Nest makes great Wi-Fi-connected security cameras, but their high prices push many customers to seek the best cheap Nest Cam alternatives. Until the new 2021 Nest Cams arrive, you're stuck with the current Nest Cam Indoor (IQ) and Nest Cam Outdoor, all of which are several years old and pretty expensive compared to more recent rival cameras. Whether you're after the absolute cheapest camera you can buy or something with just as many features as Nest for a little less, we've got you covered. Here are some of our favorite Nest alternatives.
Ring's Indoor Cam captures 1080p video with customizable motion zones, night vision, and two-way audio. You can stream your video feed directly on an Alexa-powered smart display like the Echo Show, and the Ring Protect service lets you keep a timeline of previous motion-triggered recordings. As a cheap Nest Cam Indoor alternative, it comes close in specs at about half the price of the cheapest Nest camera.
Best cheap indoor/outdoor camera
Wyze cameras prove that security cameras can have excellent specs without an inflated price tag. It has a starlight CMOS for color night vision with enough ambient light; free 14-day cloud storage for short clips; a 130-degree field-of-view (FOV); two-way audio; AI person detection (with a subscription); compatibility with Alexa and Google Home; and water resistance. Its main downside is its short power cable, but you can buy an extender.
Best cheap wireless outdoor camera
The Arlo Essential has the same 1080p resolution with 130-degree FOV, two-way audio, and IP65 water resistance compared to the pricier Nest Outdoor. It even has stronger zoom and runs on battery instead of needing a power cord — though it lacks the Nest's sound detection and has fewer spotlight LEDs for night vision. Nevertheless, this Nest alternative will let you buy more and place them without worrying about finding a nearby outlet.
Best full-room coverage
Eufy jam-packed its indoor cams with great features. It has a microSD storage slot, is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit, allows prerecorded messages to trigger when a human or pet enters a specific zone, can differentiate between humans, pets, and objects (without needing a subscription), and can film 24/7 in 2K resolution. The pan & tilt model does all this and can spin a full 360º horizontal and 96º vertical, following detected movement automatically.
Best installation versatility
Ring's Stick Up Cam looks and performs almost identically to the Indoor Cam, but the higher price tag gives you weather resistance and more flexibility for where you can place it. Choose between the optional rechargeable battery, plug-in power, power over ethernet (PoE), or solar panels that keep your wireless cam constantly charged. Of course, it still works with Alexa and streams to Alexa-capable smart displays in 1080p at 30FPS.
Best free service
The Arlo Q is yet another 1080p security camera with motion alerts and night vision. It's compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and has two-way audio. It can record continuous 24/7 video with a paid subscription, but the real highlight feature is the free Arlo Basic service, which saves a full week's worth of footage for up to five cameras. As old as the Nest Cam Indoor, the Arlo Q is best bought on sale at this point.
A tiny steal
Blink's first indoor camera has fairly run-of-the-mill specs: wired power, 1080p video, two-way audio, 110º FOV, night vision, and motion alerts at a bargain price. However, it stands apart with its native Alexa support, letting you play clips or pull up live views of specific cams or turn Minis on and off through voice commands. Cloud storage is no longer free, unfortunately, but there is a local storage option.
Best wide-angle option
Canary makes higher-end cameras, but the View is easily affordable and feature-packed enough for most homes. The wide-angle (147-degree) lens covers all but the largest rooms, and you, of course, get 1080p video with night vision. The built-in speaker sounds great for two-way audio (though you'll need a premium subscription to use it), and the Emergency Call button in the app immediately calls the local police.
Best long battery life
The Blink Outdoor has respectable but unremarkable specs in most areas: 1080p resolution at up to 30FPS, weather resistance, two-way audio, and Alexa support. Its biggest draw for us is its estimated two years of battery life off of two AA batteries, so you'll rarely need to swap them out. It requires a hub that ships with the Blink Outdoor, but the hub enables local storage. Blink's main downside compared to Nest Outdoor is the lack of AI smarts for detection, but you can't have everything for half the price.
Best mobile surveillance
With 120-degree FOV, 360-degree rotating coverage, and 93-degree vertical, the Wyze Cam Pan will fully protect your home from every vantage. It has a Pan Scan mode where it periodically switches between four different custom waypoints in your room, along with motion tracking; the Eufy Pan & Tilt can follow motion but will otherwise stare straight ahead unless moved manually. You also get free 14-day cloud storage, a local storage slot, and other useful tools.
Super low price
If you want to fill your home with cameras for cheap and don't mind paying for an annual subscription, then these cameras could be a very cheap Nest alternative. They feature AI detection, a respectable 112-degree FOV, 8 IR LEDs, Alexa support, and other useful tools. But you'll only get 6-second recordings to the cloud for free, and the company disabled microSD recording without paying a subscription for the privilege. That last action makes this camera harder to recommend, but we include it for people to decide for themselves.
Cool cloud storage features
The Circle 2 is a 1080p security camera with a wide-angle lens and night vision rated for visibility up to 15 feet. You'll need a subscription for person detection and motion zones, but you can get up to 60-second motion recordings for free to the cloud that stick around for 1 day. There's also a convenient day brief feature that condenses the last 24 hours into a 30-second time-lapse, so you don't have to scrub through hours of footage. It's almost as expensive as the Nest Cam Outdoor and doesn't have amazing battery life, but shoppers looking for wireless security should consider it.
The best cheap Nest Cam alternatives
When they first launched, Nest cameras led the industry, and their specs still hold up despite the passage of time. But since then, the market for connected security cameras has become saturated with cheaper competing cameras with similar specs and features. Finding the best cheap Nest Cam alternatives has only gotten easier over time; it's choosing the best one that can be a challenge.
First, consider which smart home products you already own. For example, if you already own a Ring Doorbell, the Ring Indoor Cam or Ring Stick Up Cam are natural purchases. They'll all be controllable from the same app, and one Ring Protect subscription will augment all of their performance. And certain companies, like the Amazon-owned Blink, work especially well with specific smart speakers.
Then think about how many you want to buy and where you'll place them. The Ring Stick Up Cam gives you plenty of versatility, but if you know you'll place your camera near an outlet, a Wyze Cam v3 will save you a good deal of money for similar performance. Of course, a single Wyze Cam Pan or Eufy Indoor Cam 2K Pan & Tilt can cover the same ground as two cheap indoor cameras.
Wireless cameras are best for placing cameras higher up with no unsightly charging cable giving them away, but also consider battery life: the Blink Outdoor or Ring Stick Up Solar are solid choices there. Also, think about whether your wireless camera will use a hub for local storage or if you'll have to rely on cloud storage fees, which add up over time.
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Hayato was a product reviewer and video editor for Android Central.