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Which Smart Cameras Support 24/7 Continuous Recording?

Traditional CCTV cameras and professional-grade security systems have always supported 24/7 constant recording as a standard feature. It wouldn’t even have been listed as a selling point. But these systems sometimes relied on recordings being made to tape or hard drives stored on-premises, a weakness in the overall security system.

Hence the shift to smart cameras had a big selling point: they offered easy-to-access (and secure) cloud based access to your saved recordings. But the one big trade-off of this smart functionality is that sending video clips to ‘the cloud’ 24/7 wasn’t always practical, especially due to bandwidth and storage costs.

As a result, relatively few smart cameras support 24/7 recording out of the box. Thankfully some of them do however, so I wanted to write this article to cover exactly which smart devices do offer this.

Some (or all) of the smart cameras from Google Nest, Arlo, Eufy, Wyze and Kasa support 24/7 continuous recordings, although brands like Ring and Blink (that don’t offer this) offer alternative features instead.

How smart cameras tend to work

The box of my Ring Indoor Camera, on a wooden table.
The box of my Ring Indoor Camera.

Part of the selling point of smart cameras is that they notify you when there’s been motion around your property. For example, a smart camera will have on-board pixel-detection algorithms to see that someone (or something) is moving around, or use PIR (passive infrared sensors) to detect changing heat signatures.

At this point, they’ll then start recording and notify you of the detected motion. This works fairly well overall, and it sort of makes 24/7 recording less necessary because you’ll still see all the video clips that matter (such as a visitor coming to your property, or a potential burglar moving around your house).

In theory.

But in practise, smart cameras aren’t perfect and they can miss important events by just relying on motion-based alerts – especially for battery powered cameras that have to employ a bunch of power-saving measures to save battery power.

Even my hard-wired Ring Doorbell Pro misses some motion events, which obviously isn’t ideal! As a result, I’ve often wanted Ring to support 24/7 recording – something they promised back in 2018 but never delivered.

So since it would be a useful feature, which smart cameras support constant recording?

Which smart cameras support 24/7 footage

Marketing image of the Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.
The Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

In general, whilst Ring and Blink do not support 24/7 recordings, there are smart cameras from a range of companies that support 24/7 constant recordings in some form:

  • Nest
  • Reolink
  • Arlo
  • Eufy
  • Wyze Cam
  • Kasa Spot

However some of those will charge you extra for 24/7 recordings, which I’ll explore later. Also saying that “Eufy” (for example) might offer 24/7 recordings doesn’t tell the full story, since the majority of Eufy cameras actually don’t support it either.

And the Wyze Cam Outdoor only supports “scheduled recording” (where you get constant recordings only at certain times of the day), instead of true, 24/7 recording. As a final example, Google Nest only deliver this feature if you pay them money each month.

In short, it’s not as easy as saying “these companies deliver 24/7 footage”, so I’ll cover how well each company does actually offer continuous recordings in each section below.

Google Nest 24/7 video support

Marketing image of the Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.
The Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

Google Nest’s cameras – including the Nest Indoor and Outdoor range, along with the Nest Hub Max which has an integrated camera – comes with an optional Nest Aware subscription plan which starts at $6/month (or $60 per year) but goes up to $12/month ($120 per year).

This more expensive plan is called Nest Aware Plus, and it’s the only plan which adds 24/7 video supports to your Nest cameras. In other words, you don’t get constant recordings if you ‘just’ pay for the basic Nest Aware $6/month plan. On the plus side, the Nest Aware Plus plan covers all your cameras meaning that if you had 5 Nest devices, you’d get continuous recording for all of them.

The 24/7 recording clips are kept for up to 10 days on Google’s cloud servers, meaning you can access them anywhere, anytime and download as many clips as you’d like.

Eufy Cam constant recordings

Marketing image of the eufy indoor camera on a stand, with blue LED showing.
The eufy indoor camera on a stand.

I recently wrote about the whole Eufy Cam range and their 24/7 support, but the gist is that only the eufy indoor cam actually supports continuous recordings. This includes the eufy indoor cam pan and tilt model, too – but it means that the eufy doorbell and the outdoor 2/2C/E products don’t support 24/7 recordings.

The indoor eufy cameras usually record in a 2k (2560 x 1920) resolution, but in 24/7 mode they only record in full HD (1920 x 1080) due to the extra storage space that 24/7 recordings will take up.

The recordings can be stored on an SD card or a NAS, or you do have the option to pay eufy for an optional $3/month cloud storage plan. In other words, you can choose exactly how and where you store your 24/7 eufy cam recordings – on-prem at your house, or in the eufy cloud.

Arlo continuous recordings support

Arlo have changed their subscription plans over the years, although the latest information is that if you want 24/7 recording support, you must purchase a ‘CVR plan’ which costs $10/month ($100/year) per camera for 14 day’s of video storage, or $20/month ($200/year) per camera for 30 day’s storage.

The clear downside is that this isn’t too cheap. If you had 5 Arlo cameras, you’d pay at least $500/year for 14 day’s of storage per camera. However that’s not the only downside: you also can’t download any CVR (continuous video recording) video clips. You can only view them.

This therefore means that Arlo’s 24/7 support is fairly pricey, and almost a bit limited. Thankfully the plan can be purchased with a fair range of their products:

  • Arlo Ultra
  • Arlo Pro 2
  • Arlo Q
  • Arlo Q Plus
  • Arlo Baby

Reolink’s 24/7 support

A Reolink 4k PoE camera mounted below my garage roofline
A Reolink 4k PoE camera mounted below my garage roofline

The vast majority of Reolink’s cameras support 24/7 continuous recording. And unlike many of their competitors, they support streaming (i.e. recording) to local SD cards and NAS’ without subscription plans.

I already had a NAS in my home when I reviewed one of Reolink’s cameras, so I was able to get 24/7 recordings set-up with minimal fuss – or extra expense. I now have months of recordings stored on my NAS, without paying any extra each month.

To enable the 24/7 recording feature, launch the Reolink app, go to the camera’s settings and click “Camera Recording”. Then press “Schedule” and go to the “Timer” tab:

The Timer section of the Reolink app which allows you to setup continuous recording
The Timer section of the Reolink app which allows you to setup continuous recording

This then allows you to choose when your camera should record continuously – and if you want 24/7, just choose every time slot and click enabled.

Wyze Cam 24/7 support

Wyze Cam v2
Wyze Cam v2

The Wyze Cam range is split into two: there’s a few indoor cameras, and then there’s an outdoor cameras. As I mentioned above, the outdoor Wyze Cam doesn’t support true 24/7 recording: it only allows for “scheduled recordings”, whereby the camera will record continuously for up to 10 hours each day.

This compares to the indoor cameras which do support continuous recordings for 24 hours a day, up to the storage capacity of the SD card – which seems to be 32GB in practical terms.

The downside of Wyze only supporting up to 32GB cards in practise is that HD recordings will fill up the card in 2-3 days max (in 24/7 recording mode). After this point, the oldest recordings start getting overwritten.

Luckily, there is an alternative: tinyCam supports Wyze Cam 24/7 recording mode, giving you full cloud storage for 7 day’s of video recordings, for $3.99/month (per camera).

TP-Link Kasa Spot continuous recording

TP-Link’s Kasa smart home range have a number of smart cameras, but only their Spot products support 24/7 recording.

These record to a local SD card which you have to buy separately, but then you can view back the recordings in the Kasa Smart app. Details are still a little scarce as it’s a new product, but I believe that the max SD card size is 128 GB – a good size, as it’ll support over a week’s worth of 24/7, full HD video recordings.

Downsides of 24/7 recording

Whilst having your smart camera record continuously is a good thing in general, it will have some downsides too:

  • You’re houses bandwidth use will be much higher (with cloud plans). If your camera doesn’t support local storage, all the video clips will be uploaded to the cloud. If you don’t have an unlimited use internet policy, you may therefore be hit with excess use charges which can get pricey quickly.
  • The device will be working harder and use up more electric. Whilst you almost always have to plug-in the device to use 24/7 recording, you’ll still end up paying a bit more in electric use for your camera when it’s constantly recording.

    Equally, your device will be working much harder than it usually will. Whilst it’s hopefully manufactured with 24/7 recording in mind, there’s no guarantee that it won’t shorten the potential lifespan of your device (even by 1-2 years).
  • Continuous recordings are often stored locally, on an SD card or a NAS. This means that if your camera is stolen, these recordings are lost. Yes, some smart cameras allow you to backup these 24/7 clips to the cloud, but the majority don’t. This is therefore a flaw in your house’s security system, because a burglar can just steal the camera if it’s not mounted too high up.
  • Extra cost. Whether it’s the cost of an SD card, a NAS or a monthly subscription plan, you need to pay extra for your smart camera to constantly record. Whilst you may need an SD card or cloud plan anyone, you’ll probably find that you’ll have to pay more for your SD card or cloud plan in 24/7 mode.

Alternatives to constant smart camera recordings

Whilst constant, 24/7 video clips are a feature that I wish I had on my Ring cameras, smart cameras that don’t offer this feature usually offer a half decent substitute instead – snapshot captures, also called timeline previews:

Screenshot from the Ring app, showing the 'Snapshot Capture' (or 'Camera Preview') feature.
The ‘Snapshot Capture’ (or ‘Camera Preview’) feature of the Ring app.

This feature is where your smart camera takes a still image at regular intervals, allowing you to get a fairly decent viewpoint of exactly what’s been happening around your property throughout the day. For example, if you have multiple smart cameras, all set to 30 second frequency, you’ll almost certainly be able to spot any nefarious activity via the snapshot images.

Finally, you could always just get an ‘old style’ CCTV or DVR camera to use in addition to your smart cameras. These usually record to a local hard drive or even a VHS (if you buy an ultra second hand one!), but they work well and give you 24/7 recordings for extra piece of mind. Of course, these recordings will be stored locally in your house, so you may need to secure the hard drive unit if possible.

About Tristan Perry

Tristan Perry is a software developer who is passionate about tech gadgets, DIY and housing. He has therefore loved seeing smart homes hit the mainstream. Tristan also has an academic background (in Math & Computer Science), and so he enjoys digging into the technical ways that smart home devices work.

Tristan owns close to a dozen Amazon Echo devices, way too many Philips Hue bulbs and lightstrips, a boat-load of Ring Cameras and Doorbells... and a bunch of other smart home devices too (from Reolink, Google Nest, GLEDOPTO and others).

30 thoughts on “Which Smart Cameras Support 24/7 Continuous Recording?”

  1. Need your advice.

    I want 24/7 recording in multiple rooms, don’t want to keep recording more then 24 hours, non-cloud (recording stored on premise) , wireless cameras ( preferably battery powered) .

    Is there such a system? what do you recommend?

    Thanks in advance

    Reply
  2. Hi-looking to record horse’s actions in his stall throughout night so need constant feed and recording. sounds like Arlo or google nest w monthly subscription? any companies rent for a few months?

    Reply
    • Yes, Arlo or Google Nest would probably be best. If you only need it for a few months, perhaps just buy whatever 24/7 camera is cheapest – and then sell it on afterwards. I unfortunately don’t know of any 24/7 camera that allows a fixed time rental.

      Reply
  3. Your article was extremely helpful!! I just have 1 question, do any of the above mentioned cameras have motion alert capability? Like the ring, will any notify you right away if it detects motion?

    Thank you! Your article is the most helpful thing on the internet for a parent, like me, with a child suffering from a rare form of epilepsy that wants to keep a constant eye on their little one!

    Reply
  4. Thank you very much! Until I read your post, I spent a lot of time on the web trying to sort out how to get 24/7 recording without a subscription. Super helpful!

    Reply
  5. Just a question: when you write:
    “You’re houses bandwidth use will be much higher. If you don’t have an unlimited use internet policy…”
    well, unless the recording is stored on the cloud, it shouldn’t consume any byte from the ISP plan, right ? E.g. even when recording on a local NAS, the recording stays in the local network (same for recording on a SD card, in which case there should be no network transfer at all if the SD card is plugged into the camera, as opposed to some Arlo solutions that require to insert the card in a separate hub device…)

    Reply
  6. Hi, great article. Can you review the hikvision CCTV products – ColorVu 2nd Gen look great in low light and have ultra sharp quality, with 24/7 recording of course. I just wonder if they are accessible via an app away from its location? Any ideas? Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi, glad you found the article useful! I’ll consider reviewing the Hikvision for sure. To test whether they are accessible away from their location, just try turning your phone’s WiFi off and rely on mobile data. If it still works, it should work anywhere in the world 🙂

      Reply
    • Hi Soli , yes HikVision does have a mobile app and yes again you can access your camera’s view on the go when configured properly.

      Reply
  7. Hi! I want 3 camera that will be constant “on,” I don’t want notifications I want to look at a monitor and see what is going on at that moment, I would like for it to work with a portable Portal so I can carry from room to room with me to keep constant vigil on 3 rooms. Would be nice if had speak and listen feature too, and link to ap on cell to keep an eye on those specific three rooms when I am not at home. Expandable? That would be cool. 24 hour storage is fine.

    Thanks

    Reply
  8. Hi,

    Good overview article.. well done. One thing I believe would helpful next time if you do an updated version to this article, is to clarify the difference between what is the ‘maximum record length’ (or a segment, event, file) of time, that each different manufacture’s product offers – to the cloud.

    I’ve been researching, looking for ‘NON STOP’ camera, which goes to the cloud. For example, I’m looking for a ’24 hour period’ – that ends up on a ‘single’ video file, that you can then fast forward, rewind, etc.

    A lot of the 24/7 recording features offered, unfortunately in the fine print you find out they only record in short segments of time – eg. maximum of 16 sec, or 5 minutes, or only when triggered by an event. So it’s not actually recording 24/7 NON STOP !
    To go through a single days events that has short maximum recording lengths ( where there could be 100’s of files) makes it difficult and impractical to use… when compared to 1 single file that’s covered the 24 hours… as you can fast forward, rewind and go to a set point of time more easily. I’m not looking for a camera that only records when triggered by an event, even though it’s promoted as a “24/7 continuous” recording.

    So clarifying, that even though the camera is ‘Continuously ON’ – ready to record, triggered by an event – when Compared to one that is just recording ‘NON STOP Continuously’ recording all the time … they are to different features… and should be made clear to the customer.

    To be honest, I spent days contacting all the Customer Support staff from different manufactures to confirm this feature … which has become a nightmare, as some manufactures do not even have a phone contact… so support is only offered by email or live chat… and I have found that even a lot of the Customer Service staff aren’t even aware and have to go to other staff to get the correct answers… very frustrating!

    But thanks for the good article ! Hope this helps others understand the difference ! 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks Michael, that’s definitely a very helpful comment. I agree that this is worth me reflecting when I next update this article.

      I understand your point about having 1 recording or hundreds – some of my Ring devices record lots of short clips, and it is hard to go through them all for sure.

      Reply
    • hi Michael,

      I was wondering if you did find a camera that records non stop this is the exact camera that I am looking for thank you in advance

      Reply
  9. The Yi or Kami brand cameras all support 24/7 recording. Either on the SD card or on the cloud or both for $7.99 a month up to 7 days for CVR. SD storage CVR for free 64 gb card holds 2 days so 128 gb card should hold 4 days of constant video. I have all YI cameras and they have held up amazingly and the app is very user friendly. The cameras are very inexpensive in price and last for many years.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment Kimber, good to know that YI cameras have been working out well for you – and being able to hold 2-4 days of 24/7 recordings (on an SD card) is pretty useful.

      Reply
  10. Hi was wondering if you could suggest which is best for 24/7 recording a room. I am planning togo on vacation n I don’t want my roommate coming in my room without permission. As i lost important belongings. I will be gone for one month only.

    Reply
    • Hi, the Eufy Indoor Cam could work quite well in this case. Alternatively since you’re mainly interested in someone coming into your room, you could purchase a motion-detection based camera. I.e. a non-24/7 camera could also work fine, such as the Ring Indoor Cam. This will then send you motion alerts when someone enters your room.

      Reply
    • Hi Lee, I have just updated the article – since writing it, I have reviewed some of Reolink’s products. They offer fairly simple 24/7 recording capability, and you can stream this directly to a NAS (or record to an SD card, and then FTP this to backup space).

      So Reolink would probably be my suggestion for you – I have months worth of Reolink recordings stored on my NAS right now, and it’s nice that they don’t charge anything extra for this capability (unlike many other smart camera providers, who seem to love monthly subscription fees).

      Reply
  11. Hi Tristan,

    I need to get indoor cameras that can film outside my home 24/7, non-stop, and record, as I am experiencing anti-social behaviour and this is what was recommended to me by the Police. I need to be able to show the Police the footage so arrests can be made. I cannot afford to pay big monthly subscriptions unfortunately. Could you please recommend the right camera?

    Reply
    • Hi Joanne,

      Sorry to hear your situation.

      Cameras from Reolink might be worth exploring – you can put an SD card in them, and set them to record 24/7 if you’d like (or set it to record continuously, but only between certain hours). Something like the Reolink E1 or Reolink E1 Pro might work well, and it’s not too expensive – but you will need to buy the SD card separately.

      Reply
  12. Hi Tristan, we have a wireless outdoor ring camera. As you know it only records with motion and for 30 seconds or tad longer. I was trying to find a camera where I can go back at anytime of the day and see what’s happening. Motion cameras do miss a lot I feel. So something that records at all times.

    Reply
    • Hi Arlo, yes I can definitely understand the need to have a 24/7 (i.e. continuous) recording camera. The ones mentioned in this article all offer this, but since you’re looking for outdoor, you’re best bet would be out of the Nest Outdoor Cam, and ones from either Reolink or Arlo.

      Reply
  13. Man my head is spinning on this one. I own a party bus company and I do not have a problem with powering the devices (we plug the bus in at night and runs on a generator during its shifts)…. Ideally I would love to get something that records constantly in the case someone claims a slip and fall or who knows what. I currently use Blink cameras to check in to make sure we are on time and employees are doing their side-work, are on time, and professional. My problem lies with how much data I can supply, currently using mi-fi jet packs. Can you please suggest what you would get in my shoes for the next bus?

    Reply
    • It’s definitely a difficult decision. In your case, a camera that can record locally might be better – such as a camera from Wyze, Reolink or Annke which can all record to a local SD card. You can still use an app to check-in on them, but generally speaking it won’t use much internet data (because the recordings are made to a local SD card, not the cloud). The only downside is that the camera could be stolen, along with the SD card, and then you lose all the recordings. You’d probably have to gauge how likely that scenario is – it’s the big downside of local recording (compared to cloud-based recordings).

      Reply
  14. Hola Tristan buenas¡¡¡ yo necesito una camara 24/7 de grabación continua en la Sd local, el problema es que es casa de campo no muy lejos de la ciudad y yo necesito algo que tenga panel solar o batería. Hable con el fabricante de reolink y me dijo que ninguno de sus modelos con batería(argus eco, 2, 3, pt,…) no cuentan con grabación continua solo eventos cortos por detección. talvez tengas otra información ya que dudo porque creo sus trabajadores no conocen el producto.
    Estuve pensando en dahua imou en sus modelos 2, 2e,2c, bullet,looc…. ellos me dijeron que graba 24/7 continuo en la sd local pero es sin batería con 12v, no me consta tampoco me convence al ser baratos tal vez sabes si a alguien le ha funcionado. me ayudarías con tu recomendación.

    N: si pudiera comprar con una camara tipica de 12v( cuenta con 24/7 completa y no tiene bateria). el asunto es que como podria monitorear el estado de la bateria.

    Reply
    • Hola gelbis! ¡Perdón por mi respuesta traducida automáticamente!

      Encontrar una cámara de grabación constante las 24 horas, los 7 días de la semana, que se quede sin batería, siempre será difícil, por las razones que ha descubierto.

      Una opción podría ser encontrar una instalación de “panel solar a PoE” (alimentación a través de Ethernet) y luego comprar una cámara PoE.

      Las cámaras PoE a menudo usan una potencia mínima (algunas cámaras Reolink usan menos de 12 vatios), lo que debería ser fácil de alimentar con paneles solares.

      Entonces, la cámara PoE puede admitir grabaciones constantes las 24 horas, los 7 días de la semana, pero también puede funcionar sin una fuente de alimentación eléctrica constante.

      Espero que tenga sentido, ¡buena suerte con tu búsqueda!
      Tristán

      Reply

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