Home & Garden

Best Outdoor Smart Security Camera for House?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 4th, 2019 7:17 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
Mar 12, 2017
864 posts
2043 upvotes

Best Outdoor Smart Security Camera for House?

I've spent countless hours online the last few days trying to find the perfect smart security camera and am utterly confused.

It seems the ideal solution for me is not available.

I'd like to maintain the exterior light fixtures at the front of the house, ideally would like to avoid paying a high subscription fee, and want it to look good with no visible wiring (and no new wiring through the walls). I'm planning on starting with one camera at the front of the house (porch) with room to expand to the rear as well down the road.

I like the idea of hard wiring a security camera to the original junction box of the light by the front door, and since I want to maintain a light fixture on my front porch and above the garages, the only option that would work is the Maximus camera that replaces the lights with a built in camera + companion lights for the garage fixtures that work in unison. The issue with this is that I don't love the look of the lights themselves but more importantly, the subscription cost is a must and is expensive ($10USD a month) to keep footage in the cloud. It's about $400 for the camera fixture + 2 accompanying cameras. The ring spotlight looked like a good option, but I don't like the look of the 5000K light which takes away from the fixture look. I'd also need to install smart bulbs for the garage fixtures and with my wifi connection at the other end of the house, it'll become a complicated system that may not work reliably.

I didn't want battery options but now I'm considering it, so I can leave all of my house light fixtures as is and just install the camera to the wall nice and clean. The Arlo Pro 2 looks good (and on sale now), but I heard horrible reviews with our cold Canadian winters, that the battery dies crazy fast because of this, as well as the fact that you can't create motion spots/regions to avoid it being triggered on every time a car drives by (this feature only works if it's plugged in, which would look horrible having a cord to the electrical outlet below). I also like the idea of having a central hub by the router to extend the range like the Arlo offers, and that you don't need a subscription.

So I'm completely stumped. Any suggestions? I want to avoid a fully wired professionally installed system and want to keep it as simple and clean as possible. I love the idea of using my porch light's existing junction box, but so far the options I'm aware of don't work for the reasons stated above. I'm open to the battery options but am concerned with the longevity with our cold climates. Is there an ideal solution here?

Edit: Also was considering just getting the ring doorbell, but the builder mounted my doorbell sideways and facing towards my neighbour's house. I realize I can get wedges to angle it 45 degrees, but it will still be facing towards my neighbours house rather than towards my garage and driveway (which it would have had it been mounted on the other side of the door frame).
23 replies
Deal Addict
Jul 29, 2006
3908 posts
726 upvotes
What kind of exterior light fixture do you have?
Deal Addict
Dec 9, 2003
4725 posts
629 upvotes
Calgary
As above, fish a power line or a cat6 cable (for POE) is best option. If not:

Leave the light "permanently"switched on at the switch

Connect camera power to the line at the light

Replace the light bulb with a photocell activated bulb
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Member
Dec 11, 2013
270 posts
152 upvotes
Victoria
I installed Ring Spot hardwired cameras at the front and rear doors where there were lights before. The light switches are blanked now and they are always powered. I can speak to visitors and the raccoons easily. Overall they are good and I would recommend them. They also have a floodlight model.
Deal Fanatic
Jun 17, 2013
5120 posts
1491 upvotes
Montreal
Blink XT is a good option. They were just on sale for 40 percent off... Perhaps they will again.

Free subscription. Who knows for how long. But worth a shot.

Another bonus is you can use them for now and upgrade later to a better setup. And when you do you can keep the blinks up for redundancy.
Deal Addict
Oct 29, 2004
1183 posts
79 upvotes
GTA
The Kuna Maximus lights are fantastic. I don't know why other manufacturers don't make replacement lights like this. It's the cleanest and most professional look available. No additional wires, gadgets, etc. Just replace the light housing and you have the camera functionality.

Motion detection is good, software is fantastic (better than Arlo by a mile). You mentioned you don't like how they look, so maybe that's a dealbreaker, but for me the dealbreaker for other solutions was having to stick a separate ugly camera by my front door.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Mar 12, 2017
864 posts
2043 upvotes
Thanks for the input so far.
soupmaster666 wrote:
Dec 29th, 2018 9:54 pm
Since you already have a hole in your brick (the junction box for your light), adding another above or below it and fishing power through the stud gap would probably be very easy. It's worth considering.

Good cameras consume power. Sadly a battery operated camera that claims to last 3 months will either have a massive battery, or massive sacrifices.

I refuse pay a subscription fee myself but I understand why some people do. I spent $50 once for a copy of Blue Iris running off of an old laptop and it's working amazingly for three 2MP cameras.
Thanks for the suggestion. Exactly what my concerns were with the battery option like the Arlo. Otherwise it seems to check off all the pros on what I want in a camera. My hesitancy with drilling new holes and trying to run wires is the unexpected issues that might arise that would complicate things or stop me from being able to run the wire as planned... and I wouldn't know until I've drilled the hole.
Cough wrote:
Dec 29th, 2018 11:49 pm
As above, fish a power line or a cat6 cable (for POE) is best option. If not:

Leave the light "permanently"switched on at the switch

Connect camera power to the line at the light

Replace the light bulb with a photocell activated bulb
What's POE? I had the builder put in 3 CAT 6 lines in different locations when the house was built since the Bell router is in the basement (2 on the main floor and 1 upstairs centre of house), and wish I'd thought of this before. I could have had them run one more wire to the front of the house for the security camera.

I've currently turned the WIFI signal off on the Bell modem/router in the basement and have a TP link router connected to it (as an access point) via one of the CAT6 outlets in the family room at the back of the house by the TV. This is giving me a much better signal throughout the entire house than the Bell modem/router was giving me in the basement. But it is at the far end of where I'll be installing the front porch security camera so the WIFI signal may be on the low side if I do go with a WIFI cam. This is why I liked the Arlo, because I can plug the Wifi Hub off the Bell modem which is in the basement at the front of the house, and likely get a much stronger signal.
bob5593 wrote:
Dec 30th, 2018 3:12 am
I installed Ring Spot hardwired cameras at the front and rear doors where there were lights before. The light switches are blanked now and they are always powered. I can speak to visitors and the raccoons easily. Overall they are good and I would recommend them. They also have a floodlight model.
This is what I was thinking originally. I just don't like the idea of losing the look of a light fixture completely for the front porch.
MrEmoji wrote:
Dec 30th, 2018 7:37 am
Blink XT is a good option. They were just on sale for 40 percent off... Perhaps they will again.

Free subscription. Who knows for how long. But worth a shot.

Another bonus is you can use them for now and upgrade later to a better setup. And when you do you can keep the blinks up for redundancy.
These look interesting as well... only since they're battery powered it looks like I'd run into the same issue as the Arlo with fast power drain over the winter especially. Does this one have the ability to setup motion detection zones even when it's not plugged in unlike the Arlo? If it does, this would help it from not getting triggered every time a car drives by on the street. Also, it looks like this doesn't use a hub like Arlo, which may give me a spotty WIFI signal because of my router location as mentioned above.
slim_shady wrote:
Dec 30th, 2018 8:41 am
The Kuna Maximus lights are fantastic. I don't know why other manufacturers don't make replacement lights like this. It's the cleanest and most professional look available. No additional wires, gadgets, etc. Just replace the light housing and you have the camera functionality.

Motion detection is good, software is fantastic (better than Arlo by a mile). You mentioned you don't like how they look, so maybe that's a dealbreaker, but for me the dealbreaker for other solutions was having to stick a separate ugly camera by my front door.
This was the top contender for sure. I can live with the looks of the style but the thing that gets me is the highest subscription service of them all ($10 USD/month).
Last edited by Krime1k on Dec 30th, 2018 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Mar 12, 2017
864 posts
2043 upvotes
nx6288 wrote:
Dec 29th, 2018 11:09 pm
What kind of exterior light fixture do you have?
Here's the current setup. Front porch and above garage. I plan to replace the fixtures with upgraded ones down the line, and then installing a smart switch so I can set all front fixtures to turn on and off on a schedule.

Note the tight location of the fixture, which doesn't leave me with too much room for replacement options.
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Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Sep 1, 2005
7445 posts
2673 upvotes
Markham
Mount a block of wood or something (to change the angle) where your doorbell is and install a Nest Hello. You get security camera and a motion detector and a smart doorbell camera. There is a subscription bullet though...$50/yr.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
Member
Dec 11, 2013
270 posts
152 upvotes
Victoria
Have you considered angle mounts made for ring and nest doorbell cameras? That may solve your front door issue. Available on Amazon.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Mar 12, 2017
864 posts
2043 upvotes
gr8dlr wrote:
Dec 30th, 2018 3:35 pm
Mount a block of wood or something (to change the angle) where your doorbell is and install a Nest Hello. You get security camera and a motion detector and a smart doorbell camera. There is a subscription bullet though...$50/yr.
This does seem like the best solution for my needs. The frustrating part is that they mounted the doorbell on the left side of the door instead of the right. With the driveway and garage on the left, I'd like to see as much around the corner as possible to see what's up on my driveway since I park my car there.
bob5593 wrote:
Dec 30th, 2018 5:50 pm
Have you considered angle mounts made for ring and nest doorbell cameras? That may solve your front door issue. Available on Amazon.
I saw the Ring sells a 45 degree wedge which is probably the best if I don't build a DIY wedge. Looking at the Nest, there are some on Amazon but they seem to expose wires which isn't great.

Reading up, it looks like the Nest Hello is better reviewed than the Ring, but it only has an operating temp of -10c which seems like it would be useless for our winters. Anyone have experience with one over the winter?
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May 27, 2007
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Krime1k wrote:
Dec 30th, 2018 6:24 pm
This does seem like the best solution for my needs. The frustrating part is that they mounted the doorbell on the left side of the door instead of the right. With the driveway and garage on the left, I'd like to see as much around the corner as possible to see what's up on my driveway since I park my car there.



I saw the Ring sells a 45 degree wedge which is probably the best if I don't build a DIY wedge. Looking at the Nest, there are some on Amazon but they seem to expose wires which isn't great.

Reading up, it looks like the Nest Hello is better reviewed than the Ring, but it only has an operating temp of -10c which seems like it would be useless for our winters. Anyone have experience with one over the winter?
I have a Nest Hello, its working fine. I bought it over the Ring due to aesthetics, better software, and better viewing angle (tall vs wide).
Keep in mind the device generates heat, hence in the winter it can be -20 outside, but the actual doorbell will be much warmer.
Just note that it does have a subscription ($50/yr) and take up a lot of bandwidth due to constant recording.
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Oct 29, 2004
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Krime1k wrote:
Dec 30th, 2018 1:51 pm
This was the top contender for sure. I can live with the looks of the style but the thing that gets me is the highest subscription service of them all ($10 USD/month).
I got my Kuna Maximus cameras through Costco, which includes a free 6 month trial and it was enough to convince me that it's worth the price (for me). I have two Kuna Maximus cameras but only pay for the $5/mo subscription (I don't need clip recording for my second camera). If you need clip storage for more than one camera I agree... Kuna Premium is priced a little high for anything beyond the 1 camera package.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Mar 12, 2017
864 posts
2043 upvotes
slim_shady wrote:
Dec 31st, 2018 7:11 am
I got my Kuna Maximus cameras through Costco, which includes a free 6 month trial and it was enough to convince me that it's worth the price (for me). I have two Kuna Maximus cameras but only pay for the $5/mo subscription (I don't need clip recording for my second camera). If you need clip storage for more than one camera I agree... Kuna Premium is priced a little high for anything beyond the 1 camera package.
That's good to know there is a $5 a month plan which is comparable to the nest.
Newbie
Sep 18, 2017
80 posts
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GVRD
Thanks All....
What timing.
I've been scouring for a forum on this too.
The subject only came about when my neighbour showed me on his phone a video clip of a prowler/burglar checking his cars in the carport for unlocked doors.
I bought the Coscto Lorex 6 wifi camera bundle for $399.99 but have yet to install.
Wanted to read up on other experiences before opening and installing.
He chose the Arlo system. Not sure if it was the Pro.

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