Arlo Pro 4 with Arlo Solar Panel Charger
Best solar-powered camera overall
Ring Stick Up Cam Solar
Best camera and solar panel bundle
Wyze Outdoor Cam v2 plus Solar Panel
Best budget cam and solar panel setup
Thanks to a huge variety of security cameras on the market right now, it’s never been easier or more affordable to keep an eye on your home. These DIY cameras are easy to install, and allow you to monitor both the interior and exterior of your home from anywhere. Some more advanced models even have floodlights, motion sensors, sirens and other helpful features. Solar-powered security cameras also allow you to avoid tricky wiring and dead batteries.
Unlike indoor cameras, the ideal spot to set up your outdoor camera won’t always be near a power outlet. That’s why wireless cameras are often better suited for outdoor use. They’ll also keep you from having to run unsightly wires. But they’re not totally without fault — that battery will require charging at some point, most likely when it’s least convenient or you’re out of town.
Equipping your camera with a compatible solar panel is the best way to ensure your battery stays charged year-round. Here are our picks for the best outdoor security cameras with a separate solar panel accessory available.
Read more: Home Security Buying Guide
Setup Moveable, outdoor/indoorResolution 2560 x 1440 (2K)Storage Cloud storageGoogle/Alexa Compatibility BothField of View 160 degrees
Arlo’s $200 Pro 4 camera (currently on sale for around $160) is a little pricier than some of the competition, but it’s a fantastic all-around device, boasting 2K resolution, a 160-degree field of view, two-way talk, a loud siren, a reliable spotlight, night vision and a load of other smarts. Unlike some other cameras, like the Arlo Pro 3 or Wyze’s solar-powered outdoor cam, the Pro 4 can be used without a base station.
To use the camera with a solar panel, you’ll have to buy the panel separately, which will set you back another $60. At a total price of around $220, that makes this package a little more than some alternatives, but the quality of the device justifies that price tag.
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Setup Moveable, outdoor/indoorResolution 1080pStorage Cloud storageGoogle/Alexa Compatibility Amazon AlexaField of View 115 degrees
Ring sells a solid spotlight cam that is compatible with a separately sold solar panel, but if you want the best deal from the developer, you can get a Stick Up Cam with a solar panel together for $140. The bundle comes with everything you need: The camera, battery pack, solar panel, micro USB charging cable, plus mounts, screws and wall anchors for the camera and solar panel.
That’s not a bad deal, especially given the camera’s relatively solid specs: 1080p resolution, night vision, two-way talk, a 115-degree field of view, a built-in siren and other smarts. You can also find this package for even lower prices fairly frequently — especially during parent company Amazon’s Prime Day sale.
Wyze is one of our top recommended brands for low-cost, yet still high-quality, indoor and outdoor security cameras. The new Wyze Outdoor Cam v2, a wireless camera with 1080p resolution, color night vision, a built-in alarm and other security and monitoring features, is available for around $80 with the required base station.
Adding a compatible Wyze solar panel to keep your camera continuously charged will only cost another $29. That’s an all-in cost of around $110 for the camera, base station and solar panel. What’s more, Wyze offers a “name your price” option with its Cam Plus Lite subscription service, even if that price is zero. The subscription includes 14 days of cloud storage and person detection alerts.
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How we test security cams
Home security cameras are tricky devices to test because how good they are doesn’t just come down to how their numbers stack up against the competition’s. We do look for better resolution, wider field of view and the presence of features we consider must-haves in 2023, like two-way talk, night vision and options for cloud storage. Then we add in extra goodies, like smart notifications or a built-in siren or spotlight, and hold up that whole package against its retail price. If the features are really strong for the price, we’ll recommend a camera more highly.
But we also test out cameras carefully, making sure all the features work well. Smart notifications aren’t helpful if they arrive 20 seconds late; a siren isn’t useful if it’s barely audible. Some cameras disconnect too often, and some apps are difficult to understand or navigate. This experiential side of things is where our recommendations become more personal and in many ways more useful. Anyone can line up the specs of different products, but we’re putting our hands on these cameras for a week or more to see how it actually feels to install and use them.
In the case of solar-powered home security cameras, we’ve tested each of these devices extensively — but not necessarily with their solar panels.
If you want to read more about our review process, check out our in-depth article on how we test home security cameras and video doorbells.
Solar-powered security cameras compared
|Our Picks||Arlo Pro 4 (w/ solar panel)||Ring Stick Up Cam Solar||Wyze Outdoor Cam v2 (w/ solar panel)|
|Field of View||160-degrees||115-degrees||130-degrees|
|Setup||Wireless, indoor/outdoor||Plug-in and battery versions, camera itself can be indoor/outdoor||Wireless/outdoor|
|Extra Features||Live streaming, two-way talk, night vision, weather resistance||Live streaming, quick alerts, night vision, two-way talk, privacy zones and motion detection zones, integration with Amazon Alexa||Color night vision, built-in siren, free 14-day cloud storage and person detection alerts available|
Solar-powered security camera FAQs
Are solar-powered cameras any good?
Short answer: It depends on where you live. To get the most out of solar panels, you need to angle them toward the equator, and tilt them according to your latitude. In regions farther to the global north or south, you’ll likely generate less power than in regions closer to the equator. Likewise, the power generated will correspond to the season and weather. In other words, a cloudy week in Alaska during December isn’t going to give your solar panels as much to work with as a sunny week in Florida during July.
That said, solar-powered security cameras generally use batteries to store the power generated during the day, so a few cloudy days probably aren’t going to mean a cut feed. In short, they’re not foolproof, but depending on your region, solar panels can seriously lengthen the battery life of your outdoor cameras — or even do away with regular battery replacements altogether.
How long do solar-powered security cameras last?
Much of this comes down to region once again, but assuming you live in a good area for solar power — and you keep your panel properly angled and clean — many people report that needing to replace the batteries is exceedingly rare.
Do solar-powered security cameras work at night?
Solar-powered security cameras will work during the night using the battery power stored up during the daytime. Remember: Both of the cameras above have built-in batteries that normally last months. That means you shouldn’t run into issues with overnight battery drainage — and if you do, it’s probably a problem with the battery, not the solar panel.