ADT Indoor and Outdoor Security Camera Review
How do ADT’s camera options stack up against the competition?
What We Like
- 1080p HD resolution cameras - We enjoyed ultra-crisp image quality from ADT’s cameras, allowing us to see the finer details of potential threats.
- Basic to advanced features -ADT cameras offer everything from two-way audio to facial recognition. Just be warned that their more advanced cameras come with a price tag to match.
- ADT is a trusted name in home security - With nearly 150 years in business, ADT is a trusted home security provider that can keep your home and family safe.
What We Don't Like
- Limited camera options - ADT only offers a handful of security cameras. We wish they sold more outdoor cameras, specifically.
- Somewhat pricey monitoring fees - If you want the ADT cameras that include monthly monitoring (not the Blue by ADT line), expect to pay $50+ per month for monitoring.
- ADT doesn’t make their own video doorbell camera - The company offers a Google Nest doorbell, which gets the job done, but unfortunately they don’t manufacture their own proprietary doorbell cam.
ADT has been in the security business for more than 145 years. That suggests the company must be doing something right. In fact, we like ADT so much that it shows up regularly on our list of the best home security systems.
Every company, though, has its weak points. Are ADT’s camera options their Achilles’ heel? To find out, we took a close look at all of ADT’s cameras, including those from its DIY brand, Blue by ADT.
ADT Camera Options
ADT is really two brands. ADT itself is a full-service home security company, providing professional installation and 24/7 monitoring. As mentioned, Blue by ADT is the company’s DIY brand. Let’s start by looking at the basic ADT camera choices.
When it comes to equipment, ADT likes to keep things simple. This isn’t Lorex where you can wind up dizzy from all the complicated different camera options. The company offers just three models, each one suited to a different purpose:
- Indoor Security Camera
- Outdoor Security Camera
- Video Doorbell Camera
Here are the basics about all three:
- Google Nest Doorbell: ADT doesn’t manufacture its own video doorbell. Instead, it offers the Google Nest Doorbell.
- Resolution: ADT’s indoor and outdoor cameras both feature 1080p HD resolution, the industry standard. However, the video doorbell’s resolution is 960×1280, with some 37 percent fewer pixels than 1080p HD.
- Field of view: All three of ADT’s cameras provide a healthy field of view. The outdoor camera’s FOV is 130 degrees. The indoor camera’s FOV is 145 degrees. The video doorbell’s FOV is an impressive 180 degrees.
- Night vision: All three of ADT’s cameras use built-in infrared LEDs to provide night vision.
- Two-way audio: All three cameras include two-way audio with echo cancellation and noise reduction.
- Connectivity: All three cameras transmit using Wi-Fi. In addition, the video doorbell can connect via Bluetooth.
- Power: The ADT indoor camera uses a standard wall outlet as its power supply. The outdoor camera uses a built-in battery. The Google Nest Doorbell is available in two models, one with battery power and one that is wired into the preexisting doorbell outlet.
- Durability: Both the video doorbell and the outdoor camera are built to withstand the weather. The video doorbell can handle temperatures between minus 4 degrees and 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, the outdoor camera works in temperatures between minus 40 degrees and 122 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, it has a rating of IP66, which means it is dust-tight and can withstand water from powerful water jets.
|Features||Indoor camera||Outdoor camera||Video doorbell|
|Resolution||1080p HD||1080p HD||960x1280p|
|Field of view||145 degrees||130 degrees||180 degrees|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi or Bluetooth|
|Power supply||Wall outlet||Battery||Battery or direct wiring|
|Durability||N/A||-40 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, IP66 rated||-4 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit|
Finally, all of ADT’s cameras provide real-time alerts and let you view live footage through the ADT Pulse app.
Blue by ADT Camera Options
Like ADT, Blue by ADT offers just three cameras:
- The Wireless Outdoor Camera
- The Indoor Camera
- The Doorbell Camera
Though there are some differences between them, the three are actually quite similar in terms of look and functionality.
We found a number of important similarities between Blue by ADT’s various cameras. Again, this helps keep things relatively simple, since it means you know what you’re getting no matter which models you’re considering.
- Appearance: As a starting point, all three of Blue by ADT’s models have a similar look. All three are rectangular with rounded corners. All three feature electric-blue trim that helps give them a sleek, modern look. You do have a choice between pearl gray and graphite-colored versions, but even if you were to mix and match these, you’d still wind up with a pretty consistent look in your home.
- Image resolution: Of course, the most important aspect of any security camera is its image resolution. If you can’t make out what’s happening in your video feeds, you’re not going to feel very secure. All three Blue by ADT cameras come with full 1080p HD resolution. If you’re light on the lingo, that means you’ll get a width of 1,920 pixels and a height of 1,080 pixels. That’s sort of the industry standard these days. You can certainly find cameras with higher resolution, like 2K or 4K, but 1080p HD is crystal clear, and if you go with a higher resolution, you’ll have to pay a price in processing power.
- Two-way audio: We like to be able to talk to whoever’s at the other end of our security cameras. We can chat with delivery persons dropping off packages or give would-be burglars a fright. Whether you buy a Blue by ADT indoor camera, outdoor camera, video doorbell, or some combination of the three, you get two-way audio with echo reduction and noise cancellation.
- Night vision: All three of Blue by ADT’s cameras come with true-day night vision. This means they switch smoothly from day view to night view as the available light decreases. You don’t end up with a fuzzy image at dusk or early in the morning. And, because they rely on ambient light, these cameras provide you with the same clear image no matter what time it is.
- Custom Zones: Motion detection is great. It means we can always count on getting an alert if there’s any activity on our doorstep. Unfortunately, our Brooklyn neighborhood is pretty busy so some security cameras wind up sending us alerts every couple of minutes. Luckily, Blue by ADT cameras let us set custom alert zones. We decided exactly where to focus the camera’s attention, so we didn’t have to pull up our feeds every time the neighbor’s dog happened to wander by our door.
- Facial Recognition: Blue by ADT cameras also come with one of the coolest new features in security cameras: facial recognition. You upload a handful of pictures of your friends and family, and your cameras can let you know any time they knock on your door. With a few smart devices, you could program your door to unlock any time your weekly housekeeper shows up to do a little dusting. Or, use the feature to keep track of how often each of your kids is watching TV.
- Smart Home Integrations: Blue by ADT cameras include native support for both Alexa and Google Home. That means you can turn the system off and on using only your voice. If you’ve got a smart TV, you’ll be able to watch live and recorded video using your voice as well. Using a more exotic system to run your home? Blue by ADT works just as well with IFTTT and a whole host of devices, from Z-Wave Plus and Nest, to Hue, Lutron, Sonos, and even iRobot. Of course, if you want real functionality, you might want to invest in additional Blue by ADT devices, like motion sensors, window sensors, and base stations.
FYI: IFTTT stands for If This, Then That. It’s a method of connecting smart home devices from different platforms to create routines in which the devices work together.
A Few Key Differences
Despite their many similarities, Blue by ADT has designed its three-camera options to perform different functions, so, as you’d expect, they have some important differences as well.
The indoor camera from Blue by ADT plugs easily into any standard power outlet, though it also comes with battery backup so you’re covered even when the lights go out. You can mount this camera on the wall, but its versatile design means you can set it easily on a desk or an end table as well.
Wherever it’s positioned, it provides a full 130-degree field of view. Put it in a corner and you’ll have coverage of virtually the entire room. Finally, this indoor camera comes with an audio detector that picks up smoke and CO alarms. With this feature, you can get alerts any time there’s an environmental crisis in your home.
Finally, the indoor camera comes with an SD card slot that accepts cards up to 128 GB. That’s up to 960 minutes worth of storage. And, even though it’s local storage, you can still access it through your Blue by ADT app 24/7.
Blue by ADT’s outdoor cameras aren’t just wireless. They’re wire-free. That means they don’t require any wires to transmit images, and they don’t require any wires for power. Instead, they operate entirely on battery power. One battery can last up to three months, and it’s rechargeable.
Like the indoor cameras, the outdoor models provide a 130-degree field of view, and they come with an SD card slot. However, they’re more durable than the indoor models. Blue by ADT doesn’t provide a specific IP rating, but these cameras are water-resistant and can withstand temperatures between 14 and 122 degrees.
Video Doorbell Cameras
The video doorbell camera’s real selling point is its enormous 180-degree field of view. That’s as wide as cameras get, and it will let you see absolutely everything happening in front of your house. You should know, however, that unlike the indoor and outdoor cameras, the video doorbell requires some wiring.
Handy Definitions: A wired camera uses wires to connect to both power and video storage. A wireless camera uses Wi-Fi to connect to storage and wires to connect to power. A wire-free camera needs no wires at all because it uses Wi-Fi for storage and a battery for power.
ADT Camera Installation
Blue by ADT bills its installation as entirely DIY. That’s one of the features that sets Blue apart from traditional ADT security systems. For the most part, we found installation to be straightforward. Indoor cameras are super easy since all you need to do is plug them into a wall outlet. Of course, if you’re looking to mount them on the wall, it may take a little more time for you to choose a location, mount the hardware, and adjust the view.
The same goes for the outdoor camera, though the nice thing here is that you don’t have to worry about cords at all. Finally, as we mentioned earlier, the video doorbell does require a bit of wiring. We didn’t find it to be anything too complicated, though. We moved a couple of wires from our existing doorbell to the Blue by ADT doorbell and were done.
As long as you have Wi-Fi, the rest of the setup is even easier. Just download the Blue by ADT app and let it do the rest. In the end, none of the cameras took us longer than an hour to install, and some took considerably less.
Both ADT and Blue by ADT offer solid lines of cameras for anyone who’s looking to improve their home security. You won’t find lots of choices with either company. They offer only an indoor camera, an outdoor camera, and a video doorbell. The truth is, though, those three options should cover most homeowners’ needs.
In the end, you should probably go with ADT cameras if:
- You’re looking for a full-service company that takes care of everything
- You just need a basic camera system that can let you see what’s happening at home
- You don’t mind getting equipment from different companies
Go with Blue by ADT cameras, though, if:
- You prefer to do your home monitoring yourself
- You don’t mind installing the cameras yourself
- You’re looking for facial recognition
Want to know even more about ADT and Blue ADT cameras? We’ve put together a list of the questions we hear the most.
How much does ADT charge to add a camera?
ADT charges $130 to add an indoor camera to your security system. The company charges $270 for an outdoor camera and $200 for a video doorbell. You can also add cameras to Blue by ADT systems. All three of its cameras — the indoor, the outdoor, and the doorbell — cost $199.99 apiece.
How long does a Blue by ADT camera battery last?
The Blue by ADT outdoor camera battery lasts between two and three months depending on usage. The video doorbell doesn’t use a battery, and the indoor camera only uses a battery as backup power.
How do I access my Blue by ADT outdoor camera?
You can access your Blue by ADT outdoor camera through its mobile app. This app allows you to turn cameras on and off. You can also adjust settings and view live and recorded footage. Blue by ADT is also compatible with both Google Home and Alexa, so you can use either type of device to access your cameras.
Do Blue by ADT cameras record all the time?
Blue by ADT cameras can be set to record continuously. Blue by ADT’s free DIY monitoring plan provides 24 hours of cloud storage, or you can purchase 60 days for $2.99 per month. If you choose professional monitoring, it comes with 30 days of cloud storage. In addition, Blue by ADT’s indoor and outdoor cameras come with SD card slots for up to 128 GB worth of storage. You should note that the outdoor camera runs on battery power and this will limit how long you can record continuously.