Wi-Fi Cameras are easier to install and set up compared to Wired Cameras. But they often require subscriptions to get the most out of them, and that can include cloud storage. If you don’t want to pay for a subscription, you will want to choose a camera that supports local storage.
Not all Wi-Fi cameras support local storage. Most would prefer you subscribe to their service and to entice you they might offer a free tier that provides a small amount of cloud storage. But if you don’t need facial and movement recognition, it can be a lot to ask for just to store more video. Also, note that in giving up cloud storage you do run the risk of the camera and all its video being stolen.
That said, read on for a list of Wi-Fi cameras that can store video on microSD cards.
Yi 1080p Home Camera
You will find 1080p resolution (as the name implies), two-way audio, night vision, and some intelligence (such as detecting the sound of a baby crying and motion detection). You’ll need to install a dedicated app to see your feeds on your phone or tablet, but you can watch up to four feeds on your desktop. There is no Google Home integration and Alexa support is limited to on/off functionality. More importantly, it lacks two-factor authentication. As we’ve said before, cheap Wi-Fi cameras do have certain drawbacks. This camera offers no cloud storage, but instead, you can use a microSD card to keep your recordings in house.
Sense8 Home Security Camera
If you want to just purchase a Wi-Fi camera without worrying about subscriptions, add-ons, or the need to purchase additional items, then the Sense8 Home Security camera makes a pretty strong case—as long as you’re willing to pay a little more up front.
These Sense8 Camera starts things off strong by forgoing all subscription options. Once you’ve paid for the $140 camera, you’ve purchased everything you need to use all its features. Instead of a cloud subscription, this camera ties into Dropbox and Google Drive APIs so you can load and access clips. It also has 8 GB of built-in storage so you don’t even need to purchase a microSD card.
In addition the camera has Alexa functionality through IFTTT, motion detection, night vision, two-way audio, and a battery backup that allows for 2 hours of recording even when the power is out. The camera isn’t perfect though, as there still isn’t two-factor authentication, it offers no continuous recording options, and Google Home integration is listed as coming soon.
HomeHawk by Panasonic
The HomeHawk is another camera option that tries to give you nearly everything you need for one upfront price.
Panasonic’s entry ticks the usual boxes with 1080p recording, night vision, two-way audio, and motion detection. To set it apart, the HomeHawk throws in a temperature sensor, continuous recording options, and a welcome built-in shutter for when you want privacy. Additionally, it has multiple mounting options, something not all Wi-Fi cameras have.
It has no subscription or cloud options, relying solely on a microSD card slot for local memory. It doesn’t have everything though, as once again two-factor authentication is missing here, along with any sort of Alexa or Google Home integration.
You get a lot for the low pricing as well. WyzeCams come with free cloud storage, 1080p recording, two-way audio, night vision, and Alexa integration. You can even enable continuous recording (and skip the cloud) by adding a microSD card.
But the low price does come with some security concerns. WyzeCams use ThroughTek to provide live video feeds. This can be a concern for some, but Wyzecam explains they use this to initiate the p2p connections and all data is flowing through AWS. Still, WyzeCams are also missing two-factor authentication and have no built-in privacy shutter, so this is a certainly a case of getting what you pay for (and in this case the feeling of getting more than you paid for).
The Ezviz Mini is a middle-of-the-road Wi-Fi camera with middle-of-the-road features. It’s more expensive than the budget cameras listed here, but less expensive than the Sense8 or Homehawk.
With this camera, you get the requisite 1080p recording, night vison, two-way audio, and motion detection. This camera does boast HDR video, a magnetic base, and multiple storage options. While it has two different cloud options that require a subscription, you can add a microSD card as large as 128 GB, which is much larger than the other cameras we’ve listed.
Alexa integration is on hand too (including Echo Show video), and IFTTT integration is included too. Once again, there’s no two-factor authentication or built-in privacy shutter, and the Ezviz Mini lacks some of the additional sensors and capabilities more expensive cameras have.
A Bundle of Choices
No one Wi-Fi camera is perfect or offers every feature. Even when you spend more, there may be something missing. The best thing to do is to determine what features you must have. Thankfully some features are pretty common, so be on the lookout for 1080p recording, night vision, and two-way audio at a minimum.
Then decide if you want additional sensors, Google or Alexa integration, or sirens. Find the camera that meets your budget and ticks the most boxes. Sometimes a subscription is worth paying for, but if you’d rather not trust your videos to the cloud (or you just don’t want to pay the ongoing price), then pick something that supports local recording and turn off cloud upload. Just keep in mind that with some cameras you might lose features if you remove cloud upload.