Best Cloud Security Cameras

Cloud security cameras allow you to store and access your video from anywhere. Check out our list of the best cloud cameras of 2023.

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Google Nest Image
Google Nest
SecureScore™: 8.5/10
Google Nest has streamlined their offerings in recent years. Their Nest Aware subscription service is one of the best in the business, offering 24/7 live video, video recording history, and smart features like package detection and facial recognition.
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Ring Image
Ring
SecureScore™: 9.2/10
Ring offers some of the most innovative and diverse security products in the industry today, and If you’re looking for an affordable cloud storage option, Ring Protect is a great choice. With three tiers of service, you’re certain to find an option that works for you.
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Arlo Image
Arlo
SecureScore™: 8.0/10
Arlo offers a wide range of indoor and outdoor security cameras that are great for DIYers looking to protect their property. Despite their approachability, their cameras offer a high degree of sophistication that you'd find with professionally installed and monitored counterparts. Arlo Secure — their cloud storage plan — overs great services and customizability where you need it.
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Top 5 Cloud Home Security Cameras in 2023

Google Nest Camera

  • Google Nest - Best Cloud Security Camera Overall
  • Ring - Best Affordable Cloud Security Camera
  • Arlo - Best DIY Cloud Security Camera
  • Zmodo - Best Selection of Cloud Storage Cameras
  • Wyze - Most Affordable Cloud Camera System

A home security system without cameras is barely a security system at all. But sticking some cameras up on your eaves won’t exactly get the job done.

Security cameras aren’t much good if you can’t access, monitor, control and store the recordings they capture, and most folks don’t have a server closet in their house to handle the massive amounts of data passing through their camera network every day. Luckily you have options — cloud-based options.

Here we’ve compiled a list of the top five best cloud security cameras of 2023.

  • 1 Google Nest - Best Cloud Security Camera Overall

    Google Nest Product Image
    SecureScore™ 8.5
    Customer Service
    8.9
    Value
    7.5
    Equipment
    8.7
    Features & Technology
    8.5
    Ease Of Use
    9.0
    SecureScore™
    8.5

    The Nest line of products from Google is everything you’d expect from one of the biggest names in the tech industry. This lineup is extremely well designed, built to last, feature packed, and their new-and-improved Nest Cam is one of our absolute favorites for indoor and outdoor applications. Couple their equipment with a Nest Aware subscription, and you’re going to supercharge your security.

    • Plenty of features
    • Simple set up and installation
    • Great UI in app
    • Exceptional design
    • Long battery life

    • Somewhat pricey
    • No color night vision
    • Resolution just average

    Nest Cams are easy to set up and use, and their subscription platform, Nest Aware, is no different. There are two tiers of service, Aware and Aware Plus. Both offer event video history, intelligent alerts, and support for a wide array of devices. Plus will give you up to 10 days of 24/7 video history, and 60 days worth of event video history, whereas the standard subscription only offers 30. The standard subscription is $6 per month or $60 per year, while Nest Aware Plus will run you $12 per month or $120 per year. To learn more about the equipment, though, head over to our Nest Camera review.

  • 2 Ring - Best Affordable Cloud Security Camera

    Ring Product Image
    SecureScore™ 9.2
    Customer Service
    8.0
    Value
    9.3
    Equipment
    9.9
    Features & Technology
    9.3
    Ease Of Use
    9.5
    SecureScore™
    9.2

    Ring offers a diverse lineup of affordable security products for nearly every application, and they’re constantly pushing the boundaries of what security means. For example, the company is about to release a dashboard cam as well as a flying indoor drone to keep an eye on things while you’re away. Their subscription plan, like most, adds features and additional storage to all of these products, but where the plan really stands out is its affordability.

    • Easy DIY Installation
    • Wireless models available
    • 1080p HD Video
    • Designed for Indoors or Outdoors
    • Highly Customizable Settings
    • User-Friendly Mobile App
    • Live Video Streaming
    • Two-Way Talk
    • Motion-Activated Notifications
    • Infrared Night Vision
    • Works Well With Alexa

    • Occasional Missed Motion
    • No Advanced Video Resolutions (2K or 4K)
    • Equipment Costs Can Add Up
    • Professional Monitoring Only Available in U.S. and Canada
    • History of Privacy Issues/Hacking

    There are three tiers of cloud subscription from Ring, called Ring Protect. These are Basic, Plus, and Pro, and they cost $3.99, $10, and $20 per month respectively. All three will provide you with 180 days worth of video history, as well as snapshot capture, smart people alerts, and rich notifications. Plus plans will add extended warranties for all of your devices, and the Pro plan will add 24/7 professional monitoring and back up storage options.

  • 3 Arlo - Best DIY Cloud Security Camera

    Arlo Product Image
    SecureScore™ 8.0
    Customer Service
    7.2
    Value
    7.4
    Equipment
    8.7
    Features & Technology
    8.5
    Ease Of Use
    8.0
    SecureScore™
    8.0

    Arlo cameras are simple to install and easy to use on a day to day basis. That said, they also offer some extremely advanced security features that most DIY solutions lack including 2K and 4K resolution cameras, color night vision, and professional monitoring. When you subscribe to Arlo secure, you’ll have access to their most advanced functions as well as immediate emergency response.

    • Well-Built Equipment
    • Super HD 2K Video on some models
    • Color Night Vision
    • No Contracts Required
    • DIY Installation (100 percent Wireless)
    • 160-degree Field of Vision
    • Noise Cancellation
    • Third-Party Integration

    • Recording Delay Issues
    • Limited Home Automation
    • Lacking Advanced Security Features
    • Considerable Up-front Cost
    • Occasionally Buggy
    • SmartHub Requires Ethernet Connection

    Arlo has some of the best basic, but powerful home security cameras on the market. And, Arlo has just added some new A.I. technology to their lineup as well and it’s called the Arlo Smart. This A.I. and computer vision technology filter will immediately send you an alert when it detects a person while ignoring motion from other objects such as swaying tree branches, etc. This new option also has a package detection and vehicle detect feature as well. The Arlo cameras come with 7-days of rolling video with cloud storage. However, they also have additional plans if you would like more advanced features and longer cloud storage options.

    Arlo’s subscription options, called Arlo Secure, have three scalable plans — Secure, Secure Plus, and Safe & Secure Pro. Their basic plan costs $4.99 per month for one camera, or $12.99 per month for unlimited cameras. Their middle tier costs $17.99 per month, and their premium tier costs $24.99 per month.

    Secure offers up to 4K video recording resolution and One-tap interactive notifications. Secure Plus offers up to 4k recording and 24/7 Emergency response, while Safe and Secure Pro offers 24/7 professional monitoring as well as Arlo Safe, a new service that includes personal safety, family safety and crash responses to protect you and your loved ones while you’re on the go.

    Check out our review of Arlo cameras to learn all about what it’s like protecting your home with Arlo.

  • 4 Zmodo - Best Selection of Cloud Storage Cameras

    Zmodo Product Image
    SecureScore™ 7.3
    Customer Service
    6.9
    Value
    8.1
    Equipment
    7.4
    Features & Technology
    6.8
    Ease Of Use
    7.2
    SecureScore™
    7.3

    Zmodo has some great offerings. With Zmodo, you not only get great cameras, but you also get advanced features (for a fee) and basic cloud storage for free. Zmodo’s camera systems also come with night vision that has a range of up to 98 feet in the dark (on selected cameras only), which is amazing compared to other brand cameras. And, Zmodo has smart home integration options available as well. Here is our Zmodo summary along with a few of the Zmodo pros and cons.

    • Low-Cost Cameras
    • Simple, Discreet Design
    • No Paid Subscription Required
    • Clear 1080p Video Quality
    • Numerous Indoor Camera Options
    • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
    • 30-day Money-Back Guarantee
    • 1-year Warranty

    • Limited Features
    • Only 1 Outdoor Camera Available
    • Some Delay on Wake Time in App
    • No Built-In Siren or Two-Way Talk with Outdoor Cam

    There are so many great things about the Zmodo cameras such as their ability to work well with voice assistants. They also have night vision, pan and tilt cameras, smart motion alerts with set detection fields, time-lapse videos, edit and share features, two-way audio, multiple-user support, a mobile app, and more.

    There are two subscription tiers for Zmodo cloud cameras. Both will give you access to advanced features like smart motion detection and activity zones. If you want to save clips for seven days, it’ll be $4.99 per month. If you want to save them for 30 days, it’s $9.99 per month. But keep in mind, that’s the price per camera. If you’re outfitting your property with multiple pieces of equipment, the costs can add up quickly. Read our Zmodo testing and review for more information.

  • 5 Wyze - Most Affordable Cloud Camera System

    Wyze Product Image
    SecureScore™ 7.3
    Customer Service
    6.5
    Value
    9.0
    Equipment
    6.5
    Features & Technology
    7.0
    Ease Of Use
    7.5
    SecureScore™
    7.3

    Finally, a home security company offering advanced high-quality cameras at unbelievably low prices, then adding free cloud storage to boot! Here is our Wyze summary along with a few of the Wyze pros and cons.

    • Low-Price and Feature-Rich Smart Home Cameras
    • Easy Online Shopping with Clear Product Selection
    • 14-Day Free Cloud Storage
    • Unique Motion Tagging Accelerates Video History
    • Motion Detection Zones Reduce False Alerts
    • Advanced Sound Recognition
    • Smart Home Accessories Available
    • Compatible with Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT

    • Indoor-Only Cameras
    • No Professional Monitoring Services
    • Corded Cameras Require Power Outlets
    • No Backup Batteries
    • Limited Video Storage without Upgrade

    Wyze cloud storage, called Cam Plus, has three tiers and a pretty interesting pricing model. Their basic plan is free and offers — you guessed it, pretty basic services. Cam plus light adds smart person detection and will record up to 12 seconds of events. This is a name-your-price option, and you can even go with nothing. Cam Plus offers all of Wyze’s features including unlimited event length, smart detections, and zero delays between events. For this, you’ll pay $1.67 per month per camera, billed annually.

    To dive deeper into Wyze pricing and plans, see our Wyze camera cost guide. And to learn about our full experience testing these security cameras hands-on, we recommend reading our in-depth Wyze camera review.

Do You Need a Hard Drive for Security Cameras?

Wireless technology has completely transformed the home security industry from its hardwired, analog beginnings decades ago. In addition to a much easier installation experience, we’re also getting more choices than ever in how we want to store our video history. Now, you’re no longer limited to just a hard drive.

But in many cases, saving and storing video to a hard drive works quite well as a camera setup. We’ve found IP camera systems with network or digital video recorder boxes to be a solid solution for storage.

FYI: Lorex makes a nice 4K Ultra HD NVR system, a great outdoor package for folks who want to record and store footage around the clock.

But we mostly test Wi-Fi systems that don’t sync up to hard drive recorders. Instead, we have access to a micro SD port built into the camera.

Those cameras, in our experience, end up working more like smart home devices than traditional security equipment. We simply pop in our micro SD card during installation and let the camera do (most of) the work, or, if that option is not available, we sign on to the cloud and pick a monthly subscription through the camera’s mobile app. In fact, we often prefer cloud storage over local video storage for security cameras.

We’re big fans of cloud storage plans. A cloud subscription will typically only set you back about $3 or $5 per month for 60-90 days of video history, image capture and video sharing, and other great features.

So the answer is no, you don’t need a hard drive for security cameras.

Pro Tip: Not really sure where to start and want to learn all the features and tech to look for in a security camera? If so, you’ll want to read our comprehensive home security camera purchasing guide.

How to Tell if a Security Camera is Recording

At random times throughout our home security journey, we run into scenarios where we need to figure out whether one of our cameras is recording. In some of our tests, the camera gives us a small red light to indicate that it’s online and recording; other times, the light is blue or green.

We found that some brands handle this differently than others, but generally all in the form of light indicators. Still, it’s helpful to know what our camera is going to look like when it’s all up and running. Why? For one, we don’t want to go through all the trouble of installing, pairing, and setting up all this equipment around our home, just to end up with cameras that don’t record when we need them to.

As an example, SimpliSafe’s super DIY setup process includes a great troubleshooting menu, pictured below, that explains what all those light indicators mean, so we knew as soon as we were finished with installation whether our cameras were working or not.

SimpliCam Light Indicators

SimpliCam Light Indicators

In other cases, you might want to know if a camera is recording before you walk into, say, a summer property you’re renting. Depending on the laws in your state, recording rental property guests might be illegal. (Airbnb doesn’t ban property owners from installing cameras, just FYI.)

On the flip side, however, having security cameras in your property can certainly be beneficial to the tenant, as it can help protect their belongings. These are all simple yet beneficial tips to remember as you navigate the world of security cameras.

Of course, cloud storage isn’t the only feature to look for in a camera. Check out our roundup of the best security cameras to find the perfect match in features and pricing.

Features of Cloud Security Cameras

Wireless

A wireless cloud security camera is one that is battery-powered and doesn't require any hardwiring or an external power source to function. A wireless security system is generally very easy to set up because there are no wires or electrical issues to deal with.

Night Vision

The night vision feature gives your camera the ability to see in low-light conditions. This feature works by using infrared light or thermal imaging to observe objects at night or other low-light conditions.

Motion Detection

Motion detection sensors use multiple technologies to detect movement. Once movement is detected, it will trigger an alarm and send you an alert so you can respond accordingly.

App Control

App control refers to a brand's mobile app. Brand mobile apps give you the ability to access, monitor, and control your home's security and automation systems, as well as receive alerts in real-time from a single dashboard.

High Resolution

High resolution is the feature on a security camera that displays your video recordings. The higher the resolution is on any given camera, the more clear the images on your video streams will be. If you have a low-resolution video, your images will be grainy and/or blurry to the point you might not be able to distinguish people and objects.

Video Recording

Most, but not all, security cameras come with a video recording feature. A video camera will record using an intermittent or continuous recording option. The intermittent option only records when activity is detected. A continuous video recording is one that records continuously 24/7 without any lapses. Video recordings are then stored locally on the camera or sent to a cloud storage service.

Cloud Storage

Security camera videos are either stored locally (on the camera and/or SD card) or on the cloud. Cloud storage is a service that stores your cameras' videos on a remote server where you can access them using the internet.

Live View

A live view is when you are able to view your video camera feeds in real-time rather than going back and looking at stored recordings from a previous time. The live view is an important feature in helping to prevent crime because, without it, you won't be able to proactively respond to a potential intrusion/crime.

Smart Home Integration

The smart home integration feature is what allows you to control all your smart home's internet-connected functions and devices. Smart home integration allows you to control many of your home's features remotely, such as your security system, lights, door locks, thermostat,  and more. Smart home integration requires the use of a base station or hub, such as Alexa, and devices that are all compatible with that hub and each other.

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Written By
Jaime Fraze
Security Camera Expert

Jaime Fraze has 16 years of writing and editing experience, with seven years spent writing about emerging technologies. As our home security camera expert, she has hand-tested and reviewed every major security camera brand and has written more than 300 articles on the topic. Previously, Jaime has contributed to award-winning media outlets such as the Rocky Mount Telegram and the Daytona Beach News-Journal. As a homeowner and mother of two, Jaime is constantly looking for ways to keep her home and family safe. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English/Journalism from the University of Delaware.

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