Outdoor security cameras are the most efficient means of keeping track of everyone who comes close to your home. It is the first line of defense you have against potential intruders. However, it is important that an outdoor security camera is a bit discreet and stealthy.
That’s where smart camera security lights come in.
Smart camera security lights are essentially surveillance cameras that are attached to lamps. They can be LED lights, street lamps or reflectors. As such, every time someone approaches your property, the camera lens will capture your video. This can help you take precautionary measures or review the footage later.
As the name suggests, smart camera security lights are also built into the smart home and can be operated via smartphone apps. However, different smart security lights come with different feature sets that can make a purchase choice confusing.
Smart camera security lights are many things together:
- They are outdoor security lights. They help illuminate your driveway and provide some visibility for people in the dark. Some of them are searchlights that illuminate those who approach the house, allowing you to see who they are.
- They are also outdoor surveillance cameras. The camera’s function is to activate when some motion is detected and start recording videos while also sending you an alert. As such, if an intruder approaches, you can take quick and decisive action. Recorded video also helps if you ever want to review old images.
- They are smart home devices. As such, they can be paired with your smartphone via an app so you can monitor and control them from anywhere. They can also be integrated into your Smart Home network.
You may need smart camera security lights for the following reasons:
- To alert you when someone approaches your home at night. If they are intruders, you can call the authorities.
- Lights and reflectors can scare off potential intruders, keeping your home safe.
- Record videos that can be reviewed later if necessary.
- Check your house if you are on vacation.
In this article, we will give you an overview of some of the best smart camera security lights on the market.
Best Smart Camera Security Lights
1. Maximus Craftsman Black
Maximus Craftsman Black , developed by Kuna Systems, is one of the most reliable and advanced means of monitoring entry to your home. This smart security light comes with the lamp, a 40-watt LED bulb, and mounting brackets and tools. The housing is made of aluminum and has a frosted glass cover. The camera lens sits just below the lamp, and the lens is camouflaged along with the black plate, making it extremely stealthy and discreet.
Installation is pretty simple if you just follow the instructions closely. I personally used the installation videos on the Kuna website as a guide, and the process was pretty straightforward. To connect Maximus Craftsman Black to your phone, you will need to download the Kuna app and pair your device. It supports WiFi so you can control the device through your app from anywhere.
The 40-watt LED light generated a warm orange color with 450 lumens of light. It is certainly not the brightest light there is, but it is enough to illuminate the immediate environment. The camera could record 720p HD videos at a 116 degree angle.
The camera also comes with a microphone that you can use to communicate with people close to the camera. As such, if an intruder approaches, you can address him directly to avoid him. In addition, you can also activate the 100dB siren which is sure to scare off potential intruders.
The light does not work through motion sensors. However, the camera starts recording videos the moment it detects some movement within a 16 foot radius. Movement sensitivity can be changed according to your preferences using the smartphone application.
The biggest (and most unforgivable) oversight here is the lack of night vision. This is a security light camera, so it should be taken for granted that night video recording is necessary. However, this camera does not have infrared lenses for night vision. You can still shoot videos at night in the light of the bulb. But that’s not enough to provide a clear image, and the resulting video is dark and misty.
Another problem I have is with security plans. To get access to all the features and recordings of the app, you will need to purchase a subscription package. You also get a free subscription, but that only includes 3 HD video downloads per month for up to 2 hours. That is not enough for most people. If you want to access all the recorded images, you may need to get your Essential Security, Peace of Mind or Absolute Control plans. As such, in addition to the initial cost, you will also have to make monthly payments.
- The camera is discreet.
- Extremely loud siren sound.
- The sensitivity of the motion sensor can be changed.
- 2-way microphone available.
- Easy to control through the smartphone app.
- Installation shouldn’t take long, but you may need professional help.
- No night vision
- You must purchase expensive monthly subscriptions to gain access to all your recorded images and control additional connected cameras.
2. Maximus traditional black
Maximus Traditional Black is an Alexa-enabled security light with a camera. It is quite similar to the mentioned Maximus Craftsman Black, except for a few minor differences. One of the best benefits of getting maximum light is that there are several different lights and cameras in this series, all with a unique style. You can install several of these lights in your home and they can all be connected to the same network so you can control them all from the same Kuna app.
The Maximus Traditional Black has a black aluminum housing with a frosted glass cover. The camera lens is located just below the lamp and camouflages well with the aluminum plate. Both the camera and the light are weather resistant with an IP43 rating. As such, there is complete protection against dust and rain. The installation process should take 15-20 minutes. However, it does involve the use of some drilling tools and screws, so you should get professional help if you’re not sure about that.
One of the features that most confused me was the connection of the light to the camera. Basically the two are interconnected, so the camera can only work when the light switch is on. There is no way to turn off the light while keeping the camera active. As such, if you want the camera to continue recording and monitoring your home during the day, you will need to keep the light switch on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, you can use the smartphone app to configure the specific times when the light should be turned on or off.
This camera and this light can be combined with the Kuna smartphone app via WiFi or any Smart Home mesh network. The application is functional and easy to navigate. The video recording characteristics are the same as those mentioned above by Maximus Craftsman Black. You can record 720p HD videos with a 116 degree lens angle. The camera also offers zoom options. But there is no night vision and the quality of the video recorded with the light on is abysmal.
You will need to purchase a paid subscription to get full access to all features. If you use the free plan, the recorded clips will be removed from memory within two hours, which just doesn’t work for a security system. Furthermore, the free plan also lacks smart motion detection, which means it will collect all movements and multiply your false alarms. Basically, this security camera is useless in the free version.
If you only use a single camera, you can get the cheapest Essential Security plan because it can support one camera and provide you up to 7 days history of video recording. It also gives you access to all of the camera’s features, such as two-way talk, live streaming, manual recording, light controls, and unlimited video downloads. Plus, paid plans give you access to smart motion sensors that can distinguish between people, cars, and inanimate objects. As such, you will not receive false alarms.
- Discreet camera
- Strong alarm.
- Smart motion sensors (for paid versions).
- 2-way microphone.
- Simple smartphone app.
- Smart lights can be controlled through the app.
- Installing the light may require professional assistance.
- No night vision
- Monthly subscription plans are expensive.
- The free plan only maintains 2 hours of videos and is riddled with false motion detection alarms.
- You cannot control the camera light and switches individually.
3. Maximus Coach Black
Maximus Coach Black is a trainer style smart security light with camera lens. It is similar to the Maximus cameras mentioned above in most features. It is weather resistant with an IP43 rating, it is easy to install, and it can integrate with most smart home mesh networks and is WiFi compatible. Record 720p videos and include features like 2-way microphone, alarm, and live streaming.
The best feature of this smart camera light is motion detection. The Kuna AI is quite advanced and can easily distinguish between cars, people, and other objects. When some movement is detected, the associated smartphone app will send you a push notification informing you not only if you are watching people, but also how many people there are. Due to this smart feature, false alarms are kept to a minimum. However, you can set the sensitivity of the motion sensor between 0 and 100 to manage that as you like.
Furthermore, the AI smart detection function also allows you to create motion zones. In the “People Area of Interest” zone, you can configure specific areas in the camera’s field of view to control the movement of people. In the “Vehicle Interest Area” zone, you can configure zones that the camera should monitor for vehicles while ignoring the rest. This feature can further eliminate false alarms as the camera will not be triggered by neighboring vehicles and people.
When motion is detected, the camera’s microphone can trigger one of six preloaded greetings. You can sound a loud siren at 115dB if you want to scare off some intruders. Or you can use one of the other functions, such as releasing the sound of a barking dog or a default greeting like “I’m busy now.” The camera will also start recording videos automatically.
The biggest problem with motion detection is its limited 10-foot range. As such, people will have to get quite close to their home before motion detection is triggered. Also, at night, the sensitivity to movement is even weaker, so there may be a delay with the detectors.
Unlike the Maximus devices mentioned above, the motion sensors in this one can also control the security light. You can set the lights to only come on when motion is detected. You can also configure how long after motion detection the light should stay on. If you don’t prefer, you can also set specific times when the light should come on, if you only want the light to come on at certain times.
Like all other maximum security camera lights, this also lacks night vision. As such, videos shot in the dark under the glare of light will be extremely dull and hazy. Since night vision is a fairly important feature to prevent theft and intrusion, this is a massive omission from manufacturers.
Furthermore, Maximus Coach Black works with the same smartphone app as the others and also works with the same subscription packages. The free plan is extremely basic and essentially useless. If you want to access all the great motion detection features mentioned above, you will need to get at least one essential security plan. However, even with that, the annual subscription cost will be half the cost of the entire setup.
- Brilliant motion detection features.
- Strong alarm.
- Lots of preset greetings.
- 2-way microphone.
- Simple smartphone app.
- Smart lights can be controlled through the app or motion sensors.
- Lamp installation may require professional help.
- No night vision
- Expensive monthly subscription plans.
- Motion detection has a limited range of 10 feet.
4. TOUCAN outdoor security camera
TOUCAN Outdoor Security Camera is a normal wireless surveillance camera that can be adapted to connect to an existing wall lamp via a USB cable. No batteries are needed as it draws its power directly from the connected light source. Additionally, the kit comes with a Smart Socket adapter that you can use to turn the existing lamp into a smart light. This is a pretty ingenious solution because you don’t need to manually install a complete lamp. As such, you can do it manually without professional help. Once the camera is connected to the light, you can download the Kuna Smartphone app to control it.
The Smart Socket is 3 inches long. As such it could be annoying or it could even be too big for your current light bulb. As such, the ideal is to install this device in a large lamp, which can easily accommodate the plug. The camera is also quite large and is clearly visible even from a distance, so it definitely cannot be considered stealthy.
The smartphone application is highly functional and easy to use. It gives you access to live streaming, a two-way microphone, can record 720p video, has Alexa voice controls, and can also trigger an alarm at a high volume of 100dB. Like the Maximus devices mentioned above, the TOUCAN outdoor security camera also lacks dedicated night vision. As such, you must record videos from the light bulb above. To improve visibility, be sure to get an extremely bright bulb with high lumens. However, even so, visibility in the dark will not be as clear as it can be with infrared lenses.
The motion sensors in this device are quite sensitive. Since the camera is facing outward, the motion sensors need to be smart so they don’t get triggered by things like shaking branches and neighboring cars. The Maximus devices mentioned above had provided a fairly smart set of PIR motion sensors. However, TOUCAN’s motion sensors are quite primitive and you will be plagued with false alarms. Also, the light cannot be controlled via motion sensors, although you can use the smartphone app to set specific times when they should be activated.
TOUCAN Outdoor Security Camera also comes with subscription plans if you want to access the recorded videos for an extended period. The free version only stores videos for 2 hours. However, in this case, you can download the video even in the free version and store it on your phone so that you can access it indefinitely.
- It can be connected to an existing light source.
- Easy installation.
- Easy to use application.
- Alexa voice controls enabled.
- 2-way microphone.
- Required to subscribe.
- Motion sensors are extremely sensitive.
- The lights cannot be controlled from the motion sensors.
- No night vision
5. FREECAM L910
FREECAM L910 is an intelligent security focus with camera. The bulb is capable of producing extremely bright 4000K warm light and consumes only 15 watts of power. The lamp is made of gray aluminum and the lens is located just below the bulb. The entire system is weatherproof with an IP55 rating, making it safe from heavy rain and sandstorms.
The camera can record 1080p videos with a 180 degree wide angle lens. As such, there are no blind spots with this camera and you get a full panoramic view of the surroundings. The camera also has a microphone for 2-way audio. Motion detection is quite accurate as it is based on PIR body infrared sensors and consequently only triggers when an individual approaches the camera. The range of the motion detector is about 12 meters and you can also configure 64 different motion detection zones to delimit areas.As such, if there is a particular area that registers a large amount of irrelevant motion, such as a neighbor’s driveway, you can disable motion sensors for those areas. This can dramatically reduce false alarms.
The smartphone app is easy to use and all the different functions can be easily navigated. The best part of FREECAM L910 is that the recorded videos can be saved on the local 16GB SD card located in the lamp. As such, you don’t need to buy an expensive subscription for cloud storage. You can simply retrieve the videos from SD card when necessary and save them to your computer. You can also check the statistics of the SD card or format it through the smartphone app. However, I would have preferred that the device could accommodate SD cards with more space, as 16GB can be filled with just a few hours of 1080p footage.
Furthermore, like the Maximus devices mentioned above, FREECAM L910 also lacks dedicated night vision. As such, you just have to record videos of the light generated by the reflector. But since the reflector is quite bright, the videos are quite clear even at night.
- Bright LED projector.
- Full HD video recording.
- Panoramic view without blind spots.
- Effective motion sensors.
- Videos can be stored on SD card for free.
- Only supports a maximum of 16GB on the SD card.
- No night vision
6. Presence of Netatmo
Netatmo Presence is a smart 12W projector with a camera. This is one of the most expensive reflector cameras on the market and the added cost is worth it because it rectifies some of the major issues with the aforementioned cameras (while also introducing some of its own issues).
The camera records 1080p videos with a 100-degree lens angle. As such, while the video produces is extremely sharp, the field of view could have been wider. As it stands now, people can take advantage of blind spots around the peripheries of camera vision. The motion sensors of this device are smart and can distinguish between people, cars, animals and objects. As such, you can configure what you want to receive an alert for and you can also configure sensitivity to minimize false alarms. Only occasionally does the sensor fail and confuse an inanimate object with an individual. However, in most cases, you will not encounter annoying false alarms.
The best feature of this camera, however, is night vision. As you have seen, most security light cameras do not include infrared lights on the camera because they rely on the light from the bulb to illuminate the area enough for recording. That, however, leads to poor results. The presence of Netatmo, however, has infrared night vision with a field of view of up to 15 meters.
You can simply store the recorded videos on the built-in 8GB Class 10 microSD card . However, 8GB is too little to store more than an hour or two of 1080p footage, so you will have to check the SD card and save videos frequently. Also, the SD card cannot be updated, so it only has 8GB. Another major concern is that several previous users have pointed out that the SD card often doesn’t work and the slightest rain can ruin it.
It should also be noted that Netatmo Presence cannot stream live video like other smart cameras. It only starts recording videos when motion detection is activated. You also receive a smartphone alert when motion sensors are triggered, and then you can launch the app to view the recorded images. For those who want the option to monitor their camera 24/7, whenever they choose, this is not suitable.
- Bright reflectors.
- Full HD video recording.
- Effective motion sensors.
- Night vision available.
- Free video storage on SD card.
- The app has limited features.
- Live video cannot be broadcast 24/7.
- Len’s angle could have been broader.
- SD card cannot be updated.
- Many complaints about the malfunction of the SD card.
- It is not adequately weather resistant.
7. SENS8 outdoor camera with light
The SENS8 Outdoor Camera with Light is an Alexa-enabled outdoor security light with a camera located directly below the LED bulb. The bulb is extremely bright as it can produce up to 800 lumens of light. The camera and light must be connected to a power outlet, but they transmit information to your smartphone via WiFi, making it both wired and wireless. This means that you don’t have to worry about the battery running out, but it also means that installation will require the use of screws and drilling tools. As such, if you are not comfortable handling hardware, you will need professional help.
One of the best aspects of this camera is that there are no subscription plans. All functions and all recording options are available at the device’s initial single cost. As such, the overall cost of use is considerably cheaper than many of the previously reviewed smart light products. Also, this smart light doesn’t skimp on features either.
The SENS8 outdoor camera with light is weatherproof with an impressive IP66 rating. Shoot 1080p videos with a 140 degree wide angle lens. It also comes with night vision, which is rare for smart light cameras, especially considering that this light is already so bright. Furthermore, it has a passive infrared motion sensor (PIR) that can distinguish between different objects, people, cars, etc., drastically reducing false alarms.
Once the motion sensors are activated, you will receive an alert on your phone. Then you can open the live video to take relevant actions. You can activate the loud 95dB siren or you can use the microphone to address people close to the camera. The alarm can be set to go off automatically, however I keep it manual because I don’t want the siren to sound for false alarms.
The camera also automatically starts recording videos when activated, and all recorded data is saved on the built-in 8GB SD card. If you prefer cloud storage, you can also configure the camera to upload videos directly to Dropbox or Google Drive. As such, there is no additional cost of cloud storage, you simply have to pay for subscriptions you already have for Google Drive or Dropbox.
One of the best aspects of motion detection is that you can use a custom lasso tool to configure motion zones within the camera frame. As such, motion sensors will only activate when some motion is detected within the specific motion zone. This can further reduce false alarms. Despite all these features to mitigate false alarms, I still found that the camera often fired for no apparent reason as it is quite responsive. However, it was not frequent enough to be cause for alarm.
The light can be activated through motion sensors or through a custom program. You can configure specific times when the light should turn on or off.
- The reflector is extremely bright.
- No subscription plans, all features available at no additional cost.
- IP66 rating.
- 1080p video recording.
- Wide angle lens.
- Night vision.
- Live broadcast.
- Accurate PIR motion sensors with advanced functions.
- Recorded videos can be stored on the SD card or in the cloud.
- The light can be motion activated, manually activated or programmed.
- Installation requires professional help.
- It needs to be connected to a power source.
- SD card is limited and cannot be updated.
What factors to consider when buying smart camera security lights?
You should consider the following factors and features when buying smart camera security lights.
You can get smart lights with LED or CFL bulbs. LED bulbs are more expensive than CFL bulbs, but they are much more cost effective in the long run as they consume less energy. They also last longer than CFL bulbs and therefore need to be replaced less frequently. Furthermore, LEDs are also much brighter than CFL bulbs.
You can get streetlight type general smart lights or reflectors.
Streetlight lights look like normal lamps or bulbs that hang outside your home and provide relatively less lighting. The reflectors point outwards and their intention is to shed light on those who approach the house. In general, they are also brighter.
You can select the style that best suits your needs.
The camera in the security light should be clear enough to capture details like car license plates and facial details. These can be important if you report a crime later. While outdoor security cameras aren’t usually as clear and sharp as regular Ultra HD cameras, you can get cameras that record 720p or 1080p video. These will provide enough resolution to capture most of the details.
You should also focus on the colors of the video. Avoid buying cameras that can only record and stream black and white video. Find one with good color contrast so you can see the details clearly. The best cameras are those that can capture more than 12 million colors.
Generally speaking, the greater the angle of the lens, the better. The width of the lens angle determines the field of view of the camera. As such, wide angles will allow you to see more of the camera’s peripheries, thus minimizing blind spots. Most security cameras come with a 120 degree to 180 degree lens angle range. The last of these provides a complete panoramic view without blind spots.
Motion detection is one of the most important features for both smart light and camera aspects of this device.
Whenever any movement is detected at the periphery of the smart security light, the reflector should come on immediately and the camera should start recording videos. In addition, the camera should also send you an alert on your smartphone so that you can be notified immediately.
Motion detection is a useful feature because it only captures the most essential details and also saves electricity and battery. To measure the strength of motion detection, you need to consider two characteristics: delay and sensitivity.
First, the motion detection should not have a considerable delay and you should record video / turn on the light immediately after being activated. Second, motion sensors must be sensitive enough to capture approaching humans, but not so sensitive that neighbors activate them in their businesses.
It is absolutely essential that your smart camera security light have solid night vision. If you are installing a smart security light, it is probably because you want to keep an eye on your property at night. As such, it is important to ensure that the camera has night vision strong enough to capture detail in complete darkness.
The most important feature regarding night vision is the infrared function of the camera. The number of infrared lenses will determine how clearly you can shoot video in the dark. The higher the infrared lenses, the better.
Second, you should also consider the LUX rating of the camera. This determines the camera’s ability to see in low light environments. As such, it will come in handy when shooting videos in the afternoons and early mornings. The lower the LUX rating, the better. Aim at a LUX rating of 2 or less for clarity in low light conditions.
Some smart camera security lights come with a microphone for two-way communication. First, it allows you to listen to what is happening outside through the smartphone application. Second, you can use the intercom to speak to those within range of the camera. As such, if any potential intruders approach your home, you can scare them off by telling them that they are being recorded or that you are calling the authorities.
The camera smart security light should also come with an efficient and useful smartphone app. You will control the device and monitor it through your smartphone. As such, it should have a clear interface to control both the lights and the camera. You should also note how many aspects of the camera you can control such as motion detection, pan / tilt / zoom etc.
Some security cameras store recorded videos on local SD cards and some upload them directly to the cloud.
If the video is stored on the SD card, you will have to recover the card to download the videos to your computer and you will need to make sure it has enough space to save videos. If you are recording HD videos, you will need at least 64 GB of space.
If the video is uploaded to the cloud, you simply have to access it from your smartphone app and watch / download it. However, in this case, you will need a good internet connection to be able to stream or download HD videos.
Some smart camera security lights only give you access to certain app features if you purchase a monthly subscription. For example, they might stipulate that you can only control the camera remotely or access certain features if you have a subscription. Some of them may even prevent you from accessing the recorded videos until you purchase a subscription.
If you can find a smart camera security light that doesn’t come with subscription packages, it would be ideal. However, if you must get one with subscriptions, study all the free features and all the paid features carefully to select one that meets your needs for the cheapest monthly fee.
Smart home integration
Smart camera security lights must be fully integrated into the smart home. Most of the smart security lights on the market can be controlled via WiFi via smartphone apps. However, if you have a Smart Home, you should also make sure that the device you get is compatible with your specific Smart Home wireless network.
In some of the smart security lights, the camera is positioned in such a way that it is hidden and discreet. Upon casual inspection, one would not know they are being recorded. Alternatively, there are also those smart lights that make it very clear that they also include a camera.
Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. If the camera is not visible, you can record people without their full knowledge. If the camera is visible, it can scare off potential thieves and intruders because most of them target unsafe homes.
Finally, if you want the camera to be stealthy it’s totally your personal choice.
Smart camera security lights are generally installed outdoors. As such, they are likely to be exposed to variable weather conditions, be it snow, rain, or temperature changes. As such, you should obtain a security light that is adequately weather resistant.
To determine this, you should study the IP rating of the device. This comprises two numbers: the first digit refers to protection against solid objects like dust and debris, and the second digit refers to liquids like water. The first digit must be at least ‘6’ in order to protect against dust particles. For the second digit, ‘3’ denotes protection against rain and ‘6’ denotes protection against high pressure underwater situations. Since your camera is unlikely to be submerged underwater, you can get a device with a weather resistance rating of IP63 or higher.
It is also important to ensure that your camera can withstand extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. Consider its geographic locations colder and hotter temperatures during peak winters and summers. And then make sure the temperature range of the device can accommodate those degrees.
In addition to lights and cameras, you must also ensure that the cables used are also protected. Cables must be covered and sealed to avoid water damage and must be insulated against extreme temperatures.
Where to install the smart security light with camera?
When you install a reflector style smart security light with a camera, you should consider the following:
- The reflectors must point down at a 22-degree angle so they can illuminate incoming traffic without causing momentary blindness.
- The lights should not point towards other neighboring houses as this would disturb them.
- The light should be mounted at least 9 feet above the ground. This can prevent them from being tampered with.
I hope this article has helped you decide on the best smart camera security light for your specific needs. So you can keep going knowing that your home will be safe.