Best HD Security Cameras
Security Camera
Amcrest UltraHD: Best Overall 
Amcrest-HD-Camera.jpg

The Amcrest UltraHD holds a lot of power for a little dome camera. It shoots in 4K, has a powerful 16x zoom, can detect motion, and sees in the dark up to 98 feet away. These powers combined give you a clear view of your driveway whether it’s the middle of the night or high noon.
 

But the cherry on top of this little wireless security sundae is its microSD card. Similar HD Wi-Fi security cameras require a subscription to access video history. The local storage on the Amcrest UltraHD allows you to watch past video footage without a monthly fee. Plus, keeping your video history on a local drive makes it harder for hackers to access your past footage.

The Amcrest claims a wide-angle lens, but it’s certainly not the widest available. It can capture 112° around it (just a little more than the human eye), but that doesn’t compare to Arlo Ultra’s field of view.
 

Overall, the Amcrest UltraHD outdoor security camera delivers a sharp picture, day or night. Its motion detection and continuous recording features make it the perfect digital watchdog for your doorstep, backyard, or walkway.

 

Pros
Cons
  • 4K video quality

  • 98 ft. night vision

  • 16x zoom

  • Localized video storage

  • Limited field of vision

Arlo Ultra: Best Field of View 
Arlo-Ultra-HD-Camera.jpg

The Arlo Ultra is the pick of the litter in Arlo’s suite of outdoor security cameras. It’s expensive, but its 4K video quality and wide-angle lens make it a worthy investment.
 

This outdoor security camera catches what other cameras only get in the periphery. Its 180° field of view can see it all, from your dog digging up the flowers again to a suspicious character looming around the corner. Its built-in floodlight and siren also come in handy when there’s trouble.
 

The Arlo Ultra comes with a base station that connects the camera to your home’s Wi-Fi network. You can view footage live from the Arlo app and interact with anyone on the other side through the two-way talk feature. The speaker and mic have noise-canceling technology that blocks out ambient noise like wind or cars.
 

Some of the Arlo’s best features require a subscription, though. Arlo Smart is affordable (under $5 per month for one camera) and offers 30-day video history, person detection, and e911, a service unique to Arlo that calls emergency responders nearest to your house.
 

Our biggest complaint about the Arlo Ultra is its price. If you want to add an Arlo camera, but don’t want to drop a ton of money, read our review of the Arlo Pro to see if it would better meet your needs.

Pros
  • 4K resolution 

  • Widest field of view of the bunch 

  • Built-in light and siren

Cons
Cons
  • Expensive price tag 

  • Extra features require a subscription

Logitech Circle 2: Best Indoor/Outdoor
Logitech-circle-2.jpg

The Logitech Circle 2 is the chameleon of HD security cameras. This indoor/outdoor security camera comes wireless ($199) or plugged in ($179). You can choose from multiple mounting options like a window mount, outlet mount, or an outdoor magnetic mount.

The Circle shoots 180° in clear 1080p HD, enough to catch the whole living room or your entire backyard. Its night vision is better suited for indoor security, but you can still see 15 feet in the dark (enough to help see who’s sleepwalking or getting a midnight snack).

The Logitech Circle 2 is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Homekit, so you can use voice control or sync it with smart home devices.

Its subscription service Circle Safe costs $9.99 per month for its Premium plan or $3.99 per month for the Basic plan. The Premium plan delivers features like person detection, motion zones, timelapse, and 31-day cloud storage so you can review your home’s happenings in the last month.

If you don’t need the extra features, you can still get 24 hours of cloud storage without Circle Safe. This buys you enough time to check on a recent event like package thievery or a trash can raid by rogue wildlife.

Pros
  • Customizable mounting and power options 

  • Indoor and outdoor functionality 

  • 180° field of vision

  • 24 hours of free cloud storage

Cons
  • Limited night vision

Ring Floodlight Camera: Brightest Floodlight
ring-floodlight-cam.jpg

The Ring Floodlight camera sheds light on the darkest parts of your property. Install it on the garage or on the side of your house to light the backyard. The camera and lights activate when the motion sensors detect objects. These lights are bright too, about 300 lumens, about as bright as one car headlight.
 

The Ring Floodlight continuously records in 1080p video quality. While it lacks the ultra HD you might see in our 4K picks, it’s still high quality. If you have an Amazon Echo Show or Echo Spot, you can see Ring camera footage by asking Alexa. So you can check in on the backyard from the kitchen or wherever you keep your Echo device.
 

Ring also has a few extra features like 30-day video history and professional monitoring available through a Ring Protect subscription.

Pros
  • Motion activated camera and lights

  • Compatibility with Amazon Echo

Cons
  • Subscription required for video history

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
Unknown-51.jpeg

The Nest Cam IQ outdoor security camera looks like it belongs in an art museum. Its smooth white weatherproof casing adds security and curb appeal to your home no matter where you put it.
 

But it’s not just a pretty face. The Nest IQ Outdoor shoots in 1080p HD, has a field of vision of 130°, and boasts a powerful 12x digital zoom. That’s enough to clearly see a license plate from the street or identify visitors’ facial features from far away.

Nest and Google work closely together on their products, so it’s no surprise that the Nest IQ cam can connect with your Google Assistant. You can view footage on your Google Assistant speaker or set up alerts when your Nest senses something.

The best features for Nest Cam IQ come with a Nest Aware subscription. Facial recognition, video history, clips, and time lapses are just a few of the features that come with a subscription. These features are useful, but we’ve seen the same perks from more affordable cameras like the Logitech Circle.
 

We like Nest cameras, but they’re expensive compared to our other picks. If you’re ready to invest in outdoor security, the Nest Cam IQis a worthy choice. But for budget-conscious folks, it may be best to look into other options.

Pros
  • 12x digital zoom

  • Wide field of vision

Cons
  • Steep price tag

Things to Consider Before You Buy

Resolution

Resolution quantifies the number of pixels a camera can fit onto your screen. The more pixels, the sharper the image. Today’s HD Wi-Fi security cameras are the standard, but even HD footage can appear fuzzy if you watch it on a screen that’s too big.

Think of the screen you'll use when you watch your footage. If it’s smaller than a phone screen, you might not need a super-crisp 4K resolution. But if you plan to use a TV or computer screen, opt for a higher resolution.
 

Field of View 

The average human eye can see about 100° from side to side, so look for a security cam that can see at least as much.2 Basically, the wider the area you want to cover, the wider your field of view needs to be.
 

The most we’ve ever seen in a Wi-Fi security camera is 180°. You can commonly find cameras that range from 120° to 140°. Cameras with a field of view of 120° should be enough to cover your front porch or living room, but aim for more if you want to cover your whole backyard or a wide room inside.
 

Paid Features

Some IP cameras like Arlo offer a subscription service that delivers more features to your camera. Typically, these features include access to in-depth video history versus the few minutes you might get for free. It’s always worth looking into these paid features, but they require a monthly fee and can build up fast if you’re on a budget.