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Do It Yourself with These Cheap Security Cameras

Best Cheap Security Cameras: Our Top 5

AlfredCam

Available from within the AlfredCamera app. From $34.99

the front of AlfredCam
Image via AlfredCamera

Pros

  • Easy install and out of the box set-up
  • Full color night vision
  • Two-way audio

Cons

  • Not weatherproofed for outdoor use
  • SD card not included (required for Continuous Recording)  

The long-awaited first hardware camera from AlfredCamera combines all the beloved features from the app with a 1080p, 130-degree standalone camera (wider than other similarly priced cameras). Housed in a small, chic body, the camera stylishly merges with its surroundings. SD card support allows for continuous recording, or you can use 7 days of free motion-based cloud storage. 

Blink Indoor Cam

Available at BestBuy, Amazon, and Target. RRP $79.99.

Blink Indoor Cam
Image via Amazon

Pros

  • Wireless
  • Battery-powered (2x AA lithium batteries)
  • Alexa-compatible

Cons

  • 110-degree field of view isn’t as wide as competitors
  • Not as inexpensive as competitors

Amazon’s Blink line is well-regarded for basic, easy-to-use features. The Blink Indoor is one of the cheaper of the bunch. The minimal cube design is totally wire-free thanks to two AA batteries (not included), and the company claims it can last up to two years with a single pair.

As the name suggests, it’s only suitable for indoor use, but full HD and a 110-degree field of view will be more than apt for casual use. If you have a little extra change, you can buy the Sync Module 2 with it, which allows for local storage.

Neos SmartCam

Super cheap security camera

Available at Amazon and Neos (UK). From £19.99.

Neos SmartCam
Image via Amazon

Pros

  • Super cheap
  • Magnetic base for easy mounting on metallic surfaces
  • Alexa-compatible

Cons

  • Under-developed app
  • Intrusive sign up

This super cheap security camera is pleasantly unreflective of its price point; a 1080p camera with a 110-degree lens, as well as night vision, motion and noise detection. The magnetic base will be particularly handy for those with an abundance of metal surfaces in the home.

Alexa compatibility and up to 14 days of cloud storage reaches above the price point, but elsewhere it is lacking. Of particular concern is the intrusive, bug-laden app and an awkward setup.

ieGeek Wireless Outdoor Security Cam

Best cheap outdoor wireless security camera

Available at Amazon, ieGeek. From $55.99.

ieGeek Wireless Outdoor Security Camera
Image via Amazon

Pros

  • IP65 weatherproof
  • Battery lasts 3-4 months on a single charge
  • 2K video

Cons

  • Prone to dropouts if too far from Wi-Fi hub
  • Cloud footage can’t be downloaded
  • Prone to hacking

YI Home Security Camera

Best cheap motion detection security camera

Available at Amazon, Yi, and Walmart (x2). From $24.99.

YI Home Security Camera
Image via Amazon

Pros

  • Motion detection triggers a recording that doesn’t stop until the motion does
  • Alexa-compatible
  • Option for 24/7 emergency response

Cons

  • Potential privacy concerns
  • Awkward design may be difficult to mount


This inexpensive, 1080p home security camera boasts human detection, two-way audio, and more, though its motion detection is perhaps its most unusual feature compared to other cameras. The camera records the motion for as long as there is motion, and only stops once it detects the motion has ended.

The option for 24/7 emergency response service gives motion detection more value, instantly notifying the Certified Emergency Dispatchers if needed.

3 Things to Consider Before Buying a Cheap Security Camera

In the midst of such difficult times, any too-good-to-be-true price is a strongly compelling asset for a security product, especially when you’re looking to DIY home security. But before clicking add to cart, there are some things about super cheap security cameras you should consider.

1. Privacy

When a brand has a well-known name, its reputation tends to hold it more accountable to stricter privacy policies. Because of the nature of video monitoring, it is worth being somewhat skeptical of even the more well-known brands; what information are you agreeing to share? How will the company protect your data? 

Unfortunately, using the products of less known brands, although significantly cheaper, introduces legitimate privacy concerns that you must consider carefully before using the product. Terms and conditions will almost always state outright what data you are giving away, even if it is ‘between the lines’, so read them carefully.

What AlfredCamera does to protect your privacy

2. Longevity

Though it’s not necessarily true of all more affordable brands (we’re pointing at ourselves here), oftentimes the cheaper the product is, the worse quality it is. As such, what might seem initially like a great way to save money may end up costing you more if the quality is so poor that the product fails after just a few months. 

Check out our recommendations for products we consider to be trustworthy. Consider parting with a little more money for higher quality if longevity is a concern you have, and make sure not to use indoor cameras outdoors.

What AlfredCamera does to ensure the quality of AlfredCam

AlfredCam was built with quality in mind, using a sturdy yet-lightweight plastic casing to protect the camera. It’s undergone exhaustive storage and operation testing to make sure it functions reliably. The camera itself rests on a ball joint that allows for smooth 360-degree motion, so you can pose the camera at the optimum viewing angle without fearing sliding out of place. 

3. Purpose

How can you make use of AlfredCam 

Standing at under 4 inches tall, AlfredCam is subtle, lightweight, and portable, making it perfect for multi-purpose uses. Two-way audio allows it to be a pet monitoring camera one day and a baby monitoring camera the next, while the 130-degree field of view makes it perfectly apt at capturing all the details of the main thoroughfares and living spaces in the home. Small business owners will appreciate the simple way you can attach the camera to the wall.

What Are the Advantages of More Expensive Security Camera Options?

We’re advocates for doing it yourself on a budget, but that’s largely because we believe strongly in our own security products. We aren’t blind to the fact that there are advantages to buying a more expensive security camera, but some of these can be overstated. Here’s five ‘advantages’ of more expensive options to bear in mind.

Higher Quality Footage

With higher quality, faster frame rates, and more vivid colors comes a bigger price tag. But it is worth being aware that even a ‘4K’ security camera scarcely produces an image that could reasonably be described as such. 

IP cameras compress footage significantly, and further degradation of the image comes from transferring it over wi-fi or mobile data. In security, quality isn’t everything, but it counts for something when it comes to identifying facial features. 1080p will suffice.

Aesthetics

Sure, there’s no price tag on good taste, but there’s a reasonably high chance that the lower the cost, the more unattractive, unergonomic, and cheap feeling the product is. We’d beg to differ, of course—AlfredCam is sophisticated, sturdy, and timeless in its design. We just can’t say the same for other brands…

Smoother Setups and Third-Party Integration

All the same, many of the cheaper products do support third-party use; just don’t expect it to come out of the box waiting for you to yell commands at it.

Better Apps

A quick browse of reviews of some of the cheaper models of cameras on Amazon will reveal one bad quality many of them have in common: poor, buggy apps. For many smaller hardware developers, software development takes a backseat, so that when it comes to creating an app to view or interact with footage and the camera itself, the app ends up underdeveloped. 

Thankfully, with more than 50 million downloads and an average 4.8 star rating, AlfredCamera clearly happens to excel in this area, so you needn’t worry about awkward app use when it comes to setting up and using AlfredCam.

The Name

Perhaps we’re stating the obvious here, but, unfortunately, the more well-known a name is, the higher the price it can command—and it usually ends up commanding. 

While it’s true that known name brands will have more aesthetic looking products with strong features and more trustworthy privacy policies, a significant amount of what you pay is reflective of the name itself rather than any single aspect of the quality of the product. 

But you didn’t hear that from us.

FAQ

What is the cheapest home security camera?

You’ll find unknown brands on Amazon and elsewhere selling remarkably cheap security cameras. Check our list for the rundown on the ones that get our seal of approval.

How much is a basic security system?

If you do it yourself, you can easily create a basic security system (i.e. a camera or two and alarms) for well under $100.

Are super cheap security cameras trustworthy?

It is worth being a little skeptical of how much you can trust a security camera, and that’s not because of the price, but because of the nature of video surveillance. Unknown brands are more likely to come with potential privacy intrusions because there is much less of an onus on being transparent and keep user data secure compared to well-known, reputable brands. Always read terms and conditions carefully: what data you are giving over will be stated.

Are there hidden costs behind cheap security cameras?

Because cheap security cameras have less advanced features, there usually aren’t any paywalls. Still, many will provide the option to pay for cloud storage.

Which security camera has no monthly fee?

What is the easiest home security camera to install?

AlfredCam is ready to use within minutes of opening the box. Simply power on the device, and in the AlfredCamera app, tap ‘Add a Camera’. You’ll then be presented with a QR code for the camera to scan from your device’s screen. Scan it, and the camera is ready to use.

How do I install a home security camera by myself?

Installing a home security camera isn’t the nightmare it’s made out to be, especially when it comes to cheap wireless security cameras. For ideas on placement, check out our article.

Conclusion

Mounting living expenses shouldn’t discourage you from taking your home security concerns seriously, and if you are thinking of attempting DIY home security, cheap security cameras are a great initial step towards building a home that is safe and secure on a budget.

Though many won’t hold a candle to more expensive options (particularly in terms of easy installs, software functionality, and privacy protection), AlfredCam represents a breakthrough in affordable IP cameras, combining reputable and trustworthy service with a functional, attractive camera.