While we haven’t reached Blade Runner levels of artificial intelligence or AI, we’re on our way there with home security cameras. Person detection and intelligent alerts —only being alerted when the camera detects people as opposed to animals, cars, and other inanimate moving objects— are just some of the advanced capabilities that security cameras with AI offer. Of the multiple cameras with AI that we’ve tested, the ones we picked out for this review have earned the spotlight. Let’s dive right in and decide which option is the most ideal for your needs.
The Best Cameras with AI at a Glance
- Canary Pro — Best Camera with AI for climate monitoring
- Nest Cam IQ Indoor — Best Camera with AI for Alexa
- Arlo Pro 3 — Best Camera with AI for Video Quality
- Ring Stick Up Cam Wired — Most Affordable Camera with AI
Tech Specs of the Best Cameras for AI of 2020
|Canary Pro||Nest Cam IQ Indoor||Arlo Pro 3||Ring Stick Up Cam Wired|
|Price||$169||$299||$199.99 for add-on camera||$180|
|Video Quality||1080p HD||1080p HD||2k HDR – 2560p HD||1080p HD|
|Field of View||147°||130°||130°||150°|
|Night Vision||12 infrared LED sensors||16 infrared LED sensors||Color and infrared||Infrared|
|Two-Way Audio||Yes, w/ subscription package||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Local Storage||Yes, w/ membership||None||Yes, can connect USB to Arlo base station but cannot be used on its own w/o cloud recording||Yes, w/ subscription|
|Cloud Storage||24 hours of free cloud storage, 30 days of free cloud storage w/ paid option||Paid options of 30 or 60 days||Paid options of 30 or 60 days||Paid options of 60 days|
|Smart Platform Integration||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant, Philips Hue||Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Watch||Alexa, Google Assistant|
|Artificial Intelligence||Person detection||Person detection included, w/ subscription – familiar face alerts||Person, packages, vehicles, animal detection with Arlo Smart Home||Person detection w/ subscription|
|Extra Features||90-decibel siren, climate monitoring system; subscription includes activity zones, first-person responder, safety button, desktop streaming, custom modes||Subscription includes motion detection, sound detection, dog barking alerts, person speaking alerts, familiar face alerts, activity zones, up to 30 days of video cloud storage||Spotlight, siren, activity zones, safety buttons||Siren, up to 3 motion zones; Ring Protect Basic Plan includes video history for up to 60 days; Ring Protect Plus plan includes video recording/sharing for unlimited cameras, 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup|
|Battery Life||N/A||N/A||3-6 months||N/A|
|Security.org Review||Canary Pro Review||Nest Cam IQ Indoor Review||Arlo Pro 3 Review||Ring Stick Up Cam Wired Review|
The Cream of the Crop
Nest Cam IQ Indoor
The Nest Cam IQ Indoor ranks pretty high in terms of quality. A step up from the Nest Cam Indoor, we were most impressed by the two-way audio, which has a speaker that’s seven times more powerful than its predecessor and includes noise cancellation. While we placed the Nest Cam IQ Indoor in the living room, we heard our voices loud and clear from the bedroom with the door shut. Another impressive feature is night vision with HDR and invisible infrared LED lights. Despite our living room being pitch black at night, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor gave us a view that was bright and crisp.
Arlo Pro 3
When we tested the Arlo Pro 3, the video quality and artificial intelligence stood out the most. The video quality is 2560p HD with HDR to boot, so when we set up the Arlo Pro 3 outside our apartment by the front door, we saw footage that was clear and without any shadows or glares. The three-month trial for their subscription service, Arlo Smart Home, allowed us to take advantage of AI detection for people, animals, packages, and vehicles. With these advanced features, our notifications were minimal and we received alerts for important activity only.
We tested all for cameras from our apartment in Brooklyn, New York — a boisterous city that experienced a 25.5% increase in burglaries from 2019 to 20201 — so it was crucial that we felt secure. We placed the Canary Pro and Nest Cam IQ Indoor in the living room while we installed the Arlo Pro 3 both in and outside our apartment at different times. Each camera came with a companion mobile app from which we received alerts whenever it detected motion or people, depending on the camera and the subscription we chose. On top of that, we viewed live footage, communicated through two-way audio, and accessed our video history via cloud storage. With all this out of the way, let’s see what each camera is all about!
A Detailed List of the Best AI Security Cameras
1. Canary Pro — Best Camera with AI for HomeHealth Technology
What We Like:
- 147-degree field of view
- Built-in climate monitoring
- 90-decibel siren included
- No installation
What We Don’t Like
- No local storage included
- Must have subscription to use two-way audio
- Only one day of free cloud storage
- Poor mobile app ratings
A multifaceted camera is better than paying extra for additional features, and that’s what we got with the Canary Pro. With the inclusion of HomeHealth Technology, our Canary Pro monitored the air quality, temperature, and humidity in our apartment. When we integrated the Canary Pro with Google Assistant, we said, “OK Google, ask Canary for the temperature at home.” Shortly after, we received the response: “Home temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Tip: Be sure to specify the location, especially if you have multiple Canary devices placed in multiple locations. Since we only had one, we didn’t need to specify that the Canary was in our living room. For multiple devices or locations, assign a name; otherwise, Google Assistant will ask which Canary device you’re talking about.
90 Decibel Siren
Another aspect of the Canary Pro that didn’t tug at our wallets is the built-in 90 decibel siren. From the Canary app, we had the option to sound the alarm if we saw an intruder in our apartment. Fortunately, we didn’t have to use the siren but the additional feature upped the security in our apartment.
Includes Person Detection
We bid adieu to false alarms with the AI-powered person detection, which was included with the Canary Pro. Instead of receiving notifications for all types of activity, we received alerts that pertained to people in our apartment. With person detection, the Canary Pro discerned people from pets and objects. As a result, we didn’t have to silence our phones from the bombardment of notifications whenever the Canary Pro detected the subtlest movement from shadows, flying insects, or falling objects.
2. Nest Cam IQ Indoor — Best Camera with AI for Smart Platform Integrations
What We Like:
- Superb night vision
- Smart platform integrations
- 12x field of zoom
- Person detection and familiar face alerts
What We Don’t Like
- No local storage included
- On the pricier side
- Must have a subscription for cloud storage
- Not the most discreet design
For anything that went bump in the night in our living room, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor gave us crisp, live footage with its 16 infrared LED sensors — the most we’ve seen from any indoor security camera. With infrared night vision, intruders aren’t aware that they’re being recorded as there’s no bright white light, so that was a plus in our book. Suffice to say, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor night vision feature took things to the next level!
Works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Philips Hue Lightbulbs
We assigned our Nest Cam IQ Indoor a name: Living Room. That way, when we integrated it with Alexa, we simply said, “Alexa, show feed from the Living Room.” As owners of more than our fair share of Amazon devices, we had Alexa show the feed on our Echo Show 8, which was pretty cool and easy. With Google Assistant, we said, “Hey Google, play Living Room camera on Chromecast” to see our footage on the big screen of our TV. The Nest Cam IQ Indoor is also compatible with Philips Hue lightbulbs, which, while we didn’t have any installed in our apartment at the time, exemplified just how intuitive their smart platform integrations are.
Communication is key even through an indoor camera. We were blown away by the Nest Cam IQ Indoor’s two-way audio — listening and speaking through the camera — as it has a speaker that packed a bigger punch than the Nest Cam Indoor. What’s more, noise cancellation and echo suppression allowed for super clear audio. During testing, we were startled by just how loud the speaker was, but in a good way. This meant that any intruders who dared to venture beyond our living room wouldn’t have a chance because our voices would deter them from doing so.
Tip: When testing out the two-way audio, have one person go to a different room — preferably one with a door. With the door closed, the person should then communicate from the mobile app while you’re in the same area as the Nest Cam IQ Indoor. That way, you can determine just how loud and effective the speaker and noise cancellation can be.
3. Arlo Pro 3 — Best Camera with AI for Video Quality
What We Like:
- 2560p HD video quality
- Indoor and outdoor durability
- Wide range of AI detections
- Color and infrared night vision
What We Don’t Like
- Requires the Arlo SmartHub
- Short battery life
- Needs larger temperature range
- No free person detection
Person, Packages, Animals, and Vehicle Detection
Out of all the cameras with AI, the Arlo Pro 3 is top-notch. Instead of just person detection, packages, animals, and vehicles were included, so there was more variety to what the Arlo Pro 3 detected. We definitely hopped on the three-month free trial to use these smart features, and after the trial ended, we signed up for Arlo Smart Home— Arlo’s subscription service — to continue using them. We first set up the Arlo Pro 3 in our living room and turned on person detection only since we don’t own any pets. Packages and vehicles were more relevant for outdoor use, so we turned that off as well. However, when we set up the Arlo Pro 3 outside by our front door, we only turned on detection for people and packages; we didn’t want our phones to blow up over animals and vehicles that we didn’t care about too much.
Reminder: After the three-month trial, you will need to sign up for Arlo’s subscription service, Arlo Smart. You can choose between the Premier or Elite plans, which range between $2.99 to $4.99 per month for one camera, or $9.99 to $14.99 per month for up to five cameras.
Color and Infrared Night Vision
What’s great about Arlo Pro 3’s night vision is that we had options. We could switch between color and infrared, both of which offered a clear view of whoever passed by or visited our apartment at night. For outside use, we mainly kept it on infrared to be more discreet. When we tested out the night vision inside our apartment, we switched to color which required the camera’s spotlight. Because this option was too conspicuous, we reverted back to infrared.
2K HDR Video
Rather than the standard 1080p HD video quality, the Arlo Pro 3 ramps it up to 2560p HD with HDR. Needless to say, the Arlo Pro 3 ranks at the top out of all the other cameras on the list for best video quality. When we looked at the live footage of the outside of our apartment, we didn’t encounter any glares or shadows that obstructed our view. What we saw on the mobile app was as close to being real as what the Arlo Pro 3 was seeing.
4. Ring Stick Up Cam Wired — Best Camera with AI for Affordable Subscriptions
What We Like:
- 150 degree field of view
- Indoor and outdoor capabilities
- Weather-resistance between -5°F to 120°F
- Affordable equipment and plans
What We Don’t Like
- No cloud and local storage included
- No person detection included
- No field of zoom
- Only one-year limited warranty
Customizable Motion Zones
After setting up our Ring Stick Up Cam Wired in the living room, we opened up the Ring — Always Home mobile app and customized our motion zones, which meant that the camera focused primarily on areas such as the windows, the entryway leading to the living room, and the patio door. As a result, we received notifications whenever the camera detected motion from these assigned zones only, while we had the camera ignore the corners of our living room where there was little to no activity of our concern.
24/7 Professional Monitoring Option
The Ring Protect Plus plan also included 24/7 professional monitoring. We received real-time emergency support from active monitoring centers whenever our Ring Stick Up Cam Wired detected a person when it was armed. This was a lifesaver during days when we were too busy to check the live feed. For only $10 per month, the Ring Protect Plus plan is the most affordable subscription that we’ve come across in terms of offering professional monitoring. For a breakdown of Ring plans and equipment, check out our Ring pricing page.
Alexa and Google Assistant Integrations
We can’t talk about Ring without mentioning their smart platform integrations which include but are not limited to Alexa and Google Assistant. With Alexa, we named our Ring Stick Up Cam Wired “Living Room” and issued commands such as “Alexa, show Living Room” and “Alexa, show me the last activity from the Living Room.” As for Google Assistant, we kept the same name for our camera and said, “Hey Google, start recording for Living Room.”
Tip: A rule of thumb is to name all security devices so that voice assistants won’t have to ask to clarify which camera you want to access.
How We Chose the Best Cameras for AI
Although this review touches on the best cameras for artificial intelligence specifically, we take all of a camera’s technical aspects into consideration such as video quality, audio, night vision, storage, and smart platform integrations. We also measure the overall value, convenience, and protection that these cameras offered during our testing.
Our preferences for security cameras are as follows:
- 1080p HD video
- Two-way audio
- Optic zoom in-capability
- Field of view of at least 120 degrees
- Infrared night vision
- Free cloud and local storage
- Person detection
- Alexa and Google Assistant integrations
- DIY installation or free professional installation
- Affordable equipment and subscription prices
- User-friendly, companion mobile apps
For cameras with AI, we prefer person detection to be included, although more often than not, this requires a paid subscription. Other AI features include facial recognition and detection for packages, animals, and vehicles. With person detection, not only did the cameras distinguish people from moving objects and animals but it also notified us only when detected activity was person-related. This made for fewer notifications and, more importantly, fewer headaches from managing notifications. The Nest Cam IQ Indoor has familiar face alerts but this feature requires a Nest Aware subscription.
Much as we like to praise technological advancements in security cameras, privacy concerns like Ring cameras being hacked,2 have been brought to light by multiple outlets. That’s why we appreciate companies that implement extra security measures like two-factor authentication, which requires a code that’s texted to a user’s phone in order to access their account. This prevents unauthorized access, even if the hacker has the user’s username and password.
Other technical factors that we consider when reviewing security cameras are power options and IP ratings, which determine a camera’s weather-resistance. When looking at camera setup, we like to have wired and wireless options. If it’s wireless, we look at the battery life; we prefer a battery life of a year or longer. Wired cameras are typically more reliable because they are less prone to signal interference that wireless cameras can experience from radio, TV, or phone connections. However, wireless cameras are a better fit for renters and apartment owners because setup is more flexible with mounting and dismounting; no hardwiring needed! For a concrete list of wireless cameras, check out our best wireless cameras of 2020.
Technical specifications aside, we also weigh in on professional monitoring and cellular backup. For the extra security, 24/7 professional monitoring is ideal. We mostly choose monthly plans that include professional monitoring because we’re often too busy to self-monitor our apartment. Cellular backup is something we tend to rely on whenever our Wi-Fi connection is lost or when the power goes out. This ensures that our cameras can still detect activity, send alerts to our phones, and stream footage to their respective app.
Reviewing security cameras has been our bread and butter. If you haven’t already, check out our best home security systems of 2020 and best security cameras of 2020 for a broader scope on smart home security.
Common Questions About Cameras with AI
- What’s the difference between a camera with AI and camera without AI?
The difference between a camera with AI and a normal camera is that a camera with AI can distinguish people from pets and moving objects via person detection. Users can reduce notifications with person detection while normal cameras often send alerts based on any type of movement or object.
- What are the benefits of choosing a camera with AI?
Cameras with AI analyze activities and reduce notifications, alerting you of activities that are relevant to your home’s security such as doors or windows opening and people trespassing. The most common of the AI features is person detection, but some cameras also include pet, package, and vehicle detection.
- What is the best security camera for AI?
The best security cameras for AI are the Canary Pro, Nest Cam IQ Indoor, Arlo Pro 3, and Ring Stick Up Cam Wired. For a wide range of detection modes, the Arlo Pro 3 offers detection for people, packages, animals, and vehicles with their subscription service, Arlo Smart Home.
- Are cameras with AI safe?
There is no guarantee that cameras with AI are completely safe from hacking incidents. However, several home security companies have implemented two-factor authentication— receiving unique codes on your phone or computer to input into your account — in response to privacy concerns such as hackers accessing your cameras.
- Does AI cost extra?
Some cameras include AI features for free like the Canary Pro. Typically, most AI features can only be unlocked by paying the company’s monthly subscription service like with the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired.
City of New York. (2020). Crime Statistics.
New York Times. (2019). Somebody’s Watching: Hackers Breach Ring Home Security Cameras.