Getting Started with Home Security Cameras

Just the sight of a security camera can help prevent a break-in. And if someone is snooping around outside your house, motion and sound notifications can alert you immediately.

security camera system footage appKaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

Security Cameras 101

Just the sight of outdoor home security cameras can help prevent a break-in. And if someone is snooping around outside your house, motion and sound notifications can alert you immediately. Indoor home security cameras let you check on your kids or pets while you’re at work. You can even use a speaker on the camera to tell your kids to start their homework.

All of these cameras received four or more stars on Amazon, so check them out and decide which one is best for you.

Storage and Power

There are several types of security cameras, and getting started can be overwhelming. Cameras usually include streaming on your smartphone while you’re away. Some systems offer free cloud storage for a set number of days, referred to as “rolling cloud storage.” For example, if you have seven days of storage, you can see only the previous seven days. But, you can download any footage you need to keep.

Other systems require a subscription for storage or are equipped with a memory card. Without storage, a camera provides only a live stream. Following are several options for powering and connecting your camera.


These are more traditional, heavy-duty security camera systems. Each camera connects to a recorder with an Ethernet cable. This provides you with a stable 24/7 connection, independent from the internet. The downside of wired cameras is their complicated installation.

Wi-Fi or Wireless Security Camera Systems

Wi-Fi cameras connect to the internet without complex wiring. Plug your camera into a power outlet, connect it to your Wi-Fi in the app, and it’s done. These are easy to set up and move, but since they depend on the internet, crashes and even hacks are concerns.

Battery Wi-Fi

Completely wire-free, these cameras work on rechargeable batteries. Install them in a tree or anywhere your internet service can reach. When it’s time to recharge, the app will notify you to plug the camera in for recharging or to replace the batteries. — Reed & Alysa Kleinman,  Contributing Editors,

Ever wonder what happens when you’re asleep or away from home? Here are 11 of the strangest things caught on home security cameras.

Our Expert Security Camera Top Picks:

wyze security cameraWyze

Wyze Cam V2:

This Wyze Cam V2 security camera is a super-affordable indoor camera ($26) with 14 days of free rolling cloud storage. Incredible quality for the price, and you can even record 24/7 on an SD card.

Get this security camera on Amazon.

nest cam security cameraNest Cam

Nest Cam:

This camera integrates with Nest thermostats and other smart home tech products. There is no free video cloud storage, but continuous video recording comes with your subscription. (Nest Cam Indoor, $200).

Get the Nest Cam on Amazon.

arlo security cameraArlo Pro 2

Arlo Pro 2:

This camera includes seven days of free rolling cloud storage, works on rechargeable battery or outlet power, and is weather resistant. You cannot record 24/7 unless you have a paid subscription and plug it in. (Arlo Pro 2 VMS4230P, $355).

Get the Arlo Pro on Amazon.

Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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