Google Nest indoor security camera mounted to a wall
Jason Montoya / How-To Geek
Update, 01/29/2023: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and are confident these are still the best security cameras you can buy.

What to Look for in a Security Camera in 2023

In today’s world, where safety is so important, you’ll want to choose a security camera that’s right for your home. These cameras have a variety of price ranges, and some also have subscription plans to consider. In order to choose a security camera wisely, you need to think about what you want to use it for and where you’re going to put it.

Security cameras come with a wide variety of features, including motion sensors, two-way audio, night vision or infrared mode, and video storage. Some cameras even come with premium features such as high-definition recording and streaming and an adjustable field of view.

Battery life is also important if you’re considering wireless cameras. Cameras that continuously monitor can run out of batteries in just a few weeks or months, so you may need to change or recharge them frequently. However, some cameras are designed only to start recording when they’ve detected motion. This can help preserve battery life tremendously.

Of course, if you go with a wired camera, you won’t need to worry about battery life at all—it’ll just take a little more time to set up and install.

If you plan on setting up security cameras outside, you must ensure that they’re weather-proof. Look for cameras that can withstand getting soaked in the rain without shorting out. You’ll also want cameras that can be securely mounted somewhere high up where thieves won’t be able to reach. You don’t want the camera itself stolen, after all.

Now, let’s dive deeper into some of the best security cameras on the market.

RELATED: Should You Build Your Own DIY Security System?

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I install a security camera?

Installation processes vary from product to product. If you’re working with a battery-powered camera, you’ll typically need to mount the camera and then connect it to your wireless network. If you’re working with a wired system, you’ll have the added step of connecting a few cables. Be sure to consult a professional electrician if needed.

Where is the best place to install a security camera?

A security camera is most beneficial when placed near points of entry to your home. They should be around 10 feet off the ground to give a wide view of your property, yet close enough to the entrance that you can identify visitors.

Do security cameras have audio?

Yes, most security cameras offer two-way audio. This means you can hear people on camera and talk to them by pressing a button on the accompanying smartphone app. This functionality varies by product, so check the specs before purchasing.

Is there a security camera that works without Wi-Fi?
Yes, there are plenty of security cameras that work without Wi-Fi. These primarily function by storing data locally on a drive, which can be viewed at a later date. Keep in mind that these tend to offer limited functionality compared to their Wi-Fi alternatives and are more expensive.
Can security cameras see inside cars?

Yes, most security cameras have no problem filming through the glass. However, it’s worth noting that some cameras may pick up a glare from the sun—obscuring your footage. And if you install a camera near your front or back door, it might be too far away from the street or driveway to pick up significant details.

How long do security cameras keep footage?

This varies by product. If the footage is stored locally on a hard drive, you can theoretically keep the footage forever. Most monthly services that offer cloud storage let you keep footage somewhere between 24 hours and 180 days.

Best Security Camera Overall: Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera

Arlo Security Camera
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek


  • 2K HDR video with a 160-degree lens
  • Night vision with color
  • Affordable
  • Has a spotlight to scare off intruders
  • Loud built-in siren
  • Works with all major smart home ecosystems


  • Must purchase Arlo Smart subscription to access some features

If you’re looking for a reliable and wireless security camera that does it all, the Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera is the best option. Not only is it priced affordably at $200, but you can also set it up within minutes via Wi-Fi.

The camera captures video in 2K HDR quality, which is a higher resolution than most competitors. It also uses a wide 160-degree diagonal view lens to see far beyond the traditional camera. You can view everything in the footage perfectly, even when you zoom in. 

There’s also night vision with color, so you can easily see people, animals, and objects in the dark. For added protection at night, a light shines from the camera to ward off potential intruders.

Arlo’s Pro 4 camera has two-way audio so that you can talk to whoever is in the area—whether they’re a friend or a stranger. It’s also weather-resistant, so you can leave it hooked up in the rain, wind, or snow all year round. The camera has several premium features, including compatibility with Alexa, Apple Homekit, SmartThings, and Google Assistant.

You don’t need to constantly watch the Pro 4, either. The camera sends notifications to your phone and can tell the difference between people, vehicles, and animals so that you won’t get notified by just anything. In case of an emergency, you can use the built-in siren to scare off unwelcome guests.

You can purchase the Arlo Secure plan for $3/month to access all your stored videos and audio recordings at any time. These only last up to 30 days, though, so you’ll need to save them before they’re gone.

The subscription plan is really the only downside to the Arlo Pro 4, though—if you’re alright with the extra charge, this will be a great security camera for most people.

Best Security Camera Overall

Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera

The Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera captures video in 2K HDR quality with a wide-angle lens. For an affordable camera, it's a steal.

Best Budget Security Camera: TP-Link Kasa Smart 2K

Kasa Security Cam on bookshelf


  • 360 degree pan and 113 degree tilt
  • Links to other smart home devices
  • Motion detection and night vision
  • 2K video capture for quality images


  • Not suitable for outdoor use

You can easily spend hundreds of dollars on a security camera, but you don’t have to if you’re looking for a simple camera to use indoors. The TP-Link Kasa Smart 2K has lots of premium features for the budget-friendly price of $45.

The Kasa Smart camera captures video at 2K, which uses twice as many pixels as the 1080p many similar cameras are limited to and give you a clearer picture. If you want to save a little more money, though, there is a 1080p version available, though.

The camera is designed to be used indoors, and as such it doesn’t feature any waterproofing like our favorite outdoor security camera. However, this is the only premium security feature that the Kasa Smart 2K is missing out on.

The camera is controlled through the TP-Link Kasa app for iOS, iPadOS, and Android. From within the app, you can tilt and pan the lens, activate or schedule night vision, and change the capture mode from continuous to motion-activated.

You can also link the camera to Alexa or Google Assistant and control it with your voice. The app also lets you talk to whoever you see on the camera, thanks to the built-in microphone and speaker.

You can store captured footage locally on up to a 256GB MicroSD card. However, continuous video capture can quickly fill up storage cards, especially at 2K. So instead you can also choose to save everything to an AWS cloud storage account. That way, you won’t run out of space, and your footage is safe if something happens to the camera or card.

The TP-Link Kasa Smart 2K becomes even more appealing when you already use other Kasa Smart devices. For example, it can be linked to Kasa smart plugs so that your lights turn on when motion is detected. Even without those extra features, this is a brilliant budget security camera that could also work as a pet cam or baby monitoring camera.

Best Budget Security Camera

TP-Link Kasa Smart 2K

A budget-friendly security camera that has a lot of premium features. Works well with other smart home devices, including smart plugs and voice assistants.

Best Outdoor Security Camera: Google Nest Cam

Google Nest Cam Battery mounted on a wall
Justin Duino / How-To Geek


  • 130-degree diagonal lens
  • 1080p HD quality with HDR
  • Works wireless and wired
  • One hour of saved footage when internet is offline
  • Designed to withstand all weather conditions
  • Affordable


  • Only saves up to 3 hours of clips without plans
  • On the larger size

The Nest Cam is the perfect choice for those looking for a security camera to set up outside. Pricing at $180, the Nest Cam is expensive but it’ll be a great addition to your home security.

Unlike previous Nest models, this newest security camera is completely wire-free. It runs on a battery, but you can wire it up instead so that you never have to worry about recharging or replacing the battery. If you choose to wire it, you’ll need to get weather-proof cables that don’t come with the camera.

Of course, the camera itself is weather-resistant. It’s designed to last through any condition, so you don’t need to worry about Mother Nature breaking it. It also uses a magnetic mount that securely fastens in hard-to-reach places, so installation is really easy.

The Nest Cam records in 1080p HD video with HDR for clear footage and has a 130-degree diagonal lens. There’s night vision, and when combined with HDR, you’ll get a clear image when it’s very bright out or when there’s low light. The camera runs on Wi-Fi, but if your internet ever goes down, Nest Cam will save up to one hour of footage as a backup.

You can control the camera through the Google Home app on Android or iPhone. From there, you can see what has happened in the past three hours and talk through the microphone with the camera’s two-way audio. Nest Cam can tell the difference between people, alarming noises, and vehicles, and you can change the notification settings for each.

You’ll need to purchase a Nest Aware plan starting at $6 per month or $60 per year to save up to 60 days of event video history and 10 days of continuous video history.

Best Outdoor Security Camera

Google Nest Cam

Nest Cams are all the hype nowadays. It makes sense considering how easy it is to set up and control through the Google Home app.

Best Wireless Security Camera: Ring Stick Up Cam Battery

Ring Stick-up camera outside


  • Relatively cheap
  • Works with Alexa
  • Works wireless or wired
  • Two-way audio with noise cancellation
  • Integrates well with other Ring products
  • Records in 1080p HD quality


  • No colored night vision
  • Requires Ring Protect plan to review and save footage up to 60 days

If you’re looking for a wireless security camera that’s easy to set up and use, Ring has you covered. The Ring Stick Up Cam Battery is priced relatively low at $100, which is incredibly affordable compared to other Ring products.

Setting up this Stick Up Cam is easy, and you can use it indoors and outdoors as it’s weather-resistant. You can place it on any flat surface, or take the versatile mounting bracket and stick it to a wall. Since the camera is wireless, you just pop in a battery and recharge or replace it when it’s low. Alternatively, you can plug it in so you’ll never have to worry about battery life, though that does add wires to the equation.

The camera requires Wi-Fi, and it captures video in 1080p HD. There is night vision, but it’s not in color, making it slightly more difficult to see in the dark. If this isn’t to your liking, you can always set up a motion-detecting light beside the camera so you can catch whatever is going on at night, or pick up another option.

The Ring Cam has two-way audio, so you’re able to talk through the camera from your phone, tablet, or Echo device as you receive real-time alerts. You can control everything through the Ring app on Apple devices or Android, which is convenient if you have multiple Ring products. The camera even works with Alexa.

You’ll need a Ring Protect plan that starts at $3 per month or $30 per year to review, share, and save footage that your Ring camera records.

Best Wireless Security Camera

Ring Stick Up Cam Battery

The Ring Stick Up Cam is an inexpensive but great choice for wireless security. It's weather-proof, runs on long battery life, and mounts on any surface.

Best Security Camera with Built-In Storage: GE CYNC Smart Indoor Security Camera

GE CYNC Smart Indoor Security Camera on shelf


  • Affordable price
  • Privacy shutter
  • SD drive supports up to 128GB cards


  • Designed for indoor use

If you like the peace of mind that comes with local storage, consider taking a closer look at the GE CYNC Smart Indoor Security Camera. In case the name didn’t give it away, this is designed specifically for indoor use—but if you don’t mind that caveat, there’s a lot to love about the sleek device.

Beyond its good looks, the GE CYNC camera comes with an SD drive that supports cards up to 128GB. You’ll also have the option to back your footage up to the cloud, which is secured using two-factor authentication. Better yet, there’s a built-in privacy shutter that prevents the camera from capturing anything at all, making it easy to keep away prying eyes.

Privacy and secure data storage are essential, but you still need a security camera that does a great job keeping tabs on your home while you’re out of town. And despite its affordable price tag (which falls well below $100), you’ll be treated to 1080p footage, night vision, two-way audio, and a wired connection that allows it to run continuously.

Best Security Camera With Built-In Storage

GE CYNC Smart Indoor Security Camera

The GE CYNC camera supports up to 128GB SD cards, films in 1080p, and features a built-in privacy shutter---although it's not designed to withstand harsh weather.

Best Doorbell Camera: Ring Video Doorbell 4

ring video doorbell outside


  • Connects to 2.4 and 5.0 GHz networks
  • Works with Alexa
  • 1080p HD quality
  • Records in full color 24/7
  • Can hardwire to existing doorbell for constant power
  • Visitors can leave a message if you're unavailable


  • Slightly expensive but offers great value
  • Requires Ring Protect Plan to review and save footage up to 60 days

Ever used a Ring Doorbell before? If not, make sure you get your hands on the Ring Video Doorbell 4. We chose this $200 camera as the best doorbell option because of its premium features and reliability.

Ring is an extremely popular brand that’s known for providing doorbell security, and the Doorbell 4 is no exception. Although it’s on the pricer side for a doorbell camera, it will help you feel much safer as strangers walk by your home.

You can power the camera using a rechargeable battery. Alternatively, you can hardwire it with your existing doorbell wires for constant power. The Ring camera requires Wi-Fi and connects to a 2.4 or 5.0 GHz network.

The Ring Video Doorbell 4 has a video quality of 1080p HD video and records in full-color day or night. When it detects motion, you can watch a pre-roll video from your phone, so you never miss who’s at your front door. You can even speak through the camera as there’s two-way audio, and visitors can leave a message if you’re not available.

You can control the camera through the Ring app on iPhone or Android, as well as change settings such as privacy zones. The Ring doorbell works with Alexa and does an exceptional job detecting motion–at least compared to previous models.

You’ll need a Ring Protect Plan that starts at $3/month or $30/year to review, share, and save footage that your Ring camera records.

Best Doorbell Camera

Ring Video Doorbell 4

Ring's Video Doorbell 4 is a popular addition to the Ring line. Hook it up to your existing doorbell or use a rechargeable battery to monitor your front door.

The Best Home Security Systems of 2023

SimpliSafe Wireless Home Security System
Best Home Security System Overall
SimpliSafe Wireless Home Security System
SimpliSafe 5-Piece Wireless Home Security System
Best Budget Home Security System
SimpliSafe 5-Piece Wireless Home Security System
Ring Alarm 8-Piece Kit
Best DIY Home Security System
Ring Alarm 8-Piece Kit
Vivint Home Security
Best Professional Home Security System
Vivint Home Security
Abode Home Security Kit
Best Smart Home Compatible Security System
Abode Home Security Kit
Profile Photo for Andy Nguyen Andy Nguyen
Andy Nguyen has been a professional freelance writer for over three years and has written hundreds of articles. He has loved computers and technology ever since he started gaming as a kid back in the 1990s. He's the person everyone he knows turns to for help with tech, too. Andy also runs a blog where he provides information and guides for students on becoming more productive.
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Profile Photo for Russ Ware Russ Ware
Russ is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about technology. He loves exploring and figuring out how complex things work, and sharing that knowledge with others, something he has been doing online and in print for more than 15 years. When not writing for How-To Geek, Russ can usually be found planning his first novel or taking something apart to see how it works.
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