Best Light Bulb Camera - Buyer's Guide

Gareth Otwell By Gareth Otwell · Last Updated December 14, 2018

Say you’re at work, and you receive a message from your neighbor that a package delivered to your door is no longer there. The first thing that would come to mind, if no family member or friend is inside your home, is that the package was probably stolen. If you had seen the face of the person who took it, or even if the box was delivered to the correct address, you would have a better idea on how to handle the situation from there.

Today, light bulb cameras, light fixtures with video recording devices built into the bulb, will help secure the surroundings of your home by giving a detailed view of anything that comes within its range. Most have WiFi capabilities as well, so no matter where you are, a simple internet connection will help you stay on top of anyone that comes close to your doorsteps when you’re not at home. Reviewed below are five great cameras equipped with these features, and valuable information is given afterward to help you pick the best product for you. In the end, you’ll know how these devices can better secure your home and the ways in which they can be utilized to their fullest potential.

What is the best light bulb security camera to buy in 2018?

Product Name Motion Detection Wi-Fi Resolution
Sengled Snap LED Floodlight with Security Camera
(Editor’s Choice)
Yes Yes 1080p Check Price
TOUCAN Weatherproof Outdoor Security Camera
(Editor’s Choice)
Yes Yes 720p Check Price
Tupeya Security Camera Yes Yes 1080p Check Price
Quanmin LED Camera Yes Yes 960p Check Price
Hayanwoo Bulb Fisheye Camera Yes Yes 1080p Check Price

Sengled Snap LED Floodlight with Security Camera - Best Light Bulb Security Camera For Large Porches

The “Smart” Floodlight

Sometimes, have a little light bulb camera isn’t enough. Maybe your yard is very large, or maybe you stay in an area that gets very dark in the afternoon. The Sengled Smart LED Floodlights aims to help those with lots of square footage to cover. It’s wireless and has great cloud storage plans of both free and paid varieties. The camera is very well built, showing an exterior that’s made to hold up against light rain, fog, and high humidity without breaking after the first few months that it’s used.

How it Performs Seasonally

While it’s highly resistant to water, problems could surface if too much gets into the fixture, so be sure that you have a place to mount that isn’t dripping or directly exposed to the elements outside. And very cold weather could lead to malfunction, so look elsewhere if you’re staying in a place that receives below-zero temperatures for much of the winter season. And yet, there’s still enough features to make it worth a buy. Recommended for anyone that wants good illumination with their camera.

How to use your Sengled Snap

Pros
  • Works without issue in cool, humid, and rainy conditions
  • Free cloud storage
  • The wide light allows the viewer to see further and with more clarity than many of its competitors
  • The camera can be switched to stay on indefinitely or only when the light is activated
Cons
  • Frigid temperatures may disrupt the camera’s functionality
  • May take on rainwater during heavy downpours, increasing the likelihood of malfunction

TOUCAN Weatherproof Outdoor Security Camera - Best Outdoor Camera For Motion Dectection

Taking Compatibility to the Next Level

The Toucan Weatherproof Camera retails in a pack of either one or two and appears black. It’s a sleek look that should work well in places with lots of rainfall, at the name suggests. You won’t want water to pour on indirectly though, so always use a cover whenever possible. The biggest selling point is the compatibility with Amazon Alexa. That means you can announce your commands via the smart device and have it perform anything that’s within its capabilities.

Picking up Motion

Another nice addition is the way it can be tweaked to turn on when motion is seen, a handy tool to have at night when someone comes to your door. However, this attribute may sometimes lag, most notably when approaching from the side. Front movement is no problem, but if someone suddenly appears from the left or right of the sensor, you might not pick it up. And the microphone isn’t very useful when trying to communicate over a WiFi signal. Your voice will be heard most of the time but give off poor feedback on your end. Having described this, the Toucan Weatherproof Camera is promising and should work well during the time it matters the most.

Review and Demo

Pros
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa
  • Water Resistant Exterior doesn’t get damaged when used in an outdoor setting
  • The light can be configured to turn on when motion is spotted by the camera nearby
  • Fast install with or without a reliance on the instruction manual
Cons
  • The microphone makes the WiFi signal lag when used
  • Has trouble detecting movement when someone abruptly walks into its view from the side
  • Video may show in a pixelated resolution when the signal is poor

Tupeya Light Bulb Security Camera 1080P - Best Hidden Nanny Camera

Secure Your Home With the Best

Light Bulb Security Camera WiFi The Tupeya Light Bulb Camera is a wireless device with great lighting range and outstanding video playback features. It comes with a Micro SD card that carries 32 gigabytes of memory, so you don’t have to be totally reliant on cloud storage to get your recordings saved to your computer or phone. If you want more, the slot is programmed to take up to 128 gigabytes, so upgrading to another card shouldn’t be too much trouble. From this alone, the camera is one of the highest recommended brands on the list. But even without the memory card, you’ll be able to receive notifications via your smartphone whenever motion is detected. Configuration is a breeze, and you can even adjust the light to be seen in a night vision mode, which will help you see things even when the main bulb is not on.

Setup With Multiple Devices

If you have a large family, they will be able to view the feed, since up to five devices in total can be linked to the WiFi signal. If you expect more, you must purchase an additional camera. Using one of the front and back of your home would be enough for most people. But a second purchase is required for this. While there isn’t really anything very negative to say about the camera itself, you should know that it must be plugged into an outlet in order to work, and cannot be changed. And based on where you live, signal interference could make the feed go out on occasion. Regardless, the Tupeya Camera manages to top the list as the most reliable, especially during setup.

Pros
  • Comes with a 32 gigabyte Micro SD memory card for saving videos
  • Sends notification alerts to Android and iOS devices
  • The WiFi signal to the camera and be shared on up to five devices
Cons
  • Not really wireless; the light bulb must be plugged into an outlet for it to work
  • Signal has a tendency to disconnect periodically

Quanmin HD 360 Wide Angle Fisheye Wireless LED Light Bulb Camera - Best for Panoramic View

Communication Made Easy

The Quanmin HD 360 is a wide-angle camera that will show you a very large portion of your front/backyard, much more than what the tiny camera lens appears to be able to pick up. For those that need something with a reliable microphone, it doesn’t get much better. 2-way communication stays sharp, clear, and will output a loud tone that’s understandable for both you and the guest of your home. This makes it advised for anyone that receives lots of mail and/or guests when you’re not around. The motion sensors are also nice, having fast readings that don’t miss obvious movements from people when they come nearby.

Learning the Application

But with all of its benefits, there is room for improvement. As a Chinese model, you will encounter menu configurations on the application that are in the Chinese language. Unfortunately, these areas cannot be switched to English either. The instruction manual is also in Chinese, so if you have any problems during setup, you can refer to this tutorial above to see exactly what each area does. If you don’t think this will bother you, then the Quanmin HD 360 will make a great gift for yourself or a family member/friend.

Pros
  • Microphone output comes out clear and without lag
  • The motion detection can pick up signals fast, no matter how brief they are (when high sensitivity is configured)
  • Can be accessorized with parts that are sold separately (extenders)
Cons
  • Some of the configurations on the application are in Chinese and cannot be changed to English
  • Chinese Instruction Manual

Hayanwoo Wireless Fisheye Spy Camera - Best WiFi IP Camera

Lastly, this WiFi camera (sold by Hayanwoo) sits at an angle and it slim, helping it fit into tightly confined around without much effect. It’s a good bulb to have in a garage since the viewing area is adjustable to either go down on slightly upward. The application compatible with either Windows, iOS, or Android, is one of the easiest to learn in comparison to the other product’s software. Navigation is quick and painless, making the camera a good option for those who don’t want to waste too much time getting the fixture setup. While resetting it could be a pain, there’s not much else to complain about.

Pros
  • The app’s layout is easy to pick up and use without referring to the manual
  • Has the ability to zoom in for more detailed viewing
  • Great illumination; every visible portion of the camera is clearly seen with the light fixture
Cons
  • The camera must be reset manually using a small tool that comes in the box
  • Motion detection, while good, may occasionally stop working and require reset to perform as normal

Buyer’s Guide

Light bulb cameras are great for lots of different purposes. But like anything you shop for online, you should familiarize yourself with them before you settle on one product, to avoid mishaps or getting something that doesn’t perform as anticipated. Use the tips below to narrow down your picks on the reviewed cameras above.

Motion Detection

A big part of the reason for having a light built camera is the ability for them to detect motion. They have sensors embedded into the interior, which will pick up movements that come within several feet of the camera that’s facing the individual. Some of them will detect movement only when the camera is on, and others activate and switch on the light instead. Still, most will operate by configuration, meaning that you can tweak its settings, usually done by hand on with the dedicated application that’s given with the brand, and change the sensitivity. Keep in mind that some cameras may have poor responsiveness in this regard. If you’re looking at a camera that a reviewer describes as such, you’ll probably want to find something that’s better. But if this aspect isn’t a selling point, then you should be fine.

Compatibility

With the advanced computers and handheld accessories that people use today, it’s likely that you’ll want a light bulb camera that can be viewed on all of your home electronics. The good news is that nearly all of them are compatible with most laptops and PCs. Android and iOS are also commonly used, and you’ll be able to download the software through their dedicated stores. However, some alternative smartphones may not be fully compatible, so if you own something that doesn’t at least use Android, look into what the manufacturer says is available with other operating systems. It’s not something that’s likely to be a big issue but deserves checking with them when in doubt, so avoid any potential returns.

Patio/Backyard Size

A light bulb camera will generally give you a clear view to the same degree as what you would find in a decent quality web camera, only they are fitted to be placed outdoors. If you have a large front or backyard, you should go with something that will shine brightly to covers as much of the areas as possible. That way, if the motion is detected, you’ll be able to get a view of anything that may have set off the camera. As a rule of thumb, the brighter the camera, the better the coverage and security that you’ll have during night hours. It would be a waste to buy something that has a great video feed but poor visibility. Backyard view in the tablet from the light bulb camera

Illumination

As mentioned, you don’t want to end up with a camera that can only illuminate a small section of your outdoor living space. Compact patios or yards probably won’t have to worry about this problem. But if your residence has lots of shaded areas or becomes very dark late into the night, the light bulb camera should be large and enveloping to the point where all movement is clearly visible by sight. The motion detector can only do so much, and you’ll need to see what’s going on when movement is picked up. Floodlights are good for this, but normal brands can also have a high level of brightness. Sometimes, the illumination may even be adjustable. If so, check the camera’s wattage and the number of hours that are specified for the light to last.

Number of Bulbs that You’ll Need

If you have read through the comparison list already, you know that most light bulb cameras are only sold in singles. You will have to purchase more than one if you plan on using them for more than just the area around your front porch. For those with large houses that are multiple entryways into the inside, getting one for every door is highly recommended. A secured house would ideally have one on the porch, garage, and backyard. Anywhere that is dark should be a potential area for you to mount the camera, even if it’s in a place that won’t see the light be used very often. The more places you have to view, the better your home will be protected and alerted whenever someone comes within range.

Setup and Configuration

This is often the confusing part, as many light bulb cameras are made outside of the United States and sometimes have instruction manuals that are printed in a foreign language. Chinese models are the most abundant. The issue can be exasperated when you download the application also; some have menu buttons that are confusing and incomprehensible (due to the language difference). Mind you, this isn’t always a problem, but if you do buy one with such configurations, check with the manufacturer. Although some companies may have the translations online, searching on YouTube could help, as there are many videos and tutorials given that will simplify the setup and controls.

Why You should buy a Light Bulb Camera

In the unfortunate event of having someone attempt to enter your home uninvited, these cameras will pick up their movements and alert you to their presence immediately. And the way they must be set up will have the physical features of their face clear for you to see. Prevention is much better than having a full-on burglary attempt with breaking and entering, so if you notice something odd on the video feed, you can shoot them a message via the microphone (most models have 2-way communication) to inform them that they are being watched. Or maybe you receive lots of mail and need to alert the carrier of where to store a package when you’re not at home. Being at your home even when you’re “away” will save you the hassle of shipments getting wet and stolen. It will surely keep the honest man honest.

Conclusion

Light bulb cameras are a phenomenal way to beef up the security in your home. They can be streamed over WiFi and saved via cloud storage. Some are also equipped with memory slots, so no matter what specifics you need, chances are good that you’ll find one from the list that meets your demands. But if you still not sure on which camera you want, consider Sengled Snap and Toucan brands (shown on the first and second reviewed products). They have great illumination, easy-to-learn controls, and precise motion detecting hardware. The alternates that were evaluated are arguably just as responsive, so look into them if you see something that is more closely in line with the type of camera you want. In any case, your home will have the security it needs, regardless of which brand you settle on.

Gareth Otwell

About Gareth Otwell

Gareth Otwell is a 28-year-old tech geek. Currently working at a big IT company. He chooses to widen the topics he writes about so as to provide his readers with an all-in-one go-to platform that they can use to research for just about anything. Read more

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