If you like options, we trust that you’ll have a field day with Amcrest. This company offers dozens (upon dozens) of security cameras to whet your appetite. We recently tested a few of their products — like their popular ProHD indoor camera — and we were surprised at what we found.
Amcrest offers bullet and dome cameras with HD video quality and lots of great features. And you should know they also sell tech gadgetry that ranges from GPS trackers, baby monitors, drones, hunting and trail cams, binoculars, walkie talkies (Roger that?), and pretty much everything else under the sun. At any rate, they certainly don’t specialize in home security cameras.
So we wanted to see how they compare to the best cameras like Ring, Nest, and others. When the dust finally settled, we found a few things that we think you’ll like. But we also found some room for improvement (like a lackluster mobile app and a very frustrating website). Don’t worry, we’re sharing everything you need to know about Amcrest. So let’s jump right in!
From what we’ve seen of Amcrest, they deliver a mid-range to advanced camera experience without breaking the bank. You can expect to pay between $50-$150 for their indoor cameras, and about the same for a decent outdoor security camera. Surprised?
Well, it’s true that Amcrest has some of the cheapest outdoor cameras on the market today — with their popular 2K 3MP Wi-Fi camera going for $84.99. And their best-selling indoor camera, the ProHD model, is priced similar to Ring’s Indoor Cam at $59.99.
FYI: Amcrest offers packages and bundles, too. You can get a full 4-cam system for $250. Not bad at all. But you can also spend $2,000+ for a professional-grade, multi-channel security system (DVR, NVR, and other systems).
As you can see, the price you pay depends on the size of your home and how much protection you’re looking for. But for the sake of this review, we’re not going to get too deep into Amcrest’s digital video recording (DVR)1 and network video recording (NVR) systems. But if you want one, rest assured that Amcrest has more options than you can shake a stick at.
We often recommend signing up with a cloud storage plan so that you can record video and access video history. This feature costs money, but it can be priceless if you happen to need evidence that was caught on camera. In our experience, the industry average cost for cloud storage is around $3-$6 per month per camera. So we nearly fell off our seats when we learned that Amcrest charges 3-5x more than the competition for cloud storage. Have a look at the plans below.
|Amcrest Cloud Recording Plans||Motion Recording||Continuous Recording|
|7-Day Video History||$6/camera||$9/camera|
|14-Day Video History||$10/camera||$15/camera|
|30-Day Video History||$15/camera||$20/camera|
|60-Day Video History||$23/camera||$27.50/camera|
|90-Day Video History||$27.50/camera||$35/camera|
You shouldn’t have a problem installing Amcrest security cameras. The installation and setup process varies from device to device, but it doesn’t take very long to get up-and-running. We’ll give you a brief rundown of how to set up the ProHD indoor cam here.
First, you’ll want to plug in the power cable to the camera and wait for the orange light to appear at the base of the camera. Then, download and open the Amcrest View mobile app. Now within the app, connect the camera to your Wi-Fi network (takes about 20 seconds).
FYI: The ProHD model, and some other Amcrest cameras, also offer a power over ethernet (PoE) connection,2 which in our experience is more stable than a WiFi connection.
Then scan the QR code on the bottom of the camera, and that’s it! It’s really that fast. It’ll take about 3 minutes to install from start to finish. Overall, it’s easy to configure, and similar to other indoor cameras we’ve tried from brands like Arlo and Blink.
Now, when it comes to installing Amcrest outdoor security cameras and multi-channel systems, you’re going to need some patience (and a screwdriver!). But thankfully, Amcrest offers plenty of user support, with helpful installation guides and troubleshooting articles and videos on their website. In other words, you should expect smooth sailing.
Once the cameras were installed, we could access our live footage right from the Amcrest View app. We were able to swipe up, down, and all-around to control the pan and tilt. And a nifty two-way talk feature allowed us to communicate directly with people in view of the camera. Sounds sleek, right? Well, you should know that these features come standard with almost all security cameras these days — so nothing too special here.
Unfortunately, nothing about Amcrest really stood out to us as special or unique. We enjoyed using the mobile app at first. But we soon found that it too has its limitations. It wasn’t as responsive as other apps we’ve tried, and we think the design could use a facelift. With that said, we did like the look of the history/timeline feature. Amcrest also has a web app so that you can access and control your cameras from your desktop or PC.
No matter which camera system you choose, you’ll want to pay careful attention to video quality and resolution. In our experience, the sharpest picture comes with 1080p HD, 4MP, 5MP, and ultra-HD 4K/8MP cameras. Thankfully, Amcrest offers plenty of everything. You’ll also find 2K resolution (also better than 1080p HD) in many of their indoor and outdoor devices.
Did You Know: We often recommend 4K over 1080p HD resolution, but not always. Sure, 4K theoretically doubles the pixels, but you’ll also want to consider the whole suite of features.3
From what we’ve seen, Amcrest is starting to make outdoor cams with crisp and clear ultra-HD 4K resolution… plus loads of other great features like night vision, digital zoom, motion alerts, etc. Now, is this anything extraordinary? Not at all! But it shows us they’re keeping up with the competition, like Swann for instance, another garden variety security camera provider with a (very, very) wide range of options.
Customer service is another thing to keep in mind, as it can make or break your experience with a home security company (trust us on this one). On Amcrest’s customer service page, you’ll find a list of different help portals depending on the product type. After all, you wouldn’t want their drone techs trying to get you sorted on an 8-channel DVR camera system. So we really liked to see this targeted approach to tech support.
The company also has an online knowledge base, with loads of tutorials and troubleshooting guides, along with a 24/7 chat service. Oh yes, the chat service. We touched on it earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again: Amcrest’s pop-up live chat is incredibly frustrating, as it takes up one-third of the page and doesn’t close!4 So we really hope they address this soon.
As you know, Amcrest’s popular ProHD indoor camera (and other cameras like it) can monitor the inside of your home. This can help to keep service providers like nannies or contractors on the straight-and-narrow. And it will help you keep an eye on the kiddos. Amcrest also offers outdoor video, indoor/outdoor, and even dashcam, webcam, and video doorbell options. But remember, not all cameras are created equal — the features and technology vary dramatically.
After testing the products, we can say that Amcrest doesn’t stack up to Google Nest Cams or Lorex in this category. But they still offer several great features that we think you’ll like. These range from two-way talk and weatherproof construction, to smartphone controls and cloud storage.
Did You Know: One of our favorite outdoor cameras, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, includes an AI-powered facial recognition feature that actually works.
Amcrest’s newest products offer great image resolution at 4K/8MP and several 4MP and 5MP cameras. The non-4K cameras are no slouches, however, and most of Amcrest’s products offer at least 1080p HD quality.
With up to 164 feet of infrared night vision, Amcrest’s indoor and outdoor cameras won’t miss a beat. You’ll be able to see the darkest corners of your home almost as clear as day.
Most of Amcrest’s outdoor cameras carry an IP67 weatherproof rating, meaning they can be temporarily immersed in water, and withstand harsh weather conditions.5 We think this is a critical feature in outdoor cams.
With two-way audio, you’ll be able to open the Amcrest View app and use your smartphone to talk through the built-in speaker and mic in select Amcrest cameras. Say hello to visitors, and give porch pirates a stern talkin’ to.
You can set up alerts and notifications so you never miss an important event. Instant alerts can be sent straight to your smartphone so that you can keep a finger on the pulse of your home security, from anywhere in the world.
Pro Tip: Some home security cameras allow you to set specific chimes and alerts for individual doors and windows in your home. Is your teen sneaking out at night? You can set a specific alert for his or her window! One day they’ll thank you for it.
Amcrest offers wide viewing angles on many of their cameras. This helps you see the whole picture, which can pay dividends when it comes to catching a criminal.
Amcrest’s cameras let you cut the cord and go for wireless Wi-Fi connectivity. In our experience, this connection type is fast and reliable, and it sure beats having cables and cords running all over the place.
If you prefer physical storage, Amcrest offers several DVR & NVR devices, and many of the cameras are equipped with SD card slots for local storage. They also offer cloud storage, but keep in mind that these plans are pricey.
With indoor and outdoor security cameras, wired and wireless, bullet and dome, Amcrest sells cameras dressed for all occasions. Just try not to get overwhelmed by all of the choices.
Amcrest might be a good fit if you’re tech savvy and are looking for advanced customization options. They sell all sorts of add-ons and accessories, but keep in mind that most accessories are for their DVR and NVR systems. The prices are fair, and the shipping is fast. Here are a few camera-related add-ons worth a closer look.
|Amcrest Add-Ons & Accessories||Product Type||Price|
|Wall Mount Bracket||Bracket||$22.99|
|Two-Way Radio Battery||Battery||$6.99|
|Analog Power Supply||Power||$19.99|
|Video & Power Cable||Power||$22.99|
|Active PoE Injector Adapter||Adapter||$19.99|
|PoE 5-Port Switch||PoE||$44.99|
|5-Volt Extension Cable||Extension||$5.99|
|Waterproof Junction Box||Housing||$25.99|
|12-Volt Wire-Cooling Fan||Fan||$9.99|
|Surveillance Hard Drive||Hard Drive||Varies|
You’ll also want to keep in mind that Amcrest offers lots of other camera-related products, as well as technology that has almost no relevance to home security. Again, this isn’t necessarily a good thing in our eyes. We actually prefer a company that specializes in home security systems or security products over a company that sells products across multiple verticals. At any rate, Amcrest’s categories include:
At first glance, we thought Amcrest had everything going for it. They offered us tons of options, 4K video quality, pretty solid customer service, and easy installation. And honestly, we really liked the look of their security cameras. But first impressions aside, we think Amcrest has some catching up to do with some of our favorite brands.
For instance, Amcrest’s cloud plans are extremely expensive. Also, their live chat pop-up feature made it incredibly difficult to shop their selection of products. And finally, they have so many products that it’ll make some people feel lost at sea, or worse, drowning in options! While we didn’t feel like we were drowning, per se, Amcrest’s massive selection did give us decision fatigue (it’s a real thing).
Did You Know: Studies have shown that the phenomenon of “overchoice,” or having to choose between too many options, has been associated with unhappiness.6
Finally, we will say that if you’re on the market for advanced home security solutions, then Amcrest is worth a closer look. They have a lineup of outstanding DVR and NVR systems, but they’ll cost you a pretty penny. Now, if you’re the everyday guy or gal just looking to add an extra layer of protection around your home, then we recommend that you explore your options and check out our favorite outdoor security cameras.
Yes, they offer a wide selection of plans, but they are the most expensive plans we’ve seen.
Yes, Amcrest offers resolution in 1080p HD, 2K, ultra-HD 4K, and more.
It depends on the camera type you choose. But we found their wireless cameras to offer easy DIY installation, but hardwired options are more involved.
No, we think that Amcrest’s website could really use updating — especially the pesky live-chat pop-up.
We actually found Amcrest’s customer service to be one of their biggest strengths.
Technology on Premises. (2020). Video Surveillance and DVR Security Solutions.
VeracityGlobal.com. (2020). Power Over Ethernet (PoE) Explained.
HelloTech.com. (2019, October 8). 4K vs 1080p: Is an Ultra HD TV Worth the Splurge?
Amcrest.com. (2020). Home Security Camera Provider.
Setra.com. Kelley, M. (2019, June 11). What Does an IP67 Rating Mean?
BehavioralEconomics.com. (2020). Choice overload.