Best Security Cameras 2018: 10 great smart home monitors

The best security cameras makes monitoring your home from an app on your phone a breeze. But not all cameras offer the same level or quality of home surveillance, and choosing the one that’s right for your nest can be a tricky business. 

Our round-up of the best smart home security cameras is here to help. When you’re considering which smart security camera to buy, it shouldn’t be just down to pixel-count, or whether a camera looks nice on your bookshelf. There’s a lot more to take into account, while also ensuring you’re only investing in features you need.

Best security cameras – What to look out for

Some of the most popular features to consider when buying a security camera include night vision, face detection, location-based alerts and weatherproofing. You might also want to consider if it has an affordable cloud-based storage option for holding on to its footage.

Whether or not a camera has IFTTT integration is important for some buyers too, particularly if they’ve already dipped their toes in the smart home waters and are adding to their brood. A modular security system can work better for some people too, with separate motion sensors and sirens placed around the home to work in conjunction with a separate camera.

That’s why we’ve handpicked each smart security camera in our round-up for its outstanding range of features for every kind of budget and household. A security camera like the Y-Cam Evo, for instance, offers a crystal-clear picture and generous cloud storage, but lacks face detection.

Then there’s the Netatmo Presence, which claims to distinguish humans from animals (but lightens your wallet significantly in the process). A mid-price camera such as the Canary All-In-One even offers home air quality monitoring, going above and beyond the duties of your average security system.

Whatever you’re on the look out, we’re pretty sure you’ll find it here. Don’t forget you can click through on each of our picks to read our review in full.

Netgear Arlo Q

1 of 10

Score

Key features:

  • 1080p HD video recording at 30fps
  • 2-way audio
  • Night vision
  • Motion and audio detection
  • AC powered
  • 24/7 cloud recording

The Netgear Arlo Q is a great one-stop solution for indoor home security. One of three cameras in Netgear’s surveillance range, this diamond-shaped camera is designed for easy use at home or in the office. It’s impressively small, with a stand to let it nestle discreetly on a bookshelf, and a wall mount for your preferred vantage point.

One feature we love is triggering automatic recording. You can set the camera to record for a specified length of time on each trigger – the default being 30 seconds – and you can choose whether to have it triggered by sound or motion. All clips are organised in a neat library in the app.

The quality of the footage that the Netgear Arlo Q captures is impressive. Images are detailed, vibrant and crisp in the day, and clear by night. The Night Mode can comfortably capture a large stretch of garden too. Super-easy to setup and manage and offering free cloud storage, it’s a no-brainer if you’re after smart and fuss-free home monitoring.

Buy now at PCWorld.co.uk from £119.97

At the time of the review the Netgear Arlo Q was available for £159

Read the full Netgear Arlo Q review

Y-Cam Evo

2 of 10

Score

Key features:

  • Magnetic stand
  • iOs and Android apps
  • Motion zones
  • Standard and HD (1280 x 720) resolution
  • Night vision up to 8 metres
  • 7 days of free cloud storage

The cube-shaped Y-Cam Evo is a discreet and affordable camera for small smart home security. It might not have some of the more advanced bells and whistles such as face recognition and onboard storage, but it does what it says on the box well.

Location-based recording, reliable motion detection and live streaming on the app are all included. The picture you’ll get from the Y-Cam Evo is clear, with people’s faces recognisable on distances up to around 5m or more. Night mode is a little more hit and miss, but a little graininess is always to be expected when infrared kicks in. There’s noise detection too, which will alert you to all things that go bump in the night.

The real boon is seven days’ worth of free encrypted cloud storage for footage, which isn’t generally a done thing among smart home cameras. There’s an intuitive app to boot, which lets you easily set specific motion zones to monitor, check alerts and toggle settings. Occasional connection speed issues let it down somewhat, but not enough to put off the first-time budget cam buyer.

Buy now at Y-Cam.com from £129.99

At the time of the review the Y-Cam Evo was available for £130

Read the full Y-Cam Evo review

Logitech Circle

3 of 10

Score

Key features:

  • 720p and 1080p video capture
  • 24 hours of free cloud storage
  • Built-in battery
  • Android and iOS apps
  • Night vision
  • Motion sensing
  • Location-based notifications
  • Subscription options available

The fuss-free Logitech Circle has come on leaps and bounds since we first reviewed it, with a slew of new features that set it a cut above budget rivals. A Day Brief feature in the app compiles highlights of the day to watch a glance, while an £80 per year subscription plan boosts its existing 24 hour storage limitations.

There’s an intuitive app for both iOS and Android, which makes use of location-based notifications to give you peace of mind while you’re away from home. A built-in microphone and speaker give you the option of chatting with the camera’s subjects while you’re out of the room, which makes it a reasonable option for a part-time baby monitor or pet watcher.

A couple of caveats worth noting are the lack of zoned activity monitoring or facial recognition, and a spot of temperamental night vision. If you’re after a good basic level of surveillance, though, this shouldn’t put you off. The Logitech Circle’s wide viewing angle, informative app and ease of use should keep most buyers happy.

Buy now at Amazon.co.uk from £129.99

At the time of the review the Logitech Circle was available for £160

Read the full Logitech Circle review

Score

Key features:

  • 1080p 30fps video
  • Activity Zones (with subscription)
  • Built-in microphone and speaker
  • 130-degree field of view
  • 10- and 30-day video history (with subscription)

By far one of the best security cameras we’ve tested, the Nest Cam Outdoor offers painless installation, incredibly smart monitoring and a knockout design that actually makes smart security look stylish. The spotlight-esque camera perches on a versatile magnetic mount on the outside of your house, with an IP65 rating to withstand dust and showers.

The camera’s night vision is more than enough to see clearly to the bottom of a sizeable garden. There’s also noise detection, which will alert your device when there’s a loud noise like glass breaking. A built-in microphone and speaker gives you the option of talking to unwanted visitors, or simply chatting with the delivery man.

The only caveat is that you’ll have to pay for a rather pricey subscription free to get the most out of the camera. They range from £8 to £24 per month depending on how much video storage you’re after. If you’re happy to lay down the cash, you’ll get extra features like more advanced motion detection, the ability to set Activity Zones, and the option to save and download video clips. IFTTT integration gets the camera talking to your other smart devices too.

Buy now at Electrical-Showroom.co.uk from £158

At the time of the review Nest Cam Outdoor was available for £159

Read the full Nest Cam Outdoor review

Score

Key features:

  • Full HD video recording
  • Night vision and motion sensor
  • Location-based alerts
  • Air quality, temperature and humidity monitoring
  • iOS and Android apps
  • 90dB alarm

The Canary All-In-One Smart Home Security Camera is a trustworthy addition to your smart home-security setup. Standout features include location-based alerts, an in-depth app, and environmental data that keeps tabs on air factors such as temperature, air quality and humidity. That means the camera could pick up a fire, or detect if your heating has failed, but Canary is quick to point out that it’s by no means an alternative to a smoke detector.

Also hard to ignore is a whopping 90dB alarm to ward off intruders – an ungodly racket best heard from afar, which is how any good alarm should be.Thanks to an infra-red lap, the camera produces brilliantly clear night vision footage, showing detailed images of unwelcome faces.

You can rig up between one and four cameras on your network and operate them from multiple devices. The lack of SD card slot does mean you have no choice but to subscribe to one of Canary’s pricey subscription plans, however. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, Netatmo Welcome and Samsung SmartCam are better options.

Buy now at JohnLewis.com from £159.95

At the time of the review the Canary All-in-One Smart Home Security Camera was available for £160

Read the full Canary All-in-One Smart Home Security Camera review

Score

Key features:

  • Monitor HD camera, siren and window sensor included
  • Cloud storage support
  • iOS and Android apps
  • 720p video recording

If you want to rig up a flat or a small area of your home, the D-Link Smart Home Security Kit offers great value for money. The pack comes with D-Link’s central smart home hub, a Monitor HD camera, a siren plus a single window/door sensor to position wherever you like.

D-Link’s app is among the best we’ve tested, rarely lagging and offering buttons to enter Settings, My Devices, My Action and My Places screens. There are handy shortcuts to each device on your network, taking you straight to your camera’s live feed or the siren’s settings. You can program the siren to sound different alarms when each device is triggered, which is a useful advanced warning.

We love the integration of IFTTT too, which lets you add the system to your existing smart home setup and get multiple devices working in harmony – like having the window sensor trigger an outdoor light. Like many budget systems, there’s no facial recognition, but that shouldn’t be a sticking point if you’re after an effective and affordable security system.

Buy now at Amazon.co.uk from £159.87

At the time of the review the D-Link Smart Home Security Kit was available for £170

Read the full D-Link Smart Home Security Kit review

Score

Key features:

  • HD camera
  • 16GB memory card included
  • Dropbox and FTP support
  • Claims to detect people, cars or animals up to 20m/65ft away

The Netatmo Presence is a weatherproof outdoor camera that claims to be able to tell the difference between humans, cars and animals, then react accordingly. For the most part, it works well, but we did experience some occasional confusion, mainly when the camera thought cats were humans, which wasn’t ideal on a heavily cat-populated street.

In the app, you can choose individual zones to keep tabs on in the camera’s field of view, giving you the option of blocking out the pavement, road or areas beyond your garden. There’s sound recording, which does a good job of picking up doorstep conversations, and superb video quality does justice to the hefty price tag.

Other redeeming features include Dropbox and IFTTT integration for extra smart home fun, letting you add the Netatmo Presence to your existing family of smart devices. Netatmo doesn’t demand a constant subscription on top of the price in order to save your footage, which is a rare and welcome gesture in the current home security market.

Buy now at Maplin.co.uk from £249.99

At the time of the review Netatmo Presence was available for £249.99

Read the full Netatmo Presence review

Score

Key features:

  • Full HD camera
  • Motion detection
  • Mobile access
  • Certified for outdoor use

The Ring is a security camera with a difference: it’s also a doorbell. But it’s not just a doorbell with a lens, because it’s app connected. If somebody rings the bell while you’re out, you can talk to them using your phone. For potential intruders, that’s a great way to pretend you are home. For deliveries, it means no more ‘you were out’ cards.

It’s not limited to people ringing the bell, either – the motion sensor can automatically pick up anybody loitering outside your home with its wide 160-degree lens, and catch burglars breaking and entering.

You can even adjust the camera’s sensitivity and reach, to avoid picking up passing cars. A clever first line of defence – the only catch is that cloud storage isn’t free, but it won’t break the bank.

This is the second iteration of Ring and it comes with some significant improvements, including improved battery charging, Full HD video (up from 720p) and interchangeable faceplates to make if far more flexible than the original Ring.

At the time of the review Ring Video Doorbell 2 was available for £170.

Read the full Ring Video Doorbell 2 review

Nest Cam IQ

9 of 10

Score

Key features:

  • 4K sensor
  • Face recognition (subscription required)
  • 130-degree field of view
  • Two-way microphone
  • 10- and 30-day video history

The Nest Cam IQ is arguably one of the smartest security cameras going. It has a 4K sensor, can track individuals automatically, has a microphone and speaker, and has face recognition built in. It also costs a heck of a lot of money – so is it worth it?

In short, yes. In terms of pure image quality, the Nest Cam IQ is one of the best security cameras we’ve tested, offering sharp, clear and detailed images, even when you zoom in. Night mode is good too, lighting up murky images without issue, while face detection (subscription required) is quick and accurate so you can be notified of who Nest Cam IQ has spotted.

It’s also one of the easiest to configure and has the most flexible and easy-to-use stand, so you can position it exactly where you need it. Nest Aware is just about the best security cloud subscription service too, providing an effortless (if pricey) way to scroll through your hours of security footage.

At the time of review, the Nest Cam IQ was available for £299.99.

Read the full Nest Cam IQ review

Netgear Arlo Pro

10 of 10

Score

Key features:

  • 1280 x 720-pixel sensor
  • 2440mAh removable battery
  • Night vision
  • Free 1GB cloud storage (for up to five cameras)

The Arlo Pro is Netgear’s high-end, weather-proof and fully wireless camera. It requires a minimum initial outlay of around £300 for a single camera and a base station, but once it’s set up it’s a dependable and easy-to-use addition to your home security arsenal.

It works alongside all other Arlo products (like the Arlo Q earlier in this round up) and while it’s certainly expensive, if you have a large property and want to keep an eye on animals outdoors, or need a cam that can be moved around frequently, it’s brilliant.

It offers a 720p sensor and wide-angle 130-degree lens, which turns on automatically when motion is detected by its IR sensor. Its video quality is good, night mode clear and battery life outstanding – we had it set to the lowest sensitivity to prevent false positives, but we were still impressed to see it still at around 50% after four months of use.

Downsides are few – the app can be fiddly, and video can start recording a little too slowly, but place it somewhere with good line of sight and you won’t find this an issue.

At the time of review, the Netgear Arlo Pro was available for £300.

Read the full Netgear Arlo Pro review