Best Outdoor Security Cameras 2019: Complete Guide
If you are looking for the best smart outdoor security cameras you can use; then Blink XT are the option for you. As you may have known from many of my article here, I live in New England. This is one thing that is not always happy about because of the weather here. Especially during winter, it gets cold. Really cold!
A few years ago when I used to work for a cable company, one of the biggest complaints that we would get regularly was how our security cameras for the security service we worked for would freeze up during winter. It was through that experience that now I don’t blame people for getting upset.
No one would want to spend around $80 to $100 on one security camera, just for them to freeze up later on and become useless. So I went on to undertake a journey to look for various options that are available for security cameras. Well, I then started to figure out that no one would claim that their security cameras would be able to work in cold weather.
Either that or the reviews that I read said that they really could not hold it together in the cold weather even though some of them had claimed that they could. That is just until recently when I found Blink XT cameras.
Installation of Blink XT Cameras
I first installed the Blink XT two camera outdoor system back in the fall. Even by then, it was getting colder especially at night. So I became very interested to see how they would hold up to the weather. Blink XT cameras are almost flat in their build they also have an extremely tiny footprint.
This means that one can install the Blink XT cameras practically anywhere they choose. This is so good because if you would want to try and install the camera under an eve, it is never a problem. No matter space you may be working with.
You may also have a look at my other article on the Desktop Apps for Blink XT Cameras here for more information.
Set up of Blink XT Cameras
The set-up of Blink XT is also very straightforward, once you have plugged in the sync module into your router and plugged it in. The cameras just require to have batteries. Then you download the app and create your account.
You must add the sync module first. This can easily be done by scanning the QR code, or you could manually enter it. Then you add your cameras by using the same process.
The app has a toggle switch that will arm the cameras, and this will then turn on the motion detection. Once the motion detection has now been turned on, the cameras will then start to send you alerts and 5-second clips.
If you have other preferences, you can increase the clip length to up to 60 seconds. Though if you go that long, this would have a negative effect on the battery life. I have set mine to 10 seconds clips currently, and they are working perfectly well.
The app also allows you to set other options for motion triggering. I find this to be very helpful for an outdoor camera as there are many environmental things which can set off alerts. Birds are flying around, cats walking close by, shadows, and leaves falling on the ground, constant rain and even snow can trigger alerts.
The beauty of this app is that you can tweak the settings so that you reduce the number of false positives. I have effectively done this myself.
Battery life of Blink XT in Cold Weather
The Blink cameras two ‘AA’ batteries lifespan was extremely superior compared to that of the Arlo Pro’s rechargeable batteries. Though Blink claim on their website that you can get two years of battery life. The trick however from what I have read is that you must use Energizer lithium batteries.
How you would set up the trigger detection on this cameras would then determine the Arlo pro rechargeable battery life typical ranged from short three weeks to just more than one month when installing them outdoors in cold weather.
As you may have noticed, battery life goes quicker when in cold weather. So it is very imperative that these performed better than the other at the very least. I have used the same set of batteries in both of my smart cameras for the five months of coldest weather that we have here in New England.
You may consider having a look at my article here on how to weatherproof a security camera for more information.
This is New England, and we get lots of snow. Some of the winters more than others. Though this winter it seems we are going to get a little bit of a warmer one. However, we still have had some substantial snowfall and have even had a noreaster or two.
This was a concern that I had on my side. I would ask myself how these cameras would these cameras handle snowy and wet weather. The answer I would give to that is without care!
I had never seen a camera that could be just stuck outside, and you still expect it to still work through a noreaster. That’s a crazy talk where I come from. Well, call me nuts, because these things are very incredible and will still hold up no matter what nature will throw at them.
Video quality in cold weather
The video quality of the Blink XT is just awesome, more than what one would expect for a security camera, but at the same time, at night it can become a bit challenging to see things that are at a distance. The nighttime video is pretty grainy, but it has the IR illumination that makes it good enough if you trigger any recording at night.
If I compare it to my other smart home cameras which I had tried before, it is on par with other high-end 720p cameras. Even a little better than them.
When you receive an alert on your phone, you can watch the video easily with the App and even download it and share it. The app is easy to be understood and to use even for a newbie in smart homes.
Though there is a little bit of delay with the motion sensor, this is not a huge issue that would make one worry about them. But it would have even been nice if you would use it and see when someone immediately comes to the door. However, it is only a few seconds between the trigger and the alert. That is not enough to worry me anyway.
I have seen some people who have been complaining about their notifications being slow, but from my personal experience with the cameras, it can be a flaw with some smartphones that one could be used rather than the system itself. For instance, my wife’s phone will alert her in just seconds of the motion detection, but mine will sometimes lag. After looking carefully into this issue to establish the reason, I have found that LG phone frequently has this issue. But on the iPads, the alerts come in faster and are reliable.
Bang For The Buck
Also came to realize that Blink XT cameras are far more cost effective and cheaper to buy in comparison to the Arlo Pro. I found that Arlo Pro are just priced way higher, and I was not budgeting for such.
I found that after a power outage, the Blink XT cameras would reconnect quickly and also sync immediately with the base station.
But for the Arlo Pro, there was some trial and error process that required multiple resets to the base station or the router or modem. This was a little time consuming for me. I would highly recommend that whether you are buying a camera for outside or inside, get the Blink XT outdoor model.
There is also a huge improvement in the picture, motion-sensing capability and night vision of the camera. If you just buy one camera, I would suggest for you the Blink XT no matter the place you want to install it.
Pros of the Blink XT Camera
- The system is priced reasonably
- It is easy to set up
- It is easy to install
- It’s absolutely wireless
- It has a great quality of picture
- It offers real-time picture snapshots
- Offers real-time video
- It has live audio
- There is automatic arming or disarming of cameras
- There is the ability to arm and disarm individual cameras
- There is no monthly fee for cloud storage
- It has an incredible battery life
- You can easily add cameras
- It syncs up with Samsung SmartThings
- It works with IFTTT
Cons of the Blink XT Camera
It does not have a computer program which allows you to watch live feeds. (Though I normally use my phone all the time)
- It can’t record while you are watching the live video feed.
- The camera thumbnail picture cant is saved.
- The audio feature is one way
- Blink cameras had a field of view of 110 degrees while the Arlo Pro had a 130-degree field of view degree.
I can’t say enough of how much I love these cameras. I personally have two of the Blink XT outdoor cameras, and I have just ordered the third one. I find that they are so easy to set up and also easy for day to day use.
Unfortunately, there are two things that are driving me insane. Snow plows that go by and set off my cameras and the damn cat from across the street.
And of course, there is the fact that to view Blink XT cameras on a computer, you must use an android emulator.
Otherwise, these cameras are just perfect in my eyes. I had set out to find a camera that had all the features which I wanted and could also handle cold weather and other elements. And yes! I found it!