The best outdoor security cameras that don’t need a subscription

Looking for a home security camera that doesn’t require a monthly subscription at all? It’s hard to find one these days. Security brands are set on getting subscription fees, and even today’s self-monitoring plans typically require a monthly fee to use important storage for your videos (necessary for viewing and using the video later) and other useful features.

So, where does that leave you? You can either look for one of the increasingly rare security cams that offer cloud storage without a subscription, or you can look for security cams that enable local storage, typically through an SD card slot, so they will automatically load the footage on the card and you can examine it later and wipe it when necessary. The problem is that security cams aren’t always eager to advertise their local storage capabilities. We’re making everything a lot easier with our list of the best outdoor security cameras that don’t require a subscription at all.

google nest doorbell battery review 3 of 13
John Velasco /

Nest Doorbell (battery)

Store 3 hours of video without a subscription

Pros

  • Gorgeous minimalist design
  • Intelligent alerts
  • Doesn’t require subscription for video history
  • Useful quick responses

Cons

  • Fine video details are on the soft side
  • Inconsistent capture rates

Google’s Nest brand provides one of the best deals possible for a video doorbell if you aren’t interested in subscription fees. Video doorbells tend to get triggered frequently by people passing by, etc., so they can use a lot of video storage space. Not only does the Nest Doorbell have AI technology to dismiss cars and recognize packages (other detection requires a fee), but it offers a three-hour event video history stored in the cloud to peruse and save if necessary, giving you time to act if there’s trouble.

We chose the battery model for this list because it’s easy to place and set up, and a charge lasts for a good three months. But there is a wired version of this cam available if you prefer to avoid batteries. The Nest Aware subscription adds more storage options if you ever decide you need more security.

google nest doorbell battery

Nest Doorbell (battery)

Store 3 hours of video without a subscription

Reolink Go Plus with Solar Panel

Subscription, no. Data plan, yes

Pros

  • 7-day cloud video storage for free
  • Solar power to charge the battery automatically
  • 2K resolution

Cons

  • Requires a data plan to use

Reolink is another of the few brands that offer online cloud storage without the need to pay a subscription. This 4G cam offers night vision to 33 feet and 2K resolution plus person and vehicle detection, along with two-way audio options like so many smart cams provide these days. But the real value lies in the location storage options via optional SD card, combined with seven days of free cloud storage that doesn’t require a subscription plan at all.

This model also includes a solar panel, which is excellent at keeping the battery charged when placed correctly and gives you more options for placement. Note that this is a data-based camera, so you will need a data plan through a compatible carrier like T-Mobile. The advantage of this option is that you don’t have to worry about getting too far away from