If you’ve ever had a package stolen from your porch or had a car broken into while parked in your driveway, there’s a good chance that the perpetrator was long gone before you even found out you had been victimized. There’s an even better chance that you’ll never know who committed the deed. If this sounds familiar, it might be time to invest in an outdoor security camera.
These rugged smart home devices, designed to withstand rain, snow, and extreme temperatures, typically connect to your home Wi-Fi network and allow you to view live video footage of activities occurring outside of your house. They’ll also send an alert to your phone when someone or something is out there, record video of the event, and depending on features, let you talk to whoever is on your property, all without ever having to open your door (or even be inside your house, for that matter).
Read on to find out what features to look for when choosing an outdoor security camera, and to check out our top picks. Note that a number of the cameras on this list are suitable for use both indoors and out. If you want a model that’s geared specifially for keeping tabs of what’s going on inside your home, head over to our list of the Best Indoor Home Security Cameras.
How Do Outdoor Security Cameras Work?
Most smart outdoor security cameras use a Wi-Fi radio to connect to your home network, allowing you to access them from anywhere using a mobile app. But there are also models that can use wired Ethernet, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, or a proprietary wireless technology to connect to a mobile app or a dedicated hub.
Wi-Fi cameras are easier to install than their wired counterparts because they don’t have to be located near an Ethernet port and don’t require wiring. Battery-powered Wi-Fi cameras are the easiest to install because you can put them just about anywhere (as long as they can connect to your router) without having to snake a power cable into your home to plug into an outlet. These types of cameras typically use rechargeable batteries that can be easily popped out and taken indoors for charging with a USB cable, but they tend to drain quickly in colder weather. Bluetooth cameras are also easy to install, but you have to stay within 40 feet or so to connect to them with your phone.
Look for an outdoor Wi-Fi camera that can connect to either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz radio band to alleviate network congestion. If you’re having trouble getting a good signal outside, try pumping it up with a wireless range extender.
This article comes from pcmag edit released