WiFi Camera Reviews - Wireless Home Security at its Best

When it comes to home automation there are basically two things that you want to do – control things and know things. You don’t just want to control the thermostat, for example – you want to know what the actual temperature is.

Likewise, we all have a desire to keep an eye on the contents of our homes. Whether that’s from within your home or from the other side of the planet, it’s a great comfort to have the ability to check in and see what’s going on at any time.

Old analogue and even later digital closed circuit camera systems are expensive, hard to install, and often have pretty useless quality. Thanks to the ubiquity of WiFi routers in average homes, using this wireless transmission technology makes sense for camera surveillance. It’s got enough range for home use, there’s enough bandwidth for high-quality streaming, and the connection goes in both directions so it is possible to have a camera pan and tilt as an example.

Here I have listed and reviewed some of the best selling WiFi cameras available online today. My favorites are at the top and the rest of the reviews are listed in no particular order.

Best Overall: Amcrest IP2M-841 ProHD

This camera comes in both a 720p and 1080p version, but it is the 1080p one we see here.

The Amcrest provides a lot of ways to store footage. You can use a local SD card, FTP upload a cloud service, and more. Of course there is live viewing too. This is done through the Amcrest app which you get on Android and iOS. Mac and PC are also both included.

It also has IR night vision and a wide 90-degree field of view. The price and specification sheet are both quite impressive. This camera has a Sony image sensor which, as you may know, is one of the best in the market. You also get two-way audio, thanks to a built-in speaker and app-based motion detection.

People who have bought it say that it is easy to use and performs better than they expected at the price. Perceptions of the build-quality is similarly good. Although there are technically superior devices available, the Amcrest is definitely a great balance of price versus performance.

The Budget Choice: Wansview 1080P WiFi Wireless IP Security Camera

The Wansview looks a lot like a standard webcam, apart from the little aerial sticking out of the top. Don’t be fooled however – this little guy has a lot of functionality, promised by the spec sheet.

Providing 1080p HD video and 25 feet of night vision, you also get two-way audio and a temperature and humidity sensor. It has no pan and tilt, but the lens is good for 110-degrees of view, which should cover most use cases, especially if you mount it high against a wall.

You can also mount it upside down on the ceiling and then simply flip the video in the app, very cool. People report that the setup procedure is painless.

This is a versatile, user-friendly and affordable camera on which I would definitely spend my own money.

Most Impressive Pick: Netgear Arlo Smart Home

Netgear is a pretty well-known name, although some of their products have been rather bad, in general they make good stuff.

The Arlo is definitely on the “good stuff” end of the scale, which is just as well since it costs about two hundred bucks, making it one of the most expensive home IP cameras I have seen.

While this single camera kit will get you started, Netgear wants you to buy many of these and will sell you a five-pack if you give them half a chance.

This little camera is packed with a lot of advanced technology, but I’ll try to stick to the most important and impressive features.

What makes the Arlo so impressive is mainly its completely wire-free design. The camera is a sealed, weather-proof system that uses magnetic mounting, but can be placed anywhere. This means you can use it as an indoor and outdoor camera. It also does night vision in 720p where many other cameras would switch to a lower resolution when going into IR night mode.

It comes with a great app and free cloud-based storage. The software allows for up to five cameras, which explains the number of cameras in the largest pack.

Yes, these are expensive, but they are real modern cameras that are designed as a home automation feature. The design is lovely, the quality is amazing, and over time the price will come down, but if you want something elegant and futuristic now I won’t judge you.

Best Outdoor Camera: DBPOWER 1MP Bullet HD Wireless Camera Outdoor

Do you constantly worry about hobbits invading your vegetable garden? Do you lie awake at night and think that there are alien visitors in your cornfields? Well, perhaps you want to consider getting one of these outdoor WiFi cameras.

The DBPower camera probably has one of the most traditional “security camera” designs of all the products I have looked at. It has a weather-resistant housing and IR leads that give up to almost 80 feet of range at night. In fact, it is rated IP66, so it should handle most inclement conditions.

It is also very cool that each camera has 8GB of storage built right in, giving you a good record of what it saw in the immediate past. The camera provides 720p video and provides a motion detection alarm.

You can use WiFi or ethernet cabling, but the fact that it will work with WiFi is a major boon for an outdoor camera. While laying cabling inside your home is a pain but not too bad, drilling holes in walls and having to climb onto the roof is no fun. Many homes already have power points on the exterior now, so getting juice to the camera should be far less onerous than putting in data cables.

While the camera is reported to be well built and very functional, the app software is apparently terrible. If you can live with a bit of software clunk or can find a good third-party alternative, however, this camera is a great choice.

Foscam C1 Lite

I love clever designs and the Foscam C1 has one of the smartest designs I have seen so far. I really like the the neck and footstand design. There is no motorized tilt and pan on this model, but with a 115-degree wide angle lens you should be OK if you position it well.

This camera is only meant for indoor use and has two-way audio. You can use local SD storage for the 720p footage. Unfortunately, there is no night vision to be found here.

This is another camera that you can set up via your smartphone using a QR code, which really makes things much easier. Foscam provides cloud storage, live viewing, and security notification for motion detection.

Despite not being pan-and-tilt I think the Foscam is wonderfully priced and completely obliterates a camera like the one from D-Link, which almost costs the same but has a terrible VGA sensor and only a small fraction of the features the C1 has.

Based on customer feedback it seems the quality of the video recorded or streamed by the C1 is quite good if a little soft. Setting up the camera can also be a bit of a pain if your router does not support WPS, since there is no ethernet port on the C1. Still, once you have it all set up it is smooth sailing from there onwards. I think Foscam has a winner here.

Nest Camera Review

From the people who brought you a fancy thermostat control comes a fancy security camera. The nearly two hundred dollar price is also a Nest trademark, as you’d be surprised as well if this actually was cheap.

What sets this apart other than the steep price? Well, its night vision takes no prisoners and allows for people to see the whole room rather than just a central spot. It also has a huge 130-degree viewing angle, which is displayed in 1080p. That’s a very wide view that should show everyone and everything in a given room.

It has all the other features that we have come to expect from the more expensive IP cameras, but a lot of the stuff you get for free with lesser-known brands you have to pay for via a Nest Aware subscription.

There can be little doubt that the Nest has some of the best night vision and image quality specifications in this market, but the pointless subscription costs for basic functions means you have to really love Nest as a brand to buy this.

Sricam Baby Monitor and Home Security Camera

This WiFi camera from Sricam is one of the best-selling online models, it would seem, yet it isn’t a big name brand like Samsung or even D-Link. This is something I found intriguing. Until I saw the price. At less than fifty bucks this is one of the cheapest pan-and-tilt cameras I’ve seen, so it is no surprise that a lot of people find it appealing.

So let’s see if there is anything besides a low price that we can recommend the Sricam on.

In terms of WiFi compatibility it is pretty good. It will work with b/g/n networks at 2.4Ghz. If you have equipment that can only use the newer 5Ghz band then you may be out of luck, but most of the time even new routers support these still popular WiFi standards at that frequency.

According to the supplier the Sricam has a 3.6mm wide angle lens, a speaker to allow two way communication, and support for micro-SD storage up to 128GB. That will allow for up to 60 days of recorded footage, or at least that is the claim. Now an SD card is not included in the price, but SD storage is pretty affordable. Most people have a few unused ones lying around by now as well, so it isn’t as if this is a massive consideration.

Interestingly, they also claim that it has a night vision function, which I presume has to do with infrared. This is supported by the presence of IR LED emitters around the main lens.

There is also an ethernet port in case you prefer to use a hard line for some reason. In terms of pan and tilt, it has very respectable ninety degrees of vertical and 355 degrees of horizontal tilt.

On paper this is pretty much as close to a full featured HD IP camera you could ask for. In practice, however, it seems the Sricam is rather unreliable and finicky to set up. People who have got it working properly seem OK with it, but that’s hardly something that could make me recommend it. Even if it is cheap, I don’t think it is worth taking the chance on this product.

D-Link DCS-932L Review

You will find no pan, tilt, or HD picture in this camera from D-Link. The DCS-932L is a rather basic camera and for what it is, it isn’t even particularly well-priced.

It only has 1-way audio and a VGA picture resolution. You do, however, get night-vision that is good out to 16-feet. It has a pretty narrow field of view at only about 45-degrees, too.

All in all, this is a pretty poor camera for the price, so why would anyone want one? Well, that’s actually the things about these cameras – you don’t want one, but you might want four.

Why do I say that? Because the myDlink app allows for up to four cameras monitored at the same time. Well, at least the lite version does. Having four cameras installed means you can get around the limited view angles and perhaps even poor image quality.

This would all be great of one camera didn’t cost so much though. When you can get a great pan and tilt camera with all the bells and whistles for a hundred bucks the price point of this basic clunker doesn’t make sense, but for some people who need to cover a place where a single swiveling camera won’t work, this may be a good, if overpriced, solution.

Ouvis veezon VZ1 Wi-Fi

What a cool looking little camera this is! I enjoy the more open body design and two-color scheme. The VZ1 is another pan and tilt IP camera that comes to us at a ridiculously low price.

It uses easy QR code scanning setup via your smartphone and also has a night vision mode. At 720p the quality is enough for most people and, of course, you have two-way audio so you can communicate with the people on camera. The VZ1 provides you with 30 feet of night vision and also has motion detection and alert features.

Interestingly, you can record footage not only on an SD card locally on the camera but also on your phone when viewing remotely. This is pretty handy if the actual camera is destroyed or stolen while someone breaks into your premises.

Unfortunately, this is another fifty dollar camera that over-promises what it can do for you; multiple complaints about reliability and setup issues make me really uncomfortable to suggest that anyone should take a chance on this device.

Foscam FI8910W Pan & Tilt IP/Network Camera

Foscam jumps into the cheap tilt-and-pan game with this snappily named FI8910W.

This camera has some really thoughtful features. I was really impressed by the inclusion of two simple audio jacks that make it possible to attach a better-quality microphone and speakers – a simple idea that goes a long way toward making this a very flexible product. There is also a jack for an external WiFi antenna, improving the range of the camera significantly.

The Foscam unit has night vision that’s effective up to 24-feet. I don’t see support for local recording storage, though you can make a separate purchase of the Blue Iris software and set that up to record security footage.

There do seem to be a few software and hardware niggles with this camera. Some models have a finicky sensor that may require a replacement unit at some point, and apparently the included software can be temperamental. Other than that, this camera represents excellent value for money.

Sheng Yi WiFi Security Camera

The design of the Sheng Yi is a little goofy. It looks like someone built a cheesy sci-fi prop using an old showerhead. It really does looks as cheap as it is, maybe even cheaper.

Still, if it works who cares, right? It also uses a QR code scanning method to get the app up and running, although the app itself seems a bit clunky. The company says that the design is “free rolling” and that it has 360-degrees of pan. Looking at the way the base is designed that seems plausible and it a bit better than the 355-degrees most cameras like this have. In other words, this guy should not have a horizontal blind spot.

In the end the Sheng Yi has the same problem a lot of new hardware from China exhibits. Although the hardware itself is both affordable and pretty good, the software is awful and since that is the part you most often have to deal with, it really is a deal breaker.

Zmodo Smart Wireless Security Cameras- 4 Pack

WiFi cameras are rather expensive, although they are still ultimately cheaper than traditional CCTV; if you are looking for value for money, Zmodo makes a strong argument with this four-pack offering.

These cameras have outdoor weather-resistant housings, which allow you to put them up inside and outside. Their night vision range is a very healthy 80 feet and they certainly look the part of a serious and professional security solution, which may act as a further deterrent. On the flipside, I would not want these on the inside of my house, since I would feel like I was living in a weird 1984-esque reality. For a business, however, it would look just fine. You can use a cloud-based web interface or the Zmodo app and you get a pretty long three-year warranty out of the deal. People who have bought these are very positive about them and they have no trouble setting them up or using them. This is a good instant home surveillance system and one that I would be personally interested in if I had a large home or a small business. I am, however, a little bummed that there doesn’t seem to be any support for local SD recording, and this gear is not compatible with 5Ghz WiFi technology.

MiSafes 1280x720p HD Wireless Surveillance Camera

Well, this look suspiciously like a Nest camera knockoff, which immediately screams “bad Chinese product” in the back of my mind. However, these days we should be careful about jumping to that conclusion when judging products from that part of the world.

Right, so this camera is not cheaper than the Nest, which means it may have comparable specs, but of course it also means that you may as well go for the better-known brand. You have a two-way audio feature, livestreaming, and iOS and Android app.

The main selling point of the mini is how small it is, and with dimensions of 2.4 x 4.2 x 2.4 inches it is rather diminutive. It also has a magnetic base, which is quite clever. So if you have a metal surface (such as the side of a fridge) that is magnetic, you can easily mount this there.

The viewing angle of 120-degrees is the widest I have seen among the cameras I looked at, and you can record local 720p footage via mini SD card, up to 64GB.

Really I think this is rather a nice camera. It is basic, has no remote pan and tilt and also no night vision, but for the price, and given that it looks OK and has good picture quality, I think this is a good deal.

Here’s Looking At You Kid

WiFi IP cameras have come a long way in the last few years. They are cheaper and easier to set up than ever. I am also impressed by how common IR night vision has become. Just a little while ago you would be hard-pressed to find this feature on entry level products. Now it is just everywhere.

Likewise, it is amazing that motorized pan-and-tilt cameras have dropped so much in price. These were high-end features not too long ago.

Although we still have some cameras like the 900 series from D-Link with awful VGA resolutions, it seems that HD resolutions are now the norm and rightly so. I have always been irritated with IP cameras that have such poor quality that they can’t really be useful for more than confirming there is movement in your home or business. Now we can have detailed pictures of faces and number plates.

Two-way audio for interior cameras is also a really useful home automation feature, letting you warn or communicate with people inside a room.

One thing that really irritates me is the fact that not one camera that I looked at has any sort of integration with existing home automation systems. Of course, there are hubs and other bridging devices that will integrate IP cameras into the larger home system, but I would have liked to see some acknowledgment of home automation technology from the camera makers themselves.

So to summarize, when buying a camera try to get one that lets you pan and tilt. If not possible, get one with a wide-angle lens. Don’t bother with cameras that have no night vision unless you know that the room will always be lit, and don’t underestimate how useful two way audio can be.

In the end, there is no reason why everyone who has a WiFi router should not also have some smart digital surveillance technology. It could really make a difference to the safety and security of your family and property, not to mention the peace of mind from knowing what is happening in your home when you are away.