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Lucas Mitchell
Lucas Mitchell

Buy Home Security Cameras

There's a lot to consider when purchasing a home security camera because it's a massive, growing category that covers everything from professional firms like ADT and Vivint to standalone DIY devices like cameras, sensors and locks from brands like Wyze and Arlo. The first decision you'll need to make is whether you're looking for a professionally installed system or a DIY security system.

buy home security cameras

The next decision you'll have to make involves the device specs and features. Do you want livestreaming? Is two-way talk a priority? What about night vision? Modern home security cameras are loaded with neat extra features: Motion detection, professional monitoring, push notifications, cloud video storage, weather resistance, sound and motion alerts and integration with third-party devices. Narrowing down which smarts you want your device to have will help you make a final decision.

A lot of the terminology when talking about security and surveillance cameras can be hard to track, not least because people use the terms informally and interchangeably all the time. Basically, surveillance cameras are usually used with CCTV, in businesses and where there is continuous recording. They are meant to record acts as they happen, so they can be investigated later. Home security cameras, by contrast, are often motion-triggered and connected to cloud storage. Often, people install them primarily to deter would-be burglars.

Many wireless cameras cannot fully function without an internet connection. Some cameras -- especially those that are part of a larger home security system -- use alternative radio protocols to transfer information. Those cameras will require a separate hub. Other cameras, if they have local storage, will be able to record and store footage -- on a microSD card, for example -- even if the internet is out. All that said, most wireless cameras will require Wi-Fi to use all their features as intended.

Cameras can really strengthen your home's security, but they can also degrade its privacy. Hackers have made headlines by spying on people or using two-way talk features with children in their rooms. Simply put, yes, your security cameras can be hacked, but it depends how vulnerable your devices really are. Major professionally monitored security systems -- and even individually sold cameras from reputable developers like Google Nest and Wyze -- include high-end encryption, which scrambles messages within a system and grants access through keys. In layman's terms this means as long as you stay current with app and device updates, you should have little to fear of being hacked via software or firmware vulnerabilities.

Will you be able to tell if a security camera is actively recording you? It depends, too. Most security cameras will include a small light that will turn on when it's recording, though that may not be a reliable indicator if the camera has been hacked. Others, like Arlo's indoor camera, include design features that make it totally clear when the camera is watching and when it's not. In general, though, devices with physical shields are always a solid option if you're worried about maintaining your privacy.

Home security cameras can vary widely in price, ranging anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to a few thousand. It depends on the services, model, features or video storage you want for your camera. With this in mind, you can expect to spend anywhere from $30 to $500 for a home security camera.

Home security cameras don't have to be expensive, though. All of the best home security cameras CNET tested fall between the range of $38 and just under $200. Many DIY options, like Arlo and Wyze, offer a rich set of features, dependable design and a competitive subscription service, but with an affordable price that can be as cheap as $30. While these are on the lower end of home security camera prices, you can certainly find a camera that meets your needs for under $200.

Below, you'll find the best home security camera for your home in every major subcategory, from smart doorbells to the models that work well with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri voice commands. Some are fairly simple, with a motion sensor that sends a push notification to your smartphone when they detect movement, while others come with features such as professional monitoring and cloud storage that prevent you from having to sift through hours of footage.

This home security camera works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands and features a motion detection zone and the ability to listen for and alert you to special frequencies, like smoke alarms. If you want a complete home security system, there are other cameras that you can buy from Wyze and connect into the grid.

Arlo's latest Pro series camera, which we gave an 8.5 review score and Editor's Choice award, is a fantastic home security camera with features to spare. It boasts 2K resolution, a 160-degree field of view, two-way talk, full-color night vision, a built-in siren and spotlight, compatibility with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit -- the list goes on.

The $100 Google Nest Cam (Wired) is not only the most affordable Nest camera yet, but it's also our favorite from the brand. Thanks to the easy setup, the attractive design and, most importantly, the free smart features, it takes the top spot of all Google Assistant cameras.

While Wyze currently offers better options for cloud storage and cheaper price tags, the Nest Cam (Wired) indoor security camera is one of the best home security cameras on the market for Google Assistant loyalists.

Hands-on testing is core to our evaluation of any home security products. When it comes to security cameras, we start by identifying new and test-worthy products from established manufacturers -- cameras you'd be most likely to come across when shopping online or at your local hardware or electronics stores. When these products hit the market, or sometimes even earlier, we get our hands on them and thoroughly test them in a real-home environment over the course of a week.

We begin testing by setting the camera up according to the included and/or app instructions, making note of any difficulties encountered along the way. Once the camera is ready to roll, we evaluate all features, paying close attention to resolution, night vision, notification latency, local or cloud storage and compatibility with smart home ecosystems like Google, Alexa and Apple HomeKit. 041b061a72


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