The Best Security Camera for Watching your Home when you’re Away The Best Security Camera for Watching your Home when you’re Away

The Best Security Camera

Or how to see what your dog gets up to when it’s home alone.
Sarah Idle
Words by 
Sarah Idle
Updated 
Aug 27, 2020
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At a glance

Apart from a worldwide pandemic and a government-enforced lockdown, you’re not usually home 24/7. You’re off doing human things, like working, catching up with friends or visiting stuff. Which means you can’t keep an eye on the place while you’re not there. Enter security cameras – your eyes and ears when you’re away from home. 

The uses for home security cameras extend beyond keeping your home safe against unwanted visitors. By that we mean burglars, not your great aunt Flora. You can use it to keep an eye on your baby while you work in the next room, check what your dog does when it’s home alone, ensure no night-time raids on your secret cookie stash or communicate with the courier who’ll only deliver during the hours you’re normally out. 

The best home security camera is quick and easy to set up. It has high picture quality, day and night, and alerts you instantly if it spots something unexpected. It lets you view your image feed 24/7 remotely on your devices and will record any events. Here’s our guide to Australia’s top security cameras for your home, compiled from hours of research.

Best for most

Nest Cam Indoor

RRP $199, the very affordable wired Nest Cam Indoor packs a punch. Easy to set up, it features 24/7 live video, alerts, a built-in speaker and mic and the ability to control all your Nest products through 1 app to create a fully connected home security system.

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Nest Cam Indoor
Top
Pick
Best for upgrade

Arlo Pro 2

The Arlo Pro 2 is similar in specs to our Nest Cam winner, including a 130-degree HD camera, alerts, zones and 2-way audio, but offers more. For RRP $787, you get 2 weather resistant cameras, the choice of a wireless or wired system and 7 days of free cloud storage.

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Arlo Pro 2

How we picked

We started with CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group. They’ve put a range of security cameras through their paces, looking at their features and usability, which gave us a good starting point.

But to understand how they work in Australian homes, we turned to the real experts – the Aussies on ProductReview.com.au. Normally we love to get a good number of reviews (at least 50) and an above average star rating (more than 3 out of 5 stars). However, there’s such a wide range of home security cameras that we couldn’t find many of them that had been reviewed by CHOICE and positively reviewed by lots of Aussies.

Currently, the ratings of home security cameras aren’t great. We found a handful of 5-star reviews, but these were from a very low number of reviews (like 3). Most reviews were middling, giving the cameras somewhere between 2-5 stars. Not great.

Digging into the reviews gave us some understanding of common complaints. These included the lack of instructions regarding set up, which suggests you need a good level of IT literacy to get them running. Other common problems seem to be poor image quality (which can be the pay off for a wireless system) and issues with wi-fi connectivity. This can be a real issue in areas of poor signal, like rural areas. But overall, the problems seemed to be caused by external factors (i.e. poor signal) rather than anything wrong with the cameras themselves.

Because we were quite limited by Australian security camera reviews, we looked further afield. We considered what experts from leading websites around the world rated. This included specialists like Safety.com.

To pull together our shortlist, we looked for cameras that were classed as DIY options. Which means you get it out of the box, plug it in, download an app and away you go. None of these security cameras need to be professionally installed. We considered wireless and wired options and cameras that can be used indoors, outdoors or both. 

There you have it: the best home security cameras in Australia.

The 6 best security cameras in Australia

Best for most -> Nest Cam Indoor

Nest Cam Indoor

RRP $199, the very affordable wired Nest Cam Indoor packs a punch. Easy to set up, it features 24/7 live video, alerts, a built-in speaker and mic and the ability to control all your Nest products through 1 app to create a fully connected home security system.

Check price

For such a small package, the Nest Cam Indoor packs a lot in. This RRP $199 indoor camera offers 24/7 video of your home. Wired, with a 3-metre USB cable and power adapter, it doesn’t need a home base. This makes it simple to set up. Plug it in, download the free Nest app and it’s good to go. Its stand works in multiple ways: it can stand, be stuck to something metallic, be wall-mounted or be fixed to a tripod (not included). 

The Nest app allows you to remotely turn it on or off. It also controls Home/Away Assist. This feature automatically activates and deactivates the cameras at times you set. 

It has 2-way audio so you can hear what’s happening and talk too. The quality 1080p HD camera gives you great picture quality, while 8 infrared LEDs ensure clear night vision too. It has a 130° wide-angle view so you can see a lot of your home at once.

If the Nest Cam spots or hears something, it’ll send an alert to your phone, email or both, depending on what you choose. If you miss an alert, you can see photos of activity from the last 3 hours in the Nest app. 

The Nest Cam doesn’t have local storage, i.e. a memory card. Instead, your video history is stored in the cloud, allowing you to access it whenever and wherever you are. However, you need to pay an extra subscription for this.

This is the downside to the Nest Cam. You get everything we talk about above included in the purchase price, like 24/7 live monitoring, alerts and 3 hours of past activity viewing. But for extra features, you need to buy a Nest Aware subscription. 

Currently, you can get 5-day video history for $7 a month (or $70 a year). 10-day is $14 a month (or $140 a year) and 30-day is $30 a month (or $300 a year). Choose a subscription and you’ll also get:

  • Intelligent alerts. With the paid option, the Nest Cam can tell the difference between a person and a thing. You get a special alert when it sees a person.
  • Clips and time-lapses. You can create clips to download and share. Which might be handy if you’d like to make the next viral what-my-dog-gets-up-to-when-they’re-home-alone video. You can also turn hours of footage into a mini time-lapse film.
  • Activity zones. You can get alerts when something happens in important areas, like your home office, baby’s cot or around windows.

Because the Nest Cam is one of Google’s babies, you’re getting great digital connectivity. You can sign into the app from multiple devices, including your phone, tablet or laptop. The Nest app controls all Nest products, which include outdoor cameras and smoke alarms. This allows you to create a fully connected home security system.

We think for everything it packs in and its affordable price, the Nest Cam Indoor is the best security camera in Australia. It’s also been reviewed by CHOICE, which means the pros have put it through its paces too. It has a very low number of ProductReview.com.au reviews but other teams rate the Nest Cam. It’s a top 4 pick on Reviews.com and is Privacy Australia’s Best DIY option. 

Why buy the Nest Cam Indoor

Easy to set up

Simply plug it in, download the free app and it’s ready to go.

24/7 live video

So even when you’re not there, your home is always monitored.

130-degree vision

To allow you to see a wide view of your home.

Control it from multiple devices

The free app allows you to control the Nest Cam from multiple devices, including your phone, tablet and laptop. If you lose one, you won’t lose control of your camera.

Wired

Which means no worrying about recharging batteries or running out of batteries when you’re away. A 3m cable means there are plenty of options to where to place it, even far away from a power point.

Night vision

8 LEDs ensure clear picture quality, even at night.

Built-in speaker and mic

Allows you to listen and talk. 

No base unit

There’s no bulky base unit to clutter up your home, you just need this one camera. 

Choice of alerts

Get ping notifications to your phone, email or both, depending on what you prefer.

Home/Away Assist

Out for the day? Set it up to automatically turn on and off at times you choose.

No local storage

So no worries about losing your video if the camera gets stolen.

Versatile magnetic stand

To suit your home. It can stand, stick to something metallic, be wall-mounted or sit on a tripod (not included).

Connectivity with other Nest products

1 app controls all Nest products, so can create a fully connected home security system.

Price

RRP $199, this is the most affordable home security camera we reviewed. We reckon it’s great value.

Warranty

Even with an affordable price, it comes with a 2-year warranty. Plus, because it’s Google, you get 24/7 customer support.

The not-so-good bits

No pan and tilt

What you can see is what you can see.

Subscription fees

The Nest Aware subscription fees are low cost, but it would be nice if this was an all-in-one solution with advanced alerts and activity zones. Although that’s unlikely at this price point.

Not many consumer reviews

Currently there are less than 5 consumer reviews on ProductReview.com.au. This doesn’t give us much of a feel for how it works in real Aussie homes.

In summary 

If you’re looking for the best indoor home security camera, look no further than the Nest Cam Indoor. For RRP $199, you’re getting an easy to set up wired security camera that’ll never fall asleep on the job. With 24/7 live video, you can always see what’s going on inside your home from your phone, tablet or laptop. If anything happens, it’ll alert you via your phone or email and you can always view the last 3 hours of activity via the app. This includes photos. A built-in speaker and mic allows you to hear and talk. Because it’s Google, you can control all your Nest products through 1 app, helping create a fully connected home security system. Opt for an extra Nest Aware subscription and you’ll get additional features, including person alerts and activity zones.

Best for upgrade -> Arlo Pro 2

Arlo Pro 2

The Arlo Pro 2 is similar in specs to our Nest Cam winner, including a 130-degree HD camera, alerts, zones and 2-way audio, but offers more. For RRP $787, you get 2 weather resistant cameras, the choice of a wireless or wired system and 7 days of free cloud storage.

Check price

The Arlo Pro 2 boasts features as standard that our winner, the Nest Cam Indoor, has as paid-for extras. This makes it more of an all-in-one solution, especially as it comes with 2 cameras. But as you’d expect, you pay more for it. A lot more. It’s RRP $787. 

What are you getting for the extra dollars? Well, let’s start with what’s the same. This includes 130-degree, wide angle 1080p HD cameras; a free app for multiple devices; night vision; motion- and sound-activated alerts sent to your phone or email; scheduling of times it should and shouldn’t run; activity zones; sharing video clips; and 2-way audio for talking and listening.

Here’s how the Arlo Pro 2 might justify its price tag for you. Firstly, it’s wireless and comes with rechargeable batteries. It also comes with power cords. This gives you the flexibility to use it wireless or wired. 

Secondly, it comes with 2 cameras, not just 1. These cameras are weather resistant, which means they can be used inside or outside. It has a deafening 100+ decibel siren. This can sound via the app or be triggered by motion or sound. Unlike the Nest Cam Indoor, it has a base station, so you’ll need a bit more space for this home security camera system. You can connect a USB drive to this station which provides local video backup. You can also connect up to 5 cameras for free to help you build a full home security system.

Finally, the Arlo Pro 2 comes with 7 days of free cloud recordings. This means no contract or monthly fee, unlike the Nest Cam Indoor. You can also upgrade to 24/7 nonstop recordings saved in the cloud. Plus, it works with a range of other services, like Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can view your cameras on your TV. 

We think the Arlo Pro 2 is a good alternative to our Nest Cam Indoor winner. It’s stuffed with great features and you don’t have additional subscription fees to access your videos. However, it’s a lot more expensive. Although it’s been reviewed by CHOICE, it has middling consumer reviews. Over 40 Aussies on ProductReview.com.au currently give it 2.3 stars. Their biggest complaints are around battery life and geofencing not working. However, the team at Reviews.com have it as a top 4 pick. 

Although this review is about the Arlo Pro 2 which comes with 2 cameras, you can also get the system with 3 or 4 cameras. The specs and features are the same.

Why buy the Arlo Pro 2

2 cameras

You can use these 2 cameras indoors or outdoors, providing good home coverage.

Indoor activity zones 

When it’s plugged in, you can set up indoor activity zones to get alerted when something happens in a specific area of your home. This is good for kids’ rooms, home offices and more.

130-degree vision

Get a wide view of your home in 1080p HD quality.

Free app

So you can see what’s going on, from your phone.

Outdoor use

The rugged cameras are built to withstand rain, sun, heat and cold.

Wireless or wired

You get the flexibility to use the Arlo Pro 2 wireless (it comes with rechargeable batteries) or wired (to never worry about the batteries running out).

2-way audio

So you can hear what’s happening and talk via the cameras.

Free cloud storage

Unlike the Nest Cam Indoor, you get 7 days of free cloud storage. You can view, download and share these events. 

Siren

Control the deafening 100+ decibel siren via the app, or it’ll be triggered by motion or sound.

Notifications

You’ll be alerted on your phone or email when the cameras detect sound or motion.

Night vision

This maintains the image quality, both day and night.

Local backup storage

Connect a USB drive to the base station for optional backup storage.

Optional upgrades

If you don’t think 7 days of recordings is enough, you can upgrade to keep nonstop recordings in the cloud.

Compatibility

It’s compatible with a range of other services, which means you can voice control it and view your videos on your TV.

The not-so-good bits

No pan and tilt

Which doesn’t give you any control over what you’re seeing. 

Base station

Not a dealbreaker, but the Arlo Pro 2 isn’t as sleek and minimal as the Nest Cam Indoor thanks to its base station.

Poor Aussie reviews

It only gets 2.3 stars currently. Most of the complaints are about short battery life.

Price

At RRP $787, it’s an investment.

1-year warranty

Even with that price, it only has a 1-year warranty.

In summary 

Like our Nest Cam Indoor winner, the Arlo Pro 2 has a 130-degree, wide angle 1080p HD camera; a free app for multiple devices; night vision; motion- and sound-activated alerts; zones; sharing video clips; and 2-way audio. It does deliver more though. Like 2 weather resistant cameras which can be used indoors or outdoors, wireless or wired. It also boasts a 100+ decibel siren, optional local video backup via a USB drive in the base station and 7 days of free cloud recordings. However, you pay a lot more for it. It’s RRP $787. Plus, Aussies aren’t completely sold on it, giving it just 2.3 stars on ProductReview.com.au.

The competition

There’s plenty of choice to help you build the best home security camera system. Here are the other security cameras we think are worth considering.

Foscam FI9828P

If it’s your outdoors you want to keep an eye on, consider the Foscam FI9828P. It’s a wireless, waterproof outdoor camera. This 1280p HD camera with 3x optical zoom delivers sharp, clear images. Simple to set up, download the free app and it’s ready to go. This means you’ve always got remote access from your phone and web.

When it detects motion, it sends an alert to your phone and email. It includes 8 hours of free cloud hosting although it does support a SD card and external drives if you want extra storage. It has night vision.

Compared to our winner and runner-up, it’s light on features. It doesn’t detect sound and doesn’t have 2-way audio. But it does have pan and tilt. It comes in at RRP $320.99. It’s been reviewed by CHOICE and has a 5-star review on ProductReview.com.au. 

Choose this if...

You want a basic outdoor wireless home security camera with a HD camera and are happy to compromise on some features, like not detecting sound. 

D-Link DCS-8600LH

The D-Link DCS-8600LH is certified weatherproof, which means it’s safe to install outside. It comes with a 7m outdoor-rated cable and power adapter too. Full HD 1080p quality video with 135-degree view, it works both day and night. It has 2-way audio so you can listen and respond via your mobile device.

It has both sound and motion detection. When triggered, it sends an alert to your phone and email. The free app lets you remotely view plus save snapshots and video clips to your mobile device. As well as uploading footage to the cloud, the microSD slot lets you backup to a memory card too. For free, you can save all your clips from the past day to the cloud. Otherwise you need to upgrade to a paid plan, with options for 7-, 14- and 30-day retention. It’s also smart home compatible, working with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and more.

RRP $249.95, it’s been reviewed by CHOICE but has poor consumer reviews currently. It gets just 1.3 stars from 4 Aussies on ProductReview.com.au. The lack of customer support and set up seems to be an issue. 

Choose this if...

You need a seriously tough outdoor camera that can handle most weather situations.

Nest Cam Outdoor

The Nest Cam Outdoor packs the same features and specs as our Nest Cam Indoor winner. RRP $279, it’s more than our winner but that’s because it’s the outdoor version. It’s still wired but this time it’s weather resistant.

Although it hasn’t been reviewed by CHOICE, it gets almost 3 stars on ProductReview.com.au and has topped multiple guides. This includes being the number 1 pick on Safety.com, a top 4 pick from Reviews.com and the Best DIY security camera on Privacy Australia. 

Choose this if...

You want a highly rated, wired outdoor camera with motion and sound detectors, 2-way audio and 1080p HD image quality.

eufyCam 2C

The eufyCam 2C comes with 2 1080p HD cameras, suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Wireless, it’s easy to set up your home security system. Priding itself on its battery life, Eufy reckons you can get a half-year of use from just 1 charge. 

Thanks to an inbuilt spotlight, it’s got detailed night vision for 24/7 coverage. It features human detection technology to detect body shape and face pattern. This means you’ll get alerted when a person walks into view, not next door’s cat. You can set detection zones, so you’ll only get alerts for areas you really care about. 

Up to 3 months of footage is recorded to secure local storage which means no ongoing monthly storage fees. Two-way audio allows you to communicate via the camera. It also integrates with Amazon Alexa, giving you increased control over your home security.

RRP $399.95 for the 2-camera option (there are 3- and 4-camera options too), it hasn’t been reviewed by CHOICE. But it does get 5 stars on ProductReview.com.au, from 3 reviews.

Choose this if...

You want a long battery life, wireless security camera that’s suitable for indoor and outdoor use with no monthly fees and no cloud storage.

How we picked

We started with CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group. They’ve put a range of security cameras through their paces, looking at their features and usability, which gave us a good starting point.

But to understand how they work in Australian homes, we turned to the real experts – the Aussies on ProductReview.com.au. Normally we love to get a good number of reviews (at least 50) and an above average star rating (more than 3 out of 5 stars). However, there’s such a wide range of home security cameras that we couldn’t find many of them that had been reviewed by CHOICE and positively reviewed by lots of Aussies.

Currently, the ratings of home security cameras aren’t great. We found a handful of 5-star reviews, but these were from a very low number of reviews (like 3). Most reviews were middling, giving the cameras somewhere between 2-5 stars. Not great.

Digging into the reviews gave us some understanding of common complaints. These included the lack of instructions regarding set up, which suggests you need a good level of IT literacy to get them running. Other common problems seem to be poor image quality (which can be the pay off for a wireless system) and issues with wi-fi connectivity. This can be a real issue in areas of poor signal, like rural areas. But overall, the problems seemed to be caused by external factors (i.e. poor signal) rather than anything wrong with the cameras themselves.

Because we were quite limited by Australian security camera reviews, we looked further afield. We considered what experts from leading websites around the world rated. This included specialists like Safety.com.

To pull together our shortlist, we looked for cameras that were classed as DIY options. Which means you get it out of the box, plug it in, download an app and away you go. None of these security cameras need to be professionally installed. We considered wireless and wired options and cameras that can be used indoors, outdoors or both. 

There you have it: the best home security cameras in Australia.

Important features to consider

Home security cameras are stuffed with features. Here’s what to look for to help you choose the right one for you.

Image resolution

All the cameras we reviewed feature high definition image quality. This ensures crisp, clear images. The downside to high def? You’ll need good wi-fi speed otherwise you’ll experience a lag when live viewing. 

Night vision

It’s no good having a camera that only works effectively during the day. The best security camera should have night vision, like LEDs or spotlights, to ensure good images in low light too.

Two-way audio

Being able to hear what is going on is useful, especially if you’re using the camera as a baby monitor. Look for a microphone. As well as listening, talking is handy too. You can yell at the dog to get off the couch or talk to the courier on your doorstep.

Access

It’s important that you can access your home security system remotely. Ensure it has an app that you can access from your phone or tablet. Ideally, it’ll support multiple devices. This means if you lose your laptop, you can still view your camera from your phone. 

Alerts

Some cameras send alerts when triggered by sound and motion. Some only based on motion. Make sure you know what you’re getting. Also check what alerts you’ll get. Will your camera email you, text you or send a push notification to your phone via the app? Will it include an image or just text? Can you change the sensitivity and frequency of these alerts? A super sensitive camera could text you 100 times a day, every time a leaf blows across your front door.

Storage 

Some home security cameras store recorded footage on a memory card or an external storage drive. This is great capacity-wise, for easy access and for keeping costs low. But less great if the card, drive or camera gets stolen.

Most cameras we reviewed save footage to the cloud. Some provide cloud storage for free, but it’s usually for a limited time (i.e. 3 hours or 3 days). Others provide more but charge for it. You might be able to save your files to your own cloud service, like Dropbox. You’ll need to check your camera is compatible with other cloud services than their own. Consider the security risks of cloud storage too – if it’s going on the web, however securely, could someone hack in and view it? 

Other storage options include saving footage to your PC, phone or tablet. Usually your devices need to be left on 24/7. Again, the risk with this is that your device gets stolen and you lose your footage.

Wireless or mains-powered

Wireless systems mean less clutter and quick and easy set up. But it also means reliance on batteries. Our research shows that consumers love to complain about battery life and how quickly their camera battery drains. Battery powered cameras aren’t intended for 24/7 use. They only record when motion or sound triggers them. Or, if you do it manually via an app. To conserve your battery, look for the ability to change the motion sensitivity. This will stop it switching on and recording every time the cat takes a stroll. A scheduler can also help. This is when you set the times the camera should be on and recording. A solar charger can help too, usually sold as an extra. 

Choosing a system that plugs into mains power means you don’t have to worry about recharging or replacing batteries. The payoff? Power cords hanging around and you’ll need to have nearby power points. 

What you get if you spend more

Our most affordable security camera is RRP $199, but our picks go up to RRP $787. What does this extra cash get you? Well, normally you spend more, and you get more cameras – rather than 1, you get 2, 3 or 4. Here’s what else it gets you.

Indoor and outdoor use

Opt for an indoor security camera and it’ll be cheaper. This is because it doesn’t need expensive water- and weather proofing, which drives the price up. If you want a camera that’s suitable for outdoor use, expect to pay more.

Cloud storage

Although some of our picks include free cloud storage, it’s usually limited, i.e. it’ll only store footage for 3 days. If you want longer or bigger storage options, you’ll need to pay. This is normally a monthly or yearly subscription fee that’s on top of your purchase price.

Movement

All the cameras we reviewed have wide angle viewing, at least 130 degrees. Most of them had zoom too. With flexibility on where you mount them, this should be enough to ensure a good view of the area you’re watching.

However, more expensive cameras can move too. This means you can pan and tilt via an app, allowing you to see outside your current field of vision.

Smart home integration

If you want to design a full smart home or security system, pay extra for your camera to integrate with third-party AI, like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This tends to be a non-standard (read: more expensive) feature. 

Facial recognition

Some security cameras have AI that can tell the difference between a human and a thing. Some go further and start to learn the faces of you and your loved ones. Which means it’ll alert you when it spots a non-familiar face. This is still emerging technology and has wider privacy considerations – like what is your camera doing what the faces it’s learning, recording and storing?

The bottom line

You can’t always be at home (except for a worldwide pandemic and enforced 24/7 time in our homes, of course). But a security camera can, giving you eyes and ears on everything that’s happening while you’re not there. The best home security camera is easy to set up. It has great image quality, day and night, and will alert you instantly if it detects something that shouldn’t be there. 

We reckon the best security camera in Australia is the Nest Cam Indoor. RRP $199, it’s a wired security cam which means no hassle recharging or replacing batteries. As well as alerts, you can view the last 3 hours of activity via the free app. Two-way audio lets you talk to the courier on the doorstep as well as hear what’s going on. Thanks to it being a Google product, you can create a fully connected home security system, with all Nest products being controlled through 1 app. The optional Nest Aware subscription gives you additional features, person alerts and activity zones.

A worthy runner-up is the Arlo Pro 2. Similar in its specs, including a 130-degree, wide angle 1080p HD camera, night vision, alerts, zones and 2-way audio, it offers more. For RRP $787, you’re getting 2 weather resistant cameras you can use outside and the choice of a wireless or wired system. Plus, 7 days of free cloud recordings and optional local video backup via a USB drive.

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