We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies. You can understand more and change your cookies preferences here.

Technology.

Updated: 2 Mar 2022

How we test wireless security cameras

See how we uncover the best and worst wireless security cameras from brands such as Ring and Nest. Find out how we test video quality, ease of use and security against hackers.
Andrew Laughlin
How we test wireless security cams

Why our wireless security camera testing is different

Wireless security cameras can give you peace of mind when you’re not at home, as they can alert you to intruders and let you see what’s going on remotely.

Best Buy wireless security cameras have superior image quality across various resolutions, accurate motion detection that alerts you quickly if something is amiss, and they're easy to set up and interact with.

Don't Buy cameras are the complete opposite, and can't be relied upon to act as digital guard dogs for your home. 

Video: Best Buy wireless security cameras

What are Which? Best Buys and Don’t Buys?  

Every wireless security camera we test goes through exactly the same rigorous process, mixing technical and scientific tests with real-world ease-of-use testing. 

We recreate the conditions of a typical home user and try out all the features, so that you can find the best wireless security camera for your needs.

We rigorously assess each camera’s picture and sound quality, and run demanding technical tests to measure the sensitivity of the camera’s motion detection. 

We also look at how easy it is to set up or interact with the camera via the app.

As of November 2021, any wireless camera that scores more than 71% becomes a Best Buy. Whereas any model that scores 45% or lower is named a Don't Buy.  

  • Best Buy cameras: These excellent cameras will capture pin sharp pictures that are easy to use if you need them. They will be simple to set up, easy to use and very reliable at notifying you of any motion in the camera's view. We have Best Buys for both the inside and outside of your home, with some models being usable in both scenarios.  
  • Don't Buy cameras: You'll struggle to see what is going on in the low quality video from these poor cameras - it will be like having grainy CCTV camera on your home. Worse still, they will be a pain to use and lack the innovative features of better cameras. Don't end up with a Don't Buy dud.  

Read on to find out more about our independent testing, or head straight to the models we recommend by visiting our Best Buy wireless security cameras.

How is the Which? score calculated? 

Every wireless camera we select has to go through a series of meticulous tests. These are designed to be both rigorous and repeatable, so you can trust in the quality of your next security camera.

All our assessments contribute to a total test score, so we can identify the best wireless security cameras as well as the worst, and compare the different models. 

We don’t take price into account - so a cheap camera has just as much chace to excel as an expensive one. The total score breaks down as follows:

  • Video Quality 45% 
  • Audio Quality 5%
  • Ease of Use 30%
  • Motion detection and notifications 20%

A wireless security camera needs to score 71% or more in our tests to earn a Best Buy recommendation. Models that score 45% or less are labelled a Don’t Buy as a warning to avoid them.

Does the camera capture good, clear video?

As you would expect, video quality is very important for security cameras. We use a panel of experts to judge how good the video quality is in various light conditions, including in full daylight, low light and at night. 

We also look for signs of image noise or graininess, and check whether the security camera struggles to hold its focus or keeps changing the brightness level.

We take video of objects and colour charts in the studio to see how accurately the camera captures colour, so that the recorded footage looks correct. 

We also look to see whether any fine detail is lost when subjects are distant – it’s no good having a camera that has low resolution and renders any footage you’ve captured unusable.

And what about sound quality? 

Most wireless security cameras enable you to hear what is going on around the camera, and also talk to visitors via the microphone and speaker. 

Our tests check whether the sound comes out clearly to you, and also to the person near the camera. 

You won't want to be straining to hear what is going on, or being blasted out with overly loud, distorted audio. 

Wireless-camera-set-up

How easy is it to set up and use?

Can you install the camera yourself, or will you need to hire a professional to do it for you? Is it straightforward to get the camera set up once it is installed?  

We also run a wide range of ease of use tests, from the ease of using the app to your options for recording video clips to either a local storage device or into the cloud. 

We rate wireless security cameras according to what works well and what doesn’t, so you don’t get stuck with a camera that’s frustrating to use on a day-to-day basis.

How sensitive is the motion detection?

Motion detection is another important aspect of security cameras – it’s designed to alert you whenever something or someone crosses its path, whether the subject is moving fast or stealthily.

We also assess how well the camera alerts you, either via a mobile app, text message or an email alert. 

We look at the level of information the alert provides, whether you can view a live stream of the camera, and if it supports push notifications to your phone.


Could the security camera get hacked?

Our industry-leading tests put every wireless security camera through a barrage of assessments for how they protect your home security and privacy.

We assess a wide range of different aspects, including:  
  • Password security: Does the device use a weak default password that can be easily guessed? If you have to set your own password, are you urged to use a secure one?
  • Data encryption: We run analysis of how the camera sends and receives data to see if effective encryption has been used to protect your private information.
  • Decommissioning: If you want to sell your camera we check if you can do so without leaving your data still accessible by the new owner, or your accounts still linked.
Security doesn’t currently contribute to a camera’s score, but if we find any concerning issues in our testing we contact the manufacturer to get them fixed.  

If the flaws are sufficiently severe based on our risk assessment process, we can hold back a product from being a Best Buy, or automatically make it a Don’t Buy, unless the issue is fixed by the brand.   

Find out more about security in our How to stop your wireless security camera from being hacked guide.


To see in-depth verdicts of all the models we’ve tested, visit our wireless security camera reviews.