What are Floodlight Cameras?

In this feature, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the best floodlight cameras; how they work, why they’re a good choice and what you should look out for when buying one.

“I choose the juiciest house on the block, not the most expensive, mind ya, but this lovely little home. Got mail piled a mile high. Must be on a vacation I’m thinkin’. So I wait till dusk and I get inside the privacy fence that surrounds the yard.  I just love it when I have some privacy to do my work”. 

The above quote is from ‘Sam’, a convicted burglar interviewed by burglaralarms.org about 10 years ago.  It shows the mind-set of a typical burglar. Like most home invaders, Sam wasn’t looking for a challenge. He just wanted easy access to a home that offered him a quick score.

Opinion goes back-and-forth regarding security lights and the value of any security provided by lights alone. Online pundits generally vacillate between recommending people leave their porch lights on overnight (as this makes the criminals more visible) to simply suggesting that the extra light actually helps them to avoid potential obstacles and gain access to the home more easily.

Likewise, motion-activated floodlight cam seem to have as many critics as champions. Some experts will point out that the floodlights coming on at night can be such a common occurrence (as they are easily activated by cats, foxes or branches blowing in a strong breeze and various other things) that people either won’t notice or won’t care when the lights are triggered by an actual trespasser.

Both sides have a point. A motion-activated floodlight can be an effective deterrent, but will probably not deter a determined burglar who has done his or her research prior to the break-in. As previously stated, porch lighting can be off-putting to a potential burglar, but it can also help them to see what they’re doing!

Of the two, a floodlight is probably the better option. However, a floodlight cam can be even better. Now the would-be thief is not only illuminated, but he or she can also be captured on a camera for all to see.

Add an alarm into the mix (we’ll get into that a bit later) and you have a far more effective home security setup than any single element (camera, alarm, floodlight) could hope to offer on its own.

The Best Floodlight cameras can be a smart, efficient upgrade to any previously installed floodlights you may have. Installation is easy in such cases, as the power cabling for the lights will already be in place.

We will begin by taking a closer look at floodlight security cameras, and examining them in greater detail so that you can make the right choice and give your home the protection it deserves.

Floodlights

When purchasing a floodlight cam, you will possibly have to choose between incandescent, Halogen and LED bulbs. While traditional incandescent and Halogen bulbs will work fine, LED is the best option in most cases.

The case for LED lights centres around a few key points. Firstly, LEDs are vastly more energy efficient than traditional or Halogen bulbs, using between 75 and 90% less energy than their incandescent counterparts. In some cases, an LED light can be as bright as a 50-Watt incandescent bulb while only using 11 or 12 Watts.

Secondly, LEDs last A LOT longer than traditional or Halogen bulbs. Most LEDs will come with a predicted lifetime (usually listed in hours) – these can be as low as about 6,000 hours or as high as 100,000 hours.

floodlights

A lot of LED bulbs claim to have a 10-year-lifespan (calculated at around 11,000 hours). This is a little misleading, as it presupposes that the light will only be used for a couple of hours a day (and makes no allowances for darker times of year, such as winter, wherein the lights might be more frequently used). However, for a floodlight camera lighting that only comes on when the motion sensors are activated, even this will be more than sufficient. In any instance, LEDs will definitely last longer than either incandescent or Halogen bulbs.

Thirdly, when LEDs are switched off, the light disappears almost immediately, unlike with other light sources (particularly CFL Halogen lights), where it can linger and take a while to actually go out. Of course, when reactivated, LEDs achieve full brightness almost instantly.

Fourthly, LEDs are better for the environment, as they don’t contain any toxic substances and are fully recyclable.

Finally, low temperatures affect LEDs far less than traditional bulbs. Halogen bulbs get very hot very quickly, while LED bulbs give off almost no excess heat. Most of an LED’s energy is converted into light rather than being wasted in heat emission. In general, LEDs are also considerably more durable than either incandescent or Halogen bulbs.

The case against LEDs may also be worth considering, and it goes something like this: LEDs are considerably more expensive than regular bulbs, even with prices coming down fairly quickly in recent years.

Additionally, some people dislike the ‘tint’ given off by LED light, finding it to have a slightly bluer hue than traditional light, which tends to have a ‘warmer’ tone.

In general, Halogen lights can be brighter than LEDs. They are also often more compact and therefore easier to install. In some cases, they are larger and better suited for bigger areas as a result.

Finally, LEDs are not well suited to larger floodlights, mainly because larger fixtures require greater quantities of LEDs, which do generate heat in significant numbers. This means that a larger LED floodlight needs a really good heat sinking system in order to be truly effective (such systems do exist, but they tend to be pretty costly). 

As previously stated, other light sources will work fine. We recommend choosing LED, but it isn’t the only technology that will serve you well in this regard.

What are Lumens?

Whenever you purchase any kind of electric light source, you will see its brightness measured in Lumens. Lumens are the unit of measurement assigned to any light output, whether natural or man-made.

As a general rule, the greater the amount of Lumens, the brighter the light will ultimately be. Essentially, Lumens equal brightness. Wattage, on the other hand, does not. A lot of people buy bulbs and light fixtures according to the amount of Wattage they have. However, this is not a good way of gauging which bulbs will be brightest. Watts measure a bulb’s energy usage, not its brightness.

Another useful term to understand is candela. This term describes the luminous intensity of light at a distance of 1 metre from the light source itself. 1 candela is equal to the brightness emitted by a single candle. For reference, 1 candela is around 12.57 Lumens.

lumens

The Lumen count does not take into account the actual distribution of light from the light source. In this regard, the candela will sometimes offer a better idea of how bright a floodlight will actually be.

A good number of Lumens for a floodlight would be anywhere from 700 to 1500. Detect motion lights need not be so bright (especially as this can irritate your neighbours!), so they can be between 300 and 700 Lumens.

Video Quality

When it comes to security footage, image resolution is important for fairly obvious reasons. 

It can be confusing to be bombarded with marketing language and random numbers while shopping for security floodlight cameras, especially since the consumer is often just expected to know what it all means. Because of this, we’ve cobbled together a handy guide.

Every digital video recording file has set dimensions. These dimensions are named according to the number of pixels that come together to make up the image.

If a camera is advertised as being able to capture images of 1920 X 1080p (or simply ‘1080p’), this means the images captured by the camera will be 1,920 pixels wide and 1,080 pixels high. This is also known as ‘high definition’ or ‘HD’. Generally speaking, an HD camera will provide a good quality image (although this isn’t guaranteed as a lot depends on the specifics of the camera itself).  

The term ‘4K’ describes a frame that is 4000 pixels wide (or greater). When dealing with this level of image quality (also known as ‘ultra HD’ or ‘UHD’), the image resolution is measured in terms of width instead of height.

4K contains almost 4 times the number of pixels as regular HD. This allows it to capture very fine detail such as faces, vehicle number plates and clothing details.

We don’t really recommend purchasing a floodlight cam with any resolution less than full HD video recording, although, admittedly some of these can do a reasonable job. In our view, you’re better off by far with HD or 4K. 

Data Storage

There are 5 main methods of data storage available to floodlight cam users. These are:

  •     SD Cards (local storage) – An SD card is a good option for areas with limited Internet access or instances where constant surveillance is not required. The downside, of course, is that the card can fill up quite quickly and will need to be cleaned out at fairly regular intervals.
  •     NVRs & DVRs (local storage) – An NVR (Network Video Recorder) system can be wired or wireless, while a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) is always a wired system. The two are differentiated by the way in which they process data. For the purposes of this list, we’re presupposing a DVR or NVR system with access to a hard drive. These are good for setups that require constant security footage to be taken and saved.
  •     Cloud Storage – As part of a purchase, or else via monthly subscription, floodlight and spotlight cam users can upload their footage to the cloud. The footage may then be accessed at any time via devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. Internet access is needed to use this feature.
  •     Computer local Storage – By creating a storage path between your floodlight cam and your computer, it is possible to transfer camera data and footage directly to your desktop or laptop setup. This is not recommended, however, as it involves importing truly massive amounts of data that will need to be manually cleared at regular (and we do mean regular) intervals. Failure to do so could cause the computer to run extremely slowly and cease working properly until all excess data has been cleared.
  •     NAS – Network Attached Storage (NAS) involves the creation of a data network that can be made accessible to multiple users. It can also be used if your setup includes security cameras from different manufacturers that may not operate well together in other circumstances.

We recommend you consider these options carefully (along with their various benefits and drawbacks) before choosing the local data storage or cloud storage option that’s right for you.

data storage

Motion Detection

There are two main forms of motion detection technology currently being used with floodlight cams; these are passive infrared (PIR) and computer vision (CV).

PIR sensors monitor the ambient heat that is given off by all living things. The camera is activated when the PIR sensor detects a build up of warmth from the objects (such as animals or humans) it surveys. It is very difficult (though not impossible) for an intruder to avoid activating a PIR sensor and, in the vast majority of cases this is a very reliable form of technology.

CV is a newer technique that operates via sophisticated computer analysis of sequential frames as recorded by smart floodlight cameras. Should a significant amount of pixels change, the camera will be activated. In many cases, this technology can be customized so that its sensitivity may be reduced or increased depending on the needs of the user.

However, where PIR is fairly standard across the board, CV can sometimes depend on the algorithm upon which the system functions. As a result, the effectiveness of this technology can vary from model to model. When it works, however, it works exceptionally well.

PIR sensors are better at not being activated by inanimate objects (such as curtains or house plants swaying in the breeze). PIR is also very power efficient. However, because they spend long periods of time in relative inactivity, PIR security cameras can take a while to load up. This means that, if the motion detected is fast enough, it can activate the camera, yet not be captured on film. PIR also fails to work through glass.

CV, on the other hand, can come armed with things like facial recognition software – and tends to activate more quickly than PIR, meaning that it is more likely that a good CV setup will capture an intruder’s face on camera than a PIR setup will.

However, for all their good qualities, the better CV systems are quite complex and, as a result, are often run via subscription services, which can be expensive.

Both forms of technology are also notorious for giving off false alerts. Innocuous disturbances such as those caused by household pets, postal deliveries, changes in weather or the kids next door kicking their ball over your fence can all flood the user’s phone with alerts and cause panic where none is needed. Both systems have methods for minimizing these erroneous alerts, of course, but neither avoids them entirely.

Compatibility with Security Systems

Ideally, your floodlight cam should compliment and work with your current security system, whatever that may be. Ensuring compatibility between systems is quite important.

A home security system that includes security lights, burglar alarms, double-glazed windows, a fixed safe and remote access to any security camera is always going to be more secure than a simple camera, ring alarm or security light set up would be individually.

If you use a system such as Alexa or Google Assistant, it is also very worth finding out if your floodlight cams are compatible with said system and can be integrated with it.

Field of View

The term field of view (commonly referred to as ‘FoV’, but occasionally referred to as the ‘viewing angle’) simply describes the area observable by the naked eye or via an optical device (in this case, a camera lens). A 60 Degree FoV, for example, will cover a smaller area than a 90 Degree FoV.

With regards to optical devices and sensors, the term FoV can also denote the angle through which the devices will detect electromagnetic radiation (such as body heat).

FoV is mainly determined by the size of a camera’s lens. A smaller lens, known as a wide angle-lens, will typically have a greater FoV than security cameras with a larger lens. In terms of security cameras, a wide-angle lens is good for capturing images of large, open spaces such as car parks, warehouses and gardens.

A narrow-angle lens will have a larger lens overall and is better for capturing areas such as doorways, hallways and/or any specific item or area you wish to see in significant detail.

A second, somewhat less common term, is angle of view (AoV). This term describes how much of the image before the camera will be captured by the camera’s sensor.

AoV is determined by the focal length of the camera’s lens and the format of the camera’s sensor. For example, even if two security cameras have the same focal length, a 35mm full-frame camera format will yield a slightly more compressed image than an APS-C formatted camera, which will produce a broader, more spacious image.

Where possible, try to obtain a sample image produced by the kind of camera you intend to buy.

Waterproofing

Most technology designed for use outside will come with an ‘Ingress Protection’, or ‘IP’ rating. Essentially, this rating will tell you how weatherproof your device is.

An IP rating is fairly straightforward and easy to understand. It will usually take the form of the letters ‘IP’ followed by two numbers. The first digit describes the device’s ability to withstand intrusion from dust, dirt or small objects, while the second details how waterproof the device is. If either category is rated as ‘0’ or ‘X’, it means that the device has no ability to withstand these things.

If a hypothetical camera has an IP rating of 11, for example, it means that any floodlight cameras in question could withstand intrusion from objects more than 50mm in diameter, but that it may be at risk from any object smaller than that (e.g. dust particles, mud, or grains of sand). It would also not be able to withstand any significant rainfall.

An IP rating of 66, to cite another example, would offer complete protection from dirt and dust, as well as being almost totally safe from high-pressure water jets, heavy rain, sleet and even snow.

Even if a camera is advertised as being ‘weatherproof’, you should always look for a rating of IP66 or IP77 for any outdoor security cameras, as anything less could cause problems.

It should be apparent by now that different camera or outdoor lighting setups might require a greater or lesser IP rating in order to be truly effective. Some outdoor light fixtures, for example, can work fine with an IP rating of just 44, while lighting designed to illuminate water features and ponds would need a rating of at least IP68 or they simply won’t work.

IP Ratings – what they mean.

A number replaced by x indicates that the enclosure is not rated for that spec.

First Digit (intrusion protection)

  1. (or X – see section below): No special protection. Not rated (or no rating supplied) for protection against ingress of this type.
  2. Protection from a large part of the body such as a hand (but no protection from deliberate access); from solid objects greater than 50mm in diameter.
  3. Protection against fingers or other object not greater than 80mm in length and 12mm in diameter (accidental finger contact).
  4. Protection from entry by tools, wires etc, with a diameter of 2.5 mm or more.
  5. Protection against solid objects larger than 1mm (wires, nails, screws, larger insects and other potentially invasive small objects such as tools/small etc).
  6. Partial protection against dust that may harm equipment.
  7. Totally dust tight. Full protection against dust and other particulates, including a vacuum seal, tested against continuous airflow.

Second Digit (moisture protection)

  1. (or X – see section below): No protection.
  2. Protection against vertically falling droplets, such as condensation. ensuring that no damage or interrupted functioning of components will be incurred when an item is upright.
  3. Protection against water droplets deflected up to 15° from vertical
  4. Protected against spray up to 60° from vertical.
  5. Protected against water splashes from all directions. Tested for a minimum of 10 minutes with an oscillating spray (limited ingress permitted with no harmful effects).
  6. Protection against low-pressure jets (6.3 mm) of directed water from any angle (limited ingress permitted with no harmful effects).
  7. Protection against direct high pressure jets.
  8. Protection against full immersion for up to 30 minutes at depths between 15 cm and 1 metre (limited ingress permitted with no harmful effects).
  9. Protection against extended immersion under higher pressure (i.e. greater depths). Precise parameters of this test will be set and advertised by the manufacturer and may include additional factors such as temperature fluctuations and flow rates, depending on equipment type.
  10. (K): Protection against high-pressure, high-temperature jet sprays, wash-downs or steam-cleaning procedures – this rating is most often seen in specific road vehicle applications (standard ISO 20653:2013 Road Vehicles – Degrees of protection).

Alarms

A security alarm can be a very important component to any home security setup. However, it is worth noting that an alarm will not deter every break-in.

An alarm that goes off after the intruder has gained access will simply cause them to limit the amount of time they spend in your home. They will vacate the premises as soon as possible, of course, but not before grabbing anything of value to which they have easy access.

You have a responsibility to ensure that any alarm fitted to your home is properly designed. A professional fitting is also recommended, as this will help to prevent it going off unnecessarily.

floodlight alarm

The British standard for burglar alarms is 4737. Any alarm you purchase must comply with this standard. The alarm should also feature an automatic cut-off after 20 minutes or so (for fairly obvious reasons).

You must also take the alarm’s decibel level into account. An average smoke alarm, for example, needs to sound at 85 decibels from a distance of 3 metres. A burglar alarm is often louder, sometimes starting at around 100db from the same distance (and often getting louder than that). By necessity, this is quite loud.

For context, a pin dropping makes a sound of about 10db, while an alarm clock might be around 80db. A live band could be as high as 110db, with an ambulance or police car siren being around 115db. A rocket launch would be somewhere in the region of 180db.

Sustained exposure to sound levels of 85db could result in hearing loss, hence the cut-off switch. An alarm can be a very effective deterrent, as can a floodlight, as can a security camera, but the best system would probably be a combination of all three working together to keep your property safe.

the reviews

Ring Floodlight Camera

At first glance, there is a lot to recommend about the Ring floodlight cam. For starters, it can integrate seamlessly with the rest of your home setup by working with Alexa. Yes, this means you can voice command it like they do in ‘Star Trek’, so that’s something.

The Ring floodlight cameras microphone and speaker setup also allows you to speak to visitors from your phone, tablet or computer. This is really fun. Let’s say you’re at work and a parcel delivery arrives at your home.

Instead of getting home to find you’ve been ‘red carded’ and have to arrange for redelivery at some point in the future, you will receive a notification when the parcel arrives. From here, you can speak directly with the courier via your phone, asking them to take the parcel round to the back of the house, or to leave it somewhere safe. You can also use this function to ward off prospective intruders.

Once hooked up (the ring camera requires hardwired installation to mains electricity – thankfully, this is quite easy), the Ring floodlight cam will constantly monitor your home in 1080p (HD) video. As soon as movement is detected, you will receive a notification on the device of your choosing and can then view the live feed in real time.

However, you don’t need to wait for a notification, you can check in on your place at any time. You can also remotely activate the camera’s built-in siren, should you need to.

So, the essential functions are all there, but how does the Ring floodlight cam work when put to the test?

The picture and audio quality are generally excellent, while the two-way ‘talk’ function is essentially like a Skype, Facetime or Facebook video chat and works well. The lights themselves (which are very bright indeed), can be set up to simply stay on, adding to your home’s exterior lighting.

The setup is also highly customisable. You can set ‘motion zones’ to cover the exact areas of a shot that most concerns you. You can also alter the camera’s sensitivity, which will help to weed out false alarms such as pet movements or plants blowing in the breeze.

Additionally, when the ring floodlight camera is triggered, you will receive recorded footage that displays the ‘lead up’ to the camera’s activation. This is a huge plus, as some motion detectors can be activated before the camera has a chance to ‘wake up’, leaving the user with no clue as to what actually activated the camera. To say this function is welcome is an understatement.

Finally, the manufacturer guarantees to replace any ring devices that are stolen, which is also excellent.

Like all things, however, this camera does have its own share of drawbacks. For one, the lights cannot be permanently switched off, meaning that they will always come on when activated, with no option to disable them.

Further points are lost for the system’s inability to deal with multiple triggers in alternate areas, as well as a failure to record continual movement in a specific zone.

Also, the Ring camera will only record for a set period, with no option for the user to decide how long that period ought to be. When this time period is over, regardless of whether or not movement persists in that area, the camera will simply cease recording.

This camera is also far more able to pick up vehicles than people or animals. This is probably because vehicles give off more heat.

Nevertheless, it can generate a lot of false alarms as well as potentially masking the approach of intruders.

The camera itself can also be slightly tricky to set up, since it needs to be situated at a height of 9ft of higher in order to properly function.

Pros & Cons

✅ Set the motion activated light to cover the exact areas that concerns you

✅ When a zone is triggered, the recording you receive will include the ‘lead up’ to what triggered the camera to record

✅ The light is bright and will easily illuminate a large area

❌ Minimum required height for the Ring Floodlight Cam is 9 FT. If you install it lower, it won’t work to its full potential

Finally, decent Internet speeds are absolutely essential to ensure that this camera works properly. A minimum of 2MBPS would be required, but faster is definitely better.

When this camera works, it works exceptionally well, offering clear footage and easy functionality with an array of well-thought-out extras.

However, it also requires quite a specific set of conditions in order to work well (high walls, fast Internet and so on) and is somewhat let down by a few quibbles that prevent it from reaching its full potential.

GEREE Outdoor Floodlight Camera

Outfitted with two-way audio, 1080p HD video and the ability to connect directly to Alexa, the GEREE outdoor floodlight cam appears to have everything required to qualify as a great product, but, as we shall see, appearances can be deceptive.

GEREE outdoor floodlight cams can actually rotate 360°. This is a lovely feature that’s missing from a lot of models and is very welcome here. The floodlight camera also has a 135° field of view, which provides generally good picture coverage. The camera itself is also sufficiently weatherproof (rated at IP66).

The twin 900 lumen LED lights have an induction range of between 15 and 10 metres, with a brightness range of 12 metres. The lights can be remotely controlled from the app (itself IOS, Android and Windows compatible).

Once triggered, the camera will notify a device of your choosing and you will be given the option to use the camera’s two-way audio so you can speak with whom (or what) ever set off the GEREE camera. Alternatively, if you’re not big on the chitchat, you can manually set off the system’s ‘smart alarm’ to ward off potential intruders.

You can manually control the camera’s functions via WiFi as well. If you do capture something interesting, incriminating or funny, you can share it with a maximum of 5 friends or contacts.

The camera features a removable MicroSD card (it supports cards with memory up to 128GB, although these would need to be supplied by the user). If this isn’t for you, the manufacturer also offers a nifty cloud storage plan that’s available for a reasonable monthly fee.

The video quality is great in either the day or the night, while the floodlights themselves are especially bright. The ability of the camera to rotate 360° and even zoom in on specific areas is excellent, as are the data storage options provided.

All told, this camera has a lot going for it, but what works against it? Sadly, this is where we must discuss a few problems.

Firstly, the camera can only be connected to one device. This seriously hamstrings the effectiveness of the entire system.

Suppose one user’s phone runs out of battery and he or she lacks the ability to charge it. With this system, that’s it, there is now no option to view the footage or notifications. Put simply, this just isn’t useful.

Next, the app features delays connecting to the camera, which means that the disturbance that activated the camera in the first place has often already passed by the time the user comes to view it.

Pros & Cons

✅ Two floodlights can be manually rotated

✅ SD card can be installed if you don’t want to carry on with the 1 month cloud trial

✅ The siren is loud and a good deterrent

❌ The camera can only fully be set up and optimised on one device

The audio functions aren’t particularly good, either, with communications often being garbled and hard to understand. This is probably related to another flaw, that the camera can’t detect the 2.4ghz WiFi connection in dual band broadband.

In summary, this is a good system, with a lot of excellent features. It is hampered, however, by a number of problems and limitations that can make it unnecessarily difficult to use.

Eufy Floodlight Camera

Eufy security floodlight camera combines dazzlingly bright 2500 lumen lights with a full HD live-stream and a complete compatibility with Alexa.

This Wifi enabled security system boasts any number of great features, including two-way audio communication, a total lack of any hidden fees and a 100db ‘smart siren’ for scaring away suspicious looking characters.

The camera’s wide-angle view allows it to capture neat, high quality panoramas of the scene before it. By simply commanding Alexa or Google Assistant to “show me the garden” or similar, you can view this footage at any time.

The eufy camera certainly offers the consumer a fair amount of convenience, with adjustable floodlight brightness, a weatherproof rating of IP65 and customizable motion detection settings. Certainly, there’s a lot to like here.

For one thing, the floodlights are simply glorious to behold. They really are bright, bold and beautiful – everything a floodlight system should be.

The outer casing of the eufy security floodlight itself is also very tough, made from thick glass and hard metal. You really feel like you’re getting a high quality product when you hold the camera itself.

The lack of a monthly subscription plan for storage is also a plus for the cash-conscious consumer, as all footage goes to the camera’s internal memory and can easily be transferred elsewhere. The video footage is also end-to-end encrypted, which means total privacy for the user.

In terms of interfacing, the app itself is easy to set up and use – and it generally works pretty efficiently.

The camera’s ability to record audio is also very good. The sensitive microphone is especially useful for two-way communications, which work really well.

However, it isn’t all peaches and cream. For all its good points, the Eufy security floodlight cam features its share of disappointments.

The biggest problems, damningly, come from the eufy camera itself. The motion detection function just isn’t very good.

Of the 5 sensitivity settings available to the user, only 2 are of any practical use, as the furthest away they will capture movement is about 3 metres from the camera itself.

This means that the camera pretty much have to be set to their most sensitive settings in order to work at all, which translates to a lot of annoying and unnecessary notifications as the sensors are triggered by everything from trees swaying in the breeze to pets frolicking in the garden.

The over-sensitivity of the motion detection is, quite frankly, a bit of a headache. Literally everything will set it off, from heavy rain to car headlights.

Pros & Cons

✅ Build quality – It uses metal and glass for some of the casing and feels like a long-lasting product.

✅ Surprising just how far the audio the camera can pic up, equally the 2 way audio quality is great too.

✅ Lights are very very bright and complement the overall quality of the unit – Brighter than the majority of the other floodlights

❌ Motion detection is a bit of an issue as you need to be about 13ft for it to activate it

Conversely, if the sensitivity is reduced below setting 4, the motion detection becomes practically useless.

The rest of its flaws are fairly minor. They include issues like the setup requiring a very good Internet connection in order to work well or the fact that it won’t work with Apple products at all. Annoyingly, the app itself is also full of unwanted adverts.

What we’re looking at here is a decent camera setup with a great microphone and floodlights, (as well as a lot of other points in its favour) that is thoroughly and completely let down by an impractical and poorly designed motion detection system. Truly, that’s a shame.

Netatmo Smart Outdoor Security Camera

This camera comes with the option to customise the alerts you receive on your phone. You can set the floodlight camera to recognise the specific forms and movements of humans, vehicles or animals and then decide whether you want it to alert you or not when it detects those forms.

This remarkable feature, combined with the camera’s ability to create customized ‘alert-zones’, drastically cuts down on the amount of unnecessary notifications you’ll receive, which is something of a godsend, quite honestly. 

Straight out of the gate, this thing is looking good. The ability to customise settings in this manner is always a plus, so we’re very happy so far.

The camera’s picture quality is generally very good, offering a maximum resolution of 1080p (HD). The night vision mode is also great, being able to detect movement up to 15m away. The camera only has a field of view of 100°, however.

It also needs to be placed at a height of between 2.5 and 4 metres in order to be effective in any real way. Be aware that backlight of any kind will negatively affect the motion detector’s performance.

The system itself is fully compatible with Alexa, Apple Homekit, Google Assistant and others, allowing the camera setup to be voice controlled. This is definitely a nice touch.

The floodlight is adjustable as well. It isn’t the brightest we’ve seen, but it works well enough.

Amazingly, the data storage plan is free, however the user also has the option to store data locally on the camera’s built-in MicroSD card. Sadly, the MicroSD card provided isn’t anything too special, only offering 8GBs of memory. That’s not nearly good enough, in all honesty.

This is one of the best floodlight cameras around in terms of avoiding unwanted notifications. The camera can be adjusted to the specific needs of your household. 

It even offers thumbnail images of the event that triggered the camera, meaning that you don’t need to watch every single video clip in order to know what’s on it – this is another time saver, as well as a very welcome feature.

However, the motion sensor suffers from a few seconds of lag when viewed back live.

This means that, if the camera does ever pick up a prowler or potential intruder, you may actually miss seeing them as they pass the camera.

Equally, the camera can only define active zones that are rectangles (don’t ask) and the memory card supplied has less memory than your phone.

Pros & Cons

✅ The timeline is great, You can tell it to either ignore or include each one of: people/animals/cars

✅ The light can be dimmed, if it is too bright

✅ Free cloud storage

❌ You can only define active zones that are rectangles

In summary, the Netatmo smart outdoor security camera is proof that one excellent feature does not a perfect product make.

If the same attention to detail and design quality were applied to the whole setup, instead of just the motion detection software, this would easily be one of the top products out there.

Instead, it seems content to simply be a decent camera setup that opts for mediocrity over magnificence.

EZVIZ Outdoor Floodlight Camera

The Ezviz LC1 outdoor floodlight cam can work with Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT. It features both a 100db built-in alarm and a super-bright 2500lm floodlight.

Two-way audio lets you interact with visitors, couriers and others who might approach your home, while the camera and floodlights both have an IP rating of 65, making them able to withstand all but the most extreme weather conditions.

The night vision mode is great, easily spotting movement from as far away as 18 metres. The 270° PIR sensor works insanely well, meaning that, once a person or object is detected, it is almost impossible for them to hide.

The two-way talk function is brilliant, thanks largely to a de-noising algorithm designed to filter out background sounds.

The waterproof microphone is capable of picking up sounds from up to 5 metres away.

The alarm, which is very loud indeed, can be deactivated to prevent it going off every time the camera is activated (trust us, you’ll be thankful for that). However, it can also be manually sounded via the app, so you’re covered in every way possible, alarm wise.

The EZVIZ camera can be installed in multiple positions, including the ceiling. The app offers step-by-step instructions for setup, while the box includes a drill template. You can even hire Ezviz to professionally install it by visiting their website. So, whether you do it yourself or bring in the bug guns, you can be assured that your setup will be working at maximum efficiency.

The app is user-friendly enough, allowing easy access to the camera, as well as the ability to quickly share footage with others.

Storage of footage is a doddle as well, with access to Ezviz’s cloud storage system available for a reasonable fee. For those who prefer to use an SD card, the Ezviz LC1 can take most sizes, maxing out at 128GB. The floodlight camera does not appear to come equipped with any such card, however, so this will have to be purchased separately.

The LC1 makes for a very good home security setup. It is very easy to install (with a multitude of help available to the user), can be set up in a wide variety of positions and features manual control over features such as its (very loud) alarm.

However, even a system as good as this has its drawbacks. The main one being that the motion sensor is ridiculously over sensitive. If it isn’t switched to one of the lower settings, it will bombard you with notifications.

The motion detection is based on image change rather than PIR. This means that the camera can be set off by rain, insects flying in front of it, even shadows cast by passers-by and the light from nearby cars. This gets old very quickly.

The motion detection is based on image change rather than PIR. This means that the camera can be set off by rain, insects flying in front of it, even shadows cast by passers-by and the light from nearby cars. This gets old very quickly.

Pros & Cons

✅ You can activate the alarm sound with a Siren, Small beep sound or flashing light

✅ The alarm is super loud and the combined lumens of the lamp makes it great for security

❌ The camera is far too sensitive, even on the lowest setting as rain and insects set it off

❌ No option to control how long should the light be on after detecting

Also, for all its user-friendliness, the light will remain on for a while after the floodlight camera has been activated. As previously stated, this is a very bright light and the lack of an option to switch it off after a false activation is quite annoying.

You could well find it switching itself on and off throughout the night, just because a car drove past or next-door’s cat popped over to leave a message on your lawn.

Additionally, the LC1 will only work with a 2.4ghz broadband signal. It will not work with 5ghz or above.

In conclusion, this is a good setup that’s worth looking into, but it has a number of bug-a-boos that may prove frustrating, especially to the first-time buyer.