Arlo Video Doorbell With BoxSource: Nick Sutrich / Android Central

Best answer: No, Arlo cameras do not require a subscription to operate and can store footage locally when paired with an Arlo base station. However, if you do subscribe to Arlo Smart, you'll get additional AI-powered motion detection options, cloud storage, and customizable motion zones.

Cover your whole home: Arlo Pro 4 ($200 at Best Buy)

What Arlo cameras can do without a subscription

Arlo makes some of the most capable smart cameras on the market, even if you're not looking to pay extra for a subscription. All of Arlo's cameras can connect to an Arlo Base Station — including the Arlo Video Doorbell — which enables better battery life, longer-range wireless connectivity, and the addition of local storage. Videos are stored on either USB sticks or SD cards, depending on which base station you have.

Newer Arlo cameras will only store footage locally for free. That means you'll need to have an Arlo Smart subscription in order to get cloud storage. If you've got an older Arlo camera, like the Arlo Pro 2, the free base Arlo plan includes the following:

  • Seven days of cloud recordings storage
  • Three months limited support
  • Five-camera limit
  • Motion alerts

Arlo Smart all the way

Arlo has simplified its Arlo Smart subscription plans substantially and now offers just two options: Premiere Plan and Elite Plan.

Arlo Smart PlansSource: Android Central

The difference in these plans boils down to video resolution. If you've got an Arlo Ultra or any other 4K Arlo camera, the Elite Plan is your best bet for storing that sweet ultra-high-definition footage on the cloud. Otherwise, the rest of Arlo's line only records in 2K or 1080p resolution, so you can subscribe to the Premiere Plan and save at least $5 per month.

Aside from the resolution difference, these two Arlo Smart plans both include:

  • Custom motion zones.
  • Person/package/vehicle/animal detection.
  • Enriched notifications that say what Arlo sees from your notification shade or lock screen and offer quick options like calling an emergency contact or activating your system's siren.

What about 24/7 video recording?

Arlo Pro 3 CamSource: Arlo

That 24/7 recording can only be used with certain Arlo cameras — Arlo Ultra, Pro 3, Pro 2, Q, Q Plus, or Baby camera — and if you want to record 24/7 video, you will need to add a CVR (Continuous Video Recording) plan to your camera in addition to an Arlo Smart plan. The recordings are not available for download or local backup; you have to have a CVR subscription and watch the video through the Arlo app or website.

  • $10/month/camera — 14 days 24/7 cloud recording
  • $20/month/camera — 30 days 24/7 cloud recording

CVR is a separate subscription from the regular Arlo subscriptions or Arlo Smart subscriptions.

Arlo has actually dropped the price of these plans over the years, which is a nice change from the usual subscription cost uptick that most companies have to do over time.

Our pick

Arlo Pro 4 Render

Arlo Pro 4

No base station required.

The Arlo Pro 4 is Arlo's latest and greatest camera, now with the ability to connect directly to your Wi-Fi instead of a base station.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.