Not everyone wants or needs a full-service security system with 24/7 professional monitoring. Some of us prefer the do-it-yourself approach. Among other advantages, DIY systems are free to operate once you’ve invested in the equipment. Of course, free is no good if your system doesn’t protect your home. Have no fear, though. We have a list of some great home security cameras that come with no subscription strings attached.
DVR/NVR or micro SD card
Cloud or micro SD card
Best No Monthly Fee Security Cameras
Lorex - Best DVR/NVR Security Camera With No Subscription
Ring - Most Affordable Security Camera With No Subscription
Blink Camera - Most Durable Security Camera Without a Subscription
Wyze Cam - Best Cloud Storage Security Camera Without a Subscription
Comparison of the Best Home Security Cameras Without Subscriptions
Lorex offers professional-grade security cameras for your home. When Lorex began, their products were targeted toward protecting commercial property. Even though they now sell to homeowners, their cameras still feature advanced features like smart home integration, 4K video resolution, and multiple motion triggers. Best of all, you have a choice of how to record video. Many of the company’s cameras feature slots for microSD cards. Others let you store video on DVR or NVR. Either way, Lorex charges one upfront fee for equipment, and you never have to pay for a monitoring or storage subscription.
What We Liked
Lots of camera options
Two different ways to record
Free push notifications
Video quality up to 4K
What We Didn’t Like
Relatively high prices
No free cloud storage
Limited customer service
Lorex is known for offering a ton of camera options — so many that your head might spin. We like that the company offers multiple recording options as well. If you don’t mind a wired system, you can get either a DVR or an NVR system to save all your videos. Both come with up to 3 TB of storage. Or, if you prefer, you can purchase cameras with slots for microSD cards. With one card, you can record up to 256 GB of footage. Either way, you get plenty of storage with no monthly cost whatsoever.
Definitions: DVR stands for digital video recorder, while NVR stands for network video recorder. A camera sends video to a DVR, which then processes it. A camera processes video before it sends it to an NVR, which simply stores it.
The industry standard for video resolution these days is 1080p. Basically, that provides 2 million pixels for a crystal clear image. That’s a lot of pixels. Many of Lorex’s cameras, though, come with 4K resolution. That’s four times better than 1080p, with 8 million pixels. With that kind of image quality, we were almost able to count the hairs on our delivery person’s head.
One of the things we liked best about our Lorex cameras was the fact that we had a choice when it came to detection. All of the company’s cameras come with motion detection, of course. However, many also feature passive infrared (PIR) heat detection as well. PIR systems measure differences in heat from one image to the next, which lets us fine-tune our system and avoid those alerts we were getting every time the wind blew.
2. Ring - Most Affordable Security Camera With No Subscription
Over the last decade, Ring has built an impressive reputation for low-cost home security. You can get alerts and watch live video with no subscription. In addition, all of the company’s cameras feature simple DIY installation. Even the equipment is affordable. Essentially, you get high-quality equipment for a low Ring price, and you’re never required to pay another cent.
What We Liked
Easy DIY installation
Two-way audio with noise cancellation
True wire-free options
What We Didn’t Like
No free recording plans
Limited field of view
Adding features can get expensive
No color night vision
Lots of Camera Choices
We had plenty of choices when we decided to purchase a Ring camera. The company sells indoor models, outdoor models, and, of course, several different types of video doorbells. There were spotlight cams, floodlight cams, and even solar-powered cams. We also had options between battery-powered and plug-in cameras. Of course, all that selection left us with the problem of making up our minds, but that’s a good problem to have.
The whole reason to use a security camera that doesn’t require a subscription is to save money. We were pleased to find that we could save even more money on equipment with Ring. Among Ring’s many cameras, we found several affordable options. The cheapest indoor cameras are just $60. We got a doorbell camera for just $65. And an outdoor camera cost us only $100.
Very few security cameras allow for the kind of DIY installation we got with Ring. All we had to do to install the stand-alone indoor camera was set it on a side table in our living room. Other cameras come with peel-and-stick labels. Even the outdoor cameras don’t require much more than screwing a mount to the outside of the house. Plus, the company provides a whole library of helpful videos that show you exactly what to do. All in all, we completed the whole process in under half an hour.
One of the nice things about Blink cameras is that they all come with an IP65 rating. That means they’re sealed from dust and can withstand low-pressure water jets. That’s not all you get with Blink, though. You can use the app to get push notifications, view live footage, and set up special privacy zones. All of that is available with no subscription, and you can save video clips using a simple USB flash drive.
FYI: IP stands for Ingress Protection. The first number of an IP rating tells you how well the camera protects against dust. The second tells you how well it protects against water.
What We Liked
Easy DIY installation
What We Didn’t Like
Only one person can stream at a time
Poor night vision capabilities
Have to buy local storage USB drive yourself
Narrow field of view
If you’re going to DIY your security, you need to receive a push notification any time one of your cameras detects something. Otherwise, you won’t know what’s happening at your home until you go back and review the footage, when it’s too late to stop an intruder. Blink’s cameras not only start recording when their sensors pick up movement, but they send you an alert so you can watch what’s going on live. At the first sign of trouble, you can easily call for emergency services.
Blink offers subscription options if you’re looking for cloud storage, but you don’t need them. Saving video clips is as easy as plugging in a USB flash drive. You have to purchase the drive yourself, but that means you can use whatever size drive suits your particular needs. Once the drive is plugged in, you can view clips anytime on your app. Or you can remove the drive, connect it to a tablet or laptop, and review the footage in more detail. We’re fans of all types of local storage, but nothing is simpler than USB storage.
The security camera industry has exploded over the last several years, but that growth has not been without controversy. One of the biggest concerns is that with all that high-power equipment trained on your neighborhood, you may wind up seeing some things you don’t want to see, like what’s happening in your neighbor’s bedroom. Blink cameras let you set up privacy zones, areas within the field of view that are blacked out. That way you and your neighbors can both rest easier knowing both your property and your privacy are protected.
4. Wyze Cam - Best Cloud Storage Security Camera Without a Subscription
Like Ring, Wyze cameras offer affordable recording. Their lowest-priced cameras run just $30. Wyze also offers 14 days of cloud storage for no cost whatsoever. With a multi-featured, intuitive app and support for both Alexa and Google Home, Wyze offers full-service cameras for one of the lowest prices in the industry.
What We Liked
14 days of free cloud storage
Cameras as low as $30
Integration with both Alexa and Google Home
What We Didn’t Like
Person detection costs extra
Narrow field of view
Indoor cameras require outlets
No professional monitoring options
Free Cloud Storage
Similar to Lorex, Wyze features a number of cameras that have a microSD card slot so you can record directly to your camera. You don’t necessarily need local storage with Wyze. All of the company’s cameras come with 14 days of free cloud storage. Trust us when we say that that’s an amazing deal. There are a number of security systems out there that don’t offer that many days of storage even with a paid plan.
Support for Alexa and Google Home
We’re all about turning our home into a smart home. That means we expect all the equipment we buy, including security equipment, to be compatible with either Alexa or Google Home. It turns out that Wyze cameras are compatible with both. We were able to turn the system on and off using just our voices. We also set up a nifty routine so that the smart lights in our foyer came on every time our outdoor cameras detected motion.
The Wyze app let us do literally everything with our cameras — all through an easy-to-use, intuitive interface. What’s everything? Well, we checked alerts, watched live and recorded footage, communicated with visitors through two-way audio, and turned the system on and off. We were even able to use the app to set up IFTTT routines. With all the remotes we have to keep up with in our households, it was nice to have a single app that can do so much.
We take our jobs seriously, and we never put together a list like this one without thoroughly researching every home security camera we can get our hands on. We compare equipment based on a number of important measures, such as video quality, durability, storage options, price, ease of installation, smart home integration, and bonus features. Of course, beyond all of that, every camera on this list had to work without any subscription fees whatsoever.
Video quality, of course, isn’t about any one single element of a camera. Rather, it’s made up of several interactive features:
Image resolution: Video quality starts with resolution. We expect the cameras we choose to have a minimum resolution of 1080p. Many of the cameras on this list, though, have 4K resolution.
Field of view: Field of view is important because it dictates just how much of your home your camera can monitor at one time. We look for cameras with at least a 120-degree field of view.
Night vision: Finally, we also expect cameras to have clear night vision so they can protect us just as well after the sun goes down. LED infrared is great. Color night vision is even better.
We want all the cameras we recommend to be durable. Durability is especially important when it comes to outdoor cameras, though. IP ratings offer an important measure of durability. These tell us how well cameras resist dust and water. We like an IP rating of 65 since that means the camera is dust-tight and can repel low-level water jets.
In addition to the IP rating, many home security cameras also come with detailed information about the temperatures in which they can operate. We generally look for cameras that can work at temperatures between negative 10 degrees and 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Obviously, you may need a wider range than that depending on where you live.
Because this is a list of security cameras requiring no subscription, we paid special attention to each product’s storage options. While you can monitor a home security system without the ability to record video, it’s not easy. All but one of the cameras on this list include local storage capabilities. These range from DVR/NVR recorders to microSD card slots to USB ports. One system, Wyze, even offers 14 days of free cloud storage.
Price always matters. After all, this is a list of cameras that require no subscription, so obviously you’re looking for a system that will save you a little money. No system is worth the money, even a free system, if it doesn’t do the job it’s supposed to do. That’s why the measure we like to use instead of price is value. Price plays an important role in determining value, but so do other elements, like video quality, durability, and bonus features. We don’t mind paying a few dollars extra, for example, for a system that can distinguish between people and animals, since that cuts down on the number of false alerts we get.
Easy of Installation
All of the cameras on this page feature full DIY installation. We don’t mind DIY, as long as we can actually do it ourselves. We’re handy with a screwdriver, but don’t ask us to do anything fancier than screw a mount onto the wall. We look for products that are truly DIY and that can be installed in under an hour.
Finally, we pay attention to all the bonus features a camera offers. Does it, for instance, let us set up activity zones so we get alerts when someone’s at our door, but not when cars go by on the street? Can it tell the difference between people and animals? Does it include facial recognition? Again, which extra matters most to you will depend on your situation, but we want to make sure you know all the options before you invest.
Typically, we recommend signing up for full-service 24/7 professional monitoring any time you install security cameras. We get it: Sometimes you just need to save a little money. You asked for a list of the best security cameras with no subscriptions, and we delivered.
The fact is, there are some great DIY home security cameras out there. It isn’t so much about finding good cameras as it is about finding the ones with the features you really need. Are you looking for tons of choices and state-of-the-art equipment? Or are you looking for easy installation? Do you prefer cameras that mesh with your existing smart home? Which kinds of storage options do you prefer? The bottom line is, if you’re looking for no-subscription security, you’ll find what you need somewhere on this list.
We’re all looking for more these days, right? Well, we’ve got more answers. Take a look below for some of our responses to your most frequently asked questions about the best no-subscription security cameras.
There are many security cameras that don’t require a subscription. The best include Lorex, Ring, Blink, and Wyze. Lorex, for example, lets you set up a DIY monitoring system that requires no subscription fee. You can even record video for later review, using either a DVR/NVR setup or a microSD card.
There are several brands of outdoor camera you can buy that don’t require a subscription, such as Lorex, Ring, Blink, and Wyze. All of these cameras allow you to monitor your home yourself, and most of them even provide some free means of recording video.
Lorex is the most reliable security camera system. When the company began, it was focused exclusively on commercial clients. As a result, all of its cameras are durable and include state-of-the-art features like 4K resolution, person detection, and smart home compatibility.
No, SimpliSafe does not require a monthly fee. You can set the system up to monitor yourself. You get free alerts and you can livestream footage. However, if you want to record that footage, you’ll need to invest in one of SimpliSafe’s storage plans or 24/7 professional monitoring services.