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It will not only alert you to dangers, but also create a record of the events that happen outside your home.
It should also help you identify someone—whether it’s a welcome or unwelcome guest—or just let you monitor pets or kids when you’re not outside with them.
Most outdoor cameras cost from 0 to 0 each, with several features helping to determine the price: We mounted our test group of outdoor Wi-Fi cameras to a board outside the house, so we could point them at the same spot and expose them all to the same lighting conditions and New England weather.
The two exceptions were cameras integrated into outdoor lighting fixtures, both of which I had installed on the porch by a licensed electrician (who happens to be my husband).
Some also integrate with other smart-home systems to trigger sirens, lights, thermostats, and other devices when motion is detected.
We started compiling a list of outdoor Wi-Fi cameras by doing Google searches and reading professional reviews on sites like PCMag, Safewise, and
If that’s not enough peace of mind and you want to step it up to 24/7, hands-off security, you’ll want to go with something that’s connected to a monitoring service.
(Also know that some uses of surveillance cameras wade into ethically questionable waters.) Many cameras feature onboard speakers, with a two-way audio connection, so you can shoo away unwanted visitors when you detect them (or just talk to solicitors or unexpected guests if you can’t—or don’t want to—come to the door).
We narrowed the list by dropping devices that require a networked video recorder to capture video, considering only products that could stand alone, which kept our focus on models that are easier to set up and use.
It also includes the option for advanced features via a Nest Aware subscription, which increases the price, but also the camera’s capabilities: For to per month (depending on the amount of video history you need), Nest Aware adds recording storage, person alerts, and the option to highlight specific monitoring boundaries.
The Nest Cam Outdoor Wi-Fi camera does everything a DIY surveillance camera should, and tops the others we tested in convenience features.
It delivers an excellent image and clear two-way audio, and it allows for practical smart-home integration and seven days of free cloud storage.
It also offers an option (for a fee) to add more cloud-based video storage, and you can use a USB drive for additional local storage.