Best Outdoor Security Camera With SD Card and Motion Activation

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So you have been trawling the Internet for days now, hunting down the best outdoor security camera that you can find.

And after a fair amount of thinking, you are pretty certain that as well as being weatherproof, your security camera must also be able to store footage to an SD card and have reliable motion activation.

Well in this post, I compare 7 of the best candidates.

But for those of you in a hurry, here is a chart of my top 3. 

But before I dive deeper into those products, let me show you my top three.

Best Overall
HeimVision HMD2 Wireless Rechargeable Battery-Powered...
Runner Up
Wireless Outdoor WiFi Security Camera, Rechargeable...
Best POE
Amcrest UltraHD 4K (8MP) Outdoor Security IP Turret PoE...
Name
Heimvision HMD2
Zumimall
Amcrest Ultra HD
Resolution
1080P
1080p
4K
Weatherproof
IP 65
IP65
IP 67
SD Card
128 GB
128 GB
128 GB
Motion Activated
Power
Solar | Battery | Cable
Battery | Cable
Power Over Ethernet
Best Overall
HeimVision HMD2 Wireless Rechargeable Battery-Powered...
Name
Heimvision HMD2
Resolution
1080P
Weatherproof
IP 65
SD Card
128 GB
Motion Activated
Power
Solar | Battery | Cable
Runner Up
Wireless Outdoor WiFi Security Camera, Rechargeable...
Name
Zumimall
Resolution
1080p
Weatherproof
IP65
SD Card
128 GB
Motion Activated
Power
Battery | Cable
Best POE
Amcrest UltraHD 4K (8MP) Outdoor Security IP Turret PoE...
Name
Amcrest Ultra HD
Resolution
4K
Weatherproof
IP 67
SD Card
128 GB
Motion Activated
Power
Power Over Ethernet

Pretty impressive, huh?

Let’s take a step back and think about the most important features that an outdoor security camera with SD card storage and motion activation should have.

Top features of outdoor security camera with SD card storage and motion activation

In many ways, the top features you will find in your ideal outdoor security camera are the same for almost any kind of security camera.

And I have written about the top 13 features here.

And so I am not going to waste any of your precious time by detailing each of these. 

Instead, I am going to focus on the features that are most important to you: weatherproofing, sd cards and motion activation. 

Weatherproof

It is pointless owning an outdoor security camera if it isn’t weatherproof and it can’t perform in any weather.

Many security cameras will claim to be weatherproof- but you need to be choosing a camera with an IP rating- which is recognized worldwide as a reliable descriptor of weatherproofing.

An IP rating contains two numbers. The first number describes how dustproof a product is (on a scale between 0 and 6) and the second number is a description of how waterproof a product is (on a scale between 0 and 9).

Products with a IP rating of 69 are bomb proof- they are totally dust and waterproof. 

Most outdoor security cameras have an IP rating of IP 65, IP 66 or IP 67 which means that they are all totally dustproof and there are minor differences in their levels of water resistance. 

SD Card Storage

All of the security cameras in my comparison use micro SD cards for storage. Micro SD cards come in a range of sizes (or storage capacity) ranging from about 16 or 32GB all the way up to 2GB and beyond.

The cameras in my comparison use cards that have a storage capacity between 64 GB and 128 GB. 

And since most of the security cameras that I look at have a resolution of 1080p, a rough estimate is that a 64 GB sd card can store about 3 hours of video footage.

And if you are worried about your SD card filling up and your camera grinding to a halt, fear not.

All of the cards and security cameras have a feature called loop recording. 

Which is when the card reaches its storage capacity, it will then automatically start to record over the oldest footage.

And this means that your outdoor security camera will never stop working just because it’s SD card is full!

And neither do you need to panic about remembering to delete any bits of old footage

And how do you access these images and clips?

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to access these images and clips.

The easiest way and most common method is done via the app that you have on your smartphone to control and interact with your security camera.

The app will show you any images or short video clips that your camera has captured. 

Within the app, you can delete any footage that you want

Another way of accessing the footage on your micro SD card is if your laptop or desktop has a SD card reader that you can place the card in.

This method obviously isn’t as convenient as using the app but it does give you a lot more control and as well as deleting any files, you can also reformat the card if it needs to be.  

Motion Activation

The last “must have” feature that you want from your security camera is motion activation. 

And it is one of the most important features of any security camera, bar none. 

After all, if the role of the camera is to make your home or business safe, the least it can do is detect any motion, record a short video clip and notify you via your phone.

All of the outdoor security cameras that I compare, all use the same technology to detect any motion- infrared.

Sensors placed around the lens of the camera detect body heat (from passing humans or animals) and once the body heat is detected, the camera can start recording and send a notification via the app. 

Although body heat or infrared is invisible to the naked eye it can be represented on a black and white image because any source of heat is displayed as a very vibrant white. 

In most security cameras, there is a very close relationship between its ability to detect motion and its night vision because both use infrared.

Night vision images are almost always black and white (or black, white and grey to be precise.)

These are produced by the camera’s infrared sensors, not just the camera’s standard lens. 

Important aspects of any motion detection system include things such as:

Range: the range of a motion detection is the distance from the camera that an object can be detected. 

And in my selection of cameras, the range is quite large- extending from 50 ft to over 160 ft. 

Sensitivity:

Most of the cameras that I look at allow the sensitivity of the motion detection to be changed.

This is crucial because of all the different locations that an outdoor security camera might be placed in. 

For instance, some cameras are going to be placed in very busy areas where it is vital that only the motion which happens right next to the camera is detected. 

Examples might include a security camera placed in a porch, with a busy road nearby.

In this situation, you might want to have a very low sensitivity setting because otherwise you will get lots of clips of cars passing by. 

At the opposite extreme is a camera that is monitoring a quiet back door- where for much of the time there is nothing happening and very few people have access to it.

Therefore, any type of motion is probably very suspicious and so it should all be detected.

In those circumstances, the motion detection should be set to high. 

Motion Zones

The last set of features related to motion detection that I want to quickly talk about are motion zones. 

For a security camera that is operating efficiently, it will detect motion anywhere within its field of view. The trouble with this is that it can include quite a large area- some of which you are just not interested in.

Motion zones are specific areas within the whole field of view that you want to monitor. It gives you a much greater sense of control over how you are using your camera to monitor an area.

There is another advanced motion detection feature that is available in security cameras with a paid for cloud storage accounts and this is smart detection.

It is the ability to recognise whether the motion is caused by a person, animal vehicle or even a package. 

This type of detection, unfortunately, isn’t yet available for any camera that just uses an SD card for storage.

Nor is it available in any of the available cloud storage accounts for any of the cameras in my selection. 

Continuous Video Recording (CVR)

I want to close out this section on motion detection by drawing to your attention that none of the cameras in my comparison are capable of CVR and that they all just function as motion activated cameras.

Pros and Cons of Outdoor Security Cameras with SD Card Storage and Motion Activation

Pros

Outdoor security cameras can also be used indoors

Security cameras which only use SD cards for storage have no ongoing costs: unlike their counterparts who use cloud storage and pay monthly

Cons

Security cameras that use SD cards for storage are vulnerable to be stolen because you won’t just lose the camera but you will lose all the footage. 

Camera owners which use cloud storage will only lose the camera itself if it is stolen- the footage remains accessible. 

Security cameras which don’t have access to paid cloud storage only tend to have the most basic motion detection features- more advanced features such as huma or vehicle detection only come with a monthly subscription. 

Biggest Brands

I wouldn’t say that any of the brands of security cameras that are in my comparison are household names- but there are a couple of up and coming brands.

Amcrest

Amcrest is the new name of Foscam which is a U.S. subsidiary of a Chinese technology company. 

Foscam was set up in the U.S. in 2016 but I can’t for the life of me find any mention of when it was rebranded as Amcrest.

Its base in the U.S. is in Houston, Texas. 

Amcrest sells a huge range of security cameras in every shape and size and for every market- homes, small businesses and large companies.

A quick look at their website shows that they currently have well over 100 different models of camera available. 

And when I looked at their products that are for sale on Amazon, most of them are very highly rated. 

Reolink

Reolink is a company that specialises in making security cameras. 

It was founded in 2009 but it is difficult to find out much more about its origins. 

A quick look on its website shows that it’s head office is listed as being in Hong Kong and there are no U.S. headquarters listed anywhere.

I think it is fair to say that Reolink aren’t as large as Amcrest and they have around 50 different models of cameras.

Looking on Amazon at all the Reolink models, most of them are very highly rated. 

Zumimall

Zumimall are a much smaller company, a start up really.

It is even harder to find much information about who they are but on their website they are listed as having offices in Shenzhen , Sydney and New York.

They have three security cameras for sale on Amazon, all of which are highly rated and two of which are in my comparison

7 best outdoor security cameras with SD cards that are motion activated

[1] Heimvision HMD2 outdoor security camera

So, let’s just take a quick look at this product’s specs:

RESOLUTION1080pDETECTIONMOTION 
STORAGESD CARD | CLOUD NIGHT VISION?  FT |   M
AUDIO 1 WAY | 2 WAYPOWERSOLAR | BATTERY | CABLE
VOICENOVIEWING ANGLE130°
REMOTE ACCESSAPPWEATHERPROOFIP65
WI-FI 2.4 GHZMOUNT. BRACKETYES

Compared to the other cameras, some of the strengths of this camera are that it has free and unlimited cloud storage as well as using SD cards with a capacity up to 128 GB.

It is powered by rechargeable battery but it can also be charged using a solar panel which must be purchased separately.

It has a large viewing angle of 130°

A comparative weakness of the camera is that it cannot be controlled with your voice and that there are no specific details about the range of its night vision and motion detection.

Which is a real shame because, its motion activation is very highly rated.

[2] Zumimall rechargeable camera

So let’s take a closer look at the the specs in this camera:

RESOLUTION1080pDETECTIONMOTION 
STORAGESD CARD | CLOUD NIGHT VISION55  FT |   M
AUDIO 1 WAY | 2 WAYPOWERBATTERY | CABLE
VOICENOVIEWING ANGLE120°
REMOTE ACCESSAPPWEATHERPROOFIP65
WI-FI 2.4 GHZMOUNT. BRACKETYES

From this we can see that most of these specs are fairly standard in my comparison. It is another camera with 1080p resolution, 2 way audio, remote access via an app only, 50 foot night vision range and an IP rating of 65.

The real strengths of this camera are hidden – this security camera is very highly rated overall and its motion detection ratings are better than any other camera in my comparison.

Other strengths of the camera is that the battery has a fairly high capacity, at 10400 Mah and that it offers subscriptions for cloud storage on top of storing footage on SD cards. A unique feature is that this security camera is silver!

[3] Amcrest Ultra HD 4K

And now for something completely different.

This is your outdoor security camera with sd card storage and motion detection, on steroids.

If you want the best in class no matter what, then this might be for you.

All of the specs are way beyond anything else in my comparison and I guess that I am a little hesitant in a couple of ways about this model.

Firstly, is the POE thing- I think for many people that can seem a little bit complicated.

Secondly, as a turret shaped camera it looks a little different and it needs to be mounted on a ceiling and not a wall.

And so what are the specs?

RESOLUTION4K (8 MP)DETECTIONMOTION ZONES
STORAGESD CARD | CLOUD | NVR NIGHT VISION164  FT
AUDIO 1 WAY | 2 WAYPOWERPOE
VOICEALEXAVIEWING ANGLE112°
REMOTE ACCESSAPP CLIENT BROWSERWEATHERPROOFIP67
WI-FI 2.4 GHZMOUNT. BRACKETYES

Let’s quickly list the features which make this camera so fantastic.

It films footage in 4K- that is four times the clarity of most of the other cameras in my comparison and it is almost twice the resolution of the next best camera- the Reolink.

It has three forms of storage: SD card, cloud and NVR which is similar to the Reolink reviewed earlier.

If you have an Alexa device, you can control this Amcrest security camera with your voice and you can access this device via an app (for your smartphone) a client (for your Mac or Windows 10 PC) or in any browser.

Most of the other cameras just offer access via an app.

The next “blow your socks off” feature is a massive 164ft of night vision.

And finally there is a weatherproof rating of IP 67

All in all it is just incredible and before we think that it is just too good to be true, we must remember that this Amcrest camera only has 1 way audio.

Oh, well you can have it all!

[4] Reolink 5MP POE Camera

And what about the specs:

RESOLUTION2560P (5MP)DETECTIONMOTION 
STORAGESD CARD | CLOUD | NVR NIGHT VISION100  FT
AUDIO 1 WAY | 2 WAYPOWERPOE
VOICEGOOGLEVIEWING ANGLE80°
REMOTE ACCESSAPP | CLIENT | BROWSERWEATHERPROOFIP65
WI-FI 2.4 GHZMOUNT. BRACKETYES

OK, so this security camera is a slightly “milder” version of the superhero described above.

So, let’s take the strengths.

I think that the first thing that jumped out at me was the resolution- which is about twice that of all the other 1080P cameras in my selection. So that’s impressive.

And the next thing is POE- power over ethernet.

This camera is powered via an Ethernet cable (which also connects it to the Internet.) But, wait up, before you get too excited it is not as simple as plugging a cable into the back of your router.

You need to buy a POE injector, like this. It has no battery to speak of.

And you need to buy an Ethernet cable long enough to run from your router to the camera itself and think about how to neatly “run” the cable from your house to the outside.

And then this Reolink camera offers three types of storage- SD card, cloud storage and NVR. An NVR is like a your set top box for your TV only instead of recording TV programs, it stores footage from cameras.

I mean I know you are only interested in SD cards but it is there as an alternative.

And finally you can control this camera with your voice as long as you have a device which has Google Assistant built in.

[5] YI Outdoor Security Camera

And the specs?

RESOLUTION1080pDETECTIONMOTION 
STORAGESD CARD | CLOUD NIGHT VISION50 FT
AUDIO 1 WAY | 2 WAYPOWERBATTERY | CABLE
VOICEALEXAVIEWING ANGLE110°
REMOTE ACCESSAPPWEATHERPROOFIP65
WI-FI 2.4 GHZMOUNT. BRACKETYES

Fresh from the excitement of the security camera above, we are back to a more run of the mill model.

There is nothing wrong with this camera, it does everything well.

Unique features include its integration with the noonlight app, which is a paid for tracking app that will contact the police automatically.

Although it can be controlled via voice using the Alexa system and a weakness is that this camera can only be powered by a power cable- which might limit the number of places that you can position it without have a new electrical outlet installed.

And it will only work with SD cards with a capacity of 64 GB.

YI is a fairly well known brand in the camera world and so if you like their kit perhaps this camera is for you.

[6] Zumimall Rechargeable Battery Wi-Fi Camera

Hang on! Haven’t we seen this camera before? Isn’t this the Heimvision security camera from earlier?

Well the cameras look identical and the specs are the same.

RESOLUTION1080PDETECTIONMOTION 
STORAGESD CARD | CLOUD NIGHT VISIONFT |   M
AUDIO 1 WAY | 2 WAYPOWERBATTERY | CABLE
VOICENONEVIEWING ANGLE130°
REMOTE ACCESSAPPWEATHERPROOFIP 65
WI-FI 2.4 GHZMOUNT. BRACKETYES

Both cameras are very highly rated although the Heimvision model is cheaper than this model here and the Heimvision device can be charged via a solar panel.