By now, you might have heard the story of Blink,1 the affordable camera brand Amazon bought in 2017 that ushered in a new era of smarter, cheaper home security technology. With their line of easy-to-use, minimalistic DIY cameras, Blink has become a darling of the industry, particularly appealing to apartment dwellers and folks on a budget.
While not exactly a budget brand, Blink offers a well-rounded option for folks who want to monitor their homes themselves and without a lot of fuss. We recently tested and reviewed Blink cameras hands-on, and while we can’t say we were blown away by ultra HD video quality or groundbreaking motion detection, we still came away with a feeling of security and peace of mind, not to mention relief that we didn’t have to plunk down big bucks to build a Blink system. For effective apartment security, we can see why many renters pick Blink.
Pivoting away from the features and tech, today we’re looking deeper into Blink the brand, and their equipment costs, plans, packages, and deals.
To start things off, let’s lay out some of our favorite Blink features:
While there’s no one-size-fits-all security camera, Blink comes relatively close with their latest lineup2 of three cameras: the Blink Indoor, Blink Outdoor, and Blink Mini. Each camera brings its own set of basic but effective features, allowing us to check off all of the boxes of home security we’re looking for: An accurate motion sensor, easy everyday use, clear audio, a nice picture, durable equipment, and convenient storage.
We also like that Blink keeps their inventory pretty small. When comparing cameras within the brand, it’s important to note that Blink cameras really aren’t that different from one another – Blink Outdoor is just Blink Indoor in a weatherproof housing, for example – so if you know how to use one Blink camera, you pretty much know how to use them all.
Of course, if you’re leaning toward a brand with more selection, we’d invite you to check out our review of Reolink cameras, with prices ranging from $35 for a simple indoor device to $269 for a feature-heavy pan-and-tilt number. Those would all make a great alternative, or you could try Wyze Cams, another DIY brand with cameras even cheaper than Blink (but with a few minor drawbacks).
In our view, this makes Blink – with equipment priced from $34.99 for the Mini to $99.99 for Blink Outdoor – a worthwhile purchase for DIY home security.
Now, we’ll dig into each camera a little more, starting with the pint-sized Blink Mini.
For $35, Blink’s pint-sized camera is not going to knock your socks off in video resolution. But in our Blink Mini review, we noticed that it already has one thing over its bigger, bolder siblings – it doesn’t need a sync module. Blink Mini just works directly off our Wi-Fi, which is always a nice perk in the installation stage.
With this unassuming device, standing less than 2 inches top to bottom (not including the stand), we got clear 1080p video,3 two-way audio, motion zones, infrared night vision, and great customization via the Blink Home Monitoring app. And, storing video history with Blink is a breeze, with affordable monthly subscription plans (which we’ll cover in just a moment).
The only drawback to Mini is that it’s wired – it doesn’t contain batteries, so you’ll have that pesky power cord to reckon with. We tend to use cameras like this on a fireplace mantel, or a high bookshelf, to get a sweeping view of our space without having to drill any holes in our wall, and with a little wiggle room to obstruct the power cord from view.
This way, wired cameras look less messy in our home. But if you’d rather not deal with wires at all, we suggest taking a look at Arlo’s cameras and systems, many of which are wire-free and use rechargeable batteries.
Blink Indoor, the sleek, comfortably cube-shaped camera released in 2020 as an upgrade to Blink XT2, reminded us why we’ve been consistent fans of Blink cameras: they include extended-life batteries for up to two years of average use. In our hands-on review of the Blink Indoor security camera, we noted the benefits to this wire-free configuration, namely in terms of installation; we really like being able to set up the camera and walk away, free to focus on other matters, without having to change out those batteries for two whole years.
For a camera under $80, it feels like a luxury to have wire-free functionality. But keep in mind that it’s not the only wire-free camera out there that’s considered budget-friendly. We got a firsthand look at this setup when we tested Ring Stick Up Cam, an impressive wire-free camera for just under $100. It’s also worth noting that Ring and Blink offer identical cloud storage plans with their cameras, but we’ll dig deeper into that in a few.
FYI: To really explore Ring’s range of cameras and packages, we recommend checking out our Ring camera pricing guide, where we go into nitty-gritty detail on what to expect when it comes to camera costs, cloud storage fees, and bundling options for Ring security cameras.
As the priciest of Blink cameras, Blink Outdoor offers a decent package for just under $100 for the camera and sync module. It pulls together several key upgrades over previous models, including some handy ways to customize the camera’s motion sensor. We paid particular attention in our review of Blink Outdoor to all the ways we could tinker with the camera’s features to get a better picture, like adding or removing activity zones, adjusting video resolution and sensitivity, and setting alert schedules.
We do want to note that Blink Outdoor couldn’t quite match the competition in night vision, which is important in outdoor cameras; in our tests of this feature, the camera delivered a decent picture in black and white, but not nearly the quality we saw when we tried out Nest for our Nest Cam review, Google’s original security camera.
But beyond all that, you’re still looking at a pretty reasonably priced camera when it comes to upfront costs. If you need more proof, consider that the aforementioned Nest Cam is double the price of Blink Outdoor. Just something to consider as you narrow down your options.
Until recently, every Blink camera came with a basic cloud-based storage plan, so we could store some of our video history at no extra charge. Now, Blink is no longer offering that plan, to the chagrin of some users. But they did make a small but significant upgrade to their sync module, which appears to be a sufficient compromise. That is, instead of relying on the cloud to store video clips, you can now attach your own storage device.
With the Basic and Plus plans, you can record and save all video clips and photos to the cloud and view them in the Blink app anytime and from anywhere. Also note that going with the Plus plan gets you a 10% discount on all future purchases of Blink devices and an extended warranty.
FYI: Choosing to store video clips through Blink’s cloud has other advantages, too. Namely, we learned you’ll pay the same amount as Ring users pay for their cloud storage. Check out our side-by-side Ring vs. Blink comparison for lots more on the two Amazon-backed brands.
As you can see, despite the loss of free cloud storage, Blink still presents a viable option for a decent amount of storage without a huge financial commitment. See below for our breakdown of Blink’s cloud storage plans.
|Video History||60 Days||60 Days|
|10% off Blink Products||No||Yes|
|Warranty||1 year||As long as subscription is active|
|Number of Cameras||1||Unlimited|
|Price||$3 per month||$10 per month|
In the last couple of years, we’ve seen a shift in camera design trends4 to a more minimalistic style and away from bulky, heavy builds. With its unassuming look and lightweight construction, we see why Blink cameras are a big hit with apartment dwellers. After all, if you really don’t have the extra space for bulky gadgets and all the extras and add-ons needed to power them, Blink presents a viable option.
Did You Know: For a look at how Blink cameras stack up against a more comprehensive security brand, check out our SimpliSafe vs. Blink comparison. While Blink provides home security on a much smaller scale than SimpliSafe, we found some surprising similarities, too. That said, if you’re looking for intrusion protection plus video, we recommend checking out our SimpliSafe review.
1080p HD Resolution
Every Blink camera supports video up to 1080p resolution, the standard for HD. But it’s important to remember that these are Wi-Fi cameras, so the camera’s technology allows it to dip down into lower resolutions so it will run smoother and avoid connection interruptions.
With the exception of the Blink Mini, all Blink cameras run on two AA batteries, making them wire-free for easy, flexible installation. This means that, with average use, we can go up to two years without having to change the batteries in our Blink cameras.
Smart Home Integration
Since they have the same parent company, Blink makes it easy to use their cameras as part of a smart home setup, but only if that setup happens to be Amazon. The brand still hasn’t added this feature for non-Amazon devices, like Google Home and Nest Hub.
Two-way talk is a great tool for spooking criminals, which is why we think it’s also an essential tool in any security camera. Blink cameras have both a built-in speaker and microphone, allowing us to speak to whomever is at the other end – possibly breaking up a crime in progress.
Blink Outdoor, with an official IP65 weather rating, gets high marks for durability from us. In the peak of Ohio winters, temperatures can dip dangerously low, but our Blink Outdoor camera held up through it all. This means a great deal to us, as we like to use a couple of cameras outside the perimeter of our home to check for errant critters or porch pirates.
Blink cameras have infrared night vision, which records video in black and white. In our tests, it did a good job detecting activity in dimly lit areas and sending us prompt alerts, but we didn’t see the fine-tuned details of our space that we’d get in a color night vision camera.
This might sound obvious, but we thought it was pretty neat that buying Blink cameras is literally as easy as buying any random product on Amazon. Which is, you know, the easiest way to buy anything ever. (We see you, Prime members.)
That said, Blink offers discounted packages that include 2, 3, or 5 cameras and a Sync Module 2, with prices starting at $139.99 and going all the way up to $379.99. We always look for packages like this when researching a brand, as it can be helpful in saving money on buying multiple cameras at once. For more tips on buying Blink cameras, check out our guide to Blink’s deals, discounts, and sales.
Whether you’re looking to fill an entire home with wireless security cameras5 or just purchase one or two as add-ons, finding the perfect fit can be quite challenging. Blink’s cameras offer a truly hassle-free option, right down to the two AA extended-life batteries that let these cameras run for up to two years.
As far as value, we continue to score Blink high. We’re not talking about rock-bottom prices here; we’d put Blink cameras in or around the mid-range category in terms of pricing. But for what these cameras gave us – a truly hassle-free experience – we wholeheartedly recommend adding Blink cameras to your home.
With the extended-life batteries included in every Blink camera (except Blink Mini), you’ll get about two years of battery life with typical use. From what we’ve seen, that’s a whole lot of battery life in one charge.
Since they’re owned by the same company, Blink and Alexa play well together. You can set up your Blink cameras to use voice commands through an Amazon Echo. It does not work with Google Assistant, though.
No. Blink cameras use standard infrared night vision that is not colorized, so you’ll get a pretty grainy picture at night.
Yes. The cameras have USB ports, and a power cord is included in the box, in case you’d rather wire the cameras for continuous use.
While not the cheapest camera on the market, Blink is generally considered an affordable brand. Their most expensive camera is $100, which isn’t bad for a battery-powered camera.
Yes. You can attach a hard drive or flash drive to your Blink system via the Blink Sync Module 2 to store your video clips locally (not in the cloud).
The Sync Module is a small, shallow box that comes with the Blink Indoor and Blink Outdoor cameras. The module receives information from Blink servers through your home Wi-Fi, and sends notifications to our phone. Cameras receive information from the Sync Module, then send images and notifications through your Wi-Fi. You can also use the Sync Module to attach an external hard drive via USB.
Bray, H. (2017, Dec. 21). Maker of Blink home security cameras bought by Amazon. The Boston Globe.
Amazon. (2020, Sept. 2). Amazon’s Blink Unveils New Wireless Security Cameras with HD Video, Flexible Storage Options, and New Battery Expansion Pack.
How Stuff Works. (2020). What does 1080p mean?
Alton, L. (2017, Oct. 2) Millennials Want Smart Home Tech More Than Anyone. Techzone.
Wireless Security Cameras. (Accessed January 22, 2021). Wikipedia.