First-generation home security cameras had many flaws, including connection issues and poor video quality. They were also rather dull looking.
Security cameras have improved significantly over time. Most are now wireless and run on your home’s Wi-Fi network. Most capture HD video. And current-generation cameras have been designed to look much better inside and outside the home.
Great Looking Indoor Smart Cameras
About the size of a can of soda, although slightly longer, Canary looks a lot like the new Amazon Tap. At least the black model. It comes with a 1080p HD camera with 147-degree wide-angle lens, automatic night vision, and motion detection.
The device’s sensors contain a 3-axis accelerometer, ambient light, and capacitive touch. Through its patented Homehealth Technology, it can monitor temperature, humidity, and air quality. It also contains a microphone, speaker, and 90+ dB siren.
Canary uses your phone’s location to determine whether you are at home. When you’re not, it will send motion alerts to your phone. Knowing this information is important because Canary arms itself automatically. If you were to receive a motion alert and notice that there is a problem, Canary offers two solutions to resolve the issue. You can either sound the alarm remotely or push the emergency call button in the app.
Canary is $199 and available in black or white. Optional service plans add more features such as unlimited video recording.
In June, the company announced plans for Canary Plus, which works with Apple’s HomeKit. It arrives this fall.
- Pros: Excellent design, impressive feature-set
- Cons: You might want to wait for Canary Plus
The Withings Home is one of the most popular security cameras on the market. It also adds a modern look to any room.
Like Canary, Withings Home features both a security camera and an air quality sensor. From the free Withings Home app, you see tiny fragments that contain video and sound for each time the device hears a sound, senses motion, or detects unhealthy air levels.
Withings Home is $199. Optional subscriptions are also available.
- Pros: Competitive price, good list of features
- Cons: Nokia recently purchased Withings and the company’s plans for products unrelated to healthcare are unknown
The Ulo Surveillance Camera is perhaps the most beautiful product on our list. In the shape of an adorable pet owl, Ulo interacts through eye expressions. But don’t let the cuteness fool you, as the Ulo packs a lot of features inside its tiny body.
Within the Ulo beak, you’ll find a two-way mirror with a camera and motion sensor. Below this is a small microphone. Inside the device, is a speaker, an orientation sensor, and Wi-Fi connectivity. On the top, you’ll find a capacitive button.
The eyes, which you can customize for color, size, and shape, provide an LCD screen. When you leave your home, Ulo automatically sends you GIF updates to your email, or you can use a free app for a live view.
Successfully funded through Kickstarter, Ulo launches in early 2017 for around $220.
- Pros: Adorable, good list of features
- Cons: Hasn’t launched yet
Piper nv is perhaps the geekiest looking camera on our list, and we mean that in a good way. Another all-in-one solution, the Piper nv is considered the first ever 180-degree night vision HD camera. With live and recorded video, instant mobile alerts, Z-Wave home automation and an extensive list of environmental sensors, Piper nv is an excellent choice for a home or office.
Available in black or white, Piper nv is $279. For those who don’t need night vision, Piper Classic is $199. You get all of the available features without buying a service plan.
- Pros: Excellent features, modern design
- Cons: Pricey compared to the competition
Our last indoor security camera is also a very popular choice and comes with many options. Google’s Nest Cam features a modern design that is subtle enough to blend into the rest of your modern home’s surroundings.
Offering 1080p HD video, Nest operates when you’re away automatically using your phone’s location. With 24/7 live streaming, advanced night vision, and motion and sound alerts, Nest Cam offers home security no matter where you are in the world.
Not surprisingly, Nest Cam works well with the Nest Thermostat. For example, every time your Nest Thermostat is set to away, the Nest Cam can automatically turn on. Switch your thermostat to Home, and Nest Cam will turn off again.
Nest Cam is available for $199. Optional service plans are offered.
- Pros: Good pedigree, advanced feature set
- Cons: The look might be too techie for some
Outdoor Peace of Mind
The Skybell HD Wi-Fi Video Doorbell isn’t on our list because of what it looks like, but rather that you really can’t see it at all. Sometimes this is best, especially for outside cameras.
As its name suggests, the Skybell is one of a growing list of products that are both an outdoor video camera and a doorbell. The device features 1080p high-definition video and works in concert with IFTTT, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Nest. On the downside, it doesn’t work with Samsung’s SmartThings or with Wink.
The integrated doorbell is available through Skybell in brushed aluminum, and oil rubbed bronze for $199.
- Pros: A simple, yet practice design
- Cons: Perhaps a little bit expensive, doesn’t offer a full view of the house
Kuna offers a diverse line of cameras that replace your home’s traditional outdoor lighting. With Kuna, you can keep track of who’s at your front door, or expand its reach to take real-time HD video of your entire house. It also works well as a dog sitter for whenever your furry friend is outside in the yard.
Priced at $199, the Kuna offers a two-way intercom, 100+ decibel siren, adjustable camera, and not surprisingly, is waterproof. Available models include the Contemporary, Craftsman, and Traditional. Optional service plans starting at $4 per month offer additional features such as unlimited video downloads.
- Pros: Great varied designs, good selling price
- Cons: Requires some installation, camera in full view
Security cameras provide many features including live video, alarms, and air quality monitoring. Until recently, however, these cameras weren’t considered stylish.
Which security system to you use in your home?