Wireless security cameras and video doorbells help you keep a virtual eye on your home. But without adequate cloud video storage, missing an alert on your smartphone could have serious consequences. That doorbell chime might have been a delivery driver—or a burglar checking to see if anyone is home.

For better or worse, most manufacturers have chosen cloud storage (beaming footage to a server that you can access from a smartphone app) over local storage (saving footage on a memory card). But not all home security cameras offer free cloud storage, and, with a few exceptions, the ones that do often don’t give you more than a few days’ worth.

That means if you want to be able to view footage a few days (or even weeks later), you’ll have to pay a monthly or yearly fee for a cloud storage plan—on top of the initial cost of the camera, or multiple cameras, you buy. 

To get the most for your money, you’ll want to buy a camera that performs well, comes with an ample amount of free cloud storage, and offers moderately priced rates for additional storage. We just released ratings of wireless home security cameras and video doorbells. Below, we highlight the brands from our ratings that offer the most free cloud storage and detail the paid storage tiers to help make comparison-shopping easier.

To see all of the models we’ve tested, check our full home security camera ratings. Not sure which type is right for you? Our Home Security Camera Buying Guide covers the types of cameras on the market, how to pick a model for your specific needs, potential privacy concerns, and more. And if a model you’re interested in isn’t yet rated, please check back soon. We’ll be adding more cameras to our ratings in the months ahead.

How We Test Home Security Cameras

To create a comprehensive testing methodology, we leveraged our expertise in cameras, televisions, and other connected devices, focusing on ease of use, wireless setup, response time of alerts and doorbell presses, picture quality, and smart features for both wireless security cameras and video doorbells.

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Our video quality test evaluates the cameras in good light, low light, and zero light (for night vision) to make sure you could actually see those pesky raccoons rummaging through your garbage.

We look for a wide variety of smart features, including activity zones, facial recognition, voice control (with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s HomeKit), geofencing, and much more. All of these features factor into our unique Smart IQ score for smart home devices, allowing you to see which cameras are smarter than the competition.

Motion-Based vs. Continuous Recording

There are two kinds of recordings offered in these paid storage plans: With motion-based recording, the security camera or video doorbell only begins recording when it detects motion. Cameras with continuous video recording save a 24/7 video feed and store it for playback. (The oldest footage is deleted when your storage plan taps out.)

Most of the cameras and doorbells in CR tests offer only motion-based recording, while some offer both (continuous video recording costs more). One exception? Nest, which only offers continuous video recording.

We’ve highlighted seven brands from our ratings and arranged them in order of the most to least free cloud storage. Unless noted, the rates listed for additional storage plans apply to each brand’s entire camera lineup. 

Netgear Arlo

Free storage: 7 days
CR tested: Netgear Arlo Pro, $250
Netgear is one of two camera makers that tie for offering the most free cloud storage, with a rolling seven days of free storage of motion-based recordings for up to five Arlo cameras. Arlo’s base station will also accept a USB drive for optional local storage of recorded video.

If you want additional storage, you can get 30 days’ worth for up to 10 cameras at $10 per month or $99 per year. There’s also a 60-day plan for up to 15 cameras at $15 per month or $149 per year.

Additionally, the company offers continuous video recording plans, but only for its Arlo Q, Arlo Q Plus, Arlo Baby, and Arlo Pro 2 cameras. Those plans incur a monthly fee for each camera you own: 14 days of storage for $10 per month or $99 per year; 30 days for $20 per month or $199 per year.

SkyBell

Free storage: 7 days
CR tested: SkyBell HD, $200
SkyBell makes two different video doorbells, including its SkyBell HD, which we tested. Unlike the other brands in this list, SkyBell doesn’t offer any paid storage tiers. Instead, the company simply offers seven days of motion-based cloud storage. 

Zmodo

Free storage: 36 hours
CR tested: Zmodo Greet, $120
Zmodo is a new and lesser-known maker of lower-priced security cameras and video doorbells. Despite offering less-expensive products, Zmodo gives you 36 hours of free motion-based video storage, beating out companies like Nest and Ring.

Additional storage plans give you both motion-based and continuous video recordings. Like Netgear’s continuous video recording rates, Zmodo charges you per camera: seven days of storage at $5 per month ($50 per year) or 30 days of storage at $10 per month ($100 per year). These are Zmodo’s special introductory rates. We attempted to reach the company but were unable to determine if the prices increase after an introductory period.

August

Free storage: 1 day
CR tested: August Doorbell Cam, $200
While known for its smart locks, August also makes a video doorbell. (It recently released a second-gen version called the Doorbell Cam Pro with a built-in floodlight.) Yesterday, August announced that doorbell cam users will now get 24 hours of free cloud storage. For more storage, the company offers a Premium Video Recording subscription with 30 days of motion-based video storage for $5 per month or $50 per year. 

Canary

Free storage: 1 day
CR tested: Canary Flex, $199
Security camera startup Canary gives you one day of free motion-based video storage. Through a Canary membership ($10 per month or $99 per year for up to five devices), you’ll receive 30 days of motion-based video storage, as well as two-way audio and camera access through an internet browser.

Netvue

Free storage: None
CR tested: Netvue Vuebell, $109
Netvue makes a handful of affordable security cameras and video doorbells, but the company does not provide any free cloud video storage. Instead, the company gives users free instant alert images, which its devices capture when they detect activity. For cloud video storage, the company offers two paid plans: doorbell ring-based video recording for $2 per month or $20 per year, or seven days of continuous video recording for $5 per month or $50 per year. 

Ring

Free storage: None
CR tested: Ring Video Doorbell, $180, and Ring Video Doorbell Pro, $250
Unlike the companies above, Ring, which just announced its sale to Amazon, doesn’t give you any free cloud storage. You will receive smartphone alerts, but unless you open the live feed right away, you might miss the action. For motion-based cloud video storage, you’ll have to subscribe to a Ring Protect plan.

There are two tiers: Protect Basic and Protect Plus. The Basic plan gives you 60 days of storage for $3 per month or $30 per year per camera. The Plus plan gives the same 60 days of storage and a lifetime warranty for an unlimited amount of cameras per home at $10 per month or $100 per year. While Ring doesn’t offer a free tier, its prices are quite affordable compared with the competition. 

Nest

Free storage: None
CR tested: Nest Cam Indoor, $200
Nest also doesn’t give you any free video storage, instead offering the last three hours of snapshots, which are screenshots that the camera takes when it detects activity.

The company offers its Nest Aware service, which gives you access to additional types of alerts (such as one that lets you know the camera has detected a person in its field of view), activity/motion zones, and continuous video storage.

There are three tiers of Nest Aware service based on the amount of video storage you get: five days of continuous video storage costs $5 per month or $50 per year; 10 days of continuous storage costs $10 per month or $100 per year; and 30 days of continuous storage costs $30 per month or $300 per year.

Each plan only works for one Nest camera, meaning you’ll need to buy additional plans for additional cameras. While that can get expensive, Nest will discount Nest Aware plans up to 50 percent for additional cameras in the same home.