The best wireless security cameras in 2024

Today's wireless security cameras are easy-to-use, easy to install, and easy on your budget.

Best overall

A Ring Floodlight Cam Pro on a blue and white background

Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Pro

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Best with 4K resolution

A Lorex 4K wireless camera on a blue and white background

Lorex 4K Spotlight Indoor/Outdoor Wi-Fi 6 Technology Security Camera

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Best budget

A WYZE camera on a plain background

Wyze Cam v3

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Although security cameras have been around for more than 50 years, do-it-yourself wireless security cameras installed by consumers have only been available for a fraction of that time. Before that, most security cameras needed to be installed by professional technicians. However, a few factors have allowed wireless security cameras to evolve so that average consumers can install and use them: They’ve been designed to be easy to install, use, and understand; because of marketplace competition, DIY wireless security cameras are relatively inexpensive; and technology that interacts with wireless security cameras, like home wireless networks, as well as other technologies, are easier to use and works seamlessly with each other. The best wireless security cameras should fit the needs of almost every consumer and budget.

How we chose the best wireless security cameras

I’ve written about many types of different cameras, including wireless security cameras, for a number of publications over the years, including PCMag.com, Consumer Reports, The New York Times, Tom’s Guide, Gearbrain, and, of course, Popular Science. I’ve also written stories on wireless security systems, video doorbells, and other related security system devices. I brought my expertise in this area to help discover the best outdoor security cameras. I also looked at critical reviews and user recommendations and did a lot of research to narrow down our list to find the best models. 

To find the best security cameras, I carefully considered a number of factors, including video resolution, night vision capability, audio, ease of use, versatility, and smart home compatibility.

The best wireless security cameras: Reviews & Recommendations

Today, you’ll find a very wide range of wireless security cameras and smart-home security systems, which are very easy to install and use. Many of them also include cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence for detecting people, pets, and objects. They’re available at a variety of price points—from budget models that don’t require a subscription for storing and accessing video that costs as little as $30 to feature-packed models that cost more than $400. One of our picks will allow you to give you peace of mind by protecting your home, both inside and out.

Best overall: Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Pro

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Specs

  • Video resolution: 1080p 
  • Field of view: 140 degrees
  • Power: Wired only
  • System compatibility: Amazon Alexa, IFTTT
  • Storage options: Cloud-based (via subscription) 
  • Size: 12.8 x 7.8 x 8.5 inches 

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Excellent quality 1080p-resolution video
  • Comes with dual-band WiFi
  • Includes two bright adjustable LED spotlights
  • Comes with a remote-activated alarm 

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • Lacks support for HomeKit and Google Assistant compatibility

Although it’s a bit pricey, there’s a lot to like about this Ring wireless security camera. For starters, like the company’s many doorbell cameras, it’s easy to use and set up. However, since it needs a wired connection, you may be a bit limited when mounting this model outside your home. It produces excellent quality video, assisted by HDR features to provide video footage with better contrast and detail. That can be helpful if the location you’re setting up to monitor is dimly lit during certain times of the day. Of course, that dim setting would also benefit from the two adjustable LED floodlights included on this Ring cam, rated at 3,000 degrees Kelvin and 2,000 Lumen.

There’s a variety of other useful features that also make it worth the price, like color night vision. But it also includes additional smart features, like 3D motion detection, a customizable system, and a bird’s eye view feature, which tracks a visitor (or intruder) on your property and provides you with a record of their path. It also has clear, two-way audio and a loud siren to scare away trespassers. However, in order to access videos and enable some features, you will need to subscribe to a Ring Protect plan, which starts at $3.99 a month.   

Best system: SimpliSafe 10 Piece Wireless Home Security System with Outdoor Camera 

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Specs

  • Video resolution: 1080p
  • Field of view: 140 degrees
  • Power: Rechargeable battery 
  • System compatibility: Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant 
  • Storage options: Cloud storage only (for both cameras)
  • Size: 4 x 4 x 8.3 inches

Pros

  • Lets you set up a whole security system right out of the box
  • Outside cam has a very good quality video with 140 degrees field of view
  • Easy to install and use
  • Comes with a professional monitoring option
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant 
  • Includes convenient magnetic mount

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lacks support for HomeKit 

If you’re looking to install a wireless security camera and a DIY home security system along with it, the SimpliSafe 10-Piece Wireless Home Security System might be your best bet. It’s pricey but far less expensive than buying the components individually. But even more importantly, it lets you set up a whole security system right out of the box.

What’s in the box? In addition to the two 1080p cameras (indoors and outdoors), it also comes with a base station, keypad, motion sensors, and entry sensors. All the components, including the cameras, connect to the base station, which also includes the ability to generate a loud siren to scare off intruders. Although the inside security camera isn’t the most robust model, the outside camera offers very good quality video with color night vision. What’s also nice is that the SimpliSafe mobile app is nicely designed to let you effectively interact with your entire setup, and it comes with the option of including a professional monitoring system. However, for the price, it would be nice if both cameras had the option to store videos locally. 

Best with 4K-resolution: Lorex 4K Spotlight Indoor/Outdoor WiFi 6 Technology Security Camera 

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Specs 

  • Video resolution: 4K
  • Field of view: 140 degrees
  • Power: Wired power only 
  • System compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
  • Storage options: Local storage
  • Size: 3.0 x 3.0 x 3.4 inches

Pros 

  • Versatile
  • Excellent quality 4K-resolution video
  • Comes with dual-band WiFi
  • Includes WiFi 6 technology

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a battery backup

As a brand, Lorex has been making very good quality outdoor security cameras for many years. This model is no exception. It stands out because it captures very good quality 4K-resolution video and has a very good 8-megapixel sensor that lets you shoot 8-megapixel photos with more detail and data. It also comes with WiFi 6 technology, allowing faster data transmission with a compatible router to deliver impressive 4K resolution with fast loading time. Plus, it includes 2.4/5GHz dual-band coverage for better connectivity. You can also use one of two smart-motion detection features: Person, Vehicle, and Animal detection or Package detection, although both cannot be used simultaneously. 

It’s not ideal for everyone, though. It’s hardwired, so you may be more limited in where you need to place this model. It also doesn’t have a battery backup, which can be useful for units that are wired. 

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Specs

  • Video resolution: 2K
  • Field of view: 104 degrees
  • Power: Wired only 
  • System compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant,
  • Storage options: Cloud storage or local storage 
  • Size: ‎5.6 x 4.1 x 2.5 inches

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Excellent 2K-resolution (2304 x 1296) video quality
  • Versatile 
  • Can connect wirelessly or via an ethernet connection

Cons

  • Lacks support for HomeKit 
  • Lower frame rate than other models
  • Field of view isn’t as wide as other models

Not only is this one of the most affordable security cameras on the market, but it’s also great for those who want to avoid paying extra for cloud storage since you can store video locally by inserting a microSD memory card (up to 128 GB). However, it’s also very versatile since it does offer a subscription plan if you’d rather subscribe to the brand’s cloud service for storing video (Tape Care). Overall, it captures excellent-quality video. However, it has a lower frame rate (just 15 frames per second). It also comes with night vision, but it’s only in black-and-white, and not color. 

Best with cellular: Arlo Go 2 

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Specs 

  • Video resolution: 1080p
  • Field of view: 130 degrees
  • Power: Battery powered only
  • System compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT
  • Storage options: Cloud-based (via subscription); accepts microSD memory card for local storage
  • Size: 3.4 x 2.5 x 4.7 inches

Pros 

  • Very versatile
  • Can use either cloud or local storage
  • Includes color night vision 
  • Powerful Secure Plan features

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Need to pay extra for a cellular plan

One thing almost every outdoor security camera requires is access to your home’s wireless network. But what if you have poor reception or don’t have a WiFi network at all? If you’re one of these people, consider the Arlo Go 2. It not only lets you hook up to a WiFi network, but you can also use a cellular plan. However, if you choose the latter, you’ll have to buy both a cellular plan and SIM card. Also, it only works with Verizon, US Cellular, and T-Mobile. 

It does have color night vision and two-way talk and audio, but it’s not perfect for everyone. For instance, it provides you with the option of using cloud storage via one of Arlo’s Secure plans (plans start at $4.99), which also lets you access special features or store your videos on local storage. Still, if you use local storage, you can’t access the Secure plan features, which include 30-day video recording, person, vehicle, and animal detection (and the ability to distinguish between them), and smart activity zones, which allow you to focus motion detection on a specific area within your camera’s field of view. 

Best budget: Wyze Cam v3

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Specs 

  • Video resolution: 1080p
  • Field of view: 130 degrees
  • Power: Wired power only 
  • System compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT
  • Storage options: Cloud-based (via subscription); accepts microSD memory card for local storage
  • Size: 2.0 x 2.0 x 2.3 inches 

Pros 

  • Very affordable
  • Compatible with major smart technologies
  • Cloud subscriptions are relatively inexpensive
  • Color night vision is very good

Cons

  • Lacks support for HomeKit compatibility
  • Lower frame rate than other models
  • May not be as sturdy as other models

This hardwired security camera is one of the cheapest on the market, but it performs very well, capturing very good quality video. It also provides you with the option of storing your videos in cloud storage or on local storage using a microSD memory card. 

But it’s not the perfect option for all users. For example, those looking for high-res video probably won’t be happy since it shoots just 1080p video. It also shoots at a lower frame rate than other models: For Daytime and Color Night Vision, the frame rate is 20 frames per second (fps), and with Night Vision with IR lights it’s a frame rate of 15fps. However, remember to consider your needs—you’re most likely not looking to produce cinema-quality video. You simply want your security camera to capture decent video. 

What to consider when buying the best wireless security camera

Wireless security cameras continue to evolve at a dizzying pace, with many models coming with better connectivity and cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence, to improve a host of features. However, if you’re new to these types of cameras, it can be confusing to figure out which features, specs, and capabilities are important for you and your home security system. 

The following factors will help you figure out what’s important before you purchase a wireless security camera or wireless security camera system:  

Video resolution and field of view 

You’ll often see 1080p, 2K, or 4K resolutions in outdoor security cameras. A higher resolution means you’ll get a crisper image. A higher resolution will also fill up your local or cloud storage faster. That’s a problem if your subscription plan or card has a fixed limit to its capacity. If you’re trying to balance subscription costs for cloud storage with what resolution you’ll need, consider how detailed of a picture you’ll need. If you need more detail, go with a higher resolution. 

You’ll also want to check a security camera’s field of view specification, which is measured in degrees and tells you how much of a particular scene your security camera is capturing. The higher the FOV number indicates a wider lens and lets you see more of a particular scene in front of your house.  

Lighting, power options, and storage

Light has always been incredibly important when it comes to capturing digital video and photos. That’s why if you need your outdoor security camera to capture better-quality video or photos, you should consider buying a model with flood lights. Such models not only allow for improved image quality, but they can also act as a deterrent to intruders.

When planning to set up your new outdoor security camera, you’ll need to think about where to install it. This is not as much of an issue for models that only use battery power. However, hardwired connections require a direct connection to your home or an outdoor outlet with a weatherproof cord. This limits where you can place it. You make up for the lack of creative control with video and audio quality, which is better in a hardwired connection. 

In addition to lighting and power options, consider whether you want your security camera to store the video it captures locally, on a cloud-based server, or perhaps both. Most store video in the cloud, which is convenient, but you’ll most often have to pay a fee to access them. So, if you don’t want to pay a fee for a cloud service, consider models that let you store them on a memory card. 

Other features to look for

Because there is a lot of competition in the industry, all security camera brands are continually updating models and adding new features. For example, many brands have introduced privacy features, such as two-factor authentication, to ensure devices are not compromised or hacked. Many brands are also making security cameras that integrate with smart-home features, such as voice technologies, like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and others. And then there are some brands that even offer professional monitoring services for an extra level of protection, but you will generally have to pay more for such services. Make sure you consider additional features that may be important to you and your family.

FAQs

Q: Can wireless security cameras work without the internet?

If you have a camera that needs to store video footage in a cloud server (via a cloud subscription plan), you’ll need a wireless connection to access the internet. However, there are a number of models that can store video locally, on a memory card, hard drive, or other local storage. Additionally, there are some models that use cellular data plans to store video footage. 

Q: How long do wireless security cameras last?

Most wireless security cameras last anywhere from three to ten years, although there are a few factors to consider: Is the camera itself constructed to last? Also, is the camera placed outdoors and exposed to harsh weather? If it’s not waterproof and it’s exposed to the elements in an outdoor setting, the camera might not last more than a few months. 

Q: What is the longest range on a wireless security camera?

Most wireless security cameras made for consumers are designed to capture more of a wide-angle view of a scene, instead of zooming in on a particular subject. That’s why most models can see subjects anywhere from a few feet up to 75 feet away. However, some models are equipped with digital zoom features, which can crop in on the sensor and give the appearance of an optical zoom lens. However, digital zoom works best if you have a higher resolution sensor (such as 2K and 4K resolution) since you’re actually cropping the video clip and losing resolution, which can degrade video image quality.

Final thoughts on the best wireless security cameras

A wireless security camera can provide you with a way to keep a watchful eye on your home, both inside and out. But before you buy, consider the actual space you need to use the security camera or cameras for and what constellation of features on those cameras will best cover that area. If you’re living in a one-room apartment, you might only need one inexpensive security camera. But if you’re looking to oversee a more expansive environment, you may want to buy more than just one security camera. And be sure to always examine the mobile apps for all models to make sure they’re easy to use.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.