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Alexa, What Security Cameras Work with You?

Amazon Alexa Compatible Cameras That We’re Loving Right Now

Back in 2014, Amazon promised to change home life through virtual assistance, a still nascent technology that most of us didn’t quite understand at the time. Since then, Alexa has successfully streamlined much of our home and work life through easy-to-use voice commands.

So, which security camera is best for Alexa? Read on to discover what security cameras work with Amazon Alexa, including wireless outdoor security cameras that work with Alexa and Echo Show devices.

What Security Cameras Work with Amazon Alexa? Top 5

Alexa was once the domain of Amazon products alone, but now so many security cameras from all kinds of brands, even competitors, now offer Alexa support. What cameras can you use with Alexa, and which is best?

·   Best doorbell camera – Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell Camera

·   Best budget camera – Kasa Indoor Pan/Tilt Smart Security Camera

·   Best indoor camera – Nest Cam (wired)

·   Best quality camera – Arlo Pro 4

·   Best outdoor camera compatible with Echo Show – Blink Outdoor

Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell

Best doorbell camera

From $199.99. Available from Arlo.

Image via Arlo

Though Amazon-owned Ring has its own line of great doorbell cameras, Arlo’s offering might just take the cake. Admittedly, they are very similar, with both offering Alexa support. But Arlo’s Essential Wireless Video Doorbell provides instant video calls when the doorbell is rung, as well as a much more extensive 180-degree viewing angle. Wire-free, it supports up to 1080p HD video, two-way talk, and night vision, making it a robust (albeit expensive) security camera housed in a sleek, sophisticated shell.

What’s Hot

·   Connect to existing chimes or use built in siren

·   Wide viewing angle for a doorbell cam

·   Directly video calls your phone as soon as the doorbell is pressed

What’s Not

·   Requires an Alexa screen device for Alexa use (sold separately)

·   Subscription service essential for long-term use

·   Recharging (required every six months) puts it out of use for about six hours

Kasa EC70 Indoor Pan/Tilt Smart Security Camera

Best budget camera

From $29.99. Available on Amazon.

Image via Amazon

For the most part, voice assistance does require parting with a pretty penny or two. After all, it is still considered a relatively ‘premium’ feature. Then there’s the subscription fees most of the leading manufacturers charge to use their products, making many security cameras out of reach for many (check out our rundown of subscription free security cameras for great alternatives). 

Thankfully, some brands have caught onto this. Kasa Smart’s EC70 is an inexpensive option for indoor security that still manages to pack quite a punch. 1080p video, real-time rotation, motion and sound detection are all included, and you can easily pair the device with Alexa for further efficiency.

What’s Hot

·   Inexpensive, with no subscription fees

·   MicroSD card support up to 64 GB

·   Detection alerts via app

What’s Not

·   Requires an Alexa screen device for Alexa use (sold separately)

·   Rotation can produce a noise

·   Sharing clips requires removal of SD card

Google Nest Cam (wired)

Best indoor camera

From $99.99. Available on Google Store.

Image via Google

As such, Google’s popular Nest Cam line supports Alexa as well as its native Google Assistant. The flagship wired Nest Cam, suitable for indoor use, features 1080p video, a 130-degree viewing angle, and advanced person recognition out of the box. Additional features like facial recognition are available with subscription.

What’s Hot

·   Powerful digital zoom makes it especially easy to identify people

·   Facial recognition available with subscription

·   Sleek and minimal design

What’s Not

·   Requires an Alexa device for Alexa use (sold separately)

·   Most advanced features require Nest Aware subscription

·   No local storage.

Arlo Pro 4

Best quality camera

From $199.99. Available on Arlo.

Image via Arlo

Arlo’s Pro series are juggernauts when it comes to image quality, and that’s certainly reflected in the price of the Pro 4. It supports up to 2K video with a 160-degree viewing angle, and though the 12x digital zoom falls slightly short of Nest’s 16x digital zoom, it’s still admirable given the quality of recordings. 

Wireless and waterproof, it also boasts a built-in siren, two-way audio, and a spotlight, making it perfect for outdoor usage.

What’s Hot

·   2K video support for optimum clarity

·   A built-in spotlight illuminates the area at night

·   Seamless Alexa device pairing

What’s Not

·   Requires an Alexa device for Alexa use (sold separately)

·   Expensive

·   Additional fees for cloud storage and subscriptions

From $99.99. Available on Amazon.

Image via Amazon

Though almost all the competitors mentioned in this list do support Echo Show and related Alexa devices, what better than Amazon’s own for full, seamless integration? 

Expect 1080p video, 110-degree viewing angle, and motion detection notifications.

What’s Hot

·   Easy setup and seamless Echo Show integration

·   Battery powered with two double AA batteries (not included)

·   Option for local USB storage via the Sync Module 2 (sold separately)

What’s Not

·   Requires an Echo Show device to get the most out of it

·   Additional fees for cloud storage and subscriptions

·   Motion detection recording is delayed by several seconds

Why Alexa Compatible?

Automating your security systems through a voice assistant can be a great way to stay on top of them in a way that works for you. All your cameras can be viewed simply in one place, and Alexa can showcase and save only what you need to see.

Particularly now that the tech giants are hot on collaborating on smart home automation, there’s really very little between Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, though Apple’s devices are, naturally, a lot pricier. 

Both Google and Alexa have been and continue to be technically perfected, and the Nest and Echo product lines are virtually identical not just in features but price points also.

A Nest smart thermostat attached to a wall

However, because far more smart home devices from other companies are supported by Alexa, you’re more likely to own an Alexa-enabled smart device than a Google Assistant-enabled one. 

In that sense, Alexa may have a slight edge over Google. Other small differences include the music applications supported (Alexa has Amazon Music while Google Assistant has YouTube Music, for example).

In many ways, then, whichever voice assistant you opt for depends on where your loyalties already lie, as well as subtle preferences for Google owned applications versus Amazon owned applications.

What Are Alexa Skills?

If you’re new to Echo, you may be thrown by what Amazon calls ‘Alexa Skills’. For all intents and purposes, you can think of this as a synonym for apps; it just refers to the individual capabilities of the voice assistant, which you can download as you would do an app.

Credit: Alexa Developers

Most of these are created by third parties, and when pairing a non-native device with an Alexa one, you’ll likely have to install a new skill or two. They are all free to download but may require a subscription to use.

You’ll find your skills in the ‘Skills & Games’ section of the Alexa app, where you can enable or disable skills. More simply, you can ask Alexa with a voice command to enable, download, or recommend a skill.

What Can Alexa Bring to the Table?

If your home is already Alexa-fied, it makes sense to incorporate your security into the overall smart home ‘ecosystem’.

With Alexa, you can more easily access footage and get the most of more advanced features that are becoming increasingly common in even the more affordable camera options, like two-way audio and motion detection notifications. 

Through Alexa, you’ll find your camera becomes more than just a tool for security. Actually, you might find yourself getting carried away chatting to the mailman.

An Amazon Echo Show home screen display

Having entertainment and security side-by-side in one easy-to-access place helps to create a more careful and conscious approach to security concerns. Rather than forgetting about your alarms, cameras, and lights, they’ll all be accessible in one place through voice commands and presented to you through notifications.

How to Add a Security Camera to Alexa

Adding security cameras to an Alexa enabled device is far from daunting. Learn how to connect your camera below, and you’ll be chatting with Alexa in no time.

1. Complete camera setup by following manufacturer’s guide. It will need to be connected to the Internet to connect to Alexa.

2. Open the Alexa app on one of your Alexa screen devices and select Skills from the menu.

3. Find and then Enable the Skill for your camera.

4. You’ll likely need to link an account you’ve made with the camera manufacturer to Alexa, and if the Skill requires a subscription to use, this will be stated.

5. Select Add Device and choose your camera.

Of course, since Alexa is rather vocal by nature, you can ask her for help and make statements like ‘enable [name of Skill], ‘discover my devices’ or ‘show my devices’ instead of going through the app on a screen.

You’ll find the connected camera under the Devices menu in the Alexa app.

FAQ

Can Alexa connect to a security camera?

Yes. There’s a large, ever-growing list of devices from across the entire spectrum of smart home tech that is compatible with Alexa, including many security cameras. Not to mention, these are not at all limited to just Echo or Amazon-manufactured products.

What wireless outdoor cameras work with Alexa?

One of our favorite outdoor cameras that is Alexa-enabled is the Blink Outdoor. It’s weatherproofed and simple to set up, and given that Blink is an Amazon brand, connecting it to an Alexa screen device is seamless. A more expensive, higher quality option would be the Arlo Pro 4.

Does Alexa have a video camera?

No. Alexa is a voice-enabled virtual assistant. Echo Show, Amazon’s flagship Alexa screen device, is essentially a tablet that is compatible with all sorts of devices, including video cameras. You can then view the footage on it.

Should I unplug Alexa at night?

Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices are best kept on if you want to experience seamless smart home automation. If you have fire alarms or security cameras connected to it, then turning it off is not recommended. While it’s easy to see why people might have their concerns over being ‘listened to’ 24/7, Echo devices automatically go to sleep when not in use. It can then be woken up with the word ‘Alexa’ (or whatever word you choose). You can also turn off the microphone, but you will have to wake up the device physically.

Conclusion

With our homes getting smarter and smarter, incorporating our security measures into the automated ecosystem is a wise idea. It not only makes our security more intelligent, but more easily accessed, and therefore more useful. We’re more compelled to stay on our toes if our security can be handled with a simple ‘Alexa, show me what’s going on outside’.

With an as-yet unmatched number of compatible devices from tech companies across the board, homes already featuring Echo and other Alexa devices will quickly benefit from seamless security camera integration.