You don’t have to pay top dollar to access top-quality security cameras. That’s one of the most valuable lessons we’ve learned testing a wide variety of security cameras over the past years.
So what are the cheapest security cameras with high-quality features you can buy right now? This year’s top picks consist of cameras that cost $35 to $99 indoor cameras, and about $100 to $180 for outdoor cameras.
All price brackets have cameras with these five key features:
1080p resolution or higher
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 parts 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 $35 deal and another security camera under $50. Also in the roundup are affordable security cameras from Ring, Google Nest, Arlo and Blink Home.
Detailed List of the Most Affordable Home Security Cameras
Wyze is wowing home security shoppers with its choice of security cameras under $50. The cheapest Wyze camera is the Wyze Cam V3 ($29.99 MSRP). The other, Wyze Pan Cam ($33.99 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 via a microSD card, although not with cloud storage.
Wyze Cam and Wyze Cam Pan both come with free cloud storage that stores short clips of motion and sound events. That’s incredibly generous, considering that most cameras don’t include free cloud storage. Another option is to store videos locally via a microSD card that you’ll provide. With a microSD card, you can store continuously rolling videos, but if your card gets full, it will automatically delete the oldest clips.
Additional security camera variations are available as well, and for the features they offer, all of them are affordable. Some of Wyze’s newer cameras include the Wyze Cam Outdoor, Wyze Cam Pan v3, Wyze Video Doorbell, Wyze Cam Floodlight, and Wyze Cam OG Telephoto.
Security Camera Features
Features of most Wyze cameras include:
Power cord for AC outlet
110-degree field of view
8x zoom on livestream
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.
Wyze cams can help build simple multi-part security systems. For a one-time expense of $25 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? Some shortcomings come to mind. Also consider:
There’s no battery backup, so you won’t have video surveillance if mains electricity is lost. Battery backup is available only with the Wyze Cam Outdoor.
You’ll compromise on night vision with Wyze cams. Other affordable security cameras provide better clarity.
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 14 days 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.
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 per month or less, you can save one camera’s clips to the cloud for up to 60 days each.
For just $10 a month or less with the annual subscription, you can save clips from all your cameras to the cloud for 60 days. This service also extends your Ring cameras’ warranties. It’s one of the best deals in modern home security.
One pretty big catch with the Ring Indoor Cam is that it requires cloud storage subscription. Without it, the camera can alert you and you can livestream, but it loses the ability to record.
The good news is, Ring’s cloud plans are pretty cheap as well. For one camera, you can store videos for up to 60 days for just $3 per month or $30 per year. If you have multiple cameras, though, the $10 per month plan is a knockout deal. It offers 60 days of cloud storage for an unlimited number of Ring devices, even video doorbells. It also extends your Ring cameras’ warranty.
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
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.
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 – Ring Protect Plus expands the cloud coverage of Ring Protect from one camera to all cameras installed at the same address. It’s a great deal if you have four or more cameras.
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.
You’re probably used to seeing expensive security cameras from Nest, but that’s a thing of the past now. Nest’s newer generation cameras still offer top-quality features without the expensive price tag attached to their predecessors.
The cheapest indoor camera ever developed by Google Nest is the Nest Cam (indoor). It costs $99.99, which we know is expensive compared to other cameras on this list, but wait until you see what it offers.
It has a 1080p HD resolution improved by HDR, an excellent night vision, person detection, and a sound quality better than most security cameras on the market.
For another $80, you can upgrade to the Nest Cam (battery). For $179.99, this camera takes the Nest Cam Indoor’s features outdoors. The Nest Cam Battery is weatherproof, plus it’s powered by a battery, so you can use it wire-free.
Paid cloud storage is optional month-to-month. All Nest cameras send free smartphone alerts when triggered by motion. Also, they save snapshots of the event and send them to the cloud for three hours.
Google Nest Indoor Cam Features
10-ft USB power cord
130° field of view
High-quality night vision with 8 LEDs
Google Assistant integration
Up to 30 days of cloud storage per clip
Works with IFTTT and Google Home
If you need more cloud storage, or to unlock features like facial recognition, you can go for Nest Aware, a $6 monthly cost. This plan provides 30 days of cloud storage for all your Nest cameras. This cloud plan stores videos recorded automatically when the cameras detect motion or loud sound.
Moreover, you can expand your cameras’ event storage to 60 days, plus get 10 days of continuous recording. This plan, Nest Aware Plus, costs $12 per month or $120 per year.
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 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 $99.99 for the Arlo Essential. Cloud plans start off free, with options to upgrade to up to $14.99 with cloud and artificial intelligence features.
Free vs Paid Arlo Monitoring
With free or paid service, Arlo Essential 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 to 30 days. Even better, you can record continuously to the cloud for $14.00 a month. Some Arlo cameras connect to a base station 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
130° field of view
Motion zones (Set up to three)
Infrared night vision
Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
Works with IFTTT
Local storage (Data cards sold separately)
Free cloud storage
Installing an Arlo Essential 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 $99.99, they’re the best value in DIY home video surveillance.
5. Blink Camera - Most Affordable Outdoor Security Camera
Blink, an Amazon-owned company, is a discount security camera company focused on feature-rich but affordable cameras. It has a mix of indoor and outdoor cameras, video doorbells, and camera accessories like solar mounts and floodlight mounts.
By far the most expensive camera on Blink’s lineup is the Blink Outdoor, priced $99.99. That’s an incredibly affordable price for an outdoor camera, given that the industry average is around $150.
Blink Outdoor isn’t your regular outdoor camera either. It’s wire-free, meaning, it runs off of battery power that, according to Blink, can last up to two years on a single charge. The more you use the camera’s two-way voice feature, live streaming, and motion recording, however, the faster the batteries will drain.
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)
110° field of view
Infrared night vision
Compatible with Amazon Alexa
Free cloud storage
The Blink Alexa skill lets you arm and disarm the Blink Outdoor via an Amazon Echo speaker. It also lets Alexa send video to Amazon Echo screens.
Overall, Blink Outdoor 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, it lacks free cloud storage. Rather, you’ll need to pay $3 per month to record motion events from one camera for 60 days, or $10 per month for the same amount of storage for unlimited cameras.
Are Affordable Cameras Reliable?
Wyze, Ring, Nest, Arlo, and Blink offer some of the most affordable cameras in the market today, and the truth is, they are also some of the best security camera brands. So yes, they are reliable despite their lower price.
Securing your home doesn’t need to be expensive, so if you’re on a budget, check out the brands we mentioned above.