Why are Nest Cam Security Cameras so Popular?

What is it about the Nest Cam indoor and outdoor security cameras that makes them the two best selling security cameras on Amazon for some time now?  I can point you to many other cameras that I believe are much better security cameras from a technical standpoint, but that's not what everyone wants or needs.  Keep reading to see what's special about the Nest cameras, and why they are so popular.

Nest Labs

Nest Labs was created by two former Apple engineers in 2010 and their first product was the Nest thermostat.  The company is now a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, and a detailed history of Nest can be found here.

In addition to thermostats and cameras, Nest also makes other home automation products including the Nest Protect  smoke and carbon monoxide detector.

Nest acquired Dropcam in 2014 and started selling the Nest Cam Indoor in 2015, based on the Dropcam camera design.  The Nest Cam Outdoor was then released in 2016, followed by the Nest Cam IQ in 2017, which is their premium indoor camera with more advanced hardware and features.

Nest Thermostat
Nest Protect

I actually owned a Nest thermostat for a while

I had a coworker with a 1st generation Nest thermostat back in 2012, and I remember how cool it was when he showed me that he could access and adjust his thermostat over the Internet using his iPhone.  It was so cool that I bought a 2nd generation Nest thermostat when I went to replace my old thermostat.

The Nest thermostat really is a thing of beauty in many different ways.  With a sleek elegant design, a solid reliable app, wireless connectivity, Internet access, and very easy installation, most people fall in love with the Nest thermostat.  Several more of my coworkers got them over the years and everyone loves them and still has them.  Everyone except for me that is, as I'll explain.

I certainly enjoyed mine, but it turns out that Nest's power stealing technology isn't compatible with all furnaces out there, and my Goodman furnace appears to be incompatible.  What happened to mine was that the base of the thermostat would get very warm.  So warm that it would heat up the thermostat by several degrees and cause improper operation.  So warm that the power regulator components in the base eventually cooked themselves and failed.

I worked with Nest support and they replaced my thermostat under warranty, but it wasn't long before the replacement thermostat had the same problem as my original one.  This is when Nest support said that their thermostats aren't compatible with all furnaces, and I returned the thermostat and got my money back, and bought a Honeywell wireless thermostat.

On to the Nest Cameras

That's enough about Nest Labs and their thermostats, but I thought it was important to mention because most people that try a Nest thermostat really do love them.  If people like the Nest thermostat so much, it's not surprising that they also might consider getting a Nest camera if they are in the market for one.  The person that I mentioned above who has a Nest thermostat was in the market for a security camera to watch his dog during the day, and he chose a Nest Cam Indoor for the reasons that I'm talking about here.  ​

Another great thing with Nest is that all of their products use the same Nest App.  No need to worry about incompatibilities between different manufacturers and multiple apps.  Just one app that works seamlessly with all Nest products.

Nest Cam Indoor
Nest Cam Outdoor

The Nest Cam Indoor and Outdoor

These are essentially the same cameras, with one designed for indoor use and one in a different housing designed for outdoor use.

  • 1080p image sensor with 130° field of view
  • 1080p 30 fps video streaming 24/7
  • Speaker & microphone for 2-way audio
  • IR cut filter and 8 850 nm IR LEDs for night vision
  • 2.4 & 5 GHz WiFi connectivity
  • Motion alerts

The original Nest indoor cam and the outdoor cam are both nice high quality 3 MP cameras that work with the Nest app.  They provide the basic features that most people are looking for and they do it well.

Optional skins / covers are available for both models that can help them blend in with your decor and make the cameras more difficult to spot.

Nest Cam IQ

This is the latest camera from Nest and it does everything the older indoor model does, and even more thanks to some technology upgrades.  

  • 8 MP 4K image sensor with 130° field of view
  • 12X digital zoom and object tracking
  • 1080p 30 fps video streaming 24/7
  • Speaker & microphone for 2-way audio
  • IR cut filter and 940 nm high power IR LEDs
  • 2.4 & 5 GHz WiFi connectivity
  • Motion alerts and facial recognition
Nest Cam IQ

The IQ streams in 1080p at 30 fps like the earlier models, but id does so using a much larger image sensor.  This allows the camera to be able to effectively perform digital zooming and even track objects across the viewing area of that sensor.

With a name like IQ you'd expect it to be smart and it really is.  It learn to recognize faces that you can assign a name to, and it can alert you about exactly who has entered the view of the camera as well as generic motion alerts.  

To answer the original question about popularity

I think there are several reasons why Nest cameras are the best selling ones.

  • Nest products are designed for consumers and not for security professionals, so they are easy to setup and use
  • All Nest products work seamlessly with one app.  If you own one Nest product you're already set to start using another one without learning a new app
  • Nest is innovative and seems to be coming out with more advanced products every year
  • Both their hardware and software seems to be solid and reliable
Nest iOS App

Any negatives?

Nest products aren't the most inexpensive out there, and they're not supposed to be.  I think they're designed for people who want a better product, and not the cheapest.

Nest cameras aren't generic security cameras and are designed to only work with the Nest app.  Don't expect to record video from them to an NVR or anything like that.  An optional Nest Aware cloud storage service is available for a fee.

Here's a good video that shows the Nest Cam IQ features

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