Best outdoor security camera: added safety for your home, from the outside in

The best outdoor security camera to protect your home from unwanted visitors, from Ring, Arlo, Nest and more

Included in this guide:

best outdoor security camera: Arlo Pro 3 2K Wireless Outdoor Floodlight Camera
(Image credit: Arlo)

Security tools such as alarms, sensors, and cameras are becoming a must-have for those of us who want to keep our homes and families as safe as possible. For example, the best outdoor security cameras can be used to monitor around a property, detecting trouble before it even becomes a problem.

And the days of outdoor security cameras requiring expensive professional installation and constant maintenance are well behind us, with more and more affordable, easy-to-use, and undemanding products becoming available in the last decade.

Depending on preference, cameras can be wired or wireless, and many come with additional security features such as floodlights and sirens built-in. You can also connect many outdoor security cameras to the rest of your smart home, making it even easier to track what's happening outside.

For more help safeguarding against unwanted visitors and incidents, take a look at our guide to the best home security systems, or keep reading to see which cameras we ranked the highest.

The best outdoor security cameras in 2021

Ring Spotlight Cam Wired Security CameraLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Ring)

1. Ring Spotlight Cam Wired Security Camera

Best outdoor security camera overall

Specifications
Power: Wired (plug in)
Resolution: 1080p
Field of view: 140 degrees
Storage: Cloud
Dimensions: 7 x 4.5 x 4in
Weight: 1.3lbs
Reasons to buy
+LED spotlights and siren included+Works with Alexa and other Ring products+Customizable motion zones
Reasons to avoid
-Plugs into mains, leaving it slightly vulnerable to thieves-Some features require Ring Protect Plan subscription

Our top pick for the best outdoor security camera around right now, the Ring Spotlight Cam is a camera, motion detector, spotlight, and siren all wrapped into one unassuming package.

Full security

It comes with all the features you would expect from a security camera, such as motion detection, two-way audio, and night vision. Still, with the Ring Spotlight Cam, you'll get additional protection from the LED spotlights positioned on either side of the lens and a siren alarm that you can operate manually when alerted to something untoward happening outside.

All of this keeps you and what you value safer and acts as a deterrent to anyone trying anything they shouldn't be.

The Ring Protect Plan is also available for an additional fee, allowing you to do things like save and share photos and videos from your footage.

Wired with a difference

Though the Ring Spotlight Cam is also available as a wireless product, many will no doubt value the lack of fuss that comes with a wired camera that doesn't need to be recharged frequently. That said, the fact that the offering from Ring needs to be plugged in rather than hardwired means it's slightly simpler for thieves to remove it with relative ease. 

Livingetc rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Arlo Pro 3 2K Wireless Outdoor Floodlight Camera

(Image credit: Arlo)

2. Arlo Pro 3 2K Wireless Outdoor Floodlight Camera

Best outdoor floodlight camera

Specifications
Power: Wireless
Resolution: 2K
Field of view: 160 degrees
Storage: Cloud
Dimensions: 3 x 8.6 x 7.5in
Weight: 1.4lbs
Reasons to buy
+2K resolution allows for clear 12x zoom+Color night vision+Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and Samsung SmartThings
Reasons to avoid
-Arlo Secure subscription (3-months included) required for some features

Doubling as an incredibly bright (2000-3000 lumens) outdoor security light, the Arlo Pro 3 with floodlight camera offers crystal clear 2K resolution, color night vision, and more - helping you keep the bad guys away.

See all the details

Along with its color night vision and 2K resolution, the Arlo Pro 3 makes it simple to see the nitty-gritty details of any footage it captures. Automatic image correction reduces the distortion and fish-eye effect that can sometimes occur with security cameras, and up to 12x zoom is promised without losing clarity.

Smart security

The camera works with all the leading smart home platforms, including Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings. In addition, you can use the Arlo app to do everything from view a live camera feed to activate the siren manually.

Some features do require a subscription to Arlo Secure, however. With this, you'll be able to get alerts that differentiate between people, cars, and packages, and the ability to call a friend of the emergency services during an incident.

Livingetc rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Kami 1080p Outdoor Security Camera

(Image credit: Kami)

3. Kami 1080p Outdoor Security Camera

Best budget outdoor security camera

Specifications
Power: Wireless
Resolution: 1080p
Field of View: 140 degrees
Storage: Cloud
Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.5 x 4in
Weight: 1.9lbs
Reasons to buy
+Wireless and easy to set up+Works with Alexa and Google Assistant+Good value
Reasons to avoid
-No extras e.g. siren and floodlight

If you're interested in upping your home security but aren't quite ready to spend a lot, then there are many good budget options to choose from. For example, the Kami 1080p Outdoor Security Camera can be picked up for under $100 but offers a great set of features that cover the basics.

Wireless monitoring

The camera is completely wireless, so easy to install anywhere outside of your home, and the IP65 weatherproof rating means it can withstand a lot year-round. Though there is a lack of premium features like an in-built siren, the Kami does work with both Google Assistant and Alexa.

Powered by four rechargeable batteries, keeping it operational is also very simple.

Livingetc rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Blink Outdoor Security Camera

(Image credit: Blink)

Best outdoor security camera system

Specifications
Power: Wireless
Resolution: 1080p
Field of View: 110 degrees
Storage: Cloud/local
Dimensions: 2.8 x 2.8 x 1in
Reasons to buy
+Option for multi-camera system+Local storage with Blink Sync Module 2+Works with Alexa
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively narrow field of view

One security camera will go a long way towards keeping your property safe if placed correctly, but those with a lot of space or multiple entry points may want something a little more comprehensive. The Blink Outdoor Security Camera system comes as a set of one, two, three, or five cameras, with the option to add more whenever you want.

Years of battery life

Once set up around the outside of your home, the wireless system will last up to two years without recharging (based on typical use). You also get customizable motion zones and the option to set privacy areas where you don't want activity recorded, and a Blink subscription means you can store video and photos or save events to the cloud or locally.

Google Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera

(Image credit: Google)

5. Google Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera

Specifications
Power: Wireless/Wired
Resolution: 1080p
Field of view: 130 degrees
Storage: Cloud
Dimensions: 3.2 x 3.2 x 3.2in
Weight: 0.87lbs
Reasons to buy
+Facial recognition (with subscription)+1 hour event recording in event of power/internet outage
Reasons to avoid
-Night vision black and white-Nest Aware subscription required for some advanced features

Brand new for 2021, the Google Nest Cam Outdoor brings together home security and the brand's smart home platform into one simple-to-use package. Of course, you will need a Nest Aware subscription for some of the best features but, even without it, this is a good choice for outdoor protection.

Peace of mind

Something rather special the Nest Cam Outdoor offers is the ability to view back events even after a power or Wi-Fi outage, as the camera records footage across up to an hour that you can watch back when things are fixed.

You can also use the Google Home app to call emergency services if you see something happening outside, and you can access three hours of event history for free (this goes up to 60 days with a subscription).

How to choose the best outdoor security camera for your home

Ring Spotlight Cam Wired app view

(Image credit: Ring)

Will my outdoor security camera record at night?

Almost every outdoor security camera will be able to record during nighttime hours, but the quality of this footage will vary. While some cameras promise crystal-clear color night vision, for example, others can only pick up a slightly grainy, black and white video that will be harder to examine. If your camera being able to see in the dark is essential to you, ensure that your chosen product falls into the former camp. 

How long do outdoor security cameras keep footage?

Modern security cameras tend to opt for storage in the cloud rather than locally because of the additional security it offers (especially if your device is stolen), but this is often incredibly limited if you don't want to pay for a premium subscription. For most cameras, the free version of the platform will offer a live view and motion detection but will use the promise of saving, sharing, and keeping the footage as an incentive to pay an additional fee. These are often very reasonable (in the range of $3-$5 per month) and come with many other perks.

Will my outdoor security camera work with my smart display?

For some, the lure of smart security cameras is their capacity to work in tandem with other devices around the home, such as doorbells, alarms, and more. One particularly great feature is the ability to see a live feed of your front porch or garden on your Google or Alexa smart display, using the two-way audio to communicate with whoever is outside (even if it's your pet doing something they shouldn't be). We have noted which smart platforms each camera works with above.

Caroline Preece
Caroline Preece

Caroline has been a part of the Livingetc team since 2021, offering expert advice on the best smart tech for your home. Passionate about interiors and how technology can be integrated into daily living without sacrificing aesthetics, in her spare time she can be found shopping for the latest accent pieces for her own space.