Today, smart home security cameras cover a wide range of needs. There's the obvious: allowing you to keep an eye on the outside of your house when you're away. And then the less obvious, but still important: keeping an eye on your kids while they play in their room or while you're working from home. No matter the need, a smart home surveillance camera gives you the peace of mind that your house, and the people and pets in it, stay safe.
Choosing the best smart security camera for you and your family's needs is a big decision. It can also be an overwhelming one, with all the available information and many different brands to choose from, from Nest™ to Ring™ to Wyze™. But no worries, we're here to help. Asurion Experts help our 300 million customers (and counting!) get the most out of their tech, including setting up their smart homes. In this guide, we’re sharing all you need to know before hitting the purchase button on your new smart home security system.
Best indoor and outdoor security camera systems
When it comes to outdoor security cameras, there's a lot of information to check out and sift through. Nest, Ring and Blink™ are just a few of the more popular brands. They each have similar features like motion sensors, day/night coverage with HD video and night vision and they all boast easy, wireless setup. What separates them are storage options (cloud or local) and price. Here's a quick overview about each one:
Google Nest provides a total of 4 smart home camera options—two for the indoors, as well as two for the outdoors. Each has around the clock live video, sends notifications of movement to your phone and stores your video to the cloud. Cloud storage allows you to view the live footage on your phone or tablet, no matter where you are. Nest products are compatible with Google Home™ products and Alexa™-enabled devices.
Ring offers numerous solutions for indoor and outdoor smart security cameras, including spotlight cameras and smart floodlight cameras. An added bonus is that they both have built-in alarms and lights to help keep your home secure. And with the compatible app, you can view live video on your connected devices. Ring supports both Alexa-enabled devices and Google Home smart products.
Blink is an Amazon home security camera that has several options for both outdoor and indoor security cameras. It offers the typical features with two-way audio and motion detection; however, it's only compatible with other Amazon smart home products and the Alexa virtual assistant.
Wyze cameras are a useful, affordable solution to your indoor and outdoor security camera needs. Their popular model, the Cam Pan, can detect and track the motion inside your home within its field of view, so you can watch your dog race around the house and jump on the furniture in high definition from your phone or tablet. Wyze is compatible with both Alexa-enabled devices and Google Home.
More: Learn how to add a skill to your Alexa-enabled device so you can sync your smart camera and your smart home hub.
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How and where is smart home security camera footage stored?
According to the FBI, there's a burglary every 25.7 seconds. Most break-ins happen at homes without security systems; however, if it does happen and you have the crime on video, it can help police identify the perpetrator and, in turn, limit damage on your end.
Smart security cameras store video in two ways — cloud storage and local storage. Storage features vary from brand to brand, so if this is an important option for you, be sure to look closely at the device description before deciding. Brands like Nest and Ring rely on cloud storage only, while Wyze, for example, gives you the option to use either cloud or local storage.
As for how long should you keep security camera data stored, that's completely up to you and which storage method you choose. However, it is recommended to keep your footage for at least one week, and longer if you are out of town.
Home security cameras: Cloud storage vs. local storage and your privacy
Cloud video storage means the video captured on your home's security camera is recorded on the cloud owned and managed by the camera manufacturer. If you have a Nest security camera, for example, you can access your video through the Nest-owned cloud. A nice pro to using cloud storage is the ability to access the live video or archived footage from anywhere, anytime using an app on your phone or other connected device. If you're looking for a security camera with free cloud storage, you'll find that several brands like Ring, Arlo®, or Blink offer free cloud storage for a limited time, but if you're wanting to access all of the cloud service features, you'll need to do so through purchasing a monthly or yearly subscription. One major benefit to cloud storage: it's safe from damage, fire, and theft, while local storage is susceptible.
Local video storage means the video captured on your security camera is recorded on a storage device within the camera, like an SD card. Many camera models let you decide if you want video recording 24/7, or only when motion sensors are activated. Depending on which one you choose, it's important that you purchase an SD card that has plenty of space. Local storage is a popular option for those who are concerned with smart camera privacy, since it means that you and only you have access to your video footage.
How to protect your home network
As you continue to turn your house into your dream smart home, there are steps you can take to keep your network and private information secure.
- Protect your home Wi-Fi: Setting up a password is one of the easiest ways to ensure your home Wi-Fi is protected. Make your password strong by using a complex pattern or letters, numbers and symbols. Be sure to change it often to stay one step ahead.
- Don't use the default network password: The default or factory-set password that comes with your Wi-Fi is usually similar to other factory-set passwords — meaning it can be easier to guess than a custom password. So, get creative, but don't forget it!
- Set login/entry passwords: If you haven't noticed, passwords are important. Set a password on your computer, your phone, your tablet or any device that you use for work or banking purposes. Passwords protect against unauthorized entry if your device is stolen or if it's just curious children, either way your data is safe. Two-factor authentication is another security feature you should take advantage of when offered, like on your iCloud®, Amazon®, or Google® accounts.
For even more ways to keep your data safe, check out our guide on how to protect your smart home from hackers.
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