13 Best Outdoor Security Cameras (2024): Battery-Powered, LTE, No Subscription

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We have tested several other outdoor security cameras. These are the ones we like that just missed out on a place above.

Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera for $50: This is the most affordable way to try Arlo’s wares, and it’s a solid security camera. Setup is a breeze, the 1080p footage is clear, and the rich notifications are the best, but you need an Arlo Secure subscription ($8 per month for one camera, $13 for unlimited). Compared to our top pick, the Essential has a narrower field of view and lacks HDR, so it loses details in bright and dark areas. I also tried the Essential XL ($100), which is the same camera with a much larger battery (4x longer lasting).

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AlfredCam Plus for $50: The AlfredCamera app allows you to turn your old smartphones into security cameras, but the company also has its own line of budget cameras. The AlfredCam Plus has an IP65 rating, can record video at up to 2K, and comes with a 64-GB microSD card. You get a 9.8-foot cable with it, but you will need a power adapter. The ad-supported free version offers seven days of cloud storage for video clips. Sadly, you need a subscription at $6 a month or $30 a year to unlock 14-day cloud storage, smart features (including person detection, scheduling, and zones), and better quality video for the live feed and recordings.

Ezviz H3C for $70: I had issues setting this wired camera up because it can only connect to 2.4-GHz Wi-Fi, but once up and running, it proved a decent performer. The Ezviz app has 2FA and allows fingerprint unlock, which is handy. There’s also onboard AI for person detection, a spotlight, black-and-white night vision, and two-way audio, though it’s laggy and poor quality. The video quality is decent at up to 2K, and the live feed is fast to load. All in all, it’s not bad for the money. I also tested the Ezviz EB8 4G (£300), which is quite similar to the H8 Pro we recommend above, except it can connect to 4G mobile networks—this means it doesn’t require Wi-Fi, though you will need a SIM card and cell service plan.

Imou Knight Spotlight Camera for $160 or £100: A smart design and solid feature set make this an attractive security camera for the right spot. It can record at up to 4K with HDR, has a 600-lumen spotlight around the lens, and can take microSD cards up to 256 GB (sold separately) to record locally. The app offers a wide range of features, including detection zones, cross-line alerts, and human or pet detection, though the AI sometimes gets it wrong. Sadly, the low frame rate (15 fps) too often results in blurry footage, but this came close to snagging a spot above.

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Reolink Go PT Ultra for $250: If you need a wireless security camera that can connect to cellular 3G or 4G LTE networks, you could do worse than this offering from Reolink. It’s a pan-and-tilt camera that can record up to 4K video on a local microSD card (sold separately), or you can subscribe for cloud storage. It has a wee spotlight and decent color night vision, and it comes with a solar panel to keep the battery topped up. The detection is reliable but doesn’t always categorize subjects correctly. Loading time and lag will depend on the strength of the signal. Just make sure you check carrier compatibility and get a SIM card before you buy.

Annke NC800 for $350: Capable of capturing high-resolution footage up to 4K, the NC800 boasts color night vision without a spotlight. This is an IP camera designed for local use with an NVR (network video recorder), though you can also insert a microSD card for local recordings. There is PoE (power over Ethernet), or you can plug in via Ethernet to your router with a separate power connection, but either way, you will have to run cables. I had some trouble with the frame rate to my phone at higher resolutions, but it delivers good picture quality with no lag. I also like that the app supports 2FA with fingerprint unlock. But configuration is tricky and far from intuitive.

Defender Guard Pro for $134: Previously our top tethered pick, the Defender Guard Pro (7/10, WIRED Recommends) ticks most boxes. It’s affordable and delivers 2K video, two-way audio, and local storage via an included microSD card. Plus, there’s a spotlight and siren. Setup was glitchy and you have to run a power cable inside, so it’s a hassle to install. The price has also increased since we first recommended it, and stock seems to be limited.

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Swann AllSecure650 4 Camera Kit for $700: This kit includes four wireless, battery-powered cameras and a network video recorder (NVR) that can plug into a TV or monitor via HDMI. The cameras can record up to 2K, and footage is crisp and detailed enough to zoom in on, though there is a mild fish-eye effect. The night vision is reasonably good, but the two-way audio lags and sounds distorted. I like the option to view all camera feeds simultaneously, the backup battery in the NVR makes it a cinch to swap batteries when a camera is running low, and everything is local with no need for a subscription. Unfortunately, the mobile app is poor, camera feeds sometimes take several seconds to load, and there doesn’t seem to be any 2FA. The NVR interface is also clunky to navigate with the provided mouse.

Arlo Pro 4 for $140: This camera was our top pick, and it is still an excellent buy that is widely available. Its successor, the Pro 5, has slightly better battery life and enhanced color night vision, but there isn’t a huge difference. This camera provides crisp, clear footage; responds swiftly; and has an excellent detection and notification system, but you must also factor in the cost of an Arlo subscription starting from $8 per month for a single camera.

Reolink Argus 3 Pro for $100: There’s a lot to like with this security camera, not least the affordable price. It offers 2K video, local or cloud storage, two-way audio, a siren, and person recognition. The live feed loads fast, and it’s cheap to buy a solar panel accessory for power. The app is a little confusing, but Reolink recently added 2FA. I also tested the Reolink Argus PT with solar panel ($160), which is a solid pan-and-tilt camera with an otherwise similar feature set. Both Reolink cameras also support dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz).

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Eve Outdoor Cam for $250: This stylish floodlight camera must be wired in, and installation is tricky (you may want an electrician). It can replace an outdoor light to give you motion-activated light (up to 1,500 lumens), 1080p video (157-degree field of view), and two-way audio. But as a HomeKit camera, you will need an Apple HomeKit hub (Apple TV, HomePod, or iPad) and an iCloud+ storage plan. Sadly, the video and sound quality are average; it only works on 2.4-GHz Wi-Fi, and there’s no Android support.

Toucan Wireless Outdoor Camera for $50: Toucan’s wireless camera resembles our top pick from Arlo with a smart magnetic mount and easy installation. The 1080p video is good in ideal conditions but struggles with mixed lighting (no HDR). The two-way audio is passable. The app works well and loads the live feed quite quickly, but this is cloud-only, which means you need to subscribe (from $3 per month) if you want tagged events, more than the last 24 hours recorded, or to download more than five videos per month.

Toucan Security Light Camera for $100: You can simply plug this camera into an outlet, and it comes with an 8-meter waterproof cable. It has a motion-activated light (1,200 lumens), records 1080p video, and supports two-way audio. I found the footage quite detailed, but it struggled with direct sunlight. You can record locally on a microSD card (sold separately), and you get 24 hours of free cloud storage, but it has limitations. Plans start from $3 per month. Even with motion detection set to the lowest sensitivity, this camera triggered too often during testing, and there’s no way to filter for people, so I got frequent false positives (blowing leaves, moths, and birds all triggered alerts).

Blurams Outdoor Lite 3 for $50: This is a feature-packed security camera for the price, with support for pan, tilt, and zoom functionality; spotlights; siren; motion tracking; continuous recording; and two-way audio. You can store footage locally on a microSD card (sold separately) or subscribe to a cloud plan. Video quality is reasonable, but the app is very glitchy and loading the live feed was inconsistent (sometimes it just buffered indefinitely).

SimpliSafe Wireless Outdoor Security Camera for $160: A solid set of features, crisp 1080p video, and support for HDR sounds tempting, but you need a Simplisafe security system (9/10, WIRED recommends) and monitoring plan to make this camera worthwhile, making it too expensive for what you get. (The Arlo Pro 4 offers better-quality video and more features.) It may be a useful add-on for existing SimpliSafe customers, though.



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