Best IP Camera To Make Your House Smarter And Safer

IP Camera

Best IP Camera To Make Your Home Smarter

IP cameras are the most basic smart-home essential. They offer enhanced security and peace of mind. It is unbelievable how many models are available, and it wasn't easy to sort through them all. But that's our job, and we loved doing it! Read on and decide which IP camera best matches your needs.  

Customer Rating:

Indoor/Outdoor:

Indoor

Resolution:

1080p

Canary

Customer Rating

Indoor/Outdoor:

Indoor

Resolution:

1080p

Customer Rating:

Indoor/Outdoor:

Indoor

Resolution:

1080p

Foscam FI9928P Dome Camera

Customer Rating:

Indoor/Outdoor:

Outdoor

Resolution:

1080p

vitorcam outdoor waterproof wireless IP camera CA-FI24W

Customer Rating:

Indoor/Outdoor:

Outdoor

Resolution:

960p

Looline

Customer Rating:

Indoor/Outdoor:

Outdoor

Resolution:

720p

Customer Rating:

Indoor/Outdoor:

Indoor

Resolution:

1080p

Customer Rating:

Indoor/Outdoor:

Indoor

Resolution:

1080p

Faleemi 720p Pan/tilt Wireless WiFi IP Camera Home Security Surveillance Video

Customer Rating:

Indoor/Outdoor:

Both

Resolution:

720p

Note:

Budget Pick

Customer Rating:

Indoor/Outdoor:

Both

Resolution:

1080p

Note:

Best Overall

How We Reviewed These IP Cameras

We categorized all of the best cameras on the market into three categories: indoor, outdoor and spy cams. Then we identified the most practical and useful models in each category. After that, we vetted each of our selections to make sure that the manufacturer's claims are true. Finally, we wrote up a short review to point out the features you want to know about and the shortcomings you must be aware of.

Best IP Cameras Compared And Reviewed

Indoor IP Cameras

YI 1080p Dome Camera Review

This high-resolution IP cam has a wide angle camera and rotates 345 degrees horizontally, so it can basically record 360 degrees all around it. With its advanced motion detection and tracking capabilities, it can be set to recognize movement and automatically turn to follow the action while storing up to 80 hours of this activity on your computer.

Pros

Cons

  • You can only access images through the app - No browser support
  • Playback cannot be paused

Utalent Home Security Camera Review

Utalent's answer to YI's solid IP cam has better night vision. It captures a clear image in total darkness at a distance of 20 feet. This is a good low-light range for indoor IP cams.

It also allows more viewing flexibility. You can view live and recorded video on an app or on any web browser. This is accomplished through a static IP address, which is available, usually for free, through your ISP. To access the camera, you type the static IP address into the browser. This makes it easier for multiple viewers to view footage.

While it can send a movement alarm to your phone, it does not automatically pan to track and record the movement.

Pros

  • Accessible through browsers
  • Enhanced night vision

Cons

  • Must be plugged into a 110v outlet
  • Cam does not automatically move to track movement

Canary All-In-One Review

Here is a truly smart IP camera.

It not only detects motion, but it learns what motion is normal and what is not. It also arms itself if you leave and forget to activate it.

This camera monitors temperature, humidity levels and air quality and sends alerts to your phone to let you know of changes to any of these conditions. You can choose which alerts you receive and set parameters for the various climate and air quality alarms.

There is no pan or zoom capability, but the 147 degree view can easily monitor an entire room. It is amazing how much of your house you can monitor with careful placement.

Pros

  • Monitors climate and air quality
  • Loud 90 dB panic alarm
  • Check Circle
    Fully-customizable alerts

Cons

  • Cannot pan or zoom
  • Desktop streaming and 2-way audio requires paid monthly membership

Outdoor IP Cameras

Foscam Dome Camera 

Pros

  • Monitors climate and air quality
  • Loud 90 dB panic alarm
  • Check Circle
    Fully-customizable alerts

Cons

  • Cannot pan or zoom
  • Desktop streaming and 2-way audio requires paid monthly membership
This outdoor dome camera offers an impressive nighttime range of 196 feet. That is amazing! It pans 355 degrees and zooms optically up to 4x.
We like the image correction feature. It is designed to enhance low-light images so you can make out facial features with ease, even from a distance.
When it detects movement, it alerts you by email or the app and automatically stores video of the event that caused the alert. 

Pros

  • Great night-vision range
  • Cloud storage
  • Check Circle
    You can choose areas around your home to ignore so you don't get many false alarms
  • Check Circle
    Easy app-guided setup

Cons

  • A bit expensive
  • Limited vertical movement - 80 degrees

Vitorcam Outdoor Dome Camera Review

This model compares to Foscam's, with a few exceptions. This dome cam only offers night vision out to 68 feet. But it's 5x optical zoom is better than the Foscam's 4x maximum. That makes this a good choice is you want close-up low-light video but are only monitoring a small area. But be aware that this cam's resolution is only 960p, which is quite a bit lower than the Foscam's 1080p.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Nice zoom

Cons

  • Limited night vision range
  • No audio recording
  • Low resolution

Looline Doorbell Camera

Sometimes, all you need is a simple doorbell cam. This is a nice one with night vision and two-way communication. You can answer your door from your phone even when you are not home. This is a great way to screen your visitors.

The 4x magnification and wide 166 degree lens shows a good view of the visitor's face as well as both sides of your porch.

It is powered by rechargeable batteries that are said to last for a year with normal use of this device, but we were unable to confirm this claimed battery life.

You can set it to function as a traditional video doorbell or as a motion-detecting alarm that sends alerts to your phone.

Pros

  • Easy wireless installation
  • Simple and intuitive operation

Cons

  • No pan or zoom
  • Little information available about battery life
  • Not vandal-proof

Hidden IP Cams

You may be considering installing a hidden camera to keep tabs on your babysitter.

It is legal to install hidden cameras, or "nanny cams," in your home and record people without their consent or knowledge. It becomes illegal only if you record people without their consent in private areas of your home, like bathrooms or any area where someone would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Keep in mind that laws can change, so double-check your local laws before installing a hidden camera!

YCTONG Wall Clock Spy Cam

It looks like a normal wall clock, but there is a tiny camera hidden in its face.

In its motion-detection mode, this cam alerts you through its app when it detects movement by sending you three snapshots of the room.

As an IP camera, it continually records 1080p video on a five-hour loop. You can watch in real-time via its app.

The clock itself is powered by two AA batteries, but the cam is separately powered by a rechargeable battery. This is a drawback, but we like the other features of this clock so much that we still consider this model to be among the best of its kind.

Pros

  • Stealth
  • 1080p resolution
  • Check Circle
    Detects motion

Cons

  • No night-vision
  • It takes five hours to recharge the battery, and this only provides five hours of operation

PNZEO W2 Mini-cam

This is a tiny and versatile spy cam that can be placed or hidden just about anywhere. You can view in real-time through the app or set it to record about an hour and a half of video at a time. The app offers more storage than that, but the battery lasts for only 90 minutes of continuous operation. If you want it to function around the clock, like an IP camera should, you can use the AC power adapter. This will somewhat limit your placement options, though.

Pros

  • Very small and easily hidden
  • 1080p resolution
  • Check Circle
    Motion detection alarm
  • Check Circle
    AC adapter included

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • No night vision

Our Favorite IP Cams

We've listed these reviews separately because they work well as indoor or outdoor IP cams, and because they just so happen to be the stars of this list!

Faleemi Security Camera - Our Budget Pick

There are cheaper IP cameras available, but none of them met our standards. This one is decent, but it does have some flaws that would have kept it off of our list if it were not for the great price.

It can be used indoors or outdoors. It can even be moved back and forth with a little time and effort. The night vision, with its 67-foot range, is good for the price.

There is no automatic record feature on this model. It does detect motion, but it sends a single snapshot as an alert to your phone when it detects movement. You have to hit the record button on the app to save video. One strange thing that we found out about this camera while researching it is that it can only enter night-vision mode when commanded to through the app.

Pros

  • Great price
  • The best value we have found among indoor/outdoor IP cams

Cons

  • Short night-vision range
  • AC only
  • ban
    Only records when prompted
  • ban
    Only enters night vision when prompted

Canary Flex - Best Overall

This is a versatile IP security cam that can be used indoors or out and can be powered by battery or AC adapter.

It offers high-resolution video, superb night vision, motion alerts and one-touch access to emergency services via its app.

Place it wherever you want inside your home for a clear wide-angle view of an entire room. If you want it outside, just pick it up and stick it to any ferrous object. It has a magnetic base! The camera swivels for easy adjustments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will IP Camera Footage Hold Up In Court?

Whether or not it will hold up depends on several factors, but home surveillance footage is routinely used as evidence in cases involving burglary, assault, trespassing and other crimes.

Is It Legal To Record My Babysitter Without His or Her Consent?

Yes, as long as you do not try to record in parts of your home where a visitor would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Do Wide-angle Lenses Distort The Video Image?

All of the IP cameras on our list offer some type of image correction that negates the distortion of wide-angle, or "fish-eye," lenses.

The Final Verdict

As far as outdoor IP cameras go, it would be tough to beat the Foscam dome camera. It offers great video clarity in all light levels. You can even select which areas of your yard to monitor. The Vitorcam outdoor model has some shortcomings, but it costs roughly half as much as the Foscam. If you just need a simple doorbell cam, the Looline will exceed your expectations.

Canary, the industry leader, impressed us with their All-In-One IP cam. It is loaded with features and is among the easiest-to-operate indoor security cameras. Utalent's offering is much cheaper, but it must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Hey, Utalent: Redesign this one with a rechargeable battery! The YI indoor dome camera is a basic model with some features that are unexpected at its price. It really gives the Utalent cam a run for its money.

Thinking about a "spy" camera? The YCTONG Wall Clock Spy Cam is easy to setup and may be a good choice for you if you don't want to spend any time hiding a camera. The PNZEO model we feature here is your best bet if you want better performance and more placement options.

Our pick for the best overall IP camera went to Canary's Flex because it offers the best in versatility and value. We are particularly impressed with how easy it is to move it from inside to outside and vice versa. With no wires to worry about, moving it is as simple as picking it up and putting it where you want it.

Our budget pick, the Faleemi Security Camera, is a basic IP cam that can be used indoors or outdoors. It actually has features that cameras twice its price lack.

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