Night Owl Security Camera Review

Highly-customizable security camera system with no monthly fees

7.2 / 10 This rating is derived from our editorial team's research, hands-on product testing, and customer surveys.
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Jaime Fraze https://www.safehome.org/author/jaime-fraze/
7.2 SecureScore™ How We Review
How We Review
Customer Service
7.4
Value
7.1
Equipment
7.7
Features & Technology
7.9
Ease Of Use
6.1
SecureScore™
7.2

Night Owl has swooped right in as a fast-growing security company with lots of camera options. After taking a deep dive into their products’ features and tech, it was obvious that there’s something for everyone in Night Owl’s cameras. And the prices weren’t bad, either. Some of their basic add-on cameras start at $59.99, which is quite competitive. They also sell high-tech security camera systems with facial recognition for $1,000-plus.

That said, there are things to consider about Night Owl before hopping on the “buy now” bandwagon. For instance, I couldn’t livestream video with their battery-powered cameras. And if you’re a smart home buff, your options are limited with Night Owl. Otherwise, this camera brand still holds its own against fierce competition. So let’s jump in to see if this service makes sense for your home and budget.

Night Owl Cameras

Night Owl Cameras

PROS
  • Choice of Wired or Wireless Cameras
  • No Contracts
  • 1080p HD Video Resolution
  • NVR, DVR Systems Stabilize Connection
  • Night Vision
  • Two-Way Audio
  • Facial Recognition and Human Detection Features
  • Works With Google Assistant

CONS
  • App Is Buggy
  • Wide Selection Can Be Overwhelming
  • No Livestreaming on Battery-Powered Cameras
  • Limited Home Automation Integrations

Night Owl in a Nutshell

Unlike many security companies that have their roots in China, Night Owl was founded in Naples, Florida. Of course, their hardware is manufactured abroad (you know, to cut costs), but their engineers, software designers, and servers are all located stateside. You may appreciate this, but it’s pretty standard for the industry.

The Night Owl brand has been in business since 2009,1 and they bill themselves as the fastest- growing manufacturer of security DVRs and cameras. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of info on the company to be found. But then again, Night Owl doesn’t have the same name recognition as the Ring, for example, or Google Nest’s super-high-tech cams. So I’ll give Night Owl the benefit of the doubt here.

Before jumping into my experience with the cameras, here are a few key stats to know about Night Owl:

Night Owl Camera Features

Days Tested 7 Days
Best Feature Night Vision
Video Resolution 1080p HD
Power Plug-in, Wireless
Price $70+

My Experience With Night Owl Security Cameras

First Impressions

Night Owl’s presentation was clean. Holding the 1080p Indoor/Outdoor cameras in-hand, you’ll notice the devices look and feel like high-quality modern security cameras — almost like what you’d find in a government building. They’re also lightweight and compact. But one quick tip is to match the camera color to the color of your door trim. A black camera will stick out like a sore thumb on white trim, and vice versa.

Installing Night Owl Cameras

Thankfully, Night Owl security cameras were quick and painless to configure and install. But honestly, I’ve come to expect ultra-easy DIY installation. The company’s website has all the information you’ll need to install your cameras — seven devices in total — and connect them to the Night Owl Connect app in less than an hour.

Did You Know: It’s a race to the top for home security companies to see who can offer the fastest and easiest installation in the industry. Learn about more devices out there with hassle-free installation in our roundup of the best wireless cameras.

As far as setup goes, Night Owl wireless security cameras are simple, but you’ll want to follow their quick online setup guide just to be sure. All I had to do was plug in the power adapter to hear that the camera was in pairing mode. And adding the camera to your NVR is no sweat; its built-in Wi-Fi quickly found the new camera and added it to an empty channel since everything runs over Wi-Fi. If you don’t hear the camera say it’s in pairing mode when you plug it in, just press the reset button until it says “resetting.”

The wired options were only slightly more complicated, but watching Night Owl’s setup video helped. Once the DVR is connected, you’ll then connect the BNC cables. Thankfully, each side is labeled with its appropriate home: “to camera” or “to DVR or NVR.” I recommend connecting the cameras and making sure there’s a signal before mounting them. It’s also worth mentioning that hiding wires on the wired cams was the most time-consuming part.

If you’re intimidated by DIY projects, you’ll like Night Owl. While the cameras aren’t as easy to install as Blink’s wire-free cameras, in my experience, it was easy enough.

FYI: Note that with Night Owl’s wired cameras, I didn’t take the time to hide all the wires. Surely you can probably do a better job, but a handyman can likely get the job done in half the time. Just something to consider.

Everyday Use

Some of Night Owl’s higher-end cameras come stacked with cutting-edge features like person detection and facial recognition. These high-tech devices, in some ways, are similar to the popular Nest Cam IQ series I tested. As far as the plug-and-play sub-$100 cameras go, I initially didn’t think they had enough punching power in the features department. I’m happy to report, however, that after a few days of testing the cameras, they offered just enough features for the price. Just don’t expect 24/7 perfection.

Night Owl Wireless System

Night Owl Wireless System

One of the standouts in Night Owl’s popular 1080p Indoor/Outdoor camera was the night vision that views up to 100 feet. The cameras picked up fairly decent details of my garden at about 40 feet out, but beyond that, the resolution wasn’t so great. The two-way talk and infrared PIR motion sensing features are great, but those are pretty much standard these days.

On the other hand, the field of view could be improved. Night Owl advertises this camera with “wide-angle viewing,” but the viewing angle is only 100 degrees, which pales in comparison to many pan-tilt-zoom cameras and quite a few of the Reolink cameras I’ve tested. All in all, you’re going to want a device that offers at least a 120- to a 160-degree field of view; that way you can monitor more of your home without needing to purchase additional cameras.

FYI: If you’re into smart home technology with non-Google platforms, this might not be the brand for you, but I urge you to visit our home automation guide for more ways to use cameras in your smart home.

The multichannel DVR and NVR kits worked well, too. When it comes to feeling safe and secure in your castle, it definitely helps to know that video is constantly being recorded. Overall, Night Owl might lack some bells and whistles compared to top-rated cameras like the Arlo Pro 3 cameras I analyzed, but I’d still recommend Night Owl’s wireless cams if you’re looking for do-it-yourself home surveillance.

FYI: A lot of people are intimidated by the more expensive DVR and NVR systems. But in many ways, they function similarly to lower-end systems — and as a benefit you’ll generally have access to more advanced features.

Night Owl Customer Support

The Night Owl website provides plenty of resources, including troubleshooting guides, if you need help with their products. And their YouTube channel is frequently updated with videos for their equipment.

But sometimes there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned phone call. Conveniently, Night Owl’s technical support is offered in English, Spanish, and French. And they also have a 24/7 chat line. This around-the-clock access to support is a really nice touch, and something I rarely see in the industry. Most security companies have online resources, but Night Owl provides more than enough help to solve technical matters on your own.

Overview of Night Owl’s Features and Tech

DVR and NVR

I prefer Night Owl’s DVR over their NVR since you can still access remote live viewing when you plug in the Ethernet cable. The NVR can deliver 4K Ultra HD playback, but be warned, it’s a lot more expensive. Also, the DVR’s 1080p HD video was clear enough to make out details when angled just right.

Two-Way Audio

Night Owl cameras can capture audio, but you can also use certain models as an intercom of sorts. For instance, you can give a delivery driver instructions on where to leave your packages, and even tell a would-be burglar to scram. It’s always important to have a good two-way talk feature.

Compatible With Google Assistant

Google Assistant is designed to make your life easier. And thankfully, Night Owl’s compatibility with Google Assistant allows you to see what the cameras are seeing on pretty much any screen. Voice control is a nice feature; it would be nice if Night Owl also worked with Amazon Alexa and other automation platforms like IFTTT, though.

Local Video Storage

Since local storage is the way to go with Night Owl these days, you can simply use the 1 TB hard drive in the NVR to store your recordings. Some devices use micro SD for storage, which can be changed out as you wish.

Night Vision

Night Owl security cameras shoot in full color during the day and switch to night mode effortlessly. You can watch footage of the darkest corner of your yard, and you should be able to see up to 40 feet out without a problem. The company claims that you can see up to 100 feet at night with select cameras.

Dual Sensors

Dual motion and heat sensors add a little pizzazz to Night Owl’s motion detection. You might notice that the dual sensors can get triggered by bugs flying into the camera lenses, but otherwise, it’s nice to have dual heat and motion sensors in one. Also, on some cameras, you can customize motion zones to reduce false alarms (from trees swaying, cars passing by, etc.).

Equipment Options

See below for Night Owl’s most popular equipment and cameras. Although this is not an exhaustive list of their 50-plus camera options and surveillance kits, it should give you an idea of what to expect from Night Owl.

Indoor/Outdoor Wireless 1080p AC Powered Camera

This camera works as either an add-on or stand-alone device. The 1080p image quality was crisp and clear during the day, and the night vision worked as expected. But I do think the 100-degree field of view could be improved.

Night Owl Indoor-Outdoor Wireless Cam

8-Channel Wireless Smart Security Hub

This package gives you an NVR with a 1 TB hard drive and four 1080p wireless cameras. You can connect up to eight wireless cameras and enjoy remote viewing using the Night Owl app. The cameras are good for indoor/outdoor use, covering every angle of a single-family home with little trouble.

8-Channel 4K Ultra HD Wired Smart Security DVR With 2 TB Hard Drive

If you have a 4K Ultra HD TV or monitor, this package is worth considering. It’s more expensive than lower resolution models (as it should be), but the 4K video is crystal clear. Night Owl’s 4K Ultra HD cameras are wired, which take longer to install, but offer a better signal compared to the wireless cams.

6-Channel 4K W2 Fusion Hybrid Security DVR With 1 TB Local Storage

Night Owl’s Hybrid Security DVR can connect to wired and wireless cameras. This comes with four 4K Ultra HD Indoor/Outdoor cameras and two Indoor 1080p HD cameras.

4-Channel HD Wireless Gateway with 16GB MicroSD Card

This kit is similar to DVRs and NVRs, but note that gateways don’t connect to a screen as DVRs and NVRs do. Otherwise, they have all the same features.

1080p Smart Doorbell

The Night Owl Smart Doorbell, like most of their equipment, handles remote viewing, two-way audio, and integration with Google Assistant very well. This device is cheaper than many 1080p HD doorbell cameras on the market, and it offers many of the same features. This one won’t blow you away overall, though; I urge you to check out more of the industry’s top-rated video doorbells like Ring or Arlo before making your choice.

4-Channel HD Wireless Gateway With 2 AC Powered Indoor Wireless Cameras

If you’re looking for affordable indoor cameras with the option to add more later, we think this is a good starter package. Night Owl’s Wireless Gateway and wireless cameras take the least amount of time to set up compared to the rest of their equipment. You’ll also pay less purchasing this package than buying the equipment separately.

Night Owl Costs

Since they’re mostly sold as NVR/DVR kits,2 Night Owl cameras tend to be on the pricey side. But you do get solid equipment, and their individual cameras aren’t terribly expensive in case you need to add more in the future. All told, this is a brand worth considering if you’re on a budget.

You’ll likely pay more with Night Owl, compared to, say, a system of low-cost Swann NVR cameras; however, note that while Swann is considered an affordable brand, it has less sturdy equipment. Just something to keep in mind.

For more buying options and pricing, head over to my Night Owl pricing guide. In the meantime, here’s the latest breakdown of Night Owl cams:

Snapshot of Night Owl Costs

Camera Model Price Key Features
Indoor/Outdoor Wireless 1080p AC Powered Camera $99.99
  • 100-degree field of view
  • Compatible with Night Owl NVR, wireless gateway, and hybrid DVR
  • Night vision with up to 100-ft visibility
Add-On/Standalone 1080p AC Powered Wireless Indoor Panoramic Camera $79.99
  • Flexible mount w/magnetic base
  • Two-way audio
  • Night vision up to 30 ft
  • 1080p resolution
  • 180-degree field of view
  • Plugs into standard outlet
8-Channel Wireless Smart Security Hub $399.99
  • Up to 300 ft wireless signal
  • Two-way audio, 1080p HD video
  • Includes 4 plug-and-play cameras; no batteries needed
  • Remote viewing with mobile app or online access
8-Channel 4K Ultra HD Wired Smart Security DVR (2 TB Hard Drive) $499.99
  • Includes 6 cameras with built-in motion-activated spotlights
  • Facial capture and recognition
  • Up to 100 ft visibility with night vision
  • Human detection
6-Channel 4K W2 Fusion Hybrid Security DVR (1 TB Local Storage) $399.99
  • Can connect wired and wireless cameras
  • Includes four 4K Ultra HD Wired Indoor/Outdoor cameras and two 1080p HD Wireless Indoor Cams
  • Dual-sensor technology
  • L2 Color Boost to capture full-color in low-light
4-Channel HD Wireless Gateway with 16GB MicroSD Card $249.99
  • Dual-sensor technology
  • 1080p HD video
  • Two-way audio
  • Independent wireless network with 300-ft range
4-Channel HD Wireless Gateway with 2 AC Powered Indoor Wireless Cameras $149.99
  • Smart motion detection
  • Plug-in cameras; no batteries needed
  • Dual-sensor technology
  • Night vision up to 20-ft range
1080p Smart Doorbell $99.99
  • Remote viewing through app or online access
  • Local storage

Note that Night Owl offers 12 different add-on cameras. These options are listed in the “Add-Ons and Accessories” section below. Also, keep in mind that Night Owl offers dozens of different DVR and NVR kits, along with stand-alone DVRs and NVRs. The chart above represents a sample of their products and prices.

Night Owl Cloud Plans

Across the industry, cloud storage is becoming hugely popular as a way to manage and monitor footage from your cameras. It’s also relatively inexpensive, and I recommend it often if you don’t have another storage option.

Night Owl recently discontinued their cloud service, so for now, storing footage in the cloud isn’t in the cards. They do include a micro SD port with most of their DVR and NVR-based kits, so that appears to be the best way to store footage with Night Owl.

Similar to a set of Lorex cams I reviewed previously, Night Owl keeps the focus more on equipment and less on storage. So the loss of cloud storage with Night Owl isn’t much of a surprise; it just gives you something to consider as you choose the right security setup for you and your family.

Night Owl Add-On Cameras and Accessories

Night Owl isn’t a perfect camera system, but one draw of the brand is how expandable their systems are. You can start slow and build out a comprehensive security camera system over time. Compared to most other security camera brands, Night Owl has far more add-ons to choose from. Check them out below.

Night Owl Add-On Cameras

Add On Cameras Price
1080p HD Wired Cameras (2-pack) $69.99
4K Ultra HD Wired Cameras With Built-in Spotlights (2-pack) $129.99
1080p AC Powered Wireless Indoor Panoramic Camera $79.99
4K Ultra HD Wired IP Cameras With Ethernet Cables (2-pack) $179.99
5MP HD Wired Cameras With Built-in Spotlights (4-pack) $169.99
Hybrid Wireless 1080p Cameras (2-pack) $169.99
4K (8MP) Ultra HD Wired Security Cameras (2-pack) $169.99
Wired 4K UHD IP Bullet Camera w/ Audio $149.99
1080p HD AC Powered Wireless Camera With 2-Way Audio $99.99
1080p Wired HD Analog Security Camera With Heat-Based Motion Detection $69.99
1080p HD Wired Security Bullet Cameras (4-pack) $199.99
1080p HD Wired Security Bullet Camera $59.99
1080p HD Smart Video Doorbell $49.99 (was $79.99)

Other Night Owl Accessories

Accessories Price
Decoy Dome Camera With Flashing Light $9.99
Decoy PTZ Camera With Flashing Light $14.99
12-Pack BNC-BNC Cable Connectors $14.99
Camera Power Adapter With 4-Way Power Splitter $14.99
Combo DVR/Camera Power Adapter With 9-Way Power Splitter $29.99
2-Pack of In-Wall Rated Video and Power Extension Cables $34.99
16 GB micro SD Card $9.99
32 GB micro SD Card $14.99
Wi-Fi Enabled Smart Safe™ with Integrated Cloud Connectivity $179.99
Reflective Yard sign $14.99

Night Owl Warranty

Night Owl’s one-year limited warranty leaves a bit to be desired. It only covers manufacturing defects and excludes key components like the spotlight bulbs, LEDs, and batteries. There are enough brands out there offering multiyear warranties — and sometimes lifetime warranties — so it’s definitely possible for Night Owl to improve here. Fortunately, stores like Walmart and Costco offer extended warranties. So I recommend looking into those options.

The Bottom Line

After getting plenty of hands-on experience with their products, it’s clear that Night Owl is a serious contender (it’s on our top 10 list, after all!). I welcome the simplicity of their devices, as well as the extensive camera options — in fact, the possibilities are nearly endless with Night Owl.

However, Night Owl’s lack of home automation features and integrations (other than Google Assistant) was a minor sore spot. Also, I wouldn’t mind seeing the 1080p Indoor/Outdoor camera’s 100-degree field of view improved to at least 120 degrees or more.

At this point, if you’re easily overwhelmed by too many options (which believe it or not, can actually cause anxiety3), then Night Owl probably isn’t right for you.

Overall, if you’re on the market for a complete, multichannel DVR or NVR setup, then this company might have the goods you’re looking for. But if you’re just searching for a stand-alone camera (or two or three), then you may be better off checking out the full Ring camera suite I tested instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Night Owl cameras work with Alexa?

No. Night Owl cameras pair with the Google Assistant for smart home integrations, but no other platforms. So when you try to pair a Night Owl camera with an Alexa device, you’ll probably get “Sorry, there was a problem. Please try again later.”

Are monthly fees required With Night Owl?

No. One of the brand’s selling points is that beyond the initial equipment costs, there are no monthly fees with Night Owl.

Does Night Owl offer a cloud storage option?

Not anymore. The brand discontinued their cloud service for video monitoring, but it’s still easy to monitor Night Owl cameras yourself using the NVR or DVR. You can also connect the system to your TV and use micro SD cards to store footage.

Are Night Owl cameras weatherproof?

Most Night Owl cameras are made for the outdoors, with ratings of IP65 and up. This weather rating doesn’t mean the camera is waterproof, but it does protect against wind and dust.

How is Night Owl’s night vision?

In our tests, Night Owl cameras gave us some decent coverage in the dark, with good, not great, detail.

Top
Citations
SafeHome.org only uses high-quality sources to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Night Owl: About Us. (2020). Security Camera Provider.
    https://nightowlsp.com/company.html

  2. Swann Security. (2018, June 13). NVR Vs. DVR – What’s The Difference?
    https://www.swann.com/blog/dvr-vs-nvr-whats-the-difference/

  3. Caltech. (2018 October 1). Scientists Uncover Why You Can’t Decide What to Order for Lunch.
    https://www.caltech.edu/about/news/scientists-uncover-why-you-cant-decide-what-order-lunch-83881

Written By
Jaime Fraze
Security Camera Expert

Jaime Fraze is an experienced digital editor in the tech, business and food spaces, having produced content for clients ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to fledgling nonprofits for more than 15 years. As a wife, mother and homeowner, she understands that buying home security products can be confusing and overwhelming. That’s why Jaime has constantly strived to ensure that every piece of content she produces has met SafeHome.org’s rigorous standards, and that her readers come away with the power to make better, smarter decisions. Learn more about Jaime here

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