Best Outdoor Security Cameras - Guide and Review
Now anyone can own the best outdoor security cameras thanks to connected technology that’s come down in price in recent years.
A great security camera system isn’t just for businesses, people with high-end homes or property owners with a ton of disposable income. You can install a security system yourself for just a couple hundred dollars.
The best outdoor security cameras have some features you want to examine before making a purchase.
What to Look for in the Best Outdoor Security Cameras
The best outdoor security cameras record visual images as well as forward-looking infrared (FLIR) for night-time viewing. These cameras also transmit information wirelessly to a television/DVR or to a computer.
They are compact, sturdy, easy-to-install and don’t need a lot of power to operate. You can install several of these security cameras together to create a multi-view system for your entire property, depending on your needs and the size of your place. Security systems can also transmit information to your smartphone through an app.
Look for extended warranties on the best outdoor security cameras on the market. That generally bespeaks high-quality craftsmanship and waterproof materials. Lesser warranties could mean shoddy construction.
Outdoor security cameras come in a few basic types. There are ones that point in one direction with a wide field of view, or there are more compact cameras that come in those protective, round bubbles covered in dark-colored plastic. Either version should be as weatherproof as possible.
Recommended Best Outdoor Security Cameras
1. Amcrest 960H Video Security System Four 800+TVL Weatherproof Cameras
Amcrest’s 960H weatherproof cameras are made of heavy-duty metal to withstand all types of weather.
Four cameras connect to a DVR to record up to six days of video images through cables you run through the walls of your home or along the outside, depending on how you want to install them.
Everything you need to install the cameras comes in the package, except for the tools. If you don’t want constant viewing, the cameras can activate with motion sensors instead or you can set them to a lower resolution.
That lowers the amount of data you store on the DVR, but it also increases your memory capacity to 30 days or more instead of six days. You can expand your 500 GB of memory storage to 3 TB if you need to do so.
Infrared sensors detect images up to 65 feet away at night. Infrared sensors kick in automatically once the light levels get low enough to trigger the sensors. Each camera covers about 75 degrees of viewing, or about one-fifth of an entire 360-degree range.
If you had security cameras in place before that used coaxial cables, this system is backwards-compatible to those lines. Otherwise, each one uses an HDMI cable to transmit information to the dedicated DVR.
Hook up the DVR to a television monitor or computer to see things happening in real-time. Make sure to download the handy app so you can see things from afar.
- Four security cameras and DVR included
- Infrared for night vision
- Easy-to-follow instructions
- Sturdy construction
- Not wireless
- Might have to drill into your walls to install
2. Arlo Smart Home - 1 HD Camera Security System
Whereas the Amcrest system is comprehensive, Arlo’s Smar Home one-HD camera has as simple set-up, compact design and a very easy way to keep an eye on things.
Instead of drilling into a wall, this camera attaches to mounts with strong magnets.
The images are in HD even though the cameras are smaller than the Amcrest models. An infrared sensor below the main camera gives the camera night vision capabilities.
The camera can activate when it detects motion up to 20 feet away. The best place to put this camera is seven feet high and aimed downward to get the best view.
Wireless means you don’t have to plug in anything. A Netgear wireless router maintains the live stream so you can see it anytime and anywhere.
The router supports up to five cameras at one time, so that comes in handy if you add another camera to your security suite. You also get seven days of cloud storage for your video as an added value for this service.
A downloadable app alerts you when the cameras detect motion or if the camera moves. The downside to this is that you might get several email alerts due to bugs flying around your camera at night in a well-lit area.
- Very easy to install
- Cloud-based storage
- Wireless transmission of data
- Sturdy, weatherproof construction made of hard plastic
- Not as high quality as other imaging systems
- Small camera
3. Best Vision BV-IR140-HD 1000TVL Bullet Security Camera
Best Vision’s BV-IRS140-HD security camera is built to last. It also has a longer-range infrared sensor than other cameras.
At night, this camera has a 160-foot range thanks to the many infrared sensors that surround the main camera aperture. Meanwhile, the wide lens sees a large amount of territory in front of it.
The main camera attaches to an overhead housing with a large screw. The back of the camera goes into a sturdy arm that attaches to the outside of your house with four screws. Once you install this camera, it’s going nowhere.
While there are many good things in this professional-grade camera, you have to purchase a lot of extras to make this work. The Amcrest system came with everything you needed to view the images. This is just a basic camera and little else.
You need to buy video transmission cables, a DVR with the right kind of memory and the power supply cords to go with the camera.
Once you get all of the components together, this is a great camera based on the image quality and range. However, you need to have a little installation knowledge to get the entire system installed in your home.
- TV-quality imagery
- Long range
- Need to buy lots of extra parts
- Not wireless
4. Annke 8-Channel 1080P Lite Video Security System
Annke’s eight-channel Lite Video security system works just like Amcrest’s version, only, as the name suggests, it’s a lighter version.
You get 720P HD video as opposed to higher-quality HD. The wires are standard video transmission wires instead of HDMI cables for the highest-quality digital imaging.
However, the system is cheaper than Amcrest’s system and you get just as many cameras. You get everything you need to install this security system in one package.
There are four cameras, all of the cables to send through your walls, a DVR, a CD-ROM to download any software to a computer, power cables and the mounting hardware to install this on an outdoor wall. The DVR comes with its own mouse so you can control your system from your base of operations.
One handy tool is that the security system monitors a particular area within view of the camera. If you know which area you want to see, the video speeds up until it sees something in the specified range.
When something appears, the video goes to normal speed so you can see what’s going on. After that, the video speeds up again.
- Easy to install
- Comes with everything you need to set up
- Not as high quality as other systems
5. Anran HD 1200tvl Wired Dome Surveillance Cctv Camera
Anran’s HD 1200TVL dome surveillance camera combines the imaging quality of Amcrest and the compact camera of Arlo.
What you get is a wide field of view with HD-quality images. Instead of plastic, this camera comes in an aluminum housing for heavy-duty outdoor use.
Infrared sensors let the camera produce images at any lighting levels. Meanwhile, the 12-mm lens sees a wide view from above. The imagery comes in crystal clear.
The major downside is that you have to buy extras to go with it. Instead of an entire system, you just get one camera. You still have to purchase a DVR and any image transmission lines.
The manufacturer recommends plugging the camera directly into a wall power supply as opposed to adding extension cords. That could be problematic for homeowners who love the convenience of true remote viewing.
- High quality image
- Lots of infrared sensors
- Not easy to install
- Needs a lot of extras
The Amcrest system has the best outdoor security cameras you can buy out of these five models. The system is easy to install, and it comes with everything you need to set up the security system. You can have your new security in place within a few hours.
The cameras may not have as long of a range as others on this list, but the ease of use is a big plus. You also get to see things remotely if you’re not at home.
Annke’s system comes in second, again, because it’s easy to install. By the time you purchase just one camera without the extras, you spend more money trying to get a DVR and power cables. You also want an easy-to-install camera so you don’t have to pay for an installer.