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For full access to your security cameras, a growing cohort of brands are transitioning to subscription-based payment models. In the past this was optional and generally for cloud storage, where you had the choice of storing locally at no extra cost.

Nowadays, with so much processing happening in the cloud (such as for smart motion detection), some brands are restricting core camera features, unless you subscribe.

A local camera system is always my preference as it reduces the risk of your camera footage being mishandled and is generally a more cost-effective solution in the long run.

So if you want to keep your outdoor video surveillance system as local as possible (without missing out on the perks of app functionality and intelligent motion detection), this lineup of the best general-purpose outdoor security cameras without monthly subscriptions is for you.

Before we proceed, please note that we are excluding video doorbells and floodlight cameras since they have their own respective lists.

Top 10 Outdoor Security Cameras Without a Monthly Subscription

Top Pick
RLC-812A
Awards
  • Highest rated camera listed with DC Power option
  • Highest rated camera listed with PoE data
  • Highest rated camera listed with Integrated Microphone
Data Transmission
PoE
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Power Options
PoEDC Power
Night Vision Type
Full Color (via Spotlight)
IP Rating
IP66
Storage Options
microSDNVRFTP

Our top pick is the Reolink RLC-812A, a 4K spotlight PoE camera with no cloud subscription service.

This Reolink RLC-812A camera supports MicroSD cards (maximum capacity of 256GB), NVRs, and FTP servers. Along with that, it is compatible with the Synology app and works with interoperability protocols such as RTSP and P2P.

The Reolink camera can perform human and vehicle detection on its own. However, If you are setting up multiple cameras (with different models and brands), we highly recommend getting a Reolink-based NVR with AI functionality.

However, if you choose to configure the camera with an NVR, please note that you won’t be able to access smart features such as integration with Google Assistant and creating time-lapses.

Thankfully, since Reolink doesn’t offer a mandatory cloud subscription service, the app features are not limited in any way. You can use the app anytime to receive notifications, control the cameras, and access live and stored footage.

Pros
  • Integrated Siren / Alarm
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection, Vehicle Detection
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • Integrated Spotlight
  • Night Vision Support: Full Color (via Spotlight)
  • Storage Options: microSD, NVR, FTP
Cons
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • No optical zoom
Runner Up
H32A2US
Awards
  • Only camera listed with Solar Panel option
  • Only camera listed with 5GHz WiFi data
  • Highest rated camera listed with Battery option
Data Transmission
2.4GHz WiFi5GHz WiFi
Resolution
4MP: 2560x1440
Power Options
DC PowerBatterySolar Panel
Night Vision Type
InfraredFull Color (via Spotlight)
IP Rating
IP65
Storage Options
microSDWireless Hub

Our runner-up is the Lorex 2K indoor/outdoor security camera system, complete with solar panel and home hub. This package comes in either two, four, or six cameras.

This camera system does require internet access to operate, however there is no monthly subscription charge. The home hub acts as the storage device for the cameras. Without it, the cameras will not record footage, and the Home Hub comes with a 32GB WD Purple MicroSD card. However, if you need more storage, you can swap it out for a 256GB card if necessary. (Maximum supported MicroSD card capacity.)

Lorex does not offer a cloud subscription service. Regardless, the Home Hub needs a constant Wi-Fi connection (with access to the internet) so that it can interface with the Lorex Home app or perform smart integration with Alexa or Google Assistant.

In terms of intelligent motion detection features, this camera system only supports person detection.

Pros
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Spotlight)
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection
  • IP Rating: IP65
  • Storage Options: microSD, Wireless Hub
  • Smart Integrations: Alexa, Google Assistant, Chromecast
  • Data Transmission: 2.4GHz WiFi, 5GHz WiFi
Cons
  • No 24/7 recording option
  • No optical zoom
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No motorized tilt functionality
eufyCam 2 Pro
Awards
  • Only camera listed with Sound Detection
  • Only camera listed with Apple HomeKit support
  • Highest rated camera listed with Cloud support
Data Transmission
2.4GHz WiFi
Resolution
2K / 3MP: 2304x1296
Power Options
Battery
Night Vision Type
Infrared
IP Rating
IP67
Storage Options
Wireless HubNASCloud

The EufyCam 2C Pro package includes a wireless hub and a choice of two, three or four add-on cameras.

For storage, the cameras directly transfer footage to the wireless hub. This device has a 16 GB eMMC storage with no MicroSD card support. The EufyCam wireless hub can maintain three months of footage from the cameras, and despite having an eMMC drive, you can easily retrieve footage using the Eufy Security Mobile App.

On top of that, there’s an optional cloud storage service with plans starting at $2.99/cam/month. This is an entirely optional feature and you won’t be losing any of the camera’s functionality if you decide not to enroll in this service.

The EufyCam 2C Pro package includes support for carrying out person, face, sound, and customizable motion zone detection. Along with that, the package is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit.

Pros
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection, Face Detection, Sound Detection
  • Integrated Siren / Alarm
  • Integrated Microphone
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared
  • Smart Integrations: Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit
  • Two Way Audio Functionality
Cons
  • No inbuilt spotlight
  • No optical zoom
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • Cannot automatically pan
DS-2CD2563G0-IS
Awards
  • Highest rated camera listed with True WDR
Data Transmission
PoE
Resolution
6MP / Super HD: 3072x2048
Power Options
PoEDC Power
Night Vision Type
Infrared
IP Rating
IP66
Storage Options
microSDNVRNASFTP

Next up, we have the Hikvision DS-2CD2563G0-IS, a 6MP dome-style camera.

Although Hikvision provides an optional cloud storage service, it is not mandatory for Hikvision cameras. Instead, this Hikvision dome camera includes a MicroSD card slot for local storage (maximum capacity of 128GB) and includes additional compatibility for NVR, NAS, and FTP.

Also, thanks to its RTSP and ONVIF compatibility, you can set this camera up with third-party NVRs. However, you will be losing out on the Hik-Connect Mobile App, and you will have to use the app dedicated to the third-party ONVIF-compatible NVR.

Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t have smart intelligent motion detection features such as human and vehicle detection. Instead, it supports line crossing and intrusion detection as long as the connected NVR supports these functions.

Pros
  • Storage Options: microSD, NVR, NAS, FTP
  • Integrated Siren / Alarm
  • Great Image Clarity: True WDR
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • High Resolution: 6MP / Super HD: 3072x2048
Cons
  • No smart home integrations
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • No smart / AI motion detection
  • No inbuilt spotlight
  • No optical zoom
  • Cannot automatically pan
MTT8108-AISMDAD
Awards
  • Highest rated camera listed with Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
Data Transmission
PoE
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Power Options
PoEDC Power
Night Vision Type
InfraredFull Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
IP Rating
IP67
Storage Options
microSDNVRNASFTP

The Montavue MTT8108-AISMDAD is an 8MP turret camera that doesn’t require a cloud subscription service. Instead, it offers support for NVR, NAS, FTP, and MicroSD storage solutions, with a 256GB limit for the MicroSD cards.

Other than that, the camera also works flawlessly with third-party NVRs and PCs since it supports ONVIF, RTSP, CGI, and P2P; hence, you can use it as a standalone device (using a MicroSD card), connected to an NVR or computer.

The built-in intelligent features include person, vehicle, tripwire, and intrusion detection. However, to set up these features, you will need to access the cameras via the PC or Mac clients.

One thing to note here is that the camera’s frame rate dips to 20fps (from 30fps) whenever you have smart motion detection enabled.

Pros
  • Integrated Siren / Alarm
  • Integrated Spotlight
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection, Vehicle Detection
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
  • IP Rating: IP67
Cons
  • No smart home integrations
  • No optical zoom
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • Cannot automatically pan
Data Transmission
PoE
Resolution
5MP: 2592x1944
Power Options
PoEDC Power
Night Vision Type
InfraredFull Color (via Spotlight)
IP Rating
IP67
Storage Options
microSDNVRNASFTPCloud

The Amcrest 5MP turret camera is a capable outdoor security camera with an optional cloud storage feature.

For local storage, the device supports 256GB maximum capacity MicroSD cards (card not included), NVR, NAS, and FTP. Other than that, you can also connect the cameras to your PC and interface via RTSP, CGI, and P2P.

Unfortunately, there is no mention of ONVIF compatibility, so if you were to set up an NVR, you will have to get an Amcrest-branded NVR.

Optional cloud storage plans start at $6 for motion-activated recording and include the ability to view and download footage from the cloud.

Intelligent object detection features include person and vehicle detection. On top of that, the camera also supports tripwire and intrusion detection.

Pros
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection, Vehicle Detection
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Spotlight)
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Integrated Microphone
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • High Resolution: 5MP: 2592x1944
Cons
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • No optical zoom
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No smart home integrations
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No two-way audio feature
CAM-2PK-WNIP8LBU
Awards
  • Only camera listed with AC Power option
  • Only camera listed with DVR support
Data Transmission
2.4GHz WiFi
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Power Options
AC Power
Night Vision Type
InfraredFull Color (via Spotlight)
IP Rating
IP65
Storage Options
microSDNVRCloudDVR

Night Owl’s entry on this list includes two 4K spotlight cameras that offer an optional cloud storage subscription.

These two cameras include MicroSD card slots for local storage (128GB Maximum) along with support for compatible NVRs/DVRs (BTWN8 Series Wi-Fi NVR or BTD8 Series DVR). The optional cloud storage feature is useful for remote storage and backup, but it’s slightly more expensive than some of the other brands we’ve seen – as plans start at $10/month.

The smart motion detection features include person, vehicle, and face detection. Other than that, the camera can also perform motion detection based on customizable zones, with the ability to customize the motion sensitivity for each zone.

Also, the camera can easily integrate with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Pros
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Spotlight)
  • Two Way Audio Functionality
  • Power Options: AC Power
  • Integrated Siren / Alarm
  • Smart Integrations: Google Assistant, Chromecast
  • Integrated Spotlight
Cons
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • No optical zoom
P1448-LE
Awards
  • Only camera listed with Optical Zoom
Data Transmission
PoE
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Power Options
PoE
Night Vision Type
InfraredFull Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
IP Rating
IP67
Storage Options
microSDNVRNASFTP

The Axis P1448-LE is a bullet-type camera with PoE functionality. It is another alternative that doesn’t include a mandatory cloud subscription service and encourages local storage options.

It supports NVR, NAS, FTP, and MicroSD storage options, and when wired with an ONVIF compatible NVR, you can directly transfer footage with no need to use Wi-Fi or the internet.

However, to perform person detection, loitering detection, and line crossing (as part of the AXIS analytics features), it needs access to the internet through the NVR.

This Axis P1448-LE camera has an IP67 waterproof rating and can survive temperatures ranging from -40F to 140F.

Pros
  • Storage Options: microSD, NVR, NAS, FTP
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection
  • Motorized Optical Zoom Lens
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • IP Rating: IP67
Cons
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • No smart home integrations
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No two-way audio feature
  • No integrated microphone
N43BX82
Awards
  • Only camera listed with Object Detection
Data Transmission
PoE
Resolution
4MP: 2688x1520
Power Options
PoEDC Power
Night Vision Type
InfraredFull Color (via Spotlight)
IP Rating
IP67
Storage Options
microSDNVRNASFTP

At the ninth spot, we’ve got the Dahua 4MP TiOC bullet-type camera. It is a solid Mid-ranger that supports a 256GB MicroSD card, with additional support for NVR, NAS, and FTP.

Although Dahua provides cloud storage functionality, this camera does not need an online subscription to carry out essential tasks. I.e., the built-in intelligent motion detection algorithms, such as human, vehicle, and miscellaneous object detection, are allowed to function freely; without requiring a monthly payment.

Also, the camera supports ONVIF, RTSP, CGI, and P2P technologies, and when coupled with an NVR, it can support line crossing and intrusion detection.

Pros
  • Integrated Spotlight
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • High Resolution: 4MP: 2688x1520
  • Great Image Clarity: True WDR
  • Integrated Microphone
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Spotlight)
Cons
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No smart home integrations
  • No optical zoom
  • No motorized tilt functionality
Data Transmission
PoE
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Power Options
PoEDC Power
Night Vision Type
InfraredFull Color (via Spotlight)
IP Rating
IP67
Storage Options
microSDNVRNAS

Our final entry on this list is the Annke 4K bullet-type security camera. This device includes many smart features and supports multiple third-party software without the need to use an online subscription.

The storage options of this security camera include MicroSD, NVR, and NAS. Apart from that, this camera works with Synology and Blue Iris software and also offers support for ONVIF compatible devices and RTSP methods.

The intelligent motion detection algorithms include person, vehicle, and face detection. On top of that, the camera can also carry out line crossing, intrusion detection, and missing/abandoned object detection.

We recommend using this camera with an NVR, especially if you want to take full advantage of remote viewing and the intelligent motion detection features.

Pros
  • Integrated Microphone
  • Storage Options: microSD, NVR, NAS
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Spotlight)
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Great Image Clarity: True WDR
Cons
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • No optical zoom
  • No two-way audio feature
  • No smart home integrations

Decision Factors when Choosing an Outdoor Security Camera Without a Monthly Subscription

Optional Subscription

It’s always better to have a camera system with an optional cloud storage feature. Having the option to subscribe to a cloud storage service (without missing out on the intelligent features) is always a definite plus in our book. So if you have to decide between two cameras, one without an optional subscription and one with, it’s always better to go with the one that has the optional cloud service. 

Local Storage Options

When you are not going to rely on a cloud storage service, it is up to you to set up storage options for your cameras. Although there are devices that support a variety of local storage configurations (NVR, NAS, FTP, MicroSD), MicroSD cards and NVRs are what many consumers will be using. So make sure the camera of your choice has both of these storage options, not just one. We highly recommend setting your cameras up with a compatible NVR because most cameras are configured to interface with the app only when you connect them to the NVR or wireless hub. 

Intelligent Motion Detection

What’s great about most modern security cameras, which don’t rely on a monthly subscription, is that you don’t have to pay a monthly fee to get access to intelligent motion detection features such as human and vehicle detection. So whenever you are considering getting a strictly local-based security camera, make sure the camera (or its compatible NVR) has support for intelligent motion detection.

App Integration

Another thing to consider (when you’re going fully local with your security camera storage) is the features of the mobile apps. Despite having tons of desktop clients, web browsers, and NVR software to manage the cameras via PC or just a monitor and mouse, nothing beats getting notifications and controlling the cameras through your smartphone. Although most cameras on this list have dedicated mobile apps built for iOS and Android, you need to set them up properly with an NVR or wireless hub for the app to communicate and transfer data via Wi-Fi. (Using only the MicroSD card slot for storage will not allow your app to access footage remotely.)

Local Storage Capacity

When it comes to MicroSD cards and NVRs, you will be working with a limited amount of storage capacity, especially if you record footage 24/7 continuously. Before deciding on a camera, don’t forget to check the maximum supported capacity for MicroSD cards and the maximum capacity supported by the NVR. Some cards support a maximum of 128GB, while others support 256GB. Nonetheless, if you are using motion-activated recording, even a small capacity of 16GB-32GB will be enough to store a month’s worth of footage.

Common Questions and Answers

Can I playback footage stored in the MicroSD card via the corresponding mobile app ?

Generally speaking, yes you can playback footage stored on a MicroSD card. However, while relying solely on a MicroSD card is more cost-efficient, we highly suggest setting up an NVR or NAS so you have more than one storage medium.

NVR or MicroSD card, which is better ?

Both devices have their uses, and ideally, we recommend setting up both systems so you can use MicroSD as a backup solution. That said, we recommend an NVR over MicroSD cards if you are hoping to set up multiple cameras (more than 3-4) around your home or business. MicroSD cards might seem cheaper at first, but when you have to manage half a dozen of them, it becomes expensive and tedious. 

Do I get human and vehicle detection if I don’t pay for the monthly subscription ?

Some well-known brands (such as Ring and Nest) require the payment of a monthly subscription to access these features. Thankfully, it is not the case with the brands in our list above. Most of the cameras we’ve shown above provide access to human, vehicle, and other object detection algorithms without purchasing an online subscription.

Do I have to provide internet access to these cameras?

You don’t have to provide access to the internet, and these cameras can also work on a local Wi-Fi network. However, we suggest you provide internet access to these cameras and NVRs, just so they can interface with your smartphone app. Otherwise, you will be missing out on remote viewing, notifications, and many more.

Conclusion

Most cameras on this list make do with local storage options such as MicroSD cards and NVR support, and only a small portion of these cameras include optional cloud storage facilities. If you are adamant about going for a local security system, we highly recommend setting up multiple storage systems so that you will always have another backup, just in case.

So, with all that said, do you agree with our top pick? Let us know in the comments.

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