Best Outdoor Security Camera Systems


A close up of electronics

Our hands-on experience with scores of outdoor security cameras taught us that these devices were not only valuable for recording crime. They also prevented it! With built-in features such as motion-activated floodlights and sirens, these cameras easily scared trespassers away. Furthermore, the best security cameras made crisp recordings in any light; most had infrared night vision. Below we reviewed five top-rated brands. Which one stood out as the outdoor security champion of 2021? Keep reading to find out!

1. Lorex – Best Outdoor Security Cameras

A sign on a pole

Lorex Technology had the best selection of industrial-quality outdoor security cameras. Compared with leading home security cams, Lorex Wi-Fi and IP cameras were even more durable and high-performing. They were virtually vandal proof and had long depths of field with color night vision. For instance, the 1080 HP Outdoor Wireless Security Camera ($149) had a 115-foot range in the dark. Resolution on some Lorex camera models was“ultra-high” at 4K, whereas resolution on others was merely “high” at 1080p. Weatherproof Lorex cameras with 4K resolution started at just $159.

Various Lorex models had two-way voice systems, geofencing, and other special features. A feature we hadn’t seen elsewhere was sensitivity to off-screen audio. Noise from off-screen activity triggered alerts. With Lorex we recorded continuously or chose audio-triggered and motion-triggered alerts only.

Lorex cameras used mains power or battery power. Generally, the battery needed to be changed every four months. For durable cameras with high performance, Lorex Technology was a top-rated brand. Their website had the best selection of outdoor security cameras including single cameras, cameras sets, and bundles with high-resolution monitors.

2. Nest – Best DIY Install Outdoor Camera

A airplane that is flying in the air

Nest, a Google-owned security brand, was a leading competitor with Amazon’s Ring. Google featured the Nest video doorbell, two outdoor security cameras, and complete home security systems. The selection was small compared with Ring, but Nest offered the best DIY install camera choices for people who want continuous video recording (CVR).

Nest outdoor security cameras were best for easy DIY setup. For example, the Nest Cam Outdoor ($149) and Nest Cam Outdoor IQ ($159) simply plugged into an outlet. Compared with the Nest Cam Outdoor, the Nest Cam Outdoor IQ had been upgraded in weather resistance, vandal resistance, and facial recognition. The Nest doorbell, a doorbell camera, was also easy to install and ran off a long-lasting lithium battery.

To avoid too many alerts, we used activity zones, which excluded sections of the viewing field from motion detection. For example, we got notifications when there was motion at the perimeter of our property, but not because our kids were running back and forth in the yard. Payment was required for us to see and save security video with Nest Aware. Three plans were offered: $5 per month with five days of storage, $10 with 10 days of storage, or $30 for 30 days.

Overall, Nest was the best option for DIY security cameras with continuous recording. They even offered professional installation for $79. Long-term video storage was expensive, at $30 per month, but Nest Aware’s $5 per month deal was competitive.

3. Arlo – Best Wireless Outdoor Security Cameras

For people seeking totally DIY home security, Arlo offered the best selection of outdoor wireless security cameras for $189 and up. Color night vision, floodlights, and facial recognition were among their special features. We chose from four cameras that worked indoors or out. The main difference among these was the resolution: choices included 720p, 1080p, 2K, and 4K. They also featured a video doorbell with up to a 300-foot range.

The Arlo brand was also a great option for indoor video security. The Arlo Baby camera was enormously popular, as it was portable and had special functions ranging from air quality testing to lullaby mode.

Arlo’s main products were indoor cameras, outdoor cameras, and security floodlights. All in all, Arlo has the best deals on high-end home security cameras that we monitored ourselves. Their four weatherproof options covered the spectrum from 720p to 4K, with infrared or color night vision. Discounts were given on two or more, and Arlo cloud storage for continuous video recordings was low-priced.

These are some of the best outdoor security cameras.

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