Arlo vs Nest vs Ring: What is the best outdoor camera?


Smart home security cameras are one of the most popular and sought-after uses of connected devices. A few top choices of manufacturers lead the market with the newest and most impressive hardware technology and security available. This article will outline the best of the outdoor cameras and compare Arlo vs Nest vs Ring.

This article will cover every feature related to monitoring, surveilling and deterring, as well as the design, connectivity, and performance of each camera. You will have the right information at hand to make an informed decision to get the right device for you in order to make your home secure and safe.

We recommend going with either the Arlo Pro or Arlo Pro 2 model.

Featured: Arlo Camera Comparison


Arlo, owned by Netgear, has been a leading force in the market for quite some time. Its newest and best wireless devices for home security are the Arlo Pro and Pro 2. Their Original Arlo camera is a solid option too, although the features and performance are now a little outdated in comparison to the newer generations. For their indoor cameras, take a read of our recent article on the Arlo Q range.

Arlo Pro

arlo pro camera

The Arlo Pro is a well equipped smart security camera with comprehensive features for monitoring, surveilling and deterring unwelcome intruders. The Pro comes available in many options from one to six cameras and a Home Base station included. After the initial purchase, it is simple to add more cameras into the system.

Design & Setup

The cameras are wire-free, giving the system a compact feel and make the outside of your home look tidier. They have a futuristic yet simple clean white look. Setup is also very simple, you simply run the installation wizard and do a syncing exercise to connect the cameras and Base Station all into one system. Then you place the cameras where you pleased using wall mounts.

pro 5 camera starter pack

How it Works

It uses motion and audio detection technology to trigger recording and capture small snippets of video footage. This is then stored for free on the cloud for a week unless you pay for an extended cloud storage option which is longer. These vary between $2.99 to $14.99 a month and are required if you exceed six cameras. Depending on what option you choose, your footage will be held for up to 60 days. Usually, one week is enough as you can download any footage you would need within this time as the Pro notifies your phone when activity is recorded.

You may also record the footage locally which can protect you against Wi-Fi outages. There is a Live View on the app which is accessible 24/7 remotely. The Arlo Base has a 105 decibel Siren which can be activated automatically when a camera is triggered or manually in the Arlo app.

pro features

Recording Features

Its field of vision is 110 degrees, which is more than enough. In truth camera placement and the total number of cameras is more important in covering an area to record.It features 2-Way Audio to allow the user to talk to anyone outside to provide instruction or warn them. This system involves a speaker and microphone on the camera and is accessible via the Arlo app. The motion and audio detection is set by the users for each camera on a scale of 1-100 in the app too. This needs to be set considering how busy your neighborhood is as well as the size of the area recorded.

If not adjusted correctly you could be either bombarded with notifications of activity outside your house on your smartphone or not receive any and miss recording footage. The Pro is fairly responsive in initiating recording around 3 seconds after motion or audio triggers it. The footage is recorded in 720p HD.

Connectivity & App

The Arlo app is available on Android or IOS. It is a very important component of the security system as it acts as the control panel. From here you can access manual actions such as the live view, 2-Way Audio feature or Smart Siren. You can also manage the features, schedule recording or access the triggered recordings on the cloud.

The Wi-Fi connectivity and Arlo app mean the Pro is suited to joining your smart home ecosystem. It’s compatibility with IFTTT and various smart hubs make it suitable for home automation. There is also voice control compatibility with smart assistants including Alexa and Google. There are many prompts available, especially related to monitoring such as asking Alexa to show you the live feed of one the cameras.

Battery & Durability

The Arlo Pro will operate for around 4-6 months before needing a recharge. This duration is thanks to the camera being able to remain in standby until triggered. It is highly durable as it spots an IP65 waterproof rating while being able to handle operate in temperatures as low as -4 Fahrenheit.

>>>View Arlo Pro on Amazon<<<

Arlo Pro 2

pro 2 starter pack with smart siren

Released in late 2017, the Arlo Pro 2 is a slightly slicker and more effective smart security camera. Although it has a few extra features and fine-tuned specs, overall this newer generation product is a little better than the Pro but admittedly not on another level. Many of the features are the same as the Pro, so we will focus on the additional features on offer.

Additional Features

The Arlo Pro 2 has a greater field of vision of 130 degrees which can spot activity on the outer portion of the recorded area. A lag time of the camera recording after being triggered by introducing a Look Back Feature. Continuous recording is also possible with the Pro 2 which requires the camera to be plugged in.

There is a Zone Recording feature which allows the user to specify a zone for motion detection in the field of vision. This fine-tunes the camera to focus on a specific area such as a door or driveway and help cut out irrelevant triggered recordings. The Pro 2 records in 1080p which is a minor upgrade from the 720p of the two previous models. We also compare Arlo vs Blink in a separate article.

>>>View Arlo Pro 2 on Amazon<<<

Nest Cam

Googles smart home device division, Nest, is best known for its Learning Smart Thermostat but also for their smart cameras. The Nest Cam Outdoor and Cam IQ Outdoor reflect the quality of Google’s ongoing efforts in the smart home market. These smart security cameras are undoubtedly pushing the technological boundaries of the industry, especially in the software of the IQ Outdoor.

Nest Cam Outdoor

The Nest Cam Outdoor, by Google, features some impressive specs and extensive options. A solid all-rounded and not too expensively priced option, the Cam Outdoor rivals the best of Arlos cameras and will perform to the standard you need.

Design & Setup

The Nest Cam Outdoor is a simplistic white device with shiny blackface. The camera has a fixed wire that provides power. Overall it is a rugged and robust build making it highly durable. The waterproof rating is the same as the Arlo cameras, a solid IP65 which can withstand substantial amounts of rain.

The installation and setup are straightforward as you would expect from a Google product. Once it is installed in place using the included screws and equipment, using the app you undergo a simple and instructed step by step process. To pair the cameras you just scan the QRF code.

How it Works

The Nest Cam Outdoor is a continuously recording camera that requires an additional subscription called Nest Aware to store the footage on the cloud. This is arguably more reliable than battery cameras like Arlo. The footage is stored for up to 30 days. The camera uses motion and audio detection to identify moments of activity and send you notifications along with a picture. The software used to analyze the motion detected and determine whether it is a human or something is else is accurate There is a live stream on the app which is also available 24/7 remotely.

nest app

Recording Features

The Nest Cam Outdoor has a respectable 130 degrees field of vision. There is a Talk & Listen feature uses a microphone and speaker on the camera which can be used to communicate with both welcome and unwelcome visitors. The camera records in 1080p at 30 frames per second. The video footage recorded is, in fact, one of the best quality.

Connectivity & App

The Nest app is available for both IOS and Android and is a point of control for all of Nests products, not just the camera. Nest excels at making sure the setup of their products is quick and easy, which applies to both their thermostat and cameras. From the app, you can access the features such as:

  • Live view
  • Alert notifications
  • Snapshots of last 3 hours
  • Scheduling
  • Two way talk

Nest products including the Cam Outdoor work in conjunction with smart assistants for voice control and IFTTT.

Battery & Durability

The Nest Cam Outdoor is a wired device so there is no battery life applicable. This makes the camera slightly less portable and easy to move around your home as the wire-free cameras. It is a highly weatherproof camera with an IP65 waterproof rating. It can operate in temperatures between -4 and 104 farenheit.

>>>View Nest Cam Outdoor on Amazon<<<

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is the immediate upgrade from the original with smarter software and a few other high spec changes. This camera is much larger than the original, around twice the size. This thicker and bigger build has an upgraded IP66 waterproof rating which means it will be more durable in the long run. It can also handle lower temperatures than the original, as low as -40 degree Fahrenheit.

Upon installation, there is the option to hide the power cable through a plate at the back of the camera as to avoid any intruder damaging it. The speaker on the IQ Outdoor is 15 times more powerful than the original. It also has additional microphones to improve noise cancellation when using the two-way communication feature. The video records in 4K which is one of the only security cameras do so. What gives the Nest Cam IQ its super-smart status is the facial recognition technology. This can identify your family and friends from unwanted intruders.

Ring Spotlight

spotlight cam

The Spotlight Camera is Rings smart security camera that is available in a variety of options which includes as a battery-powered camera, wired camera, solar-charged camera or with floodlights. Also, check out our comparison on the best Ring Video Doorbells if you’re interested in getting a video doorbell.

Design & Setup

The camera looks like the face of their Video Doorbell slapped onto a mountable camera. Setting up the camera requires downloading the Ring App and following a simple setup wizard which is followed by testing the camera live feed. The mount is easily screwed into place as well as the camera is angled.

How it Works

The device gets triggered by motion detection and responsively shines a spotlight on the area and records footage. It has two LED strips on each side of the camera to do this, check it out in action. The footage recorded is stored on the cloud as per usual with a smart security camera. The Spotlight camera comes with 30 days free trial of the cloud storage option. Beyond that, a subscription is mandatory and can be charged in different ways, either per camera or month for around $3  a month or $30 a year for each device.

floodlights in action

Recording Features

The Spotlight camera records in 1080p and has a field of vision of 140 degrees. Motion detection angle is 270 degree on the wired version, which means it can identify movement far outside its recording field of vision. On the battery-powered version, it is just 160 degrees. The two-way audio feature, like the other brands, uses a microphone and speaker to allow the user to communicate with anyone outside. Each camera has a 110-decibel alarm built into it. This takes a different approach to Arlo which has it as part of the Home Base. This is far more in the face of the intruder and more likely to have a deterring effect.

Connectivity & App

The control of the Ring Spotlight camera is mediated through the Ring app, the same as the one used to control the Video Doorbell. This provides real-time notifications, a live feed, and two-way audio talking.

Battery & Durability

The Spotlight Camera has an IP55 waterproof rating which is a little behind the other models in this review. This means it can take some water from a nozzle. It is recommended to have this device covered as heavy rain may not be guaranteed survival. The battery life of the camera is estimated to be between 6 to 12 months or approximately 1,000 notification events. The app will tell you when you’re running low on battery juice.

>>>View Ring Spotlight on Amazon<<<

Arlo vs Nest vs Ring Comparison Table

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZONarlo pro 2Arlo Pro 21080pYesNoNo
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZONNest Cam Outdoor1080pNoNoNo
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZONNest Cam IQ Outdoor1080pYesYesNo
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZONring spotlightRing Spotlight1080pYesNoYes

Final Word: Arlo vs Ring vs Nest

The smart security market is a highly contested space with sublime quality among the leading brands. Arlo, Nest, and Ring all have very impressive devices with practical features that have proven to be reliable. All the cameras are effective in recording footage accurately, as well as providing live notifications. They also all have the ability to withstand a variety of extreme weather fronts and precipitation. The Arlo Pro and Ring Spotlight models have smart sirens as part of their setup which adds an extra layer of deterrence. Ring goes one step further in their deterrence thanks to the LED strips. Nest has slightly more complex software, particularly the face recognition in the IQ version. Another article worth reading is our comparison of Skybell and Ring video doorbells, as this adds another layer of security to your home.

We recommend going with either the Arlo Pro or Arlo Pro 2 model for the all-round quality and performance.

These two don’t work directly with each other, but will through a smart hub that is compatible with both. They could also be used together using a virtual assistant like Alexa or Home, as well as with IFTTT applets.

Rupert Pople

Rupert is the founder of this website and a smart home tech enthusiast fascinated by the power of connected devices. Within his Business Management (BSc) degree at the University of Nottingham, he studied the technological impact of the Internet of Things.

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