Homeboy vs Blink vs Butterfleye vs Arlo vs Stick Up vs Canary FlexBy - 12/13/2018
Homeboy, Blink, Butterfleye, Arlo, Ring Stick Up Cam, and Canary Flex are all cordless security cameras, but they are not all the same. They offer different features and accessories. We will compare them all so that you can decide the best one for you.
Homeboy has been around the longest, but they recently stopped selling their camera. For now, we have to wait. According to their website, “An all-new Homeboy experience is coming in 2018.” Of course, as 2018 is coming to close, and there’s been no word from Homeboy since mid-2017, I think the chances that this little camera’s life has come to an end are pretty high.
What they once sold was a ball-shaped, cordless camera that attached to a magnetic mounting base. It was 100% cordless but sacrificed several camera features to make this happen. It had a low resolution and couldn’t stream live videos.
PROS – Compared to the others: Works with IFTTT
CONS – Compared to the others: Low Resolution and Cannot Live Stream Video, No Longer Selling
Blink and Blink XT Basics
If you want a more powerful camera, you should consider Blink or even better, Blink XT. Blink is an HD camera with a unique night vision feature. Instead of using IR technology, it uses a light that will shine when an event is detected. Blink XT is an indoor/outdoor security camera that is backed by IR LED night vision.
Of all the cordless options, Blink offers the best battery life. This longevity is thanks to their unique processing technology. Even though the camera can live stream and record at a higher resolution, it still offers a two-year battery life. Though I’ve not used the camera that long, I have been running it for over a year. The battery is still going strong.
The other reason the battery life is so long is that part of the heavy lifting is done on what is known as a Sync Module. Sync is a base system that must remain plugged into a wall. Though the individual Blink cameras are cordless, the entire system is not 100% cordless.
Finally, I thought you should know that Blink was purchased by Amazon. The retail giant has decided to keep Blink as a separate entity, but we should expect to see more integrations with Amazon’s smart home ecosystem soon.
PROS – Compared to the others: Long Battery Life
CONS – Compared to the others: Requires a Sync Module and Lacks Rechargeable Batteries
Ooma Butterfleye, Nero 1, and Smart Cam Basics
I was lucky enough to have a visit with Butterfleye at CES a couple of years ago.
During the experience, I learned three things.
- Butterfleye ships with a magnetic base.
- The app is user-friendly and it supports Android and iOS.
- The video quality is FHD, but will dumb down based on your Wi-Fi connection.
Butterfleye offers unique technology that sets the camera apart from the other cordless options. It uses advanced software that can learn over time. It can also tell the difference between a human and a dog or other non-human objects. Finally, it includes software that will help you shuffle through your recorded footage. Instead of sending you an entire day’s worth, it will send the best footage to help save time.
My favorite feature is that Butterfleye is not only 100% cordless, but it can work without an internet connection. If you lose internet, it will still record to an internal storage device. When your internet is restored, the footage is uploaded from the device to the cloud.
Nero 1 is a second gen version of Butterfleye which you can read about here. Ooma Smart Cam is the latest addition to the family. It will retail for the same price as Butterfleye, but it has several added features (night vision, slightly wider FOV, better battery life).
Butterfleye was acquired by Ooma (a VoIP company) in 2017 and was since added to Ooma’s security system.
PROS – Compared to the others: Facial Detection and Can Work Without Internet
CONS – Compared to the others: Butterfleye and Nero 1 Have A Two Week Battery Life (Smart Cam Should Be Longer)
Arlo is a popular HD home security camera, and there are not many cameras like it. They started with their cordless indoor/outdoor option and have expanded to other cordless cameras. Their lineup now includes Arlo Pro, Pro 2, Arlo Go, and Arlo Ultra. They also offer wired cameras including Arlo Q, Arlo Q Plus, and Arlo Baby.
Arlo Pro can work wire-free or wired. As compared to the original Arlo Wire-Free, it has a better motion sensor, support for audio, and a wider viewing angle. Arlo Pro 2 improves the camera’s resolution to FHD 1080p and adds three features that require the camera to remain plugged in: continuous recording with a paid plan, Motion Zones, and Look Back. Arlo Ultra is a 4K camera that includes a spotlight. Go is like Pro but communicates using a cellular signal instead of Wi-Fi. The camera includes a Verizon Wireless SIM card; however, you’ll need a data plan to activate it.
Like Blink, the cordless Arlo cameras (except for Go) are not 100% cordless. They all require a base station. The base station requires internet and power to communicate with the cameras. That said, the Base Station has benefits. The Arlo Pro Base Station has a siren and a USB port for local storage.
My biggest issue with Arlo as a home security camera is that it’s sleepy. It is not continuously monitoring, which is how it preserves battery life. Instead, when it detects an event, it wakes up. Sometimes it takes time to wake up, and when you’re trying to record something important, seconds can mean the difference between capturing footage or not. You can overcome this obstacle by plugging in your Arlo Pro 2. However, plugging the camera in also requires that it be used indoors. That said, if you’re willing to bring the camera in, you will have access to Look Back. This feature uses a pre-buffer to record the three seconds before motion is detected. When an event occurs, you will receive event footage plus the three seconds of activity before the event occurred. Second, you can pay to add a continuous video recording (CVR) plan. Plans start at $9.99/month for 14 days of continuous video storage.
PROS – Compared to the others: Works Inside and Outside and Option to Add Arlo Q Indoor Camera. Also, their free cloud plan supports up to 5 cameras; the paid plan supports up to 10.
CONS – Compared to the others: Requires a Base Station and Wake Up Time Can Be Slow Unless Plugged-in, Original Arlo Lacks Sound
Stick Up Cam Basics
The Stick Up Cam is a direct competitor to several other wireless outdoor security cameras, including Nest Cam Outdoor. Ring created the Stick Up Cam to work in conjunction with the Ring Video Doorbell. Joining the two devices together is not necessary, but Ring recommends the pairing to create a more effective “ring” of security around your home.
Not all Stick Up Cams are wireless. There’s also a wired, battery-powered version, and solar-powered version. The wired version is better than the battery and solar-powered versions in just about every category there is (camera sensor, field of view, PoE, etc.), but it’s not cordless. The battery and solar-powered versions are technically the same camera. The only difference is that the solar version comes with a solar panel that charges and keeps the camera powered via a USB cord. That said, it’s possible to buy the solar panel as an accessory to Stick Up Cam Battery. When running on batteries alone, Ring Stick Up Cam can last for 6 to 12 months on a single charge.
Despite its many benefits, the Stick Up Cam does have a few issues. First, the field of view is slight at only 115 degrees. Finally, the camera does not include free storage, but you can expand to cloud storage by paying $3 per month or $30 annually for six months of stored video recordings. This price is per camera. If you have several Ring cameras, I recommend the $10 per month plan which covers alert recordings for an unlimited number of cameras. You can learn more about Ring’s cloud storage plan here.
PROS – Compared to the others: Solar Charging and Built-in Siren
CONS – Compared to the others: No Free Storage
Ring Spotlight Cam Basics
Ring also sells the Ring Spotlight Cam. Spotlight Cam comes in four versions including a wired version, mount version, battery-powered version, and a solar version, which is the same camera as the battery-powered version but bundled with a solar panel.
The Spotlight Cam Battery monitors for motion using a FHD camera backed by night vision. It does not support zones like the Wired/Mount Spotlight Cam but does allow you to adjust the motion sensor’s sensitivity level. It also has two additional security features: a spotlight and a siren. The spotlight turns on automatically at night if the camera detects motion which significantly improves the camera’s ability to see at night. You can also turn the light on manually at any time. The siren isn’t as useful, but it’s still a nice feature to have. The siren can only be activated manually from the mobile app.
In testing Spotlight Cam, we’ve found that its biggest disadvantage is a shorter battery life. We’re estimating the battery life at 1.5 months, which is still longer than Butterfleye and on pace with Canary Flex. Also, you can extend the camera’s battery life by adding the solar panel or by adding a secondary battery. Though the camera ships with one rechargeable battery, there is an extra slot that can hold a second battery. Another disadvantage is that the camera is more difficult to install than the others. It doesn’t have a stand. It ships with a mount which requires drilling.
PROS – Compared to the others: Solar Charging and Spotlight
CONS – Compared to the others: Installation requires drilling.
Canary Flex Basics
The Canary Flex is not so much an upgrade from the original Canary, but a different device that serves a similar function. Where the original Canary has a warning siren and HomeHealth monitoring, Flex is weatherproof, wireless, and can be wall mounted. Flex and the original Canary use the same app, so those familiar with the app have an advantage. You can also monitor multiple camera types from one account.
Flex boasts impressive features. Like the Stick Up Cam, it allows for two-way communication. Unfortunately, you have to pay to access the feature via a Canary Membership. For free, Flex provides person detection, live streaming of activity, and recorded videos. You can manually swivel it a full 360 degrees on its magnetic base, making its 116-degree field-of-view stretch further. If you purchase the Verizon 4G mount (coming soon), you can even remotely monitor the camera in areas without an internet connection and use the mount to boost the camera’s battery life.
Canary Flex includes 24 hours of free cloud storage per device with a limit of four cameras. If you want more, you can pay for 30 days of storage via a Canary Membership. Membership rates vary depending on how many cameras you want to support but the initial fee of $9.99 per month includes support for five cameras. As far as the battery life, it varies. While Canary suggests the battery might last up to four months, we found that it lasts about a month before needing a recharge. According to Canary,
“How long the battery lasts depends on a number of factors. Canary Flex only spends battery life if it’s unplugged and has detected motion using PIR—the more activity it is detecting daily and the longer the Canary Flex is activated, the more battery it will use.”
PROS – Compared to the others: Versatility with Person Detection and Multiple Mounting Accessories
CONS – Compared to the others: Wake up time can be slow. Canary frequently changes features.
HomeBoy vs. Blink vs. Blink XT vs. Butterfleye
|HomeBoy (Obsolete)||Blink||Blink XT||Butterfleye|
|Researched Price||$149||$99.99 (Sync Module Included)||$129.99 (Sync Module Included)||$149.99|
|Free Cloud||12 Hours||7,200 Seconds||7,200 Seconds||7 Days + 16GB Internal Storage|
|Extended Cloud||$4.99/month for 30 Days||Starting at $4.99/month/camera for 30 Days|
|Battery Life||2-3 Months||2 Years||2 Years||2 Weeks|
|Two-Way Audio||Requires Membership|
|App||iOS & Android||iOS &
|Extra Feature||Includes a
|Panic Siren ($), Activity Zones||Panic Siren ($), Activity Zones||Facial Recognition ($)|
|Night Vision||Light Illumination||Light Illumination||Brightens Image (Smart Cam offers IR Night Vision)|
|Live Streaming||Clips On-Demand|
|Base||Magnetic||Stand or Wall Mountable||Stand or Wall Mountable||Magnetic|
|Works With||IFTTT||IFTTT, Amazon Alexa (Echo, Dot, etc)||IFTTT, Amazon Alexa (Echo, Dot, etc)||Amazon Alexa (Echo, Dot, etc), Ooma|
|Supports Schedules||Supports Schedules||Requires Membership|
|Cordless||Requires Sync Module||Requires Sync Module|
|Usage||Indoor Only||Indoor Only||IP65 Rated||Indoor Only|
|Buy Now||Visit Site||Amazon||Amazon||Amazon|
Arlo vs. Arlo Pro vs. Stick Up vs. Spotlight Cam vs. Canary Flex
|Arlo Pro||Arlo Pro 2||Stick Up Battery||Spotlight Cam||Canary Flex|
|Researched Price||$179.99 (Includes Base Station)||$249.99 (Includes Base Station)||$179.99||$199||$169|
|Free Cloud||7 Days||7 Days||24 Hours (Event Clips Only)|
|Extended Cloud||Starts at $9.99/month for 30 days||Starts at $9.99/month for 30 days. Optional CVR Plan Starts at $9.99/month||$3.00/month for 60 days||$3.00/month for 60 days||Starts at $9.99/month for 30 days|
|Battery Life||4-6 Months||3 Months||6-12 Months||1-2 Months||1-2 Months|
|Two-Way Audio||Requires Membership|
|App||iOS, Android, Apple TV, Fire TV||iOS, Android, Apple TV, Fire TV||iOS & Android||iOS & Android||iOS, Android, Android Wear, Apple TV, Fire TV|
|Extra Feature||Works indoors and outdoors, Siren, Solar Charging, Person Detection ($), Zones ($)||Works indoors and outdoors, Siren, Solar Charging, Person Detection ($), Zones ($). If Plugged-In: CVR ($), Look Back, and Activity Zones||Works indoors and outdoors, Solar Charging||Works indoors and outdoors, Solar Charging, Siren, Spotlight||Works indoors and outdoors, Person Detection, Package Detection ($), Safety Button ($)|
|Base||Magnetic||Magnetic||Magnetic||Wall Mount||Stand, Wall Mountable, Secure Mount, Twist Mount, Stake Mount|
|Works With||Echo Show, Echo Spot, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Stringify, SmartThings, HomeKit (Coming Soon)||Echo Show, Echo Spot, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Stringify, SmartThings, HomeKit (Coming Soon)||Wink, IFTTT||Wink, IFTTT||Wink, Google Home, Amazon Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire TV|
|Push Notifications||(Supports Canary Custom Tone)|
|Cordless||Requires Base Unit||Requires Base Unit|
|Usage||IP65 Rated||IP65 Rated||IP56 Rated||IP56 Rated||IP65 Rated|
|Arlo Pro||Arlo Pro 2||Stick Up||Spotlight Cam||Canary Flex|
In my opinion, Arlo and Ring are the best options.
Why Arlo Wins
Arlo Pro works with IFTTT, Google Home, Stringify, Echo Show, Echo Spot, and SmartThings. It will soon work with HomeKit. It can be used outside, offers free cloud storage, local storage, and you can automatically arm and disarm the camera through geofencing. Arlo Go, although expensive ($399.99), is an option for monitoring places without Wi-Fi.
Arlo Pro 2 offers a FHD experience and has several additional features including pre-buffering, motion zones, and continuous video recording if plugged in, but Arlo is currently selling a kit that requires the purchase of two cameras, bumping the starting price up to $479.99 (the kit also includes a rechargeable battery).
Arlo Pro and Arlo Pro 2 also belong to a family of security products. Should you need to expand your security camera system, you can add Arlo Baby, Arlo Wire-Free, Arlo Audio Doorbell, Arlo Security Lights, or Arlo Q cameras to the mix. These products can work in conjunction with Arlo Pro, Pro 2, Go, and Ultra. For example, Arlo Security Lights are equipped with a motion sensor. If the sensor detects motion, they can prompt your cameras to record. The Arlo Audio Doorbell, although lacking a camera, can also trigger your cameras to record.
As for Arlo Ultra, it’s a powerful camera, but I’m having a hard time justifying its price. It’s way more expensive than Arlo Pro or even Pro 2, but it doesn’t add much beyond a better resolution which is only accessible while streaming or using local storage. When recording to cloud storage, the resolution dumbs down to 1080p.
Why Ring Wins
Like Arlo, Ring offers a full suite of security devices. In fact, they offer even more types of products than Arlo. Ring has a security system (Ring Alarm), several video doorbells (Ring Video Doorbell, Video Doorbell 2, Ring Pro, etc.), security cameras (Spotlight Cam, Floodlight Cam, Stick Up Cam), and security lights (Ring Beams).
The beauty of Ring’s product line is that you don’t have to choose one over the other. Instead, they work together in such a way that creates a “ring of security” around your home. And of course, they all work with the same smartphone app.
What Ring has that Arlo doesn’t is a security system. With Arlo, you can add security cameras and other security products, but you can’t add professional monitoring. With Ring, more specifically, the Ring Alarm, you can add professionally security monitoring.
Finally, Ring is an Amazon-owned company and Ring cameras work closely with Alexa. Since Amazon’s acquisition of Ring, Ring cameras have been among the first to gain new Alexa features. For example, your Alexa-enabled speaker can now announce if someone rings your Ring doorbell.
Other Battery Powered Home Security Cameras
EZVIZ Mini Trooper
EZVIZ makes feature-rich but affordable cameras including Mini Trooper, a battery-powered, wireless camera. Similar to Arlo, Mini Trooper requires a base station. Mini Trooper’s base includes a siren, a microSD card slot, and it can control up to six cameras. The camera records in HD 720p, offers night vision, and a 116° viewing angle. It can also detect motion and sound but lacks two-way audio.
Mini Trooper’s battery life is estimated at nine months, although this will vary depending on usage, temperature, and your chosen settings.
Reolink Argus and Argus 2
On paper, Reolink checks a lot of the right boxes. It has a decent battery life, a FHD resolution, it’s 100% cordless, works inside and out, and offers local storage. However, it lacks cloud storage (coming soon), the app is unpolished compared to other options, and it lacks smart motion features.
You can read our hands-on review of the original Reolink Argus here.
Swann Smart Security Camera
Featurewise, Swann Smart Security Camera checks a lot of the right boxes. Unfortunately, it lacks third-party integrations, a feature present in all of our top picks. Swann Smart Security Camera offers a 1080p resolution, 120° viewing angle, and up to 32 feet of night vision. It’s also rated for outdoor use, and it runs on rechargeable batteries. One feature that sets Swann Smart Security apart is True Detect, which is a feature that uses the built-in PIR motion sensor to prevent false alarms.
D-Link DCS-1820LH & DCS-2820KT
D-Link launched DCS-1820LH and DCS-2820KT at CES 2018. Both are wireless and battery-powered. The DCS-2820KT uses Wi-Fi, just like most of the cameras in this article. The DCS-1820LH, on the other hand, is equipped with an LTE SIM card powered by Verizon. The SIM card allows it to connect to the cloud even without Wi-Fi, similar to Arlo Go. Both cameras also offer a 1080p resolution, night vision, two-way talk, motion detection, sound detection, and human detection.
In the past, we’ve refrained from recommending D-Link cameras for several reasons, including their lack of cloud service offerings. However, D-Link recently announced that they will soon offer free and paid cloud service subscription, so we’ll see how that pans out for them.
Eufy is new to security cameras, and their first security camera is EverCam. The most impressive thing about EverCam is that it promises to offer up to a 1-year battery life. Of course, the actual battery life is affected by factors such as usage and low temperatures. Another notable feature is facial recognition. EverCam offers facial recognition out-of-the-box, which makes it smarter than many cameras on this list. However, it’s not yet for sale. Eufy just finished running a crowdfunding campaign for EverCam and it’s expected to hit the shelves next year (2019)