The best wireless security cameras 2017

Wi-Fi connected cams for keeping an eye on your home, your kids and your pets

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Wireless home security cameras are a simple way of keeping an eye on your house. Whether you've got a naughty puppy wreaking havoc while you're at work, or you're away on holiday, it's nice to know that at the tap of a button you can see what's going on in your house.

We think the Netgear Arlo is the best wi-fi camera you can get. The key feature here is that it's completely wireless with a 6-month battery life. Video quality is good, and it's waterproof so you can use it outside as well as indoors. 

If you only want indoor use, technically the 'best' cam is the Nest Cam IQ. This is expensive, but its video footage is the best, its alerts system is fast and it's more intelligent than most. The question is, do you really require higher quality footage, and are you willing to pay the premium for it that Nest demands?

How to choose the best Wi-Fi camera for you

This selection of cameras has it all; from infrared, so you can detect any motion at night, to sensors for your windows and doors, so even if they aren't on camera you can be alerted if someone's trying to break in.

Netatmo Welcome, like Nest's cameras, adds facial recognition, so you'll know as soon as a stranger walks in your home.

Video quality is important here, as is night vision - the camera you choose should have HD resolution, at least. However, streaming quality and reliable alerts are arguably even more helpful.

Some cameras have two-way communication, which is very useful if you're using it to keep an eye on kids ("Put my best wine glasses DOWN, Jeremy!") or pets.

The biggest decision you have to make is whether you want the camera for security purposes (to be alerted if someone is breaking in), in which case you'll want to look for a Wi-Fi camera with an alarm, notifications, and night vision. 

It might be worth bearing in mind that most such cameras will not be all that useful in terms of either summoning help (given the current state of UK police funding) or even necessarily as evidence in court. If the camera is indoors, there also won't be a deterrent effect, and if it's outdoors you need to alert passers by to the fact they are on camera.

However, you may feel having a smart camera, without the high monthly cost of a proper anti-intrusion system, gives you peace of mind for not much cash.

If you want a cam solely for lifestyle purposes - to keep an eye on pets or kids or babysitters –  a 900-decibel alarm probably isn't necessary, but two-way audio and unobtrusive design are.

The 11 best connected security cameras and lifestyle cameras you can buy today

1. Netgear Arlo

Perfect for use inside the home and out

Reasons to buy
+Night vision+Waterproof
Reasons to avoid
-Not best for constant streaming-No sound
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Arlo (from Netgear) is also based around always-on security cameras, and you can choose one, two or three depending on your needs and budget.

Everything is wireless and managed via a smart home base station and you should be able to get up and running with it in a few minutes - it's a good choice if simplicity matters to you. You can then tap into your video feeds from anywhere using the supplied smartphone apps.

As there are no wires you can position the cameras anywhere: they're waterproof so they can even go outdoors if you need to keep an eye on the back garden or the driveway while you're out.

Night vision and motion detection capabilities are included but there's no sound with these cameras and you are limited to 1GB of storage space in the cloud free of charge.

Because it's battery powered it's more suited to occasionally checking in at home rather than constantly streaming, so bear that in mind.

2. Nest Cam

And intelligent, well-designed indoor camera

Reasons to buy
+Comes with speakers+Infra-red cameras help with recording at night
Reasons to avoid
-Nest Aware subscription necessary to get the most out of it
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Part of the Nest family of products (along with the Learning Thermostat and Protect), the Nest Cam is still on sale despite the arrival of the superior, but much pricier, Nest Cam IQ

Nest Cam streams acceptably sharp HD video from inside your home to your computer, phone, or tablet. It will alert you if it senses motion or sound so you can tune in to see and hear what's going on, and with 8x zoom and a 130-degree lens you won't miss a trick.

It comes with speakers so you can talk to anyone in the house, and eight infra-red sensors give you fairly clear night time shots.

It integrates seamlessly with other Nest products through a shared app, although the usefulness of this is quite limited.

The only issue is that to get person and face recognition (which can distinguish between a human and a pet, or a shadow moving, or the wind blowing an object past the window), you'll have to pay an £8 monthly fee for Nest Aware. You also get 10 days of cloud storage for your video. 

If you're mad, you could also pay £24 and get a month's storage.

If you don't wish to be inundated with alerts, Nest Aware is pretty much obligatory, which rankles somewhat.

3. Panasonic KX-HNC800EW

A solid stand-alone camera from Panasonic

Reasons to buy
+Privacy cover+Full HD video
Reasons to avoid
-Iffy setup-Intruder could steal SD card
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The Panasonic KX-HNC800EW is a very solid stand-alone camera, with crisp Full HD video recording and a wide viewing angle.

The best feature is that it's recording all of the time, so if it does get triggered by an intruder, the it'll also capture two seconds before the event, so you don't miss anything important.

You'll get smartphone alerts if the camera does sense an event, and if you own any of Panasonic's other smart home kit, you can turn the lights on or trigger an alarm.

This is at the more affordable end of wireless security cameras, and, as the camera saves footage to an SD card, there's no monthly cost for cloud storage.

4. Nest Cam IQ

Much more premium update of the Nest Cam

Reasons to buy
+The clearest footage of any cam+Built in person recognition
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive-…Yet not weatherproof
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This upgraded version of the Nest Cam actually shoots in 4K. 

Although it then downgrades to full HD to stream to your phone, the footage is still a cut above rivals, and you can download the full UHD footage if required, if it captures your kids doing something magical, or you require a clear image of that burglar to show the police.

Unlike Nest Cam, person recognition is built in to the IQ, which does cut the number of pointless alerts you'll receive, at least if it's used inside the house. If it's pointing out of a window, there are more likely to be numerous people going past, but it can't do much about that.

Nest Aware is still necessary if you want more than 3 hours of saved footage, but it's less essential than on Nest Connect. That said, given that this model is almost double the cost, it'd be nice if you then didn't have to hand over a further £8 per month at all.

Regardless of its value for money, however, with upgraded speaker, mic, night vision (it's clearer and the IR bulbs used are much less visible to intruders) the Nest Cam IQ is a seriously impressive bit of hardware.

5. Logi Circle

Like a cute little-detached eyeball

Reasons to buy
+Easy set up and excellent app+Great design
Reasons to avoid
-Too simple?-Internal battery is weak
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The Logi Circle is less of a security camera and more of a 'lifestyle camera'. What does that mean? No one's really sure, including Logitech, but these devices seem pretty popular for keeping an eye on your abode while away.

The attractive circle can be used completely wirelessly, but it only has a two-hour battery life, so we're not sure how useful that is. Most of the time it'll be sitting on the well-designed magnetic dock.

It features live HD video streaming, smart filtering (between pets and humans), a time-lapse function, two-way communication and night vision.

It's not the most feature-packed wi-fi camera out there, but it certainly is one of the most simple to use. The app is a pleasure.

6. Canary Smart Security Camera

Comes with a very loud alarm

Reasons to buy
+Full 1080p video feed+90+ decibel alarm
Reasons to avoid
-Alarm is not automatic-Recording time limited to 12 hours
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Canary is currently sat in my living room, protecting my humble abode. I don't think there's a better endorsement than that...

The camera records in crisp 1080p video, with a wide-angle 147-degree lens, night vision and clear audio.

What really makes Canary a security camera is the 90+ decibel siren, motion-activated recording, and emergency call shortcuts.

The camera is also useful when you are home, with an air quality, temperature and humidity sensor, helping you create a pleasant and healthy atmosphere to live in.

7. Netatmo Welcome

Monitor your house using facial recognition

Reasons to buy
+Stores files locally on an SD card+Facial recognition means you can tailor the sensor
Reasons to avoid
-The light is always on
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If you want to constantly monitor who enters and exits your home, the Netatmo Welcome could be the perfect product for you. The Welcome, like the rest on this list, is essentially an IP camera that begins recording when it senses movement. If the camera recognises someone who passes, it'll send a notification to your smartphone that Abbie (for example) has just entered the house.

If someone passes who the camera doesn't recognise, you'll get a notification telling you that an 'Unkown Face' has been detected. If you recognise the person, you can tell the system who it is, and next time it should automatically know.

The camera can record up to 1920x1080 Full HD video, and it looks perfectly good on a smartphone screen. Netatmo allows you to fine tune the settings for each individual user, for example, don't record Abbie, but do record Ben. It's a smart system, which allows you to store videos on either a MicroSD card or in your DropBox folder.

8. Panasonic Home Monitoring Twin Camera Kit

The long range option

Reasons to buy
+Multiple camera set up+Comes with a window sensor
Reasons to avoid
-Alarm costs extra-Not the best picture quality
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This security kit from Panasonic is a little more comprehensive than most others on this list as it's a complete system rather than a single camera.

The starter kit comes with an indoor and outdoor camera, capable of capturing 640x480 video, with a range of 300 metres (if your garden is that large).

The kit also comes with a window sensor, motion sensor, hub, handset and 4GB MicroSD card.

Optional extras include siren and smart plugs to simulate presence.

Particularly useful if you live in the dodgy part of town.

10. Samsung SNH-P6410BN

The most customisable camera

Reasons to buy
+Records to a microSD card, so no subscription fee+Adjustable monitoring zones
Reasons to avoid
-Feels cheap compared to the competition
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Unlike a few of the other cameras in this round-up, Samsung's not so snappily named entrant records direct to a microSD, so a good pick if you don't want to pay more for a cloud subscription.

It supports 1080p video too, so the footage is sharp and there's two-way talk thanks to the microphones. Through the app, you can set up motion zones, so you'll get a notification if some breaks through the window, but not when the dog walks past, for example.

11. MYFOX Security System

The alarm that'll sense broken doors and windows

Reasons to buy
+Comes with door sensors+HD streaming
Reasons to avoid
-Extra features are expensive-Complicated set up
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Designed to stop intruders before they've even made it through the front door, this platform from MYFOX has some really nice touches.

As well as HD streaming, the camera features a physical door which can be open or closed in front of the lens, to put those concerned about their privacy at ease.

Door sensors are stuck onto the door, and if they sense vibration which is typical with a break in (drilling or hammering) and will sound an alarm as well as contact you or your neighbours.

An intelligent little keyfob or smartphone app lets you arm or disarm the alarm.