Security cameras are a vital part of any security system. Sure, you also want basic intrusion sensors and an alarm, but security cameras work as the eyes of the system. They give you visibility on the inside and outside of your home while you’re not there, and most offer invaluable add-ons like two-way talk and more cloud storage than you’ll know what to do with.
If you’re looking for the best home security system to go along with your security cameras, there are a handful of companies doing it really well. Below we break down some of our favorite options for camera-based security systems.
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|Security system||Vivint||Frontpoint||Link Interactive||SimpliSafe|
|Best for||Best home automation and equipment||Best easy DIY installation||Best for customization||Most flexible contracts|
|Lowest monitoring price||$29.99/mo.||$34.99/mo.||$30.99/mo.||$14.99/mo.|
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|Best home automation and equipment||Best easy DIY installation||Best for customization||Most flexible contracts|
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Data effective 05/16/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
Vivint security cameras
Vivint excels by manufacturing a lot of its own state-of-the-art equipment—including all its cameras—while remaining compatible with third-party equipment like Amazon Echo and Nest. Vivint offers three cameras that can be paired with a security system: indoor, outdoor, and video doorbell cameras.
Vivint’s upgraded security panel has a built-in router that lets Vivint systems support up to six high-res cameras without any dropoff in video quality or reliability—its older SkyControl panel could support only two. And you don’t even have to have a stellar Wi-Fi network to support Vivint’s impressive cameras. You can pair the Smart Hub with the Smart Drive and get 30 days of continuous recording stored both on the drive and in the cloud.
That level of camera support is rare among security systems, and we love Vivint’s continual improvement in this area.
New Vivint outdoor camera
Vivint’s high-resolution outdoor camera comes with motion detection and night vision, so you can get a clear view of things outside your home no matter what time it is. You can also use Vivint’s app to check a live feed of your camera whenever you want. Its 140º field of view and 4K image sensor let you see most of your yard with one camera with a truly impressive image quality.
Vivint doorbell camera
Vivint’s doorbell camera has a 180º field of vision, two-way audio, night vision, and smart motion detection that can tell the difference between a passing car and a person near your home.
Since the doorbell integrates with the rest of your security system and other smart home equipment, you can unlock your smart door lock remotely if friends arrive at your house before you get there or turn on the smart lights to make sure your porch is bright and welcoming when someone comes to your door.
Vivint Ping camera
The Vivint indoor security camera, the Ping camera, comes with a wide-angle lens, 1080p video, motion detection, and infrared night vision. It also comes with two-way audio, which gives you the ability to talk to anyone back home while you’re away.
Frontpoint security cameras
Frontpoint upped its security camera game in a big way when it parted with Alarm.com equipment to offer its own line of cameras. Frontpoint still uses a SkyBell doorbell camera, but its proprietary indoor, premium indoor, and outdoor cameras are both aesthetically slick and technically cutting-edge.
We really like Frontpoint’s camera-only plan. If you don’t need a complete home security system and don’t mind self-monitoring your security camera system, you can opt for this unique plan for $14.99 a month. It comes with some serious advantages, like unlimited cameras and outrageous video storage. Here are some of the features that comes with Frontpoint’s camera plan.
- Unlimited cameras
- Unlimited storage duration for up to 1,000 video clips
- Video monitoring detection
- Customized mobile notifications
- Two-way audio
If you want a full-scale security system with professional monitoring, we really like Frontpoint’s standard home security packages with premium professional monitoring.
Frontpoint doorbell camera
The SkyBell video doorbell has a 180º field of view and 720p resolution, along with features like two-way audio, motion detection, and color night vision. It’s designed to withstand temperatures between -40°F and 122°F, so keep that in mind if you live in a climate that sees extreme temps.
The coolest thing about the video doorbell is that it lets you check the live view from your phone at any time throughout the day. It also lets you save videos to your Frontpoint account so you can review them later or share them with law enforcement or an insurance company in case of a break-in or porch theft.
Frontpoint indoor camera
Frontpoint’s indoor camera gives you sharp 1080p video and a 113º field of view, so you won’t need a bunch of cameras set up strategically to get a good view of your home—you can get great coverage with just one.
The camera comes with adjustable motion detection features that you can tailor to weed out false notifications if you live on a busy street or have a tree whose branch likes to wave in front of the window all day. It also gives you encrypted video storage to ensure no one else has access to your video footage but you.
Frontpoint Premium indoor camera
If you value the finer things in tech, Frontpoint’s Premium Indoor Camera is one of the most impressive indoor cameras on the market. It looks amazing, and it’s packed with more than enough features to justify its higher price point.
It comes with built-in Bluetooth speakers, an echo-canceling microphone for clearer communication, and an ultra-wide 180º field of view that lets you see everything happening in front of it. If you have kids at home, it’s easy to initiate two-way talk with anyone at home through the Frontpoint app.
This Wi-Fi outdoor camera offers crisp 1080p video with a less inspiring field of view (77º horizontal). But that should be plenty to monitor most of your front porch or backyard. Like the indoor cameras, Frontpoint’s outdoor camera gives you adjustable motion detection to limit false notifications.
Link Interactive security cameras
Link Interactive’s system is compatible with quite a few cameras. It works with SkyBell doorbell cameras as well as Alarm.com’s Premium indoor camera, fixed IR camera, and an outdoor camera.
Link also offers a cool video analytics feature: in the mobile app, you can create notifications for different motion events inside and outside of your home––like a car entering your driveway, a person coming to your front door, or a dog running around out back––and you can customize whether you want to receive notifications for these different motion events.
Link Interactive Premium indoor camera
Link’s pan-and-tilt Premium camera is the same one used by Frontpoint. It has all the same features, like a Bluetooth speaker, a 180º view, and sleek, modern styling.
Link Interactive fixed IR camera
This camera has motion detection, 1080p resolution, and two-way talk. With both high-resolution and infrared abilities, this camera is able to record footage in more situations. It’s designed to give you plenty of options for installation too. You can mount it to your wall or ceiling or just stick it on a shelf and move it around as needed.
Link Interactive outdoor IP camera
Link’s slick little outdoor IP camera runs off your Wi-Fi network (like most IP cameras) and has night vision capabilities up to 40 feet. That gives you a nice view of your yard, day or night. It’s dust-tight and resistant to rain, so you’ll still want to keep it out of the way of gutter runoff, but it’ll still hold up in bad weather.
SimpliSafe security cameras
SimpliSafe offers two cameras with its systems. Though you don’t get any outdoor security cameras with SimpliSafe, the indoor camera and doorbell camera are a great combo for renters or apartment dwellers who don’t need to monitor their yard.
SimpliSafe offers no-contract monitoring so you can easily self-monitor your security cameras while you’re around and pay for monitoring when you leave town.
The SimpliCam is a powerful indoor camera loaded with features to make monitoring your home easy. Intelligent motion detection eliminates alerts from small pets (typically less than 50 pounds) so your phone doesn’t blow up every time your dog wakes up from a nap. The camera comes with two-way audio, night vision, and a 120º field of view—so it’s highly versatile for indoor monitoring.
SimpliSafe Doorbell Pro
SimpliSafe’s Doorbell Pro packs a powerful 1080p resolution and a 162º field of view, giving you a wide and clear view of the front of your home. A pan and zoom feature lets you zoom in on important details like license plates and faces. The camera is designed to ignore motion alerts from cars, cutting down on unnecessary notifications. And two-way talk from the app lets you communicate with anyone who comes to your front door while you’re not home.
Camera-based security systems
If you don’t need a full security system and just want to self-monitor, you can opt for camera-based systems. You won’t have the option for professional monitoring or supplementary intrusion sensors, but they’re great if you just want cameras.
Canary is another great option for monitoring multiple surveillance cameras in a single app. You don’t get the same diverse selection as you would with Arlo, but Canary cameras are high quality, and we really like the simplicity of the app for self-monitoring your home.
Security camera FAQs
Do I need cameras with my security system?
You certainly don’t need security cameras to go with your home security system. In fact, forgoing cameras can save you a lot of money if you’re just looking for something simple and affordable.
But if you want a complete security system, you’ll likely want to add indoor and outdoor security cameras. They act as the eyes of your home, giving you a visual on your home and property while you’re not there. And if something goes down, you’ll see it all on camera instead of wondering what set off your security system alarm.
What to look for in a security camera
Nowadays most high-end surveillance cameras offer 1080p resolution. It’s true that 720p cameras can save you some money, but the video quality might feel a touch outdated. We recommend sticking with 1080p or better—some camera manufacturers are even coming out with 4K resolution.
The other big factor to look at is field of view. If you want to monitor your backyard with only one security camera, a wider FOV will show you more of your property in your video feed. It’s pretty standard to see security cameras with fields of view ranging anywhere from 110º to 180º.
You should also consider the power source. Do you want to opt for wireless security cameras that give you more placement flexibility? Or would you rather buy a wired security camera that won’t require any recharging or new batteries? Make sure you consider the pros and cons of each before you make any decisions.
Indoor vs. outdoor security cameras
Indoor and outdoor security cameras have a few key differences. The main difference is that outdoor security cameras are built with weather resistance in mind to handle rain, snow, heat, and cold. We don’t recommend using an indoor camera for outdoor use unless it’s specified that the camera can handle inclement outdoor conditions.
Unless you want something really cheap and simple, you’re best off getting a home security system with a solid camera selection. The security systems above should give you plenty of options to choose a quality security system for your needs.
- Vivint: Go with Vivint if you’re not afraid to spend more on cutting-edge cameras and equipment.
- Frontpoint: We really like Frontpoint’s camera only option if you want a self-monitored system with unlimited cameras and storage.
- Link Interactive: Get Link Interactive if you want the widest selection of security cameras on the market.
- SimpliSafe: Go with SimpliSafe if you want flexible monitoring and a simple but high-quality camera selection