Arlo camera comparison: pros and cons + the best choice
If you're looking to improve your home security setup, you might want to check out Arlo's line of security cameras.
Arlo wireless cameras are known for their influential and dynamic features in a compact design.
Whether you're new to home security systems and just want to test the waters, or you're looking to upgrade to a more advanced camera, Arlo has you covered.
The Arlo Essential, Arlo Go, Arlo Ultra, and Arlo Pro cameras are the brand's top offerings, each with slight variations from the others.
So, if you still need to decide which one to choose, we're here to help you make a better decision.
Let's take a look at the features and weigh the pros and cons of each Arlo security camera.
Arlo Camera Quality
In any security camera, the most important feature is the camera quality and how well it captures footage in any condition.
The maximum resolution for Arlo security cameras is 4k, which can be found in the Arlo Ultra Camera.
This means you can digitally zoom in on sections of the video without losing quality or fidelity.
Arlo Pro 4 features a 2k HDR resolution, while Arlo Go, which runs on LTE/Wi-Fi, and the Arlo Essential (outdoor or indoor camera), which is an updated version of Arlo Q, both have a 1080p resolution.
For reference, the original Arlo only has a 720p resolution.
Field of View
Field of view refers to the total viewing area of a camera.
Usually expressed in terms of degrees, FoV is the angle of view the lens allows the sensor to see.
For reference, the human eye has a field of view measuring between 170 and 180 degrees.
As for most Arlo cameras, the standard FoV is between 130 and 180 degrees.
Overall, the Arlo Ultra 2 offers the widest field of view at 180 degrees, which means ultra-wide viewing angles to monitor every corner of your property.
The Arlo Pro 4 offers 160 degrees FoV, while the Arlo Essential Spotlight, Wired, and Wireless cameras have 130 degrees FoV.
Night vision is one of the most essential features of a security camera, especially for an outdoor camera.
Having the ability to record with excellent video quality in low-light conditions is something you should look for in a camera.
Most crimes occur at night, and you'd want clear footage of the culprit as evidence (if it ever comes to that).
Luckily, all Arlo wireless cameras and other wireless security cameras are equipped with some form of night vision.
All Arlo smart cameras have infrared night vision, using invisible light to clearly record black-and-white videos.
Other Arlo cameras have both infrared and color night vision.
Of all its models, only the Arlo Pro and Ultra cameras have color night vision.
What's more, you can enhance your Arlo camera's night vision with accessories.
Advanced Object Detection
The Arlo Smart Advanced Object Detection feature lets you know what kind of object is being detected by your camera.
This feature is exclusive to users with an Arlo Smart subscription and can be activated through the Arlo app.
Advanced object detection sends out AI-enabled notifications for people, packages, vehicles, animals, and even alarms from a smoke and/or carbon monoxide detector.
The Person Detection feature sends real-time alerts whenever someone approaches your front door.
This also allows you to search your video history for any footage containing people.
The Package Detection feature sends you notifications whenever the camera detects a package being picked up or dropped off at your property.
This can detect packages as small as a shoebox.
Turning the Animal Detection feature via the Arlo app lets you receive alerts whenever the camera detects any animal larger than a small rodent.
Enabling the Vehicle Detection feature will allow you to receive real-time alerts whenever your Arlo camera detects cars, motorcycles, bikes, buses, and trucks within its field of view.
If you have a smoke and/or carbon monoxide detector installed, enabling the Alarm Detection feature lets you receive alerts on your Arlo mobile app when your camera hears the alarm.
The camera will record until the alarm stops or for a fixed duration.
Having built-in light in your Arlo camera means better night vision, higher video quality, and more accurate motion detection.
When the Arlo camera is Armed, this spotlight automatically turns on and the camera continues recording when motion is detected in low-light conditions.
The Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera and the Arlo Essential Spotlight both come with an integrated light.
Arlo Ultra, Pro, and Essential cameras all have a built-in siren that goes off when motion or sound is detected.
The siren can be activated manually or set to automatically go off when your camera detects motion or sound.
If you're planning on getting an Arlo outdoor camera, one of the first things you should look for is if it has weatherproofing.
The last thing you want is your camera breaking down after a light drizzle.
The good news is most Arlo cameras are weatherproof, with the exception of the Arlo Essential Indoor, which makes sense since it's meant to be used as an indoor camera.
Arlo Hubs & Base Stations
Arlo Hubs and Arlo Base Stations are meant to create a separate secure network for compatible Arlo cameras and doorbells.
Connecting to the Hub or Base means the devices use a separate frequency to communicate with each other, which is especially helpful for those using a shared Wi-Fi network.
Devices in the same location can communicate with each other and be set up for cross-triggering.
While video recordings can be saved in the cloud storage, you can also set up local storage on your Arlo Hub or Base Station and use it as a backup video storage.
If you're not subscribed to Arlo Secure, you can use it as your primary storage.
Here are the devices compatible with the Arlo Hub and Base Station:
- Arlo Ultra 2
- Arlo Ultra
- Arlo Pro 5S
- Arlo Pro 4
- Arlo Pro 3
- Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera
- Arlo Pro 2
- Arlo Pro
- Arlo Essential Video Doorbell (Wired)
- Arlo Essential Video Doorbell (Wire-Free)
- Arlo Essential Indoor Camera
- Arlo Essential Camera
- Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera
- Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Camera
- Arlo Wire-Free Camera
- Arlo Audio Doorbell
Arlo cameras come in wired and wireless versions.
Wired cameras have to be either hardwired into your home's electrical system or plugged directly into a power source.
Of all the Arlo camera variants, only the Arlo Essential Indoor has to be plugged into your main power line.
The advantage of this is that you are assured of continuous video recording and continuous power, as long as there is electricity.
Meanwhile, completely wireless cameras run on either rechargeable or replaceable batteries.
This gives you flexible mounting options, as you don't have to worry about not having a nearby power source or enough wire length.
However, committing to this kind of camera means you can't count on non-stop video recording as battery life is limited.
For Arlo wire-free cameras, the battery typically lasts between 3 and 6 months, depending on the amount of activity it detects.
If you want reliable, continuous power for your Arlo, you can always hook it up to a solar panel.
Recorded videos can either be stored online via cloud storage or locally through the camera's internal memory.
As of writing, Arlo doesn't offer free cloud storage if you don't have a paid Arlo Secure plan subscription.
However, if you have an existing subscription, you're entitled to 30 rolling days of cloud storage.
Good thing, all Arlo wire-free cameras have free video storage via your Arlo SmartHub or Base Station.
Most of Arlo's cameras are wire-free, which means flexible installation options.
This allows you to mount your Arlo camera virtually anywhere in your home, like fences, gutters, and even trees and saves you the hassle of having to drill holes and run wires through walls. Check out Wasserstein's line of Arlo accessories to find the best mount options for your security camera.
Only the Arlo Essential Indoor and Arlo Essential Video Doorbell Wired require a power cable to operate.
The rule of thumb is, the more advanced the features, the more expensive the camera.
The most affordable Arlo camera is the Arlo Essential Camera, considered by some as the best indoor camera because of its leading features at an affordable price.
It's currently priced at $99.99 and could be a good entry-level security camera for first-time users.
At the other end of the spectrum is the Arlo Ultra 2 with a $299.99 price tag, which is to be expected, considering how advanced its features are. But if you're not sure whether that price tag is worth it, check our detailed comparison of the Arlo Ultra vs the Ring Spotlight Cam.
Here are the prices of other Arlo devices:
- Arlo Pro 4 - $199.99
- Arlo Pro 5 - $249.99
- Arlo Essential Wireless - $129.99
- Arlo Go 2 LTE/Wi-Fi - $249.99
Arlo Secure Plans currently start at $4.99 a month.
The basic Arlo smart plan entitles you to a single camera support, 30 rolling days of cloud storage, advanced object detection, smoke/CO alarm detection, cloud activity zones, and interactive notifications.
An Arlo Secure Unlimited subscription can support unlimited cameras, 30 rolling days of cloud storage, advanced object detection, smoke/CO alarm detection, cloud activity zones, and interactive notifications.
An Arlo Secure Plus subscription can support unlimited cameras, 30 rolling days of cloud storage, advanced object detection, smoke/CO alarm detection, cloud activity zones, interactive notifications, and an emergency response feature, which allows you one-tap access to fire, police, or medical responders via the same Arlo app.
Arlo Compatibility With Other Smart Home Devices
Arlo devices are compatible with the following smart home devices:
- Amazon Alexa
- Apple HomeKit
- Google Assistant
- If This Then That (IFTTT)
- Samsung SmartThings
Main Differences Between Arlo Cameras
The main differences between Arlo cameras are:
- Video resolution
- Base station - whether the camera can or cannot operate without a base station
- Power sources - battery-operated or wired
How to Choose the Best Arlo Camera for Your Needs
First of all, know how much you're willing to spend on a security camera.
Arlo has a wide selection of cameras for every price point, from the low-tier $100 Arlo Essential Indoor to the most advanced $300 Arlo Ultra.
Second, ask yourself which features you need the most. You don't always have to go for the most high-tech.
For instance, the black-and-white infrared night vision could be clear enough to identify the culprit behind your vandalized front gate.
Lastly, weigh the pros and cons of each model. This way, you'll be able to find out which one is the best bang for your buck.
Our Top Choice for an Arlo Camera
Let's divide our top choices into categories:
Best Overall: Arlo Ultra. With its ultra-crisp 4k video resolution and ultra-wide viewing angle, you can effortlessly monitor every corner of your property.
Best Value: Arlo Essential Spotlight. It may not have the color night vision the Ultra and Pro models have, but the addition of a built-in light convinced us that this is one of the best cameras for low-light conditions. Plus, it's almost half the price of the Ultra!
Best Video Quality: Arlo Ultra. No further explanation needed.
Which Arlo camera has the highest-quality video?
The Arlo Ultra 4 has the highest quality video with a 4k resolution.
Do all Arlo cameras require a base station?
No, below are the Arlo cameras that require a base station:
- Arlo Pro 3
- Arlo Pro 2
- Arlo Ultra 2
- Arlo Ultra
What is the difference between the Arlo Ultra 2 and Arlo Ultra cameras?
Arlo Ultra 2 has a greater Wi-Fi connectivity range than the Arlo Ultra. Ultra 2 has dual-band Wi-Fi, supporting both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands, while the Arlo Ultra only supports 2.4GHz.
What is the difference between the three Arlo Essential wire-free cameras?
The two main differences between the three Arlo Essential wire-free cameras are the battery life and built-in light. Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Camera has one year of battery life, while both the Essential Spotlight and Essential Camera have six months.
Both the Essential XL Spotlight and Essential Spotlight Camera have built-in light for better low-light vision, while the Essential Camera doesn't.
Are Arlo cameras easy to install?
Yes. Since most Arlo cameras are wire-free, installation is easy and doesn't require special tools or a technician.
Can you use Arlo cameras without a subscription?
Yes, you can use Arlo cameras even without a subscription. The only downside is you won't be able to use special features like advanced object detection and cloud storage.
Whether you need a mount for better viewing angles, a floodlight for clearer video footage, or a solar panel for non-stop monitoring, Wasserstein has got you covered. Check out our Arlo Collection and make your security camera setup even more powerful.