Arlo Camera System
Arlo has a few security cameras to choose from, the Arlo Pro 2, the Arlo Pro 3 and the Arlo Ultra.
- 100% wireless home security cams
- Wide-range of high-quality camera options
- Third-party smart home integration
Arlo’s latest camera, the Arlo Essentials Wireless Security Camera, costs only $99.99 until March 14, 2021. After that date, it will cost $129.99.
What began as an offshoot of Netgear has now become a DIY security juggernaut. When it comes to wireless home security systems, Arlo sets the gold standard. All of its devices, from cameras to doorbells, are designed to create custom home security solutions without the constraints of cords. Sure, our dogs might miss having something to chew on, but if a security system can deliver peace of mind wirelessly, then count us in.
Does Arlo live up to the hype? In this review, we’ll dive into each of their devices, how they function with Arlo’s monitoring plans, and if they can deliver a truly cordless home security solution.
As mentioned before, Arlo prides itself on its cordless devices. This not only freed us from the hassle of power cables, but it also allowed us to place our devices anywhere we liked, without worrying about proximity to an outlet. For those of us worried about replacing batteries, however, many of Arlo’s cameras can be plugged in as well.
High Quality Video
Not only can Arlo’s line of cameras capture video in high-def resolution, from 1080p HD to 4K, but many of them also pack in advanced features such as color night vision and a panoramic field of vision. Some of the cameras, such as the Arlo Ultra, even featured a motion-activated integrated spotlight!
Each of Arlo’s systems boasts a simple DIY installation. Devices were easily synced through the use of Arlo’s smartphone app. What’s more, with screw and magnetic mounting options available for our cameras, placing our devices was also a snap.
In addition to stellar video quality, Arlo’s cameras can also adjust to movement, zooming in on subjects of interest. They even feature advanced object detection, helping our system differentiate between passing traffic, people, and packages.
Unlike other DIY security systems that offer different types of starter kits, Arlo centers everything around their line of cameras. The Arlo, Arlo Pro, Arlo Pro 2, Arlo Pro 3, and Arlo Ultra could either be purchased alone, as an add-on, or as part of a multiple camera kit that also includes a base station and installation materials. For those of us just getting up and running with an Arlo system, we’d definitely recommend purchasing one of these kits of either one, two, or three cameras, depending on the size of your home.
For example, the Arlo Ultra costs $299.99 when purchased alone. We, however, purchased a three-camera security system for $799.99, saving us about one hundred dollars solely in terms of the cameras, not to mention the addition of a base station, which would have cost $99.99 if we purchased it alone. Most of Arlo’s cameras are on the more expensive side of the market, but due to their video quality, durability, and AI features, we think they’re well worth the price.
Arlo Equipment Comparison
|Arlo Ultra 2 Camera Kit – $599.99||Arlo Pro 3 – 2 Camera Kit – $499.99||Arlo Pro 2 – 2 Camera Kit – $399.99||Arlo Smart Security System – $599.99|
|1 Ultra Smart Hub||1 Smart Hub||1 Base Station||1 Base Station|
|2 Arlo Ultra Cameras||2 Arlo Pro 3 Cameras||2 Arlo Pro 2 Cameras||3 Arlo Cameras|
|2 Rechargeable Batteries||2 Rechargeable Batteries||2 Rechargeable Batteries||1 Arlo Q Camera|
|1 Power Adapter||1 Power Adapter||1 Indoor Power Adapter||1 Power Adapter for Arlo Q|
|1 Magnetic Charge Cable||1 Magnetic Charge Cable||1 Indoor Power Cable||3 Arlo Skins|
|1 Ethernet Cable||1 Ethernet Cable||1 Ethernet Cable||2 Wall Mounts|
|1 Magnetic Mount||2 Wall Mount Screw Kits||2 Wall Mounts||1 Outdoor Mount for Arlo|
|1 Quarter Twenty Mount||1 Quick Start Guide||1 Wall Mount Screw Set||1 Wall Mount Plate for Arlo Q|
|2 Wall Mount Screw Kits||1 Video Monitoring Decal||1 Quick Start Guide||9 Mounting Screws|
|1 Quick Start Guide||–||1 Window Decal||12 Batteries|
|–||–||–||1 Quick Start Guide|
|–||–||–||2 Window Decals|
In addition to cameras, Arlo also offers doorbells, security lights, and a wide range of accessories.
In terms of the doorbells, there’s the Audio Doorbell ($79.99) and the Video Doorbell (149.99). There’s also the Arlo Security Light ($69.95), the Arlo Q Indoor Camera ($199.99), and the Arlo Baby Camera ($199.99). What’s interesting about each of these devices is the way in which they can function as standalone security systems. Although each piece of Arlo hardware can be synced up to an existing system, one device can function on its own, completely monitored through the Arlo app.
Without the assistance of a base, we set up our video doorbell and received calls to our phone each time somebody pressed the button. To learn more about how everything worked, check out our Arlo camera review.
Hot Tip: Arlo does not make dedicated window sensors or motion detectors, only cameras and video doorbells.
For a full list of Arlo’s devices and their pricing, look here:
|Arlo Pro with Base Station||$249.99|
|Pro 3 Floodlight Camera||$249.99|
|Arlo Pro 3||$199.99|
|Arlo Pro 2||$179.99|
|Arlo with Base Station||$179.99|
|Arlo Video Doorbell||$149.99|
|Arlo Audio Doorbell||$79.99|
|Solar Panel Charger||$79.99|
|Solar Panel – Black||$79.99|
|Arlo Security Light||$69.94|
|Dual Charging Station||$49.99|
|25 ft. Magnetic Charging Cable||$49.99|
|Magnetic Wall Mounts||$39.99|
|Magnetic Charging Cable||$24.99|
|Camera Housing – Black||$24.99|
|Indoor/Outdoor Short Mount||$19.99|
Arlo Smart Plans
Staying true to the DIY ethos, Arlo does not currently offer any sort of professional monitoring. Although they offered us ample support when it came to the setup and use of our system, it was up to us to monitor our cameras through the Arlo app. That being said, Arlo does offer Smart Plans, subscription-based services that allow us to take advantage of some of the more advanced features of our devices. Several of their camera kits include a free three month trial of these plans. However, even without a smart plan, we were still able to monitor our devices through the Arlo app, receive customized notifications, tune into live camera feeds, and store footage locally through the use of a micro-SD card.
We tested out Arlo’s Elite Plan, which costs $14.99 per month and covered up to 5 cameras. With this service, all of our recordings were saved in cloud storage for thirty days. Not only that, but they were saved in 4K resolution. This level of clarity was so strong, that we could zoom in on video files and make out license plates as far as our neighbor’s driveway. Another feature we appreciated was intelligent alerts. Using Arlo’s advanced intelligence, our doorbell camera detected when a delivery man entered its field of vision. It then notified us and gave us the option to speak through our doorbell’s two-way audio. In a recent survey, over one-third of people claimed to have packages stolen,1 so features like this help secure your items, rather than just get bogged down with notifications from the movement of any kind.
The Elite Plan could also be purchased for a single camera for only $4.99 per month. This is a cost-effective option for anyone using a system with just one or two cameras.
Arlo’s Smart Plans Breakdown
|Basic Plan||Premier Plan||Elite Plan|
|Cloud Video Quality Maximum||1080p HD||2K||4K|
|Cloud Video History Length||Arlo Wire-Free, Pro, Pro 2, Go, Q, Q Plus, and Arlo Baby – 7 days.
Arlo Ultra and Arlo Pro 3 – 0 days
|30 days||30 days|
|Rich, Interactive Notifications||X||✓||✓|
|Person, Vehicle and Animal Detection||X||✓||✓|
|Cloud Activity Zones||X||✓||✓|
|Call A Friend||X||✓||✓|
|e911 Emergency Call Service (only available with multi-camera plans)||X||✓||✓|
|Single Camera Monthly Cost||$0.00||$2.99||$4.99|
|Up to 5 Cameras Monthly Cost||$0.00||$9.99||$14.99|
FYI: Currently, the Arlo Ultra and the Arlo Pro 3 both come with a free month of Arlo Smart, but after that ends, if you don’t sign up for a paid plan, you won’t get any cloud storage, unlike their other camera options.
Smart Home Integration
Our Arlo devices worked with Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings, and Stringify among other IoT brands. Here are some commands we found useful with these platforms:
After we enabled the Arlo Alexa Skill through the Arlo app, we could use our camera for voice commands. By saying, “Alexa, show me the patio,” we tuned into our outdoor camera’s stream on our Echo Show 8. Even cooler, by using our Fire TV, we could stream this video onto our television, which displayed the 4K video beautifully from our Ultra.
Enlisting the help of Siri, we could also tap into our camera’s streams. By saying, “Hey Siri, show me the living room,” we viewed our living room livestream right on our iPhone. We also utilized our camera’s two-way audio and spoke through it. If we had kids, this would surely come in handy in getting them to finish their homework. But since we just have dogs, we used this feature to make noises at them. Let’s not forget, that dogs can also be an effective deterrent2 to potential home invaders as well!
Using Google Assistant, we could tap into our camera’s streams by saying, “Okay Google, show me the front yard.” We were also able to stream this footage on our smart TV by using Chromecast, or simply show it on our Nest Hub.
Comparing to Competitors
With Arlo’s most recent cameras costing at least $199.99 a piece, there are certainly cheaper options out there, like SimpliSafe’s SimpliCam ($99); however, we think Arlo’s cameras are well worth the price of admission. Made of durable hardware that can withstand elements, they offer a versatility not often seen with cameras at this price point. The SimpliCam requires an additional kit to be used outdoors, and it relies on an AC power supply, that is, a wall plug. Additionally, Arlo offers advanced AI features like person detection, while the SimpliCam can’t differentiate between people, pets, and other moving objects like cars, resulting in unnecessary notifications.
A major difference between Arlo and its competitors is in its lack of professional monitoring. While we had little trouble watching over our devices through smartphone alerts, there is something to be said for a brand like Blue by ADT, who offers 24/7 professional monitoring through one of its domestic security centers. Of course, that also included a monthly fee of $19.99 a month, so that’s something to keep in mind as well.
Arlo sets out to reshape the world of home security into one that’s free of long-term contracts and wires, and, on the whole, we think they succeed. Each of its cameras provides a highly sophisticated way to monitor your home with as few moving parts as possible. Whether you only need one camera or twelve, Arlo makes it easy to build a system suited to your needs and manage it with little hassle.
With that said, the lack of professional monitoring might suit the type of person looking to set up a system and let it run itself. However, for the type of person looking for high powered cameras with a hands-on app experience, Arlo might just be the home security solution of your dreams.
C+R Research. (2019). 2019 Package Theft Statistics Report.
UNC Charlotte. (2012). Burglar Survey Study Final Report.