Choosing an Outdoor Light with Security Camera

Installing an outdoor light with security camera and motion sensor already built-in is one of the easiest ways to get a permanent and reliable security camera outside your house.  They can be quickly installed in place of many different types of existing outdoor lights so they get power from your home's AC wiring, and they get their network connectivity from your home's WiFi signal.  No batteries and no additional wiring to worry about, it's that simple.

Almost any wall-mounted light like the one below could be replaced with the camera lights in this article.

Porch Light and Door

My dad recently asked me about these types of cameras​ so I spent quite a bit of time researching what's available.  To be considered they had to be able to be installed like a standard outdoor house light, be powered from household AC power, have WiFi connectivity, have motion detection, and of course they had to have a camera.  I ended up only finding four that had all of this, so keep reading to see what they are and the differences between them.


Kuna Craftsman Bronze

Craftsman with bronze accents

Kuna Traditional Bronze

Traditional with bronze accents

Kuna / Maximus Smart Security Light

Key Features and Specs

  • 720p resolution with 116° diagonal field of view
  • 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n WiFi connectivity
  • Two-way audio for intercom functionality
  • PIR motion sensor optimized for 10 foot (3 meters) distance
  • Records on motion to the Kuna cloud service
  • 100 dB siren or recorded voice message optional on motion detection
  • Powered by 100 to 240 Volts AC
  • IP43 weather rating with operation from -40°F to 131°F (-40°C to 55°C)
  • Uses your own standard light bulb up to 100W (Toucan up to 40W)

This is the one to consider if you want a camera built into the traditional design of a wall-mounted house porch light.  Sold as the Kuna or Maximus in different markets, they are the same product with the same features, and available in several different styles in black and black with bronze accent.  Matching companion lights without the camera and intercom are also available if you have two matching lights at your door and only want one camera there.  There is also a Toucan model available without the light fixture.  Just attach it to your existing light fixture between it and the bulb to get the same functionality as the models built into a complete light fixture.

Designed to be used near a doorway, the motion sensor is optimized to detect people up to 10 feet away.  The 720p video resolution is certainly good enough at this distance and the camera records video whenever motion is detected.  It cannot record video on demand, only when motion is detected.

The light can be set to operate in dusk to dawn mode, come on with motion, or be manually turned off or on with the smartphone app.​  The light can also be controlled by Amazon Alexa.

Free full-featured Kuna app for iOS and Android.  Adjust the behavior of the light, view live or recorded video, setup alerts, etc.

  • Elegant design with many style options
  • Free full-featured app
  • No microSD video storage option
  • Requires premium cloud service subscription for extended storage

Ring Floodlight Cam Black

Black

Ring Floodlight Cam White

White

Ring Floodlight Cam

Key Features and Specs

  • 1080p resolution with 140° horizontal field of view
  • 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n WiFi connectivity
  • Two-way audio for intercom functionality
  • PIR motion sensor with a 270° field of coverage
  • Records on motion or manually to the Ring cloud service
  • 110 dB siren optional on motion detection or manual activation
  • Powered by 110 to 240 Volts AC
  • Weather-resistant operation from -20°F to 120°F (-28°C to 48°C)
  • Two powerful LED floodlights built-in

It might look similar to the motion lights with two floodlights that have been around for decades, but the Ring Floodlight Cam is much more advanced in all areas.  Two 3000K LED floodlights provide plenty of light while saving energy.

The main PIR motion sensor on the bottom of the unit detects motion over an extremely wide 270° range, and sensitivity is adjustable with the Ring app.  

The light can be set to operate in dusk to dawn mode, come on with motion, or be manually turned off or on with the Ring app.​

Free full-featured Ring app for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows.  Compatible with IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, and more.

  • 1080p wide angle image
  • Free full-featured app
  • No microSD video storage option
  • Requires paid cloud service subscription for remote video storage

Netatmo Presence 2

Without base

Netatmo Presence 1

With base

Netatmo Presence

Key Features and Specs

  • 1080p resolution with 100° horizontal field of view
  • 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n WiFi connectivity
  • One-way audio for recording sound with video
  • Motion detection with a adjustable range up to 65 feet (20 meters)
  • Records video to the internal microSD card and optional DropBox or FTP
  • Smart detection with custom alerts for an animal, person, or vehicle
  • Powered by 100 to 240 Volts AC
  • Weatherproof operation from -4°F to 122°F (-20°C to 50°C)
  • Internal microSD with up to 32 GB capacity (8GB included)
  • Very bright but dimmable 1000 lumens 12W LED light built-in

The Netatmo Presence has an elegant and modern looking design which I like, but it may look a bit futuristic on an older home and not appeal to all people.

The motion sensor has adjustable sensitivity and can provide custom alerts on the detected object, telling you whether it's an animal, person, or vehicle.

The dimmable light can be set to operate in dusk to dawn mode, come on with motion, or be manually turned off or on with the Netatmo app.​

Free full-featured app for iOS and Android, or use the Netatmo web app for PC or Mac.  Compatible with IFTTT and the Apple Watch.

  • 1080p image and full-featured app
  • No cloud subscription fees
  • Modern look may not appeal to all
  • Requires DropBox account or FTP server for remote video storage

Versonel Nightwatcher Pro Black

VSLNWP802B Black

Versonel Nightwatcher Pro White

VSLNWP802 White

Versonel Nightwatcher Pro

Key Features and Specs

  • 720p resolution with 65° horizontal field of view
  • 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n WiFi connectivity
  • No audio recorded with the video
  • PIR motion sensor with a 220° field of coverage up to 55 feet distance
  • Records on motion or manually to the internal microSD card
  • Chime, barking dog, or recorded voice message optional on motion detection
  • Powered by 110 VAC 60 Hz only
  • IP55 weather rating (temperature range not specified)
  • Internal microSD card slot with up to 32GB capacity (8GB card included)
  • Eight 1W LED array built-in for 855 lumens of light
  • Motorized tracking points light and camera at moving objects

This is the one to get if you want to scare off an intruder in addition to the motion light and camera functions.  The motion detector is split into three zones, and the motor points the light and camera towards detected motion and follows moving objects.

You can also record two voice messages of your own, and play one of those messages, a chime, or a barking dog sound when motion is detected if you want.

Normal operation of the free app is over your wireless network or the Internet, but you can also use the camera in peer to peer mode.  If used like this the app can access the camera using 2.4 GHz wireless directly with no other network equipment required.

Receive motion notifications and view live and recorded video from the camera with the free iOS and Android apps.

  • Good to scare off intruders
  • No cloud subscription fees
  • Limited app compared to others
  • Requires physical access to the camera to pre-record messages

Even though all of these have the same basic functionality of being a camera mounted in a light with motion detection and WiFi connectivity, you can see that they're each designed for a slightly different primary use.

The Kuna Smart Security Light looks like a traditional wall-mounted porch light and is designed to be used where people and vehicles will be close, such as near doors, driveways, and similar areas around the house.  It has a full-featured app but a paid cloud subscription is required for full extended video storage functionality.

The Ring Floodlight Cam is designed to be mounted a little higher up and cover a larger area with brighter lights.  It also has a full-featured app and requires a paid subscription to the Ring cloud service for video storage.

The Netatmo Presence has a sleek modern look and features unique alerts for animal, person, or vehicle detection if desired.  It features internal microSD card video storage as well as the option to store video on your own DropBox account or FTP server, which I really like.

The Versonel Nightwatcher Pro is unique with it's motorized light and camera assembly, which would certainly light up, startle, and record any intruders that come nearby.  Video storage is on the internal microSD card, and it does offer a peer to peer mode for use at locations with no network connectivity.

I hope you've found this article helpful.  Feel free to comment below and please let me know if you think there's a camera that I should have included in this list.  I did come across some others but they were for indoor use only or of questionable quality so I left them out.

Leave a Comment:

2 comments
Max Jones says 2017-07-25

I’ve been looking into getting some network cameras for our home after some increased criminal activity in our neighborhood, so I’m glad that I could take advantage of your research! I’m glad that you mentioned that there are cameras that look like regular lights, and you don’t need to worry about power cables or connections with WiFi! I’m going to have to check out a few of these different network cameras and see what we can do to help protect our home and property!

Reply
    Steve says 2017-07-25

    Hi Max,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I’m glad you’re finding some useful information here, feel free to ask if there’s anything else that I might be able to help you with.

    Steve

    Reply
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