Let’s face it, security cameras are everywhere, and for a darn good reason!
Monitoring the entrance points, primarily external doors and ground-floor windows of your home or business place will make most criminals flee in terror.
Those that are more brave and foolish will succumb to identification, motion sensors and a quick alert on your electronic device which you will hopefully make the police aware of as soon as possible.
But while having a security camera sounds jazzy and marvelous, the real challenge is finding the right one for your requirements.
- Do you need a camera with wide lens or perhaps a bullet camera that is more long-distance?
- What are the weather conditions like? If the weather in your area is harsh, you’ll need a camera with a strong encasing and great resolution to capture great footage even in heavy rain.
- What is your budget, how many cameras do you want to install?
- Do you want a wireless battery-powered camera (perhaps solar) or a wired one?
These are all important questions that I was asking myself while reviewing the best-selling security cameras on the market. These 10 proved to be the best choices under $100 and they can stand up to many more expensive cams as well in terms of all the important features (image resolution, WiFi connectivity, motion sensor, lens quality etc.).
I encourage you to read my review for each one of these ten fine cameras to pinpoint the one whose features you need and/or admire the most. While I didn’t provide the exact price (because prices change all the time), I’ve provided an Amazon link for each camera so you can check the current price and other information for yourself (clicking the image will also take you to the product page).
Without further ado, let’s check em out!
#1 Zumimall Wireless Outdoor Wifi Security Camera
I used to think that the only way I can get any reliable connection for my Security camera was through sturdy malleable copper wires. I thought that it promised consistent delivery of signals and the reliability factor. The thing is, they sometimes do get in the way and sometimes become an eyesore. That is if you don’t have any means of putting them in between the walls.
Going 100% wireless with Zumimall Outdoor Security Camera not only enhanced my field of vision it also lasted longer with its Ultra-Long Standby time of 3-6 months.
The wireless features of this camera allow it to be placed in hard to reach places. With its 1080 p resolution and IR Night vision, it gives a 120-degree view with a maximum of 55 feet night vision range. I could actually see our dog’s belly rise and fall as he breathes and sleeps from about 20 feet away from the house.
The Zumimall Security camera also includes improved PIR motion detection and notification alert. Its all-new feature of adjusting the sensitivity of the motion detector allows the camera to be sensitive enough, but not too sensitive for false alarms like moths and tree branches. And I had this misconception in the past that anything to do with wireless or the internet is strictly indoors and fragile.
Its strong housing can withstand some of the harshest weather conditions along with a crisp picture.
- This camera brand is more known for its excellent resolution in night visibility. This is crucial for any decent company that makes such cameras.
- With its new gray color, it makes it an ambiguous object against the house backdrop. It detects everything even before a possible intruder can figure out that the place is being monitored.
- A known issue about this camera being able to detect motion but then records a split-second too late. This needs to be looked into by the manufacturer.
#2 Hawkray Wireless Outdoor Security Camera
This item has a 1080P resolution with night vision that can rival any camera in its class. It provides pictures so crisp, and a range that is so powerful it could see 64 feet into the dark. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to adjust it from the ambient light level to a fixed day or fixed night vision image. It does come in automatic too.
This camera has a 6700mAh battery that can wake up as much as 1000 times when charged fully, This is so that whether I placed it inside or outside the house, it performed consistently. The PIR and motion detector feature filters out invalid alerts, such as a squirrel or even my neighbor’s cat.
With a two-way talking feature on its app Cloudedge, I can now talk to my youngest daughter over the internet with clear crisp calls. Installing this camera was so simple and it required no special tools. It had a magnetic bracket screw and double-sided adhesive that can virtually stick anywhere provided that it was dry. The best part for me is the 180-day money-back guarantee where you won’t have to worry about returning the item in case of a factory defect.
- It has a pretty tough housing and was actually accidentally dropped about 5 feet to a carpet. Not surprisingly, it didn’t break.
- For a price that is much cheaper than some cameras in its class, a 1080p resolution is already value for money. It has great detail during the day and decent images in night vision.
- The unit itself is easy to set up, no special tools needed.
- The battery lasted for a week with a 64% charge left to spare.
- It’s easy to configure when setting up software.
- There are some known issues with the motion detection feature of this camera that can trigger a false alert. Even a small leaf blowing past through the camera may deliver an alarm.
#3 Zumimall Wireless Wifi Camera
This camera is simple and convenient to install. No wires and it is powered by a 6000mAh battery that can actually last anywhere from 2-5 months. No more continuous charging, and it only took me around five minutes to install it in my little girl’s room. It looks compact, clean and unobtrusive.
With its 130-degree wide view angle, you can also use it as a communication device where you can speak through it in case the delivery boy is at the door. Equipped with PIR motion detection and night vision, it allows for up to 32 feet of motion detection action. It works 24 hours a day and stores up to 128 GB of recording. I just wish they’d throw in the SD card for free.
Checking out the resolution of the camera, I saw TV grade pictures of the outside of my house at 1080P HD, It was exceptionally detailed and clear. The camera housing itself is surprisingly robust and even weather poof. I bet this thing can record a blizzard, but that may just be an exaggeration.
- Very easy to physically install and configure. After downloading the app I turned on the camera and the app immediately recognized it. After going through a few more steps, it was already up and running. I was able to mount the camera on the wall without even having to drill holes. That was a great load off my back.
- One of the advantages of having a WiFi camera on an independent rechargeable battery is that I was able to move it around without having to worry if an electrical socket was nearby. As a result, the got the camera was placed at the most strategic spaces in and outside the house.
- For something significantly inexpensive, this a powerhouse of value for money.
- The manufacturer has to work on the delay in the motion detector feature and the recording process. Apparently, it takes about 20 seconds before the camera records whenever the alert goes on.
I guess this is what I can say the ultimate in autonomous security where I can “install and forget” the system. I did exactly just that. With its solar panel just right beside the camera along with battery pack, the Reolink Security Cam can run 24/7, 365 days a year, virtually maintenance-free.
This camera also does Smartly work with Google Assistant. All I have to say is “Hey Google show me the front lawn.” And almost immediately, it shows the front view of my house, and that in of itself even makes this system more autonomous and intuitive.
I can say that its digital PIR motion feature is almost 100% accurate. It doesn’t send out false alarms, and in addition, I can make adjustments with the motion detection sensitivity level. This way it doesn’t send out false alerts caused by fluttering wings of birds or maybe even moths.
- So simple and easy to set up, I got all three cameras along with the solar panels set up and configured in 3 hours.
- If you are looking for a set up that is truly autonomous and conveniently strategic, this camera system is for you.
- You might think because this system has solar panels, that they would be vulnerable to the elements. Well, it is actually the opposite, this Reolink camera is IP65 certified to be weatherproof and rainproof.
- With its 5200mAH rechargeable battery and its solar panel charging, this item can virtually go on for a year or more without any maintenance. I actually have mine running for 6 months now.
- This camera has a propensity for suddenly not working. Whether it’d be because of water or just a factory defect, the manufacturer has to look into several scenarios as to why this camera just stops working.
- There are possible issues with connecting to the internet regarding this camera.
#5 DCT WiFi Outdoor Battery Powered Camera
This security camera has a premium build and a host of useful features. The outstanding features worth singling out is AI recognition coupled with motion detection. This means that the camera can distinguish between humans, pets and vehicles. You can set it up to send notifications only in cases when it identifies a human, for example.
This is one complaint that people have with motion detection technology. They often get notifications that cause them to panic for no good reason so this is a great solution.
On top of that, it also has a siren and spotlight which can serve as deterrents. There is also two way audio in case you want to chat with a stranger before opening your door.
All of these features are operable through an app that can be installed on your electronic device of choice and it can be used by up to 8 users on different devices. The visual quality is up to the latest standards with 2k full HD image quality.
The night vision is supplied with a dual light source. It’s not the best quality ever however. There is also the issue of lagging during recording. It wasn’t experienced by all users but there have been some complaints.
As far as installation goes, I must mention that it’s 100% wireless and it’s powered by a rechargeable battery. To charge it up fully takes about 8 hours and it can last up to 6 months on standby.
Storage space is based on a cloud service (with a 30 day free trial) and there is also an option of adding an SD card up to 128 GB. Overall, I think this is a great security camera for a home or a small business entrance point.
- AI object recognition feature
- siren and spotlight
- 2 way audio
- 2k HD image quality
- wireless with a long-lasting rechargeable battery
- only records about 20 seconds at a time
- video can lag at times
- night vision is not very good
#6 Netvue Outdoor Wireless Camera
This is a well known camera for its reliability in tough conditions. With its IP66 certification, the Netvue Security cam can withstand extreme temps at -4F to 112F which makes useful even in snow or maybe a storm.
I have one camera set up with a 100 degree viewing angle on a wall just right outside my property which is facing my house. With its infrared capability, it lets me record high definition videos even in pitch-black surroundings.
This camera is equipped with A.I. motion detection and a real-time theft recognition capability. It’s great in a way that it avoids false alerts and immediately identifies a real intruder. Fortunately, I haven’t encountered anything of that sort yet, and I hope I never will.
One other unique feature of this cam is the deterrent alarm, added to its two-way-audio is an alarm that lets you automatically get rid of unwelcome strangers. Although, I’m not really sure if that’s what I would like to have on all the time. This camera also works with Alexa, Echo Show, Echo Spot, and Fire TV. With a Cloud that’s worth 30 days of storage, I wouldn’t have to worry about local storage. On the other hand, it can also handle 128 GB SD cards.
- This camera is almost ridiculously cheap that I’m even wondering how such an item can be loaded with so many features and only cost so much.
- Even the microphone on this cam can pick up sound from 25 feet away.
- The picture quality is consistent be it day or night.
- The A.I. driven motion detector feature on this cam does a lot for the convenience of the user and of not having to endure through false alerts.
- Very easy to configure.
- Despite the advancement of clip-ons, I still had to bore a hole through the wall in my house to set up the camera.
#7 AKASO Wireless Outdoor Security Cam
One unique feature that I found comforting was the fact that I couldn’t get to the recordings without me logging into my account in the app. It’s an extra security feature where no one can read any of the recordings without me logging into my account. That’s neat.
This cam supports the newest apps available as peripherals to its system. That includes Alexa, Google Home, Echo Spot, Echo Show or, even Fire TVs. And of course, that also includes the PIR motion sensor with a maximum of 15 feet detection. I just wish the detection is not too sensitive and I think I’ll be calling customer service for assistance on that part.
With its super night vision at 1080P, this camera can look into the dark up to 33 feet away also affording me a 120 degree wide viewing angle. I can still see Rufus my dog digging up something at the edge of the yard, or maybe he is trying to bury something. I can still see the rubber bone in his mouth. Great resolution.
- Once again this cam is one of those install-and-forget types. It is solar-powered which would release me from any concern about having to recharge batteries.
- This cam has a great feature that allows you to use your app even when you are miles away from the house. The UPS guy who came to deliver a package for me actually thought that I was just at home when I actually wasn’t. We spoke, and I asked him to just leave the package.
- This cam being wireless, saved me thousands of dollars worth of professional wiring that could have been needed to be done between my walls. Fortunately, this wireless system worked well. I never thought of installing a camera right outside my door would give me a clear view of the whole front porch, all the way to the driveway, and into the street. All of it captured in amazing clarity.
- There are some lag issues with the app. Logging on takes a little too long than usual, and at times it freezes up and I’d have to reboot.
#8 YI Outdoor Security Camera
This security cam boasts of a 1080p definition. That is more than enough clarity to identify moving objects even at night. Added to it, is a 110 degree view lens with a universal ball mount for directional accuracy. It surprised me to see my neighbor’s car license plate across the street, I mean I could even read the numbers.
With the YI security camera, I am assured of a robust and tough housing. It’s basically weatherproof and can withstand extreme temperatures. One remarkable feature that I noticed was the night vision capability. It had 12 Infrared LED beads that allowed for night time viewing with a distance of up to 50 feet. That is powerful for a small package.
There is now an option named 24/7 Emergency response service. I can connect my security rig to Noon Lights Certified Emergency Dispatchers, who in turn coordinates with the police, fire, and other emergency agencies. This is one step towards fully streamlining security services and it really makes me feel a lot more secure.
- This Camera has a great app. I can actually put a name on each of my cameras, and even show a list of each camera on the main screen. Choose one camera and tap on it and it brings up the live view. Very easy to use.
- The camera itself is small and compact but by no means less powerful. No awkward angles due to a long camera.
- The wide-angle lens lets me see clearer pictures night and day.
- This camera has a good frame per second at 20 frames per second.
- The built-in speaker seems like it doesn’t have enough volume for other people to hear you. But then again it might depend on the environmental conditions.
- There are some software issues on this cam, where I log on site but it keeps forgetting my credentials.
#9 Esnow Upgraded Security Surveillance Camera
This camera has it all, a 90 degree wide-angle lens, 95 degree vertical rotation, 355 degree horizontal, and 360 degree Panoramic Viewing. I can even use it with my phone to pan, tilt, and zoom whenever someone is at the door. It’s like having total control over premises that can be reached by my camera.
Added to that, the motion detection sensor sends me push messages in a form of clear pictures capturing the event. It captures and sends images in 1080P at 30 frames per second. It has great night vision too.
Unboxing this camera was a good experience for me because it looked and felt like the camera and its peripherals were made of high-quality materials. Very much unlike those cheap plasticky things that can easily degrade. Moreover, Esnow promises me full refund if not fully satisfied. I just wish they’d throw in the micro SD card for free.
- The Night vision pictures on this camera are surprisingly clear.
- Easy installation is a always a plus.
- This Esnow cam could be currently the ultimate surveillance camera in the market. This is due to its complete 360 degree coverage, with no blind spots.
- This camera is genuinely waterproof. I even accidentally sprayed water on it, while I was doing it to my hanging plants. The result? It just kept on working.
- There are no set up instructions that came with the box. Calling the manufacturer to address this since not all users are tech-savvy.
Considering the features that its packed with, along with the simplicity of it. It seems nearly invisible and unobtrusive in my little daughter’s bedroom. That goes as well with the hanging plants outside of my house.
This camera also has an independent power source which is the Argus Pro + solar panel system that comes with it. It makes it as portable and it’s no fluke when it is placed outside of the house either. With its IP65 weatherproof certification, it can withstand rain and even extreme heat. That’s added points for reliability and efficiency.
Google Assistant can also give me the power of voice command. All I have to do is configure Reolink Argus Pro with Google Home Hub and there it is. I can say: Hey google.. show me Hannah’s room. And that should take care of manual navigation on my phone. Pretty convenient isn’t it?
- Solar Powered- The portability and that “install and forget” capability of this security system is hard to beat.
- With an option of instant playback or Cloud storage this camera stores real clear crisp images.
- This item is also covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee and 2 years warranty. The manufacturer is not only serious but is actually confident of the reliability and durability of their product.
- The night vision feature can stretch up to 33 feet. I just wish that night vision images can be clearer.
- Software configuration can pose a challenge.
Final Word: Best Outdoor Security Cameras Under $100
I’ve tested 10 other security cameras that are also frequently used in home and business settings. But I found them lacking in some of the key features: image quality, strength of the encasing (especially important for harsh weather), too high a price etc.
These 10 cameras proved to be the best of the bunch. I’ve made sure to include many wireless and especially solar-powered cams because they’re energy-efficient, environment friendly and easy to install pretty much anywhere. Overall, I’m confident you’ll do well to get any of these cameras to protect your home or business.
For more information on security cameras in general, check out the following articles:
- How to improve night vision on security cameras
- Benefits of having security cameras at home
- Security camera vs Video doorbell: 4 main differences
- Dome vs Bullet camera: 6 main differences
- Where to install home security cameras