Need to keep an eye on your abode from anywhere? Wi-Fi security cameras are easy to set up; can stream video to your phone, tablet or PC; and will send you notifications if they detect motion or loud noises. Most cameras also provide automatic motion-activated recording and night vision.
We've tested several of the best cameras on the market and rated each based on its performance, ease of use and affordability. Based on these criteria, our top pick is the Nest Cam ($199 at Amazon). We found that it was the best designed, sturdiest and most flexible of the cameras we tested, and also had the best software.
How We Tested
Each Wi-Fi security camera is evaluated for design, simplicity of setup process, feature set, mobile app, video performance and overall value. In terms of design, we note each camera's aesthetics, but pay particular attention to its size relative to other cameras.
We penalize a camera if it requires an excessive amount of time to set up, or suffers from a confusing setup process. We also dock points if a camera lacks important features offered by the competition, such as programmable security modes or scheduled recordings. However, this can be offset if a camera provides other unique or particularly helpful features.
We rate each camera's mobile app for its reliability and its design, and pay particular attention to the intuitiveness of the interface. We gauge performance by the camera's resolution and field of view, the reliability of remote viewing and the quality of the video (colors and detail).
Finally, we factor in whether a camera offers cloud storage for recorded video. Although manufacturers charge up to $9.99 per month for this service, cloud storage lets you access video without the hassle of removing a storage card from the camera and inserting it into your computer using a microSD card adapter. Cameras that use only local storage also run the risk of losing any recorded video if the camera itself is stolen.