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6 best outdoor security cameras: Weatherproof devices for the ultimate peace of mind

The Independent
The Independent
 2022-01-17

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Outdoor security cameras can be a good addition to any property. Not only does their installation mean you can find out more about what happens around your home, but they also act as a worthwhile deterrent for any would-be criminals attempting to gain access.

Similarly, should the worst happen, you can be sure that with the quality of today’s cameras, it’s easy to gather a range of imagery and data that can help with any insurance, criminal or claims process.

There are, however, some distinct differences between security setups designed for outdoor and interior use. Firstly, outdoor cameras tend to be bigger, more protected and utilise better waterproofing and water resistant materials.

Secondly, they have a greater range so your devices can communicate with each other from further away. And thirdly, they often come with lights, alarms, sirens and other accessories that can alert you or passers by to unwanted attention.

A quick word on installation. Most of these setups are easy to install and seamlessly link into your home network. However, it’s worth bearing in mind access – any visual obstructions and proximity to routers, for example – so you can make the most of the camera and allow it to work to the best of its abilities. Although, we found that some instruction manuals lacked specific details, there are plenty of tutorials and guides online. If you’re still in two minds it may be worth getting an electrician or security camera expert to have a look at your home and decide on the best configuration and location for your device.

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How we tested

We tested these cameras in two different locations to measure their attributes – from outside the front door to measure daily comings and goings, to the rear of the house to see how well additional security features like motion detection, alarms and spotlights worked. They were tested in a range of weather conditions too, so you can be sure that any of the products we’ve featured performed well against the elements.

The best outdoor security cameras for 2022 are:

  • Best for connectivity – Arlo ultra: £169.81, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for outbuildings and sheds –  Reolink argus 3 pro: £115.99, Reolink.com
  • Best for established Google users – Google nest cam: £179.99, Google.com
  • Best for enhanced security – Ring spotlight cam: £179, Ring.com
  • Best budget buy – TP-Link tapo C310 pan outdoor camera: £32.99, Argos.co.uk
  • Best premium purchase – Anker eufycam 2 pro: £349, Eufylife.com

Arlo ultra

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Best: For connectivity

Rating: 9/10

  • Resolution: 1080 HD video
  • Image sensor: 4K UHD
  • Angle: 180 degree
  • Battery life: 3-6 months stated

For people who operate a range of connectivity infrastructures in their home, such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit, we like Arlo products because they’re cameras work very well with all three. We think the ultra is the most suitable for outdoor use, and offers 4K HDR footage, an integrated spotlight, a siren, 180 degree view and an especially useful dewarping feature which prevents the picture from distorting at the edges, which we thought worked well and gave the visuals a more natural quality to them.

You can tell the camera what to look out for by marking your own activity zones, and we also liked the excellent noise cancelling audio which focuses the microphone on the most important elements of conversation.

Buy now £169.81, Amazon.co.uk

Reolink argus 3 pro

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Best: For outbuildings and sheds

Rating: 9/10

  • Resolution: 2560x144
  • Image sensor: 4 megapixels
  • Angle: 122 degrees
  • Battery life: 1-4 weeks (extendable using solar panels)

We found that this was a great camera to use outdoors, and with the addition of a solar panel, is a worthwhile and hassle-free addition to the outside of your home. We liked the fact that it can record onto an SD card, and the colour night vision works especially well, particularly when it comes to triggering only the moments that you want to look at. Because it’s battery powered you don’t have to worry too much about trailing power supplies to it, and the strong 5/2.4Ghz WiFi means it has the reach to be a great addition to a shed or outbuilding, for example.

Buy now £115.99, Reolink.com

Google nest cam

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Best: For established Google users

Rating: 8/10

  • Resolution: 1080 HD video at 30fps
  • Image sensor: 2 megapixels
  • Angle: 130 diagonal
  • Battery life: Approximately 6 months

Although this option is a little more expensive than some others on the market at the moment, for those of you already plugged into the Google infrastructure, it’s perhaps the best on this list. Intelligent alerts set this camera apart, especially in an outdoor setting, as it can quite easily tell the difference between what you’re interested in and what you’re not – people, vehicles and animals, for example. Battery power means it’s easy to move the camera around, and we think it looks good too as it’s small and discreet enough to fit into a variety of settings.

Buy now £179.99, Google.com

Ring spotlight cam

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Best: For enhanced security

Rating: 8/10

  • Resolution: 1080 HD video
  • Image sensor: 2 megapixels
  • Angle: 130 diagonal
  • Battery life: Not applicable (wired)

This is a versatile and well thought out outdoor security camera from Ring, a brand that also provides us with video doorbells and a number of other outdoor orientated security products for the home. We think this is a perfect option for those wanting enhanced security, as there’s an excellent night vision mode and the floodlight option can be used to illuminate the ground with customisable motion detectors to deter intruders.

As a last resort, there’s also an alarm which can be triggered via the app or when activity is detected within certain time frames or zones. As with all Ring products, it’s easy to install and get going with, and the app works well at ensuring you can keep track of what’s going on via instant motion-activated alerts.

Buy now £179.00, Ring.com

TP-Link tapo C310 pan outdoor camera

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Best: Budget buy

Rating: 8/10

  • Resolution: 2304x129
  • Image sensor: 3MP high definition
  • Angle: 104 degree
  • Battery life: Not applicable (wired)

For the money, this is an excellent fully weatherproof outdoor security camera that features a 30m detection range at night, fully integrated 2-way audio and 3MP ultra-high definition visuals. We liked that footage can be locally stored on a microSD card, meaning there’s no need to buy into expensive subscription packages, and it can also be connected to your system via WiFi or Ethernet cable. It’s also compatible with Echo and Google Home.

There are some compromises for the price, and we would have liked to have seen a wider viewing angle, for example, but if you’re on a budget this outdoor security setup comes highly recommended.

Buy now £32.99, Argos.co.uk

Anker eufycam 2 pro

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Best: Premium purchase

Rating: 8/10

  • Resolution: 2304x129
  • Image sensor: 2K UHD
  • Angle: 140 degree
  • Battery life: 1 year

Although this model is more expensive than some of the others on this list, we really liked the eufycam for its all-round quality and attention to detail. The package ships with two cameras and is designed to minimise the amount of unexpected purchases further down the line. It claims to feature zero hidden fees, and is a one-time purchase that works straight out of the box without the need to purchase any accessories or cloud-based subscription packages.

We also particularly liked the camera’s advanced night vision using Sony camera technology, and additionally its extensive battery life, which is claimed to last up to one year on a full charge. If you have a little more to spend and want a complete solution, we’d recommend this option.

Buy now £349.00, Eufylife.com

The verdict: Outdoor security cameras

Our best buy here is the Arlo ultra , which combines comprehensive connectivity, seamless installation and excellent outdoor visual quality in a fairly budget-friendly package. If you have more to spend, the offering from Eufycam won’t disappoint, and we’d also recommend the Reolink argus 3 for excellent range and weatherproofing.

Of course, if you’re dedicated to Google’s infrastructure, you won’t go far wrong with the Google nest either, but many other cameras also offer connectivity to their system, which prevents us from recommending it as the best buy, as there are many other similar setups out there from other manufacturers.

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For both indoor and outdoor setups, try our edit of the best home security cameras

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