Best Wireless Outdoor Home Security Cameras
Updated 23 November 2020
Even as recently as a few years ago, outdoor video security cameras were unaffordable and difficult to install.
Recent technological advances have improved the recording and video quality of these security cameras and, more importantly, has made them much more affordable and easier to install.
Many security cameras used outdoors are wireless, provide excellent images and are highly portable. They can be easily connected to your smartphone and allow you to monitor your home 24/7 from anywhere in the world.
In terms of price, on the cheaper end, you can easily find a wireless security camera for about £70 to £100, however, the more well-known brands such as Arlo, Nest and Ring are usually upwards of £100 (sometimes up to £300) per camera.
We compared the specifications of 8 different outdoor wireless cameras and chose our favourites.
Boasting 4K UHD quality images with an HDR zoom, the Arlo Ultra has all the bells and whistles that you might want, including high-quality images, enhanced colour night vision and an ultrawide 180-degree diagonal field of view.
Smart integration will allow you to check in to your home at any point from anywhere in the world.
Its features surpass all the other cameras we have reviewed and it is a great choice if you are looking for the best possible images and videos for the outdoor area of your home.
Along with the two-way audio that is standard for most wireless security cameras, the Arlo Ultra boasts noise-cancelling technology providing you with clear and complete two-way audio with anyone outside your home.
The Arlo Ultra is also completely wire-free and comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, but it can also be hardwired if you prefer.
All your images and videos can be stored locally or in the cloud for 30 days. You can also integrate the Arlo Ultra with any of your smart assistants as it works with Apple Watch, Apple Homekit, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
The only con with this camera choice is that it is expensive, especially if you want more than one camera.
Ring Doorbell 2nd Gen
The double agent doorbell and security camera system
Wireless, easy to use and install, and affordable while getting the job done. You can’t go wrong when choosing the Ring Doorbell 2nd Gen as your outdoor security camera. It has all the specifications required for good visuals and provides the service of being your doorbell at the same time.£89 from Amazon
If there is one area outside the home that might need a security camera, it is more than likely the front of the house.
With that in mind, our runner up choice is the Ring Doorbell 2nd Gen.
We chose this camera as it does the job for under £100.
Many UK homeowners worry about missing deliveries or criminal activity at their place of residence. These events usually occur near the front door.
The Ring Doorbell 2nd Gen provides solid image quality with 1080p HD video and a 160-degree field of view. It includes motion detection and night vision and provides instant notification when someone is at the front door.
The Ring Doorbell 2nd Gen also has clear two-way audio allowing you to speak to anyone at your front door from any smartphone, tablet or PC. It also has smart integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Additionally, this camera is also completely battery-powered using a rechargeable battery and does not need to be hardwired to your existing doorbell.
Everything collected is in cloud storage and the continuous live streaming is freely accessible, with long term video storage for a very affordable £2.50 a month.
Our third choice was a difficult decision between the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery.
However, the Arlo Pro 2 was our favourite as it has free cloud storage and works with all smart home devices. It is entirely wire-free and rechargeable, but it comes with a power cord to give you the option to plug it in if needed.
The price listed above is for one camera but two, three and four camera models are available, although the price rises steeply with each upgrade.
The Arlo Pro 2 has a 130-degree field of view and 1080p HD resolution and is fully weather-resistant giving you a good view inside and out.
The video is triggered by movement detected on its wide-angle motion sensors and the camera captures all images with a three-second lookback, so you won’t miss a thing.
The Arlo Pro 2 Smart Plan also offers a paid plan and choosing this will allow you to benefit from facial recognition – a handy feature.
The Arlo Pro 2 also has a safety button that allows you to silently call 999 if experiencing an intrusion.
What Is a Security Camera and Why Might You Want One?
Wireless outdoor security cameras can be divisive. These mixed reactions are due to some people viewing outdoor security cameras as an invasion of their privacy.
However, people are increasingly seeing the many benefits of owning an outdoor security camera.
Choosing a camera is a very personal choice and you need to think about several factors:
- Doorbell system
- Image resolution
- Night vision
- Two-way audio
- Battery life
- Field of view
- Better for front of house or backyard
Setting up a security camera is no longer an expensive and difficult process and you can install as many or as few as you need to provide security for your home.
One of the best things about choosing a wireless and wire-free security camera is that it provides all the security you need with none of the unsightly wires that look messy and make security cameras difficult to install.
Reasons you might want a wireless security camera for your home include:
- Monitor your property, especially while you are away from home
- Deter and prevent home invasions and provide surveillance footage if necessary
- Peace of mind while your children play outside
- Prevent or provide video evidence of vandalism or other criminal activity either to your home or in the immediate neighbourhood
- Possibly reducing home insurance costs
Important Features to Consider
When choosing the best security camera for you there are plenty of options to consider.
Outdoor security cameras can be used for purposes other than burglar detection. You can check who is at the door and some cameras even offer a two-way audio system allowing you to have a conversation with whoever has rung the doorbell.
For example, if you are expecting a delivery but also needed to pop to the shop, you could speak with the delivery person when they arrive and provide instructions over the audio system.
Some people might even use their outdoor security camera as a nanny cam to monitor older children while they play.
N.B. Security cameras should not be used as a sole supervisory option for children.
Wireless vs. Wire-Free
The name implies that wireless cameras are wire-free but it actually means that they connect wirelessly to your Wi-Fi network.
Many ‘wireless’ security cameras still need to be plugged in to your mains and have some battery time as a back-up option.
Cameras that are easiest to manage are those that are battery-powered completely as they are wire-free and don’t need to be located near to a power source.
Wireless security cameras are usually battery powered and can work even in a power cut. However, some people might find the periodic battery changes and recharging a disadvantage.
A way to mitigate this would be to find a camera that has a longer battery life. Some cameras can run for months without requiring a battery change.
The longer-lasting options only record when they detect movement, and this can affect how much and what they record.
Choosing a camera with a rechargeable battery pack is a preferred and more eco-friendly choice as you won’t need to regularly purchase and replace batteries.
An outdoor camera's image and video quality is very important. There is no point in an outdoor camera with a grainy image.
In the event of a crime, clearer images are more likely to identify the culprit.
The higher the resolution of the camera, the better the image.
Digital files have set dimensions based on the number of pixels in the image. Many provide HD vision or ‘high definition’ which is a very high-quality image, and some have ultra-high image quality or UHD.
With such high-quality images, data storage is an important factor, but many cameras provide rolling coverage and usually over-write the footage stored after a set time.
To further improve the quality of the image you get, choose a camera with night vision.
Field of View
When choosing a camera for your home, you want to be able to see as much of the outside area as you can. This is especially true if you are filming a large area that may have hiding places (for example, a backyard).
The field of view is the focal length of the lens and the image sensor size.
Many cameras offer a wide-angle field of view, meaning that the lens is capable of capturing 80 degrees or more.
A higher-end camera will usually have a 120 to 130 degree field of view. Some cameras offer ‘super-wide-angle’ which means they can capture up to 180 degrees.
Motion detection scans the visual area of the camera for movement. It alerts you instantly if movement is detected.
This is a handy feature that doesn’t require you to scroll through your camera's daily footage.
Outdoor wireless security cameras provide two main types of motion sensors and detection:
One method, known as PIR, uses body heat. If the ambient infrared levels in the camera change (indicating a person or an animal), the camera springs into action.
The second method compares pixel changes between frames and activates the system when a significant amount of change in pixels is detected in the previously stationery image.
Two-way audio is particularly useful if you receive a lot of deliveries. It is also recommended for security as it allows you to interact with anyone approaching your home, including a potential burglar.
There are many reviews online of instances where a burglar has been deterred or interrupted through two-way audio interaction.
Your camera will alert you when there is motion outside your home, and you can check in to your house using your smartphone and engage with whoever is there using the two-way audio.
SmartPhone Accessibility and User-Friendly Apps
Modern security systems are compatible with other smart products, especially your smartphone. This allows you to receive alert messages when something is happening near your home.
Many outdoor security systems are also compatible with doorbells, light switches and other devices.
Some higher-end systems also have facial recognition software.
Many outdoor wireless security systems can also be used and controlled by other home systems allowing you to customize the security device so it fits seamlessly to your life.
If you are already using smart home products, it is beneficial to choose an outdoor security system that would be compatible.
There are two main types of data storage options to consider with an outdoor security camera.
Internal or card storage where the data is transferred to an SD card. SD card storage of data depends on the size of the memory card and how often it is triggered.
Cloud storage where the data is encrypted and stored in the cloud. Cloud storage is accessible any time you access the network.
Usually, data can be stored for around seven days before it is overwritten. As storage space isn’t unlimited, factors like file size, image resolution and over-write time are all important considerations.
Some cameras will have ongoing stored footage, while others will only store footage once the camera is activated usually through motion detection.
Many cameras use the online storage or cloud storage option as it is efficient and quite safe. However, as with anything stored in the cloud, data storage can be hacked. Therefore, you should choose a service that is well-known with up-to-date encryption technology and regularly update your password.
There are free online storage options that are usually provided as part of the purchase for your security camera, however, for greater storage space and more history, it is better to pay a monthly or annual subscription for storage.
Other Outdoor Security Cameras We Reviewed
We looked at a range of security cameras. Some of the other cameras we looked at are listed below:
Like the Arlo Pro2, the Ring Spotlight Cam outdoor security camera has an alarm, two-way audio, night vision and motion sensors, and boasts 1080p HD video.
The Ring Spotlight Cam has a wide 140-degree field of view and fantastic night vision, as well as colour night vision once the spotlight is triggered.
The Ring Spotlight Cam is powered by a rechargeable battery pack so would stay on even if there was a power outage.
The Ring Spotlight Cam requires a storage plan and only works with Google Assistant or Alexa.
The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is a sleek and well-reviewed camera. It has all the industry standards, with 1080p HD image quality, facial recognition, a powerful speaker for two-way audio, night vision, motion and sound detection and a 130-degree field of view.
It also boasts Nest’s exclusive, Supersight – a 4K image sensor that allows the camera to zoom into faces and provide incredibly clear visuals and follow their movements.
It also has a highly secure cloud-only storage and pairs with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Homekit.
However, it isn’t completely wireless and has a rather high price point of £329 for the features it offers.
For a camera that does the job for under £100, including storage, the Blink XT2 has many of the standard industry specifications including 1080p HD, two-way audio, night vision and motion detection.
The Blink XT2 has a narrower field of view than most cameras at 110-degrees, however, it has fantastic two-year battery life.
It also provides both local and cloud storage. The cloud storage is quite generous and stores for up to 1 year. You can also download 7,200 seconds of your videos before it starts overwriting. However, it doesn’t have independent local storage.
It also only works with Alexa, so the Blink XT2 does not have smart integration with Apple or Google.
The Blink XT2 is more affordable than many other cameras so it is a great choice for a fuss-free outdoor wireless security camera.
A less well-known brand but a great all-round outdoor security camera is the Swann Security Camera.
It has a lot of the industry-standard specifications that we expect when choosing a camera and also provides an ultrawide field of view at 180-degrees. It also has in-built facial recognition.
However, it has a slightly slower response time and the app isn’t as user-friendly as it could be.
This is quite an affordable camera and has free 7 days of rolling cloud storage and a local back up for up to two days. It has an IP65 so it is quite weatherproof, and it doesn’t rely on a hub system so you can add as many cameras as you like over time.
Another affordable and easy to use camera option is the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery.
At £89 it is one of the more affordable cameras on the market even when you add the Ring storage cost of £2.50 a month. It also pairs with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for smart integration.
It has a narrower field of view at 115 degrees, but it has the standard 1080p HD image quality and its night vision is very clear.
The two-way audio on this outdoor camera is great as it provides a noise-cancelling option giving you a crystal clear conversation.
One downside to this camera is that it doesn’t have person detection, so you may get some false positive notifications.
It is, however, a value for money option and it comes with a rechargeable battery as well.
At a Glance Comparison
|Camera||Cost||Resolution||Wire-Free?||Battery Life||Field of View||Night Vision, Motion Detection + Two-Way Audio||Smart Assistant Integration||Extra Features||Subscription Service/Cost|
|Arlo Pro 2||£199.99||1080p HD||Yes but can be hardwired||6 months rechargeable||130 degrees||Yes||Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, Google Assistant||Built-in smart alarm|
|Cloud and local storage. Base service is free|
|Arlo Ultra||£327.77||4K and HDR||Yes but can be hardwired||3 to 6 months rechargeable||180 degrees||Yes||Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, Google Assistant||Weather-resistant, integrated spotlight, noise-cancelling||Cloud and local storage. 30 days free. Amazon option comes with 1-year premier subscription|
|Blink XT2||£99.99||1080p HD||Yes but can be hardwired||Up to 2 years||110 degrees||Yes||Amazon Alexa||Cloud and local storage. Stores 7,200 seconds of data before overwriting and no subscription|
|Nest Cam IQ Outdoor||£329||1080p HD||Wireless but not wire-free||N/A||130 degrees||Yes||Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, Google Assistant||Facial recognition||Cloud only storage. 30 days recording and Nest Aware at £4/month|
|Ring Spotlight Cam Battery||£199||1080p HD||Yes||6 to 12 months rechargeable||140 degrees||Yes||Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant||Built-in LED light and siren, theft protection, live view||30-day free trial then £2.50 a month. Free option allows live streaming but no saved videos|
|Ring Stick Up Cam Battery||1080p HD||Yes||6 to 12 months rechargeable||115 degrees||Yes||Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant||Built-in LED light and siren, theft protection, live view||30-day free trial then £2.50 a month. Free option allows live streaming but no saved videos|
|Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen)||£89||1080p HD||Wire-free or hardwired to existing doorbell||6 tp 12 months rechargeable||160 degrees||Yes||Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant||Theft protection, live view||30-day free trial then £2.50 a month. Free option allows live streaming but no saved videos|
|Swann Security Camera||£149.99||1080p HD||Yes||2 to 3 months||180 degrees||Yes||Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant||Weatherproof, ultrawide lens, free facial recognition, can add solar panel recharge||Free 7 days rolling cloud storage and local backup two days|
When choosing your camera, think about how you spend your day, how often you are away from home, along with all the features and specifications you want or need.
The security of your home is very important and the decisions you make for choosing an outdoor security camera are very important as well.
Choose one of our best wireless outdoor security cameras and you will ensure the safety of your home for years to come.