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The best outdoor security cameras to protect your home

Whether you're looking for a cheap security cameras or a wireless option, the best outdoor security cameras offer motion detection, night vision, and more features to deter intruders.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer and  Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
EufyCam 3 | Best outdoor security camera overall
eufycam-3-2-pack-with-homebase-3
EufyCam 3
Best outdoor security camera overall
View now View at Amazon
Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Plus | Best mid-tier outdoor security camera
Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Plus on grey background
Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Plus
Best mid-tier outdoor security camera
View now View at Ring
Wyze Cam v3 | Best budget outdoor security camera
wyze-cam-v3
Wyze Cam v3
Best budget outdoor security camera
View now View at Amazon
Arlo Pro 5S | Best outdoor security camera for night surveillance
Arlo Pro 5S
Arlo Pro 5S
Best outdoor security camera for night surveillance
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Ezviz C3TN | Best outdoor security camera with no subscription
Ezviz Outdoor Camera
Ezviz C3TN
Best outdoor security camera with no subscription
View now View at Amazon
Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera Security Bundle | Best outdoor security camera for large zones
arlo-pro-4-spotlight-camera-security-bundle
Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera Security Bundle
Best outdoor security camera for large zones
View now View at Amazon
Show more (1 item)

Effective home security starts outside of your property. Whether you need to keep tabs on visitors, check on your kids while they play in the yard, or figure out who's eating your fresh garden vegetables, a good outdoor security camera is a must.

As the basis of your home's entire security system, an outdoor security camera can keep you aware of your home's surroundings. Today's systems provide features like motion detection alerts sent to your phone, motion-based floodlights, sirens, and two-way talk to deter unwanted visitors. 

Also: The best home security cameras you can buy

ZDNET has tested and researched many outdoor security cameras on the market. Our pick for the best outdoor security camera overall is the EufyCam 3. The EufyCam 3 is a great starter camera to help you build an excellent home security system that you can continue expanding with additional products in the future. Plus, with storage that is expandable to up to 16TB, you never have to worry about monthly fees or subscriptions.

We have found the best outdoor security cameras available right now and some deals you shouldn't miss. 

The best outdoor security cameras of 2024

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Completely wireless
  • No monthly fees
  • 4K video resolution
Cons
  • Tilting and positioning can be tricky
  • Requires solar energy
  • Expensive
  • HomeBase needed
More Details

EufyCam 3 features: 4K resolution | IR and color night vision | Solar power | Expandable 16GB local storage | IP67 weather resistance | Two-way audio 

Eufy Security is known for selling full security systems with no monthly fees and is a great option if you want to avoid signing up for a subscription.

The EufyCam 3 is the overall best outdoor security camera because it combines wire-free technology, solar power (two hours of sunlight required), 4K resolution video, and wide-angle viewing. 

Also: Eufy's new smart security cameras do things that Amazon's can't

The cameras also employ BionicMind AI technology, which intelligently differentiates motion from humans, animals, and vehicles, as well as face recognition to inform you who is approaching your home. Plus, the cameras only need a couple of hours of sunlight daily for solar power, so you'll never need to manually charge them.

The cameras pair with the HomeBase 3 for local footage storage, and there aren't any subscription fees to access your feed. It's saved right in the hub with no strings attached.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Built-in siren
  • Motion detection
  • Floodlight
  • Stylish
Cons
  • Wired
  • Installation might be challenging
More Details

Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Plus features: Motion detection | 1080p HD video recording | Siren | Floodlight | Two-way talk

Some outdoor cameras on the market provide improved video quality over this model. Still, the Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Plus is currently our top pick as a mid-tier, relatively affordable outdoor security solution (especially if you can purchase during sales events).

The Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Plus offers users 1080p HD video recording, motion detection and motion-activated alarms, day and night color vision, a 105dB siren, a 2000 lumens floodlight, detection zones, and more, making it suitable for homes or small businesses.

Also: The best home security systems

The downside is that you will need to install this wired model (unless you purchase a plug-in), but this camera is still a great addition to your existing Ring security network. 

Furthermore, discounts are on offer if you purchase a multipack. For example, if you purchase two, you will save $50.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Compact
  • Waterproof
  • Clear night vision
Cons
  • Subscription required to unlock all features
  • Wired
More Details

Wyze Cam v3 features: 1080p video | Color night vision | Wired | Optional subscription | IP65 weather resistant | Two-way audio

This compact security camera is both inexpensive and highly versatile. At only $33, the Wyze Cam v3 is small and waterproof, making it an easy addition to a side yard or porch. These cameras are even popularly used as baby monitors. 

An advantage of Wyze cameras is that you can switch them around for indoor and outdoor placement, depending on where you need coverage. For example, I have one stationed in my barbeque shack to monitor the garden -- and also my equipment when I'm cooking. 

Also: The best cheap home security cameras under $100

Without the monthly subscription, the camera will only record clips over a limited time frame. However, you can subscribe to Cam Plus to unlock advanced features. Plus, the Wyze Cam can record onto a microSD card if you choose to add one. 

Don't let the Wyze Cam's size fool you. The camera's IP65 rating for dust and moisture-proof enables it to withstand rain or shine. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 160-degree wide-angle picture
  • 12x zoom
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi support
Cons
  • Hub required for local storage
  • Subscription required for cloud storage
  • Picture quality is good but not great
More Details

Arlo Pro 5S camera features: 2K resolution | IR & color night vision | Removable rechargeable battery | Hub or subscription for storage | IP64 weather resistant | Two-way audio

The Arlo 5S Pro is a wide-angle, 2K resolution outdoor security camera that allows you to store video recordings in the cloud via subscription or in a separate hub for local storage. This is the newest Arlo camera available, and unlike its predecessor, the Pro 4, it supports both 2.4GHx and 5GHz Wi-Fi networks. 

Also: The best video doorbells

The high-quality IR and color night vision make this wire-free camera stand out from competitors. The camera has a bright, motion-activated spotlight that provides enough lighting for a clear night vision picture -- so you can see details in visitors' faces. 

This camera comes with a rechargeable battery lasting six to eight months on a single charge. It supports two-way audio, SecureLink to keep you covered during Wi-Fi outages with an Arlo Home Security system, and a low-power mode to conserve battery light. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Great resolution
  • No monthly payment necessary
  • Up to 30m night vision
Cons
  • Can have issues connecting to Wi-Fi
  • Must be plugged in
More Details

Ezviz C3TN camera features: 2K resolution | IR & color night vision | Plug-in power | 256GB microSD card or subscription for storage | IP67 weather resistant | Two-way audio

The Ezviz C3TN is an outdoor, 2K security camera with an IP67 waterproof rating. It's excellent at person detection, in my experience, and uses artificial intelligence to correctly discern when a person is detected versus other movements, reducing false alarms.

I love that this camera is inexpensive, at only $50, but you still get a higher-quality image than most Ring cameras. It's also compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Home. 

The only thing I don't like is that it requires a wired connection for power. I like my outdoor cameras to be wireless, as it makes for easy installation, and I'm not a fan of drilling into my brick exterior. But if you don't mind a little extra work at setup or already have somewhere to set this up, it's certainly worth every penny. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Anti-theft mounts
  • Vast protection range
  • Wireless
Cons
  • Expensive outside of sales events
  • Subscription required for full features
More Details

Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera Security Bundle features: 2K HDR video | Integrated spotlight | camera multipack | wireless

The Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera Security Bundle is our top pick if you need to protect a vast amount of outside land. 

Currently on sale for $300 ($300 off), the bundle contains three wireless cameras that can be used indoors or outdoors, three anti-theft mounts, rechargeable batteries, a charging pad, and a yard sign -- useful in itself for potentially deterring unwanted visitors. 

The cameras are capable of day and night recording in color in 2K HDR video. There is a 12x zoom for focusing on detail at a 160º diagonal view.

What is the best outdoor security camera?

The best outdoor security camera on the market right now is the EufyCam 3. Though pricier than other systems, the EufyCam 3 and HomeBase 3 are the basis for an excellent home security system that you can continue to build with more Eufy Security products in the future.

With storage that is expandable to up to 16TB, you never have to worry about monthly fees or subscriptions. You can relax knowing you're protected and that your videos are saved in your home. Plus, the two solar cameras don't need separate batteries or charging. 

Outdoor security camerasBest usePricePower sourceResolutionVideo storage
Ring Floodlight Cam Wired PlusBest mid-tier option$200Wired1080pCloud, subscription
Wyze Cam v3Best for a budget$34Wired1080pmicroSD card (not included)
EufyCam 3Best overall$549Solar power4K16GB local (expandable)
Arlo Pro 5SBest for night vision$250Rechargeable battery2KHub or subscription
Ezviz C3TNBest with no subscription$50Wired2KmicroSD card (not included)
Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera bundleBest for protecting large areas$300Wireless2K HDRCloud, subscription

Which is the right outdoor security camera for you?

An outdoor camera is the foundation for a great security system and can make a significant difference in your and your family's safety. Because of this, choosing the best option for you is crucial.

Our top pick overall is great if you want a robust, energy-efficient outdoor system with great video quality, but different priorities can lead you to an alternative option -- such as easy installation, a lower price point, or a camera best suited for vehicles. 

Here's a guide to help you choose the right outdoor security camera for your circumstances:

Choose this outdoor security camera...If you want...
EufyCam 3A set-it-and-forget-it camera with 4K video and no monthly subscription. Expensive, but a long-term quality investment.
Wyze Cam v3An inexpensive option that you can move anywhere in and around your home -- you could, for example, have one in the backyard and one acting as an indoor baby monitor.
Ring Floodlight Cam Wired PlusTo expand your Ring system with a camera and floodlights. If a siren attached to your outdoor security camera appeals to you, this is the best choice.
Arlo Pro 5SClear, wide-angle images, especially at night. If you want an outdoor camera with great color night vision, this should be your choice.
Ezviz C3TNAn affordable option to surveil outdoor areas day and night with high resolution images. Add a microSD card up to 256GB and bypass any monthly fees.
Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera Security BundleA multipack of indoor or outdoor cameras capable of recording in high resolution across large areas.

How did we choose these outdoor security cameras?

To choose the best security cameras, we considered different needs, price points, and features. 

We've researched and tested many security cameras on the market, and when possible, we've examined products hands-on -- enough to know which are top-performing. Furthermore, we've considered customer reviews, company reputations, and more to recommend the best outdoor security cameras you can rely on.

  • Quality features: We've included outdoor security cameras with a range of quality features, including high video resolution, night vision, two-way audio, sirens, and more.
  • Reliability: A quality outdoor camera requires a reliable connection to its owner, typically through wireless technologies, and must also be weather resistant and able to withstand poor environmental conditions. 
  • Installation: You might want a plug-and-play solution that you can install and forget about, or a camera you can use both inside and outdoors depending on the time of the year. We've included high-end models that need installation and wiring, and wireless options that can be moved around easily. 
  • Affordability: We've included a selection of products that cater to different budgets. You might need a top-spec, high-end camera to cover a lot of ground, or in some cases, a discreet, small camera to protect your porch is enough. 

How do you power an outdoor security camera?

Outdoor cameras can have different power sources: Wired, battery-powered, or solar-powered. 

  • Wired cameras include plugin options, like the Wyze Cam v3. Others may require either wiring with existing home wiring like the Ring Floodlight Cam Pro and Reolink System.
  • Battery-powered cameras may include a rechargeable battery that you only have to charge every few months, like the Arlo Pro 5S. Or, they may use replaceable batteries, as is the case of the Blink Outdoor using AAs. 
  • Solar-powered cameras need a solar panel to work. The panel may be built-in along the top edge of the camera like the EufyCam 3, or exist as a separate panel, like the Foaood Camera has. Separate panels won't blend into your home as easily, but strategically-placed solar-powered cameras mean you never have to worry about charging them or replacing batteries.

What should you consider when choosing a security camera?

Here is a list of elements you should consider before buying your next outdoor security camera system:

  • Night vision: Night vision allows you to see what's happening at night, even in low-light conditions. This technology usually uses infrared LED lights to capture images. Color night vision can work with small motion-activated lights built into the camera, capturing high-quality video even at night. 
  • Motion detection: Motion detection technology recognizes visitors approaching your property, and the camera alerts you of these events via a mobile app or smart device. Ideally, these features include people and animal detection, so you don't receive false alarms whenever the neighbor's cat hangs out on your porch. Package detection is also helpful if you've ever lost a delivery to porch piracy. If you are buying an outdoor security camera on a budget, I would at least make sure you get a camera with motion detection technology. 
  • Ease of installation: A camera that's easy to install is better when you're not particularly handy and don't want to spend extra money on professional help. Consider the differences in installing wireless, wired, or plugin cameras as well as where you want to place the cameras. It's a good idea to check for customer reviews to see how other real-world users fare with installation.
  • Cost: When you buy home surveillance systems, consider more than the price of the camera. You might need to consider additional expenses like professional installation, mount bases, cloud storage, and premium service monthly fees.
  • Audio: Many cameras have two-way audio so that you can talk with visitors or delivery drivers. Keep in mind that although some cameras allow you to record audio, this may violate federal wiretapping laws unless proper signage is posted -- it depends on the state.
  • Field of view: The field of view refers to how much area the camera can cover from a single angle. For outdoor cameras, we prefer a field of view of at least 110 degrees or higher.  
  • Resolution: The higher the resolution of the outdoor camera, the more network bandwidth and space on the cloud or internal storage it will require. A higher resolution allows you to see much more detail, but do consider if your home network and broadband speed can support it, and if you are willing to pay for a more expensive cloud storage service. You should opt for a camera with at least 1080p resolution. 

What is the easiest outdoor security camera to install?

The easiest security camera to install is a wireless option. Though I have used them in the past, I don't like routing wires along my door frames. Trying to figure out the best ways to hide them is a pain, so I prefer the truly wire-free options. 

When it comes to outside options, some products -- including the Ring line -- will come with useful accessories, including pole and gutter mounts. 

How do you find security cameras with no subscriptions?

The key to finding security cameras that don't require a subscription or extra fees lies in storage. A security camera that allows for local storage without restrictions, like an SD Card or hard drive slot, lets you bypass monthly payments, even if they offer optional subscriptions for calling emergency services.

Subscriptions are typically required to pay for cloud services to keep your video recordings. Some cameras only store videos in the cloud, while others have options for both cloud and local, so keep an eye out for that.

You may choose a camera and lack a way to store videos without a subscription. In that case, you'll probably only receive motion notifications on your phone and have access to viewing the live feed -- the camera won't record events.

Are there alternative outdoor security cameras worth considering?

Like many products, security cameras are not one-size-fits-all. Furthermore, we can't highlight every fantastic outdoor security camera and deal on the market. Because of this, we've also gathered some alternative options worth considering:

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