The prevalence of WiFi-connected security cameras has made it easy to keep an eye on your home when you’re away. Many of these cameras include internal batteries so that you can mount them anywhere, even in places that a power cable can’t reach. We’ve rounded up our favorites to help keep your security untethered to power outlets.
Best Overall: Arlo Pro 2
If you want a versatile battery-powered security camera, It’s hard to beat the Arlo Pro 2. It can go anywhere — even outdoors — thanks to its magnetic mounts and IP65 weather resistance.
The Arlo Pro 2 can operate on battery power or a wired connection.
The Arlo Pro 2 features an excellent wireless range, which can extend hundreds of feet from your router, all while live-streaming 1080p video. It records and stores seven days’ worth of motion- and sound-triggered footage for free, with paid subscriptions available if you want a more extended video history.
Raccoons rummaging through your trash? Boom, night vision. Shady individual approaching your home? Warn them they’re on camera with two-way audio — or scare them away with the 100dB siren built into the Arlo’s base station.
You can even connect your Arlo to IFTTT, so you can join it with other smart devices and create recipes, like "if motion is detected in the garage, turn on the bedroom light," if you have smart lights.
The rechargeable battery can last for up to six months at a time, and if you do happen to place the Arlo Pro 2 near a wall outlet, it can accept wired power as well, enabling extra features like 24/7 continuous recording and activity zones.
- Operates wired or wireless
- IP65 weather-resistant
- Crisp 1080p video
- 130-degree field of view
- Free 7-day recording
- Expensive and requires a base station
- Battery life depends on strong Wi-Fi
Arlo Pro 2
A versatile camera that stores a week of footage for free.
The Arlo Pro 2 is weather-resistant and can run for six months on a single charge. It has sharp video, two-way audio, and night vision.
Works with Alexa: Ring Stick Up Camera
Ring is mostly known for its Video Doorbells, but the Stick Up Cam packs most of the same features and can be easily installed just about anywhere. Of course, since Ring belongs to Amazon, the Stick Up Cam also integrates nicely with Alexa. You can easily pull up your video feed on smart displays like the Echo Show.
The Stick Up Camera comes in separate battery-powered and wired configurations, rather than a single model that handles both. But the battery has a built-in Micro-USB port for easy recharging and lasts for months at a time. It also features two-way audio, motion-activated notifications, and night vision — though you’ll have to pay for a Ring Protect plan to view recorded footage.
- Easy to set up
- Box includes almost all tools needed for installation
- 1080p video with night vision
- Integrates well with Amazon Alexa
- Two-way audio
- Annual fee to see previous clips
- Can’t run off of wired power
Works with Alexa
Ring Stick Up Camera
"Alexa, show me my Stick Up Cam."
The Stick Up Cam is an alternative to the Arlo Pro 2 that’s quick and easy to install, integrates with Amazon Alexa, and lasts for months on each charge.
All the Angles: Canary Flex
The Canary Flex has a unique design that makes use of powerful magnets to connect the camera to its swivel base. This feature makes it easy to adjust its angle quickly. It works over either wired or battery power and has a built-in speaker and microphone for two-way audio.
The Flex can differentiate between people and other moving objects like animals for smarter motion alerts. This way, your pets don’t continuously set off the camera while you’re out. The 116-degree field of view isn’t quite as wide as the other security cameras in this list, and you’ll have to pay for services like two-way audio and 30-day video storage. Still, the Flex is an excellent offering with water resistance and night vision.
- IP65 weather resistance
- Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Works wirelessly or wired
- Easily adjustable angle
- Two-way audio and night vision
- Only 720p video
- Narrow 116-degree field of view
All the Angles
Works with magnets for easy attachment and alignment.
The Canary Flex’s unique design allows you to attach the camera and adjust its angle quickly. It’s water-resistant and works over wired or battery power.
Daily Briefings: Logitech Circle 2
The Logitech Circle 2 is a uniquely designed security camera with 1080p video and a friendly, rounded shape that allows it to sit unobtrusively either indoors or outdoors. It’s weather-resistant and works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and the 180-degree field of view will enable you to fit an entire room in the frame without any effort.
One of the Circle’s best features is Day Brief. It creates an easily consumable time-lapse of the previous day so you can quickly review anything that might’ve happened when you weren’t looking. You’ll get that for free with the Circle 2, along with 24-hour storage, but you can also pay for higher storage options, customizable motion zones, and person detection.
- Affordable security camera
- Friendly, good-looking design
- 180-degree field of view
- Mounts magnetically to surfaces
- Wired and wireless versions separate models
- Doesn’t support IFTTT
Logitech Circle 2
See your entire day in a short time-lapse.
The Logitech Circle 2 is a uniquely designed camera with a magnetic mounting point and a Day Brief feature that condenses an entire day into a quick time-lapse.
Best Value: Blink XT2
It’s hard to find a more affordable security camera with as many features as the XT2. It offers the same two-way audio, customizable motion alert zones, and night vision as the other cameras in this list for a fraction of the cost. One of its key features is its promise to last up to two years off of two AA batteries.
Of course, the XT2 is also weather-resistant, making it ideal for placing outdoors, and it even has a built-in temperature sensor. Blink offers free cloud storage, rather than requiring a subscription plan. If you already have an older Blink XT camera, the XT2 can connect to the same Blink Sync Module. If you’d prefer to run the XT2 from a wall outlet or even a battery pack, it also has a Micro-USB port. Of course, USB-C would’ve been ideal, but you can’t win them all.
- Very affordable
- Free cloud storage
- Lasts up to two years on two AA batteries
- Supports Amazon Alexa
- Works with the older Sync Module
- Buggy software
- Micro-USB rather than USB-C
The cheapest security camera around is still pretty great.
Blink’s XT2 brings powerful security features like two-way audio to a competitive price, along with the promise of up to two years of battery life from a pair of AA batteries.
It’s remarkable how easy it is to monitor your home with smart security cameras, and while all of the ones listed above have their own unique advantages, we think the Arlo Pro 2 is the best option around. It lasts for months on a single charge, offers sharp 1080p video with a long range and seven days of free backup storage, and works with third-party services like IFTTT.
Home security used to be so counter-consumer: limited options, cost-prohibitive service plans, and spotty service meant that most people couldn’t afford it and that even if you could, you were never quite sure if you were getting the value you deserved. Smart home tech is upending the old model, and making home monitoring practical, affordable, and effective. No matter which of these camera systems you buy, though, the important thing is that you’re keeping an eye on your home and belongings!
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Hayato Huseman is a recovering trade show addict and video editor for Android Central based out of Indianapolis. He can mostly be found complaining about the cold and enthusing about prog metal on Twitter at @hayatohuseman.
August 13, 2019 at 05:04AM