Best outdoor wireless security cameras 2022: battery-powered peace of mind

The best outdoor wireless cameras will keep watch outside your house without you needing to run cable through the walls

Best outdoor security cameras: Image depicts security camera in forefront of blurred car in driveway
(Image credit: Canva)

The best wireless outdoor security cameras are a great addition to your smart home and will play a big role in keeping your home safe and secure. You’ll be able to keep an eye on who is approaching your property day or night and you’ll be able to keep track of this remotely too.

The best wireless outdoor security cameras hold up in all kinds of weather and are suitable for placing all around your home such as in the back garden, by your front door and near the garage. Since they’re wireless, you don’t have to faff about with installing cables which is a bonus, and it means you can mount them pretty much anywhere you like – all you need is a WiFi signal!

But which model is right for you? It really depends on how high-tech you want to go and what your budget is. The top of the range models can tell the difference between humans and animals and anything else moving on your property, so that you’ll only get warnings about the things you want to.

And even the lower cost cameras are still really reliable, making setting up security on your property not only easy, but affordable too. In this round up we’ve covered a wide variety of outdoor security cameras to suit your needs and requirements.

How to choose a wireless outdoor security camera

When choosing an outdoor wireless security camera, look first to the battery. There is a downside to this cable-free operation though, which is battery life. Make sure you check how long your outdoor camera is going to last between recharges or battery swaps before making your purchase – and remember to top them up when needed, or they're just ornamental. To save power, wireless cams tend to stay static for the most part, only really firing up when they detect motion or you opt to use live view; the more they're active, the shorter that battery life will be.

By the same count, you'll want to point them somewhere they're not likely to capture false positives too often. Pointing one directly at your front door might seem like a good idea, but if there's a lot of regular foot traffic, or if the camera can spy you through the windows, you'll get a lot of activations and a lot of unnecessary alerts. Of course, pointing them somewhere nobody goes is a bit pointless, so find the right balance for you. Motion zones, which can block off detection in certain areas of the picture, aren't common in wireless cameras because such processing is battery intensive, so careful placement is more important than it might otherwise be.

We'd also suggest choosing a wireless security camera on the basis of convenience. How easy is it to juice back up? Some require the unit itself to be plugged in to recharge, some have bespoke replaceable batteries, some take off-the-shelf cells. A quick-swap battery is a must if you're installing on your eaves, so you don't need to make two trips up a ladder to keep it running.

And don't forget the sensor. The ideal is something which is equally good in bright light and low light, something that can cope with the occasional reflection, and which has a wide angle on it to cover the most ground. Too wide and you might find recorded footage gets somewhat distorted, but this isn't about movie-quality imagery: it's about capturing what's happened efficiently.

The best wireless outdoor security cameras 2022

Arlo Essential Spotlight best outdoor wireless security camerasT3 Award

(Image credit: Arlo)
A single wireless outdoor security camera that's hard to beat

Specifications

Resolution: Full HD 1080p
Quoted battery life: 6 months
Integrated or removable battery: Integrated
Night vision: Yes, colour
Operating temperature: -4° F to 113° F (-20° C to 45° C)

Reasons to buy

+
Solid 1080p picture
+
6-month battery life
+
Colour night vision

Reasons to avoid

-
Can't hot-swap batteries
-
Need subscription for many smart features

For an overall combination of... well... just about everything, the Arlo Essential Spotlight (opens in new tab) camera is our pick as the best outdoor wireless security camera of the moment. It's reliable, it's compact, it has excellent battery life, and it comes from a brand that you can trust.

You don't need a smart hub to get this up and running. Take it out of the box, connect it up to your Wi-Fi, and you're ready to go. The accompanying phone app will be ready and waiting to let you know if anything suspicious is spotted, and you can tune in at any time to the live 1080p feed.

As the name of the camera suggests, there's a spotlight attached to this particular camera: that should help illuminate whatever it is you're trying to get a look at (and perhaps scare a few burglars off), though there's still colour night vision here that works well even when the spotlight isn't activated. See the best Arlo camera deals (opens in new tab) for deals on this model and many other Arlo devices.

Arlo Pro 3 cameras and hub on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: Arlo)
The best outdoor security camera system for most people

Specifications

Resolution: QHD 1440p
Quoted battery life: 3 - 6 months
Integrated or removable battery: Removable
Night vision: Yes, colour
Operating temperature: -4° F to 113° F (-20° C to 45° C)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent QHD image
+
Great viewing angle
+
Quality motion detection and smarts

Reasons to avoid

-
Not 4K quality
-
Best features require subscription

The T3 Award-winning Arlo Pro 3 tops our overall list of best security cameras (opens in new tab), and it fully deserves its place at the top. The only real downside is its price, which is certainly on the steep end; individual cameras are quite pricey in themselves, and you'll need to spend extra on a pack including the central hub to get going in the first place.

Outside of the expense, though, it's just about ideal. The sensor captures QHD HDR video with a rather useful 160-degree viewing angle, and its night vision capabilities are tremendous, with colour night vision adding a splash of chromatic brilliance to what would otherwise be black and white footage.

Each camera gets its own surprisingly bright spotlight and a siren, likely enough deterrent in itself to spook intruders, and if you catch someone in the act (or just want to greet someone at your front door) two-way talk is included too. There's great motion detection which can distinguish between humans, animals, and vehicles – it's a feature bonanza.

Bonus points to the design, too: the app, the cameras, and even the hub are brilliantly constructed, befitting the slightly premium price. Here's our full Arlo Pro 3 review (opens in new tab) for more.

Arlo Ultra 4K cameras on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: Arlo)

3. Arlo Ultra 4K

The best 4K outdoors security camera

Specifications

Resolution: UHD 2160p
Quoted battery life: 3 - 6 months
Integrated or removable battery: Removable
Night vision: Yes, colour
Operating temperature: -4° F to 113° F (-20° C to 45° C)

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible sensor
+
Top-level speed
+
Brilliant app

Reasons to avoid

-
Wallet-rinsingly expensive

The Arlo Ultra 4K does look a whole lot like the Pro 3, but it hits your wallet a whole lot harder, particularly given that you'll need to opt for Arlo's higher-tier subscription if you want to keep 4K recordings in the cloud. Unless you're prepared to make a big investment in your security system, you're likely to skip over it.

But that money gets you something special. When you come to use it, the difference between this and its 2K cousin is obvious: it's super fast, both in pulling up a live view and in starting up two-way talk, and yes, there's a big resolution bump. You won't necessarily get movie-quality 4K (we absolutely suspect there's interpolation in action, because things get smeary up close) but this is just about the best picture you can get from a security camera today. It's colourful and sensitive, keeping daylight vision going far beyond many other cameras and doing a great job with its colour night vision facility too.

It's also highly configurable, with Arlo's app giving you access to angle control on the lens right up to a full 180-degree fish eye, and offering up sensible alerts – the Arlo Ultra 4K can distinguish humans from animals, and even pick out packages if it's pointed at your doorstep.

Blink XT2 best cheap outdoor wireless cameraT3 Award

(Image credit: Blink)
The best cheap wireless outdoor security camera

Specifications

Resolution: Full HD 1080p
Quoted battery life: Up to 2 years
Integrated or removable battery: Removable AA batteries
Night vision: Yes, black & white
Operating temperature: -4° F to 113° F (-20° C to 45° C)

Reasons to buy

+
Pretty small
+
Incredible battery life
+
Packed with features

Reasons to avoid

-
Not rechargeable batteries
-
No storage without subscription

Blink's thinner, boxier approach to its cameras is a smart design choice, as is the decision to use AA batteries, pulling a claimed two years of battery life at the most, and making them easy and quick to swap. And though the official price is similar to the Arlo Essential, Blink's cameras can always be found with great discounts, and in multi-cam bundles that offer great extra savings.

This doesn't skimp on the features, either. Although the sensor only gives a 110-degree view, it's a 1080p number with surprising quality to it, and there's an infrared sensor built in for instant motion detection. Sadly, while Blink used to be known for its free cloud storage, that's no longer an option, and there's no way to store things locally, so you'll need to pay at least a little to view videos back. You can do two-way talk, pull up a live view via Alexa, and even set up motion zones in the app – all very useful, and impressive given the price.

See the best Blink camera deals (opens in new tab) for discounts on the Blink Outdoor, Indoor and Mini models.

Ring Spotlight Cam Battery on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. Ring Spotlight Cam Battery

A bright and brilliant camera for dry areas

Specifications

Resolution: Full HD 1080p
Quoted battery life: 6 - 12 months
Integrated or removable battery: Removable
Night vision: Yes, colour
Operating temperature: -22° F to 120° F (-30° C to 48.5° C)

Reasons to buy

+
Good image
+
Quick view through Echo Show
+
Motion zones

Reasons to avoid

-
Not waterproof

Ring is best known for its video doorbells, but the Amazon subsidiary has spun that expertise into making a mean security camera too. The wireless version of the Spotlight Cam doesn't miss any crucial features; it can see in the dark just fine (particularly if you're blazing that spotlight) it has motion detection and two-way talk, and its 1080p sensor is very decent if not world-beating in terms of resolution. 

You might not be able to get away with just one Spotlight Cam patrolling your perimeter, although its 140-degree range of vision is pretty decent, and it's not the absolute cheapest device in the world. But if you're all bought into the Alexa ecosystem there's a lot of convenience in its ability to show you what's happening on a Fire TV device or Echo Show with one Alexa voice command. There's also adjustable motion zones to cut down on false positives, and it takes battery packs for quick replacement.

One significant downside is that this isn't waterproof, so you'll need to fit it in your eaves or under a porch if you want it to last.

Kami Wire-Free Outdoor Camera on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: Kami)
Chunky it may be, but this isn't letting the rain in

Specifications

Resolution: Full HD 1080p
Quoted battery life: 3 - 6 months
Integrated or removable battery: Removable
Night vision: Yes, black & white
Operating temperature: 14° F to 122° F (-10º C to 50° C)

Reasons to buy

+
Off-the-shelf batteries
+
Good waterproofing
+
Very cheap

Reasons to avoid

-
Sometimes wobbly motion detection

Fully waterproof, with a solid sensor and quality night vision, the Kami Outdoor Camera is a decent option as long as you're not looking for something inconspicuous: it's certainly a chunky boy.

Much of that size is due to the fact that Kami's camera takes swappable off-the-shelf 18650 batteries – the kind used in power tools and vape pens – though that means it's quick to recharge, and finding replacement cells if needed is easy enough. 

In our full Kami Wire-Free Outdoor Camera review (opens in new tab), we did notice a few issues with false positives and even the occasional false negative, and it can be a bit tight-fisted with the cloud storage if you don't opt for a subscription, but you won't be disappointed with the footage in general.

T3 magazine's own Gadget Guru is a 25-year veteran of the tech writing wars, and has the scars to prove it. He's written for the UK's biggest technology publications, and knows everything from smart doorbell voltage needs to how to bend Windows to his every whim.

With contributions from