Cameras aren’t just useful for finding intruders; they can help us keep an eye on the kids during work or make sure your dog isn’t getting into trouble behind your back. In an age where we’re stuck at home, we wanted to know the systems that they were using to keep track of their domain. Earlier this week, we asked you all to help us pick the best cameras for home security.
Home security is a matter of keeping you and your loved ones safe, so you don’t want to make an impulse purchase without research. Our readers completely understood that and hit us with some of the most thorough Co-op responses we’ve seen. Not only did we get some in-depth breakdowns of specific cameras, but we saw some robust explanations of what exactly you need to create a true home security setup.
All that is to say, these picks do not come lightly. These are well-researched choices that our readers have given a lot of thought to. If they’re willing to trust their own home with it, maybe they’ll be useful for you as well. Check out a few of the highlights below.
Annke C800 | $93
I’m of the opinion that a security camera without recording is stupid. By the time you get the notification, tap it, and load the app, whatever you wanted to see is long gone.
These cameras are FAR better than the price indicates. I’ve spent more money on less quality. I’d argue these are the best reasonably priced camera a regular person can buy. If you’re a security company you can probably lay hands on other stuff, but you don’t get into markedly better consumer security cameras until you’re spending over $200 per camera.
Plus a PC that has an i5 or i7 with integrated graphics and Blue Iris. If you need to buy one, they frequently sell on eBay for somewhere around $150-$200. The Blue Iris license is $70. This is going to be more expensive than most home security in a box setups, but the more cameras you add the cheaper it gets comparatively.
Downside: you’re a slave to Microsoft; Blue Iris only runs on Windows. You’re also a slave to Intel, but to a lesser degree. Running the software competently pretty much requires using a GPU of some sort to process the video, and the iGPU in Intel’s chips is by far the most power efficient way to do that.
If you’re more comfortable with using Linux, there are a host of DVR applications, but none as good as Blue Iris in my opinion. - BigJayDogg3
Wyze V3 | $30
For pure value for money I’ve been quite happy with Wyze. Set up a few cams around the house for monitoring when I was on vacation back in the Before Times. Haven’t had much use in the last year. They’re very reasonably priced for the feature set - around $20 per camera for the v3 indoor ones, a bit more for outdoor - don’t lock you into expensive monitoring contracts or anything (they have some basic out of the box capability and you can enroll cameras to have cloud storage etc) and also appear to have their security fairly well sorted at least as far as Internet of Shit devices go (two-factor auth on login, carefully auditing any providers etc).
Good option for adding cameras when renting too, just need to provide power, don’t have to screw them onto a wall or anything. Which may be a Downside if you actually want something that is permanently installed.
They also integrate well into Wyze’s other IoT device infrastructure, like smart locks, bulbs, power adapters etc. - NegativeZero
I like Amcrest (formerly Foscam) cameras, because they stream and store locally (on the camera or local storage)—no cloud required. We used one as a baby cam and it was far better than branded baby cams, cheaper, and ultimately more versatile.
They have a variety of options to fit every budget, but here’s the one I’d recommend, as it checks a lot of boxes: IP8M-MT2544EW
It is/has: IP67 rated4K video, excellent night vision, motorized, so you can remotely move it around to cover a wider area, POE, so you just need to run an ethernet cable (and, of course, have a POE switch), onboard storage in case your network goes down, but also supports local network storage or its optional cloud. - Jägs
Reolink 4 MP | $350
I have a Reolink 4MP POE system with an extra 4X zoom camera (so 5 cameras total). I don’t know if I should promote it over other Chinese systems (they all are Chinese origin for the most part) but it does work well with the app and I’m happy to recommend it in general. Push notifications are cumbersome because you will get too many notifications to really care after a while unless you have a specified area that should never have motion (cats, bunnies, spiders etc. are culprits). I had an issue with a camera and they replaced it without issue so customer service was surprisingly good. Nightvision is good, but catching license plates at 100 feet out is tough while the car is moving. And I have one felony conviction for theft thanks to my camera, although there were other crimes by the guy that warranted him going to prison. I would like to try the 4K as my system is more 2K, which is odd. But to sum it the system works as intended and I cannot think of any complaints other than wanting a 4 or 8X fast forward on the app itself so I can zoom through a 2 min recording to watch something vs just having to slide the time manually in order to move forward on a recording. - ThaRizza