Our experts weigh in on Nest's four security cameras, the Nest Cam Indoor, Nest Cam Outdoor, Nest Cam IQ Indoor and Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.
- Innovative person detection technology
- Choice of free or paid plan options
- Compatible with third-party platforms
Note: While all of Nest’s cameras are still available, Google has removed Nest Secure.
It’s no secret that Google Nest makes some of the best smart security cameras in the business, but their pricing isn’t known to be the lowest on the market; in fact, far from it. Although we think their cameras are worth it, especially for their video and AI capabilities, we wanted to take this page to get down to brass tax about what you’ll really pay for Nest’s cameras, namely the Nest Cam Indoor, the Nest Cam Outdoor, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor and the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor. Let’s get to the bottom line, and stat!
|Nest camera models||Cost of one camera|
|Nest Cam Indoor||$129.99|
|Nest Cam Outdoor||$199|
|Nest Cam IQ Indoor||$299|
|Nest Cam IQ Outdoor||$329|
Equipment Costs: How Does Nest Compare To Other Cameras?
If you’re on a super-tight budget, let us just tell you right off the bat that Nest probably isn’t the right place for you. As they’re top of the line in terms of quality, Nest’s prices are above average compared to some other options on the market. Let’s start with the cameras themselves.
Cameras and Packages
Nest’s cameras start at $129.99, about $30 more than the typical indoor camera. On the other hand, their original outdoor camera costs $199, which is actually a pretty average cost for outdoor cameras in general. However, the IQ cameras are where things get a little pricey. Of course, they have more features than the original Nest Cams, like person detection included, for example, so you have to take that into consideration when making your buying decision. In any case, read our Nest cameras review to learn which option is right for you and your family.
|Number of Cameras||Nest Cam Indoor||Nest Cam Outdoor||Nest Cam IQ Indoor||Nest Cam IQ Outdoor|
As you can see from the above chart, Nest gives discounted if you buy in bulk. Sure, these cameras are nowhere near as cheap as the $20 Wyze Cam or even the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery, an outdoor camera that retails for $99.99. However, we think Nest makes it worthwhile given its advanced features. It’ll really come down to the customer at hand, and whether you value budget or quality.
FYI: If you want the quality of Nest cameras without the exorbitant prices, choose the original Nest Cam Indoor or Nest Cam Outdoor, which can cost up to hundreds of dollars less than the IQ cameras.
Nest also offers a few accessories to go along with its cameras, namely power adapters, a USB cable and a yard sign.
|Name of Product||Compatibility||Price|
|Weatherproof Power Adapter||Nest Cam IQ Outdoor||$49|
|Power Adapter||Nest Cam Indoor||$10|
|USB Cable||Nest Cam Indoor||$10|
It’s been proven that security cameras can deter, or at least displace, crime1 from happening in the first place, and given that the average loss from a burglary is $2,416 according to the FBI,2 that cost should be factored into the equation when deciding how much you want to spend on home security.
One huge disadvantage of Nest used to be their astronomical storage costs, but since last we complained, Nest has lowered them pretty significantly. Now, 30 days of cloud storage costs only $6 a month or $60 a year, while 60 days cost $12 a month or $120 a year.
|Free Plan||Nest Aware Plan||Nest Aware Plus Plan|
|24/7 video history in days||No||0||10|
|Video history in days||0||30||60|
|Create and share clips||No||Yes||Yes|
|Free Nest Mini||No||With Annual Plan||With Annual Plan|
Are those the lowest cloud storage prices on the market? No, of course not; Ring, for example, only charges $3 a month or $30 a year for 60 days of cloud storage, a quarter of the cost of Nest. Still, we think Nest cameras are worth their cloud storage costs, as a few more dollars a month probably won’t break the bank, especially since Nest Aware includes more than just storage. Here’s what else is included:
- Facial recognition and person detection: While the IQ cameras both come with person detection, the original Nest Cams do not. Person detection meant that instead of just being notified when our Nest Cams detected motion, we got notified only when they detected people, resulting in fewer notifications. Plus, we added facial recognition to all of our cameras so we could name friends and family, making our alerts super-specific and convenient.
- Create and share clips: One of Nest’s biggest drawbacks is its lack of local storage on any of its cameras; not a slot for a micro-SD card in sight! Instead, we had to download clips from the Nest app onto our phones, and from there, transfer the clips to our hard drive for safekeeping.
- Activity zones: Activity zones are another great way to make for more specific (and necessary) notifications. Basically, we drew a line around the areas we wanted our Nest cameras to pay attention to and the areas we wanted them to ignore. For our outdoor cameras, this meant cutting out the sidewalk and street, ignoring the cars and passerbyers, not to mention the squirrels. With fewer notifications, we only got alerted when it mattered.
- 24/7 continuous recording: Only the top-tier Nest Aware plan allows for up to 10 days of continuous recording. While we definitely didn’t need this feature, we could see it being super useful for business-owners, in particular.
Tip: Want a free Google Nest Mini? It’s included when you buy any annual Nest Aware plan. Otherwise, it normally retails for $49.
Nest and the Smart Home
Nearly half of people who use voice assistant technology say that they don’t know where to start when trying to accomplish a task,3 which is why we put together this section to show you exactly how to control your Nest cameras using your voice alone.
Google owns Nest, so, naturally, all of the Nest cameras work with Google Assistant. But they also work with Alexa, other Nest products like the Nest Secure security system, Nest smart speakers and smart displays like the Nest Hub Max, the Nest Hello video doorbell, smart thermostats, third-party IoT devices; the list goes on. When we had all our devices set up, it was nice to only have to use one app for everything, as our lives are more than hectic enough!
But let’s talk more about what voice commands we used with the Nest cameras specifically.
We used Alexa to show footage from our Nest cameras on Echo Shows, Echo Spots, Fire Tablets Generation seven and up and Fire TV simply by saying “Alexa, show the front yard camera”. When we were done, we said “Alexa, hide the front yard camera”. However, that was where the integrations ended; we couldn’t turn the cameras off or on using Alexa; rather, we had to do that in the app.
With Google Assistant, we had a lot more commands to try out, from showing our footage on Nest Hubs, turning our cameras on and off, and asking if they were on or off. We’ll admit that we were a bit underwhelmed, as we couldn’t arm or disarm the cameras with Google Assistant, only Nest Secure. That being said, the Nest cameras certainly work better with Google Assistant than they do with Alexa.
Works with Google Nest
In addition to the two most well-known voice assistants, our Nest cameras also worked with a bunch of other IoT devices from third-party companies. Here’s some of the third-party devices we paired with our Nest Cams:
- Smart lighting: LIFX, Philips Hue
- Smart locks: Yale
- Smart plugs: Kasa, iHome
- Dimmers and switches: Wemo, TP-Link, Lutron, Bond
- Smart speakers: Echo Flex
- Smart home hub: INSTEON
With so many connected devices available, we had fun syncing our Nest cameras up to our lights, having them turn off when our system was armed so it looked like we were home. We also had our Echo Flex smart speaker announce when our cameras detected people, which was helpful when we were waiting for deliveries upstairs. All in all, Nest’s smart platform integrations are one of its greatest strengths.
Why Nest Is Worth It
Do you remain unconvinced of Nest’s worth? Here’s why we think their cameras are worth it, even if they aren’t the lowest-priced on the market:
- Excellent video: While the original Nest Cams have the industry standard of 1080p HD, the IQ cameras turned it up a notch with 4K sensors and HDR, making our footage free or glare and shadows especially when we used our cameras outdoors.
- Infrared night vision: With up to 12 infrared LED sensors, the Nest cameras made things super clear, even in the middle of the night when a friend was arriving from a red-eye flight.
- Two-way audio: Powerful speakers and microphones made speaking to people remotely a real treat, whether we were doing it through the Nest app or from a Nest Hub.
- Smart platform integrations: As we detailed above, Nest cameras work with not only Alexa and Google Assistant, but also with connected devices from top companies like LIFX, Philips Hue and WeMo, to name a few, resulting in some convenient home automation.
- Artificial intelligence: Person detection and facial recognition meant that we didn’t get false alerts all day, unlike some cameras we’ve tested before (looking at you, Blink!).
- Nest app: Even if we didn’t pay for cloud storage, or any costs after the cost of our equipment, we could still livestream footage and receive motion notifications from the Nest app, easy to use and available for iOS and Android devices.
Despite all the value Nest brings to the table, we totally get it if it’s too hard on your wallet. For more options, check out our pricing pages for Ring and Blink, two more affordable smart security brands.
That’s all there is to know about paying for Nest cameras! While they certainly aren’t the cheapest option around, people that value high-quality video, person detection and facial recognition won’t mind shelling out some extra bucks for these four options.
The Surveillance Studies Centre. (2020). FAQs. sscqueens.org/projects/scan/faqs
FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division. (2017). Burglary.
Adobe Blog. (2019). Voice Trends & Statistics: What Designers Need to Know About the New Tech Boom. theblog.adobe.com/voice-assistant-statistics-trends-2019/