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Arlo vs. Nest: Complete Camera Comparison

Arlo & Nest are both big names in the home security world, but they do have a bit of a different approach. In this comparison, we’re going to hit the highlights of the Arlo and Nest lineup to figure out which one is right for you.

Arlo vs. Nest camera comparison

Side-by-Side Comparison

Below, we have a brief side-by-side comparison of the most popular and best camera models from Arlo & Nest.

Arlo Ultra
  • Power: Battery-powered
  • Location: Indoor / Outdoor
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Storage: Cloud + Local
  • Cost: $$$
Nest IQ Outdoor
  • Power: Plug-in
  • Location: Indoor / Outdoor
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Storage: Cloud only
  • Cost: $$$
Arlo Q
  • Power: Plug-in
  • Location: Indoor Only
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Storage: Cloud + Local
  • Cost: $
Nest Indoor
  • Power: Plug-in
  • Location: Indoor Only
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Storage: Cloud only
  • Cost: $$

Best for Value: Arlo

In general, Arlo is going to be cheaper than Nest in terms of upfront costs and recurring monthly subscription fees. Even though Arlo does require the purchase of the base station, it still ends up being a cheaper package deal.

Most Arlo cameras (except for the ultra high-res ones) offer up to 7-days of free cloud-based storage. If you want extra features like 24/7 monitoring or additional video storage, you can always opt for the monthly subscription.

  • Arlo subscriptions start at $3 / mo.
  • Nest subscriptions start at $5 / mo.

Best for Outdoors: Arlo

Arlo offers more cameras designed for the great outdoors, including standalone lights or cameras with integrated lights like the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight or the Arlo Ultra.

Arlo Ultra

Arlo Ultra security camera with smart hub

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Arlo Pro 3

arlo pro 3 security camera review

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Arlo Floodlight

Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight camera

Check Price

The Differences

  • Price: In general, Arlo camera systems are a little less expensive than Google Nest camera systems. In addition to lower initial costs, Arlo also has lower subscription costs, if you decide to go that route.
  • Base Station: Most Arlo cameras require the use of a base station while Nest cameras do not. Wired Arlo cameras, like the Arlo Q do not require the base station.
  • Video storage: Arlo offers up to 7 days of rolling video storage on the cloud (excluding 2K and 4K cameras). Nest only offers up to 3 hours of video storage. With a paid subscription, you can get up to 60 days of rolling storage with the Nest Aware Plus plan. All paid Arlo plans max out at 30 days of rolling storage.

Arlo & Nest Models

Arlo Cameras

  • Arlo Ultra: Top-of-the-line wireless indoor / outdoor camera with 4K resolution, motion tracking and auto-zoom capabilities
  • Arlo Pro 3: Indoor / outdoor camera with 2K review resolution, color night view, and an integrated spotlight
  • Arlo Pro 2: Indoor / outdoor camera with 1080p resolution, and free 7-day video storage on the Cloud
  • Arlo Pro: Indoor / outdoor camera with 720p video resolution and maxes out at 8-minutes of video recording
  • Arlo Q: great budget option for indoor wired video surveillance
  • Arlo Cam: Arlo’s most basic indoor wired video with 720p video resolution and average clarity & sensor performance
  • Arlo Video Doorbell: wired-install doorbell camera to replace traditional doorbells. 1:1 video aspect ration with 180° viewing angle for better visibility of the surroundings

NOTE: All Arlo cameras require the Arlo Smart Hub or other base station to work (excluding the Arlo Q or Arlo Video Doorbell)

Nest Cameras

  • Nest Cam Indoor: most budget-friendly Nest camera for indoor use only; includes basic function with standard video resolution
  • Nest Cam Outdoor: most budget-friendly outdoor camera with basic functions and standard video resolution
  • Nest Cam IQ Indoor: a more advanced indoor camera with a renewed look, advanced 4K sensor and tracking as well as integrated person alerts
  • Nest Cam IQ Outdoor: advanced outdoor camera designed to pair with the Nest Cam IQ Indoor; with advanced 4K sensor and tracking as well as integrated person alerts

Table of Contents

Design Overview

10-SECOND SUMMARY: Nest and Arlo both have their similarities and differences. They both offer a simple aesthetic, with models coming in black or white body styles. Nest uses a simple stand indoors, while Arlo opts for no base at all for many of their indoor models. Outdoor installations have mountable bases.

*Features vary based on the exact model purchased.

Arlo Design

Arlo Pro 3 camera
Arlo Pro 3 camera

Nest Design

Nest Indoor Camera
Nest Indoor Cam

Arlo and Nest both stick with blak or white camera bodies and bases for a modern and simple look.

MORE: What a fresh look to a Nest Cam? Check out these camera skins.

Mounting Styles

Arlo

  • Total Round Mount
  • Corner Round Mount
  • Hardware Mount

Nest

  • Surface Mount
  • Ball Mount

The Mount: Arlo

  • Total Round: rounded circle with a flat base; can attached to provide variety of viewing angles; This style mount comes with the Arlo Pro 2 and the Arlo Pro.
Magnetic mount for the Arlo Pro 1 camera
Magnetic mount for the Arlo Pro 1 camera
  • Corner Round: flat bottom with a magnetic wedge; designed to attach to the bottom CORNER of the camera. This style mount comes with the Arlo Ultra and the Arlo Pro 3.
Arlo Pro 3 camera on magnetic mount
Arlo Pro 3 camera on magnetic mount

The only Arlo camera that is not designed with the magnetic mount in mind is the wire indoor Arlo Q security camera.

Side view of the Arlo Q camera
Side view of the Arlo Q camera

The Mount: Nest

Nest only offers four camera models currently so they have four different mounting styles, varying by each model.

Nest indoor camera
Nest indoor camera review

The Nest Cam Indoor uses a black disc base with a pivoting stem. This mount can pivot nearly 180° to the side.

Nest Can indoor pivoting

The Nest Cam IQ Indoor has a more rigid disc base. This one also pivots, but the pivot point is located at the top of the stem instead of the bottom.

RELATED: Looking to mount the IQ indoor camera to a magnetic surface? Check out this magnetic mount, available from third-party retailers.

Nest Cam IQ camera base
Nest Cam IQ camera base

Both the Nest Cam Outdoor and Nest Cam IQ Outdoor have a mount that magnetically attaches to the camera. Hardware screws are provided to secure the mount to the building exterior.

Nest outdoor camera review

Video Storage

Arlo

  • Cloud-based
  • Local storage (SD card not provided)

Nest

  • Cloud-based only

NOTE: Exact storage may vary by model.

Arlo cameras have cloud-based storage or local storage available via SD card. Cloud packages vary in terms of how much footage you get for free. And cameras with higher resolution may not offer free storage at all, like the Arlo Ultra.

If you want to keep zero monthly fees, you’ll need to rely on screenshots, live video, or SD card video storage for surveillance of those cameras.

By comparison, the Nest cameras provide up to 3 hours of video storage on the Google cloud. They have no local storage so if you want more footage, you’ll need to pay for a monthly subscription into Nest Aware.

  • Nest Aware: rolling 30 days of view storage
  • Nest Aware Plus: rolling 60 days of video storage

Video Quality

Arlo – Daytime

Arlo ultra camera - indoor daytime video quality
Arlo Ultra Cam – 4K

Arlo – Nighttime

Arlo Ultra - vide quality - 4K color night vision
Arlo Ultra Cam – 4K

Nest – Daytime

Screenshot from the Nest indoor camera - looking across kitchen
Nest Cam Indoor – 1080p

Nest – Nighttime

Nest indoor camera night vision mode
Nest Cam Indoor – 1080p

Arlo cameras range in video resolution from 720p, 1080p, 2K, or up to 4K resolution.

The lower 720p resolution is good for low-risk areas or areas where you don’t need to see a lot of detail. You can have more cameras and not take up a ton of digital storage for the video files as well.

High-resolution cameras like the 2K Arlo Pro 3 or the 4K Arlo Ultra have higher performance video, but the video files are too large to store for free on the digital cloud.

If you want cloud storage with these cameras, you’ll have to pay for it by opting into Arlo Smart.

All current Nest cameras shoot video at 1080p resolution.

It’s a good middle ground of being high enough resolution for clear video without hogging bandwidth or being too large of a file to store on the cloud.

Setup & Usability

The setup and usability are pretty comparable between Arlo and Nest.

Unbox the camera, connect it to your wifi network and smart app, pair the camera to the app, install in the desired location, and you’re good to go.

Input Connections

Arlo

  • Magnetic charging disc
  • Hardware mount

Nest

  • Charging USB cable
  • Hardware mount

The Input: Arlo

Arlo cameras have two inputs.

  1. A magnetic disc that connects the charging cable
  2. A threaded insert that screws in a hardware mount (optional)
Input / output on the Arlo Ultra camera

The Input: Nest

Nest ops for a more traditional charging cable with USB and micro-USB connections. These connections are what you will use when it’s time to charge up the cameras.

  1. USB input
  2. Threaded hardware mount
Nest camera input
Nest camera input

What’s in the box?

The contents of any home security camera system will vary based on manufacture, model, and any add-ons you may go for. But in general, each system will come with the same 4 things:

  1. The camera
  2. Power (battery or cords)
  3. Mounting (plates, screws, plastic anchors, and/or magnetic base)
  4. User Guide

Wireless Arlo Camera

Arlo Pro 3 camera parts and accessories
Arlo Pro 3 camera – accessories

Wired Arlo Camera

Arlo Q camera with parts and accessories
Arlo Q camera – accessories

Arlo includes a mix of plug-in and battery-powered cameras for both indoor and outdoor applications. All current Nest cameras must be plugged in for continuous power, although they may connect wirelessly to the local Wifi network.

Nest Indoor Cam

What's included with the Nest indoor camera - parts and accessories
Nest Cam Indoor – accessories

Nest Outdoor Cam

Nest outdoor camera parts and accessories
Nest Cam Outdoor – accessories

Power Options

As mentioned above, all Nest cameras require a plug-in for continuous power. On the other hand, Arlo has a variety of power options.

Here’s a quick rundown of Arlo power:

If you’re on a budget and don’t plan on moving it often, the Arlo Q or original Arlo Cam are solid options for wired, indoor cameras.

Nest does not offer any battery-powered cameras but instead has four different cameras that are all “plug-in”.

This could be a longer setup and install time as well as more intrusive, especially for exterior applications that might not have power nearby.

Arlo vs. Nest Subscription Comparisons

If you are planning to subscribe to a surveillance plan, both Arlo and Nest have similar packages. With a paid subscription, Arlo and Nest offer:

  • 24/7 continuous video
  • Cloud-based video storage: up to 30 days with Arlo, up to 60 days with Nest
  • Emergency calling (on Arlo and Nest 2nd Gen only; not Nest 1st Gen)

Without the subscription, there are still good security features between Nest and Arlo, namely:

  • One price, regardless of number of cameras
  • Event-based recording (EBR), which records only when the camera detects activity
  • Sound detection
  • Cloud-based video storage: up to 7 days with Arlo, up to 3 hours with Nest

In addition to the feature list above, many Arlo cams also have an audible siren feature.

Here’s a full rundown of the Arlo and Nest subscription services:

Arlo Smart vs. Nest Aware

 ArloArlo Smart: EliteArlo Smart: PremierNestNest AwareNest Aware Plus
Price Starting AtNo subscription$3/month $10/monthNo subscription$6/month$12/month
Motion-activated NotificationsYesYesYesYesYesYes
Live ViewYesYesYesYesYesYes
2-Way AudioYesYesYesYesYesYes
Lifetime Theft ProtectionNoYesYesYesYesYes
Video HistoryUp to 7 days free (excludes Arlo Pro 3 and Arlo Ultra)Rolling 30 daysRolling 30 daysUp to 3 hours freeRolling 30 daysRolling 60 days
Max Video ResolutionDetermined by camera; up to 1080p2K4KDetermined by cameraDetermined by cameraDetermined by camera
Snapshot CaptureYesYesYesYesYesYes
24/7 Professional MonitoringNoNoNoNoNoNo
Emergency CallingNoYesYesNoYesYes
SupportUnlimitedUp to 5 cameras; 50% off plan for additional camerasUp to 5 cameras; 50% off plan for additional camerasUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited

Is Arlo or Nest best for you?

Alright so you made it this far. Still not sure which camera is right for you?

Here’s the bottom line and what you really need to know:

Best Value Camera

Arlo Q security camera

WINNER: The Arlo Q is a wired, plug-in camera with 1080p video resolution and plugs into a standard wall outlet. The Arlo has reasonably priced within the $ tier from most retailers and is a solid choice if you’re looking for a simple wired camera.

NOTE: The Arlo Q does not require a base station, like wire-free Arlo cameras.

REVIEW: Click here to read the full review of the Arlo Q camera.

RUNNER UP: The Nest Cam Indoor is also a wired indoor camera. It’s a little more expensive than the Arlo Q and offers many of the same features. If you have other Nest products in your home, it could make sense to go with the Nest Indoor Cam over the Arlo for better connectivity and to have all cameras on the same app or subscription plan.

REVIEW: Click here to read the full review of the Nest Cam Indoor.

Best Indoor Camera

Nest IQ indoor camera

WINNER: The Nest IQ indoor camera is a plug-in camera with continuous power and 1080p video resolution. It has “person alerts” and the ability to tell people from objects, as well as 24/7 live steaming, a 4K sensor, and 3-hour activity history in the Nest app (for free). My biggest qualm here is the lack of free cloud-based storage… ideally, I would like to have seen at least day’s worth of footage before it starts rolling over the past video.

REVIEW: Click here to check the price for the Nest IQ indoor camera.

arlo pro 3 security camera review

RUNNER UP: The Arlo Pro 3 is a great indoor / outdoor camera and has a lot of good features, like 2K video resolution and an integrated spotlight. The main thing that hurts this model is the fact that it has no free cloud-based storage at all due to the high resolution as well as it’s need for a seperate base station to work properly.

REVIEW: Click here to read the full review of the Arlo Pro 3 camera.

Best Outdoor Camera

Arlo Ultra security camera with smart hub

WINNER: The Arlo Ultra is the better choice here, compared to Nest. It has 4K video resolution, color night mode, and flexibly power options. It also has an integrated spotlight and the whole thing is powered with a rechargeable battery pack. Hard to beat this deal.

REVIEW: Click here to read the full review of the Arlo Ultra camera.

Nest IQ outdoor camera

RUNNER UP: The Nest IQ Outdoor is the most advanced outdoor camera that Nest offers. It has 1080p video resolution, the ability to tell the difference between familiar faces, strangers, and inanimate objects, as well as a 4K sensor. There’s no audible siren or spotlight, which does hurt it a bit compared to the Arlo Ultra.

REVIEW: Click here to check the price for the Nest IQ outdoor camera.

Still have questions?

Feel free to drop us a comment down below and we’d be happy to make a custom recommendation for you and your home.

About Derek Hales

Derek HalesDerek Hales is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ModernCastle.com. He has been featured in Fast Company, Reader's Digest, Business Insider, Realtor.com, She Knows, and other major publications. Derek has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Kansas State University. Hales has been testing and reviewing products for the home since 2014.

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