Best Outdoor Security Cameras of 2020

Best Overall
Arlo Pro 3
 
$499.99*
Pro Bullet Easy setup and mobility
Pro Bullet 7 days of free cloud storage
Con Bullet Base station required
Best Budget Pick
Blink XT2
 
$99.99*
Pro Bullet Affordable and lightweight
Pro Bullet 2 hours of free video cloud storage
Con Bullet No continuous recording
Best for Alexa
Ring Stick Up Cam Battery
 
$99.99
Pro Bullet Affordable cloud storage
Pro Bullet No hub required
Con Bullet No free cloud storage
Best for Google Assistant
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
 
$399.99
Pro Bullet Familiar face detection
Pro Bullet Intuitive app interface
Con Bullet No wireless option
Best Splurge-Worthy Upgrade
Arlo Ultra
 
$598.90*
Pro Bullet 4K video resolution
Pro Bullet Color night vision
Con Bullet High price tag
*Amazon.com prices as of 10/08/2019 at 9:47 a.m. (MST).
We recommend Ring products in this review but have updated it to reflect recent security breaches. See our Stick Up Cam Battery review below for more details.

Overview
There are so many reasons to like outdoor security cameras, but the biggest by far is that they’re weatherproof. They can handle the moisture, dust, and temperatures that don’t play nice with electronics.

On top of weatherproofing, outdoor cameras also boast clear night vision and motion detection to help you watch over your home any time of day.

But how do you choose the right one? Read our reviews to find the best outdoor security cameras for your home.

The best outdoor security cameras


Compare outdoor security cameras

If you’re serious about security, you’ll probably want at least two outdoor security cameras: one for each of your home’s entrances. Multiple cameras are especially important if you have a side door or backyard. With that in mind, the table below lists the price for two cameras.

*Amazon.com prices as of 10/08/2019 at 9:47 a.m. (MST).
Note: We’ve included the standard list price, but you can often find these cameras at discounted prices.

Arlo Pro 3

Best overall
Arlo Pro 3
 
$499.99
    Size
    3.5 x 2.0 x 3.0 in.
    Weight
    0.7 lbs.
    Resolution
    2K
    Field of view
    160°
    Operating temperature
    -4°F to 113°F
    Power
    Battery life up to 6 months
    Audio
    Two-way communication
    Warranty
    1 year

    *Amazon.com prices as of 10/08/2019 at 9:47 a.m. (MST).

    Arlo Pro 3 pros and cons

    Pros
    • Pro Bullet7 days of free cloud storage
    • Pro BulletWireless design for easy setup and mobility
    • Pro BulletCompatibility with Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT
    • Pro BulletSpace for USB drive/local storage on the base station
    Cons
    • Con BulletBase station required
    • Con BulletSome features available only indoors

    Why we recommend the Arlo Pro 3

    The Arlo Pro 3 tops this list because its wireless design makes it flexible enough to install anywhere you need it. While it doesn’t have advanced facial recognition software like the Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, it’s more affordable, costing around $150 less per camera.

    We also like that Arlo gives you seven days of video history for free, which is more than any other outdoor security camera brand we looked at.

    Features and flaws

    Arlo Pro 3 cameras offer precisely what you’d expect from a quality outdoor security camera: a motion sensor, infrared night vision, two-way audio, a mobile app, and a weatherproof design. While you can get these same features with the other cameras on this list, we think that the Arlo Pro 3 hits the right notes with its price and high-quality video to top the competition.

    With its 2K video resolution, the Arlo Pro 3 has better video quality than every camera we reviewed, except the Arlo Ultra, which has 4K video. While 2K video isn’t a huge increase like 4K, it still fits more detail in your videos.

    If you want 30 days of video storage, you can subscribe to Arlo Smart for $2.99 a month per camera. This is one penny less than Ring’s subscription plan and $2 less than Google Nest’s cheapest plan. Overall it’s the most affordable cloud storage we’ve seen for outdoor surveillance cameras.

    Other than more video storage, the paid plan gives you better motion detection through custom zones and advanced AI detection, so the camera’s more likely to spot people in its field of view.

    The Arlo Pro 3 has a magnetic charge cable (unfortunately, you can only use it indoors). This is especially helpful since you don’t have to take the camera off the wall (provided it’s close enough to an outlet) and fiddle with a USB cable. There’s an added layer of protection since the cable won’t pull the camera off the wall if someone snags the cable accidentally.

    Arlo sells a few useful accessories to help you use the camera outdoors without charging the battery too often: a 25-foot outdoor cable, extra batteries, and a solar panel.

    We like that the Arlo Pro 3 works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant so that you can view the video on devices like the Amazon Echo Show and Google Nest Hub.

    All of Arlo’s wireless security cameras require a base station to operate. This helps keep the cameras relatively small and light. It also has the added benefit of letting you connect a USB drive to store videos locally without an internet connection.

    ASecureLife’s recommendation: The Arlo Pro 3 is a capable outdoor security camera that you can place anywhere thanks to a wireless design. Its free cloud storage handily beats the competition, making the Arlo Pro 3 a good option if you don’t want to pay for a monthly subscription.

    >>Shop Now

    >>Learn about other Arlo security cameras in our full review.


    Blink XT2

    Best budget pick
    Blink XT2
     
    $99.99
      Size
      2.8 x 2.8 x 1.4 in.
      Weight
      0.2 lbs.
      Resolution
      1080p
      Field of view
      110°
      Operating temperature
      -4°F to 113°F
      Power
      Battery life up to 2 years
      Audio
      Two-way communication
      Warranty
      1 year

      *Amazon.com prices as of 10/08/2019 at 9:47 a.m. (MST).

      Blink XT2 pros and cons

      Pros
      • Pro BulletWireless design for easy setup
      • Pro BulletAffordable price
      • Pro Bullet2-year battery life
      • Pro BulletCustom schedules
      • Pro BulletSmall and discreet—super lightweight
      • Pro BulletFree cloud storage for two hours of video
      • Pro BulletAlexa compatibility
      Cons
      • Con BulletNarrow field of view compared to higher-priced competitors
      • Con BulletNo continuous recording
      • Con BulletAnnoying livestreaming interface
      • Con BulletBase station required

      Why we recommend the Blink XT2

      The Blink XT2 is budget-friendly in two ways: the camera itself is affordable, and it comes with free cloud storage. For such a low price, you shouldn’t expect the Blink XT2 to outperform any of the other outdoor cameras on this list.

      But at about half the price, it’s a great deal on a dependable little security camera. It’s also wireless so that you can set it up almost anywhere. Plus, its black exterior and small size mean the Blink XT2 is an excellent option if you want a discreet security camera.

      Features and flaws

      The Blink XT2 has a good video resolution of 1080p, which matches most other outdoor security cameras, though the field of view is narrower than we’d like. It even has a built-in speaker for two-way audio so you can speak with visitors near your camera (something the original Blink XT lacked).

      Battery life on the Blink XT2 is about two years, longer than other outdoor cameras, though this goes down the more you use two-way audio and stream live video.

      A tale of three brands
      By The Numbers

      Amazon owns three security camera brands: Blink, Ring, and Amazon Cloud Cam. While each brand is compatible with Amazon Alexa, they function independently and are not compatible with each other.

      There are drawbacks with such a low price. The livestreaming interface won’t let you watch for more than 30 seconds without asking if you want to keep watching. Sure, it helps save battery life, but it’s still inconvenient.

      Blink’s free cloud storage is likewise limited. The Blink XT2 saves the video in short clips up to 60 seconds long, depending on the settings you use. You can record up to two hours of security footage (likely more than you would ever care to watch). When the cloud storage is full, it automatically deletes the oldest clips to make room for new ones.

      This camera is compatible with Alexa devices like the Echo Spot and Echo Show, which you can use to watch video clips and get notifications about motion near the camera. Although these Alexa features are helpful, we think that Ring is a better option for Alexa users since it doesn’t have the same restrictions on livestreaming.

      ASecureLife’s recommendation: If you’d like a small, wireless, weatherproof security camera, the Blink XT2 is a solid, low-cost choice.

      >>View on Amazon

      >>Learn more about Blink security cameras in our full review.


      Ring Stick Up Cam Battery

      Best for Alexa
      Ring Stick Up Cam Battery
       
      $99.99
        Size
        3.8 x 2.4 x 2.4 in.
        Weight
        Not listed
        Resolution
        1080p
        Field of view
        130°
        Operating temperature
        -5°F to 122°F
        Power
        Battery life up to 1 year
        Audio
        Two-way communication
        Warranty
        1 year

        *Prices as of 10/08/2019 at 9:47 a.m. (MST).

        Ring Stick Up Cam Battery pros and cons

        Pros
        • Pro BulletAffordable camera
        • Pro BulletNo base station required
        • Pro BulletAffordable cloud storage plans with some serious benefits
        • Pro BulletAlexa compatibility
        Cons
        • Con BulletNo cloud recordings without a subscription

        Why we recommend the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery

        The Ring Stick Up Cam Battery is one of the best outdoor cameras to use if you have a smart home that revolves around Amazon Alexa. It works with various Amazon Echo products to give you live video and audio notifications.

        While most other cameras on this list also work with Amazon Alexa, we like that Ring’s an Amazon company so it’s more likely to work seamlessly with Alexa than non-Amazon cameras. Yes, Blink is also an Amazon company, but Ring edges it out with better hardware and streaming options.

        Lightbulb
        Avoiding breaches

        With any device connected to the internet, you risk security breaches. Some Ring users have reported strangers accessing camera feeds and two-way communication. Ring told ASecureLife that such breaches are due to poor security practices.  

        It recommends using strong (and unique) passwords, changing passwords frequently, enabling two-factor authentication, and adding other users instead of sharing credentials. We continue to recommend Ring products and echo this advice.

        Features and flaws

        In many ways, the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery is a better security camera than the Blink XT2. It costs about the same, connects directly to your Wi-Fi network without a hub, and doesn’t have any restrictions on streaming live video.

        The biggest drawback of the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery is that it doesn’t have free cloud storage like Blink does. Because you pay a subscription fee, the ongoing costs eventually make it too expensive to be our budget pick.

        Without a subscription, you can’t view anything but the camera’s live video feed. You’ll get a notification if there’s activity in front of the camera, but you have to check the live video right away.

        Despite the extra monthly costs, the Ring Protect video storage subscription is one of the best among security cameras, outdoor or otherwise. You get 60 days of video history for $3 a month for one camera, which is more generous than the 30 days you get from Arlo for the same price.

        If you upgrade to the pricier Ring Protect Plus plan for $10 a month, you get a lot of benefits. These benefits include unlimited cameras in your home, an extended warranty, discounts in the Ring store, and professional security monitoring for the Ring Alarm security system. Ring’s professional monitoring alone is one of the best deals in home security.

        ASecureLife’s recommendation: The Ring Stick Up Cam Battery is a great alternative to the Blink XT2 and a fine addition to any Alexa-powered smart home. While the paid video storage makes it more expensive in the long run, we think it’s one of the best values for cloud storage.

        >>Shop Now

        >>Learn more about what works with Ring.


        Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

        Best for Google Assistant
        Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
         
        $399.99
          Size
          3.7 x 3.7 x 5.0 in.
          Weight
          1.25 lbs.
          Resolution
          1080p
          Field of view
          130°
          Operating temperature
          -40°F to 113°F
          Power
          Wired (has to be plugged into an indoor outlet)
          Audio
          Two-way communication
          Warranty
          1 year

          *Prices as of 10/08/2019 at 9:47 a.m. (MST).

          Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor pros and cons

          Pros
          • Pro Bullet1080p HD video resolution
          • Pro Bullet4K image sensor
          • Pro BulletFamiliar face detection
          • Pro Bullet25-foot power cable
          • Pro BulletNo base station required
          Cons
          • Con BulletNo wireless option
          • Con BulletHigh price tag

          Why we recommend the Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

          The Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has some of the most advanced features available in a security camera. It’s the only camera on this list made by Google, which makes it an ideal choice for a Google Assistant-centric smart home.

          The Nest Cam IQ’s facial recognition technology goes beyond the typical “person detection” of some other security cameras. It can track familiar faces like your family and friends, which lets you customize mobile app alerts to highlight or ignore specific individuals.

          Features and flaws

          The Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is impressive. We almost chose it for our upgrade pick but ruled it out because its free video history options are minimal compared to Arlo. It’s also the most expensive camera on our list.

          The Nest IQ has the Arlo Ultra beat on one front: with an operating temperature of -40°F to 113°F, it can withstand the extreme cold better than most. (Almost every other outdoor camera bottoms out at -4°F.)

          As we noted in our review of the best security cameras, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has 1080p video resolution with the ability to capture still images in 4K resolution. While this is a disadvantage against true 4K security cameras like the Arlo Ultra when it comes to overall quality, it won’t strain your internet connection with data-hungry 4K video.

          Unlike the other cameras on this list, there’s not a battery-powered Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, so you can’t install it too far from a power outlet. Luckily, the camera includes a very long power cable—25-feet long—so you’re not limited to mounting the camera next to your front door. There is an advantage to requiring a power cable: you don’t have to charge the camera.

          Lock it down
          How To

          If you’re worried about someone simply unplugging the Google Nest Cam IQ from its outlet, you should consider getting an outlet cover you can secure with a padlock. You can also get a cable raceway to protect the cable against cutting attacks.

          ASecureLife’s recommendation: The Google Nest Cam IQ is arguably the most advanced outdoor security camera on the market. It’s a great fit for any home, especially if you use Google Assistant.

          >>Shop Now

          >>Learn more about Google Nest’s outdoor cameras in our full review.


          Arlo Ultra

          Best splurge-worthy upgrade
          Arlo Ultra
           
          $598.90
            Size
            3.5 x 2.0 x 3.0 in.
            Weight
            0.73 lbs.
            Resolution
            4K
            Field of view
            180°
            Operating temperature
            -4°F to 140°F
            Power
            Battery life up to 6 months
            Audio
            Two-way communication
            Warranty
            1 year

            *Amazon.com prices as of 10/08/2019 at 9:47 a.m. (MST).

            Arlo Ultra pros and cons

            Pros
            • Pro BulletHigher resolution than almost any other consumer security camera
            • Pro BulletHDR software for clearer video picture
            • Pro BulletMuch wider FOV than standard
            • Pro BulletWireless design for easy installation
            • Pro BulletColor night vision
            • Pro BulletCustom activity zones
            • Pro BulletFree year of Arlo Smart included with purchase
            Cons
            • Con BulletBase station required
            • Con BulletHigh price tag

            Why we recommend the Arlo Ultra

            You probably don’t need everything you get with an Arlo Ultra camera—but damn, it’s cool.

            If you’ve got a bit of extra cash to spend, we think you’ll get what you pay for. The Arlo Ultra costs around $600 for a set of two cameras ($300 each), which is about $100 cheaper than two of the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.

            Features and flaws

            With a superwide lens, 4K video, and HDR, the Ultra is more or less unrivaled in the consumer security camera space. This camera can simply show you more.

            The visuals aren’t the only impressive thing about the Ultra: it’s also got two-way communication with noise-canceling to keep the sound clear, a motion-activated spotlight, and a siren to help scare off unwanted intruders.

            Plus, it’s compatible with more third-party platforms than many other cameras. The Arlo Ultra works with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Apple Watch.

            Arlo Smart

            Arlo currently offers customers a free year of Arlo Smart with the purchase of an Ultra. It adds the following perks:

            • Distinct object detection: receive separate notifications for people, animals, vehicles, and packages.
            • Custom activity zones: get alerts when motion occurs in specific, hand-selected areas.
            • Emergency call service: gives you the option to send emergency responders straight to your home when you get a mobile notification.

            ASecureLife’s recommendation: We’re excited about all the high-end tech and handy features offered by the Arlo Ultra. If your budget has some extra wiggle room, you’ll have one of the latest, greatest outdoor security cameras on the market.

            >>View on Amazon

            >>Learn about other Arlo security cameras in our full review.


            How we chose

            To choose the cameras on this list, we looked at the top sellers at online retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Home Depot. Rather than include every outdoor camera under the sun, we identified five categories that mattered and found the top representatives of each category, as well as three honorable mentions. We also checked to see if there were new versions of cameras from our previous update of this article.

            We also considered specific factors in each camera’s design that, in our experience, are essential to every outdoor camera:

            Weatherproofing

            Weatherproofing makes a camera more durable by adding rubber seals in places otherwise vulnerable to water and dust. All of the cameras we selected meet this requirement so you can use them under a variety of weather conditions.

            IP codes
            Protip

            Some manufacturers list an International Protection Rating (IP Code) to show how resistant the unit is to solids and liquids. For example, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has a rating of IP66, meaning it’s impervious to dust (the first digit) and resistant against powerful water jets (the second digit).1

            Price

            We purposefully selected cameras with different prices to accommodate a variety of budgets and to show you what to expect at different pricing tiers.

            None of the cameras on this list costs more than $400 per camera. Arlo’s cameras come in only sets of two but still hold to the cost-per-camera limit.

            Video resolution

            All of the latest outdoor security cameras come with an HD video resolution of 1080p or higher, so we set this as our minimum standard and excluded models with 720p resolution or lower.

            Power source: wireless vs. wired

            The best wireless security cameras give you the freedom to place a camera for the best view, so most of our top picks don’t use a power cord (especially since some power cords are laughably short).

            We made one exception to the battery-powered rule with the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor and its 25-foot cable. It’s a good alternative for people who don’t want to swap or recharge batteries every few months.

            Mobile app and Wi-Fi connection

            We made sure all of the cameras we chose have Wi-Fi connectivity so the camera can upload its video to the cloud. You can view video footage anywhere in the world using a camera’s mobile app on your smartphone.

            Types of cameras we left off this list

            Video doorbells

            We didn’t include any doorbell cameras since they’re a separate category of outdoor camera. They’re great for watching over your home from the front or back door, but don’t work in other locations like standard security cameras.

            >>Read our full review to learn more about the best video doorbells.

            CCTV camera systems

            CCTV camera systems are one of the most cost-effective ways to add a lot of security cameras to your home. These systems usually come with multiple cameras that connect to a video recorder inside your home.

            Unfortunately, they can be a bit difficult to set up since they require individual power cables for each camera. If you’re up to the challenge of installing a CCTV camera system, they’re worth considering.

            >>Read our full review to learn more about the best CCTV systems.

            Long history
            Take Note

            CCTV cameras are the oldest type of security camera, with origins dating as far back as the 1920s. Learn more by reading about the history of security cameras.

            Learn more


            Other brands we considered

            Although there’s a huge selection of outdoor security cameras, some products don’t make the top rankings. Here are a few notable brands with excellent cameras in their own right, despite our nitpicks.

            Logitech Circle 2

            The Logitech Circle 2 is a popular security camera with many reviewers, and some will disagree with our choice to leave it out of our top five. Ultimately, we left it out because Arlo has better customer reviews and more free video history.

            But the Logitech Circle 2 is still a great camera with a remarkably wide field of view—180° as opposed to the standard 130°. It’s priced affordably and comes in a wired or wireless version. While it isn’t our favorite, it’s a serious contender.

            Kasa Cam Outdoor

            The Kasa Cam Outdoor is a great budget camera you can get for less than $100 and has an impressive two-year warranty. Nest is the only other brand that offers as much coverage.

            What we didn’t like about Kasa is that its free cloud storage option has an expiration date. After two years, you need to upgrade to a paid plan to keep your recordings. We like to think of it as the longest free trial in the industry.

            Canary

            Canary makes only a single outdoor security camera: the Canary Flex. It’s a good camera, but we found it didn’t perform as well as Canary’s wired models in tests. Strangely, Canary ties its two-way audio to a paid subscription. Most other brands include this feature for free, so it’s not the best option if you want two-way communication.


            Our recommendation

            We think that all of the outdoor security cameras on our list will do the job of helping you watch over your home. That said, each camera has strengths that might meet your needs more than other units.

            • If you want a capable outdoor security camera with one of the best free cloud storage plans, go for the Arlo Pro 3.
            • If you’re on a tight budget, take a gander at the Blink XT2.
            • If you want affordable premium cloud storage, pick up a Ring Stick Up Cam Battery.
            • If you want advanced facial recognition and seamless Google Assistant compatibility, think Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.
            • If you want 4K video resolution and a free year of premium cloud storage, consider splurging on an Arlo Ultra.

            Want to see how the best outdoor security cameras stack up against indoor models? Read our security camera reviews.

            Are you looking for a home security system with security cameras? Check out our review of the best home security camera systems.

            Contributing author: Brianna Jensen


            Sources:

            1. DSM&T Co. Inc., “IP Rating Chart
            Images of Arlo and Ring products sourced from Arlo.com and Ring.com.