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Most people can agree that installing a home security system is a wise investment, but it can often be difficult to figure out where to start.
There’s a ton of different gear out there, and the idea of setting up a large, multi-component setup full of cameras, alarms, and sensors can be daunting. If you want to start small, my recommendation is to get a really good smart indoor security camera, and build a larger system from there.
Smart indoor security cameras are a good choice because they don’t have a lengthy, complicated setup process, or take up too much space. Set one up to face your front or back door, and you’ll be able to keep an eye on one of the most vulnerable parts of your house.
We’ve made sure that the cameras we’re recommending can also be integrated into a larger security system, so you can get additional cameras, or other smart security equipment as your needs change. Additionally, we’ve created a guide for a complete home security system in case you want to go all-in at once.
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Smart Indoor Security Camera
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right smart indoor security camera for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Resolution: The most important technical spec of a smart indoor camera is its resolution. The higher the resolution, the clearer the picture. You’ll want the best-looking video possible in case of a break-in, because it’s the piece of evidence you’re going to review, and possibly turn over to the police. All of the cameras on this list capture video in HD (either 720P or 1080P), so you’ll get a very high quality recording of any suspicious activity.
Smart-home integration: All smart indoor security cameras have the ability to send you alerts when they sense motion, and get a live video feed to your smartphone, tablet, or computer at all times. But, many also integrate with smart-home platforms like Amazon’s Alexa, allowing you to arm or disarm the camera with just your voice.
Subscriptions: Some smart indoor security cameras require you to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee to store video clips in the cloud, so you can view them later. Video clips are taken each time the camera senses motion. You’ll always have the option to save a video clip to your phone if you catch the notification on your phone when motion is detected without paying the fee. A subscription allows you to review clips if you miss that notification.
1. Wyze Cam
If you’re looking for a small, easy to set up smart indoor security camera, Wyze’s cube-shaped camera is an excellent choice. It can capture video at 1080P with a wide 110º field of view. It has a night mode, which Wyze says can illuminate objects up to 30 feet away, and advanced motion tracking to pick up subtle movements.
The camera starts out as a cube, but it can be lifted to reveal a stand, so you can adjust its height and angle. It also comes with an adhesive pad, which lets you stick the camera on a wall. I’ve used several Wyze Cams, and the setup is easy: pick a location for the camera, plug it in, and run through a quick setup process in Wyze’s app (iOS and Android).
Wyze is owned by Amazon, so this camera can be controlled by an Alexa-enabled device, like the Amazon Echo. You can also ask Alexa to display a live feed from the camera on an Echo with a display, or a television connected to a Fire TV. If you don’t own any of Amazon’s smart-home gadgets, you’ll still be able to view a live video feed from the camera on your phone.
This camera doesn’t require a subscription fee to store clips in the cloud, which is rare, but there are some limitations. Clips will only be available for 14 days (you can download them to your phone, and they’ll stay there forever), and can only last for 14 seconds.
You can get around these limitations by popping a MicroSD card into the Wyze Cam. Instead of saving clips in the cloud, it’ll save a continuous video feed to the card, so you can see everything that’s happened in your home at all times.
PROS: High resolution lens, flexible design, no subscription fee for cloud storage.
CONS: Clips stored in the cloud have a maximum length of 14 seconds unless you get an option accessory.
Ring is best known for its video doorbell, but its smart indoor camera is a great choice for people who want to start their home security system.
The camera has a resolution of 1080P, night mode, two-way microphone (so you can talk to an intruder while a break-in is in progress), and a 115° horizontal and 60° vertical field of view.
Ring is also owned by Amazon, so it has all of the same smart-home features as Wyze’s cam, including the ability to arm and disarm it using Alexa, and getting a live stream on an Echo with a display, or TV connected to a Fire TV device. Its setup process is also identical: pick a location, plug the camera into a wall, and set it up using an app on your iOS or Android device.
Once it’s set up, you’ll receive notifications each time the camera sense motion. But, clips won’t be saved in the cloud if you don’t subscribe to Ring’s Protect Plan. The plan costs $3 per month, or $30 per year, and allows the camera to save video clips in the cloud for 60 days. Subscribers are able to review, download, and share video clips right from Ring’s app.
What makes Ring’s Indoor Cam stand out is that it’s one piece in a larger family of home security equipment Ring makes. If you start with this camera, you can add a full alarm system, outdoor camera, and video doorbell, and control the entire system through a single app. If you’re starting small, but have ambitions of building out a large home security system over time, this is a good choice.
PROS: Integrates into a larger home security ecosystem.
CONS: Paid subscription required to store clips in the cloud.
One of the biggest limitations smart indoor security cameras have is that they need to be placed near an outlet for power, which limits where you can place it. Blink’s XT2 runs on a pair of AA batteries, which frees you from this restriction, and the company says you can get up to two years per charge.
The camera has a resolution of 1080P, infrared night vision mode, two-way microphone system, temperature monitoring, and full integration with Amazon’s Echo and Fire TV devices. Once the batteries are inserted, the XT2 has the same setup process as the other cameras on this list: download Blink’s app on iOS or Android, which will walk you through getting started.
Beyond its battery power, Blink’s XT2 camera stands out in another crucial way: its meant for both indoor and outdoor use. It has an IP65 rating, which means the XT2 is dust-proof and water-resistant enough to withstand the rain.
Like Wyze, Blink doesn’t charge for cloud storage. The XT2’s videos are stored in the cloud for up to a year, but there are two caveats. First, if you run out of cloud storage, Blink will delete old clips to make room for the new ones. Second, the maximum clip length is 20 seconds, which is a little light. There’s no way around this limitation, so what you see is what you get.
Cloud limitations aside, if you want a smart indoor security camera you can place anywhere, and can be used outdoors, Blink’s XT2 is your best option.
PROS: Runs on battery power, no monthly subscription fee for cloud storage, indoor and outdoor capable.
CONS: Cloud storage has limitations that can’t be worked around.
Amazon’s Cloud Cam is a sophisticated smart indoor security camera for people who want a more luxe experience.
The camera captures video at 1080P, and has a 120° horizontal field of view — the widest out of all the cameras on this list. It has a two-way microphone system, and a night vision mode uses eight infrared LEDS that allow you to see the camera’s entire field of view.
Naturally, Amazon’s camera works with its other smart-home devices, but you can also view a live feed from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. You’ll receive a notification each time the camera senses motion, but have to pay for Amazon’s Cloud Cam subscription if you want them to automatically be saved in the cloud.
A subscription costs $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year, and includes seven days of cloud storage, person detection, audio detection, and the ability to set “zones” to specify areas where the camera should ignore motion.
Setting up this camera is a little different than the rest of the options in this guide, but only slightly. To use the Cloud Cam normally, you run through the common steps of picking a location, plugging it in, and running through a setup process on Amazon’s Cloud Cam app on your iOS or Android device.
But, this version of the Cloud Cam works with Amazon’s Key service, which allows you to pair it with a smart lock, so Amazon delivery drivers can drop packages off inside your house.
PROS: Very wide field of view, multiple infrared sensors for night vision, compatible with Amazon Key service.
CONS: Paid subscription required for cloud storage.