Thanks to smart security cameras, keeping an eye on your home while you’re at work or on vacation has never been easier. They’re small enough to put just about anywhere, they stay connected all the time over Wi-Fi, and they send notifications to your phone when motion is detected.
I’ve reviewed the most popular home-security cameras from Amazon and Nest (now owned by Google) and have even compared the two, but these aren’t your only good options. I recently tested the Kasa Cam from TP-Link, a startup that specializes in making affordable smart home tech.
The Kasa Cam is, indeed, affordable at $110, and it has all the features I’ve come to expect from high-end smart cameras: an easy setup process, good audio and video quality, a microphone and speaker, night mode, cloud storage, the ability to stream live video to a Chromecast or Fire TV through the Google Assistant or Alexa, and more.
The camera’s setup was quick and easy thanks to TP-Link’s companion Kasa app, which lets you manage all of TP-Links smart home accessories, including the Kasa Cam. The app guided me through each step of the process and I was up and running in less than five minutes. (Quick tip: have your Wi-Fi password handy.)
The camera captures video at a resolution of 1080P, and in my experience, the clips it took looked very clear, even in the dark. Just as important as its high resolution is the camera’s 130-degree field of view, which was wide enough that I had no problem keeping an eye on my entire studio apartment with the single Kasa Cam in the corner.
Each time the camera detected motion I would receive a notification on my phone, and two options inside the Kasa app. I could either watch a video clip – in my case, most were about 20 seconds long — or stream live video. I opted to watch the clips first, but the ability to quickly hop into a live view was nice, especially if I saw something wrong immediately.
If I did see an intruder, I could have communicated with them through the Kasa Cam’s built-in speaker and microphone to scare them off, or at least let them know they were being filmed. This has become a standard feature on most new smart security cameras, and I wouldn’t recommend buying one without it.
From a hardware perspective, the Kasa Cam is on par with the more expensive security cameras I’ve tried, and its video clip management and storage system was also competitive. All of the clips the camera took were accessible in the Kasa app under the “activity” tab.
Clips were presented chronologically on a list I could quickly scroll through; tapping a clip let me play it, and hitting the “more” button displayed beneath each one gave me the option to download it. By default, the Kasa Cam stores two days’ worth of video history or 1GB’s worth of video clips for free. If you want more storage space, you can purchase one of two subscriptions:
A “plus” subscription will let you scroll through a 14-day history and store up to 14GB of clips for $4 a month or $40 a year (per camera.) A “premium” subscription will let you scroll through a 30-day history and up to 30GB of video clips for $7 a month or $70 a year (per camera.)
The free tier is honestly pretty generous and both subscriptions are cheaper than Amazon’s and Google’s offerings, although Amazon’s Cloud Cam subscriptions cover multiple cameras instead of charging you for each one. As long as you download clips containing suspicious activity before your two days are up, there’s no reason to pay.
Taken as a whole, TP-Link’s Kasa Cam is worth the $110 investment for people looking to set up a smart home security system. It’s easy to use and packed with useful features, and it undercuts its competition on price by a few bucks, a true win-win-win.