Most Affordable Home Security Cameras

Security cameras don't have to cost a lot to be high-quality.

By
&
Aliza VigdermanGabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on May 21, 2020

Best Cam for Alexa

See Cameras

Best Cam for Google Home

See Cameras

This year’s most affordable home security cameras have MSRPs as low as $19.99. The more you pay, of course, the better the features tend to be. Most budget-conscious shoppers ultimately choose cameras priced $59 to $199. Our reviews of affordable security cameras below can help you understand the differences.

Most Affordable Home Security Cameras

  • Wyze – Cheapest Home Security Cameras Overall
  • Ring – Most Affordable Alexa Security Camera
  • Nest – Most Affordable Google Security Camera
  • Arlo – Best Value DIY Security Camera
  • Blink – Most Affordable Outdoor Security Camera

All price brackets have cameras with these five key features:

  • 1080p resolution or higher
  • Motion detection
  • Night vision
  • Free smartphone alerts
  • Free smartphone access to live footage

Furthermore even the cheapest home security cams have two-way voice, free video storage, and customizable motion zones. Motion zones let you eliminate alerts about motion in part of your camera’s viewing field. For instance, you can skip alerts about sidewalk activity but get notice if somebody steps onto your lawn.

This article reviews security cameras from five popular brands. First is Wyze, the cheapest security camera brand overall; they have a $19.99 deal and another security camera under $50. Also in the roundup are affordable security cameras from Ring, Google Nest, Arlo and Blink Home.

Wyze – Cheapest Home Security Cameras Overall

Wyze is wowing home security shoppers with its choice of security cameras under $50. The cheapest Wyze camera is the Wyze Cam V2 ($19.99 MSRP). The other, Wyze Pan Cam ($29.99 MSRP), is an attractive upgrade with its automatic 360-degree rotation. Both Wyze cameras are plug-in models with power cords. With a few screws they can attach to shelves, walls, ceilings and other flat surfaces.

For free with Wyze you’ll get motion alerts and sound alerts by smartphone, and you can use Alexa or Google Assistant commands for remote control by voice. Also for free you can see live footage and review clips that your cameras store to the cloud. Wyze cams automatically store brief clips when triggered by motion and/or sound. Continuous recording is available too, although not with cloud storage.

Cloud storage is a limitation of Wyze cams. It’s capped at two hours, and new recordings knock out the oldest clips! An alternative though with Wyze Cam V2 and the Pan Cam is local storage: You can save up to 32GB of footage to a microSD card. These cost about $10 each.

Security Camera Features

Features of both Wyze cameras include:

  • Power cord for AC outlet
  • 110-degree field of view
  • 1080p resolution
  • 8x zoom on livestream
  • Two-way audio
  • Triggered by motion or sound
  • Motion detection zones let you exclude part of the viewing field
  • Smart sound detection indicates if a smoke detector siren or other alarm has sounded
  • 14 days of storage per clip
  • Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Works with IFTTT
  • MicroSD card slot for continuous recording to local storage

The extra advantage of the Pan Cam is its 360-degree spin. This camera has the same 110-degree lens as Wyze Cam V2, but it follows a rotation schedule to surveille more territory. You can specify up to four specific stopping points for motion detection and recording.

Beyond Cameras…

Wyze cams can help build simple multi-part security systems. For a one-time expense of $20 you can connect a Wyze camera to two entryway sensors and one indoor motion detector. Your camera will automatically record when an external sensor is triggered.

Smart light bulbs can join your home security system too. You can set your lights to follow schedules, and also control them by voice.

What’s the Catch?

Why are Wyze cameras so cheap? Several shortcomings come to mind, including the limited cloud storage mentioned above. Also consider:

1) There’s no battery backup, so you won’t have video surveillance if mains electricity is lost.

2) You’ll compromise on night vision with Wyze cams. Other affordable security cameras provide better clarity.

3) The Alexa voice assistant integration is disappointing to many customers. The best brand for Alexa-friendly security cameras is Ring, as explained in the following review.

To sum up, Wyze features the cheapest home security cameras overall and the best home security cameras under $50. Camera purchase includes two hours of rolling cloud storage for motion-triggered and sound-triggered events. For continuous recording you can add a microSD card. Data storage cards with 32G retail for about $10 each.

Ring – Most Affordable Alexa Security Camera

Selling for just $59.99, the new Ring Indoor Cam is the most affordable Alexa-friendly security camera. While other home security brands are Alexa compatible, Ring’s integration with Alexa is especially smooth. That’s to be expected, as Ring and Alexa are sister companies both owned by Amazon. The Ring Alexa skill lets you manage Ring indoor and outdoor cameras and other Ring devices: doorbell cameras, smart lights, smart locks and sirens.

Compared with ultra-cheap Wyze cameras (above), Ring security cameras cost a bit more to maintain. Free do-it-yourself service only includes alerts, not cloud storage – but for $3/month or less, you can save one camera’s clips to the cloud for up to 60 days each.

For just $10/month or less, you can self-monitor all your Ring cameras and also get professional security backup. This service also extends your Ring camera warranties and has other benefits. Professional monitoring from Ring Alarm is available contract-free and without a credit check. It’s one of the best deals in modern home security.

Camera Features

Ring’s Indoor Cam has a simple name and advanced features. Specs include:

  • USB power cord
  • 140° field of view
  • Two-way voice with noise cancellation
  • Motion detection
  • Motion zones
  • Up to 60 days of cloud storage per clip
  • Best Alexa skill
  • Compatible with Google Assistant
  • Works with IFTTT
  • Neighborhood crime alerts available with free Ring Neighbors app

It’s an impressive set of features for a camera under $60. Are there any “cons” to balance the perks? One possible shortcoming is the lack of backup battery power. Another is the lack of digital zoom. However, with its wide viewing field and crisp resolution 24/7, the Ring Indoor Cam can still capture lots of valuable footage as long as it’s powered. If power is cut, a snapshot of the last view will be sent to your account.

Paid Plans with Ring

As mentioned above, you can use Ring security cameras without monthly fees. To get more from the devices though, choose a Protect or Protect Plus plan. These contract-free plans can be month-to-month and are even more affordable when you pay for a year upfront. Each is offered with a free 30-day trial and includes lifetime camera theft protection too.

Ring Protect – Ring Protect lets you record continuous video, whereas free service only gives motion-triggered clips. With Ring Protect you can save your footage for up to 60 days. The plan costs $3 per camera per month, or $30 when you pay for 12 months together.

Ring Protect Plus – This plan is a top deal in home security. It combines DIY security for all your Ring cameras and adds professional backup. Ring’s emergency monitoring team will field alerts and call emergency responders even if you’re unable to take action. Optionally your $10/month subscription can monitor a complete Ring Alarm system with Ring devices including smart lights and more. Furthermore the Ring hub lets you self-monitor an infinite variety of Z-Wave devices for home safety and convenience.

All in all, Ring is a flexible and affordable solution for DIY or professional camera monitoring. Cloud storage and professional monitoring are contract-free and available without a credit check. Ring home security cameras are under warranty for one year from the date of purchase. Extended warranties are activated with paid service.

Nest – Most Affordable Google Security Camera

Nest Cam Indoor is the cheapest home security camera developed with Google technicians. It offers reliable video surveillance with the conveniences of Google Assistant voice control, Google Home integration, and generous cloud storage plans. The full price is $199 and online discounts are common.

For another $100 you can upgrade to Nest Cam Indoor IQ, which can recognize familiar faces. This feature lets you screen out mobile alerts about people you know, such as housemates and your mail carrier, or else get “smart alerts” that include their names.

Paid cloud storage and paid professional monitoring are optional month-to-month.

Both Google indoor security cameras send free smartphone alerts when triggered by motion. Also for free, you can check their livestreams anytime. Each model has a weatherproof counterpart as well.

Google Nest Indoor Cam Features

  • 10-ft USB power cord
  • 130° field of view
  • High-quality night vision with 8 LEDs
  • Two-way audio
  • Motion detection
  • Motion zones
  • Google Assistant integration
  • Up to 30 days of cloud storage per clip
  • Works with IFTTT and Google Home

Monitoring Plans

With Google Nest cameras, home security can be totally DIY or complemented with 24/7 professional monitoring. For free the cameras will send alerts and let you see/hear live footage. The most valuable paid services start at $5/month.

  • For $5 and up per month, Nest Cam Indoor can save footage to the cloud and record continuously. With summary snapshots, the Nest app makes it easy to sort through lots of footage. The $5 plan lets you save unlimited files for up to five days each. The top-tier $30 plan saves the clips for up to 30 days each. An in-between plan gives two weeks of storage.
  • For $29/month you can get professional monitoring of Google Nest cameras from Brinks, a security company with, especially fast response times.

Simple DIY Installation

For easy installation Nest indoor cameras plugin and run over home Wi-Fi. You can simply connect the wireless app, set your camera on a shelf, and consider it installed! For the best security though, take about ten minutes to secure the camera with screws. It can easily attach to a wall, ceiling, or other flat surfaces.

Nest camera purchase includes a two-year warranty and a 30-day free trial.

Arlo – Best Value DIY Security Camera

Arlo Technologies is a wireless camera company focused on DIY security. This Silicon Valley brand is very well-established; it’s traded as ARLO on the NYSE and about three million households have registered their cameras. With Arlo, you’ll get the best value DIY security cameras in terms of equipment price, quality, and cost for daily use. The selection is diverse and each cam has an impressive suite of features. You’ll get two-way audio, crisp resolution in any light, activity zones, and many more features. The portable Arlo Baby cam can even play lullabies and monitor air quality.

Prices for Arlo indoor-only cameras start at $199 for the popular Arlo Q. Do-it-yourself monitoring ranges from free to $14.99 per month.

Free vs Paid Arlo Monitoring

With free or paid service, Arlo Q and all other Arlo cameras will send you alerts about sound and motion. Also for free, all motion-triggered and sound-triggered clips will be saved to the cloud for seven days. Unlike with cheaper security cameras from Wyze and Blink, new recordings won’t delete older footage.

Starting at $2.99 per month, Arlo storage time is expanded. Even better, you can record continuously to the cloud. Some Arlo cameras, although not Arlo Q, have local storage for continuous recording as well.

The top-tier $14.99 Arlo plan activates an e911 button within the Arlo mobile app. This button accompanies smartphone alerts about camera activity and is available when you’re viewing live footage.

Arlo Q Features

  • 1080p resolution
  • 130° field of view
  • Motion zones (Set up to three)
  • Infrared night vision
  • Two-way audio
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Works with IFTTT
  • Local storage (Data cards sold separately)
  • Free cloud storage

Installing an Arlo Q takes about 10 minutes. You’ll connect a mobile app, attach the magnetic camera base to a flat surface, and snap the camera into place.

Arlo Q cameras carry a one-year warranty and have a money-back guarantee. For $199, they’re the best value in DIY home video surveillance.

Blink – Most Affordable Outdoor Security Camera

Blink is a discount security company focused on battery-powered cameras. Their cordless designs help make camera installation easy, and you’ll rarely need to change the batteries: Two AA lithium batteries can power a Blink cam for up two years. The more you use a camera’s two-way voice feature, however, the more quickly the batteries will drain.

Blink’s XT2 Indoor/Outdoor Camera System features the most affordable outdoor security camera of the year. The full price for the system, which includes one camera and a Wi-Fi module, is $99. Limited cloud storage is included for free.

This affordable outdoor camera has an IP65 enclosure, which means it’s dust-tight and is safe against water splashes. Other features include:

  • Long-lasting lithium batteries for indoor/outdoor use
  • Optional USB power for indoor use only (Not weatherproof)
  • 1080p resolution
  • 110° field of view
  • Infrared night vision
  • Motion sensor
  • Motion zones
  • Two-way voice
  • Temperature sensor
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa
  • Free cloud storage

The Blink Alexa skill lets you arm and disarm the Blink X2 via an Amazon Echo speaker. It also lets Alexa send video to Amazon Echo screens.

Overall, Blink X2 can be a best value for DIY outdoor video security. You’ll get 1080p resolution by day, infrared night vision, and other features found on higher-priced cameras. However, its cloud storage is limited to two hours of motion-triggered clips. New activity can knock out your records of older mayhem! For this reason, you might want to spend more with an outdoor cam from a competitor above: Arlo, Nest, or Ring.