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Just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your security seriously. That said, installing a robust network of security cameras might get you into trouble with your landlord, especially if you start cutting holes in drywall and screwing mounts into door frames.
When you live in an apartment, you’ll likely need a lighter touch on the installation side of things, but you don’t want to sacrifice performance for flexibility. Luckily, there are quite a few manufacturers out there that understand this and have built exceptional equipment with renters in mind.
Here are some of our favorites.
Designed specifically with DIYers in mind, Arlo is a great option for folks who live in apartments. Their cameras are extremely easy to install, set up, and uninstall when you move out, and they’re jam-packed with powerful features.
This company consistently ranks as one of our top choices for security cameras regardless of application, and if you read our Arlo review, you’ll see why. Their equipment is well built, has a sleek design, and is loaded with neat technology like built-in sirens and spotlights.
Why are they so great for apartments, though? Most of their equipment is battery-operated, meaning that it’s really easy to install a network of powerful cameras around your home without punching lots of holes in the walls. You won’t need to call an electrician to hardwire anything into your home’s power, and you probably won’t even have to ask your landlord if it’s okay to set them up (but we always recommend asking your landlord first!).
In our breakdown of Arlo’s pricing and products, you’ll see that the majority of their cameras offer features like high resolution (up to 4K in some cases), color night vision, floodlights, and built-in sirens. Another thing you might notice, though, is that some of their equipment — especially the top-end products — are a little pricey. In our opinion, though, you get what you pay for with Arlo. This is high-end technology that will serve you for years.
One of the top names in the security camera industry is also one of our top choices for folks who live in apartments. With high-tech equipment and industry-leading features, Lorex has indoor and outdoor cameras that come in a variety of styles.
Simply put, Lorex makes some of the best security cameras for apartment living. They’re extremely well designed, they offer exceptional features, and they don’t even require an ongoing contract to operate.
What are some of those features, you might wonder? You can read all about them in our review of Lorex, but for starters, a lot of their models offer 4K resolution, which means you’ll be capturing the clearest pictures possible. If your apartment gets broken into, law enforcement will be able to zoom in on the brand of cigarettes the guy had on the dashboard of his car that was parked a block away. Okay — that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.
Their color night vision is also among the best we’ve ever seen. You can read more about this in our guide to the best night vision security cameras, but first a quick note on that: Color night vision is actually a bit of a misnomer. Really what it means is that your camera’s sensor is extremely sensitive and doesn’t need very much light to operate. This doesn’t work so well for folks who live out in the country, where there’s nearly no ambient light once the sun goes down, but headlights and street lamps are more than enough to keep Lorex cameras recording everything 24 hours a day.
Now you might be wondering why they aren’t in the number-one spot after reading this. You can read up on it in our guide to Lorex’s products and prices, but the main reason is a lot of their cameras are constructed with permanence in mind. That doesn’t mean, though, that they don’t have a few great battery-operated options or equipment that would be appropriate for apartment installs. They’re just not quite as DIY-friendly as Arlo.
These high-quality cameras are great for keeping an eye on things around your apartment. From deterring porch pirates to checking in on Fido while you’re away, Google Nest gets the job done — and then some.
When we opened the box for our hands-on test of Google Nest, we could tell we were really going to like this system. These cameras are designed really well — almost stylishly — and they were easy to set up and install.
The indoor camera is compact and could be placed exactly where it was needed — as long as it was within wire reach. This is great for keeping an eye on the kiddos while you’re working in the home office or making sure your cats aren’t scratching up your couch while you’re away. The outdoor camera wasn’t as robust as we’d like — its weatherproofing is a little questionable — but depending on the design of your apartment, it might not be an issue for keeping an eye on your front door.
You’ll see in our breakdown of Google Nest’s costs and equipment that they aren’t the cheapest on the block, but again, you get what you pay for. And with Google Nest, this means a whole world of features and home automation options. The purchase of your cameras will give you a free trial of Nest Aware, which you can use to monitor and track activity around your apartment and tailor smart alerts for your phone. Familiar faces will learn the difference between friends and strangers, and if one of those strangers does something bad, you can alert the authorities immediately. The Nest cameras also integrate seamlessly with Google Assistant, so you can have all of your smart devices linked together.
User-friendliness and customization are what Ring brings to the game, and with their massive product line, it’s easy to tailor your system to your specific security needs.
Another option for renters, Ring has a seemingly bottomless list of equipment, from spotlight cams and motion detectors to doorbells and security systems.
When it comes to their security cameras, though, we found in our Ring review that while they might be lacking in bells and whistles, they make up for it with ease of use and versatility. If you have a specific need, Ring likely makes a camera that’ll cover it.
That isn’t to say that Ring is lacking features. Most of their cameras are 1080p, offer two-way talk, and live stream to your mobile phone. Most have infrared night vision, and they even pair well with your Alexa home assistant.
And as you’ll see in our guide to Ring’s products and costs, the equipment itself won’t cost an arm and a leg. Sure, if you’re looking to purchase 20 top-of-the-line cameras, two Ring video doorbells, and smart locks for all your doors, the costs will add up. But if you’re looking for a few basic cameras to keep an eye on your apartment, Ring’s a pretty good choice.
If you’re looking for a no-nonsense, standard security camera for your apartment, SimpliSafe might have what you’re looking for.
Have you ever heard of decision fatigue? It’s when you have so many options that making a selection is difficult, if not impossible.
You’re not going to experience that with SimpliSafe. When we reviewed the SimpliCams, everything made total sense, and we weren’t forced to make uncomfortable decisions. Need an indoor camera? They’ve got a decent wired one. Want one for outside? They’ve got a new wireless one. Want to use your indoor one outside? Slap a weatherproof sleeve on it.
And that’s all there is to it, really. No juggling options, no wading through a huge list of features. What you see is what you get: basic security cameras that will help you watch the goings-on inside and outside your apartment.
They are a little on the pricey side, as you’ll read more about in our guide to SimpiSafe’s equipment costs, and the features are pretty lacking in these cameras. But isn’t there something beautiful about simplicity?
When you’re looking for a security camera network for your apartment, you’ll need to balance a few things: reliability, versatility, performance, and ease of installation. The manufacturers listed here do a great job of handling all of these elements, and they would likely serve your specific needs.
Not sure these are the right cameras for you? Not a problem. We’ve rounded up our favorite security cameras of the year and put them all in one place for you to review side by side. Whether you’re looking for industry-leading high-tech features or security on a budget, you’ll find an option there.
Can I install security cameras at my apartment?
Inside? Almost certainly. Outside? More than likely, yes. You might need the property owner or management company’s approval to install anything that might be considered permanent, but generally speaking, most security cameras are fine.
Can security cameras violate tenant privacy?
In some cases, your security camera might be nixed if it's filming common areas or could potentially see inside another tenant’s unit. It’s always best to check with your management company or landlord to make sure your security camera isn’t violating someone else’s rights.
Are battery-powered security cameras good?
Generally speaking, hardwired security cameras are more reliable than their battery-powered counterparts, but the industry has made great strides in getting wireless cameras up to snuff.
Are security cameras expensive?
Most consumer-grade security cameras are relatively affordable — usually in the $30 to $100 range. However, if you’re looking for advanced features like high-definition recording, facial recognition, and smart alerts, those usually cost more.
Do I need an apartment security camera?
The benefits of security cameras are twofold. First, they can deter criminals from trying to take advantage of you, and second, if someone should attempt to target your apartment, recorded video is one of the best pieces of evidence.