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Wire-Free security cameras, sometimes known as battery operated surveillance cameras now come with more usable features than traditionally wired security cameras. The newer wire-free versions have 2-way talk capability and can be viewed wirelessly not only from your smartphone but through any flat screen or smart TV by using devices such as Amazon Alexa Fire Stick or Google Chromecast located throughout your home, all with just a voice command. Wire-Free security cameras are battery powered but they are often coupled with a small solar pad that allows them to work wire-free with a consistent full charge without having to physically charge the battery every few months. You’ll find that wire-free security cameras are easy to install. It does not require a licensed or experienced installer. Saving you hundreds of dollars in installation.
- Wire-Free security cameras are easy enough for their owner or a handyman to install in minutes
- Weatherproof for outdoor use and portable enough for indoor use
- 2-way audio is the default feature for most wire-free security cameras
- Surveillance video continues to record even if the internet is temporarily disconnected
- Most wire-free security cameras can be viewed anywhere via Amazon Alexa voice control
- PIR Heat Detection eliminates 95% of false alarm notifications wired cameras suffer from
The Not So Good
- Your home WiFi network may need an upgrade to boost the WiFi signal that connects to the cameras for a high definition 1080p view
- Multiscreen viewing on a mobile phone is available but not for continuous viewing from a TV or security monitor
Included in this article below is our comprehensive list of wire-free battery operated security cameras based on consumer reviews, features and unit cost.
Having wired security cameras installed on the outside of any home is not only expensive but they can also be prohibited on condos or townhomes depending on your communities HOA rules or your landlord if you live in an apartment complex. Furthermore, there is a reason why the cost of wired security cameras has fallen in price by over 20% in the last year. It’s hard for security camera companies to hide the fact that the cost of installing their wired security cameras can cost between 150% to 300% more than the cost of the security cameras themselves. Installers will charge you between $75 to $175 per camera to be installed depending on the size of your home and the difficulty of the installation and if you think wireless security cameras are a way around these costs, think again. Most security cameras that are advertised as “wireless cameras” still need a plugged-in wire to carry power to the camera to work. This means you can only install the cameras where there’s a power outlet. This defeats the purpose of calling them wireless cameras. That’s why the future for today’s security solution for most homes will be long lasting wire-free battery operated security cameras.
Benefits of having a wire-free security camera
You’ll be hard pressed to find a traditionally wired security camera with audio capability, let alone 2-way audio to communicate with the person in the camera view. New wire-free security cameras have built-in microphones and speakers to allow you to communicate and interact with someone who’s in the camera’s sight. Not only can you see, listen and interact with the person in front of the wire-free camera but you can also playback the recorded surveillance video later with that audio interactions. Another drawback to a traditionally wired security camera that wire-free camera owners don’t have to worry about is that once a wired security camera is installed, if you change your mind about that camera’s location, it’s going to cost a good sum of money to move it, not to mention the wear and tear of moving a wired security camera to a new location and leaving holes at the previous location.
Wire-free viewing. You’ve seen the Amazon Alexa commercials, You can view your video doorbell through your Alexa connected devices or TV just by asking Alexa to show you the camera. Now with today’s wire-free security cameras, you can do the same with every location you want to call up and view on your Fire Stick connected TV, Amazon Echo Show or Echo Spot My favorite Alexa device is the 4K Fire Stick that can connect to any TV in your home. In fact, you can have several TVs with the ability to instantly call-up any camera located around your house. Traditionally wired security cameras are usually only wired to one TV in the home and wiring them to other TVs requires extra installation and cable materials which can be very expensive. Fire Sticks connect to your TV’s HDMI ports located in the back or near side of the television.
We normally use these devices without reminding ourselves that they can do so much more than show us TV shows and movies. With the included remote control, feel free to use your voice and ask Alexa to show you a particular camera. “Alexa, show me the garage camera” or “Alexa, show me the front camera”. Amazon devices will give you a 2-way audio connection along with surveillance video you can view live when you call up that particular camera. I prefer the TV even though it only allows me to listen to the person on the screen because of the convenience and remember, you can, of course, use your mobile phone to view and have two-way conversations with someone through the cameras or playback previously recorded videos with audio.
Body heat detection. Another feature newer wire-free surveillance cameras have that’s missing from most wired security cameras is body heat detection via Infrared (PIR). Older surveillance cameras and even some new wired cameras have the ability to record and notify you of movement in front of the camera via email or their mobile phone app. Unfortunately, it will detect a wide range of motion that can cause a tremendous amount of false notifications from trees swaying or leaves and trash blowing in the wind, especially if you don’t take out the time to set the camera’s parameters for detection and as a previous security camera installer I find that this is the case most of the time. Most security camera owners assume that their cameras will work as described right out of the box.
Low to no cost installation but there’s a catch
Wire-free security cameras can easily be installed by anyone. Since there are no wires or cables to install, you can install them indoors as well as outside in the elements in unique areas that are hard to get to with video and power wiring. If you choose to have someone install them for you, the cost of installation is anywhere from half if not less than installing traditionally wired surveillance cameras.
Now some may argue that wire-free security cameras or better known as battery operated surveillance cameras are notorious when it comes to wireless WiFi connections and they would be right. Wifi signals can vary widely in certain locations in and around your home depending on its structure and size or even the materials built into the home. These variations in WiFi signal can cause cameras to have a slow or pixelated connection and in some cases, not connect at all to the home router which allows you to view the cameras from any device.
Will my cameras continue to record if the internet goes down or disconnects?
Yes, Every wire-free security camera listed below has a built-in SD drives to record surveillance video directly to the camera itself. Some even allow you to add an SD memory card for weeks of recording directly to the security camera.
Boosting your WiFi signal allows you to place your Wire-Free cameras anywhere on your property without limitations. To combat a weak WiFi connection, you would usually buy a WiFi Extender. They’re affordable, and if you only have one or two weak spots where you want to add wire-free security cameras then adding a WiFi extender is a great option. RING’s wire-free security cameras and video doorbell cameras actually carry their own line of WiFi extenders. With each WiFi extender you use, you may need a separate username and password for it. That means you will have to connect your wire-free camera to the nearest WiFi extender and enter that WiFi extender’s unique username and password.
With each WiFi extender you use, you may need a separate username and password for it. That means you will have to connect your wire-free camera to the nearest WiFi extender and enter that WiFi extender’s unique username and password. If you have a large home that is made of brick and other sturdy material with a lot of signal interference then your best bet to combat weak WiFi signal reaching your wire-free cameras is a Mesh WiFi extender. These systems usually have 2 to several modules that can be spread out throughout the inside of your home and they connect to each other to create a much wider and stronger WiFi connection inside and outside of your home. This is similar to a WiFi extender but the great thing about a mesh system is that you use the same username and password everywhere throughout your home where you need to connect to your home WiFi.
Connect your cameras for online viewing by taking a picture
If you can take a picture with your mobile phone then you can connect these cameras to your home internet service and view them online within minutes. Each camera has a QR code stamped on its shell and inside the box that it came in. When you download and activate the camera’s app, your phone’s camera will turn on and instruct you to take a picture of the QR code. Once you take the picture, the app will ask you to create a username and password for your new account and add that camera to the account. This ensures that someone else can’t take a picture of the same QR code and connect to the camera unless they have the username and password you’ve created for it. Make sure your mobile phone is connected to your home WiFi connection. This will allow you to connect your cameras to the same WiFi connection effortlessly. Adding additional cameras is just a picture away without the extra steps needed since you’ve already created a password connected account for your existing camera and any other camera you add to your app via your WiFi connection.
“No Monthly Fee” Recording is available
New wire-free cameras allow you to add an SD card with up to 128G of memory to each camera to bypass their monthly cloud recording fee. Some models even offer both onboard video recording by using an SD memory card in each camera along with free cloud recording as a backup to your SD card’s recording. Check our comprehensive list of wire-free security cameras below to review these options.
Reviewers find the night vision impressive
Infrared night vision is expected from every wired surveillance camera for home and business use since the early 2000s. Wire-free security cameras are bringing night vision into a whole new technological era. Where cheap wired security cameras may see 20 feet ahead of it in a periscope-like night view vision, wire-free battery operated security cameras use less intensive infrared emitters with extremely sensitive night vision lens technology. Giving the viewer a much longer and wider video view than wired security cameras from just a few years ago.
Ensure a more stable WiFi connection
If you purchase a wire-free battery powered security camera, make sure that the cameras you buy can connect to both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi connection. Your internet modem/router offer both types of connections. 2.4 GHz is the most common connection and most of your WiFi connected devices use this connection because it can be connected from a longer distance but 5 GHz WiFi is on a less crowded spectrum and allows more data to flow through it at a faster rate than 2.4 GHz which gives you a better and clearer connection to your battery operated surveillance cameras. WiFi connected cameras automatically adjust to the amount of WiFi signal they receive and you want the highest video quality to reach your phone viewing app or connected devices at all times. Below we list the type of cameras that can connect to both 2.4 and 5 GHz Wifi signal. Keep in mind that 5 GHz may require a mesh or WiFi extender.
Solar pads for continuous power
The obvious drawback to wire-free security cameras with 2-way audio capability is battery power. Cheap wire-free security cameras can offer anywhere from 6 months to 2 years of battery power but you’ll have to sacrifice video quality to have that extended battery life in your camera. Newer Wire-Free security cameras do need to have their batteries recharged every 30 to 60 days but with a solar pad, you can have a consistently charged battery with 38% of sunlight on a daily basis. The cost of these small solar pads (or better known as a solar panel which sounds bigger than what it really is) is less than $30. It can keep a security camera battery topped off even in an Alaska winter.
Drawbacks to having a wire-free security camera
Multiscreen viewing is not an option for TVs or monitors. You can view most wire-free security cameras in multiscreen mode on your mobile phone but traditional security cameras can connect to a TV or computer monitor using a security camera DVR for multi-viewing many of your surveillance cameras at once. From that monitor or TV, you can see all of your cameras in a multi-screen format with continuous viewing. With newer wire-free security cameras, you can view all of your cameras live from your mobile phone but not on a TV screen or monitor with continuous viewing. If you tried to view all of your cameras at once with constant viewing, you’ll drain the camera’s batteries in just a few hours even with solar panels connected to them. Viewing individual cameras from your TV or other viewing devices is fine to check on alerts, speak to a delivery person or watch the kids play in the yard for several minutes from time to time but an always-on monitor is out of the question with today’s models.
Are battery operated surveillance cameras appropriate for businesses and large facilities? I definitely would suggest wire-free security cameras for most homes and even some small businesses but there are some exceptions. I actually prefer wired security cameras for midsize to large businesses, warehouses, farms or any other large facility that need to cover a lot of square footage inside and around buildings. Newer wire-free security cameras have great video resolution at 1080p that can cover immediate areas like front and backyards, entryways and sides of homes and businesses with a widescreen view of about 120 to 140 degrees but covering a large parking lot, warehouse work floor or farmland should be tackled by a continuously recording 4K wired camera system with manual zoom capability. Don’t get me wrong, there are more than a few midsize businesses and farms that are successfully incorporating wire-free security cameras but when you have to cover a large area in several locations, the cost of the number of cameras you’ll need as well as the support equipment like professional mesh WiFi extenders starts to exceed the cost of installing traditionally wired security cameras.
Comprehensive list of the best wire-free battery operated security cameras based on features and price
- 1080p Full HD with True Detect Heat-Sensing, Night Vision & Audio
- 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi connection
- Capture facial features, license plates & see up to 32ft or 10m
- With True Detect™, heat from people & cars triggers push notifications & video recording
- Enjoy hands-free security using voice commands to stream video from your camera via Alexa to Amazon devices with a screen, such as Echo Spot, Echo Show or 4K Fire TV
- 7-day video recorded in camera, 2-day free video cloud recording
- Exceptional wide view night vision
Free Local Storage
Save up to 7 days (hundreds) of 10-60 second video clips to the camera’s built-in back-up
Secure Cloud Storage
Enjoy 2 days of free storage to secure cloud and 7 days internal storage, with the ability to expand to 30+ days
Easily recharge with the supplied USB cable and your smartphone’s charging wall plug or a computer. Solar power pad for continuous power available
Reolink should have been buried by other wire-free security cameras that have a high profile and well-funded company to back them but Reolink has become a powerhouse of wired and wire-free security cameras in just a few years. They have become a leader in video and sound quality that even the most expensive battery powered security camera has a hard time following.
100% Wire-Free, Rechargeable Battery Powered, Or Solar Powered
- Based on 2.4GHz WiFi and works independently
- Starlight sensor offers the best and clearest night vision of all of the listed battery powered security cameras, up to 33 feet.
- Insert a micro SD card to the camera for local storage, free cloud backup video storage.
- Remote live view on phones or computers anywhere & anytime
- Reolink has the best built-in mic & speaker out of every camera on this list to listen in and talk back interactively
- Rechargeable battery, Long lasting power per charge of the battery; saves your money.
- Smart PIR sensor detects if anything is wrong and triggers alerts.
- The built-in loud Siren can be triggered automatically from the PIR heat sensor or manually by you from the mobile app
- Connect the camera to Reolink Solar Panel to get non-stop power.
- Being able to add and manage your own memory for video recordings via SD card
- Starlight night vision for color night viewing in low ambient light
- Included loud siren
- Comes with both magnetic mount and sturdy screw in mount
- Detailed night vision which is better than most wire-free security cameras
- The unit allows for the recording of both sides of the conversation in 2-way audio
- Reolink has the best mic and speaker interaction than any other wire-free security camera we’ve tested
- It does not connect to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for home automation
- It only connects to 2.4GHz WiFi Connection
Arlo Pro is the more refined and feature-rich security camera on this list. Everything you would need and want from the first two security cameras along with other innovative features but with a much higher price tag. Arlo is the first true wire-free security camera and it strives to be the very best. There’s even an audio doorbell device you can purchase in one of their bundles that combines with an Arlo camera to give you a better view of the person you’re having a 2-way conversation with at your door because you can place the companion camera anywhere to view the entryway.
1080p HDWatch and record crisp HD video in more detail than ever before.
Motion and Sound DetectionGet instant notifications sent to your smartphone or email.
2-Way AudioListen in and talk through the camera from your smartphone.
Night vision turns on automatically in low light so you can see clearly, even in the dark.
130° Viewing AngleWide-angle PIR motion sensor makes sure no movement slips through without notice.
- Arlo security cameras are one of the best cameras in the market when it comes to wire-free security cameras. It has the most features out of all the cameras listed in this article.
- The base unit can accept an SD memory card for onboard video recording
- It has a base unit. Cameras have to be located somewhat close to the base unit to get the fastest connection to the camera system. A mesh router or a simple WiFi extender cannot help with connection issues that may occur. If you have multiple cameras in a large home, you may need to purchase additional base units to cover the cameras that are located the farthest from your router/modem. Another option is to purchase a more powerful router that may reach the furthest corners of your home.
Blink XT is the only wire-free security camera on this list that can claim a 2-year battery life using 2 AA batteries. Its proprietary low powered chip is the only one of its kind and it is a favorite amongst owners of vacation rental property. Blink is now owned by Amazon.com and it is now one of 2 companies that Amazon owns that carry wire-free surveillance cameras.
- Fully integrated with Amazon Alexa-enabled devices including Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Amazon Tap.
- Two AA Lithium batteries last up to two years, based on 4,000 five-second events per year (or 40,000 total seconds of video recording, including Live View usage). Battery life will vary based on device settings, usage, and environmental factors. Actual results may vary.
- It’s the only wire-free security camera on the list that offers temperature monitoring
- Infrared night vision
- PIR passive infrared heat signature detection for more accurate alerts and notifications
- Solar panel compatible
- 2-year battery life is the most impressive feature of this wire-free security camera. You can use a solar panel but if you don’t like the look of the panel and you don’t have the time and patience to recharge the battery every couple of months then this camera may be the best purchase you can make.
- Free video cloud storage for several days
- Great look. We like the fact that the camera does not look like a camera. For aesthetic reasons, this camera is the best on the list. Guest are not faced with a camera that looks like it’s pointing at them.
- To achieve 2-year battery life, you must set the cameras to the lowest video resolution
- Only connects to 2.4GHz WiFi
- The overall video resolution is 720p not 1080p as in all of the other cameras in this list
- There’s only 1-way audio to allow you to listen to the camera’s surroundings
RING is still king of wire-free surveillance cameras. This list would not be complete without adding RINGs new battery operated spotlight camera which has similar features to RINGs floodlight security camera which happens to be the biggest “wireless” security camera seller worldwide. The great thing about the new Spotlight camera is that it does not need existing floodlight wiring and mount to work.
- Works with Alexa to launch real-time video with your voice
- Lets you see, hear and speak to visitors from your phone, tablet, and PC
- Sends alerts as soon as motion is detected. Compatible with ios, Android, Mac, and Windows 10 devices
- Powered by the quick-release rechargeable battery pack
- Monitors your home in 1080p HD video with infrared night vision and Live View
- Includes built-in LED light strips and a siren
- Includes Lifetime Theft Protection: If your Camera gets stolen, we’ll replace it for free
- Even though the spotlight camera is nowhere near as bright as the Ring Floodlight camera at 1,800 lumens, its 300 lumens of light illumination is quite noticeable. Which happens to be the point. It lets intruders know that they’re being watched when the PIR sensor picks up movement in front of the camera.
- Having a loud 100-decibel siren that can be activated manually via the app or by the programmed motion sensor. Along with a spotlight, this makes this wire-free model stand out from the rest on the list.
- 2-way audio is almost at par with the incredible Reolink 2-way mic and speaker which is a plus.
- The sister model, which is a plug-in model, is only 75 lumens brighter. When this battery operated version is paired with a solar panel, you don’t have to worry about changing the battery.
- The camera can take one or two full-size RING batteries. You can run them together or swap out to recharge while the other battery stays in to keep the camera monitoring
- RING sells their own WiFi extender. Some are combined with indoor bell plug-in module
- It’s the bulkiest wire-free battery operated security camera in the bunch
- You have to pay monthly for video storage to the cloud with no SD memory card backup option
- Only connects to 2.4 GHz WiFi connection
- The spotlight eats battery power for lunch in high traffic areas. Make sure to carefully set the parameters for motion detection or you’ll get 20 days or less of battery power on one battery.
- RING is now an Amazon company. Do not expect an upgrade to Google Assistant or IFTTT in the near future