Add to compare

Best Indoor IP Camera 2017 Recommendations

While reviewing the articles we published in 2016, my wife and I realized that we did not write much about indoor IP security cameras. For the most part, this was because we did not have indoor security cameras set up in our home. At the time, our priority was to fully secure the outdoor yard and the garden. Well this year is going to be different.

Why? Because in 2016 we realized that no home security system can be complete without properly planned indoor cameras. It all started with the arrival of our newest family member, our little baby boy. We started looking up and researching indoor IP cameras and baby monitors. And then we entered the magical world of home automation, building our own smart home in the process (I will write about it soon I promise!). So no matter what you are looking for today – a spy camera, a baby monitor or a camera to look at your pets while they are alone at home, we hope this complete indoor IP camera guide for 2017 will be helpful.

Our top recommendation for an indoor security camera is the Amcrest IP2M-841B.

At the end of this post, you will also find my recommendations for specific purposes and thoughts on the other popular cameras and why they didn’t make the cut.

Best Indoor IP Camera 2017 Recommendations List

So here’s a handy summary of all my indoor IP camera recommendations for 2017, split by form factor:

Award IP Camera Resolution WiFi PoE Price
Best Value / Budget Amcrest ProHD 1080p IP2M-841B 2 MP (1080p)

Check Amazon

Best Value / Budget Amcrest ProHD 1080p IP2M-841EB 2 MP (1080p)

Check Amazon

Great Value Foscam R2 2 MP (1080p)

Check Amazon

Great Value Reolink C2 4 MP

Check Amazon

Great Value Amcrest Hex Shield IP3M-HX2 3 MP

Check Amazon

Full-featured Hikvision DS-2CD2432F-IW 3 MP

Check Amazon

Full-featured Samsung SmartCam SNH-V6410PN 2 MP (1080p)

Check Amazon

Full-featured Netatmo Welcome 2 MP (1080p)

Check Amazon

High-End Arlo Q Plus 2 MP (1080p)

Check Amazon



A quick note: This article contains affiliate links from Amazon. I don’t like ads and I’m sure you don’t either. So this is how we pay the bills and ensure a distraction-free experience for you, my dear reader. If you click on one of these links and then purchase something from Amazon, I will receive affiliate income for referring you to Amazon. This goes towards the costs of hosting and running this website and does not cost you anything extra. Thanks for your understanding! Also note that Hikvision and Dahua do not consider Amazon an authorised seller, but personally I don’t mind the often lower costs.
back to menu ↑

What to look for

The most important must-have features to look for in an indoor security camera with audio are:

  • Video Resolution – 720p resolution is so 2016. In 2017, you shouldn’t settle for a resolution of less than 1080p or 2 Megapixels. This is important because law enforcement have a very high threshold for the quality of video needed to positively identify a suspect. Unless the person is right in front of the camera, 720p is just not enough. Higher the resolution the better, but the biggest improvement comes from going 1080p Full HD.
  • Field of view or horizontal viewing angle – This depends on the focal length of the camera lens. The wider the horizontal viewing angle, the more flexible the camera is going to be for placement in a tricky place such as a living room. Some manufacturers quote the diagonal angle which can be misleading as its always going to be better than the horizontal one! All viewing angles in this article are horizontal unless noted.
  • Night vision – InfraRed night vision is crucial for getting good quality night shots. A true IR cut filter helps to produce true colour images during the day and high quality images at night. EXIR LEDs are brighter and have longer lifespans than the typical IR LEDs used in cheaper cameras.
  • Cloud reliance – This is something I feel very strongly about. The trend in recent years has been to create ‘cloud’ cameras that are reliant on the manufacturer’s cloud servers to do even basic things such as motion detection and event recording. Why? Because the cloud subscriptions that we are then forced to pay generate a steady stream of income for the manufacturer for years to come.The worst of the lot are absolutely crippled without an internet connection – these are the most dangerous because the whole point in having a security camera is to catch troublemakers. Since many manufacturers still don’t have reliable cloud servers, how can you be assured that your camera will notify you in time if a break-in is in progress? What you want is a camera that does not need any outside help to do its job – use a UPS to provide backup power in case the burglars cut the power.


The nice-to-have features to consider are:

  • Wireless – While an Ethernet cable connection is more stable and hence more reliable, support for WiFi and/or Bluetooth is great if you have to install the camera in a spot you can’t run a data cable to.
  • Continuous Video Recording – Instead of just automatic event triggered recording, continuous video recording will capture everything in the scene. Typically a Network Video Recorder (NVR) or NAS is needed for this function. You can specify how many days worth of storage you want to keep, and the older video will then be automatically overwritten.
  • Software features – Email alerts on motion detection, and push notifications to smartphone apps are very useful features
  • Local storage – Pure cloud cameras will not have any local storage, but some cloud cameras like the Arlo Q Plus now feature local storage in case the cloud connection is lost. This is a decent compromise. The best cameras are the ones whose cloud features are strictly optional and let you access the video stream using 3rd part apps.
  • Motion detection method – While software based image change detection is the most common motion detection method, a PIR motion sensor is preferable to cut down on false alerts
  • Power source – A wired Ethernet port is preferable over wireless connections for the best reliability. PoE (Power over Ethernet) support is ideal since then you don’t need two cables to each camera. An internal battery for power backup purposes is great if a burglar cuts the power supply to disable your home defences.
  • Audio – A built-in microphone for recording incriminating evidence is a nice to have
  • Advanced features:
    • Preferably a full API should be available for interfacing with home automation controllers such as the Vera Plus
    • Preferably RTSP stream capable so that you can access the video stream from a 3rd part app such as tinyCam Monitor Pro or IP Cam Viewer. ONVIF support is ideal so that you can connect the camera to an NVR like Amcrest NVRs which can support any ONVIF compatible camera.
back to menu ↑

Methodology

I have divided this list into two – cameras I recommend and the ones that didn’t make the cut. Every camera I recommend below meets the must-have features described above. So why did I bother with the ones that didn’t meet them – because due to clever marketing those cameras have managed to become very popular among consumers.

back to menu ↑

Best Indoor IP Cameras – 2017 Recommendations

Best Value / Budget IP Camera: Amcrest ProHD 1080p Pan-Tilt Wi-Fi Camera (IP2M-841B) – Best Value Camera with Pan-Tilt


Features

  • 2MP CMOS image sensor
  • 90° Viewing Angle
  • 10m IR range
  • Ethernet port, Wi-Fi or PoE available
  • ONVIF and RTSP protocols supported

Read Amazon user reviews


Amcrest is one of the few companies that we can recommend without hesitation. They have this unique blend of high-quality hardware, reliable software, and great after-sales support. The Amcrest ProHD 1080p Pan-Tilt WiFi Camera (IP2M-841B) is our current baby monitor and we are well pleased with it. It has an ethernet port, WiFi, built-in InfraRed LEDs for very good night vision, clear 2-way audio with mic and speaker, built-in SD card local storage, and on top of all this, very good low-light performance. We can even see our little one’s chest rising and falling as he breathes – I can’t believe how clear the video is.

A non-WiFi PoE-enabled IP2M-841EB version is also available. 4 hours of free cloud storage comes free with every Amcrest camera, with more storage available on the purchase of a subscription. The camera does not need an Internet connection to be set up or for functioning normally.

Read our full review of this wonderful IP camera below:

Hands-on Review: Amcrest ProHD 1080p Wireless Indoor IP PTZ Camera (IP2M-841)

Are you looking for a reliable wireless security camera that can act as a baby monitor, a nanny camera, or just to talk ...

User rating:
8.4
PROS:
  • Good image quality and 1080p resolution
  • Very clear and loud two-way audio with mic and speaker built-in
  • WiFi and RJ-45 Ethernet port
  • IR LEDs provide night vision capability
  • 360 degree Pan-Tilt feature
  • Support for SD card, NAS, NVR, FTP and Cloud storage locations
  • Very good value for money

CONS:
  • Audio is half-duplex only, you cannot hear and speak simultaneously
  • Smartphone apps could be better – free Amcrest apps lack basic features such as push notifications
  • No model with both PoE and Wi-Fi, unlike Hikvision

Check Price on Amazon

Back to comparison table

Great Value: Foscam R2 – Great Value Wide-Angle Camera with Pan-Tilt


Features

  • 2MP CMOS image sensor
  • 110° Viewing Angle
  • ?m IR range
  • Ethernet port, Wi-Fi available
  • ONVIF and RTSP protocols supported

Read Amazon user reviews

Foscam based in Shenzen China, used to be king of the hill once upon a time dominating the indoor security camera market worldwide. But Foscam lost their way when they fell out with their American distributor Foscam US who set themselves up as Amcrest Technologies. Amcrest is now one of the top retailers of indoor security cameras. Can Foscam Shenzen still compete with innovative new players like Amcrest and Reolink?

I think they can. For quite some time Foscam faded into the background as they bled customers. But now they are back with a new product range and very compelling price points. The Foscam R2 is a direct competitor to the Amcrest ProHD 1080p IP2M-841B.

The R2’s features of a 1080p sensor, Pan-Tilt, Wi-Fi are almost exactly the same as the Amcrest but with a much wider angle of view at 110° instead of 90°. There is no free cloud service included but a paid cloud service is available should you need it.

PROS:
    • Good image quality and 1080p resolution
    • Wide-angle lens lets you cover a large area
    • Very good value for money
    • Home Automation compatible with ONVIF and RTSP support

CONS:
      • Audio is half-duplex only, you cannot hear and speak simultaneously
      • No PoE feature available
      • No free cloud service available

Check Price on Amazon

Back to comparison table


Features

  • 4 MP CMOS image sensor
  • 92° Viewing Angle
  • ?m IR range
  • Ethernet port, Wi-Fi available
  • ONVIF and RTSP protocols supported

Read Amazon user reviews

If all you want is an indoor camera with Pan-Tilt, you will be just fine with the Amcrest or Foscam above. But what if you want to go the whole hog – Pant-Tilt & Zoom? You would have struggled to find anything affordable but with Reolink on the scene, that’s not the case any more.

The C2 has a very high resolution of 4MP which is very unusual for an indoor camera currently. The higher pixel count however leads to a slightly lower viewing angle of 92°, which while not in the three figures, is still is great for any camera. Local storage is available as an SD card slot which can take cards up to 128GB in capacity.

2-way audio is available thanks to the built-in mic and speaker. However just like most cameras, it is half-duplex. This means it works like a walkie-talkie. You have to take turns speaking and listening. As far as I know there is only one affordable camera which has full-duplex audio ability – the Hikvision which is our choice for best full-featured camera.

All Reolink cameras support the ONVIF standard so you can use them with any 3rd party NVR, NAS NVR or Blueiris which supports the ONVIF standard. They also support the RTSP protocol , so you can easily integrate them with your home automation system such as my MiCasaVerde Vera Plus.

PROS:
    • Excellent image quality with 4 MP resolution
    • Very good value for money
    • Home Automation compatible with ONVIF and RTSP support

CONS:
      • Audio is half-duplex only, you cannot hear and speak simultaneously
      • No PoE feature available
      • No cloud service available at all if you need it

Check Price on Amazon

Back to comparison table

Great Value: Amcrest UltraHD Hex Shield IP3M-HX2 – High-Res Wide-Angle Camera


Features

      • 3 MP CMOS image sensor
      • 140° Viewing Angle
      • 10m IR range
      • Ethernet port, Wi-Fi available
      • ONVIF and RTSP protocols supported

Read Amazon user reviews

Amcrest has a wildly popular 1080p indoor camera already, the Amcrest ProHD 1080p camera which is our choice for best indoor IP camera in 2017 for most people. But what if you want more resolution and a wider angle of view at the same time? That’s where the Amcrest UltraHD Shield, or Hex as it is also called, comes in. It has 3 Megapixels of resolution available and a wide angle of view at the same time. This is an unusual combination – as resolution increases, the field of view typically reduces. But Amcrest has figured out a way to get both high resolution (3MP) and high field of view (140 degrees).

The brains of the Shield is an ARM Cortex A9 CPU coupled with the Ambarella S2Lm IP Camera chip in a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) setup. By the way it has a magnetic bracket which can give you more installation options. Coming to night vision, the camera has InfraRed LEDs and a true IR cut filter. This gives it very good night vision ability. Audio in and out are supported in the form of 3.5mm plugs. The speaker is at the back of the camera, along with the RJ-45 port, the AC in socket, and a reset button. The SD card slot is on the side.

The camera features the much sought after NVR feature which lets you use it independently without any other hardware. This means you can set up motion detection or audio detection triggers to record clips to the on-board SD card, and then view them on a nice timeline interface. There are also up to 4 configurable privacy zones that you can mask off.

PROS:
    • Excellent image quality with 3 MP resolution
    • Super-wide 140 degree field of view
    • Very good value for money
    • Built-in NVR feature
    • Home Automation compatible with ONVIF and RTSP support, works with any NVR also

CONS:
      • Audio is half-duplex only, you can only use it like a walkie-talkie
      • No PoE feature available

Check Price on Amazon

Back to comparison table

Full Featured: Hikvision DS-2CD2432F-IW – PoE Camera


Features

      • 3 MP CMOS image sensor
      • 98.5° Viewing Angle
      • 10m InfraRed range
      • PIR Motion Sensor
      • Full-duplex 2-way audio
      • PoE, Ethernet port, and Wi-Fi available
      • ONVIF and RTSP protocols supported

Read Amazon user reviews

Some cameras seem to have been on the market forever. This Hikvision DS-2CD2432F-IW model is one such camera. Launched in 2014, it is one of the few cameras that are still on sale. And there’s a very good reason – its a genuinely high-end camera at a decidedly mid-level price. Its got all the features you could ever ask for in an indoor security camera – PoE, Wi-Fi, a PIR sensor, true full-duplex 2-way audio, night vision, RTSP and ONVIF compliance, advanced motion detection algorithms, a built-in NVR, and I could go on and on.

With its 3MP sensor, it still fares well against much younger opponents such as the Amcrest models. Only the Reolink C2 does better when it comes to resolution. This is definitely a camera that is still worth considering in 2017!

PROS:
    • Excellent image quality with 3 MP resolution
    • Has a real PIR sensor to cut down false alerts
    • Built-in NVR feature
    • Full-duplex audio enables true 2-way audio
    • Home Automation compatible with ONVIF and RTSP support, works with any NVR also

CONS:
      • Some tweaking needed to get the best image and video quality
      • Wi-Fi performance can be pretty average

Check Price on Amazon

Please note that Hikvision doesn’t recognise the warranty for products sold on online marketplaces like Amazon, so if you want an official warranty please buy from an authorized Hikvision reseller / OEM re-seller.

Back to comparison table

Full Featured: Samsung SmartCam SNH-V6410PN – Pan-Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Auto-Object Tracking


Features

      • 2 MP CMOS image sensor
      • 96.1° Viewing Angle
      • 5m InfraRed range
      • 2.4GHz Wi-Fi
      • RTSP protocol supported

Read Amazon user reviews

I am a bit conflicted about calling this camera full-featured as it lacks a somewhat basic feature – an RJ-45 ethernet port. Forgiving this glaring omission, it has a very unique feature that I am very excited about – the futuristic and very creepy automatic object tracking feature. So with motion detection on, the camera will use its pan-tilt feature to detect and follow a moving object or person around the room. Now that is super cool. The only downside is that it works only if you have NOT defined your own motion detection zones.

Power over Ethernet is naturally missing and the WiFi is only of the 2.4GHz variety, so be gentle with the bitrate setting if you use the 1080p resolution option. I personally do not use 5GHz at home as my fibre broadband tops out at 55Mbps which is absolutely within reach of 2.4GHz 802.11n speeds throughout the house. I am yet to find a router that can simultaneously handle both 2.4GHz and 5GHz devices without dropping one or the other occasionally.

The camera has true night vision with infrared LEDs and a true IR cut filter, but its on the lower side with a claimed range of 5 metres. But this should be sufficient for all but the longest of rooms. While ONVIF is not supported (you can’t chuck this camera into just any NVR), RTSP is. So you can pull up the camera stream from apps like tinyCam Monitor/IP Camera Monitor, or a home automation system such as my Vera Plus.

PROS:
    • Pan-Tilt with automatic object tracking feature makes it a great surveillance camera
    • Supports audio-triggered alerts
    • Unique auto object tracking feature works well
    • Home Automation compatible with RTSP support

CONS:
      • No ethernet port
      • Only 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, 5GHz not supported
      • Auto object tracking disabled when motion zones are defined

Check Price on Amazon

Back to comparison table

Full Featured: Netatmo Welcome – Full-featured Wide-Angle Camera with Face Recognition


Features

      • 2 MP CMOS image sensor
      • 130° Viewing Angle
      • InfraRed LEDs for night vision
      • SD card slot
      • 2.4GHz Wi-Fi
      • Has a speaker, IFTTT supported

Read Amazon user reviews

There are not many security cameras on the market that boast face recognition. Notice I said face recognition, not detection. While it does seem a bit creepy to me and evokes thoughts of computers taking over the world and subjugating humans, it is a rather cool feature. The Welcome can recognise your family members, and tell if a stranger enters your home.

I particularly like the Netatmo from among the current crop of all-in-one smart home devices because they do not insist on storing everything in the cloud. There is an SD card slot where you can store video clips or you can use your personal Dropbox account.

It has a 4MP sensor, but strangely does only 1080p (2MP) videos. Maybe Netatmo will upgrade the software some day and enable super high resolutions? In any case, 1080p is fine for most people. The lens is wide angle with a generous 130° Viewing Angle, which gives you more placement flexibility. Another design faux pas is that while the Welcome has a speaker, it is missing a microphone. I can’t see why they would do that. It cant cost much to add a decent mic these days.

There is an ethernet port but no PoE support. The Wi-Fi support is limited to 2.4GHz as well. When it comes to home automation, IFTTT is supported which I suppose is better than nothing.

PROS:
    • Face recognition and tagging
    • Not cloud reliant, records videos even if the internet connection is down
    • Home Automation compatible with IFTTT support

CONS:
      • No PoE
      • Only 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, 5GHz not supported
      • No RTSP stream
      • No microphone

Check Price on Amazon

Back to comparison table

High-End: Netgear Arlo Q Plus – High-end PoE Wide-Angle Camera


Features

      • 2 MP CMOS image sensor
      • 130° Viewing Angle
      • 15m/50ft InfraRed LEDs for night vision
      • PoE Ethernet Port, IFTTT supported
      • SD card slot and microUSB local backup storage option
      • 2-way audio with a speaker and mic

Read Amazon user reviews

When the Netgear Arlo Q first came out, I thought “you know what it really needs? Power over Ethernet!”. And a short while later, Netgear had the same thought. So here we have the Netgear Arlo Q Plus which has an external PoE port box. Not surprising as they bolted it on to the original Q.

While the original Q was a WiFi only affair, the Plus version adds the aforementioned PoE box and a microSD slot too. So is it still slavishly dependent on the cloud? Now there is a free offer of up to 7 days free cloud recording, but this doesn’t enable the Continuous Video Recording (CVR) 24-hour feature where the Q records continuous video to a USB hard drive locally. You need to subscribe to cloud recording to enable this CVR feature.

What about the SD card slot? Netgear says that whenever an SD card is present in the slot, motion and sound detected clips will be recorded to it till it gets full and started getting overwritten. You can take the SD card out put it in your computer and view the clips. That’s a nice touch – so if your internet connection fails, you still have a local backup of your clips.

So the Q Plus is a feature-rich IP camera from a mainstream vendor, which is bound to be expensive. So while its not great value, if you need a reliable cloud recording feature but don’t want to forsake PoE, this is your choice.

PROS:
    • PoE feature
    • Not cloud-reliant, can always record videos to the SD card, even if the internet connection is down
    • Home Automation compatible with IFTTT support

CONS:
      • Continuous video recording feature available only as a paid cloud subscription
      • No RTSP stream

Check Price on Amazon

Back to comparison table

back to menu ↑

The ones that didn’t make the cut

Nest Indoor Security Camera: Probably the most over-rated security camera there is. Imagine a security camera that does not record videos out of the box, unless you pay up for a cloud subscription that starts at $10/month. Yup, that’s the Nest Camera. Pretty much useless isn’t it? So don’t waste your money, there are plenty of real security cameras from less greedy companies.
Logitech Circle: Following hot on the heels of the successful Netgear Arlo battery powered cameras, here’s Logitech’s rather over-priced attempt. Powered by battery or AC power, the Circle is a decent attempt but is 100% cloud reliant. It simply doesn’t work without the Internet. Sorry that’s a deal-breaker for me. I cannot recommend something that can be so easily disabled! What you need in a security camera is reliability – and hoping your cloud CCTV provider to be a 100% reliable is just that, hope. Misplaced hope I might add. At this price point, local recording option is a must and the Circle doesn’t have it.
Canary All-in-One Home Security: I am not a big fan of all in one security devices, mainly because they are full of compromises made to still keep the device within a reasonable price point. The Canary is one of many such I-can-do-it-all devices in the market today. Not only does it do home security, it now does home health as well with sensors to monitor air quality. Now if I could do something useful with this sort of information locally such as turn on my dehumidifier or air filter, I would have been mildly interested. But making something a 100% cloud reliant is not the way to go Canary! I do not want to be locked into your eco-system and then end up paying you a cloud subscription fee! So in short, the Canary is crippled if the cloud servers decide to take a hike – not great when it comes to protecting your family.
Piper NV All-in-One Home Security: Yet another all in one security devices, but this one comes with a twist – the promise of no monthly fees. Yet it is a 100% reliant on the cloud becacuse it has no local storage options. No SD card or USB drive support here. Yes it has a unique ability – its a ZWave hub as well. So its less locked-in and proprietary than others of its ilk. But it still can do only 100 recorded clips of up to 35 seconds each.

That’s not a whole lot especially if for some reason you get a lot of false alerts. Its very interesting that while the Piper NV has battery backup in case of power loss, it has absolutely nothing to protect it from an Internet outage or if their cloud servers go down. What would happen in such a situation? A burglar breaks in, the Piper motion detection is activated, but the cloud servers are unavailable so the Piper cant record its video clip! Great for the burglar, not so great for you.

If these companies expect us to trust them 100% for our home security, the least they can do is publish statistics of the up-time of their cloud servers. This website is hosted on a server that has a Service Level Agreement that promise a 99.9% up-time for example. No cloud server has a 100% up-time, so what happens when the inevitable service disruption happens? Well folks, don’t rely on anybody’s cloud. Build your own local DIY home security system like I have!

Zmodo Pivot: The Pivot’s party trick is its body that can rotate 360 degrees and be able to monitor temperature and humidity too. This is a lot like the Samsung SmartCam featured above and the Pivot even has local storage in the form of 16GB onboard memory. This means its not reliant on the cloud. However its not better than the recommended cameras above – it has no PoE and is fully locked down. You cannot get it to work with any of your Home Automation equipment.
Yi Home Cam: The Yi camera is possibly the cheapest IP camera you can get. At nearly half the price of the cheapest mainstream brands, it naturally set off alarm bells. Yes being a Chinese brand, designed and owned by a Chinese company (Xiaoyi) does help keep costs down but surely there must be some trade-offs?

There’s no such thing as a free lunch. The Yi family of cameras work only with their smartphone apps and are 100% reliant on the cloud servers, these cameras don’t even have a web interface! Moreover, the company has been severely criticized by its users for its draconian terms and conditions of use. My recommendation – steer well clear.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove
Acknowledgements: Images copyright of Amazon

GET THE BEST DIY HOME SECURITY AND AUTOMATION STUFF IN YOUR INBOX

DOn't worry, I hate spam too!

3 Comments
  1. Reply
    Dave May 26, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Have you reviewed any of the Revo line of 3 & 4MP IP cameras/systems and if not was there a reason and if so, what were your conclusions? Your website is very helpful for comparing IP cameras/systems. I am a big Amazon shopper/purchaser so that is a nice feature also.

  2. Reply
    Thomas June 3, 2017 at 6:26 am

    Hey, I’m looking for a few IP cameras with PoE and it seems the Amcrest ProHD would be a great choice. However how would you attach this camera to the wall or ceiling? Thx a lot

    • Reply
      Daniel June 3, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Hey Thomas, the Amcrest ProHD comes with a standard tripod mount (1/4″ – 20 threaded tripod screw hole), so any wall or ceiling fixing that has a standard tripod head can be used to attach the camera, like this one: http://amzn.to/2s40Ce8

Leave a reply

Compare items
  • Compare IP Cameras (0)
Compare
0