Outdoor Security Cameras for Surveillance

Finding the right security camera for your needs can feel like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. There are hundreds of potential options out there, each one claiming they are better than the next. How do you know when you have found the best security camera?

We have been reviewing and testing security cameras for over a decade. In order for an outdoor camera to make our security camera list, they must have the following:

  • Weather-resistant
  • Have no visible infrared light at night
  • Operate on AA batteries
  • Do not need ambient or security lighting
  • Can operate in extreme temperatures

Some, not all, can even send the photos directly to your phone seconds after the picture was taken. If these qualifications sound like what you are after, let's narrow down your choices to our favorite security cameras in several categories.

How do you want to retrieve the pictures?

If you need immediate photo transmission to your phone, you are looking for either a Wireless Camera (wifi) or a Cellular camera

Wireless cameras use wither hotspot wifi or existing home or business wifi internet to take and transmit the photos.

At this time, the only true wifi security camera on the market is the Reconyx MS8. This camera connects to your home or business wifi and emails you every photo taken.

Having a wifi surveillance camera that connects to your internet is beneficial as you won't be paying monthly for data plans. Outside of the cost of batteries, this wireless setup would be free on a month-to-month basis.


Cellular cameras use AT&T or Verizon towers to connect your security camera to your smartphone. This is the only other option for having pictures transmitted directly if you don't have an internet connection where the surveillance camera will be placed.

This type of security camera requires data plans, which cost anywhere from $5-15 a month (depending on the camera).

If you have good AT&T reception, we would recommend the Covert Code Black 12.1 security camera. If you have better Verizon reception, check out the Covert Blackhawk 12.1. They are the same cameras, they just operate on different networks.

These two wireless cameras send photos to an app on your phone and can even accept setting adjustments remotely (from the app). Keep in mind, whether you choose a cellular or wifi camera, these models will use more battery power than a traditional security camera.

Traditional security cameras take and store photos directly to the SD card in the camera. When it comes time to retrieve the pictures, simply remove the sd card and plug it into your computer. This is the simplest and easiest surveillance camera option.

Another advantage of this type of camera is battery life. Depending on the number of photos you expect to take, these cameras can last up to or greater than a year in the field with Lithium AA batteries.

For now, our favorite security camera is the Browning Spec Ops Extreme. This camera excels whether in picture or video mode, has a fast detection circuit, has no glow infrared flash, and programs in no time at all. 

Low-Cost Surveillance Cameras

As with any purchase, the product must be within budget! If you don't need a best-in-class security camera, here are the two cameras that can stretch your dollar the furthest.

 Stealth Cam G45NG Pro Moultrie A30i
$129.95 $99.95

These two traditional security cameras have capable detection circuits, 6+ months of battery life, no glow IR flash, and take solid photos. If you don't have a lot of money to spend, these are your best options.

Have questions? Feel free to Contact Us with any additional questions.