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The best night vision security camera

Here are our top picks for the best night vision security camera in 2021. We have done all the hard work and broken down our pick's best features to make it easy for you to decide on the best option for you.

Not all devices are made equally when it comes to the best night vision security cameras and systems. Some cameras have higher waterproof ratings, farther night vision ranges, and better compatibility. Beyond such features, there can also be a sharp difference in pricing, installation requirements, DIY options, service contracts, and more. We've taken these parameters and compared a variety of cameras to bring you the five best night vision security cameras on the market right now.

Finding the best security camera for your budget and needs is as easy as reading through our comparison guide from the best night vision outdoor security cameras to the cheapest one. Whether the camera is to prevent package theft, keep track of your teen's comings and goings, or deter trespassers, these nighttime security cameras can deliver.

Here's a summary of our top picks for the best night vision security camera:

Product

Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

Zmodo Indoor/Outdoor WiFi Camera

Reolink Argus 2

Swann Bullet NVR Security Camera

Arlo Ultra

Starting Price

$399

$40

$95

$99.99

$400

Indoor/Outdoor

Outdoor

Both

Both

Both

Both

Video Quality

1080p

1080p

1080p

1080p

1080p – 4k

Field of View

130°

90°

130°

75°

180°

Type of Night Vision Technology

Infrared

Infrared

Infrared

Infrared & Thermal

Infrared

Audio

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Video Storage

Cloud – $0-$12 a month

Cloud – $0-$4.99 a month

Card & Cloud – $0-$10.49 a month

Internal & Cloud – $4.99-$14.99 a month

Internal & Cloud – $2.99-$14.99

Smart Platform

App

App

App

App

App

Other Unique Features

·Close up tracking view· Up to zoom 12x and enhance

· Motion zones· Schedules

· Starlight sensor technology· Solar power option

·Combines heat-sensing with infrared vision

·4k resolution capabilities, custom activity zones

Information accurate as of 11/06/2020

Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor:

Best all-around night vision security camera

google-nest-cam-iq-outdoor.jpg
CNET

Pros:

  • Close up tracking view
  • Wide field of view
  • Up to 12x zoom and enhance

Cons:

  • Costly
  • Outdoor only
  • No local storage

Pricing

The Google Nest Cam IQ starts at $399, placing it within the highest price range of our list. This camera includes nearly everything you'll need to install it, including wall mounts, indoor and outdoor power cables, adapters, screw kits, hex keys, cable clips, and an installation guide. Depending on where you wish to install the camera, you may need to supply your own drill and screwdriver.

The Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a two-year warranty. While the camera itself has no trial period, users get a 30-day free trial of the Nest Aware expanded monitoring service.

Installation

For those with experience, a DIY installation of the Google Nest Cam IQ is possible. However, this installation does require drilling through a wall and running a power cable from outside to an indoor socket. It is possible to avoid drilling by instead running the power cord through a window. For those who wish to power the camera from an outdoor socket, a weatherproof power adapter can be purchased separately for $49.

Why we chose it

The Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor made the list thanks to its quality of production and its features. This camera offers consistent 1080p HD video quality, can handle temperature ranges from -40° to 113°F, and uses infrared sensors for night vision. It also has a wide-angle field of view at 130°, two-way audio, and an automatic zoom and tracking with up to 12x digital zoom and enhance.

One of the few setbacks this camera presents is that it offers no local or card storage options. Without one of the Nest Aware service plans, camera owners are limited to live feed and the last three hours of cloud-recorded video.

Zmodo Indoor/Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera

Best budget night vision option

zmodo.jpg
Walmart

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Motion zones
  • Schedules

Cons:

  • No local storage
  • Limited field of view
  • Low-definition motion alert pictures

Pricing

When it comes to high-quality, budget-friendly cameras, the Zmodo Indoor/Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera tops the list with its mere $60 price tag. The camera only comes with a power supply and an instruction manual. However, as long as you have access to a power drill and screwdriver, you should not have to purchase any extra accessories to install it.

The Zmodo has an IP65 weatherproof rating, a 90° field of view, and a 65-foot view range. It also includes a one-year limited warranty and free access to the last 12 hours of video stored in the cloud from your camera.

Installation

DIY installation of the Zmodo Indoor/Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera is possible, but you may benefit from professional installation. While the camera uses a wireless video feed, it still depends on wired access to electricity for power. If installed outdoors, it will require drilling a hole through the wall so you can run the power cable from the camera into the house to plug it in. All external parts and connections must be weatherproofed to avoid potential malfunction. For those who want professional installation, local hardware stores and contractors should be able to help.

Why we chose it

The Zmodo Indoor/Outdoor WiFi Camera made our list as the best budget night vision security camera. With features like a 65-foot range, 1080p video quality, a 90° field of view, custom schedules, and motion zones, this camera packs quite a kick for its price tag. The free 12 hours of video storage and one-year warranty are just icing on the cake.

Not surprisingly, the budget-friendly nature of this camera does mean a few desirable features are missing, such as two-way audio and the option for local storage. However, Zmodo does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on top of its one-year limited warranty.

Reolink Argus 2

Best wireless night vision technology

reolink-argus-2.jpg
Amazon

Pros:

  • Starlight night vision technology
  • Solar power option

Cons:

  • No professional monitoring
  • Limited range of view

Pricing

The Reolink Argus 2 features some of the most impressive night vision technology of any of the cameras on our list despite its moderate price tag of $85. While you may need a drill and screwdriver to complete installation, the package includes wall mounts, cables, an installation guide, and other accessories for installation. Thanks to its ' starlight ' sensor technology, this camera features a limited view distance, but it still delivers very well on high-quality images in low-light settings.

While there's no option for professional monitoring, the Argus 2 comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a two-year warranty. 

Installation

Installation of the Reolink Argus 2 is relatively easy since it's designed to be completely wire-free, meaning no cables are needed for the video feed or power supply. As a result, installing this camera is as simple as attaching a wall mount, anchoring the camera to the mount, and connecting the device to your WiFi. The camera is powered through your choice of a rechargeable battery or solar panel.

Why we chose it

The Reolink Argus 2 offers superior technology and features for its price. 1080p video quality and a 130° field of view help offset this camera's relatively short view range. It also includes two-way audio, and it can capture high-quality night photos thanks to its CMOS 'starlight' sensor technology. However, the camera's 'starlight' night vision has a range of only 33 feet at night.

While the camera doesn't have built-in local storage, it is designed to accommodate a microSD card, which can be purchased separately. This camera is compatible with Google Home but has limited compatibility with other third-party apps and devices.

Swann Bullet NVR Security Camera

Best combination of night vision technologies

swann.png
Swann

Pros:

  • Heat and motion detection
  • 115ft view range
  • Combines infrared with thermal technologies

Cons:

  • Limited field of view
  • Limited compatibility with third-party software and devices

Pricing

At under $100, the Swann Bullet NVR Security Camera features a fairly middle-of-the-road price tag for this list. This price is only for the camera and not the NVR system. Despite its average price, this camera boasts some excellent features, including a 115ft view distance, two-way audio, IP65 weatherproofing, and a combination of low-light and infrared night vision technologies. However, the basic camera includes few accessories and does not serve as a standalone system. The Swann Bullet NVR Security Camera is designed to work with the Swann NVR system, which can be purchased separately or as part of a bundle.

While it doesn't offer professional monitoring, Swann goes the extra mile by combining infrared and low-light technology to deliver color images any time, anywhere. Swann also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty.

Installation

Installation may require drilling through a wall so that you can run the camera's power cable through it. Alternatives include installing it inside or running the line through a window. Beyond that, installation is relatively easy, only requiring you to screw the camera to the wall. The video feed is entirely wireless, adding to the ease of installation.

Why we chose it

The Swann Bullet NVR Security Camera boasts some of the most impressive night vision technology on our list, combining infrared night vision, low-light vision, and thermal vision. While the Swann has a limited field of view at just 75°, it has a good view range of 115 feet. This camera also offers 1080p video quality and both heat and motion detection. Plus, it comes with two-way audio and seven days of local video storage.

Despite its many excellent features and reasonable price tag, the Swann Bullet NVR can end up being more expensive than it appears due to limited compatibility with third-party apps and devices, as well as the camera's dependency on an NVR system to fully work.

Arlo Ultra

Best overall feature set

arlo-ultra.jpg
Amazon

Pros:

  • Wide field of view at 180°
  • 300 ft range of view
  • 4k resolution capabilities
  • Automatic tracking
  • Good compatibility

Cons:

  • High price point
  • 4k resolution requires a service plan

Pricing

The Arlo Ultra delivers a hefty suite of features for a premium price of $400. This camera features a 180° field of view, a 300-foot range of view, IP65 weatherproof rating, two-way audio, 4k video resolution capabilities, and automatic tracking and zooming. It also includes one year of the Arlo Smart Premier monitoring service.

The camera comes with wall mounts and a screw kit. Extra accessories are not needed, but access to a power drill and screwdriver may be necessary depending on where you wish to install the camera. Arlo offers a one-year limited hardware warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Installation

Installation of the Arlo Ultra is easy thanks to its use of a magnetic mounting system. The wall mount needs to be attached to the wall with screws, and then the camera connects to the mount using magnets. This camera is wire-free, so you won't need to drill holes for power or video cables. Instead, the camera can be removed and recharged when the battery runs low. The battery holds a charge for 3-6 months, on average. The Arlo Ultra is compatible with Amazon Alexa and the Apple Home kit.

Why we chose it

The Arlo Ultra comes at a steep price, but it boasts some of the most impressive features that we've seen in night vision security cameras. These features include 4k video resolution capabilities, a 180° field of view, a 300-foot range of view, automatic tracking, third-party compatibility, color images during night and day, and an integrated spotlight.

Unfortunately, there are some caveats. The incredible 4k resolution isn't fully available without an Arlo service plan. Without the plan, you can stream your video feed in 4k on your local network, but it requires the service plan to stream at that quality from elsewhere. The service plan is also necessary if you wish to record at 4k video quality.

What are the best night vision cameras?

Because there's often a tradeoff between price and features, it's hard to pick just one camera as the best night vision camera. However, the five reviewed in this article are all top contenders for that spot. Each was picked for being the best at what it does, whether that be the best budget night vision camera or the night vision camera with the best all-around features.

How do night vision cameras work?

It depends on the integrated technology, but many night vision cameras use specialized lights and sensors. For instance, an infrared security camera may feature infrared LED lights to cast the light and a specialized infrared sensor to "see" that light.

How much do night vision cameras cost?

Price points for night vision security cameras vary widely, with our top night vision security camera reviews ranging from $40 to $400. Once you look beyond single cameras into the full suite of equipment that many of these companies offer, those price ranges can climb even higher.