The Best Outdoor Wireless Security Cameras of 2020
Without wires, these weather-resistant cameras are easily to install outdoors.
Highest Quality Video for Outdoor Wireless Camera
Arlo Pro 3
Most Affordable Outdoor Wireless Camera
When we first started thinking about home security systems, we wanted to make sure we had protection outside our homes. But placing cameras outdoors can be challenging, because not all houses have easily accessible outdoor outlets. That’s where wireless outdoor security cameras come into play. These weather-resistant, battery-operated cameras are a great choice for anyone looking to up their outdoor security. Read on to find out our favorites after testing!
Comparing the Top Outdoor Wireless Security Cameras
|Arlo Pro 3||Blink XT 2||Ring Spotlight Cam Battery||Ring Stick Up Cam Battery|
|Prices||$199.99 for add-on camera||$99.99 ($149.99 with Blink sync module)||$199||$100|
|Video quality||2K HDR-2560p HD||1080p HD||1080p HD||1080p HD|
|Field of view (in degrees)||130||110||140||130|
|Temperature Range||14° to 113° F||-4° to 113° F||-5° to 120° F||-5° to 120° F|
|Night Vision||Color or Infrared||Infrared||Color or Infrared||Infrared|
|Local Storage||You can connect USB to Arlo base station, but the local storage can’t be used on its own without cloud recording||None||Yes, with Ring Protect Plan||Yes, with Ring Protect Plan|
|Cloud Storage||Arlo Smart plan offers 30 or 60 days for an additional cost||Up to a year-two hours per account||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan|
|Smart Home Integration||Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Watch||Alexa||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant|
|Artificial Intelligence||Person, packages, vehicles, animals and activity zones with Arlo Smart home||None||None||None|
|Extras||Spotlight, manual or motion-activated, magnetic mount, built in siren, 3-month Arlo Smart free trial||Temperature monitoring, needs sync module, activity zone, doesn’t work through glass||Built in 110-decibel siren, black or white color options, built in LED light strips||Siren, 24/7 professional monitoring with Ring Protect Plan, Privacy Zones|
|Battery Life||3-6 months||2 years||6-12 months||6-12 months|
|Read Review||Arlo Pro 3 Review||Blink XT2 Review||Ring Spotlight Cam Battery Review||Ring Stick Up Cam Battery Review|
Why These Are The Best Outdoor Wireless Cameras
1. Arlo Pro 3 - Highest Quality Video for Outdoor Wireless Camera
What We Love
- High Quality Video
- Impressive Night Vision
- Smart Platform Integrations
- Artificial Intelligence Options
What Needs Improvement
- Battery Life
- Needs Arlo Hub
- Cloud Storage Capabilities
- No Free Person Detection
High Quality Video
The Arlo Pro 3 brings an element of sophistication to the outdoor wireless camera game with its 2560p HD video quality plus 2K HDR. Compared to the industry standard of 1080p HD, the Arlo Pro 3 gave us clear, crisp videos over and over again. The high-quality video combined with the 2k HDR feature meant we got a glare-free outdoor video even when there was a lot of sunshine.
Impressive Night Vision
With both color night vision and infrared night vision, the Arlo Pro 3 gave us the option of clear night video in color or black and white. With the camera’s spotlight, we could see what was happening on our block in color even when it was dark. But if we didn’t want to have the spotlight on, we could rely on the infrared LED lights to see what was happening at night; we just got that video in black and white instead. City living often means evening commotion, so it was comforting to have multiple nighttime video options. And with the idea that one in three1 violent crimes happen in or near a person’s home, having grain-free day and night video made us feel that much safer.
Smart Platform Integrations
The Arlo Pro 3 worked with multiple smart home platforms including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Watch. Many security systems we found worked with Alexa and Google, but Arlo is one of the few that worked with our Apple Watches too. We loved this because we were able to receive motion detection alerts on our watch, so we never missed a thing even if we forgot our phones at home. We were also able to talk to the person on the other side of the camera right through our watch, so we didn’t have to always walk around the house with our phones in hand!
You Should Know: When you buy the Arlo Pro 3, you automatically get a three-month free trial of Arlo Smart Home. The Arlo Smart Home subscription allows you to personalize notifications and specify whether or not you want alerts about packages, pets, people, vehicles or animals.
3. Ring Stick Up Cam Battery - Best Installation for Outdoor Wireless Camera
What We Love
- Flexible Mounting Options
- Privacy Settings
- Two-Way Audio
- Smart Platform Integrations
What Needs Improvement
- No Person Detection
- No Free Cloud Storage
- History of Security Breaches
- Hard to Use Android App
Flexible Mounting Options
When it comes to an outdoor wireless camera, we really wanted something that was easy to install. The Ring Stick Up Cam Battery can be placed anywhere since it comes with multiple mounting options. There are two mounting options, one that’s attached to the camera on the back or one that’s attached to the camera on the bottom. We were also able to rotate the camera while on the mounts when we needed to adjust our views. For outdoor purposes, having this camera mounted higher was better, but because there is the option of using this indoors, we liked having the option of sitting it on a table or desk.
Even though we have a security camera, there are some things we don’t want people seeing and Ring gave us the ability to set privacy zones. When those zones were set, the camera only recorded video around those zones; the privacy zone footage is depicted by a black square. We set up this feature for the zone near our mailbox as we didn’t want anyone being able to see our house number. We felt having the privacy zone for this area gave us peace of mind that our address would remain private. Because Ring’s had some hacking issues in the past, the company set up this privacy zone feature to put us at ease and prove they were working to protect their customer.
Two-way audio made it possible for us to speak to the person outside through our security camera. Living in Brooklyn, there is a lot of background noise from sirens and trucks, so we loved that the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery not only offered two-way audio but also noise cancellation. The feature meant we clearly heard who was talking, instead of the unnecessary, distracting background noise.
4. Ring Spotlight Cam Battery - Best Solar-Powered Outdoor Wireless Camera
What We Love
- Solar Panel Option
- Rechargeable Battery
- Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Professional Monitoring Options
What Needs Improvement
- No Free Local Storage
- No Free Cloud Storage
- No Person Detection
- No Optical Zoom
A Green Camera
We love that this camera had an eco-friendly option via the solar panel. While it cost extra to get the solar panel, we thought it was worth the price. Why you may ask? Because with the solar panel, this camera was charging constantly with the sun, meaning we never had to deal with changing the batteries. Plus, this camera cost $199.99 per camera and when you threw in the solar panel the cost comes out to $229.00, an extra $30 we wanted to spend.
If you don’t want to shell out the extra money for the solar panel, the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery has an easy to use, rechargeable battery option. The rechargeable battery lasted between six and twelve months on a single charge, four months for us with our frequent motion events, and popped out once it died so we didn’t have to dismantle the camera completely. What was unique to this camera were the two battery slots, which meant that when one battery died the other kicked in. This doubled the length of time that the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery lasted.
Professional Monitoring Options
One of our favorite features when it comes to home security systems is the professional monitoring option. We work full time and like to enjoy a fun night on the town here and there, so we aren’t always monitoring our systems as closely as we should. When we were in a work meeting or having dinner, we may not have our phones on us, so having this professional monitoring option gave us peace of mind there would always be eyes on our property. For an extra $10 a month or $100 a year, Ring offers 24/7 professional monitoring so there was always a person who could respond to an emergency.
Tip: 24/7 professional monitoring means your system is connected to a call center where people other than you can see what’s happening. This means your home will always be protected, a great option for those who don’t always have access to their phones or security camera systems.
Best Outdoor Wireless Camera Video Review
Do you prefer to watch reviews instead of reading about the products? Look no further, because we made a video review of the best outdoor wireless cameras.
Outdoor Wireless Camera Methodology
When reviewing outdoor wireless cameras, there are a handful of factors we look into before picking our top choices. With outdoor wireless cameras, in particular, we paid close attention to battery life, ease of installation and the IP rating,2 a number that lets you know how the product holds up against liquids and solids.
Ideally, we want our outdoor cameras to IP ratings of 65 or higher, because the higher the rating, the more durable the camera. With a camera’s IP rating at 65 and up, our devices are totally dust-tight and even resistant to getting sprayed by a powerful jet or soaked by a heavy rainstorm. It’s also imperative that our outdoor cameras can withstand a wide range of temperatures because in Brooklyn we have hot, humid summers and below-freezing winters. Here is a quick look at what goes into IP ratings:
|1||A large body surface like the back of a hand, but no intentional contact with a body part||Dripping water falling vertically|
|2||Fingers of similar objects||Dripping water falling from 15-degree tilt|
|3||Tools, thick wires, etc.||Spraying water|
|4||Most wires, screws, etc||Splashing water|
|5||Dust protected||Water jets 6.3mm and below|
|6||Dust tight||Powerful water jets 12.5mm and below|
|7||N/A||Immersion up to 1m|
|8||N/A||Immersion over 1m|
Besides looking at how to handle outdoor elements, battery life was another major sticking point for us when it came to outdoor wireless cameras because who really wants to worry about changing batteries every other month? We sure don’t! Most of the cameras had battery lives that lasted between six and 12 months, but there are some on our list that lasts up to two years. And we love Ring’s solar panel option because it meant we never had to worry about changing the battery again.
We also look at ease installation; most of the cameras on our list take only a few minutes to put up. Because they are wireless, there’s no wall cutting needed to hide wires and very little drilling. We were basically up and running after installing the camera mount, downloading the app, adding it to our Wi-Fi network and syncing the camera with the app. And speaking of the apps, we look for cameras that have apps that send movement notifications and allow us to customize those notifications, so we don’t get unnecessary notifications all day long. Person detection is one of the top features we look for when it came to custom notification options. When available, we program our camera to only send notifications when a person moves and to ignore movements from pets, packages or branches.
Finally, most of us have smart devices that are voice-activated and we want to be able to connect our cameras to all of our devices. For voice assistants, we use both Alexa and Google Assistant, so cameras that are compatible with both rank highly in our books. That being said, there are some cameras like the Blink XT2 that only work with Alexa, which would work for someone in the Amazon ecosystem. We know people can be privy to one platform over another and some cameras are better for those who prefer Alexa, some cameras better for those who use Google Assistant.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the best outdoor wireless security camera?
The best outdoor wireless security camera is the Arlo Pro 3. While it is one of the more expensive cameras on our list, you get what you pay for. This camera has the best video quality, the best motion detection options and the best nighttime video. Plus, the Arlo Pro 3’s artificial intelligent options include person, package, vehicle and animal detection, which cuts down on unnecessary notifications.
- Do outdoor wireless cameras work without the internet?
None of the outdoor wireless cameras on our list work without the internet. Because the cameras are wireless they require the internet to transmit video from the camera to your hub or cloud for storage. It also requires Internet or Wi-Fi so you can see the video via the app on your device. That being said, there are some cameras like the Arlo Go that work in areas with little or no Wi-Fi.
- Are outdoor wireless cameras safe to use?
For the most part, outdoor wireless cameras are safe to use. While they can be hacked, it’s very unlikely. In order for a camera to be hacked, the hacker would need access to both your username and password, so make sure you pick something that’s hard to guess. You can also set up two or multi-factor authentication when available. That means you would need to enter a passcode sent to your device, or use fingerprint or facial recognition to access your account. That means that even if a hacker got your credentials, they still wouldn’t be able to log in to your security account.
- How much do outdoor wireless cameras cost?
The cost of outdoor wireless cameras vary depending on the exact camera you buy. They can cost anywhere between $50 to $400 dollars, with most falling between $150 and $250.
- Can outdoor wireless cameras be used indoors as well?
Outdoor wireless cameras like the Arlo Pro 3, Blink XT2, Ring Spotlight Cam Battery and Rick Stick Up Cam Battery can be used inside as well as outside. This applies to all outdoor cameras.