How to Pick the Best Solar Security Camera

best solar security camera

How to Pick the Best Solar Security Camera

A solar security camera monitors your property without a wired connection to the home. These cameras send alerts and allow real-time monitoring from a smartphone app. They connect over WiFi or 4G (and sometimes 5G) networks and feature motion sensors.

They are easy to install in a DIY fashion and often rival regular cameras in video performance. Choosing the best one depends on several factors, including power source, storage capacity, and connectivity.

Reolink Argus 3 Pro

This battery-powered security camera is a good choice for homeowners who don’t want to worry about a subscription 4g solar security camera cost. It has 2K 4MP resolution and a built-in spotlight that lights up whenever motion is detected. You can also customize audio alerts and record to a micro SD card (up to 128GB) or store events in Reolink’s cloud.

It’s the only camera in our best solar security cameras list that doesn’t require a monthly fee. You can choose between local storage via a microSD slot or pay $10 or less per month for versatile cloud-based storage.

Setup is quick and simple with the Reolink app, which uses a QR code to establish a Wi-Fi connection and then guides you through connecting your camera. It’s also easy to attach a Reolink solar panel ($30) for continuous power, which cuts down on the number of times you need to unmount and remount the camera each year.

The Reolink Argus 3 Pro has a six-month warranty, which is double the length of most battery-powered security cameras. It’s also waterproof and has a case that channels rain away from sensitive openings. This makes it a good choice for homes in rainy climates where you’d need to swap out batteries or keep the camera indoors if it was rained on. Its 6,500mAh battery can be charged in about 10 minutes with the solar panel attached.

Ring Stick-Up Cam

Most people know Ring as the company behind the popular Ring doorbell, but it also makes regular security cameras. Its affordable $100 model packs in 1080p video and infrared night vision, as well as privacy zones and two-way audio. Its motion settings are easy to tweak and it works with Amazon Alexa devices (though Ring is owned by Amazon, so you’ll be on #TeamAlexa).

The app is user-friendly and offers a wide array of features, including Bird’s Eye View that shows a map of your property in a picture-in-picture window. If you add on the optional Protect subscription, the camera’s person alerts are good at recognizing faces and can differentiate them from pets or inanimate objects.

While the recorded video quality isn’t up to par with a high-end smartphone, it still delivers bright colors and crisp borders. The camera is weather-resistant and can work in temperatures from negative five to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to go green, Ring has a similar model that includes a solar panel for nonstop power and can be charged on an AC adapter or battery.

We tested a version with an AC adapter that lets you charge the camera on any standard outlet, but there’s a third option that bundles the model with a solar panel and doesn’t require wiring (although it will need a direct sunlight spot). For such a budget-friendly model, it offers a solid set of features and a flexible design.

Arlo Pro 4

Arlo’s latest camera is a step up from the previous model, with higher resolution and helpful features that reduce unwanted alerts. It also adds the ability to control the camera with voice commands and a smart hub for full home integration. Like its predecessor, the Pro 4 is a weather-resistant wire-free cam with 2K video resolution and HDR, a 160-degree field of view, an integrated spotlight, two-way audio, and a siren. It supports Apple HomeKit, Alexa, and Google Assistant, and works with Samsung SmartThings. It connects directly to Wi-Fi for easier setup as a stand-alone camera without the need for a base station.

In addition to the usual motion detection, activity zones, and device-specific notifications, the Pro 4 also includes a feature that can identify the contents of incoming packages. While not as accurate as the category-specific granularity of Ring’s Rich Notifications, this is still a useful tool for homeowners who receive a lot of mail on a weekly or daily basis.

The Pro 4 is a sturdy, well-built camera. It’s a bit heftier than others in the market, and its bottom release clicks satisfyingly when you press it to remove the body from its shell and swap in a new battery (you can purchase an optional magnetic charging cable for easier swapping). A proprietary USB cable attaches to the camera and plugs into the charging dock.

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera

The SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera is a solid choice for homeowners looking to expand their home security systems into the yard and driveway. Its standout features include a super-easy installation, 1080p video and a nighttime spotlight that captures full color footage. The battery also lasts for three to six months and recharges in about 6 hours. And it works in all kinds of weather, including snow and rain. The company offers a variety of deals and discounts throughout the year. For example, this Father’s Day, it offered all of its systems for 25 percent off and threw in a free camera.

Like other outdoor cameras, this model offers two-way audio and a wide field of view, which can deter would-be intruders and catch them in the act. But it falls short of the top picks in one key area: 24/7 recording. That’s because the camera only stores video footage cctv cameras factory if you have a SimpliSafe Self Monitoring with Cameras or Fast Protect plan.

Another minor downside is that it doesn’t work with smart platforms, such as Alexa or Apple Homekit. But you can install a third-party hub to make it compatible. Finally, we wish it allowed you to create multiple activity zones, which can help reduce clogging of your notifications (you get a lot of them when the camera is pointed at busy areas). However, this feature is coming soon.

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