Battery Powered Security Cameras Compared

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When it comes to home security cameras, there are wireless cameras, and then there are cordless cameras. While a camera may tout wireless capabilities, wireless cameras still require a power source, and many of them even require an Ethernet connection during the initial setup. However, all is not lost. For those looking for a true wire-free solution, the market has delivered several battery-powered options. Meet Arlo, Arlo Pro, Arlo Go, Homeboy, Blink, Blink XT, Ulo, Flir FX, Panasonic Nubo, Butterfleye, FLARE, Ring Stick Up Cam, and Canary Flex. All are cordless, battery-powered home security cameras.

Placing Your Battery Powered Security Camera

Though all the cameras discussed in this article are cordless, we can classify them further by breaking them down into cameras that only work indoors and cameras that are indoor/outdoor.

CORDLESS INDOOR CAMERAS

Homeboy

To my knowledge, Homeboy was the first cordless camera to ship to end users. It’s tiny, magnetic, and the brainchild of an Australian startup. It has a small field of view but uses a magnetic swivel base to capture different areas as needed. And if you don’t want to mount it, you can set it on a flat surface using the included stand.

  • Magnetic Base and Stand Included

ULO

Ulo is brand new startup and perhaps the riskiest of all the options, as it is not yet a reality and they seem to be having trouble making it a reality. With that said, indoor/outdoor use is one of those troubles. Originally, the device was slated to be weatherproof, but it proved to be a costly endeavor. Now, Ulo is indoor only. But it has one thing going for it- it’s cute. The question is, is cute enough when it comes to home security?

Ulo does have a magnetic base, and you can lay the device on a flat surface, or you can mount it using adhesive (kind of like a 3M strip).

  • Magnetic Base
  • Wall Mount with Adhesive

Butterfleye

Though Butterfleye’s boxy shape may make it look like a one trick pony, it can do more than sit on a stand. It includes a magnetic base that you can use to get creative. In regards to wall mounting? I suppose it could be possible, but it might be a bit of a stretch.

  • Magnetic Base and Stand Included

FLARE

FLARE is a startup product funded through Indiegogo, and it is now available for purchase.

FLARE is made to be mounted on a wall using a two-step process. First, you mount the wall plate. Second, you use the magnetic base to attach the camera to the plate. Once in place, your view is set. Though the camera has a magnetic base, it is not made to swivel like Homeboy.

  • Wall Mount with Magnetic Base

THOSE THAT ALSO WORK OUTSIDE

Blink and Blink XT

Made by Immedia, Blink started with an indoor-only battery-powered camera. Recently, they’ve launched Blink XT, a weatherproof, outdoor camera. Blink cameras have extra long battery lives thanks to a special chip built into them. Both cameras can be mounted on walls or set on flat surfaces.

  • Mounts and Stand Included

Arlo Pro and Go

Netgear has several cameras. First is Arlo Wire-Free, which is cordless and works outside. Second, the Arlo Q wired indoor camera. Third, Arlo Pro, which is what we’ll be comparing. Finally, Arlo Go, Pro’s twin brother, which we will also compare.

Pro and Go are inspired by Wire-Free, but with improved features like a wider viewing angle, better motion sensors, rechargeable batteries, and support for audio. Arlo Pro and Arlo Go are considered weatherproof, and you can use them inside or outside. With Arlo Pro, placement can get creative thanks to the magnetic mounts, or you can use the included mounting screws. If you want to use the Arlo HD Security Camera Table/Ceiling Mount, be prepared to shell out an extra $24.99 where the Adjustable Mount will set you back $19.99. When it comes to Arlo Go, installation requires the use of mounting screws.

  • Magnetic Base
  • Operating temperature is -4° to 113° F

FLIR FX

FLIR FX is made by Flir, a company known for thermal imaging technology, among other things. And this is not their first stab at a home security camera. Ever heard of LOREX? That’s Flir too.

The FLIR FX is interesting in that it is both an indoor and an outdoor camera, but not in the same sense that Arlo is. If you want to take the camera outside, you have to buy the outdoor casing ($79.99) or purchase the outdoor version from the start. The outdoor casing makes FLIR weatherproof (IP66 rated), and it also adds four additional IR illuminators to improve night vision performance. If you prefer, you can add a waterproof sports case accessory, which changes the rating to submersible (IP68).

On its own, the FLIR FX includes an indoor stand and a mounting plate, but adding the accessories will expand the options you have for placing the camera. Accessories include the dash camera mount ($49.99), the outdoor weatherproof enclosure ($79.99), or the waterproof sports case ($69.99). Even if you don’t purchase extra accessories, the camera can be removed from the indoor stand and will automatically convert to sports mode. And while you could still use it as a security camera in this mode, it’s probably not the best idea and would impact battery life. However, for those that want to mount creatively, this is an option.

  • Indoor Stand Included, Others Extra
  • Operating temperature is 32 ~ 104°F / 0 ~ 40°C (Outdoor Enclosure and Waterproof Sports Case)

PANASONIC NUBO

Panasonic Nubo is a weatherproof camera and can work off of a cellular signal, or you can connect it to the internet. The camera can sit on a flat surface, or you can wall mount it, but you have to buy the mount. The wall mount sells for €29.99 and magnetically attaches to the camera.

  • Stand
  • Wall Mount Extra
  • Magnetic Mount
  • Operating temperature is -4° to 122° F

RING STICK UP CAM

Stick Up Cam, by Ring, is a weather resistant outdoor camera with an operating temperature of -5° to 120°F. Although it’s rugged when it comes to extreme cold or heat, it doesn’t do well with rain. Its IP rating is only 52, which means it’s not waterproof.

Everything you need to install Stick Up Cam will be in the box, including a Security Mount, a Quick Release Mount, a screwdriver, drill bit, screws, anchors, and the installation guide. The Quick Release Mount allows you to take Ring down for charging easily. If you prefer, you can use the Security Mount, which fixes the camera in place. If you use this mount, you should also plan on purchasing the solar panel, which will charge the camera for you. Both mounts are designed for wall or ceiling mounting.

  • Wall or Ceiling Mounted
  • Mounts Included
  • Tools and Screws Included
  • IP 52
  • Operating Temperature -5° to 120°F

CANARY FLEX

Created by Canary, Flex is a weatherproof indoor/outdoor camera. It can withstand harsh weather and temperatures between -4° to 113° F. The IP rating is 65.

Flex ships with a magnetic swivel base similar to Homeboy. The base can stand on any flat surface, or you can wall mount it. It holds the camera using a strong magnet, but it also allows the camera to swivel freely. Aside from the magnetic base, you can also purchase four other mounts, including one that gives Flex 4G LTE connectivity.

  • Magnetic Swivel Base
  • Other Mounts Sold Separately
  • Operating Temperature is -4° to 113° F
  • IP65

Battery Life and Wires (Or Lack Thereof)

Battery life isn’t as black and white as you might think. A camera’s battery life is impacted by the weather, by the features you choose to use, and even by the settings you select for your cordless security camera. With that said, we decided to take each company’s promise at face value. So if they claim their cameras can last X amount of time, we will assume the camera can last X amount of time. We also looked into just how “wireless” each camera is.

Arlo Pro and Go claim a battery life of 4-6 months. Of course, using the camera outdoors and in cold weather will zap the battery life faster than a chicken on a Junebug. To extend your camera’s battery life, they do offer a few tricks.

1. Make sure you are running the latest version of firmware.
2. Check your power management settings and choose “best battery life.”
3. Make sure you use the camera “normally.” Normal use is limited to 4 minutes of viewing or recording per day.

The good news is that the cameras use a rechargeable battery, an improvement over the original Arlo Wire-Free. Also, both work with the Arlo Solar Panel. If you’re willing to spend an extra $80, you can keep your Arlo Pro and Go cameras mounted and charge them with the sun.

Perhaps the biggest gotcha with Arlo Pro is that it requires a base station and this base station must be plugged in via a power adapter. While the camera is 100% wire-free, the total solution is not. Also, installation is not wireless. To get started, you need to connect the base station to your router using the included Ethernet cable.

Arlo Go does not require a base station, and they claim the battery will last a full 75 days. It runs on a 3660mAh rechargeable battery, slightly more powerful than Pro’s 2440mAh battery. If needed, you can purchase extra rechargeable batteries for Arlo Go ($59.99). This add-on allows you to swap out Go’s battery when it runs out of power without dismounting it for charging.

Another difference between Go and Pro is the way they connect to a network. Pro runs on Wi-Fi, which limits the placement of the camera. Arlo Go connects via 3G/4G/LTE powered by Verizon. The camera will ship with a SIM card, but you’ll need to pay a monthly fee to cover data charges. The thing is, if you’re planning to use Arlo Go, you NEED to pay a monthly fee for the data plan as it doesn’t connect to Wi-Fi. You can get a data plan specifically designed for Arlo Go for as low as $4.99/month, which will let your camera upload up to 15 minutes of HD videos to the cloud per month. That’s one 30-second video clip per day. The highest plan costs $32.99/month, which will give you an upload capacity of up to 225 minutes of videos. That’s equivalent to fifteen 30-second clips per day. Take note that the data plan is different from Arlo’s cloud plan (more about the cloud plan later). The data plan only covers Arlo Go’s ability to send videos to the cloud. The cloud plan determines how long and how many videos you can store in the cloud.

Homeboy works without a base station and is truly a 100% wire-free solution. It uses a rechargeable battery that can last three months on a single charge. Installation of the camera requires a few wires. To install Homeboy, you plug the camera into the included USB cable and plug the cord into a power source (either a USB charger or a computer). While installation isn’t wire free, setting up the camera without an ethernet cable and through a computer is about as close as it gets.

Blink and Blink XT claim a battery life of up to two years. This timeframe is made possible by that special chip we talked about earlier, but also thanks to a sync module. Just like Arlo, the camera is 100% cordless, but the total solution is not. However, setup of Blink cameras is a little more flexible than Arlo. While you do need to plug the sync module into a power source, you don’t have to plug anything in via Ethernet, although you can if you want to.

Ulo claims a battery life of one week on a full charge. However, this is highly dependent on what features you use. If you use all the fun stuff, like eye expressions, that battery life will drop down to about two days. While Ulo is a 100% wire-free solution, you can leave it plugged in using a USB port if you prefer.

In regards to installation, your guess is as good as mine in regards to how this will turn out. While the campaign claims that setup will be easy (scan a QR code), others have suggested that it may be much more difficult (setting up IP forwarding), and the truth is that until this device is a reality, no one knows.

FLIR FX‘s battery life will greatly depend on whether or not you use a stand. The camera has a battery, but so do the stands. For example, when combined with the indoor case, the battery will last up to 4 hours. Without the stand, the camera’s battery will only last 2 hours. If you prefer, you can keep the camera plugged into a power outlet or via micro-USB. Using the sports housing will also provide a 2-hour battery life, but it’s recommended that you keep the outdoor camera plugged directly into a power source.

Though the battery life is short, the camera can be 100% wire-free. In fact, you don’t even need Wi-Fi for the camera to work. Using “Hotspot,” the camera can connect directly to your smartphone and records to its SD card. While in this mode, you can even share images through email or social media.

During setup, you need a power source of some kind. The camera needs to be charged for 30 minutes before you can begin setup. After that, you scan the QR code on the bottom of the stand using the mobile app. You then have to connect to Wi-Fi, though setup does not require connection via Ethernet.

Panasonic Nubo is a slight cheat. Though it deserves to be in the cordless category, battery power comes from an external battery pack (not included). And though I couldn’t get the estimated battery life direct from the source (probably because it will depend on the battery pack you buy), TechTimes is claiming that the battery will last 2-3 hours when recording continuously over 4G. While this isn’t very long, you can choose to record based upon event instead of continuously to help improve the camera’s battery life.

Nubo uses a 4G wireless, cellular signal. It can cover areas where you have cell phone service, but no internet. For example, you can take it with you to a hotel or place it in a detached garage. Nubo supports GPRS, 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE. The product has launched initially in Europe and works with wireless carriers like Vodafone. Recently, they’ve also made it possible for Nubos to work with third-party SIM cards, allowing you to use it with your preferred carrier or even in areas not covered by Vodafone (i.e. foreign countries).

Setup of this camera is also 100% wire-free. Setup doesn’t require Wi-Fi, making this camera the only cordless camera option we’ve reviewed that can be setup without the internet. Instead, you use Nubo as a temporary access point and connect it to your smartphone. After setup, you can use it with a Wi-Fi network, or you can use it with Vodafone 4G (which does require a subscription) or with your own SIM card with a data plan.

Butterfleye claims a 2 week battery life. While this may seem short, it’s made more impressive by the fact that the camera records/live streams in FHD. That alone is rather taxing on a battery, but it also has other high compute and impressive features that we’ll get to soon.

On top of being cordless, Butterfleye is also portable. When not connected to Wi-Fi, it uses its built-in memory to store hours of FHD video. The only reason you need Wi-Fi is for live streaming and uploading videos. Other than that, this little guy can work without power and internet.

Interestingly, you won’t need a computer to setup Butterfleye; all you need is your smartphone.Via the app, simply select the WI-Fi network you want Butterfleye to connect to.

FLARE can run using a traditional power source or via its built-in battery. FLARE uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that should power the camera for up to 3 days. If you choose battery power, you can charge FLARE by removing it from its magnetic base and plugging it into a power source via the included USB cable.

FLARE is also one of the few cameras capable of working without WiFi. The camera includes an LTE BuddySIM. If your WiFi is down, FLARE will use the SIM-card to communicate via 4G and can connect to every major network. Of course, this luxury comes at an added cost via the form of a subscription plan.

Setting up Flare is also pretty easy. First, fix it to your wall. Second, download the app. And third, connect Flare to your Wi-Fi network using the app. No ethernet cables or computer required.

Stick Up Cam runs on battery, with a promised battery life of 6 to 12 months. But Ring also offers a Solar Panel that can continuously charge the battery. The solar panel can be installed on the roof or mounted on a wall as long as it is kept in direct sunlight. It connects with the camera via a Micro USB cable.

Stick Up Cam’s setup process is completely wireless as well. However, you will need to connect it to your Wi-Fi before mounting.

Flex can be plugged into a power source or run on batteries. It has two extended-life lithium ion batteries that can power the device for two months, and it can be recharged in 2-3 hours via the included charging cable. If you want, you can extend Flex’s battery life using the 4G mount (coming soon). Aside from providing cellular connectivity, the mount also acts as a battery pack. All features, including live streaming and motion alerts, are available when running on battery power.

You can setup Flex in three easy steps, but it requires you to plug the camera into a power source. First, download the Canary app and log in. Second, plug Flex into a power source. And third, connect it to your Wi-Fi via the app.

Camera Specs

Arlo vs. Homeboy vs. Blink vs. Ulo vs. FLIR FX vs. Panasonic Nubo vs. Butterfleye vs. Ring vs. Canary Flex

Butterfleye Homeboy Blink Blink XT Ulo Ring Stick Up Cam
Price 1 Camera $220 1 Camera $189 1 Camera System $99 1 Camera System $129.99 1 Camera $192.45 1 Camera $199
Works Indoors Indoors Indoors Indoor or Outdoor Indoors Indoor or Outdoor
Resolution 1920×1080 640×480 1280×720 1280×720 (FHD Capable) 1920×1080 1280x720p
PTZ Digital Zoom No Digital Pan and Zoom Digital Pan and Zoom No Unknown
Field of View 95° 52° Horizontal, 41° Vertical 110° 110° 127⁰ 80°
Battery Life 2 weeks 2-3 months 2 years 2 years 1 week 6-12 months
Battery Type 10.4Ah Lithium Ion (Rechargeable) 2000mA-hr Lithium Polymer (Rechargeable) Two (2) AA Lithium Batteries Two (2) AA Lithium Batteries One Lithium Polymer (Rechargeable) 5,200 mAh (Rechargeable)
Wire-Free Yes Yes Requires Sync Module Requires Sync Module Yes Yes
Mobile App iOS and Android iOS, Android, IFTTT, Windows iOS, Android, and IFTTT iOS, Android, and IFTTT iOS, Android, Webpage, IFTTT iOS, Android, IFTTT
Alerts Push SMS, Email, Push, Social Media, IFTTT Push Push Unknown, But All Possible Through IFTTT Push, IFTTT
Gotchas Lacks Night Vision Can’t Live Stream, Low Light Illumination Low Light Illumination IR LED Night Vision Not Shipping, Records On-Demand Only Not Waterproof
Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now
Flir FX Panasonic Nubo Arlo Pro [Go] FLARE Canary Flex
Price 1 Camera $199.99 1 Camera €349.00 1 Camera Kit $249.00 [$399.99] 1 Camera $385.00 1 Camera $199
Works Indoors or Outdoors Indoors or Outdoors Indoors or Outdoors Indoors Indoor or Outdoor
Resolution 1920×1080 1920×1080 1280×720 1920×1080 1280×720
PTZ Digital Pan and Zoom Unknown Digital Pan and Zoom Unknown Digital Zoom
Field of View 160° 138° 130° 150° 116°
Battery Life 2 hours (Camera Only) 4 hours (Indoor Stand) 2-3 hours 4-6 months [75 days] 3 days 2 months
Battery Type 3.7V DC 1130mAh (Rechargeable) USB Enabled Power Bank (Not Included) Lithium-ion (Rechargeable) Lithium-ion (Rechargeable) Extended-Life Rechargeable Li-Ion
Wire-Free Yes Yes Requires Base Station w/ Power Adapter [Yes, no base station.] Yes Yes
Mobile App iOS and Android iOS and Android iOS, Android, IFTTT, Stringify, Apple TV iOS, Android, IFTTT iOS and Android
Alerts Push Push (Requires Paid Plan) Push or Email Alerts Push and Phone Call Push
Gotchas Outdoor Casing Sold Separately External Battery Pack Required, Cellular and FHD Require Paid Plan (720p is Free) Slow to Wake Up [Requires Monthly Subscription, Doesn’t Work with Wi-Fi] Some added security features require a monthly subscription. No WDR/HDR
BUY NOW BUY NOW BUY NOW BUY NOW BUY NOW

Cordless Cameras for Home Security

Arlo Pro and Go

Both Arlo cameras have PIR motion sensors and sound sensors that they use to help keep your home safe, but the motion sensor isn’t always monitoring. Arlo cameras come with three pre-programmed modes: armed, disarmed, and schedule. When armed, the camera uses its motion and sound sensors to monitor for activity. If activity is detected, it records footage of the event and sends it to the cloud. When disarmed, the camera’s sensors are off. When using schedule mode, you can create a schedule so that the camera will monitor only during specific days and times. For example, you might want to record Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. If scheduling is too much for you, you can use their geofencing feature which will automatically arm and disarm the cameras based on your presence. Fair warning: Arlo Wire-Free reviews scream that the camera is too slow to wake up. The same might be true with Arlo Pro and Go when running on battery power.

In addition to the pre-set modes, you can create custom modes and rules to make Arlo even smarter. For example, you might create a Monday mode, where Arlo arms all outdoor cameras, but not the indoor cameras.

  • Motion Sensitivity
  • Motion and Sound Detection
  • Custom Rules, Modes, & Geofencing
  • Records Video (10-120 seconds), Takes Snapshots
  • Night Vision

Homeboy

Homeboy likes to ask for help when motion is detected, and it does so thoroughly. Through the app you can request alerts via SMS, email, push, or you can set the device to post to Twitter or Facebook. If that isn’t enough, you can notify your Homeboy Crew.

Your Homeboy Crew is a preset group of people you’ve selected to be your safety net. Adding crew members is done through the mobile app, where you also assign each member a role.

Chiefs – have complete control. They are basically admins.

Deputies – can arm and disarm your camera, respond to events, and take action, but they can’t change your camera’s settings.

Posse – your posse members are just there to help you out if an event is detected, but can’t take any action related to your camera.

Oh but there’s more. In addition to sending out alerts, Homeboy has an integrated siren, which might help ward off intruders.

To make things even easier, the camera can arm and disarm itself through geo-fencing. It can be tied to the cellphone location of any Chief or Deputy in your crew.

  • Motion Detection
  • Social Network and Crew Support
  • Records to Cloud
  • Illuminator LED
  • Records Audio
  • Siren
  • Geo-Fencing

Blink and Blink XT

Blink and Blink XT both have motion sensors that they use to detect activity. You can enable it per camera – meaning that one can be disarmed while another is armed, even if they are monitored under the same account. You can also perform a certain level of customization via the mobile app. For one, you can enable a delay. A delay is the length of time between one motion event and another, and it is meant to help buffer out unnecessary alerts. You can set the delay anywhere between 10 seconds and 60 seconds. Second, you can adjust sensitivity. Finally, you can set the recorded clip length to be anywhere between 5 and 60 seconds. And while Blink can’t send alerts if a sound is detected, you can enable or disable sound within the same section of the mobile app. Another way to help Blink monitor for motion is by creating a schedule. You can tell the camera when it should arm (when you’re at work) and when it should be disarmed (when you’re at home).

Perhaps the best security feature integrated into Blink is “Instant On”. This feature allows the camera to wake up quickly and start recording within a fraction of a second, that way you don’t miss anything important.

  • Motion Sensitivity
  • Motion Detection with Schedule Feature
  • Records Video (5-60 seconds)
  • Illuminator LED
  • Instant On
  • Audio

Ulo

Ulo also includes a motion sensor, hidden under his two-way mirror beak. The motion sensor goes on high alert when the device is in Alert Mode. You can put Ulo into Alert mode via the mobile app or by tapping the button on his head. He can also automatically arm and disarm based upon your presence through geo-fencing.

Once launched, you will also be able to setup the Ulo IFTTT channel to create triggers and schedules that connect the device to other events, like arming him at 8 am and disarming him when your front door opens.

If the team behind Ulo pulls through, the camera should also have facial recognition. However, face recognition will only be available while Ulo is plugged into a power source. It may also require you to pay a monthly fee. While I’m not 100% certain as to how this feature will work, it could enhance your home’s security. For example, Ulo might recognize you and stop recording when you’re home, or he might send smarter alerts, as he can recognize the difference between a human face and a cat. This feature was added thanks to a met stretch goal, and another stretch goal added additional improvements like Apple Homekit integration and voice control. While the details on these extra features are TBD, these are all things that might be able to enhance your home’s security.

A final point of confusion for me is what type of alerts will be sent directly through the Ulo app. However, it seems like a rather moot point if they do pull through with the IFTTT channel. Through IFTTT you can set up email, SMS alerts, or even phone call alerts based on certain triggers. While the channel is not yet a reality, I’m hoping that motion will be a trigger. If that is the case, you can create rules like, “if motion is detected, call my phone.”

  • Motion Detection
  • Facial Recognition
  • Records Locally
  • Night Vision
  • Records Audio
  • Geo-Fencing

FLIR FX

The FLIR FX has multiple sensors and solutions to keep you safe. It includes motion, sound, temperature, and humidity sensors. The motion sensor is backed by unique technology including FLIR Recap and Smart Zones.

FLIR Recap is a feature that allows you to watch an entire day of footage in minutes. You pick the time of the event you want to review, and Rapid Recap condenses all the events that happened during that period into a condensed, time-stamped clip. What’s unique about this is that all events are superimposed so that you might see your living room with 10 “yous”: A you at 10 am, you at 11 am, you at noon, etc., all within the same frame. This helps you save time when you’re trying to find a specific event.

Smart Zones are activity zones. You can choose what areas you want to be monitored (within the camera’s field of view) and what you want the camera to ignore. For example, you might have the camera set to record everything that happens on your porch, while ignoring the street and your driveway.

Within the app, you can also set automatic recording triggers. You can have the camera record when motion is detected (which you can set from a low to a high sensitivity), and you can also have it record when audio is detected or when the temperature or humidity level in your home gets out of hand.

  • Motion Sensitivity & Detection
  • Audio Sensitivity & Detection
  • Temperature and Humidity Detection
  • Records Video (up to 6 hours), Stored for 48 Hours
  • Supports Up to a 64GB microSD Card
  • Night Vision

Panasonic Nubo

Nubo has a motion sensor, but it also has advanced video analytics and audio detection. And while advanced video analytics sounds fancy, it doesn’t do anything extraordinary beyond the other cordless camera options. Basically, it detects motion. If motion is detected, it will send you an alert. It also offers human detection, the ability to know if the motion it captured is a person or not.

  • Motion and Sound Detection
  • SD Recording
  • Night Vision
  • Human Detection

Butterfleye

Butterfleye has a built-in motion sensor, a proximity sensor, ABR (Activity Based Recording), and a built-in microphone and speaker to help keep your home secure.

It’s ABR that sets Butterfleye apart. ABR watches, learns, and makes decisions. Over time, it will learn what’s considered normal in your house and what’s not. This way, it only records when something important happens – both saving you time and conserving battery. It also has facial detection and can recognize the difference between you and your dog. According to customer reviews, ABR and face detection work incredibly well. While these features don’t eliminate all false alarms, they do a pretty good job in drastically reducing them.

Recorded events are stored in the cloud and shown within the mobile app’s timeline.

  • Motion Detection
  • ABR (Activity Based Recording)
  • Facial Recognition
  • 12 Hours Recorded Video, Local Storage, Takes Snapshots
  • No Night Vision
  • Records Audio

FLARE

FLARE uses multiple sensors to protect your property including a motion detector, temperature sensor, and accelerometer. It analyzes sounds and images to help reduce false alarms and to send more intelligent data to you. Perhaps the most intriguing feature is face and voice recognition. Using this information, FLARE can tell if the person in your home is someone it knows or someone to be concerned about.

The camera has other unique security features too. For one, it can take action by playing domestic sounds using its built-in speaker. If it thinks something is amiss, it can replicate the sound of a dog barking, or it can play a recording of you talking.

Making sure your system is armed and disarmed at appropriate times is made easier through geofencing. Using the location of your cell phone, FLARE knows if you are home or away and will arm and disarm itself automatically. When you are home, you can use PrivacyGuard. This feature will literally cover the camera lens so that you know the camera is not recording when you’re home. It also uses AES256 encryption and stores biometric data locally to help protect your privacy.

  • Motion Detection
  • Face and Voice Recognition
  • Domestic Sounds
  • Cloud Storage
  • Night Vision
  • Records Audio

Stick Up Cam

Stick Up Cam can protect your home using several methods. First, you can watch live videos using the Ring App. The streaming videos are in HD resolution, but the quality may reduce depending on your internet speed. At night, IR LEDs kick-in to provide night vision. The camera also allows you to speak with people nearby using two-way voice.

Stick Up Cam can detect motion. You can customize the sensitivity of its motion sensor to reduce false alarms. You can also create motion zones. Stick Up Cam’s field of view is divided into several zones. You can always customize which zones you want to monitor or ignore. The range of motion detection is customizable as well. For example, if the street is 20 ft. from the camera, you can set Stick Up Cam only to detect motion that occurs less than 20ft. away. Everything that moves outside the set range, like cars or people passing by, will be ignored.

Although motion detection is a free feature, it will not record motion clips unless you pay for a cloud subscription. For free, Stick Up Cam will only send you an instant push notification so you can watch a live feed from the camera. If you miss the alert, you’re out of luck, unless you pay.

  • Night Vision
  • Live Streaming
  • 2-way Talk
  • Customizable Motion Detection
  • No Free Storage
  • Records Audio

Canary Flex

You can monitor your house by streaming live videos from Flex using the Canary app. Flex’s default resolution when streaming is 720p, but it may downgrade depending on your internet speed. It also has a microphone and speaker, with two-way talk coming soon.

Flex is equipped with a PIR motion sensor, which is made intelligent by Canary’s cloud. When it detects motion, it starts recording a short clip. The clip is sent to the cloud for analysis, except when Flex is running on battery power. If so, the clip is first analyzed locally before it is uploaded. Once in the cloud, it is determined whether you should be notified or not. Canary’s cloud is always improving, and increased intelligence helps all Canary users. You can also contribute by tagging recorded clips. For example, if Flex sends you a clip of your dog, you can tag it as ‘dog’ or ‘pet.’

All motion alerts are sent to your phone as push notifications, which you can open to watch. It will also give you response options. You can make an Emergency Call, watch a live feed, or ignore the alerts.

  • Motion Detection
  • 24 Hours Cloud Storage, Downloads, Sharing
  • Night Vision
  • Auto Arm/Disarm
  • Records Audio

Working With Others

Arlo Pro and Go

The Arlo Wire-Free solution works with other smart home devices and internet connected services through IFTTT and Stringify. Arlo Pro and Go can also work with the original Arlo and Arlo Q for home or the Arlo Q Plus for business. Both are add-on cameras. The Arlo Q ($199.99) is a 1080p HD indoor security camera. Unlike the cordless solution, it is not wire-free. However, it does connect to your Wi-Fi and can expand your wire-free security solution.

Arlo Pro also works with SmartThings, as does the original Wire-Free. Integrating Arlo with the hub will let you use it as a trigger for routines and rules. For instance, when the camera detects motion, it can trigger a routine that can potentially scare away intruders (siren, flashing lights, etc.). Aside from that, you can watch live feeds from the camera using your SmartThings app.

Arlo Go also has accessories, which are sold separately. The first is the Arlo Go Skin ($19.99) that comes in black, green, or camouflage. The skins add a layer of protection against harmful UV rays, water, and the sun’s glare. The second accessory is the Camouflage Skin ($34.99) which allows Go to hide within trees or bushes. Last is the rechargeable battery, which we discussed earlier.

Recently, Amazon Echo Show compatibility was also added to all Arlo cameras. Echo Show is an Alexa voice-controlled speaker with a built-in screen. The integration with Arlo allows users to see a live stream of their Arlo cameras right from Echo Show’s screen.

Homeboy

Homeboy has a lot of friends, thanks to IFTTT. IFTTT (If This Then That) is a service that ties different devices and services together through recipes. Through IFTTT, you can use 14 different triggers and actions to connect Homeboy to hundreds of other IFTTT channels. For example, if Homeboy detects motion, you can have your Philips Hue lights turn on. Or, you can set a rule that arms your Homeboy on weekdays at 8 am or another that sets Homeboy to record when Scout detects an event.

Blink and Blink XT

Blink works with Amazon Echo. You can use Echo to control the camera with your voice, thanks to Alexa. You can also use multiple cameras with one sync and soon you will be able to add an alarm. The Blink Alarm is a battery-powered siren that sounds at 105dB if an activity is detected when the alarm is armed.

Blink also works with IFTTT, allowing you to create rules between Blink cameras and your existing smart home devices.

Ulo

The team behind Ulo is planning to launch an IFTTT channel. Keep in mind that the device is not yet a reality, and I’ve seen many devices (see Blink) launch without promised features. If the channel does happen, it will work just like Homeboy’s IFTTT channel. You will be able to trigger actions and reactions based upon the other services and devices you use. As Ulo is also interactive, you can add fun rules like, “if it’s my birthday, make Ulo happy.” Or “if it is raining, make Ulo’s eyes blue.”

FLIR FX

The FLIR FX doesn’t work with any 3rd party devices or products. Your only option is to buy the accessories we’ve already discussed: the outdoor casing, sports casing, and the dash cam mount.

Panasonic Nubo

Panasonic Nubo used to be a friendless camera, only integrating with other Nubo cameras. However, they have recently added IFTTT support. No more sitting-in-the-corner Nubo; it can now interact with hundreds of smart home products via IFTTT.

Butterfleye

Butterfleye has an Alexa Skill. Using Amazon Echo, or other Alexa backed devices, you can get information about motion events. For example, “Alexa, ask Butterfleye Demo for events from today.”

FLARE

FLARE works with IFTTT. Through IFTTT you can have your lights turn on when FLARE detects activity, or you can set other devices to trigger FLARE.

Stick Up Cam

Stickup Cam works with the Ring Video Doorbell, IFTTT, and Wink.

Flex

Flex works with existing Canary cameras, and it works with Wink. Wink is a smart home system that can expand Flex’s ability to protect your home.

Video Storage and Premium Plans

Arlo Pro and Go

Arlo Pro offers optional local storage, assuming you are using the Arlo Pro base station. The base station has a USB port that functions as a backup for when it can’t connect to the cloud. On the other hand, Arlo Go has a built-in SD card slot.

All Arlo cameras include seven days of free cloud storage (up to 1GB of free cloud recordings). Recorded videos are called Smart Recordings and they are accessible at any time via the mobile app and displayed timeline style. If you happen to reach the 1GB max within seven days, no new videos will be recorded until you manually delete older videos, though videos are automatically deleted once they reach the 7-day limit. Get it? Good. You should also know that this free plan allows you to connect up to 5 cameras. If you need more storage, you will have to upgrade to either Premier or Elite. The benefit to Arlo plans over other camera companies is that they charge per account, not per camera.

  • Basic – 7 Days – 1GB Storage – 5 Cameras – 3 Months Support – $0.00
  • Premier – 30 Days – 10GB Storage – 10 Cameras – Unlimited Support – $9.99/mo
  • Elite – 60 days – 100GB Storage – 15 Cameras – Unlimited Support – $14.99.mo
  • Local Backup Storage to USB Drive or SD Card

Homeboy

Homeboy includes free video storage. They store event videos (up to 30-second clips) in the cloud for 12 hours. If 12 hours isn’t enough, you can pay $4.99/month ($49.99/year) to keep event videos to the cloud for 30 days. You can also get creative through IFTTT. There are IFTTT channels for Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive – all of which allow you to set up recording rules that involve your Homeboy.
Recorded videos can be viewed from anywhere using the mobile app. You can use the timeline to scroll through video and also to save them locally by downloading them to your phone’s gallery.

  • 12 Hours of Cloud Storage (5-30 second clips) – $0.00
  • 30 Days of Cloud Storage (5-30 second clips) – $4.99/month or $49.99/month
  • IFTTT – Dropbox, Box, Google Drive
  • Unlimited Clip Download

Blink and Blink XT

Though local storage was promised pre-launch, it hasn’t been delivered yet. Soon, you should be able to record videos locally using the included USB slot on the Sync Module. For now, the only option is to partake in free cloud storage.

Blink records clips. Clips are customizable, and you can set the length within the mobile app. They will store up to 7,200 seconds of clips for you, but the number of clips possible changes depending on the length you select. With Blink, the oldest alert clips are automatically overwritten. If you want to save a video before it’s deleted, you can download clips to your phone’s gallery.

  • 7,200 Seconds of Video (1,440 five-second clips) – $0.00
  • Local Storage Coming Soon
  • Unlimited Clip Download

Ulo

Video storage is another Ulo feature that is up in the air. The device is focused more toward entertainment than home security, but it will offer some form of storage.

The initial plan is for Ulo to capture snapshots on-demand – yes on-demand. This means that the device will not start recording if an incident is detected. The workaround is to create a rule through IFTTT that will either connect to a third-party service like Google Drive or directly to your phone or email – “if Ulo detects motion, send recorded video to my email”. However, this is all assuming that these are triggers and reactions that are enabled within the channel. Also, I know from experience that IFTTT recipes aren’t always smooth like butter. Sometimes they are delayed and sometimes they don’t work at all. After all, it is a free service, and it’s not perfect.

Not all is lost Ulo fans; this cordless camera will store a few minutes of video locally on an SD Card.

  • SD Card Will Store a Few Minutes of Footage – $0.00
  • IFTTT – Dropbox, Box, Google Drive
  • Record On-Demand Only

FLIR FX

The FLIR FX has both local and cloud storage ranging from free to $19.95 per month. Of course, local storage is always free. The camera supports a microSD card, and you can use up to a 64GB card, class 10 recommended. You can also download and share videos at any time.

If you prefer cloud, they have you covered. The free plan includes 3 RapidRecap videos per month, and you can choose up to a six-hour period of time to condense and watch (from the previous 24 hours of cloud events). It also includes the ability to store up to 48 hours of RapidRecaps & events. Jumping up to the Flir Cloud Plus plan costs you $9.95 per month. This plan provides unlimited RapidRecaps, and you can choose to condense any eight-hour period from the previous 24 hours of events. It also includes seven days of storage. Finally, Premium provides 30 days of storage and a 12-hour window for $19.95 per month.

If you don’t like any of these options, you can download video directly via the microUSB port. Simply connect the camera to your PC or Mac to transfer video. As a bonus, doing this also charges the camera. You can also view live or recorded videos from the microSD card directly from the camera without an internet connection.

  • Basic – 48 hours – 3 RapidRecap – 6 Hour Recap – $0.00
  • Plus – 7 days – Unlimited RapidRecap – 8 Hour Recap – $9.95
  • Premium – 30 days – Unlimited RapidRecap – 12 Hour Recap – $19.95
  • 64GB microSD Card – $0.00
  • USB to PC
  • Direct View

Panasonic Nubo

Panasonic Nubo has the option to record locally for free, or you can pay for cloud storage. The free plan will let you stream videos. It will also notify you of motion events, but it won’t record them. However, you can use a 128GB SD card to store videos locally. The Basic plan for €5.99/month will give you 30 days of cloud storage. Recorded events are 30 seconds in length. You can also download recorded events to your smartphone through the mobile app. The Premium plan, which costs €12.99, will throw in a mobile data plan in addition to 30-days of cloud storage. The data plan includes a Vodafone SIM card with EU-wide coverage. If you’re a Premium plan user and you go outside of Vodafone’s coverage area, the included SIM card will connect to a partner network, no extra charge.

  • Freemium – 0 Days – SD Storage – $0.00
  • Basic – 30 Days – €5.99
  • Premium- 30 Days – 500 Mobile Events – €12.99
  • Clip Download

Butterfleye

Butterfleye has both local and cloud storage. The camera includes free cloud storage that will keep up to 12 hour’s worth of footage. It also has built-in storage. The built-in storage can record video with or without an internet connection. It keeps things on the device (16gb) until you connect the camera to Wi-Fi. And when you do, it uploads footage to the cloud. The device can even connect directly to your smartphone without an internet connection.

Cloud videos are displayed within the app on the timeline. From the timeline, you can download videos, view them, edit them, or share them.

Butterfleye also sells several cloud plans. Starting at $4.99 per month for 7 days, $14.99 per month for 30 days, and finally, they have a plan which offers a full year of cloud storage.

  • Basic – 12 Hours Cloud – $0.00
  • 7 Days – $4.99
  • 30 Days – $14.99
  • Built-in local storage
  • Clip Download

FLARE

Little is known about FLARE’s subscription plan and what will be included for free versus what is part of their subscription service. We do know that they will have a service called BuddyReact. This service will connect your camera to a local security company. If you pay for this service, alerts will be sent to them and they will check-in on things should an alarm event occur. Currently, this service is only available in Germany and costs $17 per month. A second add-on will be BuddySIM. This service will add 4G backup for $5/month.

Finally, BuddlyCloud does include an undisclosed amount of free storage for events only. If you need more, you can upgrade to 10GB of cloud storage. Your videos will be stored in the cloud until you reach your storage limit or until the data is more than 90 days old. This service is rather affordable at $3 per month.

  • Some Free Cloud Storage Included
  • 10GB/90 Days Storage for $3 per month

Ring

  • 30-Day Free Trial
  • $3/month or $30/year
  • 60-Day Video History

Flex

Flex only records videos to the cloud. It can record an unlimited number of clips to the cloud from up to 4 cameras for free, but clips will only remain in the cloud for a limited time. The number of time clips that can stay in the cloud will be determined by how many cameras you have. If you have 1 camera, you will get 24-hours of cloud storage. After 24 hours, the oldest clips will be deleted. If you have 2 cameras, each will be able to keep videos in the cloud for 12 hours. If you have 3 cameras, they will be given 8 hours of cloud storage each. If you have 4 cameras, each will receive 6-hours of cloud storage.

You can also subscribe to Canary Membership, which will extend your cloud storage to 30-days. It will also provide a 2-year extended warranty on cameras and Incident Support. In the case of an incident, like theft or burglary, Incident Support provides a dedicated Canary agent to help you retrieve video evidence. Canary will also reimburse you up to $1,000 toward your insurance deductible if you’re a member and have a qualifying incident.

The cost of Canary Membership depends on the number of cameras you have. If you have 1 camera, it costs $9.99 a month or $99 per year. If you have 2-3 cameras, it costs $14.99/month or $149 per year. If you have 4 or more cameras, it will cost you $19.99/year plus $4.99/month/camera if you exceed 4 cameras.

  • Free Cloud Storage
  • Canary Membership- 30-Day Cloud Storage
  • Unlimited Clip Download

Pricing and Availability

Arlo Pro and Go

Arlo is available in the US, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, Korea, Holland, New Zealand, Norway, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden, and the UK (to name a few). To get started with Arlo, you will need to purchase a kit. A kit includes both a camera as well as the base station. A one camera kit sells for $159.99, a two camera kit for $299.99, a three camera kit for $449.99, and a five camera bundle sells for $625. After your initial purchase, you can purchase add-on cameras. One camera sells for $136.06. You can explore all of the options here.

To get started with Arlo Pro, you will also need to purchase a kit. A one-camera kit sells for $249.99, a two-camera kit for $419.99, a three-camera kit for $579.99, and a four camera bundle sells for $649.99. One add-on camera sells for $189.99. You can buy Arlo Pro here.

Arlo Go is currently available through Verizon. It sells for $399.99 or $349.99 with a 2-year contract. In addition to the cost of hardware, Arlo Go requires a data plan.

Homeboy

Homeboy is currently shipping to the EU, Australia, New Zealand, and the US. Getting started with Homeboy is easy – you buy a camera. There is no discount for purchasing multiple cameras, which is a shame as there is no limit to the number of cameras you can have. If you want to get started, you can purchase one camera for $189 direct from Homeboy.com.

Blink and Blink XT

Right now, Blink is available in the US, Canada, Mexico, and select European countries. To get started, you need to purchase a kit. For Blink (indoor only) the one camera kit sells for $99, two cameras for $149, three cameras for $199, and five cameras for $299. You can purchase standalone add-on cameras for $60 each. For Blink XT, the one camera kit sells for $129.99, three camera kit for $319.99, and an add-on camera for $119.99. Explore all of the options here.

Ulo

The current estimated delivery date for Ulo is late 2017, but my guess is that it will be later than that. The device ships worldwide and is currently selling for €169.00 for 1 camera.

FLIR FX

To get started, you can purchase the camera with the outdoor casing for $249.99, or you can buy it with the indoor stand for $199.99. They also sell two packs, which saves money. The two pack of outdoor cameras sells for $399.99 and the 2-pack of indoor cameras for $349.99. They also sell packs that include accessories, or you can purchase accessories separately. The camera is currently selling in the US and in Canada.

Panasonic Nubo

Nubo is only selling in Europe at the moment. You can sign up for their newsletter to find out when Nubo might launch in your country, or if you are in Europe, you can pre-order now. The device sells for €349.00, and you can buy the Nubo mount for €29.99. Discounts for multiple cameras? Not so much.

Butterfleye

Butterfleye is now available for $220 each or $547 for a set of 3 cameras. It ships to different parts of the world including Australia, Europe, parts of Asia, and of course, the US. Shipping fees may apply. You can place your order on their website.

FLARE

Flare is now available for purchase, but only in Europe. It currently sells for €399. It will be available worldwide in the future. However, some features, like professional security backup, will not be available. You can learn more at buddyguard.io.

Flex

Flex has started shipping to US residents. It will launch in Europe this year. You can order one now for $199 via Canary’s Website.

Stick Up Cam

Stick Up Cam ships to anywhere in the world, except UAE and Russia. Stick Up Cam costs $199 and you can place your order here.