If you’ve been researching home security cameras for a while you’ll know that two popular options are the Canary Home Security Device and the Dropcam Pro. If you’ve narrowed down your potential purchase options to these two then this in depth comparison is for you. Which has the better camera? Which is more suited for security? Which integrates with other home automation devices? Read on to find out.
Use the links below to skip to the area that interests you most otherwise read on for the full comparison.
Installation and Ease of Use
Dropcam: setup involves connecting to your Wi-Fi network or the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) via the iOS or Android app.
Canary: set the device in the desired location, plug in and connect to the Internet via the free Android or iOS app.
Both cameras are very easy to set up. No complicated settings need to be tweaked here and even a first time user should have no problems getting it ready. Either one should be ready to use in a few minutes or so.
Dropcam: video surveillance support, 720p resolution, night vision, auto arm/disarm, 8x zoom, 130° field of view, audio support.
Canary: video surveillance support, 1080p resolution, night vision, auto arm/disarm, 147 degree wide-angle lens, audio support.
The Dropcam pro has been significantly upgraded from the original dropcam and the 720p resolution is good. The 8x zoom and 130° field of view gives you a clear view of what’s going around the covered areas, and the night vision is adequate.
The Canary offers 1080p resolution and as such it’s much clearer compared to the Dropcam, and the 147 degree wide angle lens provides more than enough viewing room to see all around the covered areas. As far as night vision goes both are serviceable and should help secure your home even if it’s dark.
We give the Canary the edge here owing to the higher resolution, though at 720p the Dropcam is not bad either.
Dropcam: offers motion zone support under the Nest Aware Plan, offers notification alerts for motion and sound.
Canary: has no motion zone support, detects motion and sounds and sends out notifications.
The motion detection capabilities of the Dropcam and the Canary are not that different and work pretty much the same way. Once you’ve installed them you can just sit back and relax as both units will send you notifications if their sensors detect any unusual activities.
Both security cameras are not immune to the occasional false alarm, but the key word there is occasional, because the longer you use the devices the more they’re able to “learn” and avoid making the same mistakes.
Winner: Dropcam Pro
We give the dropcam pro the slight edge in the motion detection category due to the zone support settings.
Storage type and space
Dropcam pro: cloud storage costs $10 – $30.00 per month, local storage available with Nest Aware Plan, cloud storage memory is good for 10 or 30 Days.
Canary: cloud storage cost is $0 – $29.99 per month, download clips for local storage, cloud storage memory is good for 12 hours – 30 days.
Dropcam storage is cloud based, and currently they provide a couple of storage plans, both of which have a monthly charge. The basic package gives you rolling video storage good for 10 days and starts at $10 a month. There is also an option to upgrade to the 30 day plan for $30 a month.
The videos for the Canary are also kept in the cloud. There is a free plan available that allows you to see the last twelve hours of footage, and the free plan also lets you save up to five events, something that you won’t always find in free home security camera plans.
In addition, the Canary has another plan where you can view the previous two days of recorded video plus the option to record up to 25 clips for $2.99 every month. If you upgrade to the $9.99 a month plan you’ll be given the option to view 7 days of your recorded video and also 100 event clips. And if you’re wondering about their ultimate plan, it costs $29.99 a month and includes video history up to 30 days and unlimited number of clips that can be saved.
Each of these plans provides support for one location and one camera.
It offers more options, and being able to look at rolling footage is a nice feature. This doesn’t mean the Dropcam plans aren’t bad, but it’s hard to beat the Canary considering that they offer a free plan.
Software & Apps
Both the Canary and Dropcam offer free apps for the Android and iOS.
The Dropcam app is straightforward and easy to use, and it provides you with a convenient way to customize and use the Dropcam. From the app you can tweak the notification settings, change preferences and view the footage live. Apart from the Android and iOS apps, Dropcam has a web portal so you can log into your PC and check the settings there.
Aside from these Dropcam apps however, Nest (its parent company) is developing an all in one Nest app that will give you control over all your Nest products like the Nest Aware services. The Nest app has the option to add other members to the camera feed and give them access. The Nest app also comes with a home and aware option to arm and disarm the app automatically. While the Nest is a versatile app, it’s best when the Wi-Fi video is streamed via a PC rather than the app.
The Canary app has always been known for ease of use and the latest version is no exception. The app has intuitive controls and functions, and there should be no problems viewing set alerts and video footage, and quite unusual for these home security apps, can analyze the air in your home and determine its quality.
There is little lag when viewing from the Canary app, but the results are better if you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network rather than 3G or 4G. One of the things you need to remember when using the Dropcam or Canary app is the quality of the steaming service is only as good as your Internet connection. If the connection isn’t any good, it’s not the app’s fault as the issue lies with your web connection.
Winner: Dropcam Pro
The Canary app is very good and easy to use, but we give the edge to the Dropcam as it’s more convenient to use. However both are straightforward and intuitive. When it comes to mobile compatibility and flexibility, they’re both equal.
Integration with home automation
The Dropcam really is not configured for home automation, but it is a very popular standalone security camera and is fully compatible with a wide array of security systems like Works with Nest. If you have Works with Nest, you can set up the Dropcam and your other cameras so they connect with each other and provide enhanced protection. Furthermore, the Dropcam can be hooked up to the Nest Learning thermostat and the Nest Protect.
The Canary on the other hand, has full home automation built in and comes with essential features like the air quality sensor, humidity sensor and temperature sensor. These features are all designed to keep track of the situation and thanks to the device and the accompanying app, keeping up with the data is not difficult.
The main focus of the Canary is your home environment and security, and it does so very well. The Canary does not have any specific smart features but is compatible with Wink and can arm or disarm triggers. If you leave the house for example, the Wink can be used to arm the security camera, and if you unlock the door it can disarm the Canary.
This only goes to show how you can use the Canary with other systems, but the Canary actually has its own arm/disarm that automatically runs by way of geo-fencing. If you want to adjust the settings, you can hook up the Canary mode changes onto the IFTTT channels with a Wink shortcut. From there it’s simply a matter of deciding where to connect the security camera.
Canary offers more in terms of home automation, though if you’ve got another system installed and it is compatible with the Dropcam, the difference between the two will be negligible.
Home security features
Both the Canary and the Dropcam make for excellent home security cameras: when it comes to self-monitored security, both are tough to beat. Both have solid motion detection and send out alerts via their respective smartphone apps, and once the message has been sent you can log in and view the alert.
The Dropcam relies mainly on video surveillance and its chief strength lies in the sound and built-in motion detectors. The two-way audio is also a handy feature and can save you a lot of trouble, and while the motion detector is sensitive, it never reaches the point of being an irritant.
However, the capabilities of the Dropcam increase if you’re willing to pay for the Nest Aware plan. Apart from the security features that have been cited here, the Nest Aware plan includes activity zones, more alerts, video history and the option to make and save video clips.
Furthermore, the Nest Aware plan gives you access to more computing power to perform additional algorithms. It is these algorithms that enable the security device to intelligently determine what sounds and motions should be monitored and what should be ignored. All this however, comes at a price.
Canary has way more features. However this is applicable only when we’re comparing the base products: if you’re going to subscribe to the Nest Aware plan, it’s a different matter altogether.
False alarms and reliability
The only thing worse than a security camera that fails to detect motion and sounds are those that jump at shadows and raise an alarm on everything. That is one of the most common problems with poorly made cameras and once these false alarms occur, you will be tempted to just turn the security camera off.
The good news is that both the Canary and the Dropcam have taken steps to address this issue. The Canary for instance, permits you to tag events as “Everything is fine” so pets, sunlight and shadows do not trigger the alarm. Dropcam on the other hand, comes with activity zones that enable detection change to concentrate on specific areas of an area or room.
Winner: Both equal
On the whole, both home security cameras work well when it comes to preventing false alarms. Is there room for improvement for both? Yes, but overall significant strides have been made.
Support and warranty
Dropcam offers a 1 year replace and repair for the parts. Canary also offers a one year warranty so they’re equal in this department.
The Overall Verdict
Both the Dropcam Pro and Canary are good home security cameras and should meet the needs of most home owners. The Canary is slightly more cost efficient and given the fact it supports 1080p and the Dropcam only 720p, it has the edge. However the Dropcam does offer Motion Zone support so it evens out. Regardless which of the two you buy, they should work just fine, but in terms of cloud storage, the Canary is better.
If you’re thinking of getting the Dropcam Pro, you might want to look at the Nest Cam instead (read the full review here). It has superseded the Dropcam Pro and offers more in terms of features and specs. While the Dropcam maxes out at 720p, the Nest offers full 1080p resolution and has plug and play installation.
Overall Winner: For a full home security option we prefer the Canary Home Security Device.
Buying optionsClick here to view the Dropcam Pro on Amazon
Click here to view to Canary Security Device on Amazon