There are seemingly endless options available when it comes to home security cameras, and they come in all shapes, sizes, and with varying features. With so much to consider, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. Not to worry — in this comparison, we’re sharing the similarities, differences, features, and costs of both Arlo and Swann camera-based systems.
We will say that when it comes to reliable home security, we believe both Arlo and Swann will get you there. We love that Arlo tends to take a “video is all you need” approach. Their cameras are feature-packed but still easy to setup and use. But if you’re looking for a more traditional home security system with entry sensors, motion sensors, and ample video storage, you might find that Swann’s line of cameras and other products works better for you.
We’ve personally tested both Arlo and Swann, and today we’re sharing everything you need to know to make a wise buying decision. So let’s jump right in and discuss the similarities between Arlo and Swann.
Arlo vs. Swann – The Similarities
Even with all their differences, there are a considerable number of similarities between Arlo and Swann cameras. Listed below are some of the overlapping features and findings of the two brands.
- Video Resolution – Both companies offer cameras that record high-resolution video images and have excellent night vision capabilities, two very important features. A fuzzy or grainy image will do you no good when it comes to recounting the events intended for capture by these devices. Quality images, day or night, is the name of the game. And both Arlo and Swann do well here.
- Indoor & Outdoor Cameras – You will also discover that both Arlo and Swann cameras can be used indoors or outdoors. That is, each brand offers indoor cameras as well as outdoor cameras that can withstand the elements. If you’re looking specifically to monitor the exterior of your home, we recommend checking out our roundup of the best outdoor cameras.
FYI: Read our full Swann camera review to really get to know their products and video storage options. Just be warned — their camera lineup is quite extensive. Patience is a virtue with Swann.
- Cloud-based Video Storage – Arlo and Swann both offer paid cloud-based video storage plans. This is important because videos can take up a lot of storage space, so internal storage does not always suffice.
- Multiple Camera Options – Keep in mind that some home security brands only sell a small handful of cameras. That’s not the case with these two popular security camera providers; each sell multiple options for both indoor and outdoor use. You can choose between wireless cameras, wired cameras, and you can really narrow your search by features and tech.
- Motion Detection – Depending on the camera model, you’ll get motion-based recording with Arlo and Swann. If a would-be intruder creeps within the camera’s field of view, the motion sensor trips and the camera immediately begins recording. This is a great feature, but it’s becoming fairly standard these days.
- Smartphone Controls – If you’re anything like us, you like to control your devices using your iPhone or Android smartphone. Thankfully, Swann and Arlo come with mobile apps that allow you to do just that. You can view live-stream footage and recordings, talk to visitors using two-way communication, and manage other features and functions remotely.
So those are the main similarities we found when we put Arlo and Swann security cameras head-to-head. But we also found a number of differences that you should know about. Let’s cover those now.
Arlo vs. Swann – The Differences
The main differences between the two cameras lie in the equipment options and integration that are available with the Swann video surveillance camera that you will not find with the Arlo camera.
- Whole Home Security – Swann provides the option to purchase an entire home security system, including door and window sensors, a remote-entry fob, an outdoor siren, and heat-sensing cameras. Arlo offers top-notch cameras, but they have no entryway (door and window) sensor options.
- Build Quality – After using both products, we have to say that Arlo cameras are simply built better. The materials are high-quality and the devices are really built to last. Swann cameras aren’t built poorly, per se, but they just don’t inspire confidence the way Arlo cameras do.
FYI: To read more about Arlo, check out our in-depth Arlo camera review. In the review, you’ll get a better sense of what it’s like living with these cameras on a day-to-day basis.
- Camera Types – Swann takes the cake in this category. Arlo only has 9 cameras to choose from (plus a couple of doorbell cameras), while Swann sells dozens, if not 100+, different cameras. You’ll have a wider selection with Swann compared to Arlo.
- DVRs and NVRs – Swann also offers lots of DVR and NVR options. So if you’re looking for a more professional-grade, multi-channel camera kit, then Swann definitely has what you’re looking for. That said, you can get a similar setup with Arlo, you just won't have as many options compared to Swann.
- Video Quality – Arlo edges out Swann here. Now, Swann does have several cameras that offer 4K image quality, but we liked Arlo’s resolution better. It just came through more crisp and clear for us — and even Arlo’s 1080p HD cameras offer plenty good video quality for our needs (and probably yours, too).
- Artificial Intelligence – Arlo delivers the goods when it comes to AI-based motion detection and facial recognition. With the Arlo Smart subscription, you’ll be able to enable smart person detection to always know who’s approaching your home. As far as we know, Swann doesn’t offer AI in any capacity.
Features of Arlo and Swann
It can be a tedious task to sift through all the different features to find the best camera to fit your needs. To help, we’ve come up with a quick-reference list of features of each camera and the benefits they offer. Here are the features you can expect, starting with Arlo:
Arlo Features and Tech
- Night Vision Technology: Arlo video surveillance cameras are equipped with night vision technology that allows the camera to record crisp images in the dark. After all, many burglaries happen after dark. What good would a video surveillance camera be if it could not capture images at such a critical time?
- Motion Sensing Technology: The Arlo video surveillance camera is also equipped with built-in motion sensors. When the camera senses movement nearby, it will start recording. This will save on storage space, as it’s not recording events that don’t matter.
- Zone Targeting: This smart feature allows your camera to target high-traffic areas and efficiently record images from certain areas of your home in the order of their respective priority.
- Two-Way Voice Communication: This feature allows for the devices to be used much like a walkie-talkie. While it might seem unnecessary, you may be surprised at how often it’ll come in handy. We love two-way communication, and we’re glad that it’s becoming standard in the industry.
- iOS and Android Compatible Apps: It is important that the camera and its features can be operated from your mobile device. Since Arlo has an app that is compatible with both Android devices and iOS devices, compatibility will not be an issue. As mentioned, remote access and controls using your smartphone is important to look for.
- Can Act as a Baby Monitor: A lot of people like to utilize one of their video surveillance cameras as a baby monitor. The Arlo video surveillance camera is designed in such a way that use as a baby monitor is one of the intended functions. In fact, they recently came out with the Arlo Baby, which is specifically used for baby monitoring.
Did You Know? Arlo offers AI features in their cameras, something that Swann doesn’t offer (yet). Thankfully, just because Arlo’s cameras are more advanced in the features department doesn’t mean they’re more difficult to use. In fact, they are quite simple to set up and operate.
Swann Features and Tech
- Zone Customization: Much like the Arlo video surveillance camera, the Swann camera will also let you customize your cameras to be used differently in high-traffic and low-traffic areas.
- Remote Fob: The remote fob allows for keyless entry and camera operation. This fob can fit onto your key ring and is easy to operate.
- Compatible Apps: Just like with the Arlo cameras, the Swann cameras can be monitored and operated from an app on your mobile device. The app is both iOS and Android-friendly so it will be compatible with your mobile device.
- Night Vision Technology: Swann cameras are also equipped with excellent night vision technology to record crisp and clear images after dark. This is important since a lot can happen in the middle of the night.
- Entry Sensors: Entry sensors will detect the breaching of doors or windows by an intruder. This is definitely an advantage that Swann has over Arlo.
- Motion Detection: As mentioned, motion detection is important because it allows for the conservation of storage space by only recording video when necessary. When motion is sensed, the camera will automatically point and record.
From our extensive hands-on experience with these products, we’re familiar with Arlo’s reputation for fast, easy setup and little hassle. For instance, when we tested Arlo’s Pro 3, we were able to get it up and running in minutes. We’re confident that anyone – yes, even your “boomer” grandparents – can learn how to set up Arlo’s cameras quickly and easily.
Swann is a slightly different story. When you buy a kit, you get everything you need to do the installation yourself, which we really liked. Though everything is color-coordinated to help you install the equipment properly, the system is hardwired, so actually mounting it around the house can be a bit time-consuming.
For us, the fast and easy installation made Arlo’s products highly appealing and a clear choice when compared to the more traditional Swann system.
Arlo vs Swann – Camera Cost & Fees
The cost of the various cameras can also be tricky to sort through. To help clarify things a little, here is a look at how much the different cameras cost to help you with your decision:
You can buy several different models in several different kits from Arlo. From the Arlo Essential to the Arlo Ultra — you can spend anywhere between $130 and $400 on a single camera. Arlo certainly isn’t the cheapest camera option out there, but then again, you tend to get what you pay for when it comes to home security products.
If you can afford it, Arlo is one of the best home security cameras in the game. Note that Arlo also has cloud storage plans that run between $3 and $15 per month for 30-days of video history and up to 4K quality. Here’s a look at Arlo’s prices and fees.
Arlo Camera Options
|4K HDR wire-free
|Arlo Pro 2
|1080p HD wire-free
|Arlo Pro 3
|2K HDR wire-free
|1080p HD wire-free
The most basic package offered by Swann will cost you about $120. Swann also offers a four-channel video surveillance system that runs about $400. There are plenty of other Swann systems available as well. In fact, you can spend as much as $2,300 or more with Swann, depending on what you are looking for. Here’s a breakdown of Swann camera prices.
Swann Camera Options
|Swann 1080p Alert
|1080p HD hardwired
|Swann Thermal Sensing 4-Pack
|5 MP Super HD hardwired
|Swann Master Series 4K Dome
|4K HDR hardwired
|Swann Wireless 1080p
|1080p HD wire-free
One of the best things about these companies is that they do not require long-term contracts for equipment or monitoring. This means that you can avoid getting locked-in to a monthly payment, and you don’t need to show proof of good credit history to get started. However, it’s worth noting that most camera brands don’t require contracts these days. Pay up front and you’re good to go!
If something goes wrong or you have questions, we found the support pages on both Arlo and Swann’s websites to be helpful and straightforward. With Arlo, we found hundreds of answers to many common questions and a full knowledge base of almost 800,000 members to help ensure that the installation process goes smoothly. The answers provide a great starting point when you’re setting up and using your cameras for the first time.
In addition to the Arlo community, you’ll find how-to and installation videos, articles, downloadable manuals, and frequently asked questions, as well as a live chat function and a direct customer support line, so you can learn the best ways to use your equipment. Got a defective or malfunctioning part? You can open a case with Arlo’s team as long as your product falls within the one-year warranty period.
With Swann, we found their customer service to be good, but not great. You do get 24/7 phone support, which is rare for the security industry. You can also get in touch with an agent via live chat or email if you prefer. Representatives were friendly and professional, but as with many large corporations (Swann Communications is huge), the experience felt corporate and impersonal.
When Should You Get Surveillance Cameras?
If you do not already have security cameras installed, you should consider going with either Swann or Arlo. And another top-rated camera company is Ring. We did a deep-dive review of Ring Cameras, and we think they offer a whole lot of bang for your buck. Whichever camera system you choose, just remember that criminal activity like burglaries, break-ins, and package theft can happen in any neighborhood, at any time. That’s why it’s never a bad idea to protect yourself and your home with video surveillance.
Swann vs Arlo – Our Final Thoughts
Now that you have read a little bit more about Swann video surveillance cameras and how they compare to Arlo security cameras, your decision should be a little bit easier. As long as you have considered your specific needs and you have done your research, finding the right cameras should not be so overwhelming.
While keeping in mind that you really can’t go wrong with Swann or Arlo, we give the edge to Arlo. Our experience using Arlo’s cameras was thoroughly enjoyable, and we like their advanced features like AI-powered person detection. Also, if we’re being honest, their cameras look better than Swann cameras; of course, looks aren’t everything, but when you combine form with function, you have a winning combination. And that’s exactly what we found in Arlo.