Night Owl has swooped right in as a fast-growing security company with lots (and we mean lots) of camera options. We got hold of some of their products to dive deep into the features and tech, and to see how they performed. Right away we liked their selection of cameras — Night Owl seems to have something for everyone. 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+.
That said, there are things to consider about Night Owl before hopping on the “buy now” bandwagon. For instance, we 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, we think this camera brand holds its own against fierce competition. So let’s jump in to see if Night Owl makes sense for your home and budget.
Unlike many security companies that have their roots in China, we like that 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. We appreciate this, but it’s pretty standard for the industry.
The Night Owl brand has been in business since 2009, and they bill themselves as the fastest growing manufacturer of security DVRs and cameras.1 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 Ring, for example, or Google Nest’s super-high-tech cams. So we’ll give Night Owl the benefit of the doubt here.
Since they’re mostly sold as NVR/DVR kits, 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; but also note that Swann is considered an affordable brand with less sturdy equipment. Just something to keep in mind.
For more buying options and pricing, head over to our Night Owl pricing guide. In the meantime, here’s the latest breakdown of Night Owl cams:
|Camera Model||Price||Key Features|
|Indoor/Outdoor Wireless 1080p AC Powered Camera||$99.99||
|Add-On/Standalone 1080p AC Powered Wireless Indoor Panoramic Camera*||$79.99||
|8-Channel Wireless Smart Security Hub||$399.99||
|8-Channel 4K Ultra HD Wired Smart Security DVR (2 TB Hard Drive)||$499.99||
|6-Channel 4K W2 Fusion Hybrid Security DVR (1 TB Local Storage)||$399.99||
|4-Channel HD Wireless Gateway with 16GB MicroSD Card||$249.99||
|4-Channel HD Wireless Gateway with 2 AC Powered Indoor Wireless Cameras||$149.99||
|1080p Smart Doorbell||$99.99||
Note that Night Owl offers 12 different add-on cameras. We list these options 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 standalone DVRs and NVRs. The chart above represents a sample of their products and prices.
Across the industry, cloud storage is becoming hugely popular as a way to manage and monitor footage from our cameras. It’s also relatively inexpensive, and we recommend it often if you don’t have another storage option.
We discovered recently that Night Owl discontinued their cloud service, so for now, storing footage in the cloud isn’t an option with Night Owl. 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 Lorex’s suite of sturdy cams, we’ve known for a while that 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 Cloud Subscriptions||Basic||Intermediate||Pro|
|Storage Capacity||1 GB||2 GB||4 GB|
|Price||$4 per month||$7 per month||$10 per month|
In our experience, these monthly cloud fees are fair. In fact, we think Night Owl subscription plans compare well to some of our top-rated brands like Ring and Arlo, which both offer cloud plans in the $3-$15 per month range. So there’s nothing out-of-the-ordinary here.
We always love unboxing new products. And we must say, Night Owl’s presentation was clean, making us all the more eager to see the gear inside. 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 trim. A black camera will stick out like a sore thumb on white trim, and vice versa.
Thankfully, Night Owl security cameras were quick and painless to configure and install. But honestly, we’ve come to expect ultra-easy DIY installation. The company’s website had all the information we needed to install our 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.
Night Owl Wireless security cameras are extremely easy to install. Still, we followed their quick setup guide online. All we had to do was plug in the power adapter to hear that the camera was in pairing mode. Adding the camera to our NVR was simple; it’s built-in Wi-Fi quickly found our 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.2 Once the DVR was connected, we connected the BNC cables. Thankfully, each side is labeled with its appropriate home: “to camera” or “to DVR or NVR.” We 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 were the most time-consuming part.
If you’re intimidated by DIY projects, we think you’ll like Night Owl. While the cameras aren’t as easy to install as Blink’s super-easy wire-free cameras, in our experience, it was easy enough!
FYI: Note that with Night Owl’s wired cameras, we didn’t take the time to hide all the wires. Sure, you can do this yourself, but a handyman will (probably) get the job done in half the time and with better results. Just something to consider.
Some of Night Owl’s higher-end cameras come stacked with cutting-edge features like person- detection and facial recognition (these high-tech devices reminded us of one of our favorite camera series, the Nest Cam IQ line). As far as the plug-and-play sub-$100 cameras go, well, at first we didn’t think they had enough punching power in the features department. We’re happy to report that after a few days of testing the cameras, we think they offer just enough features for the price. Just don’t expect great things.
One of our favorite things about Night Owl’s popular 1080p Indoor/Outdoor camera was the night vision up to 100 feet. We were able to pick up fairly decent details of our planted suspect at about 40 feet out, but beyond that, the resolution wasn’t so great. We also liked the two-way talk and infrared PIR motion sensing features, but those are pretty much standard these days.
On the other hand, we really thought 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 of the pan-tilt-zoom cameras we’ve tried like the Kuna Torch 360 camera or many of Reolink’s cameras. We recommend choosing 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 we 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 for us, too. We set up our NVR in our garage where we spend a good amount of our free time. Knowing that video is constantly being recorded definitely helps when it comes to feeling safe and secure in your castle. Overall, Night Owl might lack some bells and whistles compared to our top-rated brands like Google Nest, but we’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.3 But in many ways, they function similarly to lower-end systems — and as a benefit you’ll generally have access to more advanced features.
We didn’t have to wait very long when we called to speak with Night Owl’s customer service team. The rep we spoke with patiently walked us through the installation process (for the NVR unit) and she was helpful when asked about the capabilities of our new systems. Note that the Night Owl website provides plenty of resources, including troubleshooting guides. And their YouTube channel is frequently updated with videos for their equipment. But sometimes there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned phone call.
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 we rarely see in the industry. Most security companies have online resources, but we were impressed with how Night Owl provides more than enough help to solve technical matters on your own.
Tip: We were able to get answers to our questions from Night Owl’s technical support. But we recommend digging into their online resources before contacting their customer service team by phone. We think you’ll be surprised at what you find.
We prefer Night Owl’s DVR over their NVR since we could still access remote live viewing when we plugged in our 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.
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. We always like a good two-way talk feature.
Google Assistant is designed to make your life easier.4 And thankfully, Night Owl’s compatibility with Google Assistant allowed us to see what our cameras were seeing on pretty much any screen. Hey Google voice control is a nice feature; we just wish Night Owl also worked with Amazon Alexa and other automation platforms like IFTTT.
Since local storage is the way to go with Night Owl these days, we simply used the 1 TB hard drive in our NVR to store our recordings. Some devices use micro SD for storage which can be changed out as you wish.
Night Owl security cameras shoot in full color during the day and switch to night mode effortlessly. We watched footage of the darkest corner of our yard, and we were 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.
We noticed the dual sensors can get triggered by bugs flying into the camera lenses, but otherwise, we like how they combine 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.).
See below for Night Owl’s most popular equipment and cameras. Although this is not an exhaustive list of their 50+ camera options and surveillance kits, it should give you a great idea of what to expect from Night Owl.
This camera works as either an add-on or standalone device. The 1080p image quality was crisp and clear during the day, and the night vision worked as expected. But we think the 100-degree field of view can be improved.
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. This is our favorite Night Owl package. The cameras are good for indoor/outdoor use, covering every angle outside of our 2,800 square-foot home just fine.
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 took us longer to install, but offered a better signal compared to the wireless cams.
Night Owl’s Hybrid Security DVR can connect to wired and wireless cameras. This is our second favorite package, as it comes with four 4K Ultra HD Indoor/Outdoor cameras and two Indoor 1080p HD cameras. Our only gripe is that we prefer wireless setups over wired ones.
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. We wish Night Owl made an 8-channel version, as we would trade in our DVR setup and still have access to footage online or from our micro SD card.
The Night Owl Smart Doorbell performed well for us. Like most of their equipment, we enjoyed remote viewing, two-way audio, and integration with Google Assistant. This device is slightly cheaper than many 1080p HD doorbell cameras on the market, and it offers many of the same features. But we’d sooner recommend some of our top-rated video doorbells.
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.
We’ve established that Night Owl isn’t a perfect camera system. With that said, one of our favorite things about this 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.
|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|
|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|
Unfortunately, we’re not so impressed with Night Owl’s one-year limited warranty. It only covers manufacturing defects and excludes key components like the spotlight bulbs, LEDs, and batteries. We’ve seen enough brands offering multi-year warranties — and sometimes lifetime warranties — to know that Night Owl can improve here. Fortunately, stores like Walmart and Costco offer extended warranties. So we recommend looking into those options.
After getting hands-on experience with their products, we can say that Night Owl is a serious contender (it’s on our top 10 list, after all!). We welcome the simplicity of their devices, as well as the extensive camera options — in fact, the possibilities are nearly endless with Night Owl.
However, we didn’t like that Night Owl lacks home automation features and integrations (other than Google Assistant). So Night Owl lost some points here. Also, we’d like to see the 1080p Indoor/Outdoor camera’s 100-degree field of view improved to at least 120-degrees or more. And we have to say that if you’re easily overwhelmed by too many options (which believe it or not, can actually cause anxiety5), 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 standalone camera (or two or three), then we’d recommend checking out Ring’s camera suite instead.
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.”
No. One of the brand’s selling points is that beyond the initial equipment costs, there are no monthly fees with Night Owl.
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.
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.
In our tests, Night Owl cameras gave us some decent coverage in the dark, with good, not great, detail.
Night Owl: About Us. (2020). Security Camera Provider.
YouTube. (2017, December 7). Night Owl Connect App – Initial Setup.
Swann Security. (2018, June 13). NVR Vs. DVR – What’s The Difference?
Google Assistant. (2020). Smart Home Automation.
The Guardian. Jeffries, S. (2015, October 21). Why Too Much Choice is Stressing Us Out.