Plus what to look for when shopping
A smart security camera can alert you to motion, trigger smart home routines, and in some cases even contact the authorities for you when suspicious activity is detected. As people spend more time at home than ever before (and with online shopping more prevalent than ever before), there is more demand for smart security cameras.
These home security cameras can help protect your online shopping deliveries and give you a 24/7 view into what’s going on around your home. If you’re looking for a smart security camera this holiday season that will keep your property safe without breaking the bank, consider some of these options.
Keep in mind that many of these cameras will be discounted for Black Friday, too.
The EZVIZ C3X is an outdoor home security camera that has an IP67 weather-resistance rating, allowing it to be placed nearly anywhere outside (or inside) your home. It also has an interesting feature that sets it apart: color night vision. Provided there is some ambient light, it will display nearly full-color night vision.
In addition to color night vision, the EZVIZ C3X captures and streams video at 1080p resolution. Two-way audio allows you to speak with anyone near the camera–perfect for telling a delivery driver where to leave a package or for warning off someone that’s up to no good. The camera can distinguish between people and vehicles.
You can even set up the camera to automatically play a custom voice alert. For example, if it detects a car on your property, you can have it say, “Private property. No parking allowed.” The color night vision means you will be able to make out more details even on the darkest nights.
At $130, the EZVIZ C3X is a great value for the numbers of features it includes.
Blink Mini — $35
The Blink Mini is an excellent budget option for indoor home security. This 1080p camera has a 110-degree field of view. While it’s not incredibly wide, it’s more than enough to keep an eye on the entryway of your home or on a specific room. With up to 30 frames per second, you’ll have a crisp picture of any activity within your home.
The Blink Mini will send you notifications when it detects motion. Two-way audio lets you tell your pets to get off the furniture when they (inevitably) jump up on the couch while you’re away. You can also set up customized detection zones to minimize the number of false alerts.
There is a free trial of the Blink Subscription Plan included. Once this free trial ends, the plan is $3 per month. This plan allows you to store video footage in the cloud. Alternatively, you can purchase the Blink Sync Module and link up to 10 cameras and store the footage locally on a USB flash drive.
For just $35, the Blink Mini is a great option for those that want home security on a budget. While it lacks advanced features like person detection, the low price point makes it a great entry point for your first smart home security camera. It can also be purchased as supplemental coverage for a specific room, like a home office.
YI Home Camera 2-Pack — $50
The Yi Home Camera is an incredibly affordable product with a huge number of smart features packed in. Not only does the Yi Home Camera offer optional 24/7 emergency service, but it has smart human detection, abnormal sound detection, and can even listen specifically for the sound of a baby crying.
The Yi Home Camera captures video and streams footage at 1080p, but the downside is that its frame rate is capped at 20 frames per second. However, it has two-way audio and specific listening algorithms to pick up sounds. For example, it can listen for the sound of a smoke alarm or a window breaking. New parents can also use the Yi Home Camera as a baby monitor thanks to its ability to listen for a baby crying.
One notable feature is the Yi Smart Cloud Search. It can be difficult to search through large amounts of cloud footage, but Yi makes it easy to find the important moments and save them for posterity.
The Yi Home Camera has Noonlight integration to provide a subscription service that provides 24/7 emergency support. This requires an additional fee of $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year on top of the cost of the home security camera. On the other hand, for the $50 two-pack (or the $26 for a single camera) it’s hard to go wrong with the Yi Home Cameras.
Ring Indoor Cam — $60
If you already use Ring devices and want to keep everything linked to a single app, the Ring Indoor Cam is a solid option. This compact home security camera is easy to tuck away on a shelf and will likely go unnoticed at first glance. It has 1080p video and two-way audio, as well as real-time notifications.
The small size and low price make the Ring Indoor Cam a great option for whole-home coverage. Just place one in each room (or in front of every major entryway) and you can keep an eye on everything that happens within the home. While the Ring Indoor Cam doesn’t have a built-in siren or an abundance of smart features, its more focused capabilities make it good at security.
The Ring Protect Plan is an optional plan that lets you save videos and photos in the cloud. The service is $3 per month per device, or $10 per month per household. If you have four or more Ring cameras, you will want the $10 plan–it’s the more economical option.
As an added bonus, the Ring Indoor Cam works with Alexa. If the camera detects motion, Alexa will illuminate and make an announcement. You can also display the livestream on an Alexa smart display like the Echo Show.
What To Look For In a Home Security Camera
If this is your first time shopping for a security camera, there are a few features you should look for. The first is a high resolution. With the options available today, you should not settle for less than 1080p.
The second thing to look for is live streaming. No camera should solely capture footage and store it. You should be able to view a livestream at any time by accessing the app.
The third and final feature is motion detection. While a camera can help you provide details to the authorities after a theft has occurred, it’s far better if you are able to act while the crime is in progress. Motion detection will alert you the moment anything suspicious is detected.
There are numerous other options you can look for when purchasing a smart security camera, but these three traits are the most important.