In a nutshell : Reolink’s Argus 2 comes out on top
We like the Reolink Argus 2 for its simple DIY setup, its low price, and its easy-to-use app. You can pick up the camera and solar panel for around $ 130, and it’s very easy to install. The Argus 2 also has impressive solar power, a good image and clear night vision in starlight. Whether you’re trying to go green, save money on your energy bill, or keep an eye on a garage or barn, this is a solid and affordable option.
The 4 best solar security cameras
- Reolink Argus 2 : Better overall
- Lynx Solar Wi-Fi Surveillance Camera – Finalist
- Affordable selection
- Maxsa Motion Activated Solar Security Camera and Floodlight – Versatile Selection
Reolink Argus 2: Better overall
When it comes to affordable outdoor wireless security, the Argus 2 delivers. This security camera is plug and play, and almost all functions are customizable, from the sensitivity of the motion detector to the resolution of the image. In the app, you can configure the types of alerts and alarms you want and watch a live video stream.
The camera also comes with two storage options: a micro SD card or seven days of free cloud storage. If you add additional cameras or want more cloud storage, Reolink also offers plans that can support up to 10 cameras with 30 days of storage.
Although we believe this is the greatest security benefit of solar energy for your investment, there are some drawbacks. Video is choppy, motion detection is delayed, and our tester received many false alarms. Read our full review to see how the Reolink Argus 2 performed in our hands-on test.
- Cheap price
- Easy to follow instructions.
- Customizable alerts
- Good image quality
- Free cloud storage
- Two-way audio
- Chopped image
- Delayed motion detection
- SD card sold separately.
Lynx Solar Wi-Fi Surveillance Camera – Finalist
For a camera that uses solar energy, Lynx has many high-tech bells and whistles. Our favorite is facial recognition software. This not only helps reduce false alarms, but also enables custom alerts that let you know if there is a stranger on your property.
We also like that the camera can be charged for a full week with just one day in full sun. This smart security camera includes two-way audio and starlight night vision, and works with Google Assistant for voice control. The camera records only in 10-second clips, so if a longer event triggers the camera, you may need to put multiple clips together to get the full story.
While the video quality is good, the audio from the built-in speaker can be difficult to understand, it breaks a lot. Customers also report a decent delay between when you open the app and when the camera “wakes up.” But customer service gets rave reviews, so if you’re having trouble with any of the advanced features, you can count on prompt and responsive help.
- Facial recognition
- Durable solar charge
- Voice control
- Excellent client service
- Free cloud storage
- Failed audio
- Short recording time
- Highest price
Ring Stick Up Cam Solar: affordable selection
The Ring Stick Up Cam provides additional security and convenience by allowing you to interact with people on your property from your smartphone, laptop or tablet. It was one of the first solar-powered security cameras to offer two-way conversation, and it works with Amazon Alexa for voice control.
One of the best things about this outdoor security camera is that it can be part of the larger Ring Alarm security system . Most home security systems do not offer solar power options, so this is a great advantage if you want to extend the protection of your home to more remote locations on your property.
Ring also offers a theft protection guarantee. If your Stick Up Cam is taken away, Ring will replace it for free. But that’s one of the only things you get for free. Live video streaming is standard, but if you want to record and save video, you will need a Ring Protection Plan, which starts at around $ 3 per month.
- Theft protection
- Voice control
- Ring Alarm Compatibility
- Accurate motion detection
- Excellent video quality
- Expensive price
- Subscription required for video recording
- Silent siren
A word on wireless security
Several users of Ring Alarm and cameras have reported breaches of their accounts that allowed a stranger to use two-way communication to intimidate them. This is a risk that every user takes when using any wireless system connected to the Internet.
The good news is that you can minimize risk with proper Internet security. Here are some easy tips to protect your system from online threats:
- Use strong and unique passwords for all your accounts
- Opt for additional security measures like two-factor authentication
- Add shared users instead of sharing login credentials
- Change your home Wi-Fi password frequently
We still confidently recommend Ring and other similar wireless systems connected to the Internet. And while these threats are real, they can be avoided with a few extra precautions.
Maxsa Motion Activated Solar Security Camera and Floodlight – Versatile Selection
We like the Maxsa solar powered home security device because it combines motion activated reflectors with a wireless security camera to capture all the action on your property. All settings are fully customizable, including how long the light stays on when activated and the sensitivity of both the motion sensor and daylight trigger.
Even with adjustable settings, some customers still find the motion sensor to be too sensitive, causing near-constant recording but not always capturing motion on video. This is a fault that can drain your battery quickly, especially when you have sunlight for power.
The camera comes with a 16GB memory card, but you can upgrade to a 64GB memory card or download videos to a computer. One thing to note is that users have had a hard time getting the camera to sync to get the correct date and time. We recommend including that information in the name of any video you download
- Payable price
- Customizable settings
- Ample storage
- Built-in projector
- Hypersensitive motion detection
- Unreliable date and time stamps
Things to consider in a solar security camera
There are two things to consider when it comes to placing your solar powered security camera. The first is where you want the camera to be installed for maximum protection, and the second is where the solar panel should be placed for maximum sun exposure.
To keep your solar powered security camera working, you need enough hours of peak sunlight to fully charge it. Peak sun hours are classified as a time when the sun provides 1,000 watts of power per square mile. Measurement refers to the intensity of sunlight, rather than the amount of time the sun is shining.
Peak sun hours generally occur when the sun is at its highest point and may vary by season and location. Some guidelines to help you harness as much solar energy as possible include placing your solar panel in a south-facing location that receives full sunlight for at least six hours per day.
Depending on the length of the cable connecting your camera to the panel, you may need to adjust your choice for the location of the camera. We recommend identifying the location of your desired camera before deciding which solar camera to buy.
When you have an outdoor device to keep your home and family safe, you need to make sure it can withstand the elements. Every solar camera we recommend has a weatherproof rating that lets you know how well it withstands dust and water.
Weather protection or ingress protection (IP) ratings classify devices and the device case based on the amount of dust and water that can enter the device.
Water standards range from IPX-0 which offers zero protection against water to IPX-7, which means that the product can withstand 30 minutes of immersion in up to one meter of water. There is an IPX-8 rating that the manufacturer defines as better than IPX-7.
Dust standards range from IPX-0 which indicates that there is no protection against dust and other objects entering the device up to IPX-6, which means that the device is impervious to dust and other objects.
IP ratings are often displayed as IP65, indicating the waterproof rating first (6) followed by the dustproof rating. If you see a rating with an X in the middle, that means the item is rated by only one factor.
Frequently asked questions about solar cameras
Will I save money by using a solar security camera?
Because home security cameras must be on the job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, they can use a fair amount of electricity. It will definitely prevent your energy bill from taking an extra hit with solar powered cameras, but the amount of savings will vary from home to home.
What happens if the battery runs out or Wi-Fi turns off?
Most of the solar powered security cameras we recommend include a rechargeable backup battery that can keep your camera running for twelve hours to three days. If you lose the Wi-Fi signal with the Lynx camera, it will continue to record video for three days. That footage is automatically uploaded to the cloud where you can access it even if your home Wi-Fi is down.