Security system products have exploded in popularity since the connected home became a thing. Now it’s simple and inexpensive to transform a “dumb” home into a secured smart home.
Check out the top indoor and outdoor security systems for all budgets!
Why Buy a Security System?
They’re a great addition to any home. Unlike some climate control devices, security systems are not intrusive. Often, these may be quickly and painlessly added to any home. Plus, security systems help with peace of mind. While you’re away, they offer a means to check in on your home or office from afar.
Moreover, the presence of a security system deters crime. Security cameras mounted in prominent places may frighten off would-be intruders. Homeowners could lower insurance rates. Though it sounds a bit Orwellian, you can even use a home security system to check up on family members. There are tons of reasons to install smart wireless webcams, from integration with lighting and climate control gadgets to real-time and timeline viewing. Whether it’s peace of mind or practicality, there are tons of uses for surveillance cameras.
What to Look for in a Home Security System
Whether you’ve outfitted your home with smart tech or this is your first step into the smart home world, integration is key (the best smart home hub). Although setting up and managing individual gadgets isn’t necessarily difficult, maintenance is easier when your devices communicate with one another.
Additionally, seek out easy-to-use security systems. And consider where you’ll install your cameras and hub. The placement of hub and cameras dictates operational elements like batteries versus outlet-power, and wireless or Ethernet. Finally, think about intrusiveness. If you’re updating a historic home, you’ll want a security system that doesn’t leave a trace and blends seamlessly into the environment. Even if you don’t, it’s best to opt for security systems which may be installed and taken down quickly.
- Power source
- Ease of use
- Intuitive installation
The Best Indoor Security Systems for All Budgets
If you’re looking for the most inexpensive indoor security camera available, the Tend Secure Lynx is the best performing you can find under $100. It’s easy to install, and video quality is magnificent. Surprisingly considering its price point, the Lynx sports features like free cloud storage, a two-way radio, and motion detection.
In its review, PC Mag praised the Tend Secure Lynx for its bevy of top-notch offerings and low price tag. However, additions such as facial recognition don’t work well at a distance. Plus, the downside is lack of integration with smart home gadgets. Integration and automation are essential for streamlining smart home tech. Still, with its sub-$100 retail value, the Tend Secure Lynx indoor security camera system is a top choice.
- Easy to set up
- Under $100
- Facial recognition
- Motion detection
- Free cloud storage
- Poor facial recognition at a distance
- Lack of integrations with common smart home devices
Among the simplest yet feature-rich indoor home security systems, Blink is one of the best. I had the pleasure of getting hands-on with Blink for Home. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with its quick setup which took less than a half hour from unboxing and downloading software to mounting my cameras.
Setup and install are as easy as downloading an app, popping in batteries, and adding cameras within the app. In fact, you can install Blink in just 10 minutes or less. Blink makes the process painless by including a QR code for each camera so you don’t even need to type anything. But for power users, advanced settings may be lacking. There’s no local storage option, and you won’t find on-demand recording. Audio alerts and third-party integrations are pretty sparse.
Nevertheless, at around $100 for a camera and the hub, it’s a phenomenal deal. Further, the scalability is awesome. You can start with one camera and add as many indoor or outdoor cameras as you like. A particularly neat feature is the functionality to select several locations from a dropdown. That way, you can monitor several rooms in multiple physical locations, such as a home and office, separating the camera feeds instead. Offering brilliant bang for your buck, it’s the best home security system for the money.
- Intuitive setup
- Unintrusive install
- Few third-party integrations
- No two-way audio
- Lacks premium features like local storage and scheduling
Although Nest is best known for its smart thermostat, the Nest Cam Indoor shows the company’s prowess and diversity in the smart home space. It’s a 1080p camera with a pivot stand, magnetic base, and unique form factor. The ball-shaped camera boasts a futuristic look.
However, as CNET reveals, the Nest Cam Indoor is essentially just a webcam. There are a few features including sound alerts. You may only receive one notification every 30 minutes. Therefore, the Nest Cam Indoor is severely limited in its functionality for hardcore users. Despite its shortcomings, the Nest Cam Indoor with its quick set-up and excellent video quality make it a great pick for home security.
- 1080p video
- Magnetic base
- Swivel stand
- Notifications available
- Notifications limited to one every 30 minutes
While it’s most commonly associated with PC peripherals, Logitech dabbles in the smart home space as well. Its Logi Circle is a major contender among the best indoor security systems on a budget. According to CNET, setup takes fewer than five minutes. Moreover, it’s got one of the top apps of any security system.
However, performance is hit or miss. Notably, battery life is underwhelming, and sadly (considering Logitech’s many smart devices), it suffers from limited device compatibility. But live streaming capabilities function well, and it’s got a rechargeable battery.
- Rechargeable battery
- Fast setup
- Excellent app
- People detection
- Poor compatibility with other smart home tech
- Lackluster battery life
Logitech has recently released a newer version, the Logitech Circle 2 Indoor & Outdoor.
Like the Logi Circle and Nest Cam Indoor, the Foscam R2 is essentially a webcam. Nevertheless, it’s an inexpensive security system. The R2 is a 1080p camera packed with premium features. TechHive appreciated the R2’s “retro-futurist” aesthetic which it states looks like R2D2. They’re not wrong. The camera features a 110-degree viewing angle and 11 IR LEDs with a distance of 24 feet in darkness. Plus, there’s a radio for two-way audio.
Yet as TechHive reveals, the Foscam R2 is far from plug and play. Instead, there’s quite a bit of navigating app stores for the proper app and scanning QR codes. But after slogging through the main setup, the R2 delivers a top-tier experience.
- 1080p video
- Night vision
- Two-way audio
- Excellent viewing angles
- Difficult setup
Best Outdoor Security Systems on a Budget
Just as it’s one of the top indoor security camera systems available, the Blink offers its Blink XT for outdoor monitoring. Mimicking its inside counterpart, the XT is intuitive and powerful. Onboard, you’ll find a 1080p camera, water resistance, and night vision. Among its best features is seamless integration with Blink indoor hubs. Although the Blink XT is available as a standalone kit, you may simply add on an XT to a Blink hub or vice versa.
In its review, TechGearLab enjoyed the affordability and video quality. However, as with its Blink indoor line, the XT lacks storage options. Ultimately, the Blink XT succeeds as an awesome budget outdoor security system.
- 1080p video
- Water resistance
- Night vision
- Integration with Blink indoor security camera system
- Lack of local storage
- Average image quality
The Nest Cam Outdoor provides phenomenal outdoor monitoring. With the Nest Cam Outdoor, you’ll find 24/7 live-streaming video, weatherproofed hardware, and an intuitive portal. Furthermore, both image and audio quality is excellent.
Tom’s Guide praises its functionality while conceding that there’s a catch. In order to fully utilize the Nest Cam Outdoor, you’ll need a subscription to Nest Aware. This subscription comes at a fairly high cost. Moreover, there’s sharing for family accounts replete with privileges and playback options. While Family accounts are created in mobile apps, sharing live feed links occurs via the web portal. This dynamic isn’t terribly logical. Despite the reliance on a subscription and confusing sharing options, the Nest Outdoor Cam is one of the best options for outdoor monitoring.
- Weatherproofed cameras
- Wired cameras for better image quality
- Sharing options for Family accounts
- 24/7 monitoring
- Relies on Nest Aware software which requires a subscription
- Wired cameras more difficult to install
- Sharing options are not intuitive
Although most security cameras scream their purpose, the Kuna light fixture (our review) presents a classy solution for home monitoring. Rather than opt for a decidedly camera design, the Kuna delivers a security camera within a light fixture. Upon first glance, it’s not even a video camera, merely an outdoor light. In their review, CNET appreciated its elegance in combining security with lighting.
Oddly, especially considering its outdoor purpose, there’s no night vision. The solitary bulb provides some lighting but doesn’t reach far enough to substitute for night vision. Though there’s Alexa integration, you won’t find IFTTT compatibility and it’s not functional with many smart home hubs. There’s cloud storage, but that requires a paid subscription. Nevertheless, the Kuna Light yields awesome security in an aesthetically pleasing form factor. The Kuna is strong enough to rival even the Nest, and proves that security cameras can be stylish.
While Netgear’s claim to fame is certainly its networking devices, the Arlo Pro demonstrates its adaptability to the smart home space. In their review, PC Mag awarded the Netgear Arlo Pro a four-and-a-half out of five. Best features include exquisite high-definition video, IFTTT compatibility, and excellent integration with smart home tech. Plus, there’s free could storage, and support for geofencing. A truly premium system, you’ll find the likes of audio and motion-triggered recording, weatherproofing, and rechargeable batteries. Plus, installation is a sinch.
But compared to most consumer-oriented security systems, the Arlo Pro is rather expensive (around three Benjamins). That’s a solid value for sure. However, if you’re willing to make sacrifices you can snag inexpensive systems. Ultimately, with its free cloud storage and simple install, this is one of the greatest home security systems available.
- Motion-triggered recording
- Audio triggered recording
- Free cloud storage
- Compatibility with IFTTT and many smart home gadgets
- Rechargeable batteries
- Easy installation
The Reolink DIY security CCTV system ADK8-20B4 (our review) is a top-tier experience in home monitoring. It’s a professional-grade monitoring package. Although expensive (around 4 Benjamins), that’s an amazing value for its feature. You’ll find four wired cameras, three door and window contact sensors, three remote keyfobs, two motion sensors, and a DVR base complete with a 2TB hard drive. Reolink’s package diverges from the inexpensive kits which include a minimalist array of hardware.
In our review, we found image quality spectacular both day and night. It’s arguably the best of any security camera we’ve seen. Every camera is IP66 waterproof and wired. That may deter some users since it’s a potential hassle running wires all over. But wired IP cameras boast increased reliability over wireless units. Further, wired cameras afford uncompressed video for a better picture, and don’t bog down your network.
However, the main drawback aside from price is its software. Though it’s not terribly complex, it’s more feature-rich than basic consumer-facing security systems. Because the Reolink is both DIY and high-end, the software sports loads of options. This, in turn, translates to increased complication. Still, it’s the best outdoor security camera system you can buy for the price.
- Superb image quality
- IP66 waterproof cameras
- Wired cameras don’t congest network or compress video
- Tons of included hardware and accessories
- Cameras not wireless
- Complicated software
Comprehensive options for home surveillance systems abound. But there’s an alternative: DIY security camera systems using Linux clients. Using these Linux security camera software offerings, you can easily cobble together your own network. Of course, support is limited with the DIY path. Plus, you’ll have to source your own cameras. Yet the likes of Bluecherry support almost 3,000 IP cameras so there’s wide-ranging compatibility. This is an excellent choice for Linux buffs and anyone who wishes to potentially save money. Additionally, you can cobble together a DIY home security system with text messaging.
The Best Indoor and Outdoor Security Systems
Thankfully, with the hotness of the smart home space, you can find loads of indoor and outdoor security systems. These range from budget wireless cameras to borderline professional setups with a plethora of integrations. The Blink hits the sweet spot with its low price and excellent scalability. It’s an excellent pick on account of its ability to sync both indoor and outdoor cameras from a central hub.
Power users may appreciate the Reolink or Arlo Pro. However, the comparatively high price of those might deter beginners. The Kuna remains unique among home security cameras with its light first, camera second look. Looking for more ways to delve into the smart home space? Check out these IFTTT recipes for smart home automation. For additional home monitoring, take a look at these essential gadgets to monitor your home.
What indoor and outdoor security cameras do you suggest?