If you're after the best security cameras, best home security systems, or best IP cameras for 2019, then this guide – from T3's experienced tech experts – should prove hugely helpful. We've tested out all the best security cameras available today, picking out the top models for your consideration.
That's because home security has never been more approachable than it is today. There's no need to invest in a full PVR system constantly recording footage to a hard drive, and no reason to drill holes through your walls and run wires through your home. Modern wireless security cameras are smart enough to capture only the footage you need, both storing it on modern media and piping it safely away from your home and into the cloud.
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Piecemeal building is another advantage. Setting up a network of wireless security cameras isn't the expensive one-and-done overhaul that fitting a full system would be. Setting up and mounting a new camera, expanding your network, can be done in minutes. Then there's flexibility; if you want a camera on that tree in the back garden, that's not a problem as long as there's wireless reach.
There's a practical benefit beyond security, in that a camera mounted by your front door could alert you to deliveries or visitors even when you're away from home. In some cases you might also be able to chat with the person at your door, or scare off intruders, with two-way talk.
There's a vast chasm between some cameras in terms of price and ability, so we've picked the best of the best to make your life easier. Your security is incredibly important, so it's imperative that you make the right choice for your home and your family, even if you only want to use a camera to spy on your dog while you're at work.
Oh, and if you like saving money (and who doesn't?), you'll be pleased to hear you can still nab one of the best security cameras of 2019 even if you're on a tight budget, as the market is more competitive than ever and that is driving prices down. Gadget makers continue to drop some very tasty deals on security cams and other smart home gadgets, so be sure to browse around.
Whether you want the highest quality video resolution, the simplest access to your camera's features, the smartest motion detection or just the best value for money, we can help by suggesting the right model – read on for our picks of the best security cameras available in 2019.
What is the best security camera in 2019?
The Arlo Ultra 4K UHD Wire-free Security Camera System is our pick for the best security camera of 2019. It is currently the last word in premium, feature-packed security camera systems and, if you can afford it, then it really should be top of your shopping list.
There are a number of other very good smart security camera options, though, including cams from Nest, Canary, Logitech, Hive, Swann, Netatmo and more, so be sure to thoroughly explore our best security camera guide if you are looking for something in particular.
How to choose the best security camera for you
This selection of the best security cameras for 2019 has it all, from infrared night filming, to automatic motion sensing that instantly pings an alert to your phone. The more advanced cameras can recognise faces as well, and can the difference between a stranger and your kids.
For the most comprehensive coverage of your property, you want something that includes night vision and can record at a decent quality – and almost all cameras now come with at least HD (1080p) resolution. Some, though, like our current top recommendation of security camera, the Arlo Ultra, deliver 4K resolution, though.
We've also tried to limit this list to cameras that can serve up alerts that are reliable and actually useful – if your camera is pinging your phone every time a leaf blows past, you're soon going to get tired of having to check it.
If you want to be able to communicate with whatever's on the other side of the camera (whether it's your pets or your parents), make sure you go for an option that includes two-way audio. You'll also need something with an alarm if you want to scare off intruders as well as record them, though this is a less common feature.
With all those factors and considerations in mind, here are our choices for the best security camera in 2019 – you should find something in this list to match your needs, no matter what your budget.
Best security camera 2019: the best security cameras you can buy today
1. Arlo Ultra 4K UHD Wire-free Security Camera System
Welcome to the high end. Perfect picture, and serious smarts in a brilliantly engineered package.
Reasons to buy
Side by side with its competitors you'd be hard pressed to outwardly tell the difference, but fire up the Arlo app and the quality gap between this and everything else is all too clear.
It starts with connectivity. Setup of the Arlo hub and its paired camera was super fast, and where the others might have you wait a while before reaching a live view, the Arlo gives up the goods quickly and in remar siren (or just use two-way talk to dismiss the cold caller at your front door) that immediacy is priceless.
While it hits the resolution, we suspect there's a little interpolation on its 4K footage given that the Arlo Ultra's recordings can tend to be a little smeary when zoomed right in, but this is still far and away the sharpest security camera we've seen in action, wireless or not. You can configure it to capture anything from a sensible field of view right up to a full 180º fisheye, and that HDR picture comes with tremendous colour depth. Testing at twilight on a clear evening, the Arlo managed twenty minutes longer than its competitors at low light before switching to its night vision mode, still pulling in a clear and colourful image.
At night, though it lacks the full IR LED array of Swann's camera, the Arlo captures enough light to see a good distance, and there's an adjustable spotlight available if you're placing it outdoors. Which rather neatly brings us to motion detection: it's great, and super smart. Not only is the Arlo quick to pick out moving items, it's brainy enough to make a decent stab at working out exactly what it's looking at. Your push notification might say 'motion', it might say 'person', or it could even say 'animal'; we certainly didn't notice it struggling to determine the difference between a human and a cat. There's even a package detection algorithm, where a doorstep-pointed Arlo can spot when your latest online purchase has landed and alert you as much. That's just cool.
If you have the Arlo plugged in via its magnetic cable, you can configure detection hot zones, outside of which it'll ignore motion – handy if you live near a busy road, for example, but the power requirement somewhat nullifies its otherwise wireless nature. The mount is super-strong, meaning you can point an Arlo Ultra wherever you need it and remove it quickly for charging.
The only real issue we have is with the cost. The package isn't at all cheap in the first place, but if you want to store 4K recordings in the cloud you'll need an additional subscription. Nonetheless, it's hard to argue that the Arlo Ultra doesn't earn its price tag.
2. Swann 1080p Smart Security Camera
Swann manages a sharp picture and supremely flexible recording at an impressively low price
Reasons to buy
Outwardly there's no difference between the 1080p model of the Swann Smart Security Camera and its 720p predecessor. Both use the same compact casing, both use the same mount – and that latter feature is a shame. In theory the rubberised magnetic dish on the back, coupled with a rough-textured metal ball mounted on the wall, would be an excellent and infinitely adjustable mount, but in practice it's slippery and the magnetic connection isn't quite strong enough to hold the weight of the camera and its internal battery in a fixed position. Given that its awkward handling of sunlight can give this the shortest battery of the three on test here, you're in for a lifetime of finicky readjustment, particularly irritating if you're installing it on the eaves of your house.
There's no dedicated hub involved here. Each camera connects directly to your router via Wi-fi, and streams to your phone (or to the outside world) from there. That's a neat solution, or at least one that saves a power socket and an ethernet port, but we can't help but feel it's also the reason for the Swann's slightly sluggish response times. Even more than the D-Link camera, the Smart Security Camera has a tendency to be a gamble whether it'll successfully connect to live view or not. It's also a little slower to kick in its recording functions when it first detects motion, so it might miss a fleeting appearance on camera by an intruder.
That said, we have absolutely no other qualms about the Swann's motion detection credentials – it's perhaps the most sensitive of this trio, and the only one to explicitly include heat detection to avoid false positives. It's quick to send an alert and convenient in terms of storage given that it supports both cloud uploading and an on-board microSD card for each camera. Picture quality is also superb, with the sensor managing impressive clarity even in difficult lighting conditions, and missing little at night. Sure, Swann's app is, to put it mildly, a bit of a mess – but it's easy enough to navigate, and its motion detection timeline works well.
If you're looking to gradually expand your security net as wide as possible, this is possibly the best choice going – there's no reliance on a hub, so theoretically no limit on the number of cameras you can place around your home, and IP65 certification means each unit can take a battering from the elements. It's cheap, too, at least in the context of wireless cameras with this level of image quality. Though the edges might be a bit rough, there's certainly enough sparkle here to make Swann's effort worth a look.
3. D-Link mydlink Pro Wire-free Camera Kit
D-Link's mid-range 1080p camera system manages to stand out from a tough crowd
Reasons to buy
This one had us torn. On the one hand, it's a well designed camera and hub combo, with a long-lasting battery, at a decent price. On the other, there are some issues that need looking past.
To begin with, the picture quality isn't the strongest we've tested. Detail actually isn't too bad, with an excellent level of sharpness when zoomed in, but when placed side-by-side the picture pales in comparison to its competitors here. It's much more murky, both in broad daylight and at night. When it's bright out, shadows burn through while bright areas like sky bleach out – though thankfully we didn't spot any significant blooming, so you should still be able to pick out a backlit intruder. With the lights off its night vision reach isn't the strongest, and it's a gloomy, shadowy picture. There are no options in the app to adjust the exposure of the sensor, that's something of a disappointment – though we don't think the colour depth would be enough to ruin evidential footage entirely.
That app is disappointing, too. D-Link has clearly tried to give it an attractive edge, and we have to give credit to its ability to show what's going on from up to four cameras at a time. But that quest for beauty didn't quite find treasure. Its combination of soft focus lifestyle backgrounds, clunky device wheels and poorly labeled controls makes it awkward and slow to use – and when it comes to security, you really need something immediate. Connecting to the camera for a live view is similarly languid and, at times, we found the app needed a complete restart to connect – not the most reassuring, particularly given that the individual cameras hook up to a central hub which should, in theory, be dealing with connection reliability.
That's the bad news, but there's plenty of good. That hub takes seconds to set up, and arguably offers more than Arlo's equivalent since it mirrors Arlo's microSD backup options but also includes a USB port for hard drive recording. There's a central 100db siren (silenced by the top button) which could be helpful if your cameras are all mounted outside; doing so isn't a problem, with each carrying an IP65 rating which means they'll withstand a jet from a hose and the option of either a strong magnetic ball mount (take note, Swann) or a standard tripod screw, with a single adjustable arm included in the two-camera package.
At the price it retails for, this strong core functionality makes this a strong mid-range contender.
4. Netgear Arlo Pro 2
A quality home security camera range with a solution for everyone
Reasons to buy
Netgear's Arlo isn't just a single camera, it's a rapidly-growing range that shares the same software platform – at the time of writing you've got six different cameras to pick from. You can also choose between packs of one, two or more units, and accessories such as a Wi-Fi expander hub for outdoor use.
The Arlo Pro 2, with its wire-free operation, two-way audio 1080p HD video, weather resistance, built-in security siren, Amazon Alexa support and the option to store footage on a USB drive, is a top security camera chocie.
Cheaper models are available if you don't need such sharp video or a different set of features. The new Arlo Go, for instance, works with cellular networks if you need a camera out of range of your home Wi-Fi.
As with most security cameras, you can tap into your video feeds from anywhere using your phone, and get motion alerts – but where the Arlo range stands out is with the wireless, battery-charged operation and waterproofing.
For free, you get seven days or up to 1GB of cloud storage for up to five cameras, which compares very well with rivals such as Nest. These recordings are only triggered when motion is detected, but it should be enough for most users – how many meaningless shots of nothing happening in your back garden do you need?
5. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
A fantastic smart security camera for outdoor use
Reasons to buy
The Nest Cam IQ is one of the most intelligent Wi-Fi cameras on the market, bringing facial recognition, a 4K image sensor, and person tracking to the party. See below for the indoor version, but this exterior version comes with IP65 weatherproofing: it'll stay recording whatever the British weather throws at it, and can operate in temperatures from -40°C to 45°C.
Picture quality is excellent both during the day and night, and the motion tracking (which zooms in and follows motion) and facial recognition (which only alerts you to unknown faces) are incredibly useful features which actually work.
It's a top-notch package but it's expensive, and to get the most out of it (like cloud storage archives or motion zones) you really need to sign up for a subscription too. You can just about get by with the live motion alerts and livestreaming (no subscription required) if you're on a budget.
The previous, cheaper version of the outdoor Nest cam is still on sale too if you want to save some money – it does have a cable attached though, rather than working wirelessly, which means it's a bit easier to sabotage for potential intruders. Definitely one of the best security cameras in 2019.
6. Logi Circle 2 Wired
A great home security camera for indoor use
Reasons to buy
The Logi Circle 2 is among the most fun of our best security cameras 2019 list: it's a bit like the home monitoring equivalent of a Fitbit. For example, it preps "day brief" videos that show a sped-up version of the day's action of the day (so you don't have to sift through reams of footage of the slightest motion).
That makes it more suitable for keeping an eye on the dog while at work, rather than scanning for burglars.
There’s two-way talking, fast responses to remote commands, speedy zooming, and an adjustable field of view. The app is nice and slick, complimenting the camera's own neat design, and you can control the Circle via Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit or one of Logitech's Pop smart home buttons.
There are some negatives: you only get 24 hours of cloud storage for free for instance. For longer-term access, you have to pay: £2.99 a month snags you 14-day Cloud access, or £7.99 a month for 31 days. You need to subscribe to the top tier to set you custom motion zones and detect people in front of the camera.
Buy a rechargeable battery base as well and you can put the weatherproof camera anywhere in Wi-Fi range (it lasts up to three months between charges). There's also a fully wireless incarnation, but this is a different shape to the wired version and has a different range of accessories.
It might lack some security features, but as a smart home camera for watching pets or your gran, the wired version of Circle 2 is hard to beat as one of the best security cameras of 2019.
7. Hive View
One of the most stylish home security cameras going
Reasons to buy
If you don't need a Fort Knox-level of security but do want an attractive camera for monitoring pets and relatives that can also alert you to felons, it works really well.
We're big fans of its striking, stylish looks, and the monthly subscription is unusually cheap (you get one day of video stored for free) – it's definitely worth a place on our best security cameras for 2019 roundup.
Admittedly the Hive View is rather limited features-wise at present, but Hive products have a tendency to get better with age, and we're reasonably confident it'll add Alexa support (as it has for its other smart home devices) soon. A recent update added two-way chat so you can sooth the pets or ward off burglars.
The basic mount and wall mount make it easy to setup at an angle to your liking – the 130-degree field of vision helps – and there's the option to remove it from the mount and use it wirelessly, albeit only for an hour. That could be useful for baby bedtime duties, although we struggle to think of many other uses.
You can download and share videos, should you need to, motion detection works as advertised, and image quality is decent – with a choice of 720p or 1080p maximum resolution depending on the available signal strength.
8. Nest Cam IQ Indoor
A much more premium update of the Nest Cam
Reasons to buy
We've split out the Nest Cam IQs separately in our best security cameras 2019 list because the indoor and outdoor variants really are distinct devices, and which one you need will depend on where you're putting them.
What stands out about these security cameras is the intelligence behind them and the quality of the apps Nest (now owned by Google) has put together.
Video crispness is also great, and this camera can shoot in (compressed) 4K. That means you get a clearer look at everything that's happening, and zooming is actually something that's useful. There's a neat auto-zoom mode here too, making it an easy choice for our best security camera roundup.
You do need a subscription for a lot of features, like cloud archives and the ability to distinguish between strangers and family members (the camera can identify a person on the free plan, but not who the person is) – so make sure you budget accordingly.
The older Nest Cam, with the previous design, is still on sale if you need something a little cheaper. You still get 1080p HD streaming, and access to the very intuitive app – just not as many of the bells and whistles.
9. Netatmo Welcome
Monitor your house using facial recognition
Reasons to buy
The Netatmo Welcome was quite ahead of its time as a security camera when it appeared several years ago, and it's still a very viable product. Like the other cameras here, it's a Wi-Fi-connected device that starts recording when it senses movement.
The clever bit is that the camera not only spots that people have entered its 130-degree field of vision, but it will also have a stab at recognising them too. Perhaps more usefully, if someone passes who the camera doesn't know, you get an alert about an "unknown face". You can tell the system who it is (if it's not an intruder), and next time around it should automatically know.
The camera can record video in up to 1080p, which looks perfectly fine on a smartphone screen and won't tax your internet connection too much. Netatmo also allows you to fine tune the settings for each individual user – for example, don't record Abbie, but do record Ben. It's actually pretty smart.
Perhaps the most pleasing feature here is that no monthly subscription is required to store more than a day's worth of footage. Here, video is stored on the Welcome's MicroSD card and/or remotely on your Dropbox folder, so you're not committing yourself to month after month of regular payments as you are with some other models. Absolutely one of the best security cameras of 2019.
10. Canary Smart Security Camera
A good all-in-one home camera with a very loud alarm
Reasons to buy
Canary has got over some initial software issues to offer a very decent security camera option: especially that crisp 1080p video, with a 147-degree field of view, night vision and motion alerts (plus clear audio). What's more, that 90+ decibel siren makes it more of a serious security camera than some others here (though it needs to be manually activated when you spot something amiss).
Canary also lets you speed dial the emergency services from the app – though given it is unlikely that anything life-changing is going to happen in the time it takes you to manually dial 999, maybe that's not incredibly useful. Still, it's well worth a spot on our best security cameras 2019 list.
The device is more capable than most rival models, with sensors tracking the air quality, temperature and humidity in your home – or at least the area immediately around the camera – helping you create a pleasant and healthy atmosphere to live in. All of this can be tracked and managed from inside the app.
That pleasant atmosphere might be slightly affected by the thought that you need to pay extra in order to use the camera's handy night mode and some other useful other bits of functionality. For your £7.99 per month (or £79 per year), you also get up to a month of video recordings, unlimited downloads to your phone, two-way chat, and the option to view the camera on a desktop web browser.
11. Canary Flex HD Security Camera
Canary smarts in a smaller package make this a tempting security camera proposition
Reasons to buy
Say you like the design chops of Canary and the app it produces, but you don't want something as bulky as the Canary Smart Security Camera, or you want to monitor the garden outside – what's a person to do? Well, get the Flex HD instead.
It works with a wire or without, with a Canary Smart base station or without, and can operate indoors or indoors – you get a lot of flexibility from this little device. We like the 1080p HD video quality, the 116-degree field of view, the motion detection, and the removable magnetic base which is simple to install.
You get night vision here, and weatherproofing of course so it can be used outdoors. It's compact, versatile, and functions very well – the Canary app is easy to work your way around and lets you adjust the sensitivity of the motion detection, so you're not constantly getting interrupted with alerts.
As with the other Canary camera in this list, you need to cough up for a subscription to get more than a day's worth of streaming stored in the cloud, and to access two-way audio. Still, you get a decent amount of features, and without a subscription too, so it's easily one of the best security cameras of 2019.
12. Somfy One
An all-in-one security camera solution
Reasons to buy
Designed to stop intruders before they've even made it through the front door, the Somfy One is part of a wider security platform from Somfy, and is ideal if you're looking for a more comprehensive setup that covers every corner of your home (it can work with sensors on the doors and windows, for instance).
You get 1080p HD streaming, a 130-degree field of view, the usual movement alerts, and a 90+ dB alarm that is likely to scare off any approaching burglar before they've got too far into your home. The privacy-conscious will be pleased to hear there's a physical shutter you can close over the camera when you're at home and don't want to be recorded.
We also like the way you can share alerts with friends, family, and neighbours, so even if you can't deal with an emergency, maybe someone else can. The app is streamlined and simple to use, and lets you cancel the wailing alarm remotely if it's been triggered by something that it shouldn't have.
As usual, you need to pay for a subscription to get a serious amount of cloud storage with this, though your £3.99 a month doesn't unlock any extra features on the camera itself. If you don't want to sign up for a subscription, the Somfy One is worth considering.
13. Ezviz Mini 360 Plus
A cheap and cheerful security camera
Reasons to buy
There's a lot to like about the little Ezviz Mini 360 Plus, including its low price – even if it doesn't quite match the bigger names in terms of design quality and extra features. If you want the basics of a security camera in a compact package, check it out.
It can pan and tilt and rotate all the way through 360 degrees with the help of the official app, once it's installed on your smartphone, and like the Somfy One there's a privacy shield that can be pulled down when you're at home. We're sure no one at Ezviz wants to spy on your family, but it's there just to be safe.
You get all the basics of motion detection and smartphone alerts, plus some basic zooming ability and two-way audio as well, if you want to admonish your pets or your kids for whatever reason. Night vision is supported and you can access a limited number of the camera's commands via Alexa too.
The subscription isn't a must-have either – it just gives you cloud storage for your video recordings. If you can live without that, you can install a microSD card inside the camera and not have to pay a monthly fee. Taking everything into consideration, it absolutely earns its place on our best security camera 2019 list.