Top 5 Smart Continuous Video Recording Cameras

Top 5 Smart Continuous Video Recording Cameras

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.

CVR TypeCVR Price
Arlo Pro 2Cloud OnlyStarting $11.99 per month per camera
(14-day video history)
Arlo Q PlusCloud OnlyStarting $11.99 per month per camera
(14-day video history)
Nest CamCloud OnlyStarting $5 per month per camera
(5-day video history)
Wyze CamLocal OnlyFree
YI Home 2Cloud & LocalStarting $6.66 per month per camera
(7-day video history)

Arlo Pro 2

Arlo Pro 2 outside mount

About CVR: The Arlo Pro 2 CVR will only work while the camera is plugged in because it requires more power than a rechargeable battery can support. Make sure you pick up the outdoor adapter if you want to use this model for CVR.

Arlo offers two CVR plans with either 14 or 30 days of storage for their recordings. Currently, you can’t download CVR videos from storage, you can only watch them from the cloud.

The 14-day Arlo CVR plan is available for $11.99 per month per camera, and 30-day for $23.99 per month per camera.

About the Camera: The Arlo Pro 2 is an indoor/outdoor 1080p HD camera that records at 30 FPS, with night vision giving you the ability to enjoy crisp, clear footage 24/7. You can power the camera via an AC plug or Rechargeable battery, although CVR and several other features are disabled when using just the battery. If you do opt for battery power, a solar panel can be added in to make recharging a thing of the past.

Other features of the Arlo Pro 2 include Two-way audio, motion detection, motion zones, integration with IFTTT and Stringify, and support for smart assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The optional Arlo Smart subscription also enables e911 emergency call service, person detection, and rich notifications for enhanced home security.

Pros:

  • Rolling 7-Day Free Cloud Storage – The Arlo Pro 2 provides 7-day cloud storage for up to 5 cameras for free, although CVR is an additional charge. Local storage via USB is also available when you use the Arlo Pro Base.

  • Video Quality – The video recorded through the Arlo Pro 2 is very high quality, with a 1080p resolution at 30 FPS.

  • Optional Power Source – You can power your Arlo Pro 2 through the rechargeable battery, and you can keep the capacity topped off automatically using a solar panel. However, battery power is not strong enough to support the CVR feature.

Cons:

  • No Local CVR – Although the Arlo Pro 2 does have local storage, you can’t store your CVR footage there. The USB storage will only hold motion-triggered recordings, and only as a backup to cloud storage, meaning that there’s no way to get around using the cloud. It’s a great feature to have on hand in the event that your power goes down, but it’s useless for CVR and can’t be used as a primary storage solution.

    The lack of support for CVR footage in local storage is disappointing, but it’s likely that the brand disabled the functionality so that people couldn’t disconnect their camera from the internet and use the feature for free.


Arlo Q Plus

Arlo Q Plus

About CVR: As another Arlo camera, the CVR setup is exactly the same as the Arlo Pro 2 — the only real difference is the specifications of the camera itself.

This means you’ll have the option for 14 or 30 days of cloud storage at a price of $11.99 or $23.99 per camera respectively.

About the Camera: While the Arlo Pro 2 is designed to be used both indoors or outside, the Arlo Q Plus can only be used indoors. It also doesn’t need the Arlo Pro Base station in order to function, which means that the local storage is in an SD card right on the camera. This camera is also one of the better options on this list in terms of power options, with the ability to use Power over Ethernet (PoE) in addition to the standard AC plug. For more information on PoE, check out our article What is Power Over Ethernet?

In terms of features, the Arlo Q Plus has many of the same specifications that the Arlo Pro 2 has to offer such as 1080p recording at 30 FPS, motion detection, motio zones, person detection, night vision, e911 call service, rich notifications, and more. It’s also a dual-band device, which reduces the load the stream will place on your network.

Pros:

  • PoE – Power over Ethernet allows you to deliver both power and internet through a single camera. Very few cameras support this excellent feature, with the other model supporting this feature being the all-new Ring Stick Up Cam Wired.

  • Flexible Internet Connection – If you don’t currently have a PoE switch to use with your Arlo Q Plus camera, you can use 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi or an ethernet cable hooked directly into your router.

  • SD-Card Local Storage – Local storage is available through an SD-card on the device itself, although it only works with motion-triggered recordings — just like the Arlo 2.

Cons:

  • No Local CVR – Since the local storage will only collect motion-triggered recordings, the only option for storing your CVR with the Arlo Q Plus is the cloud.

  • Indoor Use Only – The Arlo Q Plus is one of the better smart cameras on the market, and we wish we could take that power outside! Unfortunately, the camera is only suited for use indoors.


Nest Cam Indoor

Nest Cam Indoor

About CVR: The Nest Cam Indoor, and Nest cameras in general for that matter, offers CVR as part of their main Nest Aware subscription. There are 5-day, 10-day, and 30-day options available, at a price of $5/month, $10/month, or $30/month.

The subscription also gives you the ability to look through your entire video history as well as alerts for activity that matters, like when a person comes into view.

About the Camera: The Nest Cam Indoor is a 1080p HD camera that records at 30 FPS with a 130° diagonal field of view. The camera features 8x digital zoom as well as infrared night vision for a detailed picture, day or night. Supported smart home services include Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Google Home Hub, IFTTT, and Stringify.

Unfortunately, the only power option with the Nest Cam Indoor is an AC Plug and there is no backup storage or siren.

Pros:

  • Dual-band – With the ability to communicate over 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands, the Nest Cam Indoor provides quality video monitoring without reducing the speeds of your home WiFi network.

  • Cheapest CVR – With CVR packaged into the Nest Aware subscription, the Nest Cam Indoor offers the cheapest service on the market. With the entry level plan you’ll only have access to 5 days of storage, but it’s still the most accessible option — especially when you consider that the Aware subscription covers more than a single camera.

Cons:

  • No Local Storage – The main flaw with the Nest Cam Indoor is that it lacks support for any sort of local storage. While the Arlo Pro 2 and Arlo Q Plus can’t store CVR in their local storage, they do have the ability to collect an offline copy of motion-triggered recording — giving you a valuable resource in the event of a power outage.

    If the power to your Nest Cam Indoor is dropped completely, you’ll have no record of that time period within your recordings.


Wyze Cam

Wyze Cam

About CVR: While most of the cameras on this list use cloud storage for their continuous video recording, the Wyze Cam actually only offers local CVR using an SD card.

The Wyze Cam is intended to be an indoor camera, but you can technology use it outdoors with a third-party outdoor case as long as you keep it somewhat sheltered. You’ll also need a Class 10 microSD card to enable the continuous video recording. These cards are inexpensive, but the downside to storing footage only locally is that the card can fill up pretty quickly.

With HD footage, an average microSD card will generally be full in just a couple of days — although SD footage can increase that to around 7 days. The camera is smart enough to replace older footage if the storage gets full, but that does mean that you’ll be missing out on some recordings unless you check your card relatively frequently. When you’d like to view footage, you can do so by putting the SD card into your computer.

About the Camera: The Wyze Cam is a more affordable smart camera that still manages to record at 1080p. However, the FPS with the camera are decently lower than the competition at 15 during the day and 10 at night. The camera has a 110° diagonal field of view and 8x digital zoom, as well as infrared LEDs that add night vision capabilities. The Wyze Cam is powered using an AC plug with no option for a backup.

Wyze offers 14 days of free, rolling video storage and features basic motion detection but no support for motion zones, person detection, or facial recognition.

Pros:

  • Cost – One of the biggest benefits of the Wyze Cam is the very affordable price, which makes it much more accessible than a lot of its competitors. CVR is also available for free, but with only local storage and no uploading to the cloud, all your footage will be lost if someone happens to steal the SD card out of the slot. The motion clips will be recorded to the cloud, but not the CVR.

  • Free Rolling 14-day Cloud Storage – The free rolling 14 days of cloud storage is truly exceptional, and is much more generous than the service offered for free by more expensive cameras.

Cons:

  • Terrible CVR Timeline – Navigating through the Wyze Cam CVR footage can be a bit of a nightmare, with nothing marked on the footage to show you where an event occurred. You also can’t drag through a timelapse like you would be able to do within the Nest app — forcing you to drag, slide, release and wait for footage to load instead.

    All in all, the CVR may be free, but it’s definitely not very user friendly.

  • PIR Motion Sensor – The camera does not have a PIR motion sensor, which means that it will send an alert any time the camera detects any sort of activity. The sensitivity may be useful in some applications, but it’s not a great quirk for a camera that is set up to record continuously. You may find that you’re being spammed by notifications pretty frequently from activity that doesn’t actually matter.

  • FPS – While the camera does record in 1080p, the frame rates are really pretty bad at 15 FPS. It’s even worse at night, with that dropping down to 10 FPS. With such choppy footage, there’s a chance that you won’t be able to catch important details if someone moves too quickly.

  • Privacy – Perhaps the biggest downside to the Wyze Cam is the way that they handle the video footage. When motion is detected, a 10-15 second video will be recorded and sent to the Amazon AWS cloud using end-to-end encryption. These clips will be accessible whenever you please for 14 days with no subscription required.

    However, Wyze also sends footage to a third-party in addition to Amazon, which is probably why they are able to offer their camera so cheaply. Users have reported seeing traffic headed all around the world, with data from their stream showing up in Japan, Germany, China and several other locations.

    When confronted, Wyze said that they had talked to their partner and asked that the traffic be kept within the United States, but many people are still seeing their traffic going to unknown locations.

    Long story short, the Wyze Cam is very affordable, but you’ll sacrifice some privacy in exchange for the low costs.


YI Home 2

YI Home 2

About CVR: YI Home 2 is the only camera on this list that offers both Local and Cloud CVR.

Local CVR is stored on an SD card for free, and cloud CVR is offered through a premium subscription with a cost that varies based on the amount of video history you’re looking for. There are options available at 7, 14, and 30 days of storage. 7 days costs $19.99/quarter, 14 days costs $9.99/month, and 30 days costs $19.99 per month.

The YI Home 2 is probably the best option on the market for CVR since you’ll have your footage stored both locally and in the cloud. If something ends up happening to your SD card, you don’t have to worry since you’ll still have a copy in the cloud!

About the Camera: The YI Home 2 is a 1080p camera that records at 25 FPS in a 130° diagonal field of view. 4x digital zoom and infrared night vision ensure that you’ll have access to all the important details even if they’re far away or in the dead of night.

The camera features motion detection with gesture recognition capabilities, sound detection with the ability to provide alerts when a baby cries, as well as motion zones and person detection.

While the YI Home 2 is an excellent smart camera, there’s no real smart home integration to speak of.

Pros:

  • Cloud & Local CVR – As the only camera on the list to offer both Cloud and Local CVR, it has a significant advantage over the competition. The redundancy adds an extra level of security, and the subscription model is relatively affordable as well.

  • Price – While the YI Home 2 isn’t as cheap as the Wyze Cam, it’s still quite inexpensive. YI is a brand that is very present in both Asia and Europe, and we’re just now starting to see their affordable products make a significant impact in the US.

  • Video Quality – The video quality is exceptional for the price, recording 1080p footage at 25 FPS. This sort of quality is comparable to top brands like Arlo and Nest which are significantly more expensive.

Cons:

  • No Dual-Band – Dual-band devices help reduce the strain on your network by using multiple frequencies to transmit and receive data. Unfortunately, the YI Home 2 can only communicate over the 2.4GHz frequency, which means that it can cause some issues with WiFi congestion.

  • No Smart Home Integration – There is no smart home integration to speak of with the YI Home 2. This is disappointing for those who were hoping to integrate their security equipment into a connected home, but it might be a blessing in disguise as well. By cutting out the ability for the camera to easily cooperate with other smart products, it’s less likely that a hacker could access your cameras by compromising your IoT network.


Our Score:
  • Arlo Pro 2
  • Arlo Q Plus
  • Nest Cam
  • Wyze Cam
  • YI Home 2
4.5


Last update on 2019-07-15 at 15:10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3 Replies to “Top 5 Smart Continuous Video Recording Cameras”

  1. this is all new to me. i’m trying to understand what i’m reading so i make the right choice when buying a cvr camera. i’m looking for a camera to put inside my motorhome so i can watch my dogs on my cell phone when i go out, so i need continuous recording. i don’t care about motion detection or alerts, and while storage is a plus so i can replay video, if i couldn’t have it that’d be ok. i don’t want to pay for storage. my primary interest is live viewing. is there a camera i can get this with?

    1. Hey Dawn,

      Live View and CVR are two totally different features.
      Pretty much any smart camera on the market offers live view meaning you can connect to your camera from your smartphone wherever you are to check on your pets in live view mode. 🙂
      Whereas CVR means the camera will be continuously recording footage from the camera to local or cloud storage for you to access it later whenever you have time.

      So, if you’re just looking for a smart camera to connect to your WiFi router to check on your pets in live view, then any of the above-mentioned cameras will work just fine. I’d personally go with the Wyze Cam.

      Also, since we’re talking about your dogs, I highly recommend checking out Petcube cameras: they’re specifically for pet monitoring, although they do cost more than the Wyze Cam.
      Check out our take on Petcube Play vs. Bites to learn more about them.

      Cheers! 🙂

      1. thank you for such a prompt reply and for explaining that live video and recording are different features. that makes things easier! 🙂 i’ll check out the petcube.

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