Best Outdoor Wireless Security Cameras

Reolink RLC-411WS

My Pick For The Best Outdoor Wireless Security Camera

There are many outdoor wireless security cameras, but not very many great ones.  After reviewing the long list of outdoor wireless security cameras available to consumers, only a few made the final selection of what I would call the best.  I see many people requesting a wireless camera because they need one outside in a location that they can’t run a network cable to, and I can recommend these few without hesitation.  Each of these are ONVIF compatible and will work well as a single camera, or as part of a larger surveillance system.

Minimum Requirements

What did it take to make the final cut?  1080p or better resolution at 30 frames per second.  The majority of the outdoor wireless cameras available are 720p, and while that may be good enough in some situations, I was looking for the best and not something that is just barely acceptable today.  They also need to be able to do 30 fps at 1080p, because anything that can’t achieve that is likely using an older design with poorly performing components.

They also needed to have a built-in IR light source for night vision, and a mechanical IR-cut filter.  This allows the camera to see black & white in complete darkness, and also have a great color picture with normal lighting conditions.

Another requirement was to have feature-rich software that was easy to setup and use across multiple platforms including mobile devices, and the ability to detect motion and send alerts and images when that happens.  Buggy software with a lot of complaints eliminated many cameras from consideration.

Lastly, of course it needed to have a rugged housing designed to withstand outdoor weather conditions.

Reolink RLC-411WS

Check price and availability of the Reolink RLC-411WS on Amazon.com

Resolution: 4MP (2560 x 1440) at 30 fps, 3MP (2048 x 1536) at 30 fps, 1080P (1920 x 1080) at 30 fps
Lens: Remotely adjustable 4x optical zoom – Varifocal 2.8 – 12mm (36 to 100 degree field of view)
Rated IR distance: 30 Meters
Comes with 16GB microSD card, upgradable to 64GB but must open case to replace.
Does not record sound.
Ingress Protection: IP66
Operating Temperature Range: -10℃~+55℃ (14°F~131°F)
Wifi Support: 802.11a/b/g/n 2T2R MIMO 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz.
Power Requirements: 12 VDC ±11% (comes with power adapter and 60′ extension cable)

Read more about the RLC-411WS on Reolink.com

The Reolink RLC-411WS is my top pick overall.  I actually bought one and you can see my detailed hands-on review here.  It has 4 Megapixel resolution at 30 frames per second, and a motorized varifocal lens that’s remotely adjustable from 2.8 to 12mm.  This allows you to change the field of view and zoom level for your particular installation.  Once you’ve tried a camera with a varifocal lens like this you’ll always want to choose them over fixed lens cameras.   It comes with a 16GB microSD storage card that can be upgraded to 64GB, but you’d need to open the case to access the card slot and Reolink does not recommend that end users do that.  Another great feature is the ability to use 802.11n wifi on the 5.8 GHz band, allowing you to get away from the commonly crowded 2.4 GHz band.  It operates on 2.4 or 5.8 GHz, with 2T2R (2 Transmit and 2 Receive) MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output).  In other words, this Reolink WiFi implementation is more advanced and up to date than what’s used on most other wireless cameras.  The operating temperature range is only rated down to -10℃ (+14°F), so keep that in mind if it gets extremely cold at your location.

 

Reolink RLC-410WS

Check Price and Availability of the Reolink RLC-410WS on Amazon.com

Resolution: 4MP (2560 x 1440) at 30 fps, 3MP (2048 x 1536) at 30 fps, 1080P (1920 x 1080) at 30 fps
Lens: 4mm fixed (80 degree field of view)
Rated IR distance: 30 Meters
Comes with 16GB microSD card, upgradable to 64GB, but must open case to replace.
Built-in microphone for recording sound.
Ingress Protection: IP66
Operating Temperature Range: -10℃~+55℃ (14°F~131°F)
Wifi Support: 802.11a/b/g/n 2T2R MIMO 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz.
Power Requirements: 12 VDC ±11% (comes with power adapter and 60′ extension cable)

Click here to read more about the RLC-410WS on Reolink.com

The Reolink RLC-410WS is very similar to the RLC-411WS, but has a fixed 4mm lens instead of a varifocal, which also allows the camera housing to be a little shorter.  This model also comes with a built-in microphone so you can record audio if you want.  It has the same great dual-band WiFi radio as the other Reolink, and also the same operating temperature limitations.

 

Amcrest IP3M-943

Resolution: 3MP (2304 x 1536) at 20 fps, 1080P (1920 x 1080) at 30 fps.
Lens: 2.8mm fixed (100 degree field of view)
Rated IR distance: 30 Meters
Slot for a microSD card up to 64GB (none included)
Does not record sound.
Ingress Protection: IP67
Operating temperature range: -30℃~+50℃ (-22°F~122°F)
Wifi Support: 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g/n
Optional cloud storage through Amcrest Cloud
Power Requirements: 12 VDC (comes with power adapter)
Available in Black, White, and Silver.

The Amcrest IP3M-943 is very capable camera that can operate down to -30℃ (-22°F).  It’s supported by the full range of Amcrest software and optional storage on Amcrest Cloud.  The various pieces of documentation by Amcrest have conflicting information about the included lens and horizontal viewing angle, but Amcrest confirmed to me that the model for sale in the US is a 2.8mm lens with a 100 degree horizontal field of view.  Amcrest could not give me an operating voltage tolerance though, they could just confirm that it is 12 Volts.

Amcrest IP2M-842

Resolution: 1080P (1920 x 1080) at 30 fps.
Lens: 3.6mm fixed (72 degree field of view)
Rated IR distance: 30 Meters
No microSD slot.
Does not record sound.
Ingress Protection: IP66
Operating temperature range: -30℃~+50℃ (-22°F~122°F)
Wifi Support: 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g/n
Optional cloud storage through Amcrest Cloud
Power Requirements: 12 VDC (comes with power adapter)
Available in Black and White.

The Amcrest IP2M-842 is a rebranded Dahua DH-IPC-HFW1200S-W, and we can be certain of this because Amcrest left that Dahua model number in the specification sheet for the IP2M-842.  This is a good little camera but is the only one that made the cut that does not have a slot for a microSD card, so it has no onboard storage capability.  It also has a maximum resolution of 1080p, where the other ones that I’ve listed will do more than that.  It is supported by the full range of Amcrest software and optional storage on Amcrest Cloud.

Conclusion

I’ve listed these in the order that I rank them, with Reolink easily taking the lead with a varifocal lens, 4MP at 30 fps, and dual band, dual stream, wireless capability.  I also had quick and helpful response from their tech support when I asked them a question, so Reolink is the clear winner in my book.  The downsides with the Reolink are that the microSD slot is sealed in the case, and you may exceed the lower temperature limit if you live in an area where it gets extremely cold.  Reolink mentions that you must be very careful opening the case to upgrade the microSD card and they do not recommend that inexperienced consumers attempt this.  The Amcrest cameras are also very capable, and I would have no problem using one if I needed the lower temperature capability.

You might wonder why so few cameras made my list, and the answer is that there just aren’t very many great outdoor wireless security cameras out there.  Keep in mind that I was only looking at cameras commonly available to consumers in the US, and I didn’t look at any commercial cameras or models available in other regions of the world.  There are a lot of great wired PoE outdoor cameras, and a lot of mediocre outdoor wireless cameras, but in my opinion this is the short list of great wireless ones.  Please let me know if you’re aware of a great outdoor wireless camera that I missed and I’ll take a look at it.

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