Does Arlo Require a Subscription?

by Joel Manansala

Arlo cameras are some of the best security cameras on the market.

Equipped with a camera system that makes its competitors look shabby, Arlo is recognized in the industry for its DIY-friendly and innovative approach to smart home technology.

Out of the box, Arlo's cameras are already powerful on their own.

Like other security cameras from competitor brands, Arlo cameras can work perfectly fine without a subscription, and users can even store videos locally via an Arlo base station.

However, pairing them with an Arlo Smart subscription plan will give you some of the most advanced features in smart home devices.

Think Artificial Intelligence!

Honestly, Arlo's industry-leading AI features are enough to make up for the hefty price tag of its cameras.

But there's more to Arlo Secure Plans than AI-powered object detection.

Arlo Subscription Plans and Options

Arlo Free Trial

Previously called the Arlo Smart Plans, Arlo offers the Arlo Secure Plan for free to users who want to test out the advanced features and services before committing to a paid plan.

The free trial allows users to experience the benefits of the Arlo Secure, Arlo Secure Plus, or Safe & Secure Pro plans for a limited time without any cost.

It typically lasts for 30 days (some older Arlo cameras come with a free 7-day cloud storage plan), and during that period, you'll have access to all the premium features, including continuous video recording, advanced AI-based features, cloud storage, and e911 emergency call service.

The trial activates automatically after you set up your device in the Arlo Secure app.

Free Trial Features

The free trial includes all of the Arlo Secure Plan privileges listed below:

  • Rolling 30-day cloud recording. If you have an Arlo Ultra 2, it comes with an Arlo Secure Plus trial with cloud recording up to 4K video resolution. Other Arlo cameras get cloud recording up to 2K video resolution. The trial allows streaming and recording in the maximum resolution of your Arlo camera.

  • Person, vehicle, animal, and package detection. These features use artificial intelligence to detect and classify different types of objects in your camera's field of view, providing you with more specific and accurate information about what's happening out front.

  • Smoke and CO detection. These features allow Arlo cameras to detect the presence of smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) in the air, sending alerts to your mobile device in case of an emergency.

  • Cloud activity zones. This feature allows you to create customized motion detection zones within your camera's field of view where you want to receive alerts. You can create, resize, and adjust these zone using the Arlo app.

  • Notification filtering. This allows you to choose to receive alerts only when certain types of activity are detected, such as people, vehicles, or animals, which is particularly helpful if you want to avoid being bombarded with unimportant notifications.

  • Rich notifications with preview images and live streaming from your phone’s lock screen.

  • Emergency Services (US only). This connects you to emergency responders near your residence.

What Happens When your Arlo Free Trial Ends

When your free trial ends, you can purchase any Arlo Secure subscription plans to continue using Arlo smart features.

You can also opt out of the service plan and continue enjoying Arlo's basic features. Plus, you can always make use of Arlo accessories for your camera that will level up your cameras.

Even without a service plan, your Arlo camera will still have the following features:

  • Live Streaming

  • Push Notifications

  • Two-way Audio

  • Auto Zoom & Tracking

  • Local Storage Recording

Note that Auto Zoom & Tracking and Local Storage Recording are only available to select Arlo devices.

Without a paid subscription plan or trial, you won't have access to advanced Arlo features such as Activity Zones, Cloud Recording, and Alarm Detection.

Arlo Secure

Starting at $4.99 a month for a single camera, Arlo Secure is the most basic and affordable of Arlo's subscription plan options.

This plan gives you a rolling 30-day cloud recording and a video recording resolution of up to 4K if you have an Arlo Ultra.

If you want an unlimited number of cameras, say, you have Arlo Pro cameras outdoor, Arlo Essential indoor, and an Arlo video doorbell at the front door, you'd have to pay a monthly fee of $12.99.

Arlo Secure's precursor, Arlo Smart, allowed up to 5 cameras in a single Arlo account without any subscription.

Arlo Secure Features

Previously called the Arlo Smart Premier, here are the perks of the basic Arlo Secure:

  • Up to 4K Video Recording

  • Rolling 30-day Cloud Storage

  • Smart Interactive Notifications

  • Animated Preview Notifications

  • Video Object Detection with AI

  • Audio Detection of Alarms

  • Smart Activity Zones

  • Theft Replacement

  • Priority Support

  • Discounts

Arlo Secure Plus

Arlo Secure Plus, previously known as the Arlo Smart Elite tier, is the second level in Arlo's subscription plans.

Basically, it has everything Arlo Secure has and a bit more.

Priced at $17.99, this plan supports an unlimited number of cameras in your Arlo system.

Arlo Secure Plus Features

  • Up to 4K Video Recording

  • Rolling 30-day Cloud Storage

  • Smart Interactive Notifications

  • Animated Preview Notifications

  • Video Object Detection with AI

  • Audio Detection of Alarms

  • Smart Activity Zones

  • Theft Replacement

  • Priority Care & Support

  • Discounts

  • 24/7 Emergency Response

Arlo Safe and Secure Pro

Arlo Safe & Secure Pro (previously the Arlo Smart Plan Elite) is the top tier in Arlo's subscription plan.

In a nutshell, it has everything the first two plans have and many more.

At $24.00 a month, Safe & Secure supports an unlimited number of Arlo cameras, so you can connect your Arlo video doorbell, security camera, and even the Arlo baby to make the most out of its perks.

With features dedicated to family safety, Arlo markets this plan as the perfect security companion for families while at home or on the go.

With Family Place Alerts, you can save common places like schools and workplaces to get alerted when family members arrive or leave.

Family Check-Ins lets you see your family members' current locations, while Family Safety Monitoring enables you to locate, live view, call, or text directly from the Arlo app and send them help in times of emergency.

Safe and Secure Pro features

  • Up to 4K Video Recording

  • Rolling 30-day Cloud Storage

  • Smart Interactive Notifications

  • Animated Preview Notifications

  • Video Object Detection with AI

  • Audio Detection of Alarms

  • Smart Activity Zones

  • Theft Replacement

  • Priority Care & Support

  • Discounts

  • 24/7 Emergency Response

  • Video Verification and Escalation

  • 24/7 Professional Monitoring

  • Cellular and Battery Backup

  • Walk with Me™ Protection

  • One Tap Safety

  • Alerts to Emergency Contacts

  • Cloud Witness™ Incident Reporting

  • Crash Detection & Response

  • Family Place Alerts

  • Family Check-Ins

  • Family Safety Monitoring

Pros and Cons of an Arlo Subscription


  1. Advanced Security Features: a subscription offers advanced security features such as person, vehicle, animal, and package detection, smoke and CO detection, and emergency call services. These features enhance the security and safety of your home.

  2. Cloud Storage: a subscription offers cloud storage, allowing you to store recorded footage from your Arlo cameras in the cloud. This ensures that your footage is safe and easily accessible from anywhere.

  3. Customizable Alerts: a subscription offers customizable alerts, allowing you to choose what events you want to be notified about. This feature reduces false alarms and ensures that you are only notified about events requiring your attention.

  4. Additional Camera Support: a subscription offers support for additional cameras, allowing you to connect more cameras to your account and cover more areas of your home.

  5. Cost-effective: these plans are cost-effective, offering a range of plans to suit different budgets and needs. The plans also provide additional value in terms of advanced features and services.


  1. Additional Cost: it's an additional cost on top of the cost of the Arlo cameras. This may not be affordable for some users who are trying to save money.

  2. Subscription Dependency: Some features, such as emergency call services and cloud storage, are only available with a subscription plan. If you cancel your subscription, you lose access to these features.

  3. Limited Compatibility: Arlo cameras are designed to work with Arlo subscription plans. If you choose not to subscribe, you will not be able to access some of the advanced features and services of the cameras.

Are Arlo Subscription Plans Worth It?

Whether Arlo subscription plans are worth it or not depends on your specific needs and budget.

These plans offer advanced security features, cloud storage, customizable alerts, and support for additional cameras.

These features can significantly enhance the functionality and effectiveness of your Arlo system.

If you think you absolutely need such features, an Arlo subscription plan may be worth it.

However, if you have a limited budget or you think you can live without AI-enabled features and free cloud storage, then you can skip subscribing and the monthly fees altogether.

How to Choose an Arlo Plan

Choosing the right plan will depend on three factors: the number of cameras you have, your budget, and the features you're after.

If you look closely, the Secure and Secure Plus plans only have two major differences: the number of cameras supported and a single feature, which is the 24/7 Emergency Response Service on the more premium plan.

The Secure plan gives you the single camera option if you're saving money, while the Secure Plus plan supports an unlimited number of cameras off the bat.

If you're going to pay a premium price, might as well go for the Safe & Secure Pro, which has everything the two other plans have, plus a lot more.


Does Arlo still work without a subscription?

Yes, Arlo cameras can still work without a subscription and perform basic functions such as live streaming, two-way audio, and push notifications. However, some advanced features, including cloud storage, emergency call services, and AI-enabled detection features, are only available with a subscription plan.

Is there a monthly fee for Arlo?

Yes, there is a monthly subscription fee for Arlo. It starts at $4.99 for the basic Secure Plan for a single camera and up to $24.99 for the Safe & Secure Pro that supports unlimited cameras.

Does Arlo record for free?

No, you will need a Continuous Video Recording (VCR) plan to activate your camera's video recording features.

How long is Arlo's free subscription?

The free Arlo Secure subscription lasts for 30 days and starts after you register the device to your Arlo account.

What does Arlo's free trial subscription include?

The free trial includes:

  • Rolling 30-day cloud recording (2K to 4K video quality).

  • Person, Vehicle, Animal, and Package Detection.

  • Smoke and CO detection.

  • Customizable motion zones.

  • Notification filtering.

  • Rich notifications with preview images and live streaming from your phone’s lock screen

  • Emergency Services (US only).

Does Arlo Pro 4 require a subscription?

No, the Arlo Pro 4 doesn't require a subscription. However, if you want to enjoy advanced features, you'll have to avail yourself of one of the Arlo Secure plans.

To improve your Arlo setup, check out Wasserstein's collection of Arlo accessories including mounts, floodlights, solar panels, and more!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.