You want the best cheap security camera of 2020, and the experts at T3 are here to help you – so welcome to our comprehensive guide to all the affordable home security cameras that you need to get on your shortlist, all listed and detailed to help you compare them.
If you're going to put a camera in charge of watching over your property (and maybe your pets), then it needs to be reliable, and these picks all fit the bill. Day or night, around the clock, they'll keep watch over what's happening in the various rooms in your home.
These won't have quite as comprehensive feature lists as the best security cameras overall will have, but they do the really important thing right: they record detailed video when they see movement, and make it available to watch from anywhere.
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Having this extra peace of mind is more affordable than you might think, and all the cameras that we've picked come in below the £50 price point. If your budget can stretch, you could even invest in two or three of them to cover multiple rooms around the house, all for the price of one more premium camera – their apps all support having multiple cameras accessible in one place.
With our guide to help you and some extremely low prices on offer, it's a no brainer to give one of these a try, and start having extra protection for your house right away – read on to discover what the best cheap security cameras are, and which has the features that best suit you.
How to choose the best cheap security camera
Home security cameras have one main job, which is to ping your phone whenever motion is detected in front of the camera, and record whatever caused the motion. Whether you're sitting upstairs or on the other side of the world, it means you can investigate and take action if needed – you'll be able to load up the video feed right on your mobile device.
At these sorts of prices, you're normally giving up a few of the more premium features, such as 4K video recording and weatherproof protection against the elements (so you can't set up these cameras outside). However, most of the other features you're going to want are covered – look out for night vision, two way audio (so you can chat to your pets or ward off burglars), and a wide viewing angle so they cover a lot of view in a single frame.
It's also important to weigh up what the storage and subscription options are for each camera model. Some will charge you to keep clips archived in the cloud (handy if you go away and can't check your phone every day), some include a free cloud storage tier, while others have a local storage option, which usually means you can slot a memory card into the camera and have your video recordings saved there.
Give some thought to where you're going to place your security cameras, because some of these models come with wall mounts and magnetic bases included, to make it easier to fit them in somewhere. You'll also need power – it's rare to find a battery-powered camera in this price range.
And don't forget the up front price of the camera either: the widgets on this page should give you an idea of how much you're going to have to pay. There's a big variation even within our low budget ceiling!
1. Neos SmartCam
The best cheap security camera around right now
Reasons to buy
• Read our full five-star Neos SmartCam review
The Neos SmartCam gives you an astonishing amount for very little money: hand over £30 and you get yourself a dinky security camera with Alexa support, two-way audio, motion detection, night vision, and free cloud storage for 12-second video clips for up to 14 days (clips are automatically recorded when the camera notices movement in a room), plus a microSD local storage option too.
Compare that with some of the other security cameras on the market and that seems like an impossibly good deal, though all of the devices we've listed in this guide offer superb value for money. The Neos SmartCam is simple to set up and use, and can be placed just about anywhere – the magnetic and wall-mountable base with highly posable design all help here.
The free package is plenty for most people, but add on the extra £2.49-per-month package and you get more space in the cloud for longer clips, and the ability to set up custom motion detection zones in your rooms (so only movement in specific areas chosen by you areas triggers an alert). You can also arm and disarm the camera on a schedule with the extra package, though geolocation-based auto arming and disarming is included with the free tier.
Image quality is excellent, the cloud service is reliable, the app is easy to use and supports multiple cameras in a non-confusing way, and it's small and unobtrusive – this is an ideal first smart security cam.
2. Blink Mini
Affordable, straightforward, and easy on the eye
Reasons to buy
We're rather taken with the Blink Mini, which brings with it everything that's great about the Blink XT and puts it in a smaller, cuter form factor. The price gets reduced from the bigger camera at the same time, which means this is firmly in the section of the market that we would consider as affordable.
Besides the low price of admission, it's the simplicity of the Blink Mini that appeals: you can be up and running with this in minutes, getting motion alerts direct to your phone and connecting to the live feed whenever you want to, from wherever you are. Night vision, Alexa support and two-way audio add up to mean this is a comprehensive package, and you can even set custom motion zones and automatically arm the sensor when you leave the house.
The storage options are slightly less generous: if you want to store recordings in the cloud to look back on later, you'll need to pay £2.50 a month (though you get a few months free when you buy the camera, to see if you like it first). There is a local storage option, but this requires an extra module, which isn't available yet and costs as much as the camera. Despite these complications, the Blink Mini is undoubtedly one of the best cheap security cameras – especially because you can combine it with other more flexible Blink cameras (including the totally wireless and outdoor-proof Blink XT mentioned above) if you look to expand your range and options.
3. TP-Link Kasa Spot
Ticks all the boxes for an affordable price
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
• Read our full TP-Link Kasa Spot review
The TP-Link Kasa Spot does everything you would want an indoors security camera to do, and it does it well, and it does it at a very affordable price as well. It offers night vision, two-way audio, and a wide 130-degree field of view for fitting more in the frame – and you can refine the motion alerts you get on your phone by adjusting their sensitivity and setting up custom activity zones.
You can control and bring up the feed from the TP-Link Kasa Spot using either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, so you're covered as far as digital assistants go – it doesn't matter which one you're currently using (both the Neos and Blink above are Alexa-only). We're also fans of the TP-Link Kasa Spot setup process and accompanying app, which will help you get up and running in minutes even if you're not a trained IT installation expert.
You can get motion alerts and connect to the live feed from your camera free of charge, but to keep clips for later viewing you'll need to sign up for a Kasa Care subscription: prices start at £2.99 a month, which gives you 30 days of video history in the cloud, lets you make manual recordings, and enables you to share clips as well.
4. Yi Smart Security Camera
Everything you need in an affordable security camera
Reasons to buy
The Yi Smart Security Camera ticks just about every box you could want ticking when it comes to a device like this – night vision, Alexa voice control support, activity zones, crisp and clear video, two-way audio and smart algorithms that keep the number of alerts you receive on your phone down to a minimum (it can distinguish between people and pets, for example). After all, if you're getting so many false positives that you stop checking your phone, it sort of defeats the point of getting a camera.
The magnetic base makes the camera easy to fix just about anywhere, and we like the stylish-looking design as well. The Yi Smart Security Camera is also great when it comes to storage: clips of motion-captured events are stored in the cloud for free for 7 days, and there's the option to record video on to a local microSD card as well. You can either save clips triggered by motion, or have video being recorded around the clock.
Pay £3.33 or more a month and you get more space in the cloud for more recordings and longer recordings, which is handy if you're going away for a fortnight and you want to catch up on everything that's been going on when you get back. It's an impressive package from Yi.
5. D-Link Mini HD Wi-Fi Camera
The best cheap security camera if a small size matters
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The D-Link Mini HD Wi-Fi Camera isn't much bigger than a stick of chewing gum, and that means you can put it just about anywhere in your home – either on a flat surface or up on the wall, using the wall mount that's bundled with the device. You don't get a microphone and speaker, and there's no 1080p video streaming, but it's still sharp enough to see what's going on at home whenever you need to take a look.
Night vision means the camera can carry on its monitoring job around the clock, and you even have the option of setting up custom activity zones – so, for example, movement from trees behind a window won't prompt an alert, but a door opening will. The 120-degree field of view is better than most too, so more of a room can be viewed whenever you log in on your phone.
Speaking of your phone, the D-Link app is slick and easy to use, and gets you connected in seconds. Videos are kept for a day in the cloud, and you can save 50 of the most important ones for as long as you like; if you need longer recordings, or want to keep them for a longer period, then subscription prices start at £2.29 a month.
6. Ring Indoor Cam
The best cheap security camera for the basics
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
We're fans of just about every smart security camera that Ring makes, but this is the most affordable of the lot – and despite the low price, it keeps the speedy alerts and the intuitive software that Ring cameras are known for. If you don't need weatherproofing or the flexibility of battery power, this could be the best Ring camera for you.
Even though the Ring Indoor Cam cuts costs compared to the other devices in the range, it still offers night vision, two-way audio, and crisp 1080p high-definition video so you can see everything that's happening at home while you're away (or just upstairs). The Ring apps let you set up custom motion activity zones as well, if you only want to be warned when there's activity in a particular part of a scene.
The Ring apps are some of the best in the business, and as the company is now owned and run by Amazon, you would expect it all to be Alexa-compatible – which is indeed the case. The Ring Protect upgrade (yours for £2.50 a month) is the same as it is for the Blink Mini, and in this case there's no local storage option (you will still get motion alerts and the ability to view video live if you're not a subscriber, but you won't be able to go back and view saved video clips).
7. Ezviz Indoor Smart Security Cam
Compact and reliable, with the option of local storage
Reasons to buy
Ezviz has a lot of experience when it comes to making smart security cameras for the home, so it's a brand you can rely on – and the Indoor Smart Security Cam is perhaps the device in the range that gives you the best possible value for money. It's very inexpensive and does all the jobs you need it to in terms of home monitoring.
Motion alerts can be investigated through the accompanying mobile apps, and you can load up a live feed from the camera at any time through your phone as well. You can even get the video up on an Amazon Echo Show or Google Nest Hub device, because the camera is compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant.
Besides night vision and two-way audio, another feature that appeals is the local storage option – stick in a microSD card, and you don't have to rely on the cloud for archiving the footage captured by the camera. Pricing for the cloud subscription package starts at £2.99 a month, which gives you 3 days of recordings to look back on.