Best outdoor smart home cameras 2020

(Pocket-lint) – When it comes to choosing a camera to watch over your home remotely, you’re spoilt for choice nowadays. In fact, there are increasingly two big categories to choose between – after all, many home security cameras are naturally indoor cameras. If you’re looking for an outdoors camera, though, with the hardiness to stand up to adverse weather, there are numerous options too.

If you’re wanting to keep an eye on the area in front of your home, perhaps to check up on an alleyway or similar, or have a camera focusing on your garden and your back door, you’re in luck. Here’s our guide to the best outdoor cameras around. 


Nest Cam IQ Outdoor


The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is for outdoor use only, sitting alongside the Nest Cam IQ which is designed for indoor use. There is also the older Nest Cam Outdoor to consider if you want a cheaper alternative from Nest for outdoor use. The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is IP66 rated and capable of resisting temperatures from -40°C to 45°C. This is a wired camera that needs power from inside your home, but it offers secure wiring options directly through the backplate to avoid exposing the wires. 

It records continuously at 1080p resolution day or night and will send notifications if it detects movement, sound, someone talking or people. A large and powerful two-way communication system allows you to talk to visitors or scare off intruders, and there is a Supersight zoom feature that will track and follow people as they approach your home.

Without a Nest Aware subscription, you’ll be able to see activity from the last three hours and get alerts for motion and person detection. With the subscription, you’ll get up to 30 days footage, as well as other benefits including the ability to download important footage, more intelligent alerts, familiar face detection and other features such as activity zones and clips.


Ring Floodlight Cam


Ring is perhaps best known for its video doorbells but the company also offers an outdoor smart camera that includes powerful floodlights, a loud alarm and an ultrawide angle motion detection system. 

The Ring Floodlight Cam is capable of differentiating between objects and people with a passive infrared sensor system that’s clever enough to detect objects, cars and animals within the vicinity. It also allows you to adjust these settings to your own needs. Like other cameras on this list, the Ring Floodlight Cam also includes intelligent motion zone settings and the ability to record 1080p video day and night. 

Access to recorded footage requires a monthly subscription at a small additional cost but with floodlights, an alarm system and two-way audio, this camera is a brilliant option for those looking for a deterrent based smart home camera. 


Ring Spotlight Cam Battery


Also available in a corded version, the 1080p Ring Spotlight Cam Battery is really very easy to install with a mounting base and included tools. Like Ring’s series of doorbells, it’ll give you customisable motion zones, two-way communication and there’s a siren, too. One concern is that removing the battery is easily done – therefore disabling the camera. 

As with all Ring devices, you need the Ring Protect plan to get the most from it, which isn’t too bad if you only have one device, but gets quite expensive when you have more than one Ring protecting your home. 


Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera with Siren


The Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera with Siren is a security camera and light in the same device, recording 1080p video day and night and capable of detecting people, cars and animals up to a good distance.

The LED floodlight can be switched on manually or set to switch on when it detects a person, animal, car or all three.

This camera also sports some nifty features like a built-in 105dB siren designed to scare off unwanted guests., The lack of monthly subscription costs may appeal to many, with local storage or direct uploads to your FTP or Dropbox account available if you need them. 


Arlo Pro


The Arlo Pro slots in above the standard Arlo cam, but below the Pro 2. All it’s missing from the Pro 2 is 1080p video capture – instead, you get 720p like the original Arlo cam, but otherwise it’s very similar to the Pro 2 and uses the same hub. Yes, there’s an included base station that connects to your router, offering a siren as well as the option to use local storage.

However, it does offer motion and audio detection, (two-way audio) as well as having black-and-white night vision. The big boon over the standard Arlo Cam is that it uses rechargeable batteries – it can also be connected to mains power should you wish.

As with any Arlo device, you will need to subscribe to one of the plans to get the most out of it – especially if you’ll be away for more than a week at a time.


Arlo Ultra


The Arlo Ultra sits at the top of the Arlo range and it’s a pricey bit of kit, especially as it requires a specific SmartHub rather than working with the same hub other Arlo cameras work with. That said, the Arlo Ultra offers 4K HDR video recording and a 180-degree field of view, making the video the other Arlo cameras capture look poor in terms of comparison.

Along with 4K HDR video capture, the Arlo Ultra has colored/coloured night vision, a microphone and speaker and a built-in light that can act as a security light. It also offers all the same features as other Arlo cameras in terms of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility and it has person detection, package detection (in beta) and it offers automatic zoom and tracking – which Nest Cam IQ also does.

The Arlo Ultra comes with one year of the Arlo Premier Smart Plan included, after which you will need to sign up to one of the plans to get the most out of your Ultra camera. If you can justify the cost, the Arlo Ultra will really deliver in terms of the quality of footage you will be able to capture outside your home.


Canary Flex


The Canary Flex is weatherproof and it can be used indoors or outdoors, recording 1080p video day or night. It can be plugged into the mains, or used wire-free and recharged.

The Flex features a 360-degree magnetic swivel base that is mounted to a flat surface, while the camera snaps into place on the base and can twist in any direction you want. Like others on this list, there are a range of other accessories available too.

There is no extra hub to connect to your router, it features a built-in speaker and microphone and it comes in black and white options. Canary offers 24 hours of video viewing without a subscription after which you pay a flat rate a month or year for 30 days history.


Logitech Circle 2


The Logitech Circle 2 is available in wired and wire-free models, both of which are weatherproof and both of which can be installed inside or outside of your home. It will film in 1080p day or night, like many of the others on this list, but it has a slightly wider field of view at 180-degrees.

Logitech claims the Circle 2 can be set up in minutes, it doesn’t require an additional base station attached to your router and the wire-free, battery-operated model is claimed to last up to three months before it needs recharging. Like the Netgear Arlo further down this list, there are a number of extras that can be bought for the Circle 2, including a backup battery and weatherproof extension cable.

You’ll be able to see 24 hours of recorded video without a subscription, but if you want to go back further, you’ll need to sign up to one of the Circle Safe plans. The Circle Safe Premium plan adds person detection, motion zones, and advanced event and alert filters on top of the features that come with the Free plan and Basic plans.


Writing by Britta O’Boyle.

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