The Best Security Cameras for Businesses
Whether you’re worried about shoplifting or employee theft, a security camera is an excellent preventative measure. Here are our top picks for recording and monitoring your business.
Best Overall1080p with HDRTons of smart features
Budget Pick$29.99 starting priceExcellent night vision
Best Indoor CameraStorage flexibility130° viewing angle
Best Outdoor CameraBuilt-in floodlightSiren alarm
Best Mid-Range OptionIndoor/outdoor versatilityTwo-way communication
Let’s face it: most small businesses don’t need super-advanced surveillance systems. Multi-camera systems are expensive, harder to maintain, and often unnecessary—especially if your business location is small.
At the same time, though, buying a single security camera can be overwhelming. There are so many options on the market, and they all tout different benefits. Video quality, two-way audio, smartphone access—how do you sort through which features are important for your specific business (and which are just background noise)?
Don’t worry—we’re here to help. We’ve whittled it down to just a few gems to help you pick the best device for your location and budget.
Best business security cameras at a glance
|Nest Cam IQ Outdoor||Canary Flex|
|Features||Intelligent alerts*, smart zoom and follow*, facial recognition, 360° pivot, two-way audio, 130° field of view||Two-way communication, wired and wireless power options, 116° field of view|
|Storage||3 hrs.–30 days cloud storage (varies by plan)||1–30 days cloud storage (varies by plan)|
|Night vision range||50 ft.||15 ft.|
|Temperature range||-40°F to 113°F||-4°F to 122°F|
|View Prices||View Prices|
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor: Our top business security camera pick
|Nest Cam IQ Outdoor|
|Features||Intelligent alerts*, smart zoom and follow*, facial recognition, 360° pivot, two-way audio, 130° viewing angle|
|Storage||3 hrs. cloud storage (up to 30 days with subscription)|
|Night vision capability||50 ft.|
|Temperature range||-40°F to 113°F|
|Subscription plan cost||$5–$30/mo.|
When it comes to resolution and features, you just can’t beat the Nest Cam IQ.
The Nest Cam IQ records in 1080p high definition just like every other camera on our list. But what sets it apart is the fact that it also offers HDR (high dynamic range) recording. That gives you better picture quality than you’d get with most other 1080p security cameras.
We also like that the Nest Cam IQ offers smart features. It uses motion detection to identify security threats, then zooms in on the moving object (or person) and follows them automatically. That means you’re better able to see and identify intruders or thieves. The Nest Cam IQ also uses facial recognition to identify people who should (and shouldn’t) be there, so you won’t get a notification every time an authorized employee gets near your safe.
The downside, though, is you’ll need to sign up for a Nest Aware subscription to access these features. That’s an extra $5 to $30 per month, but it gets you a lot more storage. And overall, we think it’s worth it to access 30 days’ worth of 24/7 recording—all from the mobile app on your iOS or Android device. Score!
What about the Nest Cam Indoor?
We recommend the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor because it has a broader operating temperature, which makes it a more versatile pick than the indoor version. But if you know that your security camera will be placed in a climate-controlled office, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor is an excellent choice too. You do you.
ZOSI HD 4-in-1 Security Camera: Best for businesses on a budget
|ZOSI HD 4-in-1 Security Camera|
|Features||Closed circuit television (CCTV), compatibility with third-party DVRs, 90° field of view|
|Storage||Varies by DVR|
|Night vision capability||100 ft.|
|Temperature range||14°F to 140°F|
|Starting price||$29.99 (not including DVR)|
If you’re like most small businesses, you don’t have a lot of extra capital to throw at a high-tech industrial security camera. But that doesn’t mean you don’t want a quality device.
Fortunately, you can have the best of both worlds with ZOSI’s HD 4-in-1 Security Camera.
The ZOSI 4-in-1 Camera is weatherproof, so you can use it safely either indoors or outdoors (provided you don’t live anywhere with sub-zero temps). It also offers the best night vision capability of any camera on our list, and it records in full 1080p video quality. Oh, and did we mention it’s only $29.99? Yes, you read that right. You can get a top-of-the-line security camera for only 30 bucks—without sacrificing image quality.
Here’s the catch, though: that doesn’t include anything for storage of your videos. You’ll need to buy a DVR separately, which will basically act as a video encoder and hard drive for your videos. Then you’ll need to connect your DVR to the internet to pull videos from that hard drive and access them from your mobile devices.
The good news is a ZOSI DVR costs only about $150. So even after buying a DVR, you’ll probably still spend less on your ZOSI than you would on other devices. You can even pair your ZOSI 4-in-1 camera with a third-party DVR to save even more. Your choice.
Arlo Q Plus: Best indoor-only office security camera
|Arlo Q Plus|
|Features||Power over Ethernet (PoE), two-way audio, motion detection, Amazon Alexa compatibility, microSD storage options, 130° field of view|
|Storage||7 days cloud storage (up to 60 days with subscription) or 64 hrs. microSD card storage|
|Night vision capability||25 ft.|
|Temperature range||-4°F to 113°F|
|Subscription plan cost||$2.99–$14.99/mo.|
If you’re looking for a single camera to watch your small business’s indoor safe, cash register, or products, we recommend the Arlo Q Plus.
Unlike most outdoor cameras, the Arlo Q Plus offers Power over Ethernet (PoE), meaning you can power your camera and connect to the internet using a single cord. Fewer cords makes the Arlo Q Plus look clean and sleek, and it gives you more flexibility to place your camera where it makes sense (since you’re not limited to spaces with a nearby ethernet connection and power outlet).
The Arlo Q Plus also comes with seven days of cloud storage at no extra charge—more than any other camera on our list. But you can also opt to store your videos on the camera’s internal microSD card, which is included with your purchase. Either way, you don’t have to pay extra to access recordings on your mobile app if the camera’s motion sensors detect movement in your office after hours.
Be aware, though, that the Arlo Q Plus is meant for indoor use only. It’s not weatherproof, and its operating temperature range may make it a bad choice for areas that aren’t climate-controlled (like warehouses).
Ring Floodlight: Best outdoor business camera
|Features||Motion-activated floodlight, siren alarm, two-way audio, smart zoom and follow, 140° field of view|
|Storage||0 hrs. cloud storage (up to 60 days with subscription)|
|Night vision capability||N/A|
|Temperature range||-22°F to 120°F|
|Subscription plan cost||$3–$10/mo.|
If all or part of your business is outdoors, you’ll need a camera with a wide viewing angle, weatherproof housing, and a reliable power source. The Ring Floodlight offers all that and more.
The Ring Floodlight isn’t just a security camera. It also uses motion detection to switch on a bright, weatherproof light anytime someone enters the camera’s 140° field of view (the widest on our list). And it features a built-in siren alarm that you can activate from the mobile app on your smartphone.
What’s more, the Ring Floodlight has a great operating temperature range that can withstand almost any climate, and the camera is powered via a hardwired connection, so you don’t have to worry about changing batteries every few months.
Of course, it’s not all good news. The Ring Floodlight doesn’t come with any video recording, so if you want remote access to recordings of suspicious activity in your car dealership’s parking lot, you’ll need to pay an extra monthly fee. That’s not ideal, but the benefits of accessing your camera’s recordings on your mobile device might still make it a worthwhile investment for your business.
Canary Flex: Best mid-range commercial camera
|Features||Two-way communication, wired and wireless power options, 116° field of view|
|Storage||1 day cloud storage (up to 30 days with subscription)|
|Night vision capability||15 ft.|
|Temperature range||-4°F to 122°F|
|Subscription plan cost||$9.99/mo.|
If you’re looking for a decent camera at a decent price (and don’t want to deal with the DVR situation you get with the ZOSI HD 4-in-1 Security Camera), we recommend the Canary Flex.
The Canary Flex can be used indoors or outdoors, and it offers 1080p video quality (the same image resolution as the other cameras on our list). Like our other top choices, the Canary uses motion detection to determine when to record, then lets you access your recordings via mobile app on your smartphone, tablet, and other devices.
But the biggest item in the Canary Flex’s plus column is the pricing. While the device itself is $199, Canary offers the Flex for free if you sign up for two years of Premium Service. Considering that the total cost of Premium Service for two years is less than the camera ($178) and includes up to 30 days of cloud storage, we’d say that’s a deal worth taking.
Keep in mind, though, that the night vision on the Canary Flex is pretty poor. While we couldn’t find an official night vision range from Canary, most users estimate the night vision range is only 15 feet. So don’t expect to pick up the license plate on an intruder’s vehicle in any nighttime recording.
FAQs about small-business security cameras
What’s the difference between DVR and NVR?
The main differences between DVR and NVR cameras are the cords they use to connect to your storage hard drive and where video footage is processed.
With a digital video recording (DVR) system, you must use coaxial-wired cameras. The cameras send digital image data to the DVR, which then processes the data into a video and stores the finished product on its hard drive. Since everything is hardwired, it’s harder for hackers to interfere with your cameras, but you have to deal with the disadvantages of coaxial cable (it’s hard to wire discreetly, the picture degrades after a certain amount of distance, and it doesn’t transmit power or sound, so you’ll need extra cables for those).
Network video recording (NVR) cameras, on the other hand, can process videos themselves. They then transmit the finished video to your NVR storage device via ethernet cable or a Wi-Fi network. That gives you more flexibility to place your camera wherever you need it—even if there’s no ethernet or coaxial connection nearby. Ethernet cables are also capable of transmitting power and sound, so you can power your devices and connect to your NVR using just one cable.
Both options offer remote viewing capabilities, provided they’re connected to your small business’s internet. And both options feature decent video quality. So the choice ultimately comes down to where you want to place your camera and how much wiring you’re willing to do.
Do I need a camera with good night vision?
That depends on where you place your camera and when you want it recording.
It goes without saying that night vision is helpful for security cameras and surveillance systems that are monitoring your office or retail location after hours (which for most small businesses is at night). And if you’re recording a large space with low light, you’ll definitely need a good night vision range to get a decent picture you can actually make out on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
At the same time, though, not every business needs a device that can record up to 1080p in a 150-foot range in absolute darkness. If your office space is less than 25 feet in diameter, you can probably get a camera with a lower night vision range and still get a clear idea of everything going on at your business.
Heads-up for using infrared cameras
If your night vision cameras use infrared, be sure to keep them pointed away from reflective surfaces like windows, mirrors, or white walls. These surfaces bounce the infrared light back at the camera, which washes out your image and makes the picture indistinguishable.
Where should I place my security camera?
In general, security cameras can be placed wherever you need them. But your camera type may also pose some limitations when it comes to placement.
Take a restaurant security camera, for example. It would make sense to place a camera near the cash register or safe, but if you’re a restaurant owner who uses a DVR camera, you’ll also need to make sure the camera is placed close enough to the DVR hard drive that the image quality won’t degrade. You’ll also need to make sure the camera is near a power source.
We also want to note that you probably shouldn’t place your camera in non-essential, high-traffic areas (like break rooms or empty hallways), especially if you’re using real-time monitoring. Nobody wants to deal with their cell phone going off every time an employee walks down the hallway. And obviously, business owners shouldn’t place an indoor camera out in the parking lot.
The bottom line
Most small businesses don’t need complex surveillance systems, so if you’re looking for a single top-notch HD camera, we highly recommend the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Camera for its HDR picture and convenient smart features.
Of course, the Arlo Q Plus is a great indoor-only camera in a slightly lower price range than the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Camera. Or, if you need an outdoor camera, you can’t go wrong with the Ring Floodlight.
But if you’re looking for budget option, we’d recommend the mid-range Canary Flex or the super-cheap ZOSI HD 4-in-1 Security Camera. Both options have their pros and cons but are reliable alternatives to the more expensive cameras on our list.
Want multiple cameras? Our guide to the top surveillance systems for small businesses can help you sort through your options.
At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don’t guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.