FOV
  • Night vision range up to 65 feet

#3 Arlo

Arlo Security System - A Top Rated Wireless Night Vision CameraArlo stands out as the only completely wireless outdoor security camera on our list. Arlo runs on batteries designed to last 4–6 months, which gives you almost unlimited possibilities for where you can mount it. You’re not limited by outlets, cord lengths, or even mounting it to your house. As long as you are within Wi-Fi range, you can mount Arlo anywhere you’d like.

Arlo does not specify the number of IR LEDs but lists them as 850 nanometers—referring to the wavelength measurement—is pretty standard for night vision IR lenses. With a 110-degree wide-angle field of view and 720p HD quality; however, you’ll get an excellent night vision picture as seen below.

Night vision:

  • 850 nanometer IR LEDs

Other Tech specs:

  • 1280 x 720p HD resolution
  • 2.8 x 1.7 x 2.6 inches
  • 4.3 ounces
  • 110-degree wide-angle FOV
  • Night vision range up to 25 feet

What to look for in a night vision camera

Unfortunately, many security camera companies and manufacturers don’t offer up a lot of information about night vision tech specs beyond the number of infrared (IR) LEDs—and some don’t even provide that. I had to do some serious digging, but we’ve come up with some key components to look for to determine a camera’s night vision capability:

Infrared sensors

How far your camera can see into the darkness will depend on how many infrared (IR) LED sensors it has. Infrared LEDs emit light with longer wavelengths than normal light and isn’t visible to the naked eye. Your camera detects that infrared light and uses it to illuminate and reconstruct a picture of its surroundings in the darkness. This is why the more IR LEDs you have, the better your camera will see in the dark.

Image quality

Just like capturing daytime footage, clear night vision depends on your camera’s ability to produce a high-quality image. The better the resolution, the higher-quality image you get. Look for cameras with at least 720p resolution.

Field of view

The more your camera can actually see, the better chance you have of capturing the bad guys on camera. Indoor cameras tend to have a wider field of view than outdoor cameras because they don’t have to penetrate as deeply into the darkness. Most outdoor cameras will hyperfocus on a narrow field of view to give you that extra distance.

Best night vision security camera recap

Top 3 indoor cameras at night

  • Yi Home Camera 2
  • CleverLoop Indoor Camera
  • Nest Cam Indoor

Top 3 outdoor cameras at night

  • Foscam FI9901EP
  • CleverLoop Outdoor Camera
  • Arlo Wireless Security Camera

Which night vision camera is right for you?

Each camera on our list offers something unique in addition to excellent night vision capabilities—wireless connectivity, better-than-HD resolution, or smart system features. Look for a combination of IR LED sensors, image quality, and field of view to determine which camera’s night vision will best work for you, but if you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all solution—meaning both indoor and outdoor surveillance—the CleverLoop system is the way to go.

 

Something to consider: If you’re are interested in reading our overall rankings of the 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 HD Security Cameras, Best Cheap Security Cameras, Best Hidden Cameras, or Best Outdoor Security Cameras.

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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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