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The best pet cameras of 2021: Keep an eye on your pet
Ever wonder what adventures your pets get up to while you are away from home? Well, working from home during the pandemic may have given you a good idea. However, you can get a permanent glimpse into their secret world with a pet camera. These smart home gadgets are great for checking in on your fluffy friends during long office days and making sure they aren’t up to no good.
However, picking the right pet camera can be a daunting task. There are tons of pet cams on the market — basic security ones, cameras with night vision, and even cameras that can dispense treats. Additionally, there are many different price points from which to choose.
To help you, we have compiled a list of the best pet cameras you can buy. Let’s get into it!
Why you should get a pet camera
First things first! If you have been considering getting a pet camera but you are not sure how beneficial or useful it would be, here are five reasons you should purchase one:
- Pet cameras are great for putting your mind at ease, especially when your cat or dog is young and you both might feel a bit of separation anxiety.
- If you often need to work overtime or you spend long days at the office and simply miss your pet.
- For interacting with your pets and keeping them engaged during the day.
- For keeping your pet safe — many pet cams offer bark and/or smart alerts.
- Last but not least: you need a pet camera for funny and cute videos of your four-legged friends’ shenanigans.
Now that you are convinced, it’s time to go through the options for the best pet cameras. We’ll have a look at both basic budget options as well as feature-packed interactive pet cameras.
Best pet cameras:
Editor’s note: We will update this list regularly as new and innovative pet cameras launch.
1. Petcube Play 2
- Price: $200
- Pros: Night vision, two-way audio, laser pointer, built-in Alexa
- Cons: Smart alerts require an additional subscription, doesn’t dispense treats, does not rotate
The original Petcube Play was one of the best pet cameras on the market and the same goes for its successor — the Petcube Play 2. Small and discreet, this interactive Wi-Fi camera can easily be placed anywhere in your home.
It offers 1080p video and night vision, but now the camera has a much wider 180-degree view, as well as 4x digital zoom compared to the 3x of its predecessor. Two-way audio is also on board with major improvements. The Petcube Play 2 has a full-duplex sound system with a four-microphone array.
However, the best feature is undoubtedly the toy laser. It comes with automatic and manual mode, the latter enabling you to control the laser from the companion smartphone app. All you need to do is move your finger on the screen.
With two-way audio you can talk and listen to your pets.
You are also able to keep tabs on your pets 24/7 thanks to smart alerts. The Petcube Play 2 recognizes meowing and barking, so you won’t receive notifications if your neighbors are being loud. However, to have access to smart alerts as well as video history storage, you’ll need to purchase an annual or monthly Petcube Care Plan. The annual plan will set you back around $50.
The best recent addition to the Petcube, however, is Alexa. The pet camera pretty much doubles as a smart speaker. You can ask the Petcube Play 2 to read stories to your dog, play soothing music for your cat, and more. It’s a robot pet nanny!
The only real downside to the Petcube Play 2 is that it doesn’t dispense treats. However, the Petcube Play 2 is still one of the best all-around pet cameras you can buy.
2. Petcube Bites 2
- Price: $200
- Pros: Dispenses treats, 1080p video, night vision, Alexa built-in, wall-mountable
- Cons: One-way audio, does not rotate, expensive
While the aforementioned Petcube Play 2 is a great pet camera, it does lack one key feature: the ability to dispense treats. Enter the Petcube Bites 2, which takes away the laser pointer but adds in a treat dispenser.
Just like with the Petcube Play 2, you can use the Petcube smartphone app to control the Bites 2. You can use it to “throw” treats to your pet whenever you like or simply check on them with the built-in video camera.
The Petcube Bites 2 exhanges a laser pointer for the ability to toss treats.
That camera captures images and video in 1080p quality and allows you to (digitally) zoom in. You can record images and video all you like, but you’ll need to pay the subscription fee to save them to the cloud and such.
If you’re concerned about your pet having very large (or very small) treats, Petcube has you covered: the Petcube Bites 2 comes with various attachments that work with different sizes of treats. You’ll need to experiment a bit to find the one that works best.
Unfortunately, the Petcube Bites 2 ain’t cheap. However, if you’re looking for the best all-around pet camera for your dog or cat, you can’t go wrong here.
3. Furbo Dog Camera
- Price: $199.00
- Pros: Night vision, two-way audio, barking alerts
- Cons: Not great for cats, pricey, cloud recording and smart alerts require a subscription, does not rotate
If you want a pet cam that has it all, you can’t go wrong with the Furbo Dog Camera. This sleek-looking gadget combines all the best features you’d commonly find on pet cameras.
It offers a crisp 1080p video with a 160-degree wide-angle view and 4x digital zoom. Night vision and two-way audio are on board too, so you can talk to your pet at any time. It’s great for soothing dogs with separation anxiety, especially when combined with its fun treat tossing feature. Just like the other pet cameras on our list, this is done through the companion app, but Furbo also works with Alexa. You can set up tossing routines and feed your pet delicious treats every hour.
Related: The best dog apps for Android
Of course, as the name of the Furbo Dog Camera implies, it is not the best choice for cats. They might get startled by the flying treats and if you leave the Furbo on a table or shelf, it probably won’t stay there for long.
However, the dog-focused features are great! The Furbo camera offers bark alerts which will send a push notification to your phone when your furry friend is noisy. The Smart Alerts and Doggie Diary features, as well as cloud recording, require a subscription to the Furbo Dog Nanny service. There is a 90-day free trial, but this can be a major downside for some dog owners since the Furbo Dog Camera is already on the pricier end. Nevertheless, for some pet parents, the extra cost will be worth the peace of mind.
4. WOpet Smart Pet Camera
- Price: $129.99
- Pros: Wireless treat feeding, remote voice control, and recording
- Cons: Small treats dispense slowly and sometimes not accurately
Is there a pet camera that’s ideal for big pet families with both cats and dogs? That would be the WOpet Smart Pet Camera. One of the best devices to monitor your pet, this compact Wi-Fi camera goes above and beyond with its features.
It offers 1080p streaming with a 123-degree wide-angle lens and 4x digital zoom. Two-way audio is also present. What makes it stand out is that it combines the best of both worlds — a crisp camera and a treat dispenser. Similar to the Petcube Bites 2, you can set the treats to dispense as you please. So, whether you have a cat or a dog, you can keep them engaged and entertained throughout the day. If your cat’s gymnastics are very impressive, you’ll be happy to know that you can take photos and videos directly from the live stream.
For those worried that their pet might get startled or confused when their voice suddenly comes through the camera, there is a special ringtone you can set up. You can then train your furry friends to recognize it and pay attention when you’re about to call. The WOpet camera will play the same tone when it dispenses a treat.
5. Yi Dome
- Price: $33.99
- Pros: Includes microSD slot, rotates and pans, night vision, two-way audio, cheap
- Cons: No special pet features such as dispensing treats
Although not designed specifically as a pet cam, the Yi Dome camera offers some great features that will help you keep both your home and your beloved pets safe.
This Wi-Fi security camera has a 112-degree wide-angle lens that captures 1080p videos with night vision as an added bonus. But unlike most pet cams, it has full 360-degree coverage thanks to its 345-degree horizontal and 115-degree vertical rotation. It also has a microSD slot for storing videos locally.
You don't need to spend a fortune for a good pet camera.
The Yi Dome camera is incredibly easy to set up. It can be controlled via a dedicated app that gives you plenty of options. You can set it to auto-cruise so it scans the whole room on the regular, or you can make it record when motion is detected and even set it to follow motions.
What makes it a good replacement for a more expensive dedicated pet cam? It has two-way audio, so you can still talk to your pets and keep them calm if needed. It’s small and light and can be mounted. Thanks to its rotation, you can put it high up out of the reach of even the tallest dogs and the most curious cats without losing visibility. It might not have fancy bells and whistles, but it gets the job done while being very affordable.
6. DIY pet camera
If you can’t afford to spend much but you have an old phone or tablet lying around, you can “make” your own pet camera thanks to the Dog Monitor app. Available for both iOS and Android, this app lets one device act as a camera (or pet station) and one as a monitor (or person station). All you need to do is download the app on both devices, pair them, and find a good spot for your pet station. The app is pretty self-explanatory — you just need to follow the onscreen instructions.
Just like a regular pet cam, Dog Monitor allows you to watch your pet from your smartphone wherever you are, talk to them, or issue pre-recorded commands such as “Sit!”, “Quiet!”, etc. The app even offers cross-platform compatibility, but if you are using an iPad and an Android smartphone, for example, you will need to purchase it on both platforms. The good news is that there are no subscription fees — just a one-time payment of $5.99. It’s a great budget option, especially for dog owners.
Keep in mind that your pet station device will need to stay on most of the time, so make sure to turn down its brightness to prevent screen burn and make sure it’s plugged in.
These are our picks for the best pet cameras. We’ll add more options to the list once they launch.
Read next: 10 best pet apps for Android