When it comes to effective and reliable home security, we believe both Arlo and Swann will get you there. We love that Arlo, a leader in wireless home security, tends to take a “video cameras are all you need” approach to its line of products, making installation and setup easy. But if you’re looking for a more traditional home security system with features like entry sensors, motion sensors and ample video storage, you might find that Swann’s line of products works better for you.
Before you buy, take a look at our comparison of each system, including some game-changing features you might not know about, as well as some crucial differences between the two.
Overview: Arlo vs. Swann
First, we’re happy to see that both cameras offer night vision and high-resolution video. These are key features, especially for those “things that go bump in the night” that you really want to see and record. Arlo’s motion sensor is built right into the camera base, while Swann uses heat-sensing cameras. And thankfully, both provide clear, crisp images so you won’t have to keep wondering why your dog randomly barks into the darkness at 2 a.m.
These systems are also super easy to install and come with simple instructions. You do have to buy the equipment upfront, though; both Arlo and Swann products can be found at many popular retailers, including Amazon and Best Buy.
With Swann, you can stick to individual indoor/outdoor cameras or go all in with a fully functional, more traditional home security system that includes entry sensors and lots more really cool tech. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a system with eyes everywhere, we think you’ll appreciate Arlo’s ability to support up to 50 cameras at one time.
And since neither company requires a contract, you won’t have to pay any monthly fees to keep the system running. (There is a fee associated with Arlo’s cloud storage; more on that later.)
Similarities: Good video quality, easy to use
When it comes to effective video surveillance, Arlo and Swann deliver in similar ways. We’ve found that both offer high-resolution video quality and effective night vision technology that allow for indoor and outdoor use. Both come with easy-to-follow instructions for setup and use. And both offer cloud storage options.
Here are some other similarities we noted:
- You can buy the equipment upfront, with no need for contracts
- You can choose from multiple camera options
- Both offer apps that are compatible with iOS and Android operating systems
- Both offer motion detection sensors
- Both feature multiple settings to customize your systems
- Both offer multiple purchasing options depending on what level of security you’re looking for
Differences: Smaller storage, remote control
The biggest differences we found between Arlo and Swann lie in the individual system options. With Swann, you can purchase a fully integrated home security system that includes entry sensors for both doors and windows, a key fob for remote entry, heat-sensing cameras, and an outdoor siren. You won’t find that same package in Arlo’s arsenal; its home security system has some of the same tech, but includes just two main cameras with built-in motion detection sensors.
Here are some other differences we noted:
- Swann offers larger storage options, while Arlo's storage is mostly cloud-based and does include a fee
- Swann can be controlled remotely with a key fob
- Arlo offers services to businesses as well as residential customers, while Swann caters primarily to residential
- Night-vision technology
- Built-in motion sensors
- Baby monitor capabilities
- High-traffic zone targeting throughout your home
- Two-way voice communication
- Monitoring apps that work with iOS and Android
- Night-vision technology
- Partial activity zone customization
- Entry sensors
- Motion detection sensors
- Remote key fob
- Monitoring apps that work with iOS and Android
If you’re anything like us, you’re not a fan of being locked into contracts just to be able to use a product. You want the option to change your mind, right? Thankfully, neither Arlo nor Swann require customers to sign up for contracts or service agreements to use them. Just buy the equipment upfront, enjoy the easy installation and setup, and relax. As far as security cameras go, note that today’s best systems don’t require a contract.
Arlo vs. Swann Pricing
The Arlo Pro normally costs $249.99 and the Arlo Pro 2 just under $480. The Arlo Pro 3, the company’s latest release, offers kits starting at $499.99. And the Arlo Ultra one-camera kit is priced at $399.99. If you want to purchase individual cams, Arlo has you covered there, too. Individual cams cost $199.99. Not bad.
If you want monthly storage, Arlo has a plan that supports 10 cameras and includes 30 days’ worth of video storage for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. If that’s still not enough storage for you, the premium plan supports 15 cameras and includes 60 days’ worth of video storage for $14.99 per month or $149.99 per year.
Swann packages start with a basic home security system that you can buy for $119.99. If you want to add cameras, a Swann 4-channel system costs $399.99 and an 8-channel system costs $479.99. If you’re really wanting to go big, Swann also offers a 16-channel system that costs up to $2,300.
So, Arlo = cameras, Swann = channels. What does it mean? Pretty much the same thing – the more tech you want, the more you’re going to spend. With Arlo, you can customize your package and add more cameras based on your needs. That, paired with the super-easy installation and ease of use, makes Arlo one of our top picks.
|Arlo Model||Camera Type||Cost|
|Arlo Ultra||4K HDR wire-free||$399.99|
|Arlo Pro 2||1080p HD wire-free||$179.99|
|Arlo Pro 3||2K HDR wire-free||$169.99|
|Arlo Essential||1080p HD wire-free||$129.99|
|Swann Model||Camera Type||Cost|
|Swann 1080p Alert||1080p HD hardwired||$59.99|
|Swann Thermal Sensing 4-Pack||5 MP Super HD hardwired||$119.99|
|Swann Master Series 4K Dome||4K HDR hardwired||$169.99|
|Swann Wireless 1080p||1080p HD wire-free||$149.99|
Arlo’s line of products includes Arlo Pro, Arlo Pro 2, and Arlo Pro 3. In each system, you’ll get powerful LEDs, an integrated 2K HDR camera, 160-degree field of view, two-way audio, custom lighting configurations, and a built-in siren.
With Swann, you can buy cameras individually or purchase one of several packages. Keep in mind that Swann categorizes its systems based on how many channels you need; you can buy systems that operate on 2, 4, 6, 8, or 16 channels. You can even get a full-on home security system with heat-sensing cameras, entry sensors, a key fob, and motion detection.
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 and Swann systems are designed to be self-monitoring. That means that if there is an emergency, you, or another designated user, are notified through alerts and push notifications on your app. Neither system has the ability to notify authorities on your behalf; that part is up to you.
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.
Arlo vs. Swann: Our Verdict
Buying security cameras for your home can be a hefty upfront investment. You shouldn’t go cheap on this one; it’s a matter of securing your home and family, after all. With Arlo, you get easy-to-install, easy-to-use cameras that provide optimal self-monitoring, best-in-class hardware, no contracts, and little-to-no hassle. If those things are important to you, Arlo is the way to go.
But don’t count Swann out just yet. In addition to quality hardware and functionality, we think this system is a good choice for homeowners who are looking for security cameras plus a traditional home security system that pretty much does it all.
As with any home security system, the best purchase for you depends on the size of your home and the needs of your family. But if you’re like most homeowners, we know that being able to install and operate your system on your own — without sacrificing great features and tech — is a huge plus. That’s why we recommend Arlo. We found that Arlo’s stellar customer service and cutting-edge technology puts it a step above Swann.