the-best-security-cameras-for-inside-your-home

The Best Security Cameras for Inside Your Home

Not quite ready to deck out your house with window, door, and motion sensors and hire an on-call monitoring service? Don’t fret! You can still keep your home secure without messing with your wiring. Setting up a camera or two is an affordable alternative.

Knowing you can check in when you’re away offers you peace of mind, but a lot of us have a love-hate relationship with these cameras. There’s an obvious security benefit, but you expose yourself to privacy risks. We break down what you should keep in mind when shopping for one, and we’ve rounded up our favorites after rigorous testing.

Be sure to check out our many other guides, including The Best Outdoor Security Cameras,  Best Pet Cameras, and Best Password Managers. And if you want more smart home products, we have guides on smart plugs and light bulbs, too.

Updated June 2022: We added a runner-up camera, a security note on Wyze, and a few honorable mentions after testing cameras from Ezviz, SwitchBot, and Blink. 

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more. Please also consider subscribing to WIRED

  • cat looking at an Nooie camera

    Photograph: Nooie

    Take Our Advice

    How to Stay Safe

    Security cameras are great tools, but you also need to protect your security from those cameras. You don’t want to find out that a stranger has been watching you sit in your bathrobe bingeing trash TV for the third day in a row, or worse. If you follow these tips, you can be a vigilant and conscious consumer and still feel like your home is protected while you’re away.

    • Avoid no-name cameras: If you type „security camera” into Amazon’s search bar, you’ll come up with hundreds of cheap options from brands you’ve never heard of. We don’t feel comfortable recommending these for a product with real privacy risks. You should always go with brands that clearly outline their privacy policies and make it easy to set up security protocols. That doesn’t mean they can’t be hacked—Wyze, Nest, and Ring have all had breaches—but you probably won’t be hung out to dry by a brand that disappears the moment something happens.
    • Use a strong password and set up two-factor authentication: Setting a strong password that you don’t use for anything else is extremely important. You should also change the password for your Wi-Fi network from its default, if you haven’t already. Set up two-factor authentication as soon as you create an account with the camera brand you’ve bought. It will make it harder for a hacker to gain access to your device, even if they do figure out your password.
    • Keep it updated: Make sure you’re frequently checking for software updates (for your camera and router) that can patch any security issues that may have come up. Set your camera to auto-update if possible.
    • Turn it off: When you’re home, or at least when you’re doing something personal you wouldn’t want someone to see, turn the camera off. Some cameras have a physical shutter that you can close. You could also turn the camera around for good measure.
  • Photograph: Cync

    Best for Most

    Cync Indoor Smart Camera

    I prefer cameras that pan (see many choices below), but this one from Cync (9/10, WIRED Recommends) beats out everything else with one important feature: a shutter that covers the camera lens when you don’t want it watching—or listening!—to you. Plus, the app has two-factor authentication, and you can’t opt out of it. That’s a good thing. 

    Live video feed is pretty sensitive information, so if you’re going to invite a camera into your home, it’s wise to take some precautions. You can turn your cameras around, turn them off, or unplug them, but the shutter here makes it easier. Slide the shutter up when you’re home and you see bright red plastic and a crossed-out camera symbol, and the lens sees nothing. Ready for it to monitor? Slide it back down. Cync (formerly C by GE ) is affordable, and the app is easy to use. You don’t have to be a rich tech wizard to figure it out.

    However, it doesn’t offer any free storage the way Wyze does. To get more than a live view, you’ll need to get a MicroSD card or sign up for a cloud subscription.

  • Photograph: Amazon

    Best Panning Camera

    Wyze Cam Pan V2

    Security cameras that pan horizontally and tilt vertically are great, because you see much more of a room without sticking cameras in every corner. Wyze’s updated Cam Pan V2 has an unbeatable price and free 14-day cloud storage—nearly every other device here requires a MicroSD card or a cloud subscription. The V2 now has color night vision, versus its predecessor’s black and white. The company also says its motion tracking has improved. (We never noticed much of an issue with older cameras.)

    Wyze records 12-second clips when it detects motion and has crisp two-way audio, plus there’s a siren you can trigger to scare away intruders. If you want longer clips with no breaks in between, or package or pet detection, you can subscribe for $2 a month. Wyze has optional home monitoring for just $5 a month, if you want to upgrade your system with more cameras and sensors. That’s a fraction of what other services cost. Wyze also works in conjunction with the Noonlight app we love.

    Note: This camera model was one of those affected by the security flaw that Wyze failed to fix or report to customers for three years—a story that may give you pause in choosing a Wyze device. (Here’s the official Wyze response).

Leave a Reply