Best Cold Weather Smart Security Cameras
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Anyone who owns a home up here in cold and snowy New England is always looking for the best smart security camera for cold weather. I’m not always happy about living up here because during the winter it gets cold here! REALLY cold!
In fact, I used to work for the local cable company and one of the biggest complaints we would get was how our security cameras for our security service would freeze up during the winter. Now I don’t blame people for getting upset.
No one wants to pay $80 to $100 per security camera, just to have them freeze up and be useless. So I went on the DIY journey of looking through options for the best smart security cameras. Well, I started figuring out that no one really made a claim that their cameras would hold up in cold weather.
Either that or the reviews said that they really couldn’t hold it together in cold weather even though they claimed that they could. That is until recently when I found Blink XT2 Cameras!
I installed the Blink XT2 dual-camera outdoor system back in the fall. Even then it was getting colder at night, so I was very interested to see how they would hold up. Blink XT’s are almost flat in their build and have an extremely tiny footprint.
That means you could literally install the Blink practically anywhere. This is good because if you want to try and install the camera under an eve it is never a problem. No matter how much space you are working with.
Setting up the Blink XT2 is very straightforward, once you plug in the sync module into your router and plug it in. The camera just needs batteries. Then you download the app and create your account. You must add the sync module first. Which can easily be done by scanning the QR code or manually entering it. Then you add the camera by using the same process.
There is a toggle switch in the app to arm the cameras, and this will turn on motion detection. Once the motion detection has been turned on the camera will send you alerts and 5-second clips.
If you want you can increase the clip length by up to 60 seconds. This will negatively affect your battery life though if you go that long. I have mine set to 10-second clips currently and they work just fine.
The app allows you to set various options for motion triggering. I find this very useful for an outdoor camera as there are a lot of environmental things that can set off alerts. Leaves on the ground, birds flying close by, cats, shadows, constant rain, and yes snow will trigger the alerts.
The beauty of the app is that you can tweak the settings in order to reduce the number of false positives. I have done this very effectively.
Battery Life In Cold Weather
The Blink’s two ‘AA’ batteries lifespan was extremely superior to that of the Arlo Pro’s rechargeable batteries. Blink claims on their website that you can get 2 years of battery life. The trick there from what I have read is that you must use Energizer Lithium batteries.
Depending on how you set up the trigger detection on these cameras, the Arlo Pro rechargeable battery life typical ranged from short 3 weeks to slightly more than a month when installing them outdoors in the cold weather.
As you know battery life goes quicker in cold weather. So it is imperative that these performed better than that at the very least. I have had the same sets of batteries in both of my cameras for 5 of the coldest months that we get here in New England.
It’s New England and we get snow. Some winters more than others. This winter it seems that we are getting a little bit of a warmer one. However, we still have had some substantial snowfall and have even had a noreaster or two.
That was another concern for me. How would these cameras handle snowy, wet weather? The answer to that is, without a care!
I’ve never seen a camera that you could just stick outside and expect it to work throughout a noreaster. That’s crazy talk where I come from! Well, call me nuts, because these things are just incredible and will hold up no matter what mother nature throws at them.
Video Quality In Cold Weather
The video quality is just awesome, it is more than acceptable for a security camera, but at the same time, at night it can be a bit of a challenge to see things at a distance. Night-time video is a little bit grainy, but the IR illumination makes it good enough if you trigger any recordings at night.
In comparison to my other smart home cameras that I have tried it is on par with other high-end 720p cameras. Maybe even a little better.
When you get an alert on your phone, you can easily watch the video with the App, you can even download it or share it. The app is very easy to understand and use for even the newest smart home fanatic.
There’s a bit of a delay with the motion sensor, this isn’t a huge issue really, but it would have been nice to be able to use to immediately to see when someone comes to the door. It is probably only a few seconds between the trigger and the alert. Not enough for me to worry about.
I have seen some people complain about the notifications being slow, but this may be a flaw with some smartphones rather than the system itself. For example, my wife’s phone will alert her within seconds of the motion detection while mine will sometimes lag. After looking into this issue I found that LG phones frequently have this issue. On the iPads, the alert is fast and reliable.
Bang For The Buck
Blink was far more cost-effective and cheaper than the Arlo Pro. Arlo Pro was just priced way higher. After a power outage, the Blink XT2 would reconnect quickly and immediately sync back up with the base station.
For the Arlo Pro, there was some trial-and-error process which required multiple resets to the base station or even the router/modem. I would strongly suggest that whether you are buying a camera for inside or outside get the Blink XT2 outdoor model.
There is a huge improvement in the picture, motion sensing capability, and night vision. If you buy just one camera, I’d suggest the Blink XT2 no matter where you install it.
- The system is reasonably priced.
- Easy to set up.
- Easy to install.
- Absolutely wireless.
- It has a great quality picture.
- Real-time Picture Snapshots
- Real-time video
- Live audio
- Automatic arming or disarming of cameras
- Ability to arm or disarm individual cameras.
- No monthly fee cloud storage
- Battery life was incredible
- Easily add cameras
- Syncs up with Samsung SmartThings
- Works with IFTTT
- No computer program that allows you to watch live feeds. (I use my phone most of the time anyway)
- Can’t record while watching the live video feed.
- The cameras thumbnail picture cannot be saved.
- The audio feature is one way.
- Blink had a field of view of 110-degree whereas the Arlo Pro had a 130-degree field of degree.
I can’t say enough how much I love these cameras, I have dual blink XT2 outdoor cameras and actually just ordered a third. They were so easy to set up and are just as easy for day to day use.
There are only two things that drive me insane. Snowplows going by and setting off my camera and that damn cat from across the street.
Oh yeah, there’s also the fact that to view the Blink cameras on a computer you need to use an android emulator.
Otherwise, this thing is perfect in my eyes. I set out to find a camera that had all of the features that I wanted and could handle the cold weather and elements. Boy did I find it!