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.
As smart technology has become more and more accessible, the dream of having an affordable and capable security camera is now a reality. The YI Home camera and YI Dome are two very similar products from the same brand that will make a great addition to any security setup, although we do feel the Dome pulls slightly ahead due to the motion tracking feature.
While YI doesn’t have the same market recognition as some other more popular brands like Ring or Arlo, they have some solid performers that offer impressive home monitoring with varying levels of features. Our favorite in this comparison is the YI Dome, although the brand does offer a 1080p version of the same camera that we’d strongly recommend considering as well.
Below, we go into detail on the similarities and differences of the YI Home vs. YI Dome. Read on for a full picture, or use the navigation bar to jump directly to the sections that interest you most.
YI as a brand has started to make a name for themselves in the smart camera scene, and are now well known for their high-quality action cameras. The YI LITE and YI 4K are both excellent products in their own right, and the “better” pick is going to depend on the quality of footage you’re looking for.
It’s up for debate as to where 4K recording is really worth the extra expense when 1080p footage is so clear and detailed already — especially when you consider that a lot of computers and TVs can’t really take full advantage of the quality that the format has to offer. However, there’s no doubt that 4K footage has the edge, and for those looking for the best possible picture, the YI 4K is an excellent option.
Below we compare the YI LITE vs. YI 4K to help you figure out what makes each option special. Read on for the full picture, or use our navigation bar to jump to the sections you care about most.
There are more options on the market than ever before when it comes to keeping your home protected, and a quality smart camera is a great addition to any home security setup. The YI 1080p Home Camera and Home Camera 2 are both great options for adding in intelligent surveillance, but it’s pretty clear that the Home Camera 2 is a significant upgrade over its predecessor.
While there are great perks to discuss with both camera, there are really no areas in which the 1080p Home Camera excels over the Home Camera 2. As the name suggests, the second iteration of the YI Home Camera is a new and improved model that offers upgrades in a number of important areas like motion detection, FPS, and night vision.
Below we go into detail on the similarities and differences of the YI 1080p Home Camera vs. Home Camera 2, but feel free to use our navigation bar to jump directly to the sections that you care about the most.
Smart cameras offer valuable protection for your family, and they are more economical than ever before. When comparing the Canary All-In-One vs. Canary View, it’s clear that both cameras have their perks to offer; we do feel, however, that the All-In-One model has some extra features that make it a little bit more comprehensive offering.
Canary’s cameras have some decent technology backing them, and the two models are pretty similar. The All-In-One adds in some extra features like air sensors and sirens, but at their core, these two models offer roughly the same sort of coverage. What really holds the Canary brand back, however, is the consumer-unfriendly subscription model.
Below we break down the similarities and differences of these two smart camera models. Read on for the full picture, or use the navigation bar to jump directly to the sections that interest you most.
Are Arlo’s extra features worth the price? Maybe. However, the lack of the ability to record live view with the Blink XT is a major downfall that is just too big to ignore, making the Arlo Pro 2 a better option in our book despite the extra cost.
Blink cameras offer some basic video monitoring features at a pretty accessible price, but there are some missing features that really hold it back from competing with other cameras near the price point. With that said, there are some good points to the Blink XT such as the temperature sensor and the free cloud storage. It’s definitely a viable option, we just don’t think it quite keeps up with the Arlo Pro 2’s host of features.
This is also basically comparing a more premium camera to a lower end model, so to be fair, the cards were stacked against Blink from the beginning. Although, you might not need all those extra features and the Blink XT might be just the right smart camera for your home.
So, let’s go into detail with a comparison of the Blink XT vs. Arlo Pro 2 to see what each camera has to offer. Read the whole article for a full picture, or use our navigation bar to jump directly to the sections you care about most.
When looking at the Blink vs. Blink XT side by side you, the only difference seems to be the color. However, there are a few other important differences to keep in mind when choosing between the two cameras like video quality and night vision support.
So, TL;DR no matter where you decide to set up the smart camera (indoor or outdoor), we recommend going with the Blink XT instead of Blink Indoor. Why? Well, let’s dive straight into the differences for more details and if you want to get a full picture of what each camera has to offer, just keep on reading the whole article or use the navigation bar to jump right to the sections you care about most.
Arlo has been on the market for a while now, and their products are some of the top performers in the smart camera scene. Ring made their name with excellent video doorbells, before coming onto the market with an excellent line of cameras that hold their own as well. When comparing Arlo Pro vs. Ring Floodlight, we do feel like Ring is the better option.
While the Arlo Pro offers a lot of flexibility in placement in installation because of its battery power, the Ring offers a lot of superior features like better video quality, better motion detection, a better field of view, and more. Both options are a good choice, but we don’t think it’s any secret that the Ring Floodlight has a bit of an advantage.
Below we go into detail on the similarities and differences of the Arlo Pro vs. Ring Floodlight Cam. Read on for the full picture, or use our navigation bar to jump right down to the sections that interest you most.
Arlo has produced some seriously impressive camera solutions, and their product lineup continues to expand with bigger and better options for home video monitoring. The Arlo Q and Arlo Pro 2 are both excellent cameras in their own right, and it’s difficult to give a clear answer as to which one is the best overall. If you’re looking for an outdoor camera, there’s no doubt that the Arlo Pro 2 is your best bet, while the Arlo Q provides quality indoor monitoring without the need for a base station.
There are a lot of aspects that these two cameras have in common, but there are actually a significant number of differences too. Perhaps the most notable change when comparing the two devices is that the Arlo Pro 2 requires a base station to function. This is a little inconvenient and is an extra expense, but it also enables a number of features that are straight-up absent on the Arlo Q. With that said, the Arlo Q still pulls ahead in certain areas like dual-band WiFi and better motion detection.
Ultimately, the best choice is going to depend on what you’re looking for in a smart camera. Below we go into detail on the similarities and differences of the Arlo Q vs. Arlo Pro 2 to help make the decision a little easier, but feel free to use our navigation bar to jump directly to the sections you care about most.
Nest is perhaps one of the most recognizable brands when it comes to smart products, with their Nest Learning Thermostat making them a force to be reckoned with within the industry. However, their expansion into security and video monitoring has also been well received, and the Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Cam IQ are two incredibly popular products. Ultimately, we do feel that the Nest Cam IQ is the better product from a technical standpoint, but it’s also significantly more expensive. In most situations, the regular Nest Cam Indoor will get the job done just fine.
The main attraction with the Nest Cam IQ is the inclusion of Google Assistant in the device itself, and there’s no denying that that’s a useful feature. However, for those who already have a Google Home or are looking to purchase a standalone model in the future, it’s difficult to justify the extra expense. The Nest Cam Indoor has pretty much everything we look for in a security camera — all for a much more affordable price.
Below we break down the details in a comprehensive comparison of Nest Cam Indoor vs. Nest Cam IQ. Read on for a full overview, or jump directly to the section that interests you most using our navigation bar.
Ring and Arlo both offer a variety of video solutions at different price points, and as time goes on they have continued to improve upon their existing lineup. The all-new Ring Stick Up Cam comes in both wired and battery options, which gives homeowners a lot of options for flexible home video monitoring. The Arlo Pro, on the other hand, is the company’s mid-range offering — falling right in between the Arlo and Arlo Pro 2 cameras.
When comparing the Ring Stick Up Cam vs. Arlo Pro, it’s difficult to give a clear answer as to which camera is “best,” as they excel in different areas. For example, Arlo offers great features like video recording without a subscription, while Ring has better video quality and functions without a base station. Our top pick is the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired, but there are arguments to be made for both brands.
Below we go into detail on what each option has to offer to help give you a sense of which camera might be best for your home. However, feel free to use the navigation bar to jump directly to the sections that interest you most.