Solar wifi security camera: Best Solar-Powered Home Security Cameras for 2023

Best Solar-Powered Home Security Cameras for 2023

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

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)
Total price $220 $140 $109
Resolution 2K 1080p 1080p
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?

How long do solar-powered security cameras last?

Do solar-powered security cameras work at night?

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The Best Solar-Powered Security Cameras of 2023

The Best Solar-Powered Security Cameras of 2023 | SafeWise
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We tested eight products to find the best solar-powered camera.

Reolink Argus 3 Pro

4.4

  • Solar panel included

  • Local video storage

  • Built-in battery

View on Amazon

Read Review

EufyCam 3

4.3

  • Built-in solar panel

  • Local video storage

  • Built-in battery

View on Amazon

Read Review

Wyze Cam Outdoor v2

4.3

  • Solar panel sold separately

  • Local video storage

  • Built-in battery

View on Amazon

Read Review

Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight

4.3

  • Solar panel sold separately

  • Local storage costs extra

  • Removable battery

View on Amazon

Read Review

Ring Stick Up Cam Solar

4.1

  • Solar panel included

  • No local storage

  • Removable battery

View on Amazon

Read Review

By

John Carlsen

Senior Staff Writer, Security & Smart Home

March 10, 2023

We like the Reolink Argus 3 Pro for its simple DIY setup, cheap price tag, and easy-to-use app. The Argus 3 Pro also has impressive solar power and good picture quality. You can pick up the camera and compatible Reolink solar panel for around $150, and it’s a snap to install.

Whether you’re going green, saving money on the power bill, or watching a garage or barn, this is a solid, affordable choice. Read our comparison to see how it holds up to other solar cameras.

Top solar security cameras

  1. Reolink Argus 3 Pro

    : Best overall

  2. EufyCam 3

    : Best integrated panels

  3. Wyze Cam Outdoor v2

    : Best for budgets

  4. Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight

    : Best camera selection

  5. Ring Stick Up Cam Solar

    : Best panel selection

  • How we reviewed

Compare the best solar-powered security cameras

Camera

Best for

Price

Video resolution

Battery life (capacity)

Solar panel

Panel cord length

Learn more

Reolink Argus 3 Pro

Best overall $149. 99 1440p (2K) Up to 6 mo.
(6,000 mAh)
Included 13 ft. View on Amazon
EufyCam 3

Best integrated panels $549.99 (2-pack) 2160p (4K) Up to 12 mo.
(13,400 mAh)
Built-in No cord View on Amazon
Wyze Cam Outdoor v2

Best for budgets $79.98 1080p Up to 6 mo.
(5,200 mAh)
Sold separately 13 ft. View on Amazon
Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight

Best camera selection $249.99 1440p (2K) Up to 6 mo.
(13,000 mAh)
Sold separately 8 ft. View on Amazon
Ring Stick Up Cam Solar

Best panel selection $139.98 1080p Up to 6 mo.
(5,960 mAh)
Included 13 ft. View on Amazon

Amazon. com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Video: Reolink Argus 3 Pro Review

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Reviews: Best solar security cameras

1. Reolink Argus 3 Pro: Best overall

Best overall

Reolink Argus 3 Pro

4.4

$149.99

View on Amazon

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

When it comes to affordable outdoor wireless security, the Reolink Argus 3 Pro delivers. It offers excellent video quality and a suite of customization options that help improve camera performance. We love that you can buy Argus 3 Pro and a solar panel together—halving the price of the $40 panel.

Pros

Solar panel included in the box

Local and cloud storage options

Highly customizable settings

Cons

Non-removable battery

No motion zones

Narrow field of view

Despite the low price, Reolink’s solar panel manages a healthy 3. 2 Watts, which makes it more potent than the 2.9-Watt average of panels we looked at. Plus, the 13-foot power cord means you can place the panels and cameras relatively far apart for maximum solar efficiency and camera view.

You’ll need the panel because Reolink’s battery doesn’t last long when recording often. (All battery-powered security cameras are like this). Still, it lasted several months on standby during testing—more than we got from Wyze and Arlo.

In addition to the excellent solar panel, Reolink offers local video storage on a microSD card. While Reolink’s free cloud storage works only for a single camera, you can add more with a paid plan. Plans start at $5 a month for five cameras, which is a better value than base plans from Wyze and Arlo. Reolink doesn’t offer an unlimited camera option—most rivals catch up around $10 a month.

Reolink isn’t perfect. We’re not fans of the built-in battery, which gives the solar security camera an expiration date as the battery ages. And as good as the video quality looks, Reolink’s narrow field of view and lack of motion zones limit how well it captures recordings.

Read our full Reolink Argus 3 Pro review to see how it performed in our hands-on test.

2. EufyCam 3: Best integrated panels

Best integrated panels

EufyCam 3

4.3

$549.99 (2-pack)

View on Amazon

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The EufyCam 3 is the only camera on this list with built-in solar panels, which make it easier to install than the competition. Eufy also stands out for 4K video quality and impressive local storage. But it’s also the priciest solar-powered security camera we’ve ever tested.

Pros

Built-in solar panels work well

4K video quality

Base station supports up to 16 TB of local storage

Cons

Less flexibility in aligning panels with the sun

Non-removable battery

Only 16 GB of built-in storage

During testing, the built-in solar panels compensated for any battery we used. It’s even more impressive when you consider that the panels aren’t much larger than a credit card. Still, the top-mounted panels mean you can’t install the cameras in any spot.

You must account for overhangs and trees so they get enough sun. And installing on the north side of a house makes it almost impossible to align the panels with the sun. Fortunately, the cameras also work with the EufyCam Solar Panel (about $60), which boasts a 13-foot power cable.

As with many solar cameras we reviewed, you can’t remove the battery, which means less charge over time. It also means getting out the ladder for a recharge if the battery dies.

Local storage is EufyCam 3’s final strength. The base station includes a paltry 16 GB of built-in storage, which will last a month or so, but it’s better than buying storage separately. Also, you can plop a storage drive—up to 16 TB—in the base station for as much storage as you’ll ever need. Eufy has cloud storage, but we recommend getting a cheap hard drive instead.

The two-camera minimum pushes EufyCam 3 beyond small budgets. On a per-camera basis, you’ll spend about $275, which isn’t bad considering the Arlo Floodlight costs $250 (without a solar panel). We don’t anticipate people snatching this up in bulk, but it’s a great camera system nonetheless.

Learn more in our EufyCam 3 review.

Eufy security issues

News broke recently that Eufy cameras send some unencrypted data over the internet. Eufy’s not the first to experience security issues, but it still stings because Eufy prides itself on data security. We’re waiting for more developments before changing our scores. In the meantime, we suggest considering this vulnerability when buying Eufy products.

3. Wyze Cam Outdoor v2: Best for budgets

Best for budgets

Wyze Cam Outdoor v2

4.3

$79.98

View on Amazon

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The Wyze Cam Outdoor v2 slides into our budget pick ahead of our previous choice, Zumimall. Wyze’s equipment isn’t cheaper but offers more support resources and better cloud storage. Sadly, this camera’s mediocre battery life keeps it a step behind others on our list.

Pros

Travel mode

Most affordable solar panel on our list

Great storage options

Cons

Non-removable battery

Solar panel sold separately

Short battery life

Wyze Cam Outdoor’s best feature is Travel Mode, which records video to a microSD card without a base station or internet connection. This adds a ton of flexibility for off-grid cabins. You can’t watch Travel Mode videos remotely, but it’s nice to see a recap of everything that happened.

Wyze’s local storage is exceptional, though you must buy a microSD card. Wyze’s cloud storage ups the ante with an “optional” free cloud storage plan—you pay what you want. But the paid Cam Plus plan is where Wyze shines. It’s the cheapest plan among security cameras at just $2 a month.

Wyze Cam Outdoor has the smallest battery capacity among our picks. Based on our testing, you can expect to recharge your batteries at least once or twice a month. The Wyze Solar Panel (about $28) is a must-have add-on to help counteract the poor battery life.

Similarly, we have mixed feelings about the Wyze Cam Outdoor v2’s video quality. The video quality is good but not as clean as Reolink’s. There’s plenty of detail in daytime and night vision recordings—the picture looks great. But the low frame rate sometimes means choppy video.

Learn more in our full Wyze Cam Outdoor review.

Does the Wyze Solar Panel work with the Wyze Cam v3?

The Wyze Cam v3 doesn’t use a rechargeable battery, so it won’t work with a solar panel.

4.

Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight: Best camera selection

Best camera selection

Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight

4.3

$249.99

View on Amazon

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera is a prime example of Arlo’s extensive camera selection. Seriously, almost every Arlo security camera is compatible with an Arlo Solar Panel. But we chose the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight because it’s the only full-fledged floodlight camera with a solar option.

Pros

Almost every Arlo cam works with a solar panel

Removable battery

Excellent cloud storage

Cons

Solar panel sold separately

Floodlight uses extra energy

Local storage requires a costly base station

Floodlight cameras offer better color video at night than other security cameras. This presents a dilemma because the powerful lighting easily drained our battery in a few weeks of testing. But adding a solar panel to the Arlo Floodlight cuts the number of times you’ll climb a ladder to recharge.

It’s a bummer that the Arlo Solar Panel Charger (about $60) doesn’t come with any Arlo cameras. The panel’s magnetic power cable is easy to connect to your camera, but the 8-foot cord is shorter than the competition—limiting your installation options. Arlo’s one of two brands on our list with removable batteries, which means you don’t need to remove the whole camera for a recharge.

Unfortunately, Arlo’s battery strengths don’t cancel out the poor local storage options. Its local storage option carries a significant price to buy the required base station—on top of your camera and a storage device. Arlo wants you to subscribe to a cloud storage plan instead.

The bright side is that Arlo’s affordable cloud storage records videos from unlimited cameras for around $10 a month. Still, ongoing costs may deter some from buying an Arlo camera.

Head over to our floodlight camera review to learn more about the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight.

Arlo Essential Solar Panel Charger

If you want solar charging on one of Arlo’s Essential cameras, you’ll need the Arlo Essential Solar Panel Charger (about $50). Arlo’s other solar panel doesn’t work with these budget models.

5. Ring Stick Up Cam Solar: Best panel selection

Best panel selection

Ring Stick Up Cam Solar

4.1

$139.98

View on Amazon

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The Ring Stick Up Cam Solar is an excellent example of Ring’s support for solar-powered security cameras. While it’s cheaper to buy the solar bundle than to add a solar panel to the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery, we like that Ring offers a diverse solar panel selection for cameras and video doorbells.

Pros

Removable battery

Solar panel included in the box

Compatibility with Ring Alarm

Cons

Required subscription for video recording

No local video storage

Optional Super Solar Panel costs $100

Ring’s website lists no less than eight solar panel accessories. Not every panel is compatible with every Ring smart home camera or doorbell, but we love that Ring offers four sizes that work with the Stick Up Cam Solar and Spotlight Cam.

Our favorite option is the Super Solar Panel, which supplies up to 5 Watts of power in direct sunlight. That’s twice as strong as the panel included with the Stick Up Cam Solar and more powerful than the 3.2-Watt Reolink panel. Expect to shell out $100 to go with Super Solar. Oof.

Solar-powered video doorbells

As far as we know, Ring is the only major brand that makes first-party solar panels for video doorbells. The simple wiring setup should work with other wireless doorbells like Nest and Arlo. You can also buy doorbell solar panels from some third-party brands, particularly Wasserstein.

Beyond the impressive selection of solar panels, Ring also stands out for its removable battery. This means you won’t need to replace the entire camera once the included battery goes kaput, as all lithium-ion batteries eventually do.

One of the coolest things about this outdoor security camera is that it works with the Ring Alarm security system. Aside from Arlo and SimpliSafe, most home security systems don’t offer solar cameras—so extending protection to more remote spots on your property is a big advantage.

Live video streaming comes standard, but if you want to record and save video, you’ll need a Ring Protect Plan, which starts at $3 a month. Ring’s lack of local storage is a perennial complaint around these parts.

Read our full Ring Stick Up Cam review to learn more.

Ring Spotlight Cam Plus

For an extra $90, you can upgrade to the Ring Spotlight Cam Plus Solar, which offers built-in spotlights for color night vision like you’ll find on cams from Arlo, Eufy, and Reolink. Plus, it supports a second battery (sold separately)—bringing the total capacity closer to those of Arlo and Eufy.

More solar security cameras we considered

The Nest Cam (Battery) (about $180) is one of our favorite security cameras, but Nest doesn’t make a solar panel accessory. Instead, you’ll buy one from Wasserstein, a certified Google partner. We have nothing against Wasserstein’s exceptional products—but there isn’t enough room on our lineup.

Wasserstein makes two solar panels for the Nest Cam (Battery):

  • Wasserstein Solar Panel for Google Nest Cam (about $60) tops out at 2.5 Watts, which is about as strong as Wyze’s solar panel.
  • Wasserstein Premium Solar Panel for Google Nest Cam (about $80) produces a generous 3.5 Watts of energy—more than Reolink’s panel, but not as much as Ring’s best panels.

Read our Nest Cam (Battery) review to learn more about Nest’s innovative smart detection.

The Blink Outdoor + Solar Panel Charging Mount (about $140) is an interesting creature. The mount attaches directly to the camera to guard against adverse weather conditions. But the 2-foot cable limits placement options—unless you buy a 13-foot extension cable. We generally like Blink cameras for their low price and long battery life, but there are better solar security cameras.

Read our Blink cameras review to learn more.

SimpliSafe

The SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera (about $190) feels like an overpriced meal—it tastes good, but the portions are small. Honestly, we love the video performance and SimpliSafe security system integration. But it works only with a SimpliSafe system. The solar panel add-on? It’s an extra $80, the second-highest on this list.

Learn more in our SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera review.

Zumimall

The Zumimall Solar Security Camera (about $85) is a tempting prospect because it includes a solar panel in the box—it’s about $30 cheaper than Wyze’s solar option. It’s worth a look if you want local storage and 2K video quality. But aside from a decent number of positive customer reviews, there’s practically no customer support—just a manual and some information on the Amazon page.

Zumimall is the only untested product on this list.

Things to consider in a solar security camera

Consider your placement options before choosing a solar-powered security camera:

Install the solar panel for maximum sun exposure

Keeping your solar-powered security camera running requires direct sunlight daily during peak hours. Peak sun hours vary by season and location, usually when the sun’s highest in the sky. Place your solar panel in a south-facing spot that sees full sunlight for at least six hours daily.

Install the camera for maximum protection

Even with weatherproofing, your wireless security camera will benefit from some protection from an overhang, which helps reduce glare from the sun and rain from covering the lens. Remember to account for the solar panel’s cord length when placing your camera.

Final word

The Reolink Argus 3 Pro is our favorite solar security camera. It offers the right balance of affordability and performance without sacrificing too much. However, the non-removable battery doesn’t compare as well with Arlo and Ring’s cameras.

But Argus 3 Pro doesn’t just top this list. It’s our number one pick for the best security camera. Head over to our review of the best wireless cameras to learn more.

Solar camera FAQ

You can expect your solar-powered camera to run indefinitely as long as the solar panel gets enough sunlight each day to recharge the battery. Most solar security camera batteries last around one to six months on a charge so they should easily outlast several weeks of dark skies.

While not strictly necessary, consider bringing your camera or battery indoors for a recharge if the battery level approaches 25% and there’s not much sun in the weather forecast.

You can maximize battery life by adjusting various settings like motion detection, video resolution, frame rate, recording length, and turning off spotlights.

Yes, the overwhelming majority of solar cameras use infrared night vision, a color spotlight, or both to record video at night. The main limitation is having enough charge to make it through the night, but the batteries of modern solar cameras are up to the task.

Solar security cameras are worth it, but probably not for the reason you’re thinking. They’re better as timesavers than for saving energy.

For example, solar cameras help reduce the number of indoor charging sessions and are easier to install in places without power outlets nearby, like sheds and poles. We’ve experienced the hassle of charging a wireless outdoor security camera without a solar panel, and it’s not fun—you often need a ladder to reach it.

As for energy savings, security cameras don’t use much energy to run—about as much as an LED light bulb—so it takes less than $1 a month to power a single camera. Still, having multiple cameras adds up, so using some solar panels can soften the overall effect on your utility bill.

We think that the Reolink Argus 3 Pro is the best solar security camera for the money.

You can expect most solar security cameras to survive cold weather down to -4º F, but the sun’s low angle in winter reduces charging efficiency significantly. Without as much direct sun, especially during December and January, your small solar panel may struggle to recharge the battery daily.

To make matters worse, the battery probably won’t charge below 32º F. (This affects even battery-powered cameras with a power cable.) If your camera loses a little more charge daily, consider bringing it inside to warm up and fully recharge. It’s not convenient, but it will help keep your camera running.

How we reviewed solar-powered security cameras

Image: John Carlsen, SafeWise. 

We’ve tested eight of the nine cameras on this page for previous reviews, so we have a good handle on the basics of each camera. However, we have yet to test solar panels with every camera as of this writing. (That’s a future update.)

Aside from the solar power source, there’s no difference between solar- and battery-powered security cameras. And since we’ve spoken at length about video quality on our other security camera pages, we wanted to lean into the solar energy aspect for this review. (Video quality still pops up in a few places.)

While evaluating solar panels, we looked at the power output and cord length, which can affect performance and placement. We also consider the cost of the panels and whether there’s a discount for bundling with a camera.

Solar security cameras with local video storage receive extra credit because it uses less energy than cloud storage. Panels don’t always receive enough sunlight fully recharge the batteries, so an efficient camera can help prevent dead batteries. Lastly, we looked at the batteries for each camera. We gave extra points to large batteries that can also achieve a long battery life.

Check out our methodology to learn more about how we test, rank, and review products.

Related articles

  • Best Solar-Powered Security Lights
  • Best Floodlight Cameras for Home Security
  • Best Motion Detector Lights
  • Best Outdoor Security Cameras
  • Best Weatherproof Security Cameras

Disclaimers

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

†Google, Google Nest, Google Assistant, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

Written by

John Carlsen

John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over nine years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020.

John holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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