Your home security doesn’t need to be big locks, large dogs and barb-wire fences. Installing a security system that makes use of your smart home setup has never been simpler.
By connecting a camera – or cameras – with your home internet, you can create a security system that’ll leave you feeling secure with the knowledge that everyone and everything inside is safe.
Here’s what you need to know about installing a new home security system or giving your current one an upgrade, along with a few smart camera suggestions.
What to consider before buying home security cameras
There’s a very wide range of devices to choose from with differing feature sets, price points, subscription options and setup routines. There’s a certain quantity of personal tailoring you can undertake when choosing a home security camera solution, but broadly you should consider the following features when comparing:
- Image quality: Cheaper cameras shoot only in Full HD, and some older ones are even worse than that. Paying more for 4K might make sense, as long as your home internet connection is up to the challenge.
- Design: If it’s going inside your home, does it match the décor, or is it uglier than a sewer rat? If it’s going to surveil the outside of your home, look for weather resistance, and consider if you want your cameras hidden from burglars, or obvious in order to deter them.
- Installation: This isn’t just software, but also whether your camera choices have optional mounts or brackets to affix them in place. You wouldn’t want your security camera stolen, right?
- Subscription costs: Some cameras are standalone, recording just to embedded storage, but many serve to the cloud, with a range of subscription offerings, from free limited tiers to complex multi-camera setups and long-term archives. The cost of the camera isn’t the only price you may pay.
There’s a lot of really cheap camera options you can buy, but it’s worth being wary of the very cheapest, especially if they’re net-connected. If you can’t be sure that they’ll be updated, you’re potentially also installing a hacking point into your home. Then again, even the big brands can undergo this kind of crisis.
Pricing: From $74.99 per camera.
Subscription pricing: Basic plan is free, Standard Plan $US 4.99/month, Premier Plan $US 9.99/month, Business Plan $US 14.99/month.
Reolink provides a quite wide range of home security setups, from its standalone Argus cameras to full power over ethernet solutions for more detailed security needs. At the home level, however, many of its products rely on local storage rather than only cloud storage, which means that they can be a very cost-efficient way to enable home monitoring without having to pay extra for mandatory subscription recording.
That being said, Reolink also offers a cloud backup option for selected products, with pricing varying depending on how many cameras and how much storage you like; for most homes the up-to-5 camera US$4.99 month 30GB storage option should be plenty.
Where to buy:
If you just want a single camera, the Reolink 4K Security Camera is only on sale for $96.04 (down from $132.99) which is perfect for both indoor and outdoor installation.
If you’re looking for something more substantial, the Reolink Home Security System is currently on sale for $449.99 (down from $599.99). This system package includes four cameras, an eight-channel network video recorder, a night vision feature, 24/7 recording and remote access from anywhere.
If you want a higher video quality, the 4K Reolink Home Security System is on sale for $562.49, down from $749.99. This home security system includes everything that comes with the previously mentioned Relink bundle, but with the added ability to record video in 4K quality.
Both of these Reolink Home Security System bundle discounts are only available until 11.59pm, August 3.
Pricing: $99-$499 per camera/doorbell.
Subscription pricing: The Basic plan is $4/month or $40/year (single device), while the Plus plan is $15/month or $150/year (multi-device).
Ring is best known for its smart doorbell technology, but the Amazon-owned firm also produces a range of standalone camera devices for indoor or outdoor usage. As you’d expect they’re built with Alexa integration in mind. You do get alerts and can use Ring Doorbells without needing a subscription, but if you want any kind of video history you’ll need to pay for a subscription plan.
Ring’s plans are amongst the cheapest in the market starting at just $4/month for a single camera, and not much more to add any number of additional cameras to your account. The Plus plan is a little unusual, because you don’t get any extra length of recording or quality options, but instead an extended warranty and discounts on buying further Ring devices.
Where to buy:
Amazon is currently offering a bundle deal where you can get the Ring Video Doorbell (wired) and Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) for $249 when both products are bought together. This will save you a nice $69 if bought separately. These two devices can be paired together, allowing the Echo to show live-footage from the Ring.
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 is also currently on sale for $249 (down from $299) along with the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery for $159 (down from $179). This clever home security device can be set up anywhere in your home and allows you to speak with friends, family members and pets from your phone.
Pricing: $249-$449 per camera.
Subscription pricing: A Secure Plan is either $4.49/month (single camera) or $14.99/month (multi camera), while a Secure Plus Plan is $21.99/month (multi-camera).
Arlo was originally a Netgear sub-brand before being spun off into its own standalone company, and it’s 100 per cent just a home automation company with a particular focus on smart home cameras, although you can also get Arlo-branded devices such as baby monitors and doorbells.
Arlo used to offer seven days of free recording – and it still does if you have older “legacy” Arlo devices – but for all new Arlo cameras, you’ll need to factor in subscription pricing once the bundled subscription expires. Arlo differentiates between single-camera and multi-camera subscription plans, with the primary difference between the Secure and Secure Plus plans is being able to record in either 2K or 4K resolution.
Where to buy:
The Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Camera is currently on sale for $198 (down from $279). If you’re looking for something to position outside your home, the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera is also on sale for $340.48 (down from $399). The Arlo Technologies Video Doorbell is also currently discounted at $194.08 (down from $289).
Pricing: $219-$279 per camera.
Subscription pricing: $9/month or $90/year for Nest Aware, $18/month or $180/year for Nest Aware Plus.
Nest is a fully owned Google brand, and one that the search giant’s taken very much to heart, switching the branding on all its home smart gear from straight “Google” to Nest as it’s absorbed the smart camera maker into its operation.
Nest relies strongly on its AI features, with the free tier only offering simple alerts – you’ll have to upgrade to a Nest Aware or Nest Aware Plus subscription to actually store recordings picked up by a Nest camera. Nest Aware stores recordings for up to 30 days, while Nest Aware Plus has 60 days of storage plus a 10 day rolling 24/7 recording archive. Either tier covers any number of Nest devices in your home.
Where to buy:
Shop the Google Nest Indoor Camera ($219) here. While this one isn’t technically on sale right now, its regular price is affordable in the grand scheme of security cameras and makes it worth an inclusion.