Today on the hookup we’re going to look at these eight best-selling, fully wireless, battery-powered security cameras that I’ve been long term testing for over four months. We’re going to evaluate their battery life, video quality, motion detection accuracy, and ease of use, to make sure you get the right camera for your budget and use case.
First things first, if you live in a high crime area or you feel like you need a security camera to protect yourself and your family, then with maybe one exception none of these battery powered security cameras are for you. However, If you just want to keep track of when your packages get delivered, get a notifications when a cars pulls in your driveway, or occasionally pull up a live view to see what’s going on then these things should be fine, but by no means are they a replacement for a wired security camera system, because they do make some significant sacrifices in the name of convenience.
With that said, here's a quick overview of the cameras we’ll be looking at today from least expensive to most: First, is a generic 1080p camera from a company called Zeeporte that was the #1 best seller on amazon when I bought them all in August of 2021, the Zeeporte was only $46 but requires a micro SD card for recording which is sold separately. Second is the Blink camera Kit 1 hat I picked up for $69 which comes with both the camera and the blink sync module 2 which records your footage onto a usb drive, also sold separately. Third for $99 is the ring stick up cam that requires a monthly subscription of $2.99 per camera for recording. Then fourth the $120 reolink argus 3 pro which also records to a micro SD card that you’ll need to purchase separately. Fifth for $129 is the EufyCam Solo E40 which is part of a new line of EufyCam products that doesn’t require a base station, but does require a microSD card, which like the others is sold separately. Then at $179 we’ve got the Arlo Pro 4 which records to the Arlo cloud which costs $2.99 a month per camera, or $10 a month for unlimited cameras. Also at $179 is the Google Nest Battery Cam which records to the nest cloud and requires a nest aware subscription which is $6 a month for unlimited cameras. And last the most expensive camera in this test is the EufyCam S40 which is basically the same as the E40, but it also includes a spotlight and solar panel built in to the camera body to extend battery life.
Speaking of, lets talk about battery life because batteries are both the biggest selling point and the biggest drawback of these cameras. Because there’s no wires, installation is extremely simple and you should have your cameras up and running within about 10 minutes of taking them out of the box. But, that convenience comes with compromises, and each camera will have different settings that favor the best surveillance performance or the best battery life by changing things like motion sensitivity, clip length, cooldown period, and even resolution.
For the first 60 days of testing I used optimal surveillance settings and here’s how their batteries performed. The worst was the Arlo Pro 4, which needed to be recharged every 12 to 14 days for a total of 4 recharges in 60 days. Also needing 4 recharges was the Zeeporte which had a larger variability with the shortest drain at 15 days and the longest at 21. The Ring Stick Up cam did slightly better, lasting 17- 20 days between recharges. The google nest cam was similar to that with 18-21 days, then the Reolink Argus made it between 26 and 28 days, the EufyCam E40 held out for 39 days before a recharge and you can see the EufyCam s40 was all over the place because of it’s solar panel and variability in the amount of sunlight it received each day, but it was the only camera to last the full 60 days without needing a recharge, even in a sub optimal mounting location that gets shaded by my large oak tree and a roof overhang. Notably absent from this graph is the Blink Outdoor that isn’t rechargeable and instead runs on two replaceable lithium AA batteries. The Blink app doesn’t give any battery percentage indication, it just says OK unless the batteries need to be replaced but it is still running on it’s original set of batteries since I started testing in August of 2021.
The next question is how optimal is optimal surveillance mode? First lets look at an event as recorded by my wired Reolink Duo compared to what the battery cameras recorded. You can see the EufyCams, Arlo, Nest, Zeeporte, and Ring more or less started recording at the same time, but pay attention to the timecodes which are the amount of time I was actually in frame and being recorded on each camera. You can see that of the 51 total seconds that I could have been recorded, the Nest cam by far did the best with 37 seconds of recording, followed by the Reolink Argus with 30 seconds - even though it missed the initial approach. After that were the EufyCams, then the Arlo pro and Ring cameras performed similarly, the Zeeport did pretty poorly with just 5 seconds of total recording, and for some reason the Blink camera didn’t turn on at all for this entire event, which is unfortunately not uncommon for the Blink cameras.
For some longer term data I combed through 48 hours of events on each camera and noted each person detection recording which I counted it as a detection event as long as a person was visible for at least some part of the video, but as we just saw they basically never captured the full event.
When set to optimal surveillance mode you can see that the Zeeporte had the fewest missed detections, followed by the EufyCam S40, however that’s extremely misleading because the EufyCam S40 was only recording person detection events, while the Zeeporte was recording anything and everything including moving shadows, parked cars, and insects. In fact, both EufyCam cameras and the Google Nest Cam did extremely well avoiding false detections, and would be reliable enough for me to use with notifications turned on.
The last thing to look at before we try to squeeze some more battery life out of these cameras is their actual video quality. For comparison, here’s a still image during the day from the right lens of my wired Reolink Duo, which I think we can all agree could easily be used to identify me. Then going from worst to best, compare that to the ring stick up camera, The blink outdoor, the Zeeporte, the Arlo Pro 4, the EufyCam S40, EufyCam E40, the Google Nest Cam, and finally I think the Reolink Argus 3 had the clearest image, although it was from a slightly different angle because the Argus didn’t trigger properly on the initial approach shot. We’ll look at night images a bit later once we narrow down the field.
As I said, you can extend the battery life of each of these cameras by changing the motion sensitivity, clip length, cooldown time, and resolution. But at what cost? Starting with the daytime motion event, the Nest Battery Camera did an amazing job not only recording 40 of the 59 possible seconds, but also recording each different movement so you could track the subject through the frame. The rest of the camera performed pretty poorly on optimal battery settings with the EufyCam E40 doing especially bad in this test.
So with that amount of performance decrease how much more battery do you get? Kind of a lot. The Arlo Pro 4 was still by far the worst needing a recharge every 18-19 days, but the Ring stick up went from being one of the worst performing batteries to one of the best, and didn’t need a recharge for the entire 60 day test. The EufyCam S40 just barely went below 50%, even though we are in winter months getting significantly less sun right now, and the other very notable finish was the Google Nest Cam which more than doubled it’s battery life lasting 48 days, which is important because it was the only camera that didn’t also experience a huge drop in performance.
I also combed through 48 hours of events using the battery saving settings and you’ll notice that the Zeeporte which had zero missed detections with the other settings now has 28 misses and only 2 detections, and that’s because the person detection algorithm on it doesn’t work at all, so with person detection enabled it basically never records. On the other hand Google Nest Cam came out way on top with 24 detections, only 6 misses, and even more important than that, zero false detections, I happened to have it set for just people and vehicles, but there’s also a separate detection setting for pets, as well as familiar face detection and even smoke and carbon monoxide alarm detection.
So at this point I think I know enough about these cameras recommend them for some specific use cases:
By far the best performing camera, and the only one I’d even consider using in a surveillance system is the google nest cam Not only were the notifications fast and accurate, but the picture quality was very good both during the day and at night and the google home app is really easy and convenient to use. I really like that Google included internal memory for recording so even if your internet goes down or power goes out the camera can still process and record up to an hour of motion events and sync back with the cloud when your internet gets restored. However there are a few downsides to the Google Nest Camera.
First, it’s a subscription service and while $6 a month for all your cameras is pretty reasonable, if you only have one camera that’s a pretty steep monthly usage fee. Second, it’s a google cloud product, so if privacy is your number one concern, or really anywhere on your list of concerns then you might not be thrilled uploading video of your personal comings and goings to the google cloud. And Third, even though it performed relatively well on optimal battery settings, it still needed to be recharged about every 45 days, which is kind of annoying. There are solar panel accessories available for the Google Nest Cam, but I haven’t specifically tested them.
So if any of those things are a dealbreaker for you here are the next best options:
If your issue is with the monthly fee then the EufyCam cameras performed well in regards person detection notifications, and had acceptable video quality but didn’t do a particularly good job at recording entire motion events. These cameras are a perfect fit for someone who just wants to know when their packages have been delivered or when someone pulls into their driveway, and as I said they get it done with no monthly fee. The EufyCam S40 battery pair with the built in solar panel could last forever if mounted in a sunny location, which is definitely a huge selling point. Less of a selling point is the spotlight on the S40, which not only drains battery but lets an intruder know exactly when the camera starts and stops recording, which is not something I would want to do.
If your issue is with privacy and cloud usage then the only camera I can recommend is the Reolink Argus 3 did tests where I blocked all the cameras from the internet using my router and then tried to access them on my local network. The only camera that worked was the Reolink Argus which not only quickly pulled up the live view, but was also able to show recordings without any access to the internet. This does mean that you won’t be able to get notifications from it, and you wouldn’t be able to access it from outside your network without a VPN, but it’s the only battery camera I’ve seen that will work 100% locally.
And last if your issue is recharging batteries then as I said, solar accessories are available for all these cameras if you have an ideal location, or if you aren’t concerned about notifications or recordings and you just want to occasionally pull up the live view then it’s hard to argue with the value of the Blink Cameras . Sure they don’t have the best video quality, they don’t have person and vehicle detection,
and overall recorded clips are too short to be meaningful, but they are super small and depending on how many cameras you buy they’re only about $60 each and the replaceable lithium batteries can last up to 2 years.
Overall I’d still recommend wired cameras when at all possible, but battery cameras are better than no cameras, and I was more than impressed by the performance of the google nest cam which was in a completely different league than the rest of the cameras in this test and gets my full recommendation.
If you’re looking for something a bit more effective check out my other security camera videos which cover everything you need to know. If I missed a specific brand of camera that you’ve had good success with let me know down in the comments.
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