A smart camera is any sort of security or monitoring camera that takes advantage of smart technology to offer more features and added convenience. Think of them as app-accessible cameras packed with software. And right now, it’s easier now than ever to fully protect your home with this kind of advanced technology. Smart cameras let you easily access video surveillance of your property whether you’re at home or on the go.
There are a wide variety of smart cameras available that offer an assortment of features. Our smart camera comparison chart (towards the bottom of the page) has some of the most popular brands with detailed information to help you decide which system is right for you.
Benefits of Smart Cameras
There are several major benefits to having a smart camera, most of which are based around the increased safety and convenience associated with monitoring your home.
Peace of Mind – Even if your home is in a very safe area, there’s something to be said for the peace of mind offered by a security camera. A smart camera offers increased functionality, and makes it much easier to check in on your property whenever you feel the need.
Easy Access to Relevant Footage – The majority of smart cameras integrate with a mobile app or web client, allowing you to easily view and assess footage. Additionally, because most smart cameras are motion activated, it’s easy to find relevant footage and quickly check up on changes in and around your home.
Theft Deterrent – By simply having a security camera, you can significantly lower the risk that your house will be broken into. Thieves seek an easy target, and seeing a home decked out in security gear will make it much less likely that they’ll pick your home for theft.
Insurance Discounts – Many home insurers will offer a discount on your policy if you install a home surveillance system. The investment could more than pay for itself in the monthly savings on insurance bills.
Smart Home Integration – Many smart cameras integrate with existing smart home hubs and voice controllers, adding more convenience to your connected home.
These are just a few of the many ways a smart camera can enhance the comfort and security of your home. Check out the section below for some tips to take into account before purchasing a new smart camera.
Before Buying a Smart Camera
When shopping for a smart camera, you’ll want to make sure you take the following considerations into account to make sure you end up with a smart surveillance system that will meet your needs. There’s a lot of competition in the smart camera market, and many companies try to set themselves apart with misleading marketing promises. Sometimes a camera will be “capable”, but not actually deliver the promised feature. We want to protect you from a disappointing purchase, so make sure you research the features below:
Video Quality – Some cameras advertise 1080p capability, but actually only provide 720p instead. They may be capable of 1080p, but in reality only deliver the lower video resolution. Make sure you’re aware of the actual video quality of your smart camera before you make a purchase.
Maximum Number of Cameras – If you’re in the market for a large amount of cameras, make sure you’re aware of the maximum supported amount — there’s usually a limit to the number of devices that can be connected to one account. Many brands don’t support more than 15 devices, and require a membership or additional bases to support more than a few cameras.
Subscription Plans – Companies may advertise many features, but in some cases these features are only available with a subscription plan. Make sure you’re aware of what you’re getting for your money, and do your research on the various tiers of subscription plans.
Base – A lot of smart cameras connect to some sort of base — like Arlo and Blink — but there are also models capable of connecting straight to your WiFi. We’ve found that cameras with bases usually feature a little more smart home functionality.
Smart Home Integration – Speaking of smart home functionality, make sure you check out how your devices work with other smart home products. Even if you don’t have a smart home now, you may make the decision to establish one in the future. If you buy a camera with smart home integration, your security system will be ready to connect when you make that jump! Look at integration with hubs like Wink and SmartThings, and voice controllers like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri HomeKit.
Stand-out Features from Popular Brands
Best Video Resolution A smart camera that has a great video resolution ensures that you’ll always be able to see what’s going on with your home. Standouts in this category are the Canary and the Arlo Q Series.
Push-to-Talk Push-to-Talk functionality adds a lot of convenience to your surveillance. Communicate with others while away from home, let guests know you’re on your way to answer the door, or yell at your pets to get off the couch! The Arlo Pro and Piper nv are two models that offer this feature.
System Expansion Being able to augment your smart cameras with additional devices and features will add capability for a more fully-featured security system. Two stand out models with support for system expansion are the Blink XT and Nest Cam IQ Indoor. Though neither of the companies has released the systems yet.
Field of Vision A camera with a wide field of vision covers more area and ensures you’ll always capture relevant footage. The Piper classic and Piper nv offer a wide field of view for maximum protection.
People, Pet, and Car Detection A truly “smart” smart camera should be able to detect and differentiate between people, pets, and cars. False alarms are annoying, and you want your camera to only alert you when there’s an actual problem. The Netatmo Presence is a great choice for this feature.
Pan & Zoom Being able to pan and zoom allows a smart camera to get a more detailed view of its surroundings. The ability to close in on suspicious activity may make the difference between a false alarm and catching a sneaky intruder. The Arlo Q Plus come out on top when it comes to Pan and Zoom.
When comparing the Arlo Pro vs. Arlo Go, it’s clear that the two cameras have a lot in common; however, there are a good amount of differences between the models as well. If you’re looking for a camera for areas with no access to WiFi, the Arlo Go is the clear choice due to the LTE capabilities. Otherwise, the Arlo Pro is the clear winner.
When deciding between the two smart cameras, you’re essentially choosing between more robust features and the flexibility to monitor your home in areas without internet access. For the average house with an average wireless network, the Arlo Pro definitely has the edge. But when you find yourself trying to monitor a remote corner of your property that isn’t covered by your router, the benefits of the Arlo Go will become pretty clear!
While both the Arlo Baby and Arlo Q have their perks, the Arlo Baby is specifically tailored to keep an eye on babies, with Baby Crying Detection and a Smart Music Player.
Within NETGEAR’s Arlo brand, you’ll find products that are intended for different uses — from portable LTE cameras like the Arlo Go, to more traditional and high-end cameras like the Arlo Pro 2. The Arlo Baby is a more niche product, but it’s definitely a little more unique than the more general Arlo Q.
The Arlo Pro 2 camera is one of the best wireless cameras on the market, and the Ring Stick Up Cam just received a revamp that makes it a worthy competitor. Which camera is best is really going to depend on what you’re looking for when it comes to video monitoring.
The Power over Ethernet features of the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired make it one of our favorite options on the market, but at the same time, the AC & Battery option with Arlo makes it a good buy as well. Regardless of your choice, you’ll likely be more than happy with the features each brand has to offer.
Both cameras have their pros and cons, and we’ll go into detail while comparing the Arlo Pro 2 vs. Ring Stick Up Cam (New). Read on below for the big picture, or use our navigation bar to jump directly to the sections you care about most.
The Maximus and Kuna Light are two cameras that both function off of the Kuna app and Kuna Cloud. Although these two models work on the same platform and are owned by the same company, we do feel that the Maximus Floodlight has the edge with slightly better features overall.
The Maximus Smart Security Light is a brand that works to bring Kuna technology to a broader line of products and a bigger audience. Since the cloud and the app are shared between the Maximus and Kuna Lights there are a lot of features that they share as a baseline. From a technology standpoint, however, the Maximus camera just seems a step ahead at every turn.
Below we compare the Maximus vs. Kuna Lights in order to give you a clear picture of their similarities and differences. Read on for the full overview, or use our navigation bar to jump directly to the aspects you care about most.
Some cameras have the ability to record all of the activity they see 24/7, which allows you to rewind the footage to any point during the day and make sure you’re not missing anything important. This feature is known as continuous video recording (CVR) and is offered either using cloud or local storage depending on the type of camera.
When it comes to smart cameras, CVR is offered as a separate subscription due to the large amount of resources it uses to store than amount of data. Motion-triggered recording is far less expensive than CVR, but having the option for 24/7 recording is great for those who need non-stop footage of everything that is happening within their home. CVR bypasses the flaw of a “cool-off” time that many motion-triggered recordings have that can potentially lead to the exclusion of important information.
Not every smart camera is a continuous video recording camera, but we’ve compiled the best of the ones that are to help you choose a model that will work for you.
Although Maximus and Kuna are two separate brands, they are both produced by the same company and with the same attention to quality. When comparing a product like the Kuna Maximus Floodlight with the Ring Floodlight, however, we feel that the Ring Floodlight still manages to come out ahead.
Despite being two different products from two different brands, both of these cameras manage to provide an excellent solution for outdoor monitoring. Ring does have a few features that Kuna is lacking, but what really sets the brand apart is the excellent customer support that Kuna very much lacks.
Below, we compare the Kuna vs. Ring Floodlight to help you get a sense of which product might be right for your home. We’ve compiled a comprehensive comparison and review, but you can also use our navigation bar to jump directly to the sections you’re interested in most.
Most smart cameras offer a lot of the same features, but a lot of them are intended solely for keeping an eye on the inside of your home. There aren’t quite as many models that are intended to work outside, but the Nest Outdoor IQ and the Arlo Pro 2 are some of the best. Both cameras have their pros and cons, so it’s difficult to determine the best — but for severe weather, there’s no bearing the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.
Nest and Arlo are some of the biggest names in the smart camera industry, and these two specific models are some of the best the brands have to offer. From a durability standpoint, the Nest is better, but it’s also much more expensive. Arlo adds in some features like a siren, limited free cloud storage, and local backup, making it an excellent option for those looking for a more affordable price.
Below, we take a look at the Nest Outdoor IQ vs. Arlo Pro 2 to give you a sense of what both cameras have to offer. Read on for the full story, or use our navigation bar to jump right to what you’d like to know.
When it comes to monitoring you home, you don’t necessarily have to break the bank! The Wyze Cam and YI Home are two more affordable cameras, and they’re really quite similar in features. While Wyze Cam offers free recording and voice control with Amazon Alexa, the YI Home does better with night vision and motion detection.
Video monitoring is more accessible than ever before, but the most premium models come at quite a hefty price. These models from Wyze and YI don’t offer the same level of quality you’d see with a device like a Nest Cam or Arlo Pro 2, but offer a great product that can add some low-cost monitoring to keep your home safe.
We’ll go into detail on the similarities and difference of the Wyze Cam vs. YI Home below, but feel free to use our navigation bar to jump right down to any section you please.
When comparing Wyze Cam vs. Nest Cam, one of the most obvious differences is the way that they are priced. The Wyze Cam is significantly less expensive than the Nest Cam, but there are some major privacy issues that make it difficult to recommend.
Nest has been in the smart home game for quite some time now, with their most recognizable product being the Nest Learning Thermostat. However, over the past few years we’ve started to see a lot of releases from the brand that all work together for a more convenient home. The Nest Cam Indoor is a quality product, despite being a little pricey. While the Wyze Cam has a lot of features at a pretty attractive price, we don’t feel like the cost savings are worth the security issues.
Below, we go into detail on what sets these two cameras apart from one other. Read on for the full picture, or use the navigation bar to jump to the sections you care about most.
While Amazon may be more recognizable as a brand, Arlo has built out a wider lineup of video monitoring solutions. When comparing the Arlo Q vs. Amazon Cloud Cam, we do feel that the Arlo model is the superior choice.
Amazon and Arlo both offer a great product, but the Cloud Cam is missing a few of Arlo’s features. It’s a quality option for those looking for a camera that is more affordable, but there’s no denying that the Arlo Q is a better camera overall.
Read on for a full review of these two cameras, or use our navigation bar to jump directly to the sections that interest you most.