Whether you’re concerned about theft or you simply want to check in on a mischievous pet, home security cameras can provide alerts and peace of mind.
Some of the security cameras CNET likes are expensive, but there are a handful of solid models that cost a lot less money. Here’s our curated list of the best security cameras priced at or under $100. These three bargain home security cameras range a lot in terms of features and functionality, but CNET recommends them all.
You really can’t beat the Wyze Cam, based out of Kirkland, if you’re looking for an affordable security camera system with solid performance. Here’s the gist:
• It costs $20.
• It comes with two weeks of free cloud storage.
• The camera has optional local storage via a built-in microSD card slot.
• You can set a custom motion detection zone for free.
These things combined make the Wyze Cam surveillance system hard to match. Yes, it’s indoor-only and the app isn’t perfect, but the Wyze Cam is an excellent choice if you want a live-streaming indoor camera that works well for less. It also works with Alexa voice commands and Wyze’s other devices.
Best facial recognition
TEND SECURE LYNX/INDOOR 2
Tend Secure’s Lynx indoor camera, now called the Indoor 2 camera, will set you back $60. This indoor cam has all of the regular features of a typical home security camera, like live streaming, motion detection and night vision. But this indoor security camera also comes with free seven-day video clip storage and free facial recognition capabilities.
Use the app to build a custom database of friends, family members and any other regular visitors. Then the camera will detect faces and send alerts to your phone to let you know it just saw, say, “Dave” or “Molly.” The performance of the camera’s facial recognition improves over time, too, with use.
The Blink XT2 starter kit comes with one Blink XT2 camera and a required Wi-Fi module — all for $100. After that, any additional XT2 camera you buy costs $90. (It seems like it should be less than that since the Wi-Fi module alone retails for $50, but it’s still a good deal.)
The camera itself is battery-powered and runs on two AA lithium-metal batteries that are designed to last for up to two years. So far, the XT2 I’m testing long-term has been running, uninterrupted, since July of 2019. It also has free video storage that you can view in the Blink app.
Blink’s XT2 camera is weather resistant, so you can place it anywhere outside as an outdoor camera (as long as it’s within Wi-Fi range). The one I’m testing as an outdoor camera has survived 100-plus-degree days, snow, hail and storms. A wind gust knocked it off the second-story deck at the CNET Smart Home — and it was fine.
The following CNET staff contributed to this story: Senior Writer Megan Wollerton, Copy Editor Jim Hoffman and Senior Editor Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, please visit cnet.com.