Best home security cameras for 2021 – CNET

Whether you’re worried about break-ins and theft or you just want to keep an eye on a mischievous pet, home security cameras it might be worthwhile setting up a few security cameras in your home. Today’s cameras have a wealth of security features, including night vision, smart notifications, professional monitoring, two way audio and more. 

There are plenty of excellent video surveillance systems to choose from, with cameras that offer features such as two-way communication, motion tracking, night vision, cloud storage and HD video for top-notch video quality. The options are so abundant, it can feel daunting to find a perfect match for the camera system you have in mind, particularly if that solution includes multiple cameras, as well as features like professional monitoring, rechargeable battery, two way audio, video recording and an elaborate base station system. Even better, a lot of these options pair with an app on your mobile device so you can keep an eye on your security camera system at all times.

We’ve tested dozens of cameras and condensed everything we’ve learned into this list. Below, you’ll find the best home security cameras in every major subcategory, from smart doorbells to the models that work well with Google AssistantAmazon Alexa and Siri voice commands — and beyond. Some are relatively low-maintenance, with a motion sensor that sends a push notification to your mobile phone with a motion alert, while others come with features such as professional monitoring and cloud storage that prevent you from having to sift through hours of security system footage. If you’re looking for the best home security camera, get ready to dive in. We’ll update this list periodically.

The best of the best


Wyze disappointed some of its customers when its ridiculously cheap cameras got slightly less ridiculously cheap. But at $33, the Wyze Cam remains a great budget surveillance camera — and a great camera. Period.

It features HD video quality live streaming, motion detection, night vision, a decent app and, best of all, 14 days of free motion-based cloud storage. This Wyze camera also features a built-in microSD card slot if you want local video storage rather than relying solely on its cloud service (you have to buy the microSD card separately).

This home security camera works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands and features a motion detection zone and the ability to listen for and alert you to special frequencies, like smoke alarms.

Read our Wyze Cam (2020) review.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Now this is a smart security camera. The $150 Arlo Video Doorbell has a lot going for it. While 150 bucks isn’t cheap (it’s currently down to $120), it’s more affordable than most of the other smart buzzers I’ve tested. As a doorbell camera, it’s built to be an outdoor camera, so you don’t have to ever worry about the elements. Similar to the Arlo Pro 3 outdoor security camera, the Arlo Video Doorbell has arm/disarm modes, two-way audio, motion zones and an integrated siren.

It also has a competitive cloud storage subscription plan, starting at $3 per month. If you pay for cloud storage, you get access to advanced features like custom person, animal, vehicle and package detection for your video surveillance.

Read our Arlo Video Doorbell review.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The $299 Nest Cam IQ Indoor camera has a lot of the same smarts and features as the Nest Hello speaker. This indoor cam features HD live streaming, motion detection, person alerts and access to the Nest Aware service option. Starting at $5 per month, a Nest Aware subscription offers advanced features like facial recognition. Create a database of friends and family and get alerts telling you “Molly” or “Andrew” is at the door.

But this model also features a Google Assistant built-in speaker. So just like the Google Home and other Google-Assistant-enabled smart speakers and displays, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor responds to the wake phrase “OK, Google.”

Read our Nest Cam IQ Indoor Security Camera review.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Arlo Pro 3 is also our top pick of the best outdoor camera for home security. Its weatherproof exterior makes this outdoor Wi-Fi security camera highly capable of video recording in rain, snow, heat and beyond. The simple magnetic mount that comes with your purchase makes it incredibly easy to remove the cameras when you need to charge the battery — no matter where this Arlo camera is installed.

Read our Arlo Pro 3 review.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The indoor-outdoor Logitech Circle 2 is one of the few home security cameras that works with Apple’s smart home platform, HomeKit, including responding to Siri commands from a HomePod smart speaker. This home security camera works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant too, giving you access to all of the main voice assistant features.

Read our Logitech Circle 2 Security Camera review.

Final thoughts

When installing wireless security cameras, keep in mind that the smart home camera you buy (and your security system as a whole) will only be as good as the quality of your Wi-Fi connection at the location where you plan to install it. So check your Wi-Fi speed before you drill holes in the walls or otherwise mess up your doorframe, brick or siding. If the connection is spotty on your wireless security camera, you’ll notice significant lag times, pixelation in the live feed and other delays that make security cameras a pain to use. 

With a good Wi-Fi connection, you should be in good shape to use your indoor camera or outdoor security camera without any major issues. Still have questions? Take a look at my home security camera buying guide.

Now playing: Watch this: How to buy the right security camera for you


More home security advice