In this article: We'll review the best wired, rechargeable/solar and indoor cameras for your home, office or garage.
Back in the late 1990’s, I bought one of the first motorized flip-face head units from Kenwood. Man, that thing was so cool. It had a digital display that covered the whole screen and rotated to play CDs. When it was off, it flipped around to look like a unit with a removable faceplate. In it’s day, that Kenwood was high-tech.
I only got to enjoy it for about three months, though. I woke up one morning to drive to work only to find that my entire stereo system -speakers, amps, my 200+ CD collection, and yes, that precious Kenwood were gone. There is a feeling of betrayal and a sense of violation that comes over you when your car is broken into. When my stereo was stolen, I wanted more than anything to figure out who did it. Of course, that never happened; the cops were less than useless, and I was still stuck with a pretty large credit card bill and no tunes.
Best Security Cameras
In those days, a security camera system was impractical, expensive, and not very effective, especially to a kid just out of high school and living in an apartment. Not so anymore. Even the most broke apartment dweller can afford a security camera that captures high-definition video, detects motion, and is accessible from anywhere you have an internet connection. Cameras today are easy to set up and are versatile. Wired and wireless versions are available, as well as models that are compatible with some of the most popular AI assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant.
The hard part today is finding a high-quality camera that meets your needs without breaking the bank. Lots of products on the market claim to be the best, but many of them fall short when it comes to practical use. We combed the depths of the internet to find you the best cameras on the market in 2020. We grouped them by common features, so you can find the camera you need for your particular application. Our extensive research will give you the information you need without the sales and marketing hype that isn’t helpful.
Best Wired Security Cameras
These cameras require an electrical outlet to get power. The advantage to this setup is you never lose images due to run-down batteries, and you don’t need to remove the camera to recharge. Wired cameras work particularly well when your mounting location is difficult to reach.
- Pan & Tilt operation
- Automatic motion capture and tracking
- Cloud and SD Storage
- Wired connection
- Amazon Alexa compatible
- 1080P video resolution
- Two-way audio
- IR Night Vision
Victure Pan & Tilt Quick Review
The Victure Pan & Tilt camera captures HD video at 1080P resolution and has cloud or SD card storage. The feature that makes this camera a real winner is the automatic motion detection software that allows the camera to track up to 355 degrees. Users can tilt and rotate the camera remotely. Two-way audio allows you to speak to and hear from people through the camera. Combined with an Alexa screen device, the camera is certified to be fully integrated with Amazon’s AI assistant.
- Pan and Tilt is excellent
- Automatic motion detection is very good
- Cloud storage requires a subscription
- Two-way audio isn’t always clear
Wansview W4 Quick Review
The Wansview W4 is a stationary, wired camera that provides 1080P resolution video and motion detection. This camera can be connected to remote storage, but does not provide built-in video storage. Day or night, this affordable little camera provides clear images and reliable motion alerts. Wansview advertises that the W4 is compatible with Alexa, but the camera is not certified by Amazon. The app-based access to video is pretty good, though video playback can be jumpy.
- Affordable camera that is easy to set up
- Excellent night vision
- Requires cloud subscription for long-term storage and viewing of videos
- Motion detection adjustment is limited to changing the size of a rectangle
- 1080P Resolution
- Wired connection
- Cloud and SD card storage
- IR night vision
- Two-way audio with alert
- Sound and motion detection
- Amazon Alexa compatible
|Buy on Amazon.com $29.99|
Conico Quick Review
The Conico wired camera has SD and cloud storage, sound and motion detection, and two-way audio for an outstanding price. The camera shoots video in 1080P resolution, so you will be able to clearly see the image. This is a great camera for anyone who needs an HD-quality image, two-way audio, and the ability to use an alarm to deter intruders. Real-time notifications even include sound detection.
- Convenient onboard and remote storage
- Audio alarm to help deter thieves
- Sub-par app
- Quality control issues
Best Rechargeable Security Cameras
There are even camera solutions for people who can’t plug a camera in available these days. A wireless battery-powered camera is a great solution for applications where the camera may need to be temporarily mounted and moved. These are smart options for people living in apartments where connecting and wiring a security camera is impossible.
Zeeporte Wireless Quick Review
The image quality from the Zeeporte wireless camera is excellent both day and night. The battery can last as long as 6 months on a charge, depending on the number of motion events the camera records. It captures 1080P resolution day and night and has two-way audio, so you can have the delivery person leave the package at the door or say hi to your dog. This IP65-rated water-resistant camera is also capable of connecting with Amazon Alexa.
- Easy to install and a great app
- Night vision is excellent
- Must be mounted so that it can be taken down and recharged periodically
- Lack of card storage requires a cloud subscription
Hosafe Solar Quick Review
The worst thing about rechargeable cameras is having to take them down to recharge. Hosafe solved the bulk of the problem by adding a solar charger to their rechargeable security camera. Under ideal conditions, the solar panel will keep the battery charged all the time. The camera captures 1080P video and the 10400 mAh battery will provide long life, even when the solar panel struggles with clouds. The camera features two-way audio and an advanced PIR sensor for night vision.
- Solar panel helps extend battery life
- Excellent image at night
- Solar panel isn’t always included and must be requested
- Must be removed from mounting location to recharge
- 1080P resolution
- Two-way audio
- Cloud/ microSD card storage
- Motion detection
- Advanced PIR night vision
- Rechargeable 10400 mAh battery
|Buy on Amazon.com $85.99|
Zumimall Wireless Quick Review
The Zumimall security camera is a wireless setup that records 1080P resolution video. The camera provides motion-detection alerts viewable 24-hours a day remotely through the company’s app. This camera uses an advanced passive infrared lighting system to capture images at night. You will get clear results up to 32 ft. with the Zumimall camera, and will get reasonable results all the way to 55 ft. The camera uses a rechargeable 10400 mAh lithium ion battery that can last for up to 6 months on a single charge. Two-way audio lets you hear and talk through the camera.
- User adjustable sensitivity to prevent false motion capture alerts
- One of the easiest cameras to set up
- Must be removed from mount to recharge -solar charger sold separately
- Requires cloud storage for motion-capture viewing
Best Indoor Cameras
Security cams in your yard and around your shop will help to detect unwanted intrusions, but what if you live in a place where motion detection isn’t practical? Your best bet is to install a camera inside your shop, garage, or other covered space that can give you the alerts you need without picking up on cars driving by, birds flying, or dogs running around in the yard. These indoor cameras are built to last, and get you the features you need for ultimate garage security.
WYZE Indoor Camera Quick Review
The WYZE indoor security camera is a compact design that records 1080P video with live view and motion detection. This is a great option for protecting your workshop from thieves, raccoons, or whoever it is that keeps taking the 10mm socket. Its IR night vision works well and the camera is easy to set up. Two-way audio works better on this little cam than many of the larger, outdoor units. The WYZE indoor cam also works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you have lots of options for voice-activated security.
- Compact design that’s easy to install
- Excellent video resolution day or night
- Motion capture recordings are too short
- Some concern over data security due to Chinese-based cloud servers
Ring Indoor Camera Quick Review
Ring has really made a name for itself over the last few years by producing some excellent security camera options. As more of us join the connected revolution, small, easy to install cameras are key to remote monitoring of our homes and businesses. This ring camera is tiny, easy to set up, and packs all the features of a larger unit. It has two-way audio, motion detection alerts, and captures clear images at night with its IR sensor. This camera also connects and interacts with other Ring products, so you can integrate your whole-home security easily.
- Small size and clear picture quality
- Easy setup and integration with Ring products
- Short motion detection videos
- Short USB plug cable
Securing your yard, garage, driveway, or workshop has never been easier or more affordable than it is today. The cameras we detailed today are all winners, but you should remember that almost all security cameras will not communicate with apps from other manufacturers. So, if you are planning on buying several cameras for different angles, it’s important to buy cameras from the same company.
Most security cameras use some type of cloud storage, and quite often, the installation guide will make it seem like there is no option but to pay a yearly subscription for access. Dig deep, and you will find that most of these cameras can be used without a cloud subscription, but you may lose some features like live access or motion alerts. Cloud subscriptions will cost between $30 and $60 per year, per camera.
Don’t wait until you wished you had a camera. There is no reason you should have to wake up to your dash ripped apart, wires hanging from empty holes, and the very real feeling that you have been violated. Pick up an inexpensive security camera and catch the bad guys before they have a chance to break into your car, shop, or house.