The best outdoor security systems discourage criminals before they reach doors and windows. In days of yore, a moat loaded with eels did the trick! Today a Wi-Fi network loaded with outdoor security cameras is more practical. Wi-Fi cameras are easy to monitor with your smartphone, and with paid service, they can send alerts to emergency dispatchers. Built-in speakers on the cameras let you tell trespassers that they’re being recorded.
Best outdoor security systems
Monthly cost of professional monitoring with outdoor cameras
$60 or less
$27.99 or less
$60 or less
Types of Outdoor Security Cameras
The main types of outdoor security cameras are doorbell cameras and standard weatherproof video cameras.
Doorbell video cameras – For easy installation a doorbell camera uses battery power or an older doorbell’s wiring. With motion detection and night vision, it lets you keep an eye on your homefront via your smartphone or desktop computer. Most doorbell cameras have two-way audio for talking with visitors.
Standard outdoor security cameras – With plug-in and cordless styles, these outdoor security cameras can guard the full perimeter of your property. Common features are infrared night vision, motion detection, and two-way audio.
Each company below has both types of cameras, plus they sell indoor cameras and full home security systems with entry sensors, indoor motion sensors, and advanced features. Each system has a Z-Wave radio chip, giving you countless add-on possibilities such as remote control door locks, remote control lights, and wireless smoke alarms. Systems also have cellular chips, which you can activate as back-up to your home Wi-Fi network. All the companies support voice commands too; with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, you can gain hands-free control over your wireless cameras and other smart home equipment.
Two security companies here, ADT and Vivint, always send a professional to handle camera installation. The others, Cove, Frontpoint, and Ring, generally leave the setup to the customer.
ADT is America’s longest-running security company, and they install some of the best outdoor security systems overall. Each new ADT Pulse system includes 24/7 professional monitoring of alerts, which ensures that someone will police, firefighters, and paramedics if you’re unable. You can even get help away from home if an ADT medical alert device is added to the plan.
Besides that, you can personally monitor and control your ADT camera system with a highly rated smartphone app or desktop app. And for the ultimate in convenient DIY monitoring, just tell Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to stream footage. For example, “Alexa, ask ADT to show my back porch camera.” Your virtual personal assistant can also open/close your garage door, adjust lights, and otherwise control equipment connected to the ADT Pulse base station.
ADT Outdoor Security Cameras
ADT Pulse has two equipment choices for 2023: the ADT Outdoor Camera and the ADT Video Doorbell Camera with 720p. These store 30-second video clips to the cloud when triggered by motion. With a smartphone or desktop app, you can view recordings or live footage anytime.
The ADT Outdoor Camera is wonderfully weatherproof. A heater activates when temperatures dip below 42° F and help keep the camera operational down to -40°. Other special features are infrared night vision, which helps capture crisp footage up to 18 feet away, and a heat sensor for prowlers.
ADT Outdoor Cameras are wall-mounted. An ADT Pulse expert will determine the best places for outdoor camera setup, taking into account the lens angle (95 degrees) and your home’s power outlet locations. The cameras run primarily off mains power and have battery backup.
Also available are ADT Video Doorbell Cameras. Like the ADT Outdoor Camera, these are motion-triggered and also let you check-in anytime. Special features are night vision, two-way talk, and an ultra-wide 180° lens with minimal fisheye effect. ADT makes their doorbell camera compatible with a wide range of door frames for quick installation by a pro.
What We Like
Same-day professional installation
Pro monitoring to send police, firefighters, and paramedics
Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
Intrusion protection, environmental safety, and home automation
Hub supports Z-Wave devices
What We Don’t Like
720p resolution (Crisp, but higher resolution is available)
Continuous video recording not included (Motion-triggered only)
ADT cameras let you view live footage anytime, but they cannot record continuously. If continuous video is a priority for you, see Vivint’s cameras below.
ADT Security & Smart Home Equipment
Choosing ADT for outdoor video surveillance, you can easily have a full security system installed at the same time. Installation typically costs $99 when cameras are included. A single ADT Pulse hub can monitor and control entry sensors, pet-friendly motion sensors, your garage door, smoke alarms, smart lights, thermostats, and countless other products for your safety and convenience.
In sum, ADT Pulse can be your best outdoor security system with professional setup and 24/7 monitoring. Along with outdoor cameras, they can install indoor cameras and a complete smart home system to guard against intruders, reduce energy costs, guard against environmental threats, and automate appliances. Prices for customized systems vary from home to home.
2. SimpliSafe - Best Professionally Monitored Outdoor Security System
Choice is the name of the game when it comes to SimpliSafe. With a SimpliSafe system, you can monitor your home yourself or take advantage of the company’s 24/7 professional monitoring service. You can contact a local OnTech installer to set the system up for prices starting at just $99, or you can set the system up yourself in a matter of minutes. The company offers a wide range of security system packages. And with SimpliSafe’s magnetic mounts, you can even change camera angles with just the palm of your hand.
Unlike other systems, SimpliSafe outdoor equipment relies primarily on a cellular connection for greater reliability. Wi-Fi is only the backup. At the same time, though, you get full compatibility with both Alexa and Google Home so you can control your entire system with just your voice. In addition, the SimpliSafe app–available even with the free self-monitoring plan–sent us instant alerts and let us view footage and turn the system off and on no matter where we were in the world.
FYI: Read our full SimpliSafe review to learn all about our experience with this popular home security system.
SimpliSafe Outdoor Security Cameras
SimpliSafe offers both an outdoor camera and a video doorbell. Both feature 1080p HD resolution for crystal clear images. Both let you see in the dark: The doorbell uses infrared technology while the outdoor camera has a spotlight that comes on when sensors detect motion. And both come with an onboard alert system. The doorbell has a chime, while the camera includes a siren.
We should point out that SimpliSafe’s outdoor camera is a relatively new product. It’s already impressed us, though, with its 140-degree field of view, 8x digital zoom, and IP65 rating. For those not in the know, IP65 means the camera is dust-tight and can withstand water from a nozzle. In addition, the camera is rated for use in temperatures between negative four and 122 degrees Fahrenheit. The video doorbell has an even larger, 160-degree field of view and two-way audio.
What We Like
Choice between DIY and professional installation
Month-to-month monitoring contracts
Both professional and self-monitoring options
Total mobile control through the SimpliSafe app
Works with both Alexa and Google Home
What We Don’t Like
Doesn’t work natively with Apple HomeKit
No free storage
Entry sensors are a bit large
Other SimpliSafe Security Equipment
SimpliSafe offers several complete security equipment packages, so it’s easy to find one that suits your situation and budget. Or, you can build your own system from scratch using just the components you need. All of them come with a minimum of a base station, a keypad, an entry sensor, and a motion sensor. You can also add glass break sensors, smoke detectors, panic buttons, and even smart locks.
One of the best things about SimpliSafe is that they are a full-service home security company. That is, they don’t just offer equipment but 24/7 professional monitoring as well. Experts monitor your home for any type of emergency and in the event of trouble send video to local emergency services to help speed response times. Personnel are specially trained to stay on the phone and talk you through the crisis. SimpliSafe offers self-monitoring options as well, and even has a low-cost video storage plan. We always recommend professional monitoring, though, and SimpliSafe’s is too good to pass up.
Vivint is much younger than ADT and has quickly become a top competitor. They offer an exceptional array of features for home safety and security, automation, energy savings, and even automobile security. Overall Vivint is a top choice for those seeking outdoor security with automation. Vivint cameras can record continuously or just when motion-triggered, and video is saved for up to 45 days.
Vivint has a professional install your cameras and other equipment, and then paid monitoring keeps the system operational. A monthly payment of $39.99 also lets you use a smartphone or Google Assistant voice commands for hands-free control over your smart home.
Vivint Outdoor Security Cameras
Vivint features a standard outdoor cam and a doorbell video camera, both with night vision and two-way talk. The Vivint Outdoor Camera has 1080p resolution, and the doorbell camera records up to 1080p, as well.
Continuous video recording (CVR) is an option with each, and Vivint will store your video to the cloud for up to 45 days. Without CVR, Vivint will still store video triggered by motion alerts. These may be up to 90 seconds each for the standard outdoor camera, and up to 30 seconds each for the doorbell. Also stored to the cloud are color photographs from the same events.
The Vivint Outdoor Camera automatically starts recording when triggered by motion, plus you can view live footage anytime with Vivint apps for smartphones and desktop computers. Infrared ensures crisp video surveillance regardless of ambient light. The maximum night vision range is an impressive 55’. Other highlights of the Vivint Outdoor Camera are:
Custom Surveillance Zones: The Vivint cam has a wide-angle (140 degrees), so it can detect lots of motion. The surveillance zones feature lets you deactivate motion alerts for portions of the viewing area, which is divided into a grid in the Vivint app. Just tap a rectangle to enable/disable motion alerts.
Two-Way Talk: Two-way audio lets you alert trespassers that they’re on camera. The 85db speaker can also be useful for communicating with pets and other family members.
Hybrid Wired and Wi-Fi: Vivint Outdoor Cameras are installed to work with mains electricity or Wi-Fi; they automatically move from one system to another depending on which system is working best. This means that compared with systems that use one source only, the Vivint outdoor security system may provide a smoother video with less buffering.
The Vivint Doorbell Camera can also alert you to someone’s presence, regardless of whether they ring, knock, or keep quiet. Two-way audio lets you talk with expected and unexpected visitors.
This gadget is motion-activated by default, plus you can set up continuous video recording. LED lights help capture video at night.
What We Like
Seamless integration of all home systems
Works with Google Assistant
Supports Z-Wave for endless home automation options
Pro monitoring can send police, firefighters, and paramedics
What We Don’t Like
Monthly payment required
Other Vivint Equipment for Safety & Automation
As you can read in our Vivint review, Vivint is a top-notch brand for all-in-one smart home systems. With a mobile or desktop app, you can monitor your whole castle: the indoor and outdoor cameras, motion sensors, smart locks, your garage door, lighting, heating/cooling, and so forth. Professional installation helps ensure that the system is indeed set up “smartly.”
As mentioned above, Vivint also offers automobile security and is an energy savings expert. Besides using smart thermostats, you can get Vivint solar panels to reduce costs.
The main drawback? Vivint video security and home automation only work with monthly payment for professional monitoring. If you’d prefer a security system with totally DIY options, jump ahead to Ring Alarm.
Cove is relatively a newcomer in the home alarm industry, but it has already earned a reputation for being affordable and reliable. When we look at its offerings, we don’t see as many equipment options as we do with more established brands. What we see is a back-to-basics alarm company that has the most necessary components to protect your home, and that includes outdoor cameras and video doorbells.
What We Like
24/7 monitoring and cellular backup
RapidSOS monitoring technology
Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
What We Don’t Like
No self-monitoring option
Limited equipment options
Mobile smartphone controls cost $24.99 per month
Cove Outdoor Security Cameras
Cameras aren’t exactly Cove’s strongest suit, but it’s the way that the cameras integrate with the system that makes Cove’s outdoor cameras excellent.
The outdoor camera is a standard bullet-type outdoor camera. It’s IP65 weatherproof, so it’s safe from rain and dust, but not waterproof enough to be totally immersed. It has a decent 1080p resolution, plus a pretty wide viewing angle of up to 140 degrees. What stands out about the camera is its ability to work without wires. It runs on four 18,650 mAh batteries, so it doesn’t need to be plugged in. Additionally, it has a memory card slot for local video storage, a feature we rarely see in cameras from monitored security systems.
Now, as for the doorbells, Cove offers two options: a SkyBell doorbell camera and a Kami doorbell camera. Both doorbells feature a 1080p camera, and are sturdy enough to be placed outside, just not in direct rain. Although they are not made by Cove, they seamlessly integrate with the Cove App, so you can use them as if they’re really part of the system. Depending on your doorbell setup, you might prefer one over the other. Here’s a comparison.
180 degrees horizontal field of view (FOV)
170 degrees horizontal FOV
120 degrees vertical FOV
90 degrees vertical FOV
Motion and person detection
Motion and person detection
1 month battery life
-40 to 140 degrees F operating temperature
14 to 122 degrees F operating temperature
Integrating any of these outdoor cameras to your Cove system requires a subscription to the Cove Plus plan with a $27.99 monthly fee. The good news is that Cove recently improved this plan to include seven days of cloud storage. And since all these cameras now work with the Cove App, you can review, share, or download clips anytime and anywhere.
Cove Security Equipment
Cove likes to keep things simple. You can get started with just a few components, or you can go bigger by adding more sensors, cameras, and peripherals to your system. Either way, you have a limited choice of equipment — security sensors, environment detectors, remote controllers, and cameras.
That being said, these pieces of equipment integrate seamlessly to provide a veil of protection around your home. Even better, they are affordable, with sensors offered ranging from $7.50 to $30 (sale price). Everything else is under $100, except for the Cove Touch alarm panel ($124.50 sale price) and the SkyBell video doorbell ($189). Our exclusive Cove review offers more insight about what these devices can do to protect your home.
Frontpoint has some of the best DIY outdoor security systems with pro monitoring. In other words, you set up Frontpoint wireless cameras yourself and get a 24/7 connection to emergency operators. In partnership with Rapid Response, Frontpoint is known for speedy emergency service and also for great customer service in non-emergencies.
Everything can be set up without drilling or otherwise altering property, so Frontpoint works well for long-term renters as well as homeowners. Each customer choosing video security starts with 12 months of professional monitoring at $49.99/month.
Like ADT and Vivint above, Frontpoint has one standard outdoor camera and one doorbell camera. Both are friendly with Alexa and Google Assistant. You can also set up Frontpoint indoor cameras, motion sensors, glass break sensors, remote-controlled door locks, and countless other devices for safety and home automation.
Frontpoint Outdoor Security Cameras
Frontpoint’s outdoor camera and doorbell are motion-activated. Each can record 40-second video clips and store them to the cloud, giving you access from your smartphone.
The Frontpoint Outdoor Camera simply plugs in for an easy setup. If someone tries to tamper with the camera, notice is sent to Rapid Response. The camera also records when triggered by motion. With infrared, even at night, it can capture clear images of action up to 40’ away with its 117-degree lens.
Video with 720p resolution is saved to the cloud. It’s encrypted but you can give access to up to 10 people. In case you ever want privacy, you can engage the camera shutter.
This weatherproof camera works in temperatures from -13° to 133° F.
Next, the Frontpoint Slimline Doorbell Camera is ultra-slim yet has a 180-degree lens angle. With night vision it lets you see who’s at the door or up to eight feet away. This smart camera is designed for compatibility with most door frames, and with battery power, it needs no hardwiring. Resolution is 780p.
What We Like
Great customer service
Complete systems for safety & home automation
Alexa & Google Assistant
What We Don’t Like
Requires paid service
No CVR (continuous video recording)
Cameras aren’t 1080p
Frontpoint Home Security Equipment
Frontpoint is a favorite choice for wireless home security and home automation. Their friendliness won us over years ago, and Frontpoint is still known for its great customer service. You can choose from various starter kits and add extra equipment anytime; the Frontpoint security hub can support indoor and outdoor cameras, motion sensors, entry sensors, carbon monoxide sensors, smart plugs, garage door sensors and controllers, and countless other devices. Everything is under warranty and has a money-back guarantee. Dive deeper into the cost of Frontpoint.
6. Ring Alarm Security Kit - Best Alexa Compatible Outdoor Security
“Alexa, show the latest activity from the back yard!” Many brands are friendly with Amazon Alexa, the virtual assistant who can arm homes, give traffic reports, play trivia games, and more. Of all home security brands, Ring offers the best Alexa compatible outdoor security. Ring has an inside edge, after all: Ring and Alexa are sister companies, both developed by Amazon. Installation is do-it-yourself, and pro monitoring is available but not required.
Ring first became famous with doorbell cameras. Now they also feature outdoor security cameras, indoor cams, and full security systems with home automation. You can store camera footage for 60 days in the cloud for $3 a month for each camera. But if you have multiple cameras, the $10 a month plan gives all of them access to cloud storage. Learn more about Ring Alarm’s prices.
Ring Outdoor Security Cameras
Compared with the companies above, Ring has wider selections of doorbell cameras and standard outdoor security cameras. Some cameras are more advanced too; only Ring has floodlight cameras, for instance. The average installation time ranges from five to 20 minutes.
Ring has a wide lineup of doorbell video cameras, giving you a choice of hardwired, Ethernet, or battery-powered models. Recently they introduced a door camera that fits over peepholes too. These smart cameras detect human motion. Two-way talk lets you talk with visitors, and you can remotely check the camera view anytime. With night vision and lens angles up to 160 degrees, Ring door cameras can catch action anytime… and with custom motion zones, you can focus just on areas that matter.
The Ring outdoor security camera lineup includes battery-powered, solar-powered, and hardwired models. All the cameras have 1080p resolution, night vision, and two-way talk. Most intimidating to would-be intruders are Ring Spotlight Cams, which furthermore have powerful LED lights and 100-decibel sirens. Sirens can be triggered by criminal activity or by a button in your mobile app.
What We Like
Professional monitoring optional
Low price for DIY monitoring
Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri
What We Don’t Like
Ring Alarm only has emergency response for Ring brand devices
Ring Alarm Security & Smart Home Equipment
Along with offering the best Alexa compatibleoutdoor security, Ring has Alexa-friendly indoor equipment to safeguard and automate your home.
The Ring website shows security kits and sells parts separately. Each system starts with a Ring base station, which can monitor up to 100 devices. Like the base stations for companies above, it’s Z-Wave compatible so you can integrate products from multiple brands. The Ring website shows compatible products in categories such as cameras, lights, locks, smart plugs, and thermostats. Equipment is under warranty and has a money-back guarantee.
Outdoor Security System Methodology
When selecting an outdoor security camera with a system, here are some things to look out for:
Video: I prefer cameras with 1080p HD video display and fields of view of 120 degrees or higher, plus the ability to zoom in optically to capture details.
Audio: Your outdoor camera should come with a microphone and speaker enabling two-way audio, which allows you to communicate remotely with whoever your camera’s pointing at.
Night Vision: It should also have LED sensors for infrared night vision, which I prefer over color night vision from a bright white light as it’s much less conspicuous.
Storage: I look for cameras with both cloud and local storage, ideally for free. It’s important to store your footage in two ways in case one of them fails.
Smart platform integrations: If you already have Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, or Microsoft Cortana in your home, then you’ll want an outdoor security camera system that works with your voice assistant, allowing for hands-free commands.
Artificial intelligence: Ideally, your outdoor camera should have person detection so you get alerted only when it detects a person and not movement from other objects like cars, trees, or leaves flying around. This will create smarter, more specific notifications that matter more, as you don’t want to be bombarded with useless notifications daily.
Durability: Be sure to check the camera for its IP rating and temperature range. IP ratings are a two-digit number that tell you how susceptible a camera is to solids and liquids. It should be 65 or higher. The temperature range, of course, will depend on where you live, but make sure to pick a camera that fits into your climate.
A large body surface like the back of a hand, but no intentional contact with a body part
Dripping water falling vertically
Fingers of similar objects
Dripping water falling from 15-degree tilt
Tools, thick wires, etc.
Most wires, screws, etc
Water jets 6.3mm and below
Powerful water jets 12.5mm and below
Immersion up to 1m
Immersion over 1m
Easy installation: Of course, you should pick a camera and system that’s easy to install, whether it’s plug-in or battery-operated. Sensors, on the other hand, tend to be peel-and-stick which makes for an easy DIY installation. If you want professional installation instead of DIY, Vivint is your best bet.
Other security components: Aside from your outdoor camera, you may want a larger system with motion, entry, and glass break sensors, panic buttons, keyring remotes, key fobs, base stations, and more. Be sure to check out each individual security system review before purchasing, as there are many customizable packages available!
Monitoring: You may want to pay an extra monthly or yearly fee for 24/7 professional monitoring, which has a team of people available to call emergency services for you if necessary at all times.
Backup: In case the power in your neighborhood goes down, you’ll want a system with some form of power backup, be it cellular, landline, or even battery.
App: Depending on whether you have an iPhone or Android, be sure to check out customer reviews at the Apple or Google Play stores, respectively, as updates can greatly change the app’s overall rating. With a smart security system, a user-friendly app is a necessity, allowing you easy remote control and notifications.
The best outdoor security cameras are from brands like ADT, SimpliSafe, Cove, Vivint, Frontpoint, and Ring. Some of these brands, though, stand out not because of their security camera tech, but because of the level of outdoor and indoor protection they provide. Remember, outdoor cameras are merely components of a whole home security system, so you should look at the big picture rather than focusing on one camera alone.