Smart Home Cameras
A smart home camera tracks activity on your property at your command or at the trigger of a motion detector. These cameras send imagery over your Wi-Fi network to a free app that lets you check on your home or business and receive smartphone alerts.
Look for cameras that support the 2.4 GHz band of your router and encrypt internet transmissions. Some offer cloud storage for a fee.
A smart home camera helps you keep an eye on your home and yard day and night. It can spot potential intruders and scare off porch pirates, as well as monitor packages and delivery personnel.
These cameras connect to the internet so you can stream and record live video through a smartphone app, connected smart display or TV. Some also have a built-in siren to scare off intruders. You can choose to store your footage locally or in the cloud for a fee.
You can use these cameras to make sure your kids or elderly loved ones get to the doctor on time, as well as check in on pets when you’re at work. But before you buy, figure out how many cameras you need. Also, consider whether you want to mount these cameras indoors or outdoors. And don’t forget that smart doorbell cameras need to be paired with a compatible smart lock to control who can enter your home. Smart security devices like these can make your home safe and secure, but you need to understand how they work before buying one.
Many smart home cameras offer cloud storage to keep video recordings in a secure location that can be accessed remotely. These servers provide greater security than storage on memory cards and can be more affordable for larger installations like business security cameras.
You can also find cameras that use geofencing to turn smart home camera on and off specific features based on your smartphone’s location. This is a great feature for those who want to avoid setting off their camera’s motion detection because of their own movements, like if they walk past their kitchen while cooking.
You can even find DIY smart home cameras that don’t require a monthly subscription plan to monitor your home. For example, the Swann CoreCam Pro offers free rolling 14-day cloud recording and works with Alexa to let you check in on loved ones or communicate with delivery people hands-free. It’s also designed for outdoor use and comes in a variety of kits so you can control your budget and the number of cameras you install at home. For more advanced security, the Wyze Cam offers event recording that saves short video clips triggered by activity or sound.
A smart home camera with battery backup offers a convenient way to keep monitoring even when your power goes out. Some models plug directly into your router while others require a base station that remains in the house and connects to your WiFi system. They run on either a rechargeable battery or a set of alkaline batteries, depending on the model.
Reolink’s Argus PT cam, for example, uses a large smart home camera AA battery to deliver two years of life before you need to change it. This wire-free cam also features high-definition video, a wide-angle lens, and good night vision, and works with a variety of smart home platforms.
A number of battery backup cameras also feature local storage via microSD cards. Lorex’s line of surveillance cameras, for example, comes with onboard storage and a choice of memory card sizes. Some models allow you to reduce motion detection sensitivity or choose “people-only” alerts to improve energy efficiency and extend battery life. Check your camera’s user guide for tips on optimizing the power use of its various settings.
Smart cameras are typically controlled by your voice or a mobile app, but they can also work on their own when triggered by motion detection. They use sensors to measure changes in the space around them, such as light or radiation emitted by objects or vibrations caused by movement. They can then notify you and trigger recordings.
Some models use motion-tracking technology to record more activity and provide more detailed images. Others offer specific alerts based on the type of movement detected, such as a delivery truck or a person at your front door.
A feature called geofencing is a big help for smart home owners who forget to turn off their devices before leaving the house. It disables the camera’s response to movement when you are away from your home, so you don’t end up with a collection of videos of you milling around your kitchen or bathroom. Other notable features offered by smart security cameras include night vision, automatic recording, two-way talk and a loud 105-decibel siren. Some even have built-in floodlights to help deter intruders and scare them off when they detect movement.
When an intruder comes into view, you’ll get a notification on your smartphone. Some cameras offer options like two-way audio, so you can talk back, scare off the intruder or warn him to stay away.
Whether you’re home or not, you can watch your camera from any device with an Internet connection. You can also create a schedule to automatically turn your camera on and off, or use the app’s voice control for simple commands.
With a HomeKit Secure Video subscription, you can access recorded clips, live footage and alerts on your iPhone or iPad. Apple’s iCloud service securely stores your videos and doesn’t count against your allotment of free storage space.