A deep dive into equipment costs, packages, and cloud storage plans for Reolink’s line of security cameras
We’ve spent a few months testing and reviewing Reolink’s wide array of security cameras, and there’s a lot to like from this little-known brand. One of the key themes we see pop up over and over again is the flexibility of these well-designed, modern looking cameras. Since the majority are battery operated, there’s no complicated wiring to deal with, and since you don’t need a subscription plan for them to work (although they do offer cloud storage options), they’re hassle-free right out of the box.
Pro Tip: Reolink is currently holding a flash sale, so if you’re interested in picking up some home security products for cheaper-than-retail, now’s a great time to buy. But act fast — we’re not sure how long this one will last!
Reolink has been on the scene since 2009, so they’re not exactly a newcomer when it comes to the ever-evolving home security industry.1 One thing that really sets this company apart from their competitors, though, is their exclusive focus on cameras, which allows customers to pick exactly what they need to build their own “smart and secure Reolink home.”
Many of their cameras offer similar advanced feature sets and performance similar to other high-end equipment like Google Nest’s cameras, and many of Reolink’s devices outperform them in terms of video resolution. You’ll also find some specialty cameras like the E1 outdoor that offers Pan-Tilt-Zoom functionality as well as the Reolink Go which runs on cellular networks.
As far as pricing goes, though, Reolink is kind of all over the map. That said, we would still place them squarely in the “affordable” category — it really just depends on what you’re looking for. More on that later, though. Let’s first take a quick look at Reolink’s key features:
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When stacked next to the top DIY security brands, Reolink’s prices fall around the mid-range category for affordability. Here are a few of those cameras, keeping in mind that there are at least 12 (maybe more) camera models in Reolink’s lineup, and features, costs, and technology do vary.
When we first reviewed it, the Argus 2 camera cost $95. Prices have since dropped, and this specific camera has been replaced with its weatherproof predecessor, the Argus 2E.
When used indoors, the Argus 2 did exactly what we needed it to. Its wide-angle lens made it easy to see the entire room we were monitoring, and the magnetic base and wireless design made it simple to install anywhere.
Take a deeper look at our experience with this camera in our full Argus 2 review.
A new spin on the Argus 2 camera, the Argus 2E, is an upgrade in a sense that you can install this one anywhere – no silicone “wetsuit” needed. It’s almost identical in body type, and it’s IP65 certified for weatherproofing. It also uses the same PIR motion sensing to distinguish humans from other objects in motion detection as its siblings in the Argus line.
But do keep in mind that Reolink Argus 2E is actually priced just slightly less than Argus 2, at $74.99. In this way, “upgrade” is a loose term for the 2E; it’s more like an alternative, for what it’s worth. It works just as well as its predecessors, but doesn’t come with as many brackets and other mounting accessories as the original Argus 2.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking to add Argus 2E to your security lineup, visit our full Reolink Argus 2E review.
At $71.99, the Argus Eco is also quite reasonable for an outdoor camera, especially one with a rechargeable battery included. To give you some perspective, most outdoor cameras we’ve used fall in the $100+ price range.
While it doesn’t have the same sleek look as the Argus 2 and 3, the Argus Eco is a high-quality, durable outdoor camera that can definitely hold its own. Its smart alerts will help you identify packages as they’re dropped off, and its person detection can help you distinguish between someone approaching your home and a car driving past.
Check out our deep dive look at Reolink Argus Eco for more details on our experience.
When we reviewed Argus 3 hands-on, we knew immediately we were in for a real treat. Here, the Argus 3 gets a sweet outdoor-ready upgrade that combines the friendly design of Argus 2 with the durability of Argus Eco, for the relatively low price of $104.99.
Of course, with all that extra bling, we weren’t surprised to see a price bump on Argus 3 over its predecessors. But that’s not to say Argus 3 isn’t an excellent choice for the money. As an example, Arlo, a close rival of Reolink’s, bears a striking resemblance to Argus 3, but the latter happens to be about $80 cheaper.
We do want to note, though, that Arlo sells its Pro 3 as a 2, 3, or 4-pack with a required base station, so it’s hard to compare it apples to apples with the Argus 3. As you might recall, when we tested Arlo Pro 3, we found that it’s also a 2K camera, which means it delivers clear, sharp recordings and live streams most of the time. For more insight on similarities and differences between the two brands, check out our Arlo vs. Reolink comparison page.
When it comes to value, there’s no question that Reolink holds its own among higher-profile brands. With the sleeker, better looking Argus 3, the bump in price over the Argus 2 and Argus Eco is certainly justified. And we think you’ll agree.
The Argus 3 Pro is essentially a beefed-up version of its older brother. It’s video is significantly better than the Argus 3, and its tough outer shell makes it far more durable. As far as installation goes, it’s still extremely simple — no more difficult than installing most security cameras on the market today.
Only now, we get a dazzling show to behold, with video footage recorded in 4MP Super HD. Between the powerful spotlight and the jump in video quality, both daytime viewing and night vision handled beautifully.
We also get a simple yet sensible addition of a swivel base. We can’t mount or attach it to anything; instead, this is for charging our camera and/or using it indoors.
And lest we thought a camera like this would cost a bundle or two more than its predecessor, the Argus 3: Argus 3 Pro retails for $119.99.
We admit, we were surprised to discover this. A close rival of Reolink’s, the Arlo camera system, retails for $199. While we tested many of the same features in the Arlo Pro 3, we’re pleased Reolink chose to keep this one on the inexpensive side.
While choosing the right security products can be a challenge, Reolink eases the confusion with the solid, wire-free Argus 3 Pro.
A slight departure from Argus-branded Reolink cameras, E1 Outdoor is fully wired, with an Ethernet option for extra signal stability. It’s the first non-Argus camera we’ve gotten our claws on, but the Reolink signatures prevail throughout: High-quality video resolution, easy installation, and a durable construction built for the outdoors.
Since it’s a PoE camera, we had the option with E1 Outdoor to connect to a network video recorder for an even more reliable connection. Like Amcrest’s NVR video surveillance systems, Reolink PoE systems are ideal for storing large amounts of video. While we weren’t blown away by Amcrest’s cameras in terms of design and engineering, we do think they’re a nod or two above many of Amcrest’s offerings – especially their PTZ cams.
For what it’s worth, though, we did think Amcrest could be great as a lower-cost alternative to Reolink when we took Amcrest cams for a spin. Reolink is a huge brand, but Amcrest might be even bigger, with dozens if not hundreds of cameras to choose from. Indecisive folks, this one’s for you.
At $112.79, the E1 Outdoor is more than double the cost of the original E1. But the upgrades were evident when we analyzed the new E1 Outdoor cam ourselves: a powerful motion-activated spotlight, PoE capability, and Super HD 5MP video resolution.
In news that might not surprise you, we’ve reviewed many cameras that hover around $100. It’s a nice, round number and, at least among outdoor cameras, happens to be a fair price for the features and accessories that they come with, and how they perform. Reolink E1 Outdoor is no different. But this one does have three key features that we haven’t seen in our previous tests of Reolink cams: Pan, tilt, and zoom.
We enjoy PTZ cameras mainly because they cover such a huge area – more than the standard Ring or Arlo cam, for sure. E1 Outdoor worked great for us as a second set of eyes on our front porch, where we had a wider view of not only who was delivering our package, but what the package was, too.
|Reolink Camera||Camera Type||Key Features||Price|
|Argus 3 Pro||Outdoor||
|Argus E1 Outdoor||Outdoor||
In another nod to flexibility, Reolink cameras are equipped with micro SD card inputs, meaning you can use these cameras to record, store, and share videos without any contracts or monthly fees. But keep in mind that Reolink’s cloud storage options are also worth a look. The standard subscription model, which includes 30 days of video storage for up to 5 cameras, costs only $3.49 per month.
We’ve found Reolink’s $4.99-per-month standard cloud plan to be well-aligned with Ring’s cloud subscription, Ring Protect Basic, which you can read all about in our Ring Protect guide.
It’s worth mentioning that Reolink also offers a basic option for 7 days of rolling cloud storage for free. This way, you’re only paying for the equipment, which really drives home that value factor.
With so many cameras in Reolink’s lineup, we like that there are several options for both affordable equipment and affordable video storage to help you choose the right security setup for your home. Trust us, that’s not always a given!
|Plan Name||Standard||Premier Plan||Business Plan|
|Price||$3.49 per month||$6.99 per month||$10.49 per month|
We’ve been genuinely impressed with Reolink when it comes to value, but there’s one thing we all have to remember when buying home security equipment: You do get what you pay for.
That’s why we’re glad Reolink offers so much variety in their equipment options. If you’ve got, say, a four-bedroom house with a fenced-in yard and a brood of little humans, you’re going to want cameras in multiple places, serving widely different purposes.
Looking at Reolink’s equipment options, we noted a couple of cameras that could hypothetically serve as excellent baby monitors, including Argus 2, one of the three Reolink cameras we reviewed hands-on.
Pro Tip: If you’re worried about your Reolink camera falling from its perch, both of our cameras came with a fall-safe strap. However, it lost a few eye candy points for us when we attached it, so we took it down. If you’re someone who’s worried about curb appeal, this is something to think about.
On the other hand, you could be in dire need of a camera to monitor your driveway at night, because you’ve heard about recent car break-ins in your neighborhood. For that, we think the Reolink Lumus,2 with Wi-Fi capability and a powerful spotlight, is a solid option. It might not be as effective as Ring’s Floodlight Camera (we tested Ring’s Floodlight Cam, which is a go-to option for intruder deterrence), but the Lumus should still get the job done.
And with Argus 3, which happened to be our favorite Reolink camera, you’re getting a supercharged dose of flexibility with not one, but two mounting brackets to choose from: a magnetic mount, for those who love magnets as much as we do, or the handy ball-joint “security” mount, which basically ensures it can’t be stolen – at least not without some difficulty.
But hardware aside, the camera itself is pretty impressive, too. Taking a look at just a few of Argus 3’s features, it’s clear Reolink has upped their game within their Argus series of cameras.
Now, let’s do a few quick takes on some of the features and technology of Reolink’s cameras, keeping in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, and that not all Reolink cameras include the same options.
Reolink cameras are meant for the DIY set, and that was evident in our installation of our Reolink cameras. We didn’t spend more than 10 minutes on each one. Especially simple to install was Argus 2, which gave us great flexibility as an indoor camera.
We had no problem cruising through the Reolink mobile app and letting it guide us through the setup process for our cameras, which included pairing the equipment with our Wi-Fi network and turning on push notifications to allow us to receive motion alerts.
1080p HD Resolution
Almost all of Reolink’s cameras deliver 1080p HD resolution, which is not only the industry standard for security cameras, it’s highly effective when used in Wi-Fi and wireless cameras. With a stable Wi-Fi connection, we saw crystal-clear, vivid camera images and smooth video recordings on all of the Reolink cams we tested.
PIR Motion Sensor
Some, but not all of Reolink’s cameras are equipped with PIR motion sensing technology. This allowed our cameras to distinguish humans from flying bugs or swaying branches using a combination of heat and pixel motion detection technology. This means fewer false alerts, which is definitely a perk we can get behind.
Smart Home Integration
Reolink gets another point for smart home connectivity thanks to the Reolink App’s Smart Home tab. This made connecting to our Amazon Echo Show, mostly to see what our ornery puppy was up to, a breeze. All we had to say was, “Alexa, show me my Reolink camera.”
Reolink’s night vision is pretty impressive, notably in its Argus 3. With all Reolink cameras we tested, we found that they had no trouble automatically turning on night vision. Many models are equipped with color night vision, which yielded us a really amazing and detailed picture with our Argus 3.
As solar power3 is only beginning to emerge as an alternative to wired setups in security cameras, we weren’t surprised to find that Reolink, Arlo, and Ring were the only major brands that have released solar panels to work with their cameras thus far.
What did surprise us, though, is that these solar panels are brand-adherent; Reolink makes it clear that they do not recommend using their solar panels with a non-Reolink camera, and the same goes with Ring.
Simply put, Reolink’s solar panel is $30, while Ring’s is $50, and Arlo’s is $80. It’s not hard to figure out which is the better deal here.
When we tested out our Reolink solar panel with Argus 3, it worked perfectly. We know this because after several days with the camera and solar panel installed, we saw no decrease in the life of the camera’s built-in battery.
Of course, solar power being what it is, that battery life could fluctuate on overcast or stormy days.4 But either way, our experience with Reolink’s solar panel was a positive one, making it well worth the $36.99, in our view.
Most recently, we saw great deals on a couple of Reolink’s camera-based security systems, including the 5MP/4MP Bullet & Dome PoE Camera System with a 2TB 8-Channel NVR, all for $290 – an $80 discount off the retail price of $370. Not bad.
Did You Know? NVR systems are a great option for larger properties, and they’re also a perennial pick for businesses. We’d also recommend looking at the Lorex lineup of affordable cameras for multi-channel NVR and DVR setups.
If you’re looking for something a little less robust, don’t worry: the deal also contains a few markdowns on camera-solar panel combos for pretty much every home that connect either to a Wi-Fi network or an Ethernet (PoE) source.
One that caught our eye was the Wi-Fi-enabled E1 Zoom, packed with features like 5MP Super HD resolution and PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) capability; the price of a pair of those cameras is currently slashed 20% to about $110. So keep an eye out for these and other Reolink deals and discounts.
In addition to a generous selection of cameras, Reolink also offers several accessories to add more layers of convenience and flexibility to their equipment, as well as more protection from the elements. For a pair of Ohioans bracing for a harsh winter, this is great news.
Aside from the previously mentioned Reolink Solar Panel, we also had our choice of extension cables, Ethernet cables, junction boxes, mounting brackets, micro SD cards, and protective sleeves for two of their cameras: Argus 2 and Reolink Go. And all of these add-ons looked to us like highly affordable options.
That latter sleeve, by the way, comes in only one colorway, and it’s camo. Roger that!
If it’s well-rounded cameras you need, Reolink is a great place to start your search. Even though they’re not as advanced as say, a Nest or an Arlo, what they lack in features they more than make up for in versatility and affordability.
That said, without a fully wired home alarm system in Reolink’s product selection, some folks might feel limited by the brand’s laser focus on cameras. So if you’re looking for a whole-home system, it’s best to look into a company like SimpliSafe, which promises easy installation and, like Reolink, keeps their equipment and subscription prices comparably low.
With that said, we’re big fans of variety, and with its vast assortment of devices, Reolink is one of the leaders in the world of home security cameras. You can choose to pay very little upfront, as in the case of the $57.39 Argus Eco, and use the camera without contracts or subscription plans. Or, you can harness even more of your camera’s power with one of Reolink’s inexpensive cloud storage plans. Either way, we do believe Reolink is up to the task of protecting your home.
Yes, and it’s pretty easy, thanks to a built-in Smart Home tab in the Reolink mobile app. Simply tap that to pair your Reolink camera with your smart home device, and you’ll be able to use voice commands to pull up your camera’s display on an Amazon Echo Show. This works with Google Assistant and its corresponding devices as well.
Thankfully, no. Many Reolink cameras are outfitted with micro SD card slots, so you can view, save, share, and download videos from a micro SD card. But if you don’t have one of those (and don’t want to buy one), Reolink does offer a free cloud plan that offers 7 days of storage for 1 camera.
Reolink provides a 2-year limited warranty, and if you register your Reolink products within 2 years of purchase, they’ll add 6 months to that warranty.
As with most outdoor cameras, we encountered some minor interference and ambient noise in our audio conversations on Reolink cameras. We always test this feature because it’s one of the key active deterrent features that many security cameras offer, and it means if you see or hear something suspicious in your videos, your voice could likely scare off a potential intruder.
We were pleased with the quality of the night vision in all three Reolink cameras we reviewed, but we were particularly fond of the clarity and detail we got from our Argus 3.
McCue, T. (2019, Jan. 31) Home Security Cameras Market to Surpass $9.7 Billion by 2023. Forbes.com.
PR Newswire. (2020, March 19). Reolink Launches Its First-Ever Outdoor WiFi Spotlight Camera, Reolink Lumus, for Brilliant Protection in Every Home. Reolink Innovation Limited.
Open Green Energy. (2020). How to Solar Power Your Home Security Camera. Instructables.com.
SunPower. (2019, May 19). How Much Power Can Solar Energy Generate on a Cloudy Day? SunPower Solar Blog.
Science Museum, London. (2020, April 23.) A Brief History of DIY, from the Shed to the Maker Movement. ScienceMuseum.org/uk.