The Best Indoor and Outdoor Budget Security Cameras

High-end security cameras can be a fantastic investment and often feature numerous advanced features. However, for the average homeowner, the cutting edge simply isn't economical. It can be quite costly to secure your home, especially if you're planning to use security cameras, but that doesn't mean it has to be. There are plenty of security cameras that won't drive you broke, and to prove it, we've put together a list of some of the best security cameras under $150 for both indoor and outdoor use.

The Five Best Indoor Security Cameras Below $150

Unless you're the kid from "Home Alone," indoor security cameras are often your final defense against a burglar, so it's important that they provide a clear image and allow the authorities to easily recognize the home invader. While a budget camera may not be able to pinpoint a gnat from a mile away, you might be surprised by the clarity of some of these cameras, as well as just how many other features they boast; from push notifications and night vision to two-way audio and more.

FLIR FX

The FLIR FX is an excellent camera. With an extremely high resolution of 1440p, it's a wonder that this camera is available for under $150, if only just barely. It offers a number of fantastic features, from the aforementioned high resolution and push notifications triggered by motion to two-way audio, and, last but certainly not least, high-dynamic-range video capture. HDR uses cutting-edge technology to balance light levels and allow you to see areas that would appear too light or dark for non-HDR cameras. The biggest flaw in the FLIR FX is its field-of-view, which is only 160 degrees. However, with all of its other features, and its budget price point, that flaw is no dealbreaker.

The FLIR FX can connect to your Android or Apple device via the FLIR Secure app on each device's respective app store. The app boasts RapidRecap technology that quickly compiles any motion detected and displays it as a short video. However, if you want to utilize all of the app's features, or if you want more than the default two days of storage, you'll have to pay $15 per month or $150 per year for the FLIR Cloud Premium plan.

Pros:

  • Extremely high resolution.
  • RapidRecap and mobile integration.
  • HDR video capture.

Cons:

  • Subscription required for all features.
  • Two-way audio suffers from mild lag.

Specifications:

  • Resolution: 1440p.
  • Field-of-view: 160°.
  • Local Storage: 8 GB included, 64 GB maximum.
  • Motion-based push notifications.
  • Two-way audio.

Vimtag P1 Smart Cloud Camera

The Vimtag P1 Smart Cloud Camera utilizes pan and tilt features to provide an incredible 350-degree field-of-view. While it may not have the same visual fidelity as the FLIR FX, it's available for about $20 less, at only $130, and its field of view is nothing to shake a stick at. The Vimtag also offers a number of other features, including push notifications that will notify you of any nearby activity, and two-way audio to let you hear what's going on, and then talk back. Overall, the P1 is a solid choice, with a high level of quality, and a reasonable price.

Unlike FLIR, Vimtag doesn't offer a cloud storage subscription. All features are available with the camera itself, but the camera's storage maxes out at 128 GB, and if you want more, you might have to purchase a Vimtag cloud storage box, which could cost you from $150 to $200 depending on whether you're after the 1TB or 2TB option. While it does have the benefit of allowing you to manage your own cloud storage without a subscription, you don't get the benefits of secure offsite cloud storage or other benefits you might find with a subscription service.

Pros:

  • Pan and zoom provide wide field-of-view.
  • All features are available without any subscriptions.
  • Camera supports larger internal storage.

Cons:

  • Narrow field-of-view when the camera is static.
  • Software can be a hassle for users that aren't tech-savvy.

Specifications:

  • Resolution: 960p.
  • Field-of-view: 350°.
  • Local Storage: 128 GB maximum.
  • Motion-based push notifications.
  • Two-way audio.

Amcrest ProHD

The Amcrest ProHD is an interesting camera with a spherical frame and pan and tilt features that offer full 360° rotation. However, the camera's lens only offers a 90° field-of-view. It features night vision that's clear up to 32 feet, as well as two-way audio. The pan and tilt features aren't very fast, so they're not useful for tracking fast-moving targets, but they still help to make up for the extremely low field of view. But perhaps the greatest thing about the ProHD is its price, only costing you about $110.

Another benefit of the ProHD is that it boasts impressive support for third-party applications. While you're able to use the ProHD with Amcrest's native app, it's also compatible with tinyCam, Blue Iris, and many other popular surveillance programs. This makes it perfect for users who already have a favorite piece of software, or want to add the ProHD to a network of other cameras.

Pros:

  • High resolution provides clear video.
  • Magnetic base allows for effortless mounting.
  • Camera supports popular third-party software.

Cons:

  • Setup process can be complicated.
  • Field-of-view is extremely narrow.

Specifications:

  • Resolution: 1080p.
  • Field-of-view: 90°.
  • Local Storage: 64 GB maximum.
  • Motion-based push notifications.
  • Two-way audio.

D-Link HD Wi-Fi Camera

The D-Link HD could be the penultimate budget security camera. What it lacks in resolution and high-tech features, it more than makes up for with a staggeringly low price of only $70. While D-Link isn't generally known for its security cameras, this is a solid contender that offers a resolution of 720p and an average field-of-view. It doesn't possess two-way audio capabilities, but it does have a few features that make it one of the best budget cameras. One of the best features is the signal finder that comes built-in and tells you where the camera will get the best signal strength. It also features automatic push notifications triggered by motion.

All of this camera's features are available right out of the box, with no subscription required. The default app, "mydlink Lite," can be found on the Apple and Android app stores, as well as the app store for a few Windows-based mobile devices.

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable.
  • Decent resolution provides a clear image.
  • No subscriptions are required to access all of its features.

Cons:

  • Setup can be difficult for those who aren't tech-savvy.
  • Doesn't support two-way audio.

Specifications:

  • Resolution: 720p.
  • Field-of-view: 120°.
  • Local Storage: 128 GB maximum.
  • Motion-based push notifications.
  • Built-in signal finder.

MiSafes Mi-Cam Video Monitor

The MiSafes Mi-Cam isn't technically a security camera, but rather a baby and pet monitor. However, don't let that fool you; this video monitor works quite well as a security camera for those on a tight budget, clocking in at about $100. It has the same field-of-view and resolution as the D-Link camera, but the video isn't quite as clear. However, what it lacks in clarity, it more than makes up for with crisp and clean two-way audio, and 360-degree rotation. It also features a magnetic mount, and push notifications that will tell you whenever motion has been detected.

The Mi-Cam is still lacking in some places though. Its app is poorly designed and a hassle to use, and it doesn't offer any sort of night vision. However, overall, it's not a bad security camera if you're on a budget.

Pros:

  • Extremely clear audio.
  • Initial setup is almost effortless.
  • 360-degree rotation allows for a full view.

Cons:

  • The mobile app suffers from poor design.
  • Doesn't support night vision.

Specifications:

  • Resolution: 720p.
  • Field-of-view: 120°.
  • Local Storage: 64 GB maximum.
  • Motion-based push notifications.
  • Two-way audio.

Reolink RLC-410

The Reolink RLC-410 is one of the best outdoor cameras available if you're on a budget. With an extremely high resolution, rivaling the FLIR FX at 1440p, it provides immense clarity. Moreover, it provides high night-time visibility, with crystal-clear night vision to 100 feet. The RLC-410 can notify you of activity via push notifications or e-mails, and even lets you create more specific detection zones. At only $80, this is an ideal budget camera.

The RLC-410 can connect with an NVR recording network and up to 15 other cameras at maximum, with the most advanced NVR model offering a 3 TB internal capacity with the ability to add an additional 4 TB in external storage. Additionally, it operates over both Ethernet and Wi-Fi. When using an Ethernet connection, it supports power-over-Ethernet technology, which allows you to transmit both data and power over a single Ethernet cable.

Pros:

  • Extremely high resolution.
  • Crisp and clear night vision.
  • Adjustable motion sensitivity and detection zones.

Cons:

  • No local storage space, you have to use FTP.
  • Not compatible with third-party software or NVR systems.

Specifications:

  • Resolution: 1440p.
  • Field-of-view: 80°.
  • Local Storage: None.
  • Motion-based push notifications.
  • IP Weatherproof Rating: 66

Amcrest ProHD

The Amcrest ProHD is an extremely strong contender. A bit more expensive than the Reolink at about $130, it provides increased functionality, on top of a greater field of view. The resolution is impressive, at 1296p, but it doesn't quite measure up to the Reolink's. But with digital zoom and clear night vision for 98 feet, it provides almost unprecedented clarity no matter what you're looking at. This camera features intelligent detection that distinguishes between people or large animals and small animals, sending you activity notifications directly to your mobile device.

There are multiple options available for local storage, as well as four hours of cloud storage included with a free trial of the Amcrest app. There are no monthly fees for the software. However, some users have had issues with bugs in the software.

Pros:

  • High resolution with clear visuals.
  • Long-distance night vision.
  • All features are available without a monthly subscription.

Cons:

  • High-resolution video only shoots at 20 FPS.
  • Software can sometimes be buggy.

Specifications:

  • Resolution: 1296p.
  • Field-of-view: 100°.
  • Local Storage: MicroSD.
  • Motion-based push notifications.
  • IP Weatherproof Rating: 67

Foscam Outdoor Security Camera

The Foscam Outdoor Security Camera is squarely in the center of our range in both price and quality. At $80, it's affordable, but not so much that concessions would have to be made on quality. It has a reasonable resolution of 720p, and its night vision extends 66 feet, so it isn't the clearest camera on the list. Motion sensitivity can be adjusted, and it has a number of notification options as well.

The firmware can be easily updated, taking only a single button press, however, storage can be an issue with this camera. There are no options for local storage, so you're forced to use the company's cloud storage, which is fairly limited if you aren't willing to pay a monthly fee to expand it.

Pros:

  • Decent resolution with clear night vision.
  • Motion sensitivity is adjustable.
  • The app is easy to use.

Cons:

  • No local storage, and a monthly subscription is required for expanded cloud storage.
  • Advanced features are only available on desktop systems.

Specifications:

  • Resolution: 720p.
  • Field-of-view: 75°.
  • Local Storage: None.
  • Motion-based push notifications.
  • IP Weatherproof Rating: 66

Zmodo Wireless Security Camera

The Zmodo Wireless Security Camera is a curious contender. Zmodo has only recently begun to make its mark on the industry, but it's already gained a fantastic reputation. While the field-of-view is a somewhat strange 81°, the resolution is a pretty good 720p, and the camera is surprisingly sturdy. It has crisp and clear night vision for 66 feet, and Zmodo's app provides motion-based push notifications. At about $100, it's pretty good for its price.

But the best thing about this camera isn't the features, it's the company. The customer service department is known to be efficient, helpful, and friendly, and the camera itself has a 60-day return policy in addition to an exceptional three-year warranty. The camera doesn't have any local storage, requiring you to use Zmodo's cloud storage. However, the cloud storage is unlimited, without any subscription.

Pros:

  • Exceptional customer support.
  • Three-year warranty is included.
  • Unlimited cloud storage.

Cons:

  • Setup can be difficult.
  • Cloud storage is the only option.

Specifications:

  • Resolution: 720p.
  • Field-of-view: 81°.
  • Local Storage: None.
  • Motion-based push notifications.
  • IP Weatherproof Rating: 65

Zosi Weatherproof Camera

The Zosi Weatherproof Camera is not innovative or cutting edge. This is a simple analog camera without much fluff, but what that translates to is an unbelievably low price of about $20. The resolution is low, at 960H, or about 480p. The field of view is a pretty decent 90 degrees, and it's a sturdy camera overall.

But while it's a perfectly respectable camera, it does lack quite a few things that most modern cameras have, such as push notifications or high-tech apps, nor does it include components such as a power supply or video cable. It doesn't have local storage either, relying on Zosi's unlimited cloud storage. This isn't a high-end camera by any means, but if you're on a razor-thin budget, it gets the job done.

Pros:

  • Dirt cheap.
  • Unlimited cloud storage.
  • Relatively wide field-of-view.

Cons:

  • Not wireless.
  • No push notifications or motion detection.
  • Somewhat low resolution.

Specifications:

  • Resolution: 960H.
  • Field-of-view: 90°.
  • Local Storage: None.
  • IP Weatherproof Rating: 66

Final Overview

While indoor security cameras often act as a last line of defense, outdoor cameras are often the first line of defense and an effective deterrent. However, they also have to fulfill different requirements. Outdoor cameras have to handle any weather that mother nature can throw at them, and still provide a high degree of clarity. This often leads to smaller, more focused fields of view that serve to cover a specific section of your yard, rather than an entire room.

When you're looking for a budget security camera, it's tempting to look at what's cheapest, but that isn't always the best choice. When it comes to security cameras, quality should always be a major consideration, and you should always make sure that you're actually getting a camera that won't break in a week from a company that has a well-established reputation for quality.

Technical Considerations

The camera's firmware and software are important components, and it's important that they work well, and are secure against attacks by hackers. The security of your camera's storage is also a major consideration. While local storage can be risky, making it possible for you to lose your footage if the camera is destroyed or stolen, cloud storage might also be less than ideal. Cloud servers may go offline if the camera company ever goes out of business, making all of your footage disappear in an instant. It's recommended that you get a camera with both local and offsite storage options if possible.

Personal Considerations

While home security is often expensive, it doesn't have to be. This list provides a number of affordable and reliable cameras that will work well for many people. However, what's considered to be the "best" camera on the list may not be the best for your personal needs. It's up to you to balance your needs and your budget to get the camera that serves the purpose you need it to without emptying your wallet.