The best budget security cameras of 2020 – CNET

Some of the security cameras I recommend are expensive, but there are a handful of awesome options that cost a lot less. Here’s my curated list of the best cheap security cameras priced at or under $100. These three cheap home security cameras range a lot in terms of features and functionality, but I recommend them all. 

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You really can’t beat the Wyze Cam if you’re looking for an affordable security camera system with solid performance. Here’s the gist:

  • It costs $20
  • It comes with two weeks of free cloud storage
  • The camera has optional local storage via a built-in microSD card slot
  • You can set a custom motion detection zone for free 

These things combined make the Wyze Cam surveillance system hard to match. Yes, it’s indoor-only and the app isn’t perfect, but the Wyze Cam is an excellent choice if you want a live streaming indoor camera that works well for less. It also works with Alexa voice commands — and Wyze’s other devices. 

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Tend Secure’s Lynx indoor camera (now called the Indoor 2 camera) will set you back $60. This indoor cam has all of the regular features of a typical home security camera, like live streaming, motion detection and night vision. But this indoor security camera also comes with free seven-day video clip storage and free facial recognition capabilities. 

Use the app to build a custom database of friends, family members, and any other regular visitors (although with social distancing in full effect, visitors are probably at a minimum right now). Then the camera will detect faces and send alerts to your phone to let you know it just saw, “Dave” or “Molly.” The performance of the camera’s facial recognition improves over time, too, with use.

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The Blink XT2 starter kit comes with one Blink XT2 camera and a required Wi-Fi module — all for $100. After that, any additional XT2 camera you buy costs for the camera system $90. (It seems like it should be less than that since the Wi-Fi module retails alone for $50, but it’s still a good deal.)

The camera itself is battery-powered and runs on two AA lithium-metal batteries. It’s designed to last for up to two years. So far, the XT2 I’m testing long-term has been running, uninterrupted, since last July. It also has free video storage that you can view in the Blink app. 

Blink’s XT2 camera is weather resistant, so you can place it anywhere outside as an outdoor camera (as long as it’s within Wi-Fi range). The one I’m testing as an outdoor camera has survived 100-plus-degree days, snow, hail and regular ol’ storms. A wind gust knocked it off the second-story deck at the CNET Smart Home — and it was fine. 

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