Best Budget Outdoor Security Camera?

I woke up this morning, walked out to my car to drive to work, and noticed that two of the doors had been opened and someone had rummaged around inside. Thankfully nothing was taken, but I drove to work kicking myself because I've been putting off purchasing an outdoor security cam for a few months now. So, with this newly found anger, I'm making myself purchase a camera now before something like this happens again - and I could use some advice.

I'm not too fussed about whether the camera is IP or records to a memory card - my main criteria is that it's wireless/battery powered as I will probably be moving soon, and it'd be pointless to wire one in.

Can anyone vouch for any cheap-ish cameras? I don't want to spend loads in an ideal world.


  • +2

    If you want wireless and battery then it wont be cheapish. Arlo are probably the better recommended cameras.

    • I was hoping there might be some cheap offline, write-to-SD models around but it sounds like there might not be. I might have to look into Arlo - I see the basic plan comes with 7 days of cloud storage - is this 24/7 video or only when motion is detected?

      • Only when motion or audio detected but you could adjust sensitivity.

      • +1

        FYI, If the internet goes down during that time and Arlo is offline IT DOES NOT STORE OR RECORD ANY DATA. This is even if you have the external USB connected for video storage.
        I got an Arlo 2 pro setup a year or so ago, didn't know it didn't record if the internet went down, not had any issue with that but it would have made me look at other options if i'd known at the time.
        This may or may not be an issue for you, but with the long overnight maintenance outages that NBN seem to frequently have it could be the difference between capturing something and having nothing.

        While it is online it works well, the motion detection works great, the rules that can be setup are nice (if 1 camera detects motion or sound to do other stuff, trigger another camera or whatever).
        The 7 day free storage is fine for me, the app works well, camera video quality was fine, night vision is ok (for garage), ability to upgrade number of cameras was sufficient, sadly the price of the stand alone cameras are a bit $$.

        • +1

          I have alro q plus which has sd slot for when the internet goes out

          • @neosin: Good to know, sadly didn't expect mine not to as other cheaper cams I had would write to local storage if it was present.

        • Really? Was it armed? I was planning on upgrading my original arlo base station to a “pro” one for that function alone.

          They said on their website “If you connect a USB device, the camera records to both the cloud and the USB device. If the camera and base station or SmartHub are powered on, but your Internet connection goes down, the camera continues to record to the USB device.”

          • +1

            @FuzzyWolf: Yep i have the garage always armed with a trigger to a second camera, with a USB thats setup and working, remove the internet (NBN from wall, router \ AP continues to broadcast and work) and doesn't record events.
            I checked after I read a few help things on their forum a while ago as I was having trouble setting up the USB drive to be accepted.

            • @91rs: Wow that really sucks. Was really looking forward on getting the new base station because lately my NBN been a bit spotty. Thanks for sharing though, saved me money and frustration from trying something that won’t work.

      • +2

        Offline, write-to-sd models are often not a good idea, especially for an outdoor camera. Any potential theif will just steal the camera.

  • +1

    an old android phone

    the end

    • I'm very tempted to… unfortunately the battery won't last long at all and I'd rather not swap batteries on my old V20 every morning.

      • +7

        I use an old Android mobile connected to an external 10000mAh power bank. Using "Alfred" App which uploads up to 99 movement vids to Cloud. Stored there for 7 days (30 on paid version). Download any vids you want to keep. Basic App is free.

        • I use the free version and am quite happy with it. Upvoted!

        • Excellent app. I used it with an old iPhone 4S.

        • where do you put it that it can't be grabbed?

          • @fredblogs: Inside my window. This is to watch my mailbox as I rent and I cannot install permanent cameras.

  • +2

    There was an arlo post the other day, camera and solar panel to charge the bsttery

  • +7

    What do you hope to achieve with the camera? Grainy night time video of some person in a hoody isn't really going to get you far.

    Just make your car harder/less appealing to break into.

    • Wish I could… the only parking is on-street, the car was locked, and the most exciting things in the car were a first-aid kit and a packet of fabric softener. I kinda feel sorry for the poor sod who's that desperate, but at least I'll have something to take to the cops next time even if it's average quality.

      • +6

        Keep the glove box open. Keep the centre console open. Hatch? remove the sun/privacy cover. Stick a piece of paper of the dash saying "Don't waste your time, there's nothing of value in here, sorry"

        Worked for me in a suss NW Melbourne suburb for quite some time back in the day.

        • +1

          Fair points, actually. Didn't think to leave them open but that might be a good plan…

          • +16

            @ngengerous: For what it's worth, I have 2 cameras in my front yard in melb se suburbs. Caught a guy going through the cars. Clear vision of his face. Police couldn't have cared less. Didn't even want to see the footage as nothing of value was taken and the damage to the car was covered by insurance (albeit after $600 excess).
            I think they can work as a deterrent, but don't rely on the police taking your footage and doing anything with it

            • @Stegasaurusnext:

              I have 2 cameras in my front yard […] Caught a guy going through the cars. […]
              I think they can work as a deterrent

              Got some data to back that up? Your anecdote makes the cameras sound pointless.

              Maybe if you had an "area under video surveillance" sign up?

              • @abb: Some data? They aren't pointless, I think they act as a deterrent generally when compared to another house without, but when a junky comes through at 3 in the morning they don't necessarily notice the two flashing cameras and I doubt they'd read any signs.
                Point was more that I wouldn't get them thinking that the police will froth over footage of theft from a car.

            • @Stegasaurusnext: Exactly. Unless you tell the police the thief stole a dead body hidden in the boot otherwise they don’t care.

            • @Stegasaurusnext: police prefer to attend crime where there is actual damage, with priority on bodily harm to other humans, with top priority when the criminal is still onsite.

              no real loss or damage, don't waste their time

              We once had a guy (drunk in love obsessed with a neighbour rejecting his advances) who kicked our strata entrance door down, splitting the timber frame, then sat sobbing and begging outside her closed unit door in our common stairwell - I came out and saw him there

              I rang the police, told them a big guy had just kicked the door down 'and HE'S HERE NOW !'

              Within about 2 minutes, 6 police cars had pulled out outside with about 10 cops with guns drawn in our stairwell pointed at the guy

              it took a while to persuade the guy to move - he was pretty far gone - but eventually they handcuffed him and took him away - that's the kind of action that police love and jump to attend !

              not your boring waste-my-time report of someone did something last night but there's no real damage or loss and I don’t know who they are but can you please find them

              in our case the guy had to pony up $1000 to fix our broken door jamb - and he never came back again - job done.

              • @Hangryuman: You got lucky. There was once a crazy driver tried to run over people randomly at a car park in front of a shop lot and police refused to come and stop it stating nobody had been injured yet.

          • @ngengerous: Unless there is a courtesy light in the glove box that will flatten your battery over night.

          • +1

            @ngengerous: I used to live in a regional town where petty crime was really bad. Had a window smashed on my car one night and when I reported it to the police they suggested removing everything and just leaving the car unlocked.

            • +2

              @tomlikesbeetroot: My mum used to do this. Now I just read they will fine people who leave cars unlocked or even the windows down a little to beat the heat.

            • @tomlikesbeetroot: Isn't illegal to leave your car unlocked??
              Just asking.

              In shopping mall parking it is illegal not to lock your vehicle (including windows down a bit).

              • @LFO: It may well be against the law based on other comments here….. this was in a town with an extremely bad crime rate and the police officer who took the details of my complaint just mentioned that this is what they personally do. Typically the criminals would break windows to steal loose change etc from inside the vehicle so leaving it unlocked would save windows being broken. Car theft in town was usually not hot-wiring a car but after breaking into a house and stealing the keys.

                Probably not a good idea to follow this advice anywhere else.

    • I'm all for an outdoor surveillance camera in general, but agree with zeggie it's not really going to do much in this circumstance. Isn't this sort of crime the one where you basically go to the police station to register to be a statistic rather than for any actual beneficial outcome?

    • One way to make your car harder/less appealing to break into is to point an obvious camera at it.

  • Might not be, but I wonder if theres any car dash cams you could use instead?

    • +6

      That will really get their attention. They can sell them too.

  • +4

    I just bought a set of eufy cameras. The cameras send the data (when movement is detected) back to a home base and saved on to a micro sd card. Depending on the model they're meant to be either half year or one year battery life. There is live streaming and live back up involves a plan..
    The cost of four cameras for the half year version is around $650.

    • How do they keep battery usage so low? Is it only like on if a movement is detected>?

      • Yeah the power required for a PIR is really low - so when movement is detected it quickly fires up the camera recording bit for 30 seconds or so.

        • +1

          I have found the opposite with eufycam. I have motion sensitivity set at 90%. If I set the sensitivity any higher, they are triggered by something invisible. They work OK for large objects like cars but for people, by the time they trigger and start recording you only get a second or two of them leaving the motion detection area. The biggest failing of these type of cameras is that they can't stream and record at the same time. So, if you are away from home and get a notification on your mobile that activity has been detected, your natural reaction is to live stream to find out what is going on. By doing so, you stop the camera recording.

          • @Gazza52: Not sure about others but Arlo pro allows you to record a video or even take a shot manually while live streaming.

            • @Smokey010: Thanks Smokey010. It appears that I should have gone with the Arlos. I bought eufycam because of the claimed battery life which I have found to be accurate.

              • @Gazza52: I only just received my system. There is a record button in the live stream with the eufy's.
                Interesting point you make though about the delay.

    • I have just got the eufy set and I am pretty happy. I can set the motion detection zones and switch the sound alarm on if necessary.
      They record the action pretty much accurate, although I am not monitoring the street but the terraces of my place.
      I did not want to buy Arlo as I don't want to pay someone for storing my own surveillance video.
      The key reason for purchase was that they are wireless, have good battery life and easy to use app. Not so cheap, though. 3 cameras set was $849.

  • +1

    Security camera wont stop people from breaking into your car.

  • I have Arlo setup around my whole house, overall I reckon it works great, yes it is a little pricey but it's worth it. Where possible I have them USB powered, other parts of the house I have them on the Arlo Solar Panel and that worked a lot better than expected. I didn't purchase any of the Arlo plans, as it is, it does what I need.

    At my other place I have a cheap Zmodo Wifi IP Camera setup. To be very honest, this works just as good for the price and probably best suits what you mentioned.

    • Do you get constant recording access with the free Arlo plan or is it just 7 days of motion-sensed recordings?

      • +1

        I think the oldest model has 7 days worth of "triggered" backups.
        You've got free live streaming with all models and plans(incl free).

        Edit: Someone here had a good write up on the different wifi cameras.

        • Cheers for that link mate!

          • @ngengerous: I received my eufy 2c system yesterday so am still playing around with it.
            No microsd storage but the home base 2 has 16gb inbuilt storage. I'm not sure how much footage this converts to but you get the option of saving to a NAS.
            It has android and iOS app and apparently windows is coming. My plan is to save it to a phone/tablet and upload to gphotos and delete from the home base.

            The 2c cameras (180 day battery) aren't tamper proof so you can just unscrew them from their mounts. Also need a microusb cable to charge the cameras, it says 5hrs to fully charge.

  • +3

    I have had success using the reolink and solar panel.
    There was a deal on OZBargain recently but it has expired.

    • +1 for Reolink products. Amazing!

  • +2

    Been using the Arlo Pro 2 for a year. It's not the best camera system but the best solution for me.

  • I have 2 amazon xt2 blink cameras. I bought them when I was in the states. They are cheap in the US, but not at all here. If you can get it here, via Auspost, or a US friend, then you can buy from

  • +1

    Whatever you do. Don't purchase those cheap $50 wireless CCTV. There are so many generic ones and they are so easy to hack. Better to spend a bit more than getting blacked mailed by some stranger or having the device act as an intrusion point on your network.

  • +1

    Get second hand camera of gumtree / eBay. Install it as fake camera.

    Install security lights that has motion sensor.

  • I've tested quite a few options and by far the best option for me and also the funnest is the Ring Security light. Any time someone walks into our drive it alerts and records. I think it's $50pa thought and may not work when there is a lot of movement all the time. It tells me when people visit me and parcel deliveries .. another option is a hard wired safety can in the car but that is also attractive to be stolen. Some safety cams record inside car when movement detected when parked.

    • +1

      yesterday I saw in passing an article saying Ring stuff was great for hackers - maybe like that story of the baby cam monitor talking to the small girl in her bedroom

      if it's convenient for you - it may be convenient for hackers too …

  • I'd recommend the Reolink devices. Good value for money.

  • I also have the Arlo Pro 2 and the best thing is the trigger alert which will record but also alert you if it’s triggered

    Sometimes people have arrived at my front door and the doorbell hasn’t worked but I got the arlo alert

    Only downside is the battery life will depend on traffic so you can get solar but I haven’t bought the add on

  • Use the Ring doorbell? Apparently battery lasts quite a while and it can capture motion detected video and send footage immediately to phone. Though ideally you'd run power to it.

    Though depends on definition of cheap. I went with NVR with 8TB hard drive with 2 high def cameras continuously recording. Keeps 2 months of footage and I can expand to 32 cameras if I ever feel the need.

  • How about a simple sound alarm, that surely scares thiefs away.

  • +1

    I have arlo Pro 2 at my place. Connected to USB power where possible as their solar panels are super expensive.

    Be aware of the following:

    • I had to replace their charger with a more powerful QC charger to get it to work properly.

    • Due to the design of the cameras you need to get arlo USB cables so they fit.
      (You can cut a normal usb cable so that it fits the arlo, but this is a PIA and I just bought 'real' cables.
      Don't get the cheap ones on ebay as they also don't fit and ebay don't give a rats when you ask for a refund unless you are their pro member or whatever.)
      The cost of posting back negates the refund amount.

    • Arlo 2 pro recordings have no date time or camera info in the image - only date time as part of the file name.
      Not sure how this will go in court.

    • My driveway camera doesn't detect motion very well as its aimed at the cars.
      People need to walk across the camera, rather than towards the camera for it to trigger.
      My workaround is that if camera 1 triggers (side camera) then camera 2 (front camera) records as well.

    -Arlo won't detect motion through glass.

    • I added a separate USB hard drive to significantly increase the recording retrieval time.

    • If you have lots of 'traffic' in the camera area, you will need to charge the camera regularly.

    • I use a motion sensor light near the cameras to try get a better picture when they trigger at night.

    • Arlo needs to be in wireless contact with its base.
      There is no way to extend the length of the wifi signal through repeaters etc.
      Consider your structures and locations before pruchasing.
      Having said that I am quite impressed with the range.

    • Arlo doesn't allow you to continuously monitor all cameras on a separate screen.
      You can monitor a specific camera, but then it chews through the battery.
      The phone app does pretty much everything I want.

  • +1

    A Budget security camera is bad enough.

    But wanting the Best? I dont think so.
    They are all cheap so not good.

    Battery operated? How long will it last? How will you charge it?

    And are you going to be reviewing 10 hrs of video every day?
    How and when will you do that?

    Obviously OP has not thought this out very well.

    Cheapest and best way out is to hook up a good quality web camera with motion detector wired to your PC. Very easy to set up.

    That way it will only record when motion is detected.
    Hence minimal recordings to review and minimal storage capacity required.

    Now if this works and you capture someone on video how will you know who it is?

    Do you think they are going to wave in the camera and put up a sign with thier name and address?

    I think best way out is to secure your propery better.

    A powerful flood light with a motion detector is a powerful deterrent.
    It would also alert you when it comes on to look out the window.
    There is your cheapest form of security and no need to spend time reviewing anything.

    • 'cheap so not good'

      the classic of project management - good, cheap, fast - choose any two.

      Good and cheap - it won't be fast.
      Good and fast - it won't be cheap.
      Cheap and fast - it won't be good.

  • +1

    Just ditched my ARLO PRO 2 as it's picture quality was terrible. Replaced with 5mp REOLINK cameras, outstanding. They sell an optional solar panel model. Cheap & awesome

    • +1

      Was surprised no one had mentioned reolink..

      The reolink eco is decent for the money and can be had with a solar panel for under $100..

      Connects to wifi directly so no need for a hub, and I believe cloud storage might even be free for a single device

  • +1

    Possibly look at trail/hunting cameras. They run on AA battery. They have motion detection and night IR.

  • Snap camera from bunnings. I think I paid about $120 for it and it's been great. I also have the eufy cams I picked up on special about 6 months ago but haven't installed them yet because I have been happy with the snap. I have compared the quality of both and the snap is just as good IMO although YMMV.

  • Were the doors locked?

  • it all depends on your budget really.

    you've mentioned you'll be moving shortly so wired cams arent an option.

    maybe the Ring stickup camera?

    i've got 2 setup outside in an undercover area. Bettery life is pretty good, mind you there is alot of motion picked up due to where the cams are installed, generally recharge once every 2 months

    the kogan ones are a slightly cheaper option

    have got a couple of these running also. Unable to comment on battery life at this point, however after being installed for 3 months it shows 40% battery left.

  • you can get those wildlife cameras they set up in the bush to record foxes or possums etc. They would be designed for capturing vermin like you’ve encountered.
    Ideal setup would be cameras inside the car facing the window as they peer inside. You’d get a good close up but would need to be a wifi setup that records images every few seconds and saves to HD inside your house.
    Another deterent may be a blinking red light easily seen from outside. Don’t forget simple “No Burglars” stickers in the corner of each window.

    • Need to turn off IR

  • +1

    Reolink argus 2

    But locking your doors works too

    • +1

      +1 for reolink

  • +1

    Go with a wireless swan camera. They record when they detect heat (thanks Predator) so you only see relevant recordings. I've had Arlo cameras and they detect movement. But movement for them is "the bush moved", "the tree moved", so you end up with 300 alerts per day, sucking the battery and you ignore them all, making it useless.

  • If u are after a cheap camera, there are always some cheap camera deals posted here every now and then.
    Think Genbolt, Jooan & Reolink.

    Having any camera is better than nothing.

    However, if you really want to catch the thief in the act then you should go for the mainstream Hikvision or Dahua systems.

    • 'if you really want to catch the thief in the act then you should go for the mainstream Hikvision or Dahua systems'

      we have a Dahua CCTV for our strata garage area - not sure what brand cameras - but I know they installed a higher-resolution camera at the front entry - our video identified a steal-to-order international car theft gang (and new Porsche & Mercedes) which were arrested as a result.

      you don't want what I read about with crappy dashcameras for cars - that don't have enough resolution to read the number plate of the car that crashed into you (yeah I know - your fault if you bump from behind - but have you seen Car Crash TV ? - crazy drivers cutting in - too much wodka) - or the faces of the criminals breaking into your car.

      I was wondering where OP was thinking to put the camera - inside the car (where you want live stream to internet - see battery life - and expect camera to be stolen) or outside facing their car - where it sounded like their car was not parked near a power supply … ?

  • In this situation having a outdoor camera is just pointless. The cops won't do a thing.

  • for the first 2 weeks of february 2 houses on the same street, 1 my neighbor got broken into in the early hours while the rest of the family slept upstairs, the robber carried a metal detector with him looking for jewellery etc, ended finding a set of car keys and took the beamer….. the other neighbor down the road, didnt know what happen to them, they also loss a car while the family slept upstairs…. now just this early morning around 6am my neighbor right behind me also got burgled with tv taken and the car…

    most houses on the street/area have cctv system, so we all shared the video footage and started hanging wireless cameras on the nature strip looking for the robber, eventually got a footage of him and handed over the police… i think those 3 houses that got broken into had no cameras, easy access to the backyard either jumping peoples backyards who have no cctv to access to the targeted house which has weak or no security. No security doors, no grill windows, no shutters…my house wasnt targeted due to having cctv motion sensor/thermo sensing…

    with or without cctv, if they wanna break into ur house, they will, they will either try and change the angle of ur cameras, walk around the blindspot or just dgaf and jump in jump out get whatever they can when there is or no people at home

    • the robber carried a metal detector with him looking for jewellery etc

      Wait what. This is a thing now? wow

    • 'or just dgaf and jump in'

      which would be your ice or meth addict - only thinking about getting money for their next fix …

  • I have 2 very large Rottweilers who sleep inside!

  • Have a look at reolink.
    Decent reviews good support.
    Have 4 cameras of theirs.

    Have pir sensors rhat also alert you to movement + record.

  • I would invest in solar powered lights, some of these little lights are super powerful these days

  • I bought the BLINK 2 system from Amazon.
    I picked it up from the USA but cant see why you would not get it here.
    It works on 2 AA batteries for up to 2 years and the picture is incredible. Black Friday sales had it half price.

  • +1

    A poison bottle of whiskey might solve your problem, maybye the pest will take it back to the nest and poison the Queen too

    • So you aren't a monarchist then?