With products ranging from simple indoor cameras and two-way radios to body cameras and 4K surveillance systems,1 Amcrest has a long-standing reputation as a gadget-forward tech company with an unprecedented selection.
We took their security cameras for a test drive recently in our hands-on review of Amcrest, and though the experience wasn’t flawless, we found that the sheer variety in Amcrest’s products really gives the brand an edge over the competition.
Aside from fulfilling a wide range of needs in the industry, Amcrest also provides great affordability, which is something we consistently assess here at SafeHome.org; after all, you tend to get what you pay for in this industry.
So this time, we’re pivoting away from the features and technology, and we’re focusing instead on the Amcrest equipment options, as well as the value they bring to the home security industry2 and to their customers. In other words, with a great selection and relatively low prices, does Amcrest have security cameras, packages, and prices that make sense for you and your budget?
Let’s dig into the brand and see what’s in store, starting with a few key features worth noting across the Amcrest product lineup:
In our experience, Amcrest pricing has been fair and reasonable. Getting a read on just how “affordable” this diverse brand of cameras is as a whole, however, is not so straightforward, since there is such a wide range of devices being sold.
Pro Tip: Amcrest’s massive selection can be overwhelming. If this is the case for you, consider a brand that focuses on perfecting only a small handful of feature-heavy cameras, like Nest Cams, with only three options to speak of. If you’re interested in our full experience with those cameras, check out our in-depth Nest Cam review.
With Amcrest, note that their home security camera prices range from $45 for their bestselling ProHD indoor pan-tilt camera to $259 for a 4K bullet-style outdoor camera. Beyond the home, Amcrest offers dash cams, infrared thermometers, wireless earbuds, drones, baby monitors, and webcams starting as low as $29.99. Keep in mind that Amcrest also lists numerous multi-camera packages and systems to outfit large spaces and buildings with prices approaching $3,000.
|SmartHome 4mp Outdoor Bullet Camera||
|ProHD 1080p Pan/Tilt Indoor Camera||
||Starting at $39.99|
|4K Optical Zoom IP Dome Camera||
|SmartHome AI Human Detection WiFi Indoor Camera||
|UltraHD Shield 2K Dual-Band WiFi IP Indoor Camera||
|SmartHome 1080p WiFi Outdoor Floodlight Camera||
As you can see, prices are all over the map with Amcrest, which isn’t a bad thing. Here’s a bit more insight into our experiences with the cameras and a more detailed breakdown of costs across the brand.
The Amcrest SmartHome 4MP Wi-Fi bullet outdoor camera, which costs $65, is a solid device, with weatherproof housing and an optional ethernet port, allowing you to connect your camera to a more stable connection for seamless viewing and monitoring. For folks with home Wi-Fi that isn’t always reliable, this is a great little perk.
It’s also plenty sturdy in terms of equipment, with an IP67 weather rating that ensures the camera will hold up against the elements. In our neck of the woods, “the elements” are always imminent, so having weatherproof cameras3 is a must.
It is important to note, though, that this is still a pretty basic camera in terms of features and tech. It doesn’t have two-way talk, which means you can’t use your voice as an active deterrent to spook potential intruders.4
When it came to the camera’s performance, however, Amcrest’s technology was up to snuff, recording smooth, detailed video thanks to a super-wide angle lens and a 4-megapixel image sensor. While video quality didn’t quite rise to the level of, say, an Arlo camera, that’s not to say Amcrest isn’t a worthwhile choice for the $65 price tag. (If you’re curious about Arlo, check out our latest roundup of Arlo packages and prices.)
Considering this camera delivers premium 4MP video quality – even better than the industry-standard 1080p benchmark for HD – we’d give this one high marks for value.
Pan-tilt cameras are a favorite among renters, apartment dwellers, and folks on a budget, as they cover a much wider field of view than traditional cameras. We found that the Amcrest ProHD camera, which starts at $39.99 for a basic 720p model, goes anywhere and covers everything. Folks love using it as a nanny cam, baby monitor, and an overall line of defense to help deter home invasions, package thefts,5 and other household threats.
The only downside to this relatively cheap camera that we found was that unlike other pan-tilt cameras on the market – and there are many – this one doesn’t pan, tilt, or track motion automatically. In our tests, we discovered we could only move the camera manually, through the Amcrest View Pro app. While not a huge drawback, this does mean you’ll have to do a little more legwork to customize your viewing angle.
FYI: Several brands make cameras with automatic pan-tilt, and a select few of those add automatic tracking. These are not cheap features, but if you’d rather have a more automated experience with your camera, Lorex’s line of cameras and packages might suit you better.
Looking further into Amcrest, we found several dome cameras that can be purchased either individually or as a multi-piece system. For just under $260, Amcrest offers a 4K optical zoom dome-style camera, which is a real powerhouse with ultra HD video resolution. And though it’s a bit bulkier and more conspicuous than a traditional bullet camera, a dome camera like this can be a great addition to porches, patios, garages, and other areas around your home or business.
Inevitably, though, a 4K camera is going to cost you more than the majority of security cameras out there, especially if you’re buying on a per-camera basis. For comparison’s sake, Swann’s product line includes a size-equivalent 4K dome camera for $99, which is pretty affordable for a camera with top-of-the-line video resolution.
Clearly, you can find a cheaper dome camera, but keep in mind that Swann’s equipment is not as sturdy or durable as Amcrest’s, for the most part. That said, if you’re curious about Swann, pop over to our full hands-on review of Swann cameras for more insights.
Of course, with all of Amcrest’s cutting-edge technology in your hands, you’re going to want a place to store your video history. Another perk of Amcrest is that many of their cameras include a Micro SD port, allowing you to store your video locally on your own memory card, so you don’t have to pay to store video in the cloud.
But the company does offer some decent cloud options, too. In our tests of Amcrest, we were able to take advantage of a one-year free trial of Amcrest Cloud. And we were pleased to find that if we wanted to extend our service beyond that year, Amcrest offers reasonable monthly plans for storing either motion-activated recording or 24/7 continuous recording, depending on your needs and preferences.
To us, these prices didn’t seem to stray too far from the industry norm. As a minimum, you’ll pay $6 per month, per camera, for 7 days of video history. That’s slightly higher than the standard cloud storage plan you’d get through a Ring camera, but keep in mind that Ring, though an overall excellent brand, does lack the selection and advanced tech we found in Amcrest.
|Plans||Motion Recording||Continuous Recording|
|7-Day Video History||$6 per camera||$9 per camera|
|14-Day Video History||$10 per camera||$15 per camera|
|30-Day Video History||$15 per camera||$20 per camera|
|60-Day Video History||$23 per camera||$27.50 per camera|
|90-Day Video History||$27.50 per camera||$35 per camera|
Just like their prices, Amcrest’s features and technology vary widely. But throughout the brand, we found that each camera aptly delivered the essentials of home security – HD video quality and precise motion detection – for a simple, low-maintenance experience.
Here are some commonalities we found across the brand’s broad range of cameras:
Custom Mobile Alerts
With Amcrest, we were able to customize our motion alerts to get more detail out of our cameras and improve our experience. Through the mobile app, we could adjust the length of the clips the camera produced and sent to our phone; we could also have alerts sent to our email or PC and adjust the resolution of our recordings.
Most Amcrest cameras don’t require any complicated hardwiring. Since they connect wirelessly through Wi-Fi, we had lots of flexibility in where we could place our cameras, as well as a smooth, easy installation process and clear step-by-step instructions.
Many Amcrest cameras include Micro SD ports, giving us two options to store our cameras’ video history: internally, through a Micro SD card, or externally, via an Amcrest Cloud Plan. This way, we can use our Amcrest cameras without paying any monthly fees or signing any service agreements.
Smart Home Integration
Amcrest cameras work with most major smart home ecosystems, including Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant, for hands-free voice commands and live video display. It’s great for spur-of-the-moment monitoring, when you just want to check out your space, or when you’re trying to contextualize a threat.
Amcrest cameras range from 720p (standard definition) to 4K (ultra HD), so the picture you get will vary according to which camera you’re using. But throughout the cameras we tested, we saw consistently clear quality, save for minor periods of graininess due to high activity or slow Wi-Fi signal.
Not all Amcrest cameras come with two-way audio, but we think it’s a pretty vital feature. Aside from having another mode of communication between family members, two-way audio also lets us use our voice to scare off prowlers, should we be alerted to anything suspicious.
Cameras with night vision capabilities allow for clear video feeds even in the middle of the night or when there is no available light source. Many Amcrest cameras have infrared night vision, which helps zero in on details you might miss in complete darkness.
Other than the previously mentioned free trial of Amcrest Cloud we got with our camera purchase, we don’t typically find deals or markdowns on Amcrest products. It’s important to note, too, that the brand has more than a dozen authorized retailers that sell their cameras in addition to selling directly from their website.
And in the flurry of inventory, we found the occasional price disparity between a camera for sale on Amcrest Direct and the same camera listed on Amazon. All this is to say: it’s a good idea to check into competitors’ prices before making your purchase. You could end up saving a buck or two, which never hurts. For starters, take a look at our comprehensive guide to securing your home for more money-saving tips.
But if you’re into bundling, we urge you to check out Amcrest’s multi-camera systems, which present an efficient way to buy several cameras at once and save some money in the process. If you’re a fan of dome cameras, we came across an Amcrest 3MP Security Camera System with a 4K 8-channel NVR and four pan/tilt dome cameras originally listed for $349, marked down to $299.99.
By buying the equipment as a system, keep in mind that you’re not only saving money, you’re also adding on more storage via a 1-TB hard drive built into the NVR.
Amcrest has a long-standing reputation in the security industry as a top pick in affordability and selection. But as we noted throughout our experience with Amcrest, getting a true picture of the brand’s scope and offerings can be quite challenging.
However, Amcrest is still a brand worth considering. Depending on your property’s needs and your preferences, you can build a secure home with Amcrest for an affordable price, without complex installation. In a pinch, we knew our Amcrest cameras would perform exactly the way they were designed to, capturing any and all potential threats in real time, alerting us instantly, and allowing us to feel as safe in our homes as we possibly could.
That said, if you’re interested in cameras that require less customization and more smart-home features, have a look at our list of the best affordable security cameras in the industry.
In our assessment, Amcrest cameras are priced fairly according to their features, technology, and build quality. Prices per camera range from $39 to just under $300.
Users over the years have reported deficiencies in Amcrest’s phone support, claiming agents are untrained and unable to help. We’ve also read reports from users with long-unresolved hardware issues and no answers from tech support. While we can’t verify that these individual gripes amount to a systemic problem with Amcrest’s customer service, we will say that on our end, we had no such issues, either through phone support or live chat.
No. Amcrest offers micro SD support in many cameras, so you can store your video history internally without paying any monthly monitoring fees. If you are interested in using Amcrest Cloud, however, you can use it for a relatively low cost – starting at $6 per month.
Amcrest’s outdoor cameras have a high (IP66 or IP67) rating for weather resistance. This basically means the cameras can withstand even the toughest of the elements, except perhaps extreme flooding.
Yes, depending on which camera you have. Amcrest’s SmartHome cameras are compatible with Amazon Alexa devices and the Google Assistant, for live viewing using voice commands. On our Amazon Echo Show, we simply searched for Amcrest by name in our Alexa skills, linked the accounts, and pulled up our camera’s live feed.
Ludwig, S. (2018, April 12). Pros and Cons for IP vs. Analog Video Surveillance. Security Magazine.
McCue, T. (2019, Jan. 31) Home Security Cameras Market to Surpass $9.7 Billion by 2023. Forbes.com.
PR Newswire. (2016, Oct. 5) Amcrest Introduces The Weatherproof ProHD Outdoor 3-Megapixel Wireless IP Camera to U.S. Market. Amcrest.
Pullen, J. (2016, July 21). 6 Gadgets to Keep Your Home Safe From Intruders. Time.com.
Nance-Nash, S. (2019, Dec. 10). Porch piracy is on the rise, so take measures to keep your packages safe. Newsday.