If you have kids, pets, or even something valuable that could be stolen from your home, you are probably going to need an indoor security cam. Here’s how to pick the best indoor security camera for your home!
Find out more about smart home security problems and how to fix them.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Security Cameras
There are two key differences when it comes to indoor and outdoor security cameras: frame and functionality.
Basically, outdoor security cameras are purpose-built to withstand the outside world. You’ll find them sometimes buried in snow or splashed with rain, while you need to look around at night. The infrared detectors in these cameras aren’t free, either. Nor are the cameras’ durable casings.
On the other hand, indoor security cameras can have plastic casings. Some don’t have night vision capabilities, but they do have other features that are not available in outdoor security cameras.
Some indoor cameras have two-way audio, which lets you use them as speakers and microphones during a video call. They may also look a lot less bulkier – many of them could even fit in your palm!
Why You May Need an Indoor Security Camera
Suppose you already have a security camera system outside your house. Would it still make sense to have an indoor security camera?
While the answer is obviously “it depends,” adding an indoor camera wouldn’t hurt if it helps you keep your peace of mind.
Indoor cameras can help you cover blind spots from inside your home where outdoor security cams can’t see. Having a better viewing angle on peoples’ faces helps much when the police investigate break-ins.
Unlike outdoor cameras, indoor cameras can also serve many secondary uses. They’re always near you, after all, so it makes sense to give them functionalities that you can use.
Common uses for indoor cameras include pet and child monitoring. Some of the fanciest indoor cameras can track your pets down and notify you when they do something. They can also be used to play music and lullabies for sleeping babies.
Tip: if you have an unused Android smartphone, you can also turn it into a security camera.
Indoor Cameras in Smart Homes
Here’s the cool part about indoor security cameras: you can also use them in a smart home ecosystem. With machine vision and artificial intelligence, your smart home can tell if someone is in a certain room using your indoor camera’s feed.
This could be used as a prompt to do certain things, such as automatically switching the lights on and off. Some indoor camera models can even tell when you or a family member is around and can automatically switch recording off while you’re there.
You can also use indoor cameras as a smart webcam. Many modern models feature two-way audio, so you can speak to someone in another room and hear them talk back.
Choosing an Indoor Camera
When it comes to indoor cameras, price does not always mean quality. Some offer more functionality for a lower price.
Here are a few features to look for in an indoor camera:
- Resolution, field of view, night vision
- Battery capacity
- Motion sensing and person/pet detection
- Activity zone
- Recording and local/cloud storage
- Other nice-to-have features: air quality detection (Canary Pro), two-way audio, night light (Arlo Baby), face recognition (Google Nest Cam)
Some indoor cameras offer some of these but on a subscription-based model. The free version only offers the camera with some cloud capacity. Paying for the subscription unlocks AI features such as face detection and smart motion sensing.
Others have these built in to the devices themselves but tend to be more expensive as one-time purchases. Your choice should depend more on your budget.
Five Indoor Camera Characteristics to See If It Fits Your Needs
Some devices might be great or “best” in a general sense, but may not work much for your situation.
To make it easier to choose one, the following are five indoor camera characteristics you should consider when shopping for one:
- Location – some cameras allow mounting on metallic surfaces with magnetic bases. Others require concrete screws and a drill. Map out the best places in the room that maximize the camera’s field of view while providing easy access to electrical power.
- Privacy – hacking is always a risk when it comes to wireless networks. Password protection, cloud security, and 2FA may be great, but there are moments when not being connected to the Internet offers the best privacy. Other times, it’s just unnecessary overkill.
- Features – while more features are always welcome, never pay for features you’ll never use. Smart integration is nice, but it’s just a waste of money if you are not using it.
- Price – while price and features go hand in hand, so do subscription policies. You can do the math by computing the long term cost of recurring subscriptions throughout the time you plan to use the product to compare.
- Ecosystem – smart integration is a big deal. Some devices might only work with Apple HomeKit. That would be a terrible purchase if you’re using anything else beside HomeKit.
Read on to see our best picks.
Our Pick of the Best Indoor Security Cameras
Best Resolution – Eufy Solo IndoorCam C24
An outlier with 2K resolution video recording, the Eufy Solo IndoorCam C24, is like a hawk in a machine. It sees you clearly and hears your voice with its wide-range two-way audio components. This indoor camera can also connect to Apple HomeKit and Google Home, letting you use it with a smart hub for an even smarter home.
- 2K resolution video recording
- Can connect to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
- Has two-way audio, crying detection, motion sensor, and night vision
- Does not have its own data storage
- No battery
Versatile Installation – Eve Cam
With an optional magnetic base and image rotation, the Eve Cam does great in tight spaces. It doesn’t matter if it’s upside-down, as you can always set the feed right side up. The firmware also gets free upgrades every now and then, giving you more bang for the buck.
- Image rotation
- Has a magnetic base for installing on metallic surfaces
- Motion sensor
- Integration with Apple iCloud
- Easily upgradeable firmware
- SD card slot
- Low sensitivity motion sensor
- No battery
- Needs a home hub
Best Functional Tiny Cam – Ring Indoor Camera
With its tiny frame, the Ring Indoor Camera packs quite a lot of stuff in there – and it fits well on a tiny budget. It’s also quite easy to install – this indoor camera was meant to be moved around all over the house. It can connect to Alexa, letting you look at its live feed anytime and anywhere.
- Really tiny frame
- Has night vision and two-way audio with noise cancellation
- Can connect to WiFi
- No battery
- No pan and tilt unless you buy the pan tilt mount
- No physical zoom
Alternative: if you are shopping for a Ring doorbell, check out its alternatives.
Best Budget Smart Cam – Wyze Cam v3
A budget pick that you can’t be wrong is the Wyze Cam v3. It has a microSD card slot to save your recordings even when the Internet’s down. It’s also sturdy enough that you can place it near windows and other places that could get drenched with rain. Subscribing to the premium plan gives it AI capabilities, smart sensing, and allows it to send you notifications about things that happen inside the house.
- MicroSD card storage
- Weather-resistant – both indoor and outdoor ]
- Is battery-powered
- Lower-quality video resolution
- Does not support HomeKit
Fits Any Home – Google Nest Cam
It might sound like an exaggeration to say that the Google Nest Cam fits every home with its design, but it really does. And it’s even a decent deal for its price range, as long as you have internet 24/7. The only problem with the Google Nest Cam is that you lose
all the good features when there’s no internet. Even the 1-hour local backup storage doesn’t help when you’re looking where your dog hid the chew toy 2 hours ago while you were sleeping.
- Built-in person-, animal-, and vehicle-detecting software
- Wired and battery versions
- Motion sensor, two-way audio, and night recording
- Sleek design
- No built-in SD card storage
- Can’t really work without the Internet
Best Night Vision – Logitech Circle View
Among all the indoor smart cameras on this list, the Logitech Circle View offers the best night vision. As long as there is a tiny light source, you can expect at least some color in the feed, helping police identify who broke into your house in the middle of a quiet night. It also brings 24-hour cloud storage into the deal, giving you decent temporary storage without having to pay more for a cloud subscription or SD card.
- 180° field of view
- Full-color night vision
- Works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
- Free 24-hour cloud storage
- Requires an Apple HomeKit
Best Sensors – Canary Pro
A miner’s canary but in camera form. The Canary Pro is more than just a smart camera: it can sense the temperature, humidity, and air quality in the room it’s in. Perhaps the bigger problem with this is that it’s just too good at its job – it sometimes gives you false alerts over subtle differences in air quality.
- Humidity, temperature, and air quality sensor
- Motion sensors, two-way audio, night vision, and 10x zoom
- 147° FoV
- False alerts
- No memory card slot
- Requires an Internet connection to work
- No pan or tilt
Best Baby Camera – Arlo Baby
Looking for a cute baby camera that gives live updates on your baby? Arlo Baby has your back. It lets you connect to the Internet; listen to your kids giggle, cry, or squeal; and play lullabies through the two-way speaker.
- Cute design
- Two-way audio
- Free cloud storage up to weven days with optional subscription
- Works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
- Dim infrared LEDs for viewing in the dark without disturbing baby sleep
- Free cloud storage only supports up to five cameras
- Multiple Arlo Baby cameras may cause feedback
- Degrees of pan and tilt too small
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens to my indoor camera when it gets suddenly cut off from electricity?
Most indoor cameras run on a battery (or an emergency battery) that can last anywhere between one hour to a few days. If you are using NVRs or DVRs, they’ll just draw power from there. But if they don’t have batteries or any other backup power source, they’ll keep recording until all the power in their components die. Indoor cameras don’t break from sudden power interruptions.
What is Power over Ethernet (PoE)?
Power over Ethernet is a method of powering devices through an Ethernet cable. A PoE-capable Ethernet switch should be on the other side of this cable to make it work. Some indoor cameras can be powered through PoE.
Can I use an indoor camera outside?
Even though it’s a bad idea, no one’s going to stop you from using an indoor camera outside the house. And it shouldn’t break on the first few days of being used outside. That said, indoor security cameras tend to have really bad housings. They’re not exactly rain-proof, nor are they made to be snow-proof.
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