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These little plug-and-play cameras are both high-quality and feature-packed while remaining surprisingly affordable.
We all like our tech to be small, sleek, and discrete, but is that true of security cameras, too? Do the best things really come in small packages?
I recently spent some time working with Wyze Cams, a line of super affordable cameras founded by former Amazon employees to find out. We’re going to get into all of the details here, but overall, I was impressed with the quality and the long list of features Wyze packed into such a small device.
Pro Tip: With the leading security camera brand Lorex, you can get affordable cameras with no monthly fees. And those smart features like facial recognition and person detection? Lorex has that in spades. Read our Lorex review for more.
The original Wyze Cam gained some pretty major notoriety when it was first released back in 2017. At only $19.99, it had what we’d call a cult following — especially among folks looking to protect their homes on a budget.
Since that time, the brand has evolved quite a bit but remained true to its affordable roots. The Wyze Cam is in its third iteration, and is joined by floodlight cams, pan-tilt and zoom models, doorbell cameras and even a remote control car. Yes, you heard that right. We have no idea what you’d use it for, but it provides realistic first-person footage and has four-wheel drive. For $89.99, it seems like a blast.
So let’s take a look at some of these cameras and see if Wyze is still remaining true to the ethos that made them a smash hit five years ago.
FYI: Wyze recently released its 2023 line of cameras – the OGs, which claim to have faster live streaming and notifications as well as improved two-way audio and a built-in spotlight. At only $23.99, they sound worth a closer look. Stay tuned — we’ll review them soon.
Today I’m going to be sharing my hands-on experiences with the second and third generations of the Wyze Cam. We’re going to get into it all – the great, the good, and the not-so-good.
That said, let’s dig right in!
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One of the best things about Wyze is just how easy their equipment is to set up and use. Open box, remove camera, plug in. Boom. You’re done.
That said, there are a few considerations to make. Most of the cameras come with a six-foot power cord, so that kind of limits where they can be placed unless you want to use extensions. That said, there are some wire-free options frome Wyze — more on those in just a bit.
Setting up a Wyze Cam is pretty standard for Wi-Fi cameras: once the camera is plugged in and the yellow light begins flashing, you’ll just enter your home Wi-Fi password in the app, scan the QR code1 on the app with the camera, press the setup button on the back of the camera, and follow the prompts to complete the process. A few minutes and a firmware update later, and you should be all set.
It’s not exactly snap-your-finger’s instant, but it’s pretty close. You might experience a few hiccups, but when you’re dealing with setting up security equipment, there’s always a bit of tinkering involved. Overall, there’s nothing to complain about here.
Like I said above, I took five Wyze Cams for a spin: The Wyze Cam V2, the Wyze Cam v3 Pro, the v2, the Wyze Cam Pan, and the Wyze Outdoor Cam. There were two things that really stood out to me during the test period — the totally hassle-free setup, and the impressive features these affordable little cameras boast, including person detection and color night vision. Let’s go through this camera by camera.
So we’re going to move pretty quickly through the Wyze Cam v3. It’s still a solid camera, but since the Wyze Cam v3 Pro — which I’ll discuss in just a bit — came out, it’s becoming a little less popular.
Broad strokes, first. The Wyze Cam v3 has HD resolution, person detection, IP65 weather protection, color night vision, custom motion zones, two-way talk, schedules, device triggers, and other features usually reserved for expensive alternatives or locked behind a subscription. And everything is totally customizable in the Wyze app; you can create all kinds of “rules” to make your devices work for you.
So now that you understand what the v3 brings to the table, let’s talk about its day-to-day use.
Overall, I was pretty happy with the Wyze Cam v3. While its big brother, the Pro, offers 2K resolution, I found the 1080p HD offered by the standard camera to be… well… sufficient. It’s the industry standard2, and works for most applications. Here’s how some of my outdoor footage looked on a hot August afternoon:
Most of the time I was testing the Wyze Cam v3, I was using it to keep track of the family dogs. They somehow seem to get into the most trouble when the grownups aren’t around. An extra set of eyes was handy, and this camera definitely got the job done.
Now that image looks pretty respectable, but you might be wondering what happens when the sun goes down.
When I wasn’t lovingly spying on my pups, I pivoted to an outdoor location and used the Wyze Cam to do two things: test the camera’s night vision, and track potential burglars. I’d been hearing reports of car and home break-ins in my neighborhood, and a small, discreet camera on my front porch helped me sleep a little better.
While I do appreciate the use of color night vision technology, I have to say the footage isn’t exactly clear. If you’re looking for the best night vision in the business, you might want to check out my review of Reolink’s cameras. Their work after hours is really spectacular.
FYI: Design-wise, Wyze Cams are somewhat similar to Blink, another minimalist camera that’s battery-powered. Visit my hands-on Blink camera review to see if Blink is right for you.
So that’s about it on the picture quality offered by the v3. Now let’s turn our attention to something almost important when it comes to security cameras — sound.
Like 1080p and night vision, two-way audio has become a standard we expect in home security cameras. Wyze has it, and it’s seamless and effective, but I won’t lie – the communication is a bit less crisp than other camera audios, like the sharp-looking Arlo camera system I reviewed recently.
But this gets to a question of priorities. Are you trying to talk with your babysitter on date night? Or do you want to keep an eye on things while you’re gone? While the audio functionality works just fine, it’s not going to work for having full blown conversations. For me, that’s perfectly acceptable — particularly when you consider the price point.
So overall, it’s a solid little camera. Will it blow you away with its features or quality? Not really, but if you’re looking for something that’s going to get the job done and won’t break the bank, you could do a lot worse.
Or a lot better. Wyze recently released the pro model of its v3 cam, and we’ve got to say, while it’s a little more expensive — $53.99 vs. $35.98 — it’s better in almost every way.
The Wyze Cam v3 Pro, as the name suggests, is an upgrade of the previous v3. Most notably, the v3 Pro offers onboard smart person detection without a subscription to Wyze Cam Plus, an onboard motion-activated spotlight, and stunning 2K resolution. Overall, it’s head-and-shoulders better than its predecessor, save for one aspect that we’re going to get into in just a bit. For now, let’s talk about first impressions and the overall experience of unboxing and setting the camera up for the first time.
When I first took the Wyze Cam v3 Pro out of the box, I was surprised by its size. Or lack thereof, I should say. Despite how small it is, it still has that satisfying heft you’re looking for in a piece of security equipment. It feels solid, durable, and well-made. Definitely nothing flimsy here.
Sticking to its DIY roots, Wyze has really made things simple with the Wyze Cam v3 Pro. In the box you’re going to find the camera itself, mounting hardware, a power cord, and instructions that say little more than “download the app and follow the instructions.”
Which is all you really need. If this is your first Wyze camera you’ll need to download the app and set up an account — this takes all of five minutes. You’ll have to enter your personal information and go through some two-factor authentication, but once you’re up and running, getting the camera online is a breeze. You press and hold the “set up” button on the bottom of the unit, and a voice prompt will tell you “ready to connect.” Follow the in-app prompts to get the camera on your network and synched to your Wyze account, and you’re ready to go.
During this process, you’ll be asked if you want to set up Wyze Cam Plus – the company’s cloud storage and feature hub. I definitely recommend this, otherwise you’re not going to be getting the most out of your camera. Just note, though, that it’s $19.99 per year per camera. Be sure to take that into account when you’re pricing things out.
Once the camera was up and running, there was nothing more to the setup. Just place it in the area you want to keep an eye on, and you’re good to go. I definitely do recommend using the included magnetic mount. While these cameras aren’t fragile by any means, they are small and connected with a wire. It’s really easy to accidentally knock them around or have your cat decide the cord is a toy. The magnetic mount, though, helps keep it solidly in place while you’re living around it. I put mine on the living room mantel to keep an eye on things, but note that these cameras are also rated for outdoor use.
A note on that, though. One thing I found a little frustrating about the Wyze Cam v3 Pro is that the provided power cord is only about three feet long, meaning that you’re going to be pretty limited in where you can place it — specifically, in a three-foot radius from an outlet. Sure, you can run extension cords, but it is kind of frustrating to be so limited, especially with an outdoor application. If you’re looking for a great outdoor camera from Wyze, though, keep reading. We’re going to get to that in a bit.
Overall, I was pretty impressed by the functionality of the Wyze Cam v3 Pro. For starters, the picture quality is incredible. There’s really something to be said for 2K resolution. It’s wildly better than the standard 1080p. The live-stream functionality was nearly flawless, and the smart person detection worked every single time I passed by it. It noticed my cats passing through the room and even picked up some noise alerts when I was working in the kitchen.
I was also really impressed with the customizability of this little camera. By setting rules and motion detection zones, you can really dial things in, allowing it to ignore unimportant daily comings and goings, and only alert you to the things that really matter. This is pretty important because if you live in a busy household and don’t set some parameters, your phone is going to be buzzing all day with motion alerts.
If you have your camera mounted outside, its onboard motion-sensing spotlight will assist the color night vision once the sun goes down with the added bonus of deterring anyone that might be lurking in the dark. Indoors, though, it can get a little frustrating when your living room lights up like Christmas when the aforementioned cats come cruising through. After about an hour of the light show the first night, I just turned the spotlight function off entirely.
The AI features on the Wyze Cam v3 pro are also really impressive. Rather than sending images through the cloud for processing and recognition, the pro’s AI is actually internal, meaning much faster response times — nearly instant, in fact.
Pro Tip: Wyze also has facial recognition capabilities that will help your camera recognize your family or alert you to intruders.
That isn’t to say, though, that there aren’t some drawbacks and hiccups with the Wyze Cam v3 Pro. For starters, about a day into testing, I noticed that for every event the camera would capture, it would fail to upload the footage to the cloud, making playback impossible. At first I thought it was just first-day kinks working themselves out, but it kept occurring. I then thought that maybe it had to do with bandwidth issues — my wife was on zoom calls for work when I was noticing the errors. However, they kept persisting well into the evening. Finally, I forced an update of the firmware and manually reset the camera, which seemed to do the trick.
I also wasn’t really impressed with the two-way audio. There’s quite a bit of lag, depending on how far away you are from the camera, and the onboard speaker is pretty quiet. Unless someone is standing very close to the camera, they may not be able to make out what you’re trying to say, and the latency will make having a conversation with that person all but impossible.
Other than that, though, I was extremely happy with the Wyze Cam v3 Pro. It certainly packs a lot of great features and powerful security capabilities into a tiny package. Retailing for only $53.99, I’d argue this camera is every bit as good as some of the ones I’ve seen for twice that amount. Speaking of — let’s take a look and see how it compares to some other cameras in its class.
|Camera||Resolution||Power Source||Smart Alerts||Spotlight||Night Vision||Price|
|Wyze Cam v3 Pro||2K||Wall||Yes||Yes||IR||$53.99|
|Arlo Essential Indoor||1080p||Wall||Yes||No||IR||$99.99|
|Nest Cam Indoor||1080p||Wall||Yes||No||IR||$99.99|
|Canary Flex||1080 p||Wall or battery||Yes||No||IR||$199.99|
Moving forward, let’s briefly discuss three other Wyze Cams I tested: Wyze Cam v2 and Wyze Cam Pan, and the Wyze Outdoor Cam v2.
Though it’s no longer in stock, Wyze Cam V2 was the successor of the original Wyze Cam. Installing it involved little more than setting it on a shelf. I also used the included adhesive to keep the camera in place, but that’s certainly optional.
This little cutie came with a nice array of features, which you’ll also find in many of the best wireless indoor cameras on the market.
FYI: Neither the Wyze Cam V2 nor the Wyze Cam Pan are outdoor cameras, but you can protect them from dust and water splashes with a slip-on cover if you really want to use them outside. Be wary of this and any other DIY “hack,” though, as you might end up voiding the warranty.
For the low price of $19.99, this one was pretty hard to beat in its heyday. But as I just mentioned above, its successor, Wyze Cam V3 and now V3 Pro, come with more features than V2, like person detection, and they even work outdoors. And if you’re looking to get back to basics, the Wyze OG was just released for the same price point of the V2.
It’s Wyze … in 360! Wyze Cam Pan had all the features I enjoyed in Wyze Cam V2, including night vision, adjustable motion detection, and two-way audio. But the special sauce is the 360-degree coverage. This is somewhat unusual in the industry – likely because some folks consider it antiquated or unnecessary. But I found it to be charming, watching the cam zip around, scanning the room.
The technology behind it is pretty impressive, too. The Pan Cam has a rotation speed of 110 degrees per second, for one. Simply put, this camera moves as fast as you do. It also has PanScan, where you can choose up to four “waypoints” for the camera to pan over automatically throughout the day. I like comparing PanScan to setting up a route on a driverless car – and no, I’ve never done that before. But I’d like to!
If you’re looking to take your security outdoors, Wyze definitely has a solution for you. The new Wyze Cam Outdoor v2 is a sturdy, well-designed camera that can keep an eye on things no matter the conditions. We’re going to talk about all the ins and outs of using this camera, but let’s start where everyone starts — by taking it out of the box.
Fitting in well with all of its other Wyze siblings, the Wyze Outdoor Cam v2 is a DIY dream. The box contains the camera itself, a base station — essentially a Wi-Fi transmitter you’ll have to plug into your router — and a charger. Similar to the other cameras on our list, the setup instructions are basically “follow the app’s instructions.”
The most complicated thing about setting up the Wyze Cam Outdoor v2 is setting up the base station, and even then it’s not all that hard. You’re just going to need to find your home’s router and plug the station in using the provided ethernet cable. Plug it into a wall outlet, follow your in-app instructions, and you’re ready to set the camera up.
Pro Tip: The further away your camera is from the base station, the more your functionality will be affected. If you’re having connectivity issues, you might need to invest in a Wi-Fi repeater or signal booster, especially if you’re trying to cover a detached structure like a shed or a garage.
The camera setup was just as easy. Follow the simple in-app instructions to pair the camera with the base station, and you’re ready to record. Once connected, the app will tell you to go where you’d like to install the camera and it will test the connectivity in that location. I installed mine over my garage which was about 30 feet from the base station in my office, and the connectivity was excellent.
While the video quality wasn’t as sharp as the 2K Wyze cam Pro v3, the 1080p resolution and wide angle lens were more than able to adequately capture what was going on outside, and the color night vision functionality was, in a word, outstanding. If you didn’t know, you would think this was taking video of this intruder at dusk instead of the dead of night.
I didn’t have any hiccups in functionality like I did with the Wyze v3 Pro, either. Right out of the box, this guy just worked. There was no resetting, no messing around with multiple firmware updates. I screwed it into place, and let it do its thing.
One thing to mention here, which is entirely my fault — not the fault of the camera. In the picture above you can see the Wyze Cam Outdoor v2 is mounted to the roof of my garage, meaning the camera was hanging upside down. This made it so the image displayed on my phone was upside down, too.
That can’t be right, I thought, so I went into the settings and finally found a way to flip the image 180 degrees, although it said it wasn’t recommended — something having to do with the sensor. The easier way to do it, I found, is to just take the camera out of the magnetic base and flip the thing around. Both sides will connect, so it’s super easy to mount it however you want.
Pro Tip: Installing the camera upside down might affect some of its sensors and compromise performance.
Something to mention about that, though. Since the Wyze Outdoor Cam v2 is so easy for the owner to manipulate, it also means it’s going to be easy for someone to tamper with or remove the camera. I recommend mounting the camera out of reach – at least 8 feet above the ground. Not only will this prevent anyone from opportunistically snatching it from its housing, it will also provide you with the best vantage point to keep an eye on things.
One final thing I want to talk about was this camera’s battery life. Right out of the box, you’re going to want to plug the camera in for at least a few hours before mounting it. I left mine charging overnight just to make sure the battery had a full load. Once it’s fully charged, Wyze says the battery can last up to two months without having to be recharged. At first I was a little skeptical, but after working with the camera for a few days, I was a believer. The entire time I had it running — a few days of continuous use — the charge didn’t go down below 98 percent.
Even with this crazy-long battery life, though, you might never want to mess with taking the thing down and charging it up, particularly if you take my advice and mount it somewhere out of reach. Don’t worry, Wyze has a solution for that.
The Wyze Solar Panel can easily be plugged into any of the company’s outdoor camera models. This accessory comes with a super long cord, too, so if you need to mount the camera in a shaded area, you can install the panel in a place that will get more sun to keep things operational.
Setting this thing up was simple, as I’ve come to expect with all Wyze products. Use the base as a template for where the mounting screws need to go, drill your pilot holes, and screw in the base. The panel itself attaches using a plastic collar, and from there it can be angled in any direction to catch the most rays.
The panel retails for just $19.99 — more than worth it to never have to worry about charging your outdoor cam. Just make sure you keep the panel clean – if it gets grimy or dusty, that’ll impact its capacity. Before we move on to talk about the benefits and drawbacks of this specific camera, let’s see how it matches up head-to-head against another one of our favorite outdoor cameras, the Google Nest Cam
|Features||Wyze Outdoor Cam v2||Google Nest Cam|
|Battery Life||Up to Six Months||Up to Seven Months|
|Solar Compatible||Yes ($19.99)||Yes ($59.99)|
At the end of my test period, I was perfectly happy with the Wyze Outdoor Cam v2’s performance overall. It’s a hassle-free camera that is easy to install that offers some pretty powerful features to help keep you and your family safe. And at around $75 retail, it’s squarely in the affordable camp.
If pressed to find something to criticize, I’d have to say I have the same complaints about the Wyze Outdoor Cam v2’s audio as I did with the v3 Pro, but I’m a little quicker to forgive that shortcoming in the latter than the former.
Why? This camera is meant exclusively for outdoor use, so I’d think that the onboard speaker and alarm would be able to generate a little more volume. As it is now, I had to be pretty much underneath the unit itself to notice it was making any noise at all. Is this a dealbreaker? Certainly not, but it is something to consider when you’re thinking about how you’re going to want to use this camera.
So now that you know everything there is to know about Wyze cameras, let’s talk a little about how much they cost to run.
As of this writing, the first-generation Wyze Cams are no longer available, and its software is no longer compatible with the rest of Wyze’s products. But Wyze Cam v3 Pro is a solid replacement, especially since it’s built for both indoor and outdoor use. I no longer have to use a separate outdoor cover to use Wyze Cams outside, for example, which is a subtle but much-appreciated improvement.
There’s one catch, though, which I’ll discuss at greater length in our full Wyze Cam pricing page: at just under $60, the Wyze Cam v3 pro is almost twice the price of the original. But it makes sense when you consider everything this camera does. And, for more perspective, consider that the Wyze Cam v3 Pro is still a little less expensive than a Blink Outdoor camera and way less than Google’s Nest Cam Outdoor. As we like to say, you get what you pay for in home security, and Wyze is no exception.
Here’s a look at Wyze’s latest camera options:
|Wyze Cam||What You Get||Price|
|Wyze Cam v3 Pro||2K resolution, built in spotlight, integrated siren, two-way audio, AI-powered||$53.99|
|Wyze Cam v3||1080p HD, indoor/outdoor, color night vision, plug-in||$35.98|
|Wyze Cam Pan v2||1080p HD, pan-tilt, motion tracking, plug-in||$43.99|
|Wyze Cam Outdoor v2||1080p HD, IP65-rated cover and wall mount, battery||$63.99|
|Wyze Cam OG||Quicker Live Streaming, 3x Faster Notifications, color night vision||$23.99|
|Wyze Cam Telephoto||3x Optical Zoom, Color Night Vision, Fast Live Streaming||$33.99|
|Wyze Cam Solar Panel||Sustainable Charging||$19.99|
Wyze offers both local and cloud recording options for its cameras. The first option involves using a 32GB micro-SD card. There’s a slot for that right in the back of the camera, where you can slide in a Wyze 32GB micro-SD card slot. With that option, you can store up to 48 hours’ worth of recordings at no extra cost, other than the SD cards themselves.
But if you don’t have cards, don’t sweat it; there’s a totally free cloud recording option, too. After I had all my Wyze Cams set up around the house, I went into the app and found the detection options, where I set the cameras to start recording. The next time one of them detected motion, the camera automatically recorded a 12-second event video that was stored in the cloud for up to 14 days in the Events tab of the Wyze app.
That’s not a promotional or introductory offer, and you don’t need to sign up for a subscription. That’s just the way Wyze works. Just remember that with this free option, Wyze videos are automatically deleted after 14 days, and there’s also a five-minute cooldown period between videos. There’s always a slight chance with cooldown periods that you’re going to miss important activity, but Wyze’s five-minute cooldown hasn’t been a problem for me.
Now if this sounds a bit too restrictive for how you’re going to be using your cameras, you can consider Wyze’s subscription options. Their most expensive option is only $1.67 per month, about half the cost of a cloud storage plan with Ring cameras. Wyze also recently introduced an in-between, pay what you’d like plan, which we’ll break down below.
|Feature||Basic Plan||Cam Plus Lite||Cam Plus|
|Event Video Length||Snapshot||12 Seconds||Unlimited|
|Delay Between Events||5 Minutes||5 Minutes||None|
|Smoke and CO Sound Alerts||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2x and 4x Event Fast Forwarding||No||No||Yes|
|Wyze Web View||No||No||Yes|
|Price||Free||Pay-What-Yo-Want||$1.67 per month|
Also, check out a new Wyze option that goes beyond cameras: the Wyze Sense security system. I reviewed Wyze Sense in full and explored costs of Wyze Home Monitoring, a Noonlight-powered professional monitoring service, if you’re interested.
For more help with buying security cameras from Wyze and other top brands, visit our complete security camera buying guide.
If you run into trouble with Wyze Cams, Wyze’s customer support page has ample content related to installation, troubleshooting, smoke alarm detection3, Wyze app functionality, and information about Wyze’s many other products and accessories. It might not be so easy to spot a phone number, though.
Indeed, Wyze doesn’t make it so easy to call them. After failing to locate a customer service phone number on their website, I did end up finding it through a Google search, and a friendly agent answered a couple of questions in under five minutes.
For other questions or concerns, I suggest consulting the community forum for the latest Wyze updates, news, and tips for using your cameras effectively.
Wyze has a free one-year warranty on their products. I haven’t had to use it yet, but it’s nice to have just in case. Equally nice to have is the 30-day return policy – which is always helpful when purchasing any electronics product.
Warranty aside, you can expect Wyze Cams to work well beyond the first year, barring some unexpected calamity.
Through the years, Wyze has proven its staying power in the security camera industry. What was once a budget friendly cam to keep an eye on your dog while you’re in the office has evolved into a fully fleshed-out line of respectable security products that can go toe-to-toe with some of the biggest names in the industry. That said, they’ve never strayed too far from their original goal of providing affordable, easily accessible security equipment that’s adaptable to nearly any use case. DIYers, this might be the one.
With all the tinkering and customizing you can do with a security camera, this kind of refreshing simplicity isn’t so easy to find. If you’re more of a set-it-and-forget-it camera user, the compact cameras of Wyze are a smart option.
Perhaps it’s time for all of us to start thinking small when it comes to home security.
Wyze Cam Outdoor comes with rechargeable batteries, making it a great wireless option. Other Wyze cameras don’t include a battery, so you’ll have to plug them into a wall outlet with the included power cord.
Yes. In terms of smart home ecosystems, Wyze integrates with Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. It does not currently integrate with Apple HomeKit.
No. All Wyze cameras, including the most recent V3 releases, work alone.
In addition to saving your video history, Wyze’s Cam Plus plan lets you access AI features like person and pet detection. You can record full-length video when motion is detected. It also lets you save snapshots and video clips to the cloud, or download footage to your phone or tablet. Cam Plus costs $1.25 per month per camera.
Yes, in two ways. All Wyze Cams include free cloud recording with up to 12-second video clips, so you can livestream footage, receive alerts, and control your cameras remotely through the Wyze app without signing up for a Cam Plus subscription. Or, you can store your footage locally through micro-SD cards and save clips in the Playback tab of the Wyze app.
Wyze. (2019). Can I Use the Wyze Cam Outdoors?
General Security. (2019, Feb. 20). 1080p vs. 720p Resolution.
Wyze. (2019, July). How Does the Smoke Alarm and CO Alarm Work?