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Best Wireless Home Security Cameras of 2020

Daniel Wroclawski

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Wireless security cameras are a great way to keep an eye on your home and spot potential trouble. But just because your house is safer doesn’t mean the footage these streaming video cameras collect is necessarily safe—or even private.

“These cameras are capable of capturing and transmitting very sensitive data,” says Cody Feng, a test engineer at CR’s Digital Lab. That’s why we test them for data security and data privacy. 

Below you’ll find reviews of the six best wireless security cameras from our ratings. The list, in alphabetical order, has models made by Arlo, Blue by ADT, D-Link, and Google Nest. All feature night vision, high-definition video, voice control via digital assistants, and two-way audio. CR members can view ratings for these models below, or for a deeper dive, go to our full wireless security camera ratings.

Our data privacy and data security tests are part of Consumer Reports’ work at its Digital Lab. They’re based on the Digital Standard, an open-source standard CR created with other organizations to promote digital privacy and security in consumer products and services. Using the Digital Standard, we conduct more than 70 data privacy and security tests on each camera. These tests are in addition to our other tests for video quality, response time of smartphone alerts, and smart features.

If you buy a model we recommend, you can be confident that you’re choosing a wireless security camera with good video quality and plenty of smart features, as well as one that will keep your footage as secure and private as possible.

While we continue to evaluate these devices for privacy and security, there have been multiple reports of connected security cameras, including video doorbells, getting hacked. Regardless of the model you choose, read our guide on how to prevent security cameras from being hacked. And for more information on our testing and advice on how to choose a security camera, see our home security camera buying guide.

6 Superb Security Cameras

Arlo Pro 2 Smart Camera VMC4030P
Free video storage:
7 days
Optional subscription costs: $3 to $20 per month
CR’s take: The Arlo Pro 2 offers superb video quality, and Arlo cameras are the only models in our ratings with Excellent Smart IQ ratings. The Pro 2 also receives a great data security score, but its data privacy could be better. As for features, you get a siren, voice control (via Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit/Siri, and Google Assistant), a rechargeable battery, and a rolling seven days of free storage for motion- and audio-triggered video clips, a perk that the other Arlo cameras in our ratings lack. With an Arlo Smart subscription, you can get more video storage as well as monitoring zones; person, package, vehicle, and animal detection; and e911, which allows you to contact your home’s local 911 dispatcher from the Arlo app. The company offers subscriptions for 24/7 continuous video recording, too. If you don't want to pay a monthly fee for video storage, you can connect a USB drive to the base station and store footage there instead.

Arlo Pro 3 VMC4040P
Free video storage:
None
Optional subscriptions costs: $3 to $20 per month
CR's take: The Arlo Pro 3 is another terrific camera that performs just as well as its predecessor, the Arlo Pro 2, receiving identical performance ratings in our tests and offering many of the same features. So what's different about the Pro 3? It includes a built-in spotlight that allows for color night vision, a siren in the camera itself (not the base station), a wider 160-degree field of view, and higher-resolution 2K HDR video. With an Arlo Smart subscription, you can get more video storage as well as monitoring zones; person, package, vehicle, and animal detection; and e911. The company offers subscriptions for 24/7 continuous video recording, too. If you don't want to pay a monthly fee for video storage, you can connect a USB drive to the base station and store footage there instead.

For the $400 version of this camera that records 4K HDR video, see the Arlo Ultra.

Blue by ADT Indoor Camera
Free video storage:
24 hours
Optional subscription costs: $3 per month per camera for 60 days of storage, or $13 per month for unlimited cameras
CR's take: The Blue by ADT Indoor Camera is one of the company's first DIY cameras—and one of the top performers in our ratings. It offers superb response time for alerts, great video quality, and strong data security, but it receives only a middle-of-the-road Good rating for data privacy. As for features, this camera comes with 24 hours of free cloud video storage, facial recognition, monitoring zones, battery backup for power outages, smoke/CO siren detection, and voice control via Amazon Alexa. You can purchase 60 days of cloud video storage for $3 per month for one camera or $13 per month for unlimited cameras. If you don't want to pay for cloud storage, you can store video locally on an SD card.

D-Link DCS-8525LH
Free video storage: 24 hours
Optional subscription costs: $2.50 per month or $25 per year to $10 per month or $100 per year
CR's take: The D-Link DCS-8525LH is the only pan-and-tilt camera in our ratings, allowing you to move the camera around from its smartphone app and see beyond a fixed point of view. In our tests, this D-Link receives a Very Good rating for data security and offers terrific video quality and response times for alerts. Compared with the competition, its feature set is a bit bare-bones, though. It only includes monitoring zones, sound detection, voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and the ability to access the camera from a web browser. If you want more than the free 24 hours of cloud storage, you can purchase seven days of storage for $2.50 per month or $25 per year, 14 days for $5 per month or $50 per year, or 30 days for $10 per month or $100 per year. Or you can store footage locally on a microSD card. 

Google Nest Cam Indoor NC1102ES
Free video storage:
3 hours of snapshots, not video
Optional subscription costs: $6 per month or $60 per year for 30 days of storage, $12 per month or $120 per year for 60 days of storage
CR’s take: The Google Nest Cam Indoor offers strong data security and quick response speed for alerts, but it really shines in our video quality test, receiving an Excellent rating. The only downsides? The camera could have better data privacy, and it offers no free video storage—just 3 hours of still snapshots. However, it does play nice with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. With a Nest Aware subscription, you’ll get either 30 or 60 days of cloud storage for motion-triggered video clips, depending on the plan; intelligent sound detection; dog barking alerts; person alerts; monitoring zones; and e911 to call your home’s 911 dispatcher, regardless of your physical location. If you have the $12-per-month plan, you’ll also get 10 days of 24/7 continuous video recordings.

Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor NC4100US
Free video storage: 3 hours of snapshots, not video
Optional subscription costs: $6 per month or $60 per year for 30 days of storage, $12 per month or $120 per year for 60 days of storage
CR’s take: The Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is a fantastic security camera, receiving an Excellent rating in our tests for video quality. It also performs quite well in our data security tests. This model gives you a 4K image sensor (which means you can zoom in on part of an image without losing image quality), person detection, voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and a rolling 3 hours of motion-triggered snapshots (not video clips). With a Nest Aware subscription, you’ll get 30 or 60 days of cloud storage for motion-triggered video clips, depending on the plan; intelligent sound detection; dog barking alerts; person alerts; facial recognition; monitoring zones; and e911. If you have the $12-per-month plan, you’ll also get 10 days of 24/7 continuous video recordings.

For the cheaper, indoor version of this camera, see the Google Nest Cam IQ Indoor.

Security Systems 101

Self-installed security systems are becoming more popular, but there are a few things to consider. On the “Consumer 101” TV show, Consumer Reports expert Dan Wroclawski explains to host Jack Rico what to look for when buying one.



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