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Protect your house with the best home security cameras for 2019

At Digital Trends, we test all sorts of cameras and security devices, from outdoor security cameras to indoors cameras to video doorbells. After spending 2,500 hours testing smart security devices, our pick for the best home security camera is the Arlo Pro 2 because it has a wide variety of features and plenty of cloud storage. The Arlo Pro 2 isn’t the only stellar option we’ve come across though. We’ve also included our pick for the camera with the best image quality, the security camera with the best Alexa integration, the camera with the best smart home integration, the best outdoor security camera, and for those on a budget, the best cheap security camera.

At a glance

  • Best home security camera: Arlo Pro 2
  • Best image quality: Nest Cam IQ
  • Best Alexa integration: Amazon Cloud Cam
  • The best smart home integration: Logitech Circle 2
  • Best outdoor camera: Ring Spotlight Cam
  • Best cheap security camera: Wyzecam 2

Arlo Pro 2

The best

Protect your house with the best home security cameras for 2019

Why should you buy this: Robust feature set, good cloud storage options

Who’s it for: Anyone looking for a full home security solution

Why we picked the Arlo Pro 2:

When you need more than just a single camera, Arlo (previously part of Netgear) has always delivered the goods better than anyone else. The newest Arlo Pro 2 improves on an already great system, upping video resolution to 1080p while maintaining the same seven days of free cloud storage. It is fully weather sealed and ready to be used indoors or out, wired or wire-free. The batteries can easily be swapped and charged separately, so wire-free cameras won’t suffer any downtime while charging.

Unlike stand-alone smart cameras, Arlo’s use of a base station ensures optimized throughput with every Arlo Pro 2. This maintains a stable connection regardless of network load, and it’s also responsible for the Arlo Pro 2’s excellent battery life of up to six months, depending on activity. When plugged in, the camera can be used for continuous video recording — like a traditional security camera — making it useful in a business setting, as well as in your home. (A continuous video recording, or CVR, storage plan, sold separately, is required). The base station also adds a 100-plus-decibel siren and allows for local backup via external USB drive.

The Arlo Pro 2 is also backward compatible with the existing Arlo Pro system, so current users can continue to use their same base station and older cameras alongside the new model. Those customers can purchase a solo Arlo Pro 2 camera for $220. (Note: A base station is required, so new users will need to purchase the $480 multi-camera kit).

Read our full Arlo Pro 2 review

Nest Cam IQ

The best image quality

Protect your house with the best home security cameras for 2019

Why should you buy this: Great video quality, solid feature set

Who’s it for: Those who want the best quality, and don’t mind paying for it

Why we picked the Nest Cam IQ:

Just as it did with thermostats, Nest is changing the game when it comes to home security. The new Nest Cam IQ promises a giant leap forward in smart camera image quality. It uses a 4K image sensor to record dual 1080p frames simultaneously, combining them into one Full HD video that offers greater dynamic range than what would otherwise be possible. Dynamic range is often an issue for home security cameras that have to try to balance exposure between a bright window and an otherwise dark interior. The Cam IQ should really help with this.

What’s more, users will be able to digitally zoom in up to 12 times without completely sacrificing image quality. The camera can even automatically zoom in to an area of the frame when it detects motion, and will stay zoomed in on the subject as it moves across the frame. The full 130-degree wide-angle perspective is still preserved while doing this, so you won’t miss a thing.

Customers who subscribe to Nest Aware cloud storage will also gain facial recognition, so the Cam IQ will be able to tell the difference between members of your family and an intruder. Unfortunately, the camera is limited to indoor use and does not have optional battery power.

Read our full Nest Cam IQ review

Amazon Cloud Cam

The best Alexa integration

Protect your house with the best home security cameras for 2019

Why you should buy this: It integrates perfectly with your Alexa-enabled devices.

Who it’s for: Those who already use and love Alexa

Why we picked the Amazon Cloud Cam: Leave it to the creator of Alexa to build a security camera that’s perfectly in sync with your favorite voice assistant. If your family is the kind that already has an Echo device or Amazon Fire tablet in every room of the house, the Cloud Cam security camera could be the best choice for you. The Amazon Cloud Cam streams in 1080p HD video, and you can ask Alexa to show you the real-time feed on your Amazon Fire TV, Fire Tablet, Echo Show, or Echo Spot devices.

You can also visit cloudcam.amazon.com to watch the footage from a laptop or desktop computer. Plus, the Cloud Cam includes many other must-have features, including two-way audio, night vision, and even push notifications when movement is detected. In the market for Amazon Key, the smart lock system that lets delivery personnel into your home to drop off packages? The Amazon Key Home Kit includes Cloud Cam, so you’ll get the security camera when you set up Amazon Key in your home.

Read our full Amazon Cloud Cam review

Logitech Circle 2

The best smart home integration

Protect your house with the best home security cameras for 2019

Why should you buy this: Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit support, multitude of mounting options

Who’s it for: Smart home enthusiasts

Why we picked the Logitech Circle 2:

The Circle 2 is simply one of the most versatile home security cameras out there. With an abundance of mounts available, you can place it virtually anywhere. Mount it straight to a wall outlet for compact, cordless, always-on security or stick it right to a pane of glass with the Window Mount to keep an eye on what’s going on outside from the safety of your home.

The camera can be used in all types of weather. Logitech even offers a custom weatherproof extension cable to help with outdoor mounting. The Circle 2 is also available in a wire-free version that uses a swappable and rechargeable battery so you can minimize downtime by always keeping a spare battery ready to go.

What’s really interesting about this smart camera, though, is that it will offer both Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit integration (coming soon). Other than that, it includes the standard features of night vision, two-way audio, encrypted cloud storage, and 24 hours of free online backup.

Read our full Logitech Circle 2 review

Ring Spotlight Cam

The best outdoor camera

Protect your house with the best home security cameras for 2019

Why you should buy this: A 110-decibel siren scares away intruders.

Who it’s for: Those who worry about intruders or porch theft.

Why we picked the Ring Spotlight Cam: The thing that sets the Ring Spotlight Cam apart from other home security cameras is that it prioritizes crime prevention. The built-in motion detectors will immediately start recording video when it senses movement, and it will simultaneously shine lights to scare off any would-be intruders or criminals. You can also sound the 110-decibel siren to warn others about suspicious activity or as a warning to possible lurkers.

The camera is compatible with iOS and Android mobile devices, as well as Mac and Windows PCs. So regardless of what kind of device you have, you’ll be able to download the app and tune in anytime to see live footage of your home. No matter where you are, you can check to make sure the kids came home from school or to tell Fido to get off the couch. Set-up is quick, and the camera comes included with all the tools you’ll need to get the camera situated in your home.

Read our full Ring Spotlight Cam review

Wyze Labs Wyzecam 2

The best ridiculously cheap security cam

Protect your house with the best home security cameras for 2019 Daven Mathies/Digital Trends
Daven Mathies/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: Cheap enough to buy one for every room

Who’s it for: Anybody with even a passing fancy in smart cameras.

Why we picked the Wyze Labs Wyzecam:

Wyze Labs was founded by ex-Amazon employees who are now bringing the online retail giant’s high-volume, low-margin approach to smart home security. Their first product is the Wyzecam, a tiny, cubical smart camera that costs a mere $20. At that price, it could very well disrupt the industry.

As for features, it’s no surprise that the Wyzecam is not up to par with the likes of the Circle 2 and Arlo Pro 2, but it isn’t bad. It offers night vision, motion detection, and two-way audio, and includes 14 days of free cloud storage. Motion- and sound-triggered video clips are limited to 12 seconds, which may or may not be enough time to get a good look at someone breaking into your home, so we don’t recommend relying on the Wyzecam if you need a robust security solution.

Still, as an affordable entry point into the world of smart home cameras, it’s hard to find anything that competes. We have seen nothing else that offers so much for so little.

Read our full Wyze Labs Wyzecam 2 review

How we test

This is by no means an exhaustive list of home security cameras, but these are a few of our favorites that stand out for various unique reasons. Smart home cameras are at their best when they stay out of your way and offer worry-free operation and streamlined apps so that when you do need to interact with them, it doesn’t cause a headache. Good image quality is nice, but it’s not the most important feature when it comes to keeping your home safe or checking in on your kids or pets.

We look for cameras that offer a great combination of features — night vision, battery power, alerts, two-way audio, integration with other services, etc. — in determining the best ones. Obviously, we also take price into account, and there is quite a range of pricing in the current smart home camera market.

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