The Best Light Bulb Security Cameras for Indoors and Outdoors

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Adding a security camera or three to your home is an increasingly popular choice to bolster peace of mind, whether you’re away from home or not. With falling prices of these electronic devices and many options for wireless installation, it’s becoming easier to DIY a security camera setup for the average home owner.

While there are a lot of very good Wi-Fi cameras to choose from, you’ll still need to deal with installing mounts, or in the case of free standing indoor models, running indoor power cables to where the camera needs to go. Light bulb cameras are an alternative to these scenarios which combine a camera with a light of some sort, and can be powered simply be screwing into a convenient light socket.

There are a few different approaches to these devices, but they invariably provide the easiest home security solution. You may not get much in the way of integration with other smart home systems, but I’ve endeavored to find some that offer something in this area. Here are my picks for the best light bulb security cameras.

Top Picks for Light Bulb Security Cameras

Best Smart Detection: Amaryllo Zeus

✔ Auto pan and tilt motion tracking
✔ Object and fire detection
✔ Encrypted built in video storage

Best Budget: VIBOOS Fish Eye Camera Bulb

✔ 1080p night vision camera
✔ SD card storage
✔ Motion triggered activation

Best Overall: SYMYNELEC PTV Camera

✔ 2K Pan and tilt night vision camera
✔ SD card storage
✔ Alexa and Google Support

Best Outdoor: Sengled Floodlight Camera

✔ Supports integration with Alexa
✔ Weatherproof 1080p night vision camera
✔ Swivel mount base included

Things to Consider before Buying

Where can you use a light bulb camera?

Using a light socket to power your camera is convenient, but in many cases limits where you can direct the camera’s view. There are models that work around this limitation in various ways, either by having a built in swivel mount, or using a very wide angle lens. Regardless, you’ll want to consider if you have a suitable light socket in a location that will provide a security benefit.

If you’re looking to use an outdoor socket, even if it’s under cover, you need to look for model that is specifically rated for outdoor use. Humidity and frost still have the potential to damage electronics even if they’re not directly exposed to liquid water.

How good is the video?

Camera quality and lens angle both affect just how useful the video recording is going to be. All these models offer HD as a minimum, but that can be as low as 720p. This is still good enough to see what’s going on, but you’ll lack detail at further distances from the camera.

The use of wide angle lenses is common in security applications, for obvious reason. You want to capture as much of the area in front of the camera as possible so as not to miss important events. However, very wide angle fish-eye lenses will compress the image towards the edges, and can make that part of the image fairly useless, especially if you are trying to identify specific details like faces.

Consider where the lightbulb camera will be placed and what are the most important areas you want to capture, both in terms of spread and distance to ensure you get value from the device.

How much data will they use?

In most cases you’ll want to be able to view video from the camera while away from home, either just to check in or in response to an alert in the camera’s app. Some cameras also store their video in the cloud rather than locally, so they need to be able to upload to work at all.

Streaming that video out of your WiFi network and onto the internet uses the upstream bandwidth of your internet connection. For HD video uploading, you’ll typically want an upstream speed of 2 Mbps at a minimum to avoid the video pixelating or breaking up.

The actual amount of data they consume is not excessive unless you have very low data caps on your plan. A fairly active cloud-based HD WiFi camera will push around 300 MB of data in a month, while only downloading about 30 Mb unless you spend a lot of time watching recordings.

Where do they store video?

When it comes to stand alone security cameras there are two options for where the video they record can be saved. Device makers will opt for local storage, meaning on a memory card in the device, or in their own cloud storage service, possibly both.

If they store data in the cloud, meaning on their own servers, you will need to sign up for an account in their smartphone app, and you may have to pay a subscription for using the service. You’ll want to carefully check if that’s the case, if there is a free tier, and what the limitations of that are. Keep in mind that local storage devices may still require an app account, but this will likely be to enable remote access.

Local storage is faster, simpler, and better for privacy as they won’t need the internet to save videos, and won’t be dependent on the maker’s servers being available. Many of these devices are not from major brands, and the security of any cloud service should be treated with a degree of caution.

How do I turn the light off?

As the camera will be drawing power from the light socket, turning off the switch to that socket will cut power to both the light and the camera. These devices typically get around this by automating the light either by motion detection of some sort of schedule configured via their app.

Once set up, you leave the light switch on, and let the light take care of itself. Some will allow manual light control via the app, and if the device supports a voice assistant like Alexa, you may be able to control it that way as well. Keep in mind that some of these devices are primarily a camera, and won’t produce the same light output as a normal bulb.

Best Overall Light Bulb Camera


✔ Local and Cloud Recording
✔ 355 degree camera view
✔ Two-way talk
✔ Bright night vision

✘ Not outdoor rated
✘ SD Card not included

Why This Model?

These PTV (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) security light bulbs have become popular recently and are surprisingly cheap for what they offer. There are a bunch of low-cost brands selling similar models, but this one from SYMYNELEC stands out due to the LED array around the camera, and the 2K video resolution. The app also supports some integration with Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant, which is another bonus over other models. These features at this price point get this one my rating for Best Screw-in Security Camera Overall.

With 4 CREE white LEDs and 4 infra-red LEDs you’ll have pretty decent illumination in both visible and night vision modes out to 33 feet. The lights can be automated based on the ambient light level, so they’ll only turn on when it’s dark enough. You can also have it trigger the built-in siren if you choose.

The camera has human detection and an auto motion tracking feature, which makes the best use of the PTV function, although you can control that manually in the app as well. This function will track targets automatically when motion is detected, but that does mean it needs to see the moving object first. It won’t turn around to track something behind it.

Onboard camera video storage is provided via a Micro SD card (not included), and is encrypted in case the card is lost. They offer a paid cloud service as well, but given this is an unknown company I’d shy away from that option.

To aid in installation SYMYNELEC have a couple of light socket adapters and extenders so you can use, say, a wall mounted socket and still have the camera the right way up. These accessories can be bought as a bundle with the camera.

These extra integration options, bright supplemental lighting, and PTV functions makes this stand out over other cheap off brand options.

Best Outdoor Light Socket Camera

Sengled Floodlight Camera

✔ Supports Alexa
✔ Weather proof, IP65 rated
✔ Free cloud storage tier (24 hours)
✔ Adjustable rotating lamp holder included

✘ Limited use without subscription
✘ Cloud recording only

Why This Model?

The 2nd gen Sengled Floodlight Camera offers a solid outdoor security light solution. Sengled are the most recognizable brand in this list, and this model is a revamp of their original PAR38 cam light bulb. Unlike the original, this model includes an optional swivel mount which also just screws into an E26 light socket, and gives you more control over where it can be pointed. The device includes infrared lights for nightvision, and a 14W directional LED floodlight which can be motion triggered by the included motion sensor.

The camera records at 1080p to the Sengled cloud only, which is the biggest drawback with this one. You’ll get 24 hours access to recorded video for free, but no motion detection alerts. This means the functionality is quite limited without a subscription. With the subscription you can store up to 30 days of recordings, and access them remotely through the Sengled Snap app. Those stalks on the top of the lamp are folding Wi-Fi antennas. These allow for improved range, but can be kept folded flush if you want to use it in a recessed socket.

The floodlight also includes two-way talk, so you can communicate live with anyone on the camera feed. Once set up, the light will act as an automatic motion sensing security light. It will stay off during the day based on the built-in light sensor, and turn on for 60 seconds when motion is detected at night. You can also control the light manually through the app or via Alexa.

Best Smart Detection Features

Amaryllo Zeus

✔ Auto pan and tilt motion tracking
✔ Fire, Human, Vehicle and Pet Detection
✔ Subscription Optional
✔ Local Storage to Micro SD (not included)

✘ Advanced detection requires subscription
✘ No voice assistant integration
✘ Most expensive

Why This Model?

The Zeus from Amaryllo is a full auto tracking camera with a range of unique video and sound detection features and tracking modes. The Zeus takes these smart features to a new level by offering a range of AI powered detection features, which is why I’ve picked this at the best smart detection model.

You’ll get basic face detection and motion alerts for free, and can use an optional Micro SD card for storage instead of the cloud. With a subscription the camera will be able to differentiate between people, vehicles, and pets, as well as having the ability to recognize fire and alert you accordingly. They have plan options to add further analytics, such as movement path tracking and heat mapping where people spend most time in the room. These are pretty novel, and go beyond even the higher cost big brand smart camera offerings.

You’ll need a standard E27 socket, this one is suitable for indoors only. The cup around the base of the rotating head provides a 360 degree light for normal illumination, and the camera head also has spotlights to aid the 1080p camera at night if you choose, or you can let it use infra-red night vision instead.

The base of the unit is quite long which makes it ideal for recessed light sockets like ‘can’ lights, but for exposed sockets it sticks out quite a long way. It’s not a deal breaker, but an additional consideration. If you wish, it can also be mounted upside down - in a lamp fitting for example. The app allows the video to be flipped 180 so it’s still the correct way up when viewing.

Reviews for this one have been a bit mixed. While it does surpass other brands in terms of its smarts, the jury is still out on reliability.

Best Budget Light Bulb Camera

VIBOOS Fish Eye Camera Bulb

✔ Local and Cloud Recording (SD Card included)
✔ 360 degree camera view
✔ Two-way talk
✔ Standard bulb size

✘ Need cloud subscription to view video in app
✘ No smart home integration
✘ Poor light output

Why This Model?

If you want a more hidden camera light bulb option, the VIBOOS fish eye camera may be for you. These types are the most normal looking camera light bulbs more akin to the spy camera light bulbs people might think of when looking at this category of devices. This one is my best value pick as it has the lowest price and an average 4 1/2-star customer rating, local storage and motion alerts.

The biggest downside is that without a subscription you’ll need to remove the SD card (16 GB included) from the bulb to view the recordings on a computer. To access the video through the app requires a cloud subscription, but that gives you access to multiple viewing modes which very effectively get around the squashed image from the fisheye lens.

The app takes the fisheye video and processes it into a number of 3D views, which you can rotate in the app to look around the space. This is a very cool way of handling the inherent limitations of wide-angle lenses in these types of cameras.

Two-way talk is provided through the app, along with motion alerts with person detection filtering. The app also gives remote control of the light, both on/off and brightness, but there is no smart home integration. Infra-red night vision is provided, but it’s not the best. You’ll be able to see a short distance, but other cameras can do a lot better. This would seem to be simply a case of having limited infra-red illumination built into the device.

Also keep in mind that because the camera faces down, it needs to be installed at a decent height to have any kind of reasonable coverage. Some reviewers have suggested that if you don’t need a ladder, it’s not high enough.

Best Color Light Socket Camera

Zmodo Torch 360

✔ Local and Cloud Recording (SD Card included)
✔ 360 degree camera view
✔ Two-way talk
✔ Full color lighting options

✘ Not weatherproof
✘ No smart home integration
✘ No night vision

Why This Model?

Camera brand Zmodo has entered the socket camera race with the unusual looking Zmodo Torch 360. It couples a full color LED light with a panning camera which makes it the only color light socket camera I’ve seen so far. This makes it a useful option for entertaining areas where you might want some colored ambience without the need for bright lighting.

The app provides a number of scenes you can choose to change the color, and also includes a ‘breathing’ scene that cycles through the rainbow. You can also control it through Alexa, but you’ll need to use the Zmodo app for the panning controls.

Camera resolution is lower than other options at 720p. That’s technically HD, and it actually delivers reasonably good quality video. At night it does need some ambient lighting, as there is no infrared night vision included. Much of the negative feedback they’re received is due to buyer’s not understanding this limitation. As with other light bulb security cameras, there’s no optical zoom, but they do support up to 4x digital zoom. You won’t get much value from that at 720p, though.

Video is recorded in Zmodo’s cloud service only, there’s no local storage option here. They do include a free tier which gives you temporary storage of clips for 12 hours. Paid plans will get you longer save times of 7 or 30 days.

While Zmodo markets this as a ‘Garden Door Light’ it’s not actually weatherproof. The fine print notes that it’s designed to be used indoors or under cover. This will be fine outdoors so long as it’s in a sheltered location or inside an enclosure and may make a decent porch light security camera. Just keep in mind this camera is quite large at 6.5 inches tall, so check your enclosure will support it first.

Alternative Outdoor Light Socket Camera

Toucan Outdoor Camera

✔ Supports Alexa and Google Home
✔ Two-way talk with Auto Greetings
✔ Weatherproof
✔ Built-in Alarm

✘ 720p camera only
✘ Subscription required

Why This Model?

I’ve selected the Toucan Outdoor Camera here as it does utilize an existing light socket, but does so in a different way. Rather than posing as a light bulb, the Toucan uses a smart socket, a smart light fitting that goes in between the socket and the bulb, to provide USB power for a separate camera fixture. The camera itself is mounted next to the light fitting, and connects to the smart socket using a USB cable. The socket then allows the conventional light bulb to be controlled like a smart bulb as the light switch needs to be left on.

This offers the advantage of being able to choose your own light bulb for the situation, up to a 40W LED (which would be pretty bright). Toucan doesn’t provide any infra-red night vision on the camera, as they claim the light will provide that. In practice, the low light performance is pretty limited unless you have a very bright bulb in the socket.

Even though they’ve opted for a cheap camera component, there are some other nice features included. The built-in 100db siren for one, which can be triggered from the app as required. You can also set up ‘auto greetings’ which can be a pre-recorded message, a simulation of someone being at home, a dog barking, or a standard doorbell chime.

With the smart socket in place, you can use the app to set up either dawn to dusk or motion detection behaviors for the light. You can also use either Amazon Alexa or Google Home to control the light and access the camera feed (if you have a suitable screen device like an Echo Show).

My Recommendations

While light bulb cameras can offer the convenience of easy installation, you’ll find most products on the market are cheap off brand devices with dubious cloud services and support. The best of these is my value pick, but it’s still a case of ‘you get what you pay for’. None of the cheap devices I’ve looked at are rated for outdoor use, even though some of them claim you can use them outside.

Outdoors is a clear use case for security cameras and I personally focus more in this area as it’s where you really want to have early warning of unusual activity. I’ve looked for some more established options for this list, and the Sengled Outdoor Floodlight comes from a known lighting brand and provides a smart home integrated security light, which is not that common in itself. Having the built-in camera is a clear bonus in this case. Toucan’s offering is an alternative. I’m not real happy with the camera quality, being limited to 720p and with no night vision capability, but the customer ratings are excellent, and so it’s worth a look.

My best overall is the SYMYNELEC 2K camera. This is an upgrade over most of the other pan/tilt light socket cameras out there right now. It support 2K video for better detail, and supports integration with Alexa and Google. Coupled with human detection, motion zones, and two-way talk and it’s a very capable security camera offering and offers the best mix of capabilities for the price. For much more smart detection features, hot spot tracking, and alerting statistics, the Amaryllo Zeus is an interesting option. It doesn’t make the grade for my best overall pick, however, due to lackluster reliability ratings and limited availability.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are light bulb security cameras?

Light bulb security cameras are innovative devices that combine the functionality of a standard light bulb with the surveillance capabilities of a security camera. These cameras are (somewhat) discreetly built into the design of the light bulb, allowing you to monitor your surroundings without drawing attention to the fact that you have a security system in place.

How do light bulb security cameras work?

Light bulb security cameras work by integrating a high-resolution camera, typically with a wide-angle lens, into a regular light bulb form factor. These cameras are usually connected to your home's Wi-Fi network, allowing you to access the live video feed remotely through a smartphone app. Some models may also include motion detection and night vision capabilities for enhanced security, and offer video recording of motion detection events.

Are light bulb security cameras easy to install?

Yes, light bulb security cameras are designed to be user-friendly and easy to install. In most cases, you can simply replace an existing light bulb with the camera-equipped light bulb and follow the manufacturer's instructions to connect it to your Wi-Fi network. No complicated wiring or technical expertise is usually required.

Can light bulb security cameras be controlled from a smartphone?

Absolutely! Light bulb security cameras are typically accompanied by a dedicated smartphone app that allows you to control and access the camera's features remotely. Through the app, you can view the live video feed, adjust settings, receive motion alerts, and even communicate with individuals near the camera using two-way audio, depending on the specific features of the camera model. This makes them similar to other wireless security cameras and video doorbells, but usually with less capability.

Do light bulb security cameras have night vision capabilities?

Yes, many light bulb security cameras come equipped with night vision capabilities. These cameras use infrared (IR) technology to capture clear footage even in low-light or complete darkness. Night vision can greatly enhance the effectiveness of the camera, allowing you to monitor your premises around the clock.

Are light bulb security cameras compatible with voice assistants?

Some light bulb security cameras are compatible with popular voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. This means you can use voice commands to control the light, such as turning it on or off, and possibly viewing the camera feed on a compatible smart display.