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The Best Wi-Fi Cams with Facial Recognition

Nest IQ indoor camera on a table

If you just need a simple Wi-Fi cam that can capture video, then there are plenty of options available. However, if you want one that has facial recognition, the list gets much shorter. The good news is that there are still some great options to choose from.

Face Detection vs. Facial Recognition

Before we go over some options, it’s important to know the difference between face detection and facial recognition, because you’ll see both of these terms used in the description of Wi-Fi cams when you go look at the features. They may seem like the same thing, but one is far superior.

Face detection is when cameras can differentiate a person from another object. So while cameras can still detect motion for cars, animals, trees, and more, they can also specifically detect a person, which can be extremely valuable to the homeowner.

Facial recognition takes this a step further and not only detects a person, but can also detect who that person is, specifically. So with a little help from the user and after a few weeks of learning, the camera can eventually know who came to your door, whether it was the postal worker or your neighbor.

With that said, if this is the kind of feature you’re yearning for, here are the best Wi-Fi cams that have facial recognition technology available.

Nest Cam IQ ($299)

Nest IQ camera

Perhaps the best all-around option for a Wi-Fi cam with facial recognition is the Nest Cam IQ. It detect specific people and it even doubles as a Google Home of sorts.

The camera itself can record 1080p HDR video and has a 130-degree field of view. It also has night vision capabilities, and has a speaker and microphones built in for two-way talk. That same speaker and microphone array is also used with Google Assistant, so the camera has a built-in Google Home Mini.

As for the facial recognition, you’ll need to pay for Nest Aware, which is a subscription service that starts at $5/month. This will give you the facial recognition feature that makes it possible to detect specific people. Nest Aware will also give you 24/7 continuous recording and up to 30 days of video storage.

Netatmo Welcome ($199)

Netatmo smart camera

A slightly cheaper option is the Netatmo Welcome, which comes with a smaller sensor than the Nest Cam IQ, but can still do 1080p video and facial recognition.

The best part is that the facial recognition feature doesn’t require a paid subscription, so you’ll get it for free on this camera. You’ll also get free video storage in the form of a memory card slot that you can slide a microSD card into. You can also connect a Dropbox account or an FTP server for cloud storage.

And lastly, the camera can keep you safe by detecting smoke alarm sirens—if they go off the camera sends you an app alert.

Budget Option: Tend Insights Lynx 2 ($59)

If you’re looking for the cheapest-possible Wi-Fi cam that has facial recognition, then the Insights Lynx 2 camera from Tend is probably your best bet at only $60.

Not only that, but you’ll get free video storage in the cloud for up to seven days. The camera can also record in full 1080p video and comes with two-way talk capabilities, as well as night vision.

The free facial recognition is the true feature here if that’s what you’re ultimately looking for. So you’ll not only know that the camera detected a person, but you’ll know exactly who it was—a pretty impressive feature to have on such a low-cost camera.

So what’s the catch? This thing is 1/5th the cost of the Nest IQ cam, after all. Well, naturally, the video quality isn’t as good (1080p as it may be, you’re not getting the same hardware), you don’t get the Nest’s slick software, and the facial recognition isn’t quite on par. The real deal breaker for many people, however, will be the very weird quirk in the Lynx software: as of this writing the firmware won’t accept Wi-Fi passwords with special characters (e.g. it’s fine with “ReviewGeek2019” but not “ReviewGeek20!9”). That’s a very bizarre choice that we can’t even think of a justification for. But if you don’t use special characters in your Wi-Fi password or you’re willing to go through the hassle of changing the password on all your devices to save on Wi-Fi cameras it’s the cheapest camera on the market with facial recognition.

Craig Lloyd Craig Lloyd
Craig Lloyd is a gadget expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, SlashGear, and GottaBeMobile. Read Full Bio »