Looking for the best outdoor wireless cameras for pets is not necessarily a case of seeking out something labeled as a the best pet camera. Do that, and you'll come up short: the specific 'pet camera' market is indoor-only, concerned as much with flinging treats and pointing lasers than it is with watching what's going on. Finding a good outdoor pet camera is more a question of picking the best outdoor security camera and pointing it where your pets are likely to be.
That's not to say there aren't outdoor cameras with pet-focused features, though. Some can offer advanced functions such as animal detection and the vast majority can manage more straightforward motion detecting. That means a good outdoor pet camera will be able to capture and save footage of your pets doing what they do – or, indeed, they'll tell you if you've had any visitors to your garden you might not have known about.
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If you're interested in the latter, good night vision is essential (depending on how brazen the wildlife is in your area) and you'll also need to look for something that doesn't pull up too many false positives.
Although you may well be picking up a camera for the specific purpose of watching your pets, you'll also want something with decent security functions, so our picks will help you keep your perimeter safe as much as they will reveal what your dog has been burying in the garden.
1. Arlo Pro 3: Best overall outdoor camera for pets
Arlo Pro 3
And it's the best camera for home security, to boot
Maximum resolution: 2K (2560 x 1440) | Field of view: 160 degrees | Requires base station: Yes | Battery life: 3-6 months | Animal detection: Yes, with subscription | Storage: Local, Cloud
Whether you're pet watching or not, the Arlo Pro 3 is just about the best outdoor security camera on the market today. It's well designed, with an attractive shell and a removable battery. It has an excellent app that is easy to use and gives quick access to all of its key features. There's a long list of those, including plenty of options to suit pet owners and garden watchers.
The Arlo Pro 3 is wireless, meaning that you can screw it to any fence post, tree or your shed, as long as the camera is within communication range of the Arlo base station. There’s no need to run any cables and no need for a cabled power source. Going wireless also means you can move the camera later on, if there's a new favorite digging spot you wish to monitor. You'll likely only have to charge the batteries every couple of months (depending on use).
An Arlo Pro 3 set-up generally consists of two or more cameras and the base station and is at the more expensive end of outdoor cameras. However, each camera unit sports a sensor with impressive 2K resolution and color night vision, spotlights and sirens built in to scare off intruders, two-way talk, and (as long as you pay for a monthly subscription) advanced motion detection that can detect the difference between humans, vehicles and animals.
Alerts sent to your phone will tell you broadly what the camera has seen, so you'll know at a glance whether you're going to see some cute animal antics or a rogue scoping out your premises. It's all highly professional and slick.
2. Blink XT2: Best budget outdoor camera for pets
Ready to film your pets? Blink and you won't miss it
Maximum resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080) | Field of view: 110 degrees | Requires base station: Yes | Battery life: 2 years | Animal detection: No | Storage: Cloud only
The Blink XT2 shares many features with the Arlo Pro 3. It's totally wireless, sending its pictures back to a base station inside your home. It's waterproof, so you'll be able to install it anywhere, even where it will be exposed to the elements. It has night vision and motion detection, so it'll capture everything that's going on.
However, the Blink XT2 is cheaper than the Arlo Pro 3. For the cost of a simple two-camera Arlo arrangement, you could pick up five individual Blink XT2 cameras and completely cover your perimeter. There's no subscription involved; all of your footage is stored in the cloud for a limited time.
You will have to make a few concessions in the process of bagging yourself a bargain outdoor camera. The sensor here is a more pedestrian 1080p, though in practice, it is pretty solid. The viewing angle is greatly reduced, too, so you'll capture less in the frame and may need to invest in additional cameras.
There's also no local storage, so you'll need to rely on Blink's parent company Amazon for cloud storage services, and the motion detection is far more limited, unable to specifically pick animals out of the scene.
But the XT2 has one last trick up its sleeve. It's powered by AA batteries, rather than proprietary battery packs, which makes recharging the camera a simple case of switching to a new set of cells. Blink also claims it can last up to two years on a single pair of batteries. While you might not get quite that in practice, that's a serious amount of time without maintenance – perfect if you're planning to mount it somewhere high up.
Blink has recently released a new camera model, the Blink Outdoor, but the XT2 remains our budget choice as the Outdoor is more expensive for the extra benefit of local storage.
3. Victure HC300 Wildlife Trap Camera: Best hidden outdoor camera for pets
Victure HC300 Wildlife Trap Camera
Watch those remote corners at the end of the garden
Maximum resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080) | Field of view: Not stated | Requires base station: No | Battery life: Variable | Animal detection: No | Storage: Local only
If you're not concerned about the connectivity and smart features of commercial security cameras, here's an alternative option. The Victure Wildlife Trap Camera is a trail camera meant for tracking wild animals. There's no reason you can't employ the same tech in your garden to capture footage of your own pets or scope out visiting wildlife, and given its low price, this may well tick a few boxes that the others on this list do not.
You won't be able to bring up a live view on your smartphone or receive motion alerts as there's basically no smart functionality. Instead, you'll need to pull the Trap Camera open to view your footage or remove its SD card, where you'll find either high-resolution photographs of your garden goings-on, 1080p video footage or time-lapse video giving you a long-term overview of today's outdoor action.
There is motion detection, although it's on the more simplistic end, so may be easily triggered if you point this towards an area where there's likely to be unwanted movement. You can adjust the sensitivity, at least, though it may take a while to find the sweet spot.
There's also infrared night vision, with an array of 38 LEDs giving a bright view of what's happening, and waterproofing that is claimed to withstand the humid damp of a rainforest.
4. Ezviz C3N: Best wired outdoor camera for pets
A cheap, reliable camera for day or night use
Maximum resolution: Full HD (1920x1080) | Field of view: 125 degrees | Requires base station: No | Battery life: N/A | Animal detection: No | Storage: Local, cloud
Ezviz's wired security camera is a tough old cookie. It's heavy, solidly built, and obviously made to withstand the weather. It also claims to feature colour night vision, although it's more 'spotlight night vision' in which the camera shines its impressively bright pair of LEDs onto the scene.
Those hoping for a full-colour look at midnight garden invaders may be better served by the likes of the Arlo Pro 3. Credit where it's due, though: the monochrome infra-red night vision is superb, and manages a crisp 1080p picture day or night.
Being a wired camera, you have to be more careful with positioning. Waterproof adapters for its cables are included, and you'll need to supply a right-sized PVC pipe to run those cables along. The benefit, of course, is that this doesn't rely on potentially shaky wireless connectivity (though you can choose to run it on Wi-fi if you wish) and it doesn't require batteries. Once installed, it should work with no maintenance required.
The Ezviz C3N is a little rough and ready, and the app reflects that, but it’s still a better experience than you might expect at this price. It's not quite our favourite budget camera, as the Blink XT2's presentation and convenience are better, but if you want to hike up the ladder once and once only, the C3N could be the option that suits you best.
5. All-new Ring Stick Up Cam Solar: Best solar-powered outdoor camera for pets
All-new Ring Stick Up Cam Solar
Wireless watching without the worry (or the ladder)
Maximum resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080) | Field of view: 130 degrees | Requires base station: No | Battery life: N/A | Animal detection: No | Storage: Local, cloud
Like the Blink XT2 above, Ring is also owned by Amazon, though it's operated as a separate company. It is a decent wireless camera that operates via Wi-Fi, so there's no need for a separate base station to pick up its signals. There's also a wired version available, although the solar panel attached to the Stick Up Cam Solar should keep it juiced up without any worries.
The 130-degree viewing angle gives you a decent wide image and it's pin-sharp in bright light and similarly accurate when using its night vision mode. The unit itself has a professional look, and some great two-way talk and spotlight facilities, making it a security winner.
You can set up motion zones, to exclude areas that you're not interested in. There isn’t, however, any kind of AI detection on board the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery. The fact that it can't distinguish between person, animal or car means you'll need to sift through every motion-detected video when looking for footage of your animals.
Admittedly we're picking holes here, particularly when the camera making those recordings is so strong, and a storage plan is relatively cheap at around £3/$3 per month. But if you're specifically looking for a pet camera, there are better choices around.
6. Arlo Ultra 4K: Best premium outdoor camera for pets
Arlo Ultra 4K
Really push the boat out with a pro-level wireless cam
Maximum resolution: 4K (3840x2160) | Field of view: 180 degrees | Requires base station: Yes | Battery life: 3-6 months | Animal detection: Yes | Storage: Local, cloud
If you really want to push the boat out on a pet camera, the Arlo Ultra 4K is the way to go. It has all the key features of the Arlo Pro 3 – the weatherproofing, colour night vision, integrated spotlight – and a similar compact design. While the Arlo Pro 3 will do just fine for most tasks, such as security or dog-watching, the Ultra 4K brings a few upgrades to the table.
The 2K sensor of the Pro 3 has been increased to 4K here, meaning that it captures almost four times as many pixels. It also claims a 180-degree field-of-view and covers a wider area than its cheaper sibling.
The Ultra 4K has twin motion sensors on each camera unit for greater precision and a wider range of animal detection. Its extra resolution can be used to automatically zoom in on a target and track it through the frame – great if you're looking to watch back footage of far-off antics. This feature is also included on the Arlo Pro 3, but it really shines with the resolution of the Ultra 4K. Two-way talk gets an upgrade, with a twin microphone array able to cancel out wind noise.
The only issue with the Arlo Ultra 4K is its price. This is more the sort of installation you'd find in a professional environment than something used to spy on a cat. But if you have the money to spend, it's the best home and pet security product around.
How to choose the best outdoor pet cams
If you're installing a wireless outdoor camera, you'll need to consider battery life first and foremost. The actual battery life may vary from the manufacturer's stated claims depending on how often the camera is activated; it's safe to presume, in most cases, the life will be a little lower than suggested.
Every time a wireless camera runs out of juice you'll either have to bring it inside to charge it, putting that camera out of action for some time, or switch out a fresh battery. If you've mounted the camera somewhere high up, that means getting the ladder out – so a longer lifespan is, clearly, preferable.
Motion detection is particularly important if you're aiming to use a camera to watch your pets. You'll need to mount your camera, wired or not, somewhere it won’t pick up too many false positives. Even if your camera is smart enough to tell the difference between people, animals, and cars, ensure you angle it in such a way as to avoid busy roads or frequent public thoroughfares.
Finally, of course, there are the specs: a higher resolution sensor gets you higher quality footage and the various storage options allow you to access that footage in different ways. Night vision is probably essential, but if you spend a little more you'll likely end up with a sensor which can handle low light (and glare) with much more aplomb, raising the threshold for having to switch to a night vision mode and letting you see further into your garden when things are dark outside.
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