Best cheap security cameras

Safety & Security

Inexpensive security cameras can provide peace of mind with very little financial investment.

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Which cheap security camera is best?

Security cameras provide an effective way for you to keep a close eye on your home, office or family while you’re away. With today’s advancements in streaming and wireless technology, it’s easier and cheaper than ever to install high-quality security cameras wherever you wish.

Thanks to its super HD video, multiple storage options and smart home compatibility, the Reolink E1 Pro Wireless PT Smart Home Camera is the best cheap security camera available for anyone looking to remotely view their property or pets.

What to know before you buy a cheap security camera

Mounting options

Consider where you wish to place your security camera. Most models are made to easily sit on a shelf or table. If you want to mount your camera to a wall or ceiling, check the manufacturer’s information to ensure your camera can accommodate your plans.

Indoor vs. outdoor

If you need to monitor an area outside your home, choose a model that’s built for use outdoors and able to withstand the elements. Indoor cameras may function outdoors, but they lack weather protection and quickly succumb to damage related to moisture and extreme temperatures.

Night vision

Many cameras feature a mode that allows you to see in the dark. While most cameras display night vision in black and white, some newer models are able to provide nighttime images in full color. If you want round-the-clock security monitoring, choose a camera with night vision.

What to look for in a quality cheap security camera

Wi-Fi and smart home connectivity

Select a camera that provides easy Wi-Fi monitoring via a PC, tablet or smartphone app. Cameras that allow for remote control can also be repositioned and zoomed in and out via their software. Many cameras can be integrated into your smart home system. As this varies with each model, carefully check your camera’s specifications to ensure compatibility.

Video quality

Most modern cameras capture HD video in 1080p. 4K cameras are available, but this level of resolution is typically not necessary for security monitoring and doesn’t warrant any additional cost over an HD model.

Easy installation

Select a camera that’s not only easy to physically set up or mount but also easy to connect to and monitor. Security cameras should be simple devices. Avoid those that include overly complicated apps, needless features or difficult connection instructions.

Power

Select a camera that doesn’t require batteries to operate to avoid lapses in security. If you’re unable to provide AC power to your camera and require a battery-powered model, select one that can operate for several days without needing a charge.

Video storage

Some cameras store their video in the cloud, while others utilize SD memory cards. Cloud storage doesn’t require physical media and can be accessed from anywhere in the world. However, cloud storage services typically require a monthly subscription. If your priority is to keep costs down, select a security camera that stores footage to an SD card.

Security camera tips

  • If you want to monitor an outside area without purchasing an outdoor camera, consider pointing an indoor camera out a window facing your desired location.
  • Some cameras record video automatically when they detect motion. Avoid placing these cameras in areas where cars or people may continually pass and fill your camera’s memory with wasted footage.
  • If you’re using a camera as a baby monitor, be sure that the device and its power cable are placed out of reach.

How much you can expect to spend on a cheap security camera

Cheap security cameras can be purchased for $35-$70 depending on features, bundled accessories and quality.

Cheap security camera FAQ

Can I incorporate a cheap security camera into my smart home?

A. In most cases, yes. Many security cameras work with Alexa, Apple Homekit and Google Assistant. This varies from one camera to the next, so check the manufacturer’s details on the model you select.

Can I install a cheap security camera by myself?

A. Yes. With their wireless technology and simple design, today’s security cameras are easy to set up and install. However, if you wish to mount your camera on a ceiling or otherwise difficult area, assistance is recommended.

Are there cheap security cameras that are waterproof?

A. Yes. Some cheap security cameras are built for either indoor or outdoor use. However, their ability to function properly may depend on how extreme your local weather conditions get. Read all specifications and tolerances carefully.

What’s the best cheap security camera to buy?

Top cheap security camera

Reolink E1 Pro Wireless PT Smart Home Camera

Reolink E1 Pro Wireless PT Smart Home Camera

What you need to know: With multiple storage options, voice control and super HD resolution, this security camera provides a wealth of features.

What you’ll love: Footage can be stored via the cloud or on an SD card. Includes motion detection, night vision, two-way audio and compatibility with Google Assistant.

What you should consider: Some users describe inconvenient lag time in the camera’s live feed as well as Wi-Fi connectivity issues. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top cheap security camera for the money

WYZE Cam v3

WYZE Cam v3

What you need to know: Affordable and packed with features, this security camera is an excellent value.

What you’ll love: Free cloud storage means no additional fees. Two-way audio allows you to communicate through the camera. Waterproof construction makes this model suitable for most outdoor use.

What you should consider: Motion detection can be unreliable in some cases, and this camera’s software only works on smartphones and tablets.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Chewy

Worth checking out

YI 4-Piece Security Home Camera

YI 4-Piece Security Home Camera

What you need to know: This pack of four cameras allows you to cheaply monitor your entire house in full HD.

What you’ll love: These cameras work with both Google Assistant and Alexa. SD memory card storage makes this model’s subscription cloud service an optional expense. HD video and night vision make these cameras ideal for interior home security, pet or baby monitoring.

What you should consider: Some users have expressed privacy concerns regarding the manufacturer’s terms of service. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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