What’s an IP camera and which one should I buy?

Find out what exactly an IP camera is, and check out our list of the best IP cameras to keep your home safe and smart

Arlo IP Camera is one of the best IP cameras

by Curtis Moldrich |
Published on

The smart home is very much here in 2020, and it’s revolutionising every aspect of how we live. Connected technology has brought huge advances in interior lighting and how we listen to music – but it’s also proved useful for security. CCTV used to be extremely expensive, requiring huge amounts of wiring and a large chunk of cash, but now protecting your home can cost well under four figures. Why? Because of a new wave of IP cameras.

What’s an IP camera?

An IP is much like a webcam and CCTV camera combined: it captures anything you point it at, and records to physical storage, the cloud or both – depending on the sort of camera you go for. However, these cameras are connected, and that means you can also access them remotely via a mobile device or often a desktop. And just like a home alarm, they can be triggered just for when you’re not in the house.

As you’d expect, there are loads of IP cameras on the market right now, with offerings from all the usual tech heavyweights, from Google and Ring, to Hive and Logitech. To streamline your browsing experience, we’ve selected the best IP cameras you can buy in 2020 and put them together in one handy list.


Best IP cameras

Canary Pro1 of 6

Canary Pro

Canary isn't a name you may have heard outside of the IP camera sector, but that's not a bad thing: this is a specialised product from a specialised brand. There are three IP cameras available in the Canary range, but we've gone for the Canary Pro, simply because of how much it can do. It's certainly on the more expensive end of the market, but it's worth it. In addition to combining 1080p HD video and audio with auto night vision and a wide-angle lens, it also packs in an air quality monitor and a thermometer, too. That way you can get a detailed handle on the air you're breathing. It's got a siren built in as well. Don't need the air quality or temperature readings? We'd suggest the Canary View, which costs half the price.

Arlo Pro 32 of 6

Arlo Pro 3

Arlo comes from Netgear, a company well-versed in connected products. There a total of four cameras in the Arlo range at the time of writing, but we've gone for the second-from-top Arlo Pro 3. Featuring colour night vision as well as a wide 160 degree viewing angle and 2K HDR, the Pro 3 also packs in an integrated spotlight. The Arlo Pro 3 works with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, too, so it'll easily fit into your existing smart home setup. It's also weather resistant so can work indoors or outdoors, and because it's totally rechargeable, it's one of the only completely wire-free IP cameras on this list.

Ring Indoor cam3 of 6

Ring Indoor Cam

Ring's video doorbell solution was a game changer, and now it enters the IP camera sector with the very reasonably priced Indoor Cam. Unlike other cameras here, but the Ring Indoor Cam doesn't have a huge spec list: it's not outdoor compatible or totally wireless, but it does feature night vision, two-way talk functionality and HD video. The Ring Indoor cam is a cheap solution for keeping an eye on your home, and if you've already got a Ring doorbell, it'll easily work within the same app. Simple, effective and very good value.

Google Nest Cam IQ4 of 6

Google Nest Cam IQ

Google Nest is one of the most complete smart home solutions and offers not one but two cameras; one outdoor, and one indoor. Both offer a similar level of tech, with the indoor solution packing in a six-core processor, 1080p HD night vision and sophisticated listening tech. HDR tech means you'll get a clear view of the situation in the brightest weather, while intelligent tracking will follow anything. As for the outdoor version? Expect similar looks and tech, but with a weatherproof IP66 rating and a harder-wearing shell.

Logitech Circle 2 (wire-free)5 of 6

Logitech Circle 2 (wire-free)

Logitech gives us the Circle 2, and it's an extremely accomplished device. Featuring 1080p video with night vision, a digital zoom and a 180-degree field of view, the Circle 2 has a handsome feature list. And two-way talk is also included. We think wireless version offers the best balance of price and specs. If that's still well below your budget, you can buy and link multiple Circle 2s to keep an even closer eye on your home.

Hive View6 of 6

Hive View

First, they took over your heating, then your lights – and now your security. You're looking at the Hive View, a smart IP camera specifically designed for Hive smart eco-system. Available in black and brushed copper or white and champagne gold finishes, it's easily one of the best-looking IP cameras on this list – but it packs in a solid number of features. The Hive View comes with a 130-degree lens to cram in as much as possible, and it livestreams in 1080p HD quality, too.

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