When something goes bump in the night in your backyard, you probably want to know about it. While regular security cameras with night vision can show you what’s out there, a floodlight camera can show you and tell that rascal or raccoon to get off your lawn, scaring them away with some powerful lumens and possibly a blaring siren.
While there’s mixed research on whether outdoor lighting is a significant crime deterrent or just potentially annoying for your neighbors, there are plenty of benefits to lighting up your property from a safety and security perspective.
With smart floodlight cameras, you get the added value of better lighting, plus a way to keep an eye on your home. Thanks to sensors, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, smart floodlight cameras can be set only to light up when there’s someone there instead of just when a gust of wind sends a plastic bag through your yard.
A floodlight camera has a few benefits over a standard smart security camera. If you have existing hardwired lighting around your home, it’s an easy swap to add a camera and lighting in place of standard outdoor lights. This removes worries about recharging batteries, installing solar panels, or finding an outdoor outlet. If you’re looking for advice on why you might want a floodlight camera or how to install it, I’ve got more details for you below, as well as tips on how to install a floodlight camera.
Here, I’ve rounded up the seven best floodlight security cameras based on extensive testing over 12 months at a single-family home in South Carolina.
The best hardwired floodlight camera
The Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Pro delivers high-quality video with adjustable, accurate motion detection, 2,000 lumens of light, and a good digital zoom. It offers smart alerts for people or motion and works with Ring or Alexa apps but not any other smart home platform.
Video quality: 1080p HD, 8x digital zoom / Lumens: 2,000 / Smart alerts: Person ($) / Field of view: 140 degrees (270 motion) / Siren: Yes (110 decibels) Power options: Hardwired or plug in / Wi-Fi: 2.4GHz and 5GHz / Storage: Cloud, local / Subscription fee: $3.99 a month / Works with: Alexa, Ring
Ring’s top-of-the-line floodlight camera has superb video quality, excellent motion detection, and an impressive 2,000 lumens of adjustable light. Its wide horizontal and deep vertical field of view gave a better vantage over my backyard than most of the competition.
While I didn’t find the Bird’s Eye View feature that useful, the radar-powered 3D motion detection was very good. Of all the cameras I tested, this was the most reliable at picking up motion anywhere in its range, even mounted on the eave of my second floor. It’s part of the Ring security ecosystem — which is great in its own right — but it doesn’t integrate with smart home platforms outside of Amazon’s Alexa.
The enhanced motion detection is the main reason to buy the Pro model over the Floodlight Cam Wired Plus, which is $50 cheaper. The other key differences are no HDR imaging on the Plus or the option of 5GHz Wi-Fi. Neither of these makes much difference on a floodlight camera — due to its likely location being up high and far away from your Wi-Fi router — but better motion detection is worth a lot on a security camera.
Ring’s digital zoom is also excellent, and the bumped-up siren is the loudest I tested (at 110dB, 105 on the Plus). You can’t trigger the siren on motion, but there is the unique-to-Ring option to add a verbal warning telling prowlers they’re on camera — less offensive to the neighbors than a motion-triggered siren. I also like that there’s a version that runs off a standard wall outlet if you don’t have a junction box available, but I recommend hardwiring if you can.
You’ll need to pay for a Ring Protect Plus plan for recorded video, starting at $4 a month. This also adds person detection (no other smart alerts) — without it, it’s livestream only. However, the Pro does work with the local storage option of a Ring Alarm Pro, if you have that security system.
Alexa integration is useful; you can view a live feed in the Alexa app and on Alexa-enabled smart displays and have Echo smart speakers announce when people and / or motion is detected. But you can’t control the Ring’s floodlights through Alexa, either with voice or in Routines; you have to use the Ring app for all light control.
The Ring Floodlight Cam works best with Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem
In the Ring app, there’s an option to adjust the three motion zones for the lights — which was handy for preventing them from turning on when my neighbor walked in his yard. The lights can also be set on a schedule, adjust the brightness, and link Ring devices so that if a Ring camera on one side of the house detects motion, it can turn on the floodlights on the other.
If you use a smart home system other than Alexa, give the Ring Floodlight Cam a pass, as it only works with Alexa. However, if you are starting on your smart home journey, the Ring app is fast becoming a smart home platform of its own, especially if you add a Ring Alarm or Ring Alarm Pro to your setup.
The best budget floodlight camera
Video quality: 1080p HD / Lumens: 2,600 / Smart alerts: Person, package, vehicle, animal ($) / Field of view: 130 degrees (270 motion) / Siren: 105 decibels / Power options: Hardwired / Wi-Fi: 2.4GHz / Storage: Cloud and local (SD card) / Subscription fee: $1.99 monthly / Works with: Alexa, Google Home
Wyze’s superb floodlight camera is less than half the price of the competition. This 2,600-lumen blaster lit up the side of my house like an airport runway. (It’s a harsh white, however.) Moreover, unlike most of the competition, the Wyze Cam Floodlight offers sound detection, useful to highlight anyone trying to creep through the bushes while out of range of any motion sensors.
Wyze uses both PIR and camera-based motion sensors — which means the camera doesn’t have to be in the range of motion for the lights to turn on. Wyze offers 270 degrees of motion sensing, which is the widest range of motion sensing I tested, and it’s adjustable. The cherry on top is the extra USB port, so you can power a second Wyze Cam v3 (sold separately) and put it around the corner for an additional angle. This does look a bit like a Rube Goldberg machine on the side of your house, however.
Despite the low price, you’ll want to factor in paying for a Wyze Cam Plus subscription plan ($3 a month), as that’s how you’ll get smart alerts for people, packages, vehicles, and animals. Although 12 seconds of motion-recorded clips are free, there’s a five-minute cooldown period between them where the camera won’t record anything, so unless you pay up for the unlimited length clips and no cooldown included in Cam Plus, you could miss some vital action.
Zoom on the 1080p resolution Wyze is not great, but the starlight sensor-powered night vision is superb. This uses any available light to illuminate a dark scene in color, and I could see more in that mode than with the floodlights turned on. The Wyze Cam also has a loud siren and can pulse the lights to scare off anything creeping around. As a bonus, there’s the option of local storage by adding an SD card, which enables free 24/7 continuous video recording.
As with all Wyze gear, smart home integration outside of the Wyze ecosystem is limited. You can stream footage to Google and Alexa smart displays and have Alexa announce if motion is detected. But you can’t control the lights with either voice assistant, and you don’t get individual control of the floodlights outside of the Wyze app.
The best battery-powered floodlight camera
The Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Cam has the best video quality, most versatile installation options, and widest smart home integration — Amazon Alexa, Google Home, SmartThings, and Apple Home. It’s expensive, though, especially when you add continual power and pay for smart alerts and video recording.
Video quality: 2K, 12x zoom / Lumens: 2,000 (3,000 when plugged in) / Smart alerts: Person, package, vehicle, pet ($) / Field of view: 160 degrees (130 motion) / Siren: Yes (105 decibels) / Power options: Battery, solar panel, plug in / Wi-Fi: 2.4GHz / Storage: Cloud / Subscription fee: $3.99 monthly / Works with: Alexa, Google Home, Apple Home, Samsung SmartThings
If you don’t have access to hardwiring or a nearby power outlet or you want a floodlight camera that works with all the major smart home platforms, the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Cam is the best option. This camera works with Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, Apple Home, and Alexa. It has better video quality than the Ring, a 12x digital zoom, an option to auto-track and zoom, a motion-activated siren, and more smart alerts.
But the Arlo is a battery-powered camera, and while this means you can mount it anywhere you need to, it lacks the best feature of hardwired floodlight cams: reliable, continuous power. Arlo has the option of continuous power, but you need a nearby outlet and an additional $50 power cord. It does not mount to a standard outdoor junction box and isn’t a great drop-in upgrade for an existing non-camera floodlight. I tested the Arlo for six months on battery power in a very busy location and had to charge it every two months. A $60 solar panel add-on would help, but you’re paying over $300.
The camera’s software features are also expensive. You have to subscribe to its Arlo Secure service (starting at $3.99 a month) for zoom and track, rich notifications, and smart alerts for animals, vehicles, and packages. I couldn’t even snooze motion alerts without a subscription plan. There is the option of continuous 24/7 recording for an additional fee.
The Arlo is the least obtrusive-looking floodlight camera I tested. I won’t go so far as to say it looks nice — but it’s not as large or as prominent-looking as the rest (with the exception of the Eve Outdoor Cam and Netatmo).
The Arlo can run on battery or off a nearby outlet but can’t be wired to a standard outdoor junction box
Despite the camera’s smaller size, the light is very bright and more than enough to light up my entire back patio. It’s one of only two cameras I tested that has the option to pulse its light to scare off intruders, and you can set its 80dB siren to go off on motion. (Be careful with this feature if you don’t want your neighbors to come knocking.)
One issue I ran into was water getting into the floodlight after a heavy rainstorm. I was able to dry it out, and it’s been working fine since then, but I would recommend installing this and any floodlight camera under an eave or some covering where possible to extend its life.
I also find the Arlo app to be finicky. It logs me out frequently and takes way too long to pull up a live view. In comparison, I didn’t have the same issues with the Ring app — despite the camera being installed further from my router than the Arlo.
Unlike some Arlo cameras, the Pro 3 Floodlight Cam doesn’t require an Arlo hub, but it can be used with one to help with range and extend battery life. If you want Apple Home compatibility, you also need that hub, which costs $100. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have HomeKit Secure Video or local storage. There is just no way around that Arlo subscription.
The best pan and tilt floodlight camera
Video quality: 2K / Lumens: 3,000 / Smart alerts: Person / Field of view: 360 degrees (270 motion) / Siren: 100 decibels / Power options: Hardwired / Wi-Fi: 2.4GHz / Storage: Local (on-device), cloud / Subscription fee: $3 monthly / Works with: Alexa, Google Home
Eufy has gone for function over form with its beast of a floodlight camera that boasts a camera with a 360-degree field of view that pans and tilts to cover a vast area. This feature — plus its three adjustable, tunable lighting panels, individually addressable PIR motion sensors, and local storage — makes the Eufy Floodlight Cam 2 Pro a great option if you have a large area to cover.
Important note: Eufy recently suffered some security vulnerabilities, which the company was not transparent about. We temporarily removed our recommendations while the company worked on a fix. While the security flaws appear to have been resolved, the company’s lack of transparency is something to consider before purchasing a Eufy camera. You can read more about the issues and Eufy’s solutions here.
The 360-degree pan and tilt feature is well thought out, with subject lock and tracking that follows a person as they walk through your property. While you set the camera to a fixed point, it can detect motion outside its view (thanks to PIR motion sensors in each floodlight panel) and swivel the camera to catch it.
Smart alerts are for people but not animals, vehicles, or packages. You can adjust the sensitivity of each motion sensor and set up activity zones to limit false alerts. Opt-in rich notifications preview the captured clip right in your phone’s notification tray, reducing how often you have to open the app to check-in.
A helpful auto-cruise feature lets you set four preset positions and have the camera auto-rotate through them on a set schedule or on demand. A Look Around button on the main page of the Eufy app sends the camera into a surveillance spin for a quick check on your property.
But it is ugly. And the outdated push-to-talk two-way audio (we’d love some full-duplex here), limited zoom, and no option for continuous video recording are all letdowns.
A neat feature is three lighting panels that deliver a blinding 3,000 lumens of light at up to 5,700 Kelvins, much higher than any competitor. At full brightness, it resembles the lighting of a prison yard, which is not great for most people. Thankfully, you can change the brightness and the color temperature from cool to warm. I set it to warm, and 20 percent brightness, and it was more than bright enough without being harsh.
The 2K video quality is good, although the digital zoom is lacking (surprising with this resolution). The camera works over 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, has a weather rating of IP65, and includes standard and color night vision. It doesn’t require a Eufy hub, but recently became compatible with the Eufy HomeBase 3, which should add AI-powered smart alerts — including animals and vehicles, plus facial recognition. I’ve not tested this feature yet, and the HomeBase costs $150, but will work with multiple Eufy cameras.
Without a HomeBase, there is 4GB of nonremovable onboard storage for around 14 days’ worth of recordings for free, based on about 45 activations a day. You can also use a network-attached storage setup or Eufy’s cloud service for $3 a month per camera. There is no 24/7 continuous video recording, and it works with Google Home and Alexa to stream footage on smart displays and control the camera’s lights in the app.
The best floodlight camera without cloud storage
Expensive but entirely local, the Netatmo is subscription-free and stores and processes all footage locally. It works with Apple Home, Google Home, and Alexa and features smart alerts, a 1,100-lumen floodlight, and a built-in siren. But video quality isn’t great, and there’s no two-way talk.
Video quality: 1080p HD, 8x digital zoom / Lumens: 1,100 / Smart alerts: People, vehicles, animals / Field of view: 100 degrees / Siren: 105 decibels / Power options: Hardwired / Wi-Fi: 2.4GHz / Storage: Local (microSD card) / Subscription fee: None / Works with: Apple Home, Alexa, Google Home
For those leery of relying in any way on a company’s cloud to protect their footage, the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera is a good option. Netatmo doesn’t have a cloud service: all video is recorded locally, and all smart alerts are processed on the device. You can also opt to store recordings on your personal server (via FTP) or in Dropbox or use Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video service (an Apple Home hub and an iCloud plan is required).
Additionally, Netatmo doesn’t charge any ongoing fees. Its smart alerts for animals, people, and vehicles and rich notifications are all free, which makes up a little for that eye-wateringly high price tag. The built-in siren hits an ear-splitting 105dB, which you can opt out of by getting the non-siren version for $30 less.
The Netatmo camera works with Apple Home, Google Home, or Amazon Alexa, and you can control both the light and camera in Apple Home. It also works with HomeKit Secure Video, but I like the Eve better if you’re an Apple Home user, as it has better video quality, double the lumens, and two-way talk (but no siren).
The Netatmo is a stylish-looking floodlight camera made of aluminum instead of plastic, with a high-end feel that doesn’t look out of place on the side of more modern homes. It comes in black or white and needs to be mounted vertically to the side of a house. (It won’t fit under your eaves.)
The biggest downside is that the video quality of the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera is nowhere near as good as the competition. This is an older camera, and while it offers 1080p video, it live streams in 720p, and there is no HDR imaging or seemingly any other digital trickery more modern cameras use to produce a more vibrant image.
There is also no two-way audio. You can hear someone through the app but can’t speak to them. The light is also only rated for 1,100 lumens, the lowest by far, but it feels plenty bright in use. I like that you can choose specific types of motion to trigger the lights and have it just come on for people or animals.
The best floodlight camera for Google Home
A Google Nest Cam attached to two bright, adjustable floodlights, this camera has free video recording, powerful lights, and on-device processing of smart alerts for people, vehicles, and animals. There’s no siren, but there is 24/7 recording and facial recognition. Read our review.
Video quality: 1080p HD, 6x digital zoom / Lumens: 2,400 / Smart alerts: People, vehicles, animals, familiar faces ($), sound ($) / Field of view: 130 degrees (180 motion) / Siren: No / Power options: Hardwired, plug-in ($) / Wi-Fi: 2.4GHz and 5GHz / Storage: Cloud and local / Subscription fee: $6 a month / Works with: Alexa, Google, Samsung SmartThings
There is a lot to like about the Google Nest Cam with floodlight. It has built-in battery backup for when the power goes out, free on-device recording (up to three hours), free smart alerts for people, animals, and vehicles, and the option of 24/7 recording (for a fee).
It’s also got facial recognition if you take the time to add known faces. It’s a lot nicer to get an alert that says, “Sarah the Gardener is in the backyard,” rather than the scarier “There’s a person in the backyard.” You need to pay for a Nest Secure subscription service for this, which starts at $6 a month.
All of these features are part of the Google Nest Cam that magnetically attaches to the two floodlights. The lights have some good control options, including adjustable arms to angle your lighting, app and voice control in the Google Home app, ambient light activation, and the option to dim the beams.
Google’s camera strangely lacks a built-in siren
But there is no built-in siren, making it a poor choice for a dedicated security device. It offers 5GHz Wi-Fi, and the on-device machine learning makes for speedier notifications than most cameras I tested. Motion sensors in the floodlights provide a wide 180-degree sensing range, ensuring the lights turn on when anything gets nearby.
The camera works with the Google Home app (not the old Nest app) and can stream to both Google Nest and Amazon Echo smart displays. It doesn’t fit well for an under-the-eave installation (as you can see in my pictures), so only consider it if you can install it on the side of your house and up high.
The best floodlight camera for Apple Home
The Eve Outdoor Cam is a compact floodlight camera that mounts to a wall. With good-quality video and two-way audio, it doesn’t have a siren but is the best option if you want to use Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video, which has alerts for people, packages, animals, and vehicles as well as facial recognition.
Video quality: 1080p HD, 6x digital zoom / Lumens: 2,400 / Smart alerts: People, vehicles, animals, familiar faces / Field of view: 157 degrees / Siren: No / Power options: Hardwired / Wi-Fi: 2.4GHz / Storage: Cloud / Subscription fee: $1 a month / Works with: Apple Home
The Eve Outdoor Cam is the best Apple Home floodlight camera. It works with HomeKit Secure Video, which processes all video locally on an Apple TV or HomePod. But it only works with Apple Home and the Eve app, which doesn’t have an Android version yet, so only get this if you use an iPhone.
The Eve camera is compact, svelte, and the smallest camera I tested. It was so small it didn’t completely cover the electrical box for the light it was replacing. (It only mounts on a vertical wall, so you can’t put it under an eave or overhang.) It has a good solid feel and, like the Netatmo, the housing is aluminum (all the other models in this guide are plastic), and it comes in white or black. The Eve Outdoor Cam also looks much less like a mall surveillance camera than many of its competitors.
The Eve Outdoor Cam looks much less like a mall surveillance camera
Its video quality is very good, especially during the day. Images were bright, clear, and only a little pixelated when I zoomed in. With the light on, the image was a little muddy at night, but I could make out faces clearly enough. The regular night vision was slightly better.
Apple’s HomeKit video integration adds a slew of smart alerts, including people, packages, animals, and vehicles. You can also grant access to your Apple Photos library and get alerts when it recognizes people. Facial recognition and package alerts make this a good camera to set up by your front door. It’s also not super bright, as in it won’t blind visitors. But it will light up the scene well enough to see what’s happening. A brightness boost mode adds an extra bump for 30 seconds if you want a stronger floodlight. It’s nothing compared to the Eufy or Wyze lighting, though, which are both like walking down an airport runway.
There is no built-in siren or 24/7 recording, and you have to pay for an iCloud Plus plan (starting at 99 cents per month) to view any recorded video. But there is two-way audio, which was very good, and you can use the light and motion sensor separately to trigger automations in the Apple Home app.
Other cameras we’re testing
There’s been a flood (haha) of new floodlight cameras recently, and I’m currently testing three new models: the Blink Wired Floodlight Camera ($100), the Wyze Pro Floodlight Camera ($150), and the Lorex 2K Wi-Fi Floodlight Security Camera ($250). Here are some early thoughts, but I’ll update this guide with full reviews soon.
The Wyze Pro Floodlight is an upgrade to my current Budget pick, the Wyze Cam Floodlight, and it’s better all around, with higher lumens, tunable light, higher resolution (2.5k), and a wider field of view (a whopping 180). It’s also more expensive, but uses AI-powered light control that can be set only to turn the lights on when a person or vehicle is detected. The video quality is very impressive, especially at this price, but I’ve been getting a lot of false people alerts in early testing.
The Blink Wired Floodlight Camera ($99.99) is a great budget option with on-device processing of people alerts, so nothing has to go to the cloud (although you have to subscribe for this feature). Specs-wise, it's very similar to my current budget pick, Wyze Cam Floodlight; both have local storage options and 1080p video but wok better when you pay a monthly subscription. The Wyze has the option of an extra camera, but the Blink has a nicer design. It also plays well with Alexa but doesn’t work with any other smart home platform.
The Lorex 2K Wi-Fi Floodlight Security Camera has great video quality and local storage on the camera; it also works with 2.4 GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi. It detects animals, vehicles, and people for free and has a built-in siren. But it has a narrow field of view (122 diagonal), and its AI detection is spotty — it told me my cat strolling along in the backyard was a vehicle multiple times and that my dog was a person. I do like its track and zoom feature and that you can adjust the temperature of the lights. It also has some innovative settings for lighting activation, but it’s fiddly to adjust the light panels, and the camera is fixed in place.
Photos by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge
Update Wednesday, July 5th, 2023: Added new details throughout and updated features and prices.