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The Best Security Cameras to Buy in 2023: Indoor, Outdoor and More

Sicherheitskameras NextPIt Hero
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With a smart surveillance camera indoors or outdoors, you bring more security into your home! However, there are big differences between manufacturers and models in terms of functionality, image quality, and security. nextpit has tested various security cameras for you and tells you in this buying guide which is the best surveillance camera for you.

Whether indoors or outdoors, smart security cameras are available in wired or battery-powered versions. Battery-powered models give you more flexibility. You never have to worry about wired models like the Ring Spotlight Cam. To give you a better idea of which model is right for you, we'll introduce you to the cameras once again.

Table of contents

Buying advice: What to look for when buying a smart security camera

Haven't found the right security camera for you yet? Then you will find below some tips that you should consider when looking for a suitable model.

Resolution of your security camera

At first glance, the resolution of the surveillance camera seems unimportant—after all, you don't want to print out the recordings or crop them afterward. However, in an emergency, a high-resolution video recording can contain details that are important for the prosecution of crimes, for example.

EufyCam 3 feed capture quality
The video quality of the eufyCam 3 is really great / © nextpit

Thanks to its 4K resolution, the Eufy eufyCam 3 offers 8x zoom, for example, which makes it possible to identify license plates more precisely. At the same time, however, the support of 2.5-inch hard drives with up to 16 terabytes of storage space also shows the disadvantage of 4K recordings in security cameras. The data volumes lead to follow-up costs accordingly.

The field of view

How do you want to use your security camera? As a static eye on your front door or as a moving surveillance for the interior? In both cases, when buying a camera, you should look at how large the field of view is that the camera covers. Actually, the bigger the better, but with a large field of view, more details are lost.

Do you want to look closely but cover a particularly large field of view? Then we recommend buying cameras with a swivel and tilt function. You can use your smartphone or the appropriate controller to change the field of view and in some cases even use an optical zoom.

Cable, solar, rechargeable battery, or battery operation?

In our overview, you will find both wired and battery-powered surveillance cameras. The best way to decide which is the better option for you is to look at the location where the camera will be used. If there is a power outlet in your outdoor area, you don't have to worry about dwindling battery life or anything else with a wired camera.

Google Nest Cam
Models like Google's Nest Cam require regular charging. / © nextpit

Battery-powered models, on the other hand, work without a cable in many cases thanks to their Wi-Fi connection. Battery life of up to a year is also long enough that you can erase the camera from your smartphone's memory until notified that the battery is empty. Models with solar panels even bring almost infinite battery life in sunny regions and with the right installation.

Connectivity: Ethernet, wireless or cellular?

In addition to wired installation for power, there are also models like the Annke NC800 that have to be operated via a network cable. Without a Wi-Fi module, the connection is particularly secure, and you can monitor even far-away outdoor areas with the appropriate cables. If this is not possible, you may be able to use a model that works via mobile communication.

However, most smart security cameras connect to the Internet and your smartphone via Wi-Fi. As with any other wireless device, make sure that Wi-Fi coverage is guaranteed at the place of use before buying.

Cloud connection via subscription or offline use?

A major disadvantage of many smart surveillance cameras is that a cloud connection with a subscription is required to store the data. If you use a ring surveillance camera, for example, and want to use several devices at once, you will have to add additional costs of at least 100 dollars per year. Furthermore, the direct cloud connection to the home is accompanied by a queasy feeling.

Models that do not store anything in the cloud are rare. The advantage that the data is available even if the camera is stolen is more important to many manufacturers than more privacy. If you are looking for a suitable model, you should pay attention to the support of storage media such as hard drives or memory cards.

Audio transmission and intercom

Very practical if you want to use a surveillance camera as a smart doorbell: two-way audio, which allows you to communicate with mailmen and other people via the camera. Since this feature is technically very easy to implement, most smart security cameras support two-way audio. The smartphone usually acts as the counterpart here.

IP certification

If you plan to install your camera outdoors, IP certification is also an important criterion. It ranges from 0 to 69 according to the following classification. The first digit defines the protection against dust—0 means that the camera has no protection against dust, and 6 means maximum protection. The second digit defines the water protection—0 means that the camera has no protection against water and 9 means that the device is hermetically sealed and can withstand high water pressure.

Ring spotligh camera up front
Outdoor models should have at least IP54 certification. / © nextpit

Legal information on the use of surveillance cameras

Whether in a house or apartment, you obviously have the right to install one or more surveillance cameras in your home. Whether you are an owner or a tenant, you do not need to make a special request if the coverage area of your surveillance camera strictly adheres to your privacy.

If you employ people in your household, you may be obliged to inform them about the presence of cameras. Labor codes can also state that you are not allowed to film your employees all the time, and some data protection authorities also point out that it is strictly forbidden to film public streets, your neighbor's house, or private premises that do not belong to you.

In case of outdoor installation, your camera should be placed in such a way that it films only your property. If your camera films parts of the public space and you have no other option, you may need a special permit for it.

Check with your local authorities about regulations regarding camera footage to avoid heavy fees later on.

Best outdoor surveillance cameras

Editor's tip: Eufy eufyCam 3

EufyCam 3 camera unit
With a bundle of two cameras and a hub, the eufyCam 3 offers a complete package. / © nextpit

In our opinion, the best outdoor solution is the eufyCam 3 from Anker subsidiary Eufy. Here, we want to point out some security flaws right at the start, which became known in December 2022. Among other things, security researchers criticized the insufficient communication of uploads to the cloud - you can learn more in our detailed review of the Eufy eufyCam 3.

Apart from that, the eufyCam 3 offered an above-average feature set with AI face recognition, numerous features for smart home automation, and connections to the smart home systems from Google, Amazon, and Apple. At the same time, the cameras offer 4K image quality that is lag-free thanks to a direct transmission to the Eufy Hub 3.

For an MSRP of just under $550, the eufyCam 3 also consists of two wireless cameras complete with solar panels and 365 days of battery life, as well as the required hub, which is connected to your router by cable.

Alternative: Ring Spotlight Cam Wired

Ring Spotlight Cam Wired
The Ring Spotlight Cam has a motion detector / © nextpit

The Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (review), which was also designed for outdoor use, also convinced us in the test. Unlike Eufy's cameras, the camera from the Amazon subsidiary is wired and has to be screwed to a wall via a bracket. However, Ring can equip the camera with a motion detector on the bottom, which offers you some advantages.

The image quality of Full HD is only sufficient, but the Ring video camera offers a particularly large field of view with a 140-degree angle of view. At the same time, the security camera has two powerful spotlights that serve as a deterrent and reliably illuminate the camera image at night. An inconspicuous night mode with infrared lamps is also available.

For long-term use, however, we were bothered by Ring's multi-level subscription model in the review of the Spotlight Cam Wired, which you cannot avoid for the full range of functions. If you also want to build your smart home ecosystem on Ring and Amazon products, you will have to take out the more expensive Plus subscription.

Best surveillance camera for indoor & outdoor

Editor's tip: Google Nest Cam (with battery)

Google Nest Cam with Battery
The Google Nest Cam is particularly flexible in use thanks to its magnetic mount / © nextpit

Do you need a security camera that is particularly flexible and portable? Here we recommend you the Google Nest Cam with battery, which you can operate both indoors and outdoors. In addition to IP certification and completely wireless use, this is made possible by the clever magnetic mount that Google uses for its cameras.

You can easily move the Google Nest Cam from the shelf in your living room to a metal outdoor shelf if you want to keep an eye on your kids in the garden. If you buy the double pack, you can also install one of the cameras permanently on an exterior or interior wall. In our opinion, the Nest Cam with battery is also particularly inconspicuous and stylish.

The picture quality and the smart features also convinced us in the test. Google's AI object recognition, including face recognition, is especially reliable and did not display any false notifications during several days of use. If you want to learn more about the Google Nest Cam with battery, check out our nextpit review!

Best indoor surveillance camera

Editor's tip: TP-Link Tapo C210

TP-Link Tapo C210
Thanks to a swivel and tilt function, the TP-Link Tapo C210 covers a wide area / © nextpit

The cheapest security solution in our comparison is the TP-Link Tapo C210. At the same time, it is the first camera in our comparison that can be rotated and tilted using a smartphone. Without water protection, however, it is only intended for indoor use, but it can be installed on walls or on your ceiling there if desired.

The picture and sound quality were okay in our review, and TP-Link's Smart Home ecosystem and app were very convincing. You can put together a whole setup of smart light switches, lamps, cameras, and more at a particularly low price. You can also use inexpensive microSD cards to record your videos.

Without a battery, however, the possible uses in your home are a bit limited. At the same time, the AI detection of objects is limited compared to other manufacturers.

Indoor alternative: Xiaomi 360° Home Security Camera Pro

The Xiaomi 360° Home Security Camera Pro comes in a simple design. / © nextpit

As an alternative to the TP-Link Tapo C210, the Xiaomi security camera with the complicated name "360° Home Security Camera Pro" offers. It convinces us in the test with a good image quality and – as the name suggests – rotatable 360-degree foot. If you are already in the Xiaomi ecosystem, you will get an excellent surveillance camera here.

However, the Xiaomi 360° Home Security Camera Pro is only suitable for indoor purposes. The indoor security camera offers no protection against rain & Co., and due to the lack of optical zoom, you are not particularly flexible in the choice of the section to be monitored.

If you don't want to spend any money and still have an unused smartphone lying around, then you can also misuse it. In this guide, you will read how to use an old smartphone as a surveillance camera.

Did this guide help you? Which networked security camera are you most interested in?

This article was updated in November 2023 with current pricing. Comments prior to the date were kept and may refer to previous versions of this guide. 

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Benjamin Lucks

Benjamin Lucks
Head of Editorial DE

Ben has been working in tech journalism since 2018, was a freelancer in the middle of the CoVid-crisis and has been full-time at NextPit since November '20. Since then he has tries to find the right mix between professional competence, humor and fresh perspectives in reviews and texts.

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