Affordable HD security cameras perfect for small spaces, with basic features.
Since their acquisition by e-commerce behemoth Amazon in 2017, Blink has experienced skyrocketing success as a brand of compact HD cameras that make self-monitoring and installation a breeze for almost anyone.
And over the years they’ve stayed true to their DIY ethos and commitment to simplify1. Blink still offers their original cameras, the Indoor, the Outdoor, and the Mini, but they’ve added the Video Doorbell, a new version of the Outdoor model, the Wired Floodlight Camera, and the Mini Pan and Tilt to the mix to better accommodate customers with specific security needs.
It’s nice to see that in 2023, Blink is still putting out solid battery-operated cameras that provide up to two years of continuous use and affordable video storage, keeping both up-front and monthly costs low.
How’s the quality, though? Well, that’s what I wanted to find out, so I purchased a three-camera pack from Amazon to see how it works in the nooks and crannies of a modest single-family home. The pack contained a Blink Mini, a Blink Indoor, and a Blink Outdoor.
You’ll learn whether this system is as dependable as other leading camera brands in capturing potential danger in the nick of time – arguably the most vital function of any home security device. And, as always, I’ll share any drawbacks worth noting in a full suite of Blink cams. And for more money-saving tips, check out our full guide to choosing home security cameras.
That said, let’s take a deeper look at all that a Blink system has to offer.
Pro Tip: Need more than just security cameras? Blink may not be the best choice. Head over to our SimpliSafe review to see how integrating security cameras with a security system exponentially increases your protection — without breaking the bank, of course.
After I took these cameras for a test drive, I calculated a SecureScore™ of 7.6 out of 10. They are definitely solid cameras, but there is room for improvement. I docked Blink some points because these cameras require a separate hub and the features leave a little something to be desired. If you want to see how Blink matches up with our top picks, read our Ring vs. Blink comparison, Blink vs. Arlo comparison, or Blink vs. SimpliSafe matchup.
With equipment that’s ready to use practically right out of the box, it was evident that Blink wasn’t going to be a difficult installation. I opened the three Blink boxes that round out the system to find a very simple configuration: one camera, one sync module (this is required in every Blink camera except the Blink Mini), two screws for mounting, one plastic mount, and a handy battery replacement tool to open and close the back of the camera.
Quick note here: Both the Blink Indoor and Outdoor require a Sync Module, which is a hub with which the cameras pair instead of connecting directly to Wi-Fi. The Sync Module isn’t battery-powered, so I had to set it up near an outlet while also keeping in mind its distance from each of the two cameras. It has a range of up to 100 feet, but in my experience, it needs to be a little bit closer than that to the outdoor camera to account for possible signal interventions caused by walls.
Not really a DIYer? Don’t worry — like many “DIY” cameras on the market today, if you can turn a screwdriver, you can nail the install. The setup for Blink cameras in particular is especially easy. It consists of scanning a QR code with your phone, giving the cameras a name, and following the in-app instructions to sync everything up.
Okay, maybe that’s oversimplifying it, but the setup process doesn’t really require much expertise. All instructions were provided by the app – even my teenager could do it. Overall, it took me less than 10 minutes to get each camera up and running. That’s 30 minutes of my lazy Tuesday afternoon well spent, don’t you think?
The only cameras I can recall that had an easier setup were from Wyze Cams. If you’re into simple wireless tech, you’ll appreciate Blink and Wyze. Not only do they resemble each other somewhat in appearance, the cameras also cost less than much of the competition. You can find much more on Wyze in my hands-on Wyze Cam review.
But as far as setting up a Blink camera, it’s pretty hard to mess this part up, since you’re talking about a relatively simple piece of tech and an equally simple, intuitive app (see more Blink app images below). But I do think it’s worth emphasizing not to rush through this process. The setup process is a really good time to get to know your camera and make it work for your space, so take your time and have patience here.
It’s not just about entering Wi-Fi passwords and allowing your phone (or Alexa device) to pair with the cameras; I’m talking about things like motion sensitivity, which is a key tool in making sure you don’t get false or unwanted alerts; or adjusting the infrared LEDs to make sure the camera’s night vision is clear and glare-free.
Those are adjustments you generally won’t know you need to make until you’ve set up the whole system and have made your way through the app. But once you do, you’ll see a much better performing camera system, and more insightful alerts.
As for installing Blink, the cameras all echoed pretty much the same installation and setup process. The only exception is the Blink Mini, which is essentially a miniature of the Blink Indoor but with wired installation instead of a battery. You’ll learn more about each camera’s nuances and quirks in just a moment, but for now, let’s just say this: It’s not every day you can say you installed a whole system of security cameras in under 30 minutes.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for home security with a lot of customization, Blink might not be the best fit. Instead, Vivint, a professionally monitored system, might suit you better. Check out our hands-on Vivint system review.
Next, we’ll dive into the Blink system a bit more, camera by camera.
But first, here’s a brief look at Blink’s stats, including how we review them:
|No. of Cameras||3|
|Best Asset||Easy Installation|
|Video Resolution||1080p HD|
With that, we’ll begin our hands-on experience with the smallest in the bunch: Blink Mini.
It might not look like much, but Blink Mini is a powerful tool in any home security toolbox. It did a great job taking care of the basics, and all in all, you can’t really expect more than the basics out of a camera that’s only $35.
My tests of Blink Mini centered around home entryways. Like all Blink cams, Blink Mini runs on fluid video, meaning it regularly fluctuates from higher (1080p) to lower video resolutions to allow it to run more smoothly and without gaps in your timeline. So the first thing to note: You won’t find much to gripe about in terms of video quality. This camera won’t let you down there.
As you’ll learn in my in-depth Blink Mini camera review, the sensitivity slider in the Blink app will be your friend. Here, you can choose a lower setting to reduce the barrage of alerts you might be getting in the initial experience. This is a good time to decide if you’d rather avoid getting alerts when, say, a car shines its headlights through your front door window. Those are generally a nuisance, you’ll notice, and tend to detract from the real reason you added cameras in the first place: to keep your home safe.
That’s one thing to remember about Blink cameras: They’re quite sensitive compared to their peers. Partly, this is because the Blink cameras lack person detection and other forms of smart motion detection. You adjust the sensitivity, but movements large enough (like a pet running in front of the camera) can still trigger motion alerts even at a lower sensitivity setting.
That’s where the Blink Mini lags behind compared to its closest competitor, the Wyze Cam v3. Although priced similarly to the Blink Mini, I’ve found the Wyze Cam v3 much better at ignoring less important motion events thanks to its built-in person detection.
Here’s a quick features comparison if you want to see how the two cameras matchup:
|Features||Blink Mini||Wyze Cam v3|
|Viewing angle||110 degrees||130 degrees|
|Night vision||Infrared (black-and-white)||Color night vision|
|Usage||Indoor only||Indoor or outdoor (IP 67 weatherproof)|
|Local storage||None||MicroSD card|
Blink doesn’t offer a professionally monitored security solution – at least not anymore2 – so the task of monitoring your Blink cameras will fall on you. That’s also known as self-monitoring, which means you’ll have to review every alert and event recording from your Blink cameras.
Fortunately, I found self-monitoring the Blink Mini a breeze thanks to the app. There, I was able to jump between checking live view and looking back at footage history. This came in handy that time when my smoke sensors detected smoke coming from my kitchen. I was able to see, thanks to the Blink Mini, that I left my oven on while baking lasagna, and I was able to rush home to turn it off before it turned into a disaster. Well, dinner was ruined, but at least my house didn’t burn down.
FYI: Recordings are saved in the cloud, but you’ll need a subscription for cloud storage starting at $3 per month. More on this later.
The only gripe I had about Blink Mini, for the most part, is that it’s wired. But that’s also why it’s a cheaper camera than its siblings. To avoid a hassle, just plan on displaying it close to a wall outlet. You know, instead of standing on a ladder yelling, “Anyone got an extension cord?” for 10 minutes until someone answers. (We’ve all been there, right?)
Here’s the bottom line on Blink Mini: While it might be small and limited in features, it still packs the power and convenience of Blink’s other two devices thanks to a strong and intuitive app. That makes it a pretty worthwhile addition to the system.
That said, if you’re looking for slick features like activity zones, person detection, and facial recognition, Google Nest Cam review is another great place to look. Sure, the cheapest Nest Cam costs $99, more than twice as much as the Blink Mini, but you’ll get AI-powered features such as those mentioned above. Just something to consider in case the Blink Mini leaves you wanting for more.
At less than 3 inches tall, Blink Indoor is as modest as it is discreet. But with the convenience of wire-free setup, you’re also getting more flexibility than you’d get from Ring Indoor, another Amazon-branded camera. Read my full Ring Indoor camera review for more.
This security camera also made a great hallway monitor when I tested the Blink Indoor camera. The HD video quality and motion detection were top-notch; night vision, however, isn’t as strong in Blink cameras as those in an Arlo camera system with full color night vision. Arlo cameras are some of the best in the biz, but I’ve found that this feature isn’t quite as important in indoor cameras as outdoor ones.
There is one thing lacking in Blink cameras, and that’s field of view. At 110 degrees, Blink Indoor’s viewing angle is somewhat narrower than other cameras. By now, it’s more common to see cameras that stretch out up to 160 degrees, as noted in my full unpacking of the Arlo Pro 3 cameras.
Now, as helpful as such an upgrade might be, I do want to point out that a wider field of view isn’t always better. You’re more likely to find pros and cons for each configuration. Since Blink uses narrow-angle lenses in their cameras, they’re best suited for monitoring specific targets, such as doorways and entrances, because objects will appear larger and more detailed within the image. In cameras with wide-angle lenses,3 objects appear smaller, and you might see some occasional distortions along the edges of the frame during recording.
Still, I found the Blink Indoor field of view a bit lacking. If you want full coverage of a decent-sized room, you’ll need more than one camera. You’ll see what I mean if you scroll down a little further and watch the sample clip from my Blink Indoor. Despite my best effort at placing the camera strategically, it only managed to capture about three quarters of my living room, leaving pretty huge blind spots.
That said, if a wide-angle lens camera sounds appealing to you, take a peek at my Amcrest camera review, where you’ll learn about a pair of solid devices with wider viewing angles, and better night vision, too.
Moving over to the camera’s video history, you’ll like how Blink automatically produces a highlight reel of each day’s activity; this is really helpful in a pinch. You can sit down at the end of the day and, rather than poring through hours of footage you missed when you were out of the house, you can pull up one of these highlight reels to get a frame-by-frame overview of the day.
This clip above is an example of Blink’s highlight reel. I see this is another effort on Blink’s part to make their cameras as convenient as possible – and an impressive addition, considering the low price.
And in another nod to Blink’s energy efficiency, the Blink Indoor has a low-power mode to conserve battery life. The only difference in using this mode, in my tests, was about 3-5 seconds of delay from the time motion began to the time the camera began recording. By and large, that’s a negligible delay.
At $79, Blink Indoor is priced competitively, especially when you consider all that’s included in a kit: One Blink Indoor camera, one Blink Sync Module 2, durable mounting hardware, and four long-lasting AA batteries.
It’s a generous package, and with everything Blink has to offer, the camera still handles exceptionally well.
Turning to Blink’s dedicated outdoor camera, it’s evident immediately that this one was built to be discreet. It only comes in all-black, as opposed to the black-and-white indoor cam. As far as aesthetics, it’s got a sleek finish and takes the same minimalistic cues as Indoor. In fact, you’re talking about the same camera, essentially, as Indoor, only with a tougher (IP65) weather rating.
I’d like to note that since my last testing of the Blink Outdoor, Blink has come out with a newer version called the Blink Outdoor 4. The one I tested was the third generation, which replaced the Blink XT2 (2nd generation) and the Blink XT (first generation).
As far as I can tell, most of the differences between the fourth and third generation are cosmetic. The newer version features a matte black finish with a slightly more rounded face. It does promise to offer a wider viewing angle than the third generation and person detection, but are those minor upgrades worth the $20 extra cost? We’d say check out the Blink Outdoor 3 first, and if you like it, then decide if you want the upgraded Outdoor 4.
At the risk of rehashing old grievances, night vision was pretty weak in my hands-on Blink Outdoor camera experience. In an outdoor camera, this is a bit of a letdown.
It’s not that the Blink Outdoor can’t see at all at night. The camera’s night vision provides enough illumination to still see what’s going on, like the cat passing right through our front lawn in the video below. But whose cat was it? We’re not entirely sure. Blink’s night vision footage didn’t provide enough clarity to capture the finer details.
You’ll find better night vision in one of the Ezviz cameras I reviewed recently, but generally, a camera with exceptional night vision needs some integrated lighting feature to do its best work. (Visit my Reolink Argus 3 Pro review for a really stellar night vision experience.)
On that note, Blink does have other options if you prefer brighter and better night vision. One is the newly released Blink Floodlight Cam Wired, which comes with powerful floodlights, hence the name. It offers much of the same features as the Blink Outdoor, but it needs to be wired to an outdoor junction box to work.
Another option if you prefer a wireless configuration is the Blink Outdoor floodlight mount. This one uses the Blink Outdoor for the camera part, while the mount itself provides two bright battery-powered floodlights.
Folks with smart home devices might be somewhat disappointed by the options Blink offers to integrate their cameras with non-Amazon devices. Since it’s an Amazon brand, Blink doesn’t integrate quite as seamlessly with Google Home devices, so you won’t be able to say, “OK Google, show me my patio” and similar voice commands to control the cameras.
Amazon Alexa users, on the other hand, should be pretty delighted. If you’re taking an impromptu trip out of state in the near future, you can use the Alexa app to check the temperature in your home (via a Nest thermostat) and, at the same time, peek into the Blink Indoor camera to make sure the dog sitter has shown up. Actions like this are a quick, efficient way to get peace of mind when you can’t be home.
Of course, you’ve got plenty of other choices if you’re looking for cameras that do integrate with multiple platforms in addition to Alexa, like Google Home, IFTTT, and Samsung SmartThings. In my latest review of Reolink’s cameras, integrations were a bit easier thanks to a smart home tab in their mobile app. This way, almost every camera Reolink makes (and there are many) can be fed into a smart home ecosystem with little fuss, with plenty of cross-platform functionality to boot.
FYI: Affordable and simple as they may be, Blink cameras are pretty weak when it comes to automating with non-Amazon devices. Some brands don’t always play nice with each other; read our comprehensive home automation guide to learn more.
Smart home challenges aside, Blink Outdoor redeems itself in other areas, exhibiting the same strengths that made me a fan of the brand in the first place: Fluid video resolution at up to 1080p; seamless two-way talk; customizable motion detection; and that easy installation Blink is famous for.
Before pivoting into pricing and storage options on Blink, I think it’s worth pointing out that these cameras are not ideal as pet monitors. While they’re pretty sensitive to most types of motion out of the box, in my tests, none of the Blink cameras were triggered by the family dog, as wiggly and rambunctious as he is. It could be that more fine-tuning in the app is needed to remedy this, but it could also be that this $80 camera just isn’t strong in this way, and that’s totally okay.
Fortunately, there’s a camera or two out there that handles this much better. As noted when I tested and reviewed YI’s Home 3 camera, the camera seemed to enjoy sending entertaining recordings of said pup in all sorts of precarious positions – no app tinkering needed. Keep in mind, too, this camera costs $20, so there isn’t much tinkering to be done, anyway.
Pro Tip: Blink is a great option if you’re looking to keep an eye on your property — indoors and out — but make no mistake, not all security cameras are created equal. Take a look at these cameras you don’t want to rely on for home security.
Who knows, maybe the dog ate jumping beans that day. But it’s just something you might pick up from time to time when comparing home security companies. Motion sensors sometimes work in mysterious ways.
When comparing pricing in security cameras, I always like to start with a disclaimer: You do get what you pay for, so choose wisely. Blink is far from the cheapest camera brand you’ll find out there, as the industry is brimming with low-cost cameras these days. Some folks might bristle at paying $100 for a Blink camera, but keep in mind that this is a solid battery-powered camera, the likes of which usually isn’t available for under $100.
Of course, you could always go with the Blink Mini if you’d rather save on equipment costs – for $35, Mini is an all-around good camera.
Below is a snapshot of pricing for Blink cameras, keeping in mind that the cameras also come in 2-, 3-, and 5-pack systems, if you choose. Feel free to check out my Blink Camera pricing page for more info, and while you’re at it, head over to the latest rundown of Blink Prime Day deals and discounts.
|Blink Outdoor 3||$99.99||
|Blink Outdoor 4||$119.99||
|Blink Video Doorbell||$59.99||
|Blink Wired Floodlight Camera||$99.99||
|Blink Mini Pan-Tilt||$59.99||
Since Blink has discontinued their free cloud storage option, you’re now left with two options to store video history with Blink: A basic plan, for $3 per month, and a premium option for $10 per month.
These costs are pretty well aligned with Blink’s close competitors. Swann’s $5-per-month plan, for example, offers basic storage but not too many of the extras Blink includes in their subscriptions. With everything you’ll get in an affordable Blink system, I don’t think paying $3 per month to store videos (or $30 for the whole year) is stretching it.
Here’s a breakdown of Blink’s storage costs, keeping in mind that you also have the option to attach a hard drive to your Blink sync module to store video on your own:
|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|
With Blink, you’re promised a hassle-free experience, and you’ll get one. Indeed, these cameras are nothing if not consistent. For folks who don’t feel comfortable around security equipment or just don’t have the time to learn and interact with technology, Blink is a consistent leader. It certainly belongs in our roundup of the best cheap security cameras.
To summarize, here’s what I think Blink’s strengths and weaknesses are.
Now it’s your turn to decide. Do the pros outweigh the cons? Will Blink work in your home setup?
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 I’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 as smoothly 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.
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.
Amazon. (2020, Sept. 2). Amazon’s Blink Unveils New Wireless Security Cameras with HD Video, Flexible Storage Options, and New Battery Expansion Pack.
IFSEC Insider. (2017 Jan 4). CES 2017 sneak peak: Blink set to unveil home security system with moisture sensors for leak detection
Lorex Technology. (2021). Guide to Field of View & Lens Types.