Canary vs Piper NV vs Netatmo Welcome vs Nest Cam Hands-on Review

Canary vs Piper NV vs Welcome vs Nest Cam Chart

It seems like there is a lot of focus on finding the best home security camera but the truth is that it’s a hot market and with new products launching monthly, the “best home security camera” is a moving target. All four of these cameras are easy to use, easy to set up, easy to control, but provide unique user experiences. So which one should you spend your dough on?

Compare Features Side-By-Side

Companycanary logopiper logoNest Cam logoNetatmo logo
Camera NameCanaryPiper NVNest CamWelcome
Camera Resolution1080p1080p1080p1080p
Megapixels3.13.43XL 2 micron
Home AutomationWorks with WinkZ-WaveWorks with Nest and MoreIFTTT
Indoor or OutdoorIndoorIndoorIndoorIndoor
Field of View147 Degrees180 Degrees130 Degrees130 Degrees
Live Streaming
Night Vision
Camera NameCanaryPiper NVNest CamWelcome
Pan, Tilt, ZoomDigitalDigitalDigital
IR LEDs12128Unknown
Two-Way Audio
Recognition / Presence DetectionGeolocation of PhoneRecordings Can be Rule BasedHome & Away Only Works with ThermostatFacial Recognition and Geolocation of Phone
Alarm/Siren
Video EncryptionAES-256 Bit EncryptionHigh-Grade SSL EncryptionAES-128 Bit EncryptionAES-256 Bit Encryption
Built-in Battery Backup
AppsAndroid and iOSAndroid and iOSAndroid and iOSAndroid and iOS
Web Portal
Cloud Storage$0+$0$0+$0
Camera NameCanaryPiper NVNest CamWelcome
Local StorageSave to Phone's GallerySave to Phone's GalleryCreate Clips $10/Month+MicroSD card up to 32GB & Save to Phone's Gallery
iTunes App Rating3.5 Stars3 Stars1.5 StarsTBD
Google Play App Rating3.1 Stars3.5 Stars4.1 Stars4.1 Stars
Motion Detection
SoundSound RecordingSound Detection and RecordingSound Detection and RecordingSound Recording
Temperature Sensors
Push Notifications
Alert Phone Call
Event History
Privacy Mode
Remotely Turn On/OffRemotely Turn On/Off
Setup Requirements1 Mbps Broadband, Wi-Fi or Ethernet, Power Outlet.8 Mbps Broadband, Power OutletWi-Fi, Power Outlet, and a ComputerWi-Fi or Ethernet, Power Outlet or MicroUSB, High-speed Internet, and a Computer
Where to Buy
 
Company canary logo
Camera Name
Canary
Camera Resolution
1080p
Megapixels
3.1
Home Automation
Works with Wink
Indoor or Outdoor
Indoor
Field of View
147 Degrees
Live Streaming
Night Vision
Camera Name
Canary
Pan, Tilt, Zoom
Digital
IR LEDs
12
Two-Way Audio
Recognition / Presence Detection
Geolocation of Phone
Alarm/Siren
Video Encryption
AES-256 Bit Encryption
Built-in Battery Backup
Apps
Android and iOS
Web Portal
Cloud Storage
$0+
Camera Name
Canary
Local Storage
Save to Phone's Gallery
iTunes App Rating
3.5 Stars
Google Play App Rating
3.1 Stars
Motion Detection
Sound
Sound Recording
Temperature Sensors
Push Notifications
Alert Phone Call
Event History
Privacy Mode
Setup Requirements
1 Mbps Broadband, Wi-Fi or Ethernet, Power Outlet
Where to Buy
canary logo
Company piper logo
Camera Name
Piper NV
Camera Resolution
1080p
Megapixels
3.4
Home Automation
Z-Wave
Indoor or Outdoor
Indoor
Field of View
180 Degrees
Live Streaming
Night Vision
Camera Name
Piper NV
Pan, Tilt, Zoom
Digital
IR LEDs
12
Two-Way Audio
Recognition / Presence Detection
Recordings Can be Rule Based
Alarm/Siren
Video Encryption
High-Grade SSL Encryption
Built-in Battery Backup
Apps
Android and iOS
Web Portal
Cloud Storage
$0
Camera Name
Piper NV
Local Storage
Save to Phone's Gallery
iTunes App Rating
3 Stars
Google Play App Rating
3.5 Stars
Motion Detection
Sound
Sound Detection and Recording
Temperature Sensors
Push Notifications
Alert Phone Call
Event History
Privacy Mode
Setup Requirements
.8 Mbps Broadband, Power Outlet
Where to Buy
piper logo
Company Nest Cam logo
Camera Name
Nest Cam
Camera Resolution
1080p
Megapixels
3
Home Automation
Works with Nest and More
Indoor or Outdoor
Indoor
Field of View
130 Degrees
Live Streaming
Night Vision
Camera Name
Nest Cam
Pan, Tilt, Zoom
Digital
IR LEDs
8
Two-Way Audio
Recognition / Presence Detection
Home & Away Only Works with Thermostat
Alarm/Siren
Video Encryption
AES-128 Bit Encryption
Built-in Battery Backup
Apps
Android and iOS
Web Portal
Cloud Storage
$0+
Camera Name
Nest Cam
Local Storage
Create Clips $10/Month+
iTunes App Rating
1.5 Stars
Google Play App Rating
4.1 Stars
Motion Detection
Sound
Sound Detection and Recording
Temperature Sensors
Push Notifications
Alert Phone Call
Event History
Privacy Mode
Remotely Turn On/Off
Setup Requirements
Wi-Fi, Power Outlet, and a Computer
Where to Buy
Nest Cam logo
Company Netatmo logo
Camera Name
Welcome
Camera Resolution
1080p
Megapixels
XL 2 micron
Home Automation
IFTTT
Indoor or Outdoor
Indoor
Field of View
130 Degrees
Live Streaming
Night Vision
Camera Name
Welcome
Pan, Tilt, Zoom
IR LEDs
Unknown
Two-Way Audio
Recognition / Presence Detection
Facial Recognition and Geolocation of Phone
Alarm/Siren
Video Encryption
AES-256 Bit Encryption
Built-in Battery Backup
Apps
Android and iOS
Web Portal
Cloud Storage
$0
Camera Name
Welcome
Local Storage
MicroSD card up to 32GB & Save to Phone's Gallery
iTunes App Rating
TBD
Google Play App Rating
4.1 Stars
Motion Detection
Sound
Sound Recording
Temperature Sensors
Push Notifications
Alert Phone Call
Event History
Privacy Mode
Remotely Turn On/Off
Setup Requirements
Wi-Fi or Ethernet, Power Outlet or MicroUSB, High-speed Internet, and a Computer
Where to Buy
Netatmo logo

Testing Results Compared

Initially I compared Canary, Nest Cam, and Welcome but by request I opened up my wallet and also purchased a Piper NV. The Piper arrived the same week Canary announced updates to their app, so I retested all four devices at the same time. Here are the results.

I was not able to edit the video to add Piper. My camera had some major issues and one of them was that it would not save or allow me to download video. Here is a sample of the snap crackle pop sound it would make before disconnecting.

Compare Features Side-By-Side

Camera NameCanaryPiper nvNest CamWelcome
Setup Time15 Minutes18 Minutes10 Minutes11 Minutes
Password PolicyStrictAnything GoesStrictAnything Goes
Visual Lag Time/Varies Based Upon Internet Speed6 Seconds on Average0 Seconds on Average0-45 Seconds on Average8 Seconds on Average
Automatically Armed When I Left Home
Smart Arming Reminder Only*Works with Nest Thermostat Only
Automatically Disarmed When I Returned Home
Works with Nest Thermostat Only
Sent Motion AlertWorked 9/10 TestsWorked 10/10 TestsWorked 4/10 with a delayWorked 10/10 Tests
Power Lost Notification
Not Received But Battery Backup Kicked In
Internet Lost Notification
Sudden Lighting Change EffectCauses False Alarm – Even After UpdateNo IssuesNo IssuesNo Issues
Motion by Inanimate ObjectsIgnored Object 5/10 TimesNo IssuesIgnored Object 7/10 TimesNo Issues
Camera Name Canary
Setup Time
15 Minutes
Password Policy
Strict
Visual Lag Time/Varies Based Upon Internet Speed
6 Seconds on Average
Automatically Armed When I Left Home
Automatically Disarmed When I Returned Home
Sent Motion Alert
Worked 9/10 Tests
Power Lost Notification
Internet Lost Notification
Sudden Lighting Change Effect
Causes False Alarm – Even After Update
Motion by Inanimate Objects
Ignored Object 5/10 Times
Camera Name Piper nv
Setup Time
18 Minutes
Password Policy
Anything Goes
Visual Lag Time/Varies Based Upon Internet Speed
0 Seconds on Average
Automatically Armed When I Left Home
Smart Arming Reminder Only*
Automatically Disarmed When I Returned Home
Sent Motion Alert
Worked 10/10 Tests
Power Lost Notification
Not Received But Battery Backup Kicked In
Internet Lost Notification
Sudden Lighting Change Effect
No Issues
Motion by Inanimate Objects
No Issues
Camera Name Nest Cam
Setup Time
10 Minutes
Password Policy
Strict
Visual Lag Time/Varies Based Upon Internet Speed
0-45 Seconds on Average
Automatically Armed When I Left Home
Works with Nest Thermostat Only
Automatically Disarmed When I Returned Home
Works with Nest Thermostat Only
Sent Motion Alert
Worked 4/10 with a delay
Power Lost Notification
Internet Lost Notification
Sudden Lighting Change Effect
No Issues
Motion by Inanimate Objects
Ignored Object 7/10 Times
Camera Name Welcome
Setup Time
11 Minutes
Password Policy
Anything Goes
Visual Lag Time/Varies Based Upon Internet Speed
8 Seconds on Average
Automatically Armed When I Left Home
Automatically Disarmed When I Returned Home
Sent Motion Alert
Worked 10/10 Tests
Power Lost Notification
Internet Lost Notification
Sudden Lighting Change Effect
No Issues
Motion by Inanimate Objects
No Issues

*Piper added a smart arming feature after testing. Through a partnership with Life360, they can now send a reminder to arm your system if all family members are away from home.

Motion Detection

Nest Cam, Piper, Canary, and Welcome all provided a different motion detection experience.

Canary is a learning system and should learn over time what objects to ignore versus what objects are threatening. I’ve had Canary the longest of all the cameras so it has a slight edge and though things have gotten better, it still has some learning to do.

Piper offers adjustable sensitivity so you can play with the settings to make them work for you. I do not have a pet, but readers with pets have tested Piper out and given it the stamp of approval. In my own test, it ignored inanimate objects and accurately detected motion. Sound detection was also accurate with Piper.

Netatmo Welcome provided the best motion detection experience because it only looks for faces. It took three days of teaching Welcome for my profile to be considered full strength and two weeks later it still doesn’t recognize me at times. The best solution is to turn off motion alerts when it recognizes you as home. Updating this setting eliminated false motion alerts.

Nest Cam presented the most ineffective experience of the four cameras. The motion alerts were disorganized and that’s putting it kindly. They were often delayed or missed all together. I couldn’t make a connection between push notification and event most of the time. However, it is the only one that can record 24/7 and the only one that offers smart zones … if you’re in to that sort of thing. Piper and Nest are the only cameras of the four that offer sound detection.

Nest Cam, Canary, Piper, and Welcome Video Quality Day and Night Vision

All four cameras swapped to night vision mode in low light conditions. However, Nest Cam and Canary produced the best night-time image. I used Photoshop to examine zoomed in details of both Nest Cam and Canary but to me they look the same. I can’t say that one is better than the other but I can say that they are both better than the other two.

In this case a picture is worth a thousand words though it’s important to note that I added the logo and the word “Welcome” to the Welcome image and “Piper” to the Piper image. Only Canary and Nest add branding to videos.

The next day, was a rainy day. These are rainy day photographs that compare the video quality (you can also watch the video above to see a live video comparison of all minus Piper). While Welcome is more yellow than the others the quality of the image produced is about the same. Also, Welcome dewarps the fish lens effect seen on the Nest Cam and Canary pictures. Overall, I still prefer the Nest Cam and Canary images as they are more accurate in regards to color and lighting.

Of course the quality of the picture will depend upon multiple factors like available bandwidth, lighting conditions, etc. Here is a sample submitted by my Twitter friend Fergal McCarthy. This is shot from Piper during the day with “full quality on LAN”.

What Makes Each Camera Different

All four cameras can be used without monthly fees and all are self-monitored cameras. Using your smartphone and a free mobile app you can monitor your home in real-time via live streaming and also setup motion alerts. However similar, there are some things that make each camera unique beyond what’s called out in the chart above.

Canary

$249 via Amazon

There are three features that make Canary different. First, it is packed with sensors. It includes a 3-axis accelerometer, light sensor, capacitive touch sensor, as well as motion sensor. It also includes HomeHealth Technology that helps you monitor indoor temperature, humidity, and air quality over time. It’s the air quality sensors that set Canary apart from the other options. It is the only camera of the four that can monitor your home’s air health and spit it out into a neat little graph for you to check from your phone. Second, it includes a couple of interesting home security features. It includes a 90dB siren (Piper has a siren too) that you can manually trigger if you catch anything fishy and they are planning to launch Call Center Monitoring. Their call center monitoring plan is slated to launch in 2016 at a cost of $10 per month. The service will connect you with help 24/7 if you opt in. You can learn more about the call center monitoring plan here. Also, if you receive an event alert, you have the option of dialing 911. One of the big differentiators between Canary and others is the localized emergency call option. For example, if you’re on vacation and you receive an alert that someone is in your home, calling 9-1-1 from your phone will route you to the 9-1-1 call center near your vacation destination. However, dialing 9-1-1 through the Canary app will get you to the police department near your home. Finally, it works with Wink Smart Home devices.

Read our hands-on Canary review for more details.

Piper NV

$279 via Amazon

We already loved the Piper camera, but the updated Piper with Night Vision (NV) has really made it one of our top recommended home security cameras. Not only does it come with a complete system with door/window sensors and cloud storage to review all your video footage, but it also has a built-in siren with push notifications in case anything happens. But where the Piper NV really outshines competition is that it can be integrated with Z-Wave for limited home automation. You can use Piper to control a handful of devices pre-approved by the Piper team. This includes a Z-wave Range Extender, Door/Window Sensor, a Smart Switch, an Outdoor Smart Switch, a Micro Smart Switch, a Smart Dimmer, a smart bulb, and a Water Sensor. You can check out compatible Z-Wave accessories on Amazon here. Using these accessories and the Piper app you can automate lights and small appliances remotely or you can create a schedule. For example, lights on at 7pm and off at 11pm. While the Piper Classic was already a favorite, the upgrades to the Piper NV are well worth the added cost. Not only is the Piper NV built with outstanding night vision quality, but it’s also built with a Series 500 Z-Wave Controller for much greater communication within a much larger range than the Piper Classic which was built with a Series 300 Z-Wave Controller, making it up to 250% faster in communication with nearly 400% more on-chip memory. It will also require a lot less power consumption than the previous Piper Classic. Nonetheless, if you’re dissatisfied for any reason, Piper offers a 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full Piper review for more details.

Nest Cam

$199 via Amazon

Nest Cam is part of the Nest Family which means it works with Nest. It can connect to the Nest Protect and the Nest Thermostat. It’s also the successor to video surveillance darling the Dropcam Pro which is arguably and perhaps factually the most successful camera of 2014. Due to Dropcam’s popularity, there are many workarounds for connecting Dropcam to other devices. The ability to connect to other devices such as the Nest Protect and Nest Learning Thermostat to make it one compatible Nest family is really what sets Nest Cam apart. However, keep in mind that Nest doesn’t quite make our top of the list due to some of the alerts being flaky here and there, but out of all the cameras we reviewed in this piece, Nest has by far the best video quality. Everything you capture can be stored in the Nest Cam’s cloud storage program called Nest Aware where you can go back and review video history and check out exact play-by-plays any time.

Read our hands-on Nest Cam review for more details.

Netatmo Welcome

$199 via Amazon

The Netatmo Welcome camera is the most slender out of all the cameras we compared in this review. The sleek design makes it all the more aesthetically appealing and less noticeable to any intruder. Welcome is the only camera that offers facial recognition which makes it one of our top three favorite cameras. Nest Cam offers facial detection NOT recognition and they charge a fee for this service where Welcome provides it for free. When Welcome recognizes a person, it will send you a notice that includes the person’s name or it will let you know that it detected someone unknown. A second feature that sets Netatmo apart is that they plan to launch their own set of sensors called Tags. The difference between the Netatmo Tags and Piper’s Z-Wave compatible sensors is that Tags can be used inside or outside and are resistant to UV, rain and wind. They can sense motion and vibration in addition to the normal open and close movement. In theory, they may be able to sense vibration and let you know that someone is tampering with a door or a window before a breach ever occurs. The Tags should be available in September (2015) for $99 per 3 pack. And for all the footage you plan on capturing, the cloud storage is free using the app!

Read our entire hands-on Netatmo Welcome camera review for more details.

Monthly Plans, Cloud Storage, Extra Costs

Canary offers a Basic Security package for free. This package includes motion alerts, video recording in armed mode, access to events from the last 12 hours, and up to 5 saved clips on the Canary Cloud. If you want more storage, you must be willing to pay. Their entry-level plan is $4.99 per month or $49 per year. With this plan you can save 25 video bookmarks and it will keep your timeline for up to 2 days. The next plan is offered for $9.99 per month or $99 per year, it offers 100 video bookmarks and will keep your timeline for up to 7 days. Finally the 30 day plan is $29.99 per month or $299 per year. This plan saves unlimited video bookmarks.

The Piper NV includes recorded video as well as live video at no cost. It does not require nor does it even offer a fee based plan. Instead, all customers will get access to about 25 seconds of free event based recording. Piper will keep up to 1000 of those 25 second snippets in the cloud for free. One problem I found with the recorded feature is that it takes awhile for the footage to become available. For example, let’s say that you receive an alert notice and you don’t see anything on live streaming. Your next step will likely be checking the recorded video section but if you try too soon you will get a message stating that “the event has media that isn’t available yet.” On the bright side, they offer Clip Saving. Clip Saving allows users to download an unlimited amount of Piper videos for free.

Nest Cam owners have the most to gain by paying for a monthly plan as they have multiple premium features reserved for paid subscribers. Their paid plan is called Nest Aware. Nest Aware’s primary focus is video storage. For $10 per month or $100 per year you get 10-days of video history or for $30 per month or $300 per year you get 30-days of video history. Beyond video history, Nest Aware provides an alert summary. Instead of digging through 10 days of event footage, this feature will highlight moments when there was motion or sound so that you can efficiently look through the footage for any funny business. Next, Nest Aware offers Activity Zones. Activity Zones are a way to monitor part of a room to increase your monitoring efficiency. For example, you may want to monitor your bedroom but you want the camera to ignore what happens in your bed. In order to achieve this you would draw a virtual square around the area you want monitored and Nest Cam will ignore the rest. Next, they include Clips and Timelapse. Clips can be shared over email, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter. Timelapse is a way to take an entire days footage and condense it. Finally, the plan improve’s Nest Cam’s sound and motion detection using advanced algorithms. Nest Aware is required for this improved performance due to the compute power required to provide it. This includes features like facial detection, color detection (ignores green trees), detection of softer sounds, and depth perception.

The Netatmo Welcome, like the Piper NV, does not require nor offer a fee based plan. Of the four cameras it is the only option with local storage via a microSD card. Netatmo emphasizes the importance of user control over privacy so they give users the option to opt in or out of storage and even customize it by user. For example, you may want to record your spouse but not your kids. The Netatmo can recognize the different users and adjust behavior accordingly. I reached out to the Netatmo teach to get a lesson on how their storage works. In their words,

No clips are saved in the cloud. All private data (videos, mathematical representation of identification data) are stored on the camera’s local SD card. An 8GB SD card comes with Welcome and if a user would like additional space that can interchange for a larger SD card. All data in transit are bank level encrypted. Data is transmitted through a secured VPN from the camera to Netatmo’s servers and to your smartphone. The only items saved to the cloud are thumbnails or screen shots of each video footage event and the thumbnail photo that appears in the timeline of the face. In case the camera would be stolen or the SD card lost, the picture stays in the cloud. The videos can be downloaded to your camera roll or computer, and shared and saved that way as well if the user prefers.

Little Gotchas for Canary, Nest Cam, Piper, and Netatmo Welcome

It’s always the little things. If you want to get down to the nitty-gritty, here are a couple more things to think about.

The Nest Cam and the Netatmo Welcome run hot. Like the Dropcam, I would not suggest using them as a baby monitor for that reason for fear of overheating.

The Netatmo Welcome suffers from a poorly designed power cable. The camera is small and the cord is short tethered by a giant adapter. For some reason the small design of the camera means it isn’t quit as stable and the cord pulls on the camera. I struggled with placement and had to rig the cord to keep the camera in place.

Canary is still working out a few kinks which you can read about here.

I’m not the only one to have weird issues with Piper. Though it is a reader favorite, it seems like there are those that just have issues. Cracking/popping sounds and disconnections are common. The problem with Piper disconnecting is that it cannot remotely power up or down so if it disconnects while you are away, you’re out of luck.

Canary vs Piper nv – The Top Options Compared

To me Canary and Piper are still the best options in terms of home security cameras. There are things that are better about Canary and things that are better about Piper.

The Piper NV vs Canary

Canary Can Remote On and OffPiper Powers On/Off Manually
Canary has a Privacy ModePiper Does Not
Canary Can Auto/Arm DisarmPiper Can Only Send Arm Reminders Through Smart Arming and Life360
Canary's Video Quality is BetterPiper's Siren is Louder
Canary's App is Cleaner and Easier to UsePiper's App Offers More Customization
Canary is a Better CameraPiper is a Better Security Device
Canary's Setup is EasyPiper is Too Unless You Have Issues
Canary's Video Can Be Recorded On DemandPiper Records Based Upon Events
Canary Can Remote On and Off Piper Powers On/Off Manually
Canary has a Privacy Mode
Piper Does Not
Canary Can Auto/Arm Disarm
Piper Can Only Send Arm Reminders Through Smart Arming and Life360
Canary's Video Quality is Better
Piper's Siren is Louder
Canary's App is Cleaner and Easier to Use
Piper's App Offers More Customization
Canary is a Better Camera
Piper is a Better Security Device
Canary's Setup is Easy
Piper is Too Unless You Have Issues
Canary's Video Can Be Recorded On Demand
Piper Records Based Upon Events

Believe It Or Not, There’s More

Piper Sends Temperature Change NotificationsCanary Will Only Record That it Happened
Piper Will Connect With Other Z-Wave DevicesCanary Works With Wink
Piper's Users Do Not Complain About Motion Detection AccuracyCanary Users Do Complain About Motion Detection Accuracy
Piper Has Two-Way AudioCanary Only Has One-Way
Piper Offers a 4 Camera ViewCanary Does Not
Piper Has Battery BackupCanary Does Not
Piper Will Let You Download an Unlimited Amount of VideoCanary is Limited to 3 Lifetime Downloads Unless You Pay for More
Piper Has Sound Chimes & Audio QueuesCanary Does Not
Piper Offers More Customization Over EverythingCanary is Easier to Use But More Limited Than Piper
Piper Sends Temperature Change Notifications Canary Will Only Record That it Happened
Piper Will Connect With Other Z-Wave Devices
Canary Works With Wink
Piper's Users Do Not Complain About Motion Detection Accuracy
Canary Users Do Complain About Motion Detection Accuracy
Piper Has Two-Way Audio
Canary Only Has One-Way
Piper Offers a 4 Camera View
Canary Does Not
Piper Has Battery Backup
Canary Does Not
Piper Will Let You Download an Unlimited Amount of Video
Canary is Limited to 3 Lifetime Downloads Unless You Pay for More
Piper Has Sound Chimes & Audio Queues
Canary Does Not
Piper Offers More Customization Over Everything
Canary is Easier to Use But More Limited Than Piper

HOW MUCH DO THEY COST?

Canary is selling for $249 on Amazon and comes in black, white, or silver.

The Piper NV is selling for $279.00 on Amazon. It can be purchased in black or white.

The Nest Cam is $199 on Amazon and comes in black.

Netatmo Welcome is also $199 on Amazon and comes in a metallic finish.

Disclaimer: It’s important to note that the Canary was given to me for testing and I purchased the Welcome, Piper nv, and Nest Cam with my own money. However, this did not impact my opinion. Two additional Pipers were donated as giveaways for our readers.