Zmodo Security Camera System

Affordable security cameras that perform well with essential features, and offer plenty of options to bundle and save

7.3 / 10 This rating is derived from our editorial team's research, hands-on product testing, and customer surveys.
View Cameras
Travis Goodreau https://www.safehome.org/security-advisors/travis-goodreau/
Zmodo 1080p Indoor/Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera

Zmodo 1080p Indoor/Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera

From the innovation superpower of Shenzhen, China,1 comes Zmodo, a big name in security products with competitive pricing in both equipment and monitoring. With a healthy selection of low-cost cameras and accessories to choose from, we think Zmodo makes it easy for anyone to add security cameras to their home, regardless of budget constraints.

Zmodo’s cameras start as low as $29, with many models offering 1080p HD video, 65-foot night vision, motion alerts, and optional cloud recording. And beyond traditional cameras, Zmodo also makes door and window sensors, Wi-Fi extenders, and smart doorbell cameras. All come in at relatively low prices, making Zmodo one of the most affordable camera brands we’ve tested.

But we’re always left with one key question when it comes to “cheaper” technology: with prices this low, do these cameras really work? So we purchased Zmodo ourselves and got plenty of hands-on experience with the devices, which we share about in our full Zmodo camera review. Today, though, we’re going to take a closer look at Zmodo’s range of products, plans, and pricing to determine whether they’re a good value for you as you build a more secure home.

First, here’s a quick rundown of some of the key offerings you’ll find with Zmodo:

  • Low-cost cameras
  • No monthly contracts or subscriptions required
  • Clear 1080p video quality in most cameras
  • Efficient mobile app to control cameras
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 1-year warranty

A Look at Pricing on Zmodo Cameras

Zmodo Camera Options

Zmodo Camera Options

We think you’ll like that Zmodo keeps it simple in both features and equipment. And the cameras work pretty well, despite being one of the least expensive brands we’ve tested. Clearly, you’re not just getting “dummy cams”2 here, although you’re certainly welcome to use them that way.

Did You Know: The mere appearance of a security camera installed outside your home can be an effective crime deterrent. With Swann’s cameras and systems, we found an $18 “imitation camera” intended for this purpose. Though some folks prefer this “decoy” method, remember that installing non-functioning devices like this can be quite risky.

Zmodo Sight 180C Indoor Wi-Fi Camera

Zmodo Sight 180C Indoor Wi-Fi Camera

Zmodo Sight 180C Indoor Wi-Fi Camera

With its lightweight, simple construction, Zmodo’s Sight 180C doesn’t stand out to us as exceptionally strong or well-built. But as an indoor camera, it did the job it was intended to do: It captured crucial activity around our home in real time, sent us alerts immediately, and allowed us to view, save, and store our videos any time.

We found that the Zmodo Sight 180C’s greatest asset is its wide-angle lens. This setup allowed Sight 180C to capture more activity than indoor cameras like the Ring Indoor Camera, which boasts a field of view of only 115 degrees. The bigger the viewing angle, the more coverage you’ll get, and the less money you’ll spend on additional cameras. It’s a win-win-win in our book.

Pro Tip: While Zmodo’s indoor camera is solid and well-built, it’s not quite as durable as Google Nest Cams, which pack a ton of power but also come with a much higher price per camera (its latest indoor model, Nest Cam IQ, starts at $299.) To explore Google Nest, start with our hands-on review of Nest Cam IQ cameras.

For $79, Sight 180C is reasonably priced, but keep in mind it’s not the cheapest option one out there. For a low-cost alternative, check out Wyze cameras and packages, namely the Wyze Cam Pan with 360-degree panning ability for only $29.99.

Zmodo 1080p Indoor/Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera

Zmodo 1080p Indoor/Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera

Zmodo 1080p Indoor/Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera

Zmodo’s bestselling outdoor camera, the 1080p Wi-Fi camera, isn’t going to deliver the kind of showstopping performance you’ll find in an outdoor camera from a higher-priced brand like Arlo, for instance.

However, at the sub-$50 price point, they’re firmly on the low end of the spectrum in equipment costs. And Zmodo’s outdoor camera is still going to get you the same industry-standard image quality3 we’ve come to expect in today’s market: clear, noise-free, and full of detail to help you make sense of any activity that presents itself – especially the suspicious kind.

With the low price tag of $39.99 per camera, we think it’s easy to justify buying one of Zmodo’s 2-, 3-, or 4-pack camera bundles, which will save you money off the cost of buying equipment individually.

Zmodo Torch 360

Zmodo Torch 360

Zmodo Torch 360

Good outdoor security cameras can go a long way toward protecting your home from threats. But without proper outdoor lighting, it can be hard to know what’s going on around your property, cameras or not. You might be aware that Ring’s camera lineup includes floodlight and spotlight models; we’ve long appreciated two-in-one setups like this, and we know Ring’s customers do, too.

But here’s something we haven’t seen before: A 360-degree motorized panning camera that attaches to your outdoor light post exactly the way a light bulb would. Torch 360’s camera produces standard-definition (720p) video, and you can even play with the color and warmth of its built-in lighting. Pretty neat, we thought. And for $89.99, we think it’s priced just right.

But one word of caution: Torch 360 is larger than a standard light bulb, so don’t forget to check the size of your light post’s housing before you buy.

Zmodo Pivot Cloud

Zmodo Pivot Cloud

Zmodo Pivot Cloud

When it was released in 2016, Pivot was Zmodo’s first toe-dip into all-in-one security, boasting a 350-degree rotating camera, a temperature sensor, and door/window sensors in one package.

In the years since, Pivot’s gotten a design reboot with Pivot White. You’ll still get great 1080p video, get door and window sensor alerts, and more, only now all of those features are housed in a more stylish exterior. And with the rotating camera feature, you’ll get whole-room coverage out of just one camera.

The original Pivot is priced at $59.99; Pivot White is $79.99. For an all-in-one hub, trust us: These are very low prices. Held up against the Canary Pro camera, for example, Pivot bore a strong resemblance in body design, features, and performance. But interestingly, Canary Pro is priced at $169, which is even more than the price of the Pivot and Pivot White put together.

That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy our experience with Canary cameras. But that’s a pretty massive price difference, in our view.

Snapshot of Zmodo Cameras and Prices

Zmodo Cameras Camera Type Key Features Price
Zmodo Wireless Smart Security Camera Indoor camera
  • 720p video
  • Adjustable night vision
  • Two-way talk
  • 130-degree viewing angle
$29.99
Zmodo 1080p Indoor/Outdoor Indoor/outdoor bullet camera
  • 1080p HD video
  • Motion zones and alerts
  • 65-foot. night vision
  • DIY installation
$39.99
Zmodo Pivot Indoor
  • 1080p HD
  • Two-way talk
  • Pan & tilt
  • Automatic motion tracking
  • Air quality sensor
$59.99
Zmodo Sight 180C Indoor
  • 1080p HD video
  • 180-degree viewing angle
  • Two-way talk
  • Night vision
$59.99
Zmodo Pivot White Indoor
  • 1080p HD
  • Two-way talk
  • Built-in Bluetooth speaker
  • Smart device hub
$79.99
Zmodo Torch 360 Outdoor
  • 1080p HD
  • Light controls
  • 360-degree field of view
$89.99
Zmodo Replay Indoor
  • 2- 720p cameras with 500 GB hard drive
  • 115-degree field of view
$149.99

Zmodo Cloud Storage and Monitoring Plans

Like many security companies in this ever-growing market,4 Zmodo has evolved and adjusted as technology, style, and tastes change over the years. As more customers are looking for DIY cameras with great image quality and easy installation, Zmodo has answered the call with equipment that can be installed and set up with ease, and that requires little-to-no monthly fees to use every day.

And speaking of monthly fees, if you don’t want to sign up for a Zmodo paid cloud storage plan, note that the basic plan, which gets you 12 hours of rolling video storage, is entirely free. We’re all about this type of flexibility in monitoring.

For premium features like custom motion zones, alert storage, and continuous recording, you’re going to pay. But if you choose the 7-day plan, you’re still only out less than $5 per month, which is quite reasonable from what we’ve seen.

For comparison’s sake, consider that Ring’s monitoring costs include an equivalent cloud plan for $3 per month. And while you might save money on hardware with Zmodo, you’ll find higher-quality equipment and more tech-forward features with Ring security cameras. With that said, we do like that Zmodo offers three plans compared to Ring’s two plans. And a couple of bucks here and there probably isn’t a deal-breaker.

Snapshot of Zmodo Cloud Storage Plans

Zmodo Cloud Plan Basic 7-Day Plan 30-Day Plan
Video History Lookback 12 hours 7 days continuous cloud recording 30 days continuous cloud recording
Alert Clip Storage No 7 days 30 days
Custom Motion Zones No Yes Yes
Video Editor & Time Lapse Clips No Yes Yes
Monthly Price Free $4.99 $9.99
Yearly Price Free $49.90 $99.90

A Breakdown of Zmodo’s Best Features and Technology

Since their inception in 2009, Zmodo5 has served as a great option for customers who want quality home security without spending a fortune. All of Zmodo’s products can be self-monitored, which means you don’t need to take on monthly subscription costs. Storing your videos to the cloud is completely optional, so you can own Zmodo cameras without paying any more than the price of the equipment.

For folks like us, who would much rather not throw down hundreds of dollars for new cameras any time we need them, we think Zmodo fulfills its niche as an affordable brand.

Surveillance Cameras
1080p HD Resolution

In their lineup of indoor and outdoor security cameras, Zmodo offers 1080p HD resolution. This produces clear, high-quality video with great detail into the happenings around your home. The picture we got from our Zmodo cameras, during our tests of the brand, delivered in 1080p HD most of the time, with the exception of the occasional Wi-Fi glitch.

Night Vision

All but Zmodo’s Torch 360 camera, which is meant for torch lights or lamp posts, are equipped with infrared night vision. Again, since we’re talking about a basic, low-cost brand, the night vision performance in our Zmodo cams left a bit to be desired. We had trouble making out some objects and contextualizing activity at night with Zmodo, so we don’t recommend Zmodo cameras for folks who need superior night vision.

DIY Installation
Wireless DIY Installation

Since all of Zmodo’s cameras are wireless, you won’t need to do any hardwiring or complicated electrical work to get Zmodo up and running in your home. Setting them up outside might require a few pumps of a drill and some screws, but beyond that, we had no problem syncing Zmodo cameras with our Wi-Fi. Do keep in mind, though, that the video from your Zmodo cameras might buffer or slow down if your home Wi-Fi isn’t stable.

24/7 Customer Support

Customer support with Zmodo is tricky. If you’re looking for help on Zmodo’s support page, you might find the information to be lacking, especially when you’re trying to find specific information about individual cameras, like how to troubleshoot. For us, it took calling Zmodo’s phone support, and waiting a few minutes (not too long) on hold, to get answers to specific questions.

Smart Home Options
Smart Home Integration

Zmodo has incorporated smart home integration into most, if not all, of the cameras they sell. So if you have a Google Assistant or Alexa-enabled device, you can link them with your Zmodo cameras through the app. Then, you can ask your smart home device to “show me the driveway,” or whatever name you’ve given your camera.

Power Outage Protection
Power Outage Protection

If you’re using one of Zmodo’s paid subscription plans, your video history will be saved to the cloud and still be accessible in the event of a power outage. But since they’re not battery-operated, Zmodo cameras still need to be plugged in to work.

Zmodo Deals and Discounts

Since we’re talking about a budget brand, you’ve probably figured out by now that almost every Zmodo product is made to save you money from the get-go.
Just how much money you will end up saving with Zmodo, however, depends on how many cameras you want, where you want to place them, and whether you want to monitor them through the cloud.

As Zmodo prices are pretty low already, we didn’t find any huge discounts on equipment, even around the holidays. We do think that Zmodo is in the middle of a product reshuffling, as many cameras we previously reviewed, including Sight 180C, are either out of stock on Zmodo’s website or discontinued altogether. This might change in a matter of weeks, but right now, what you see is what you get.

In the meantime, you can pick up a 4-pack of Zmodo outdoor Wi-Fi cameras as a bundle for just under $130. That amounts to $32.50 per camera, which ends up saving you a total of $30. Not exactly the sale of the century, but this is still a decent deal for folks who want to beef up the level of security in their home without a huge financial commitment.

Bottom Line on Zmodo

Zmodo Cameras

Zmodo Cameras

As we observed in our hands-on experience with Zmodo, these cameras are anything but fancy. The technology that powers Zmodo is not as powerful as what the competition offers, and you won’t find state-of-the-art night vision or 2K resolution in these cameras. With Zmodo, you get the basics and nothing more.

But we also found that sometimes, the basics are all you need in home security. And Zmodo delivers on that quite well. Indeed, lacking the premium-level options of Nest Cams and other big-ticket devices like the cameras Vivint offers, Zmodo stands firmly as an affordable brand with lots of flexibility and value, and remains one of our top picks for folks on a budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Zmodo work with Alexa?

Yes. By linking your Zmodo account with Alexa, you can incorporate your cameras into any Amazon smart home ecosystem. If you’ve got an Echo Show, this is a great way to get instant insight into any activity in or around your property, or just pull up your live feed to check out the scene.

Does Zmodo offer a subscription for video storage?

Yes. Zmodo’s $5-per-month cloud plan is an easy, inexpensive add-on and gives you a ton of space to store your videos. But it’s not required to use Zmodo cameras every day; you can also opt for a basic (free) plan, which automatically stores your last 12 hours of video history.

How is Zmodo’s night vision?

Mediocre at best. We didn’t get nearly the kind of clarity and detail that we got with cameras like Arlo and Ring, so it was hard to decipher dark-colored objects. This was especially difficult in high-activity areas; when we were alerted to motion through our phone, we couldn’t tell what was actually going on by looking at the clip. So if night vision is a priority for you, Zmodo might be a disappointing experience.

Do Zmodo cameras work well even though they’re cheap?

Low-cost technology usually comes with an unspoken warning: “You get what you pay for.” In Zmodo’s case, we didn’t find any huge flaws using their cameras in our home to monitor activity like wildlife sightings, porch piracy, and speeding cars. Everything did what it was supposed to do in our Zmodo cams. But for more advanced technology like facial recognition and built-in emergency response, you’ll have to pay more for a higher-end brand.

Does Zmodo have artificial intelligence?

Since their camera features are pretty basic, you can’t really call Zmodo an A.I.-powered camera brand. But they do have intelligent alerts to distinguish between people, animals, and vehicles when motion is detected.

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. Rivers, M. (2018, Nov. 22). Inside China’s Silicon Valley: From copycats to innovation. CNN Business.
    https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/22/tech/china-tech-innovation-shenzhen/index.html

  2. Deutsch, W. (2018, Dec. 23). Should I Use a Dummy Security Camera? The Balance SMB.
    https://www.thebalancesmb.com/should-i-use-a-dummy-security-camera-394585

  3. Nilsson, F. (2013, May 10). Video Surveillance: One Resolution Does Not Fit All. Security Info Watch.
    https://www.securityinfowatch.com/video-surveillance/article/10915918/video-surveillance-camera-resolution

  4. Market Watch. (2020, Sept. 22). HD Security Cameras Market Size 2020.
    https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/hd-security-cameras-market-size-2020-growth-analysis-by-development-trends-business-demand-status-and-global-share-forecast-to-2025—industry-researchco-2020-09-22

  5. PRWeb. (2015, Nov. 24) Zmodo Disrupts the Connected Camera Model with New Line of Home Cameras.
    https://www.prweb.com/releases/zmodo/2015/prweb13099217.htm

Reviewed By
Travis Goodreau
Expert Advisor
Travis is a retired Burglary Detective, having tallied 5,000+ burglary and theft cases throughout his career. He also served as an Arson Investigator, where he cracked the case of a serial arsonist, and made the arrest and prosecuted the would-be bomber of ABC-7 Studio in LA. We couldn’t be happier to have him as a Safety and Security Advisor. Learn more about Travis here
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

Want help choosing home security cameras?

Answer 7 simple questions and we'll recommend the top camera options for you.

Start Quiz