Best daily deals

Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

Does Arlo require a subscription?

What you get for free may not be enough, depending on your circumstances.
By
May 3, 2023
Arlo Video Doorbell

Arlo is one of the more popular brands in smart home security, thanks to a solid selection of doorbells and security cameras sold through major retailers like Amazon and Costco. There’s a frequent upsell for the company’s Secure plans, though — do you actually need one?

QUICK ANSWER

You don't need a Secure plan for the most basic functions of Arlo's doorbells and cameras, but the company paywalls a lot of features you might consider critical, such as cloud recording, object recognition, and activity zones.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

Does Arlo require a subscription?

Strictly speaking no. If you buy from Arlo you’ll always have access to the most essential functions, including notifications, live streaming, two-way audio, and integration with platforms like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Some products may support local recording via connected storage.

Many features are locked behind Arlo Secure plans however, among them a few that can be free from other vendors. Specifically we’re thinking of activity zones and object recognition — both of which reduce false alerts —as well as any form of cloud recording. For contrast, Google’s Nest Doorbell includes free activity zones, 3 hours of free cloud recording, and on-device recognition of people, packages, animals, and vehicles.

That’s not to say you should automatically skip Arlo — just know going in that to make it worth it, you’ll have to factor in subscription fees.

How much is an Arlo subscription?

Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera 1 Pack
Alyssa Rikka / Android Authority

In the US, a regular Secure plan costs $4.99 per month for a single device, or $12.99 for an unlimited number of devices. Unlimited coverage continues with the $17.99 Secure Plus (see below). Subscribed to the highest tier, Safe and Secure Pro, you’ll be paying $24.99.

If you’re ready to commit, you can save a little money by paying annually. Secure drops to the equivalent of $3.99/$9.99 per month, while Secure Plus and Safe and Secure Pro fall to $14.99 and $19.99, respectively. There are no contracts, but if you change your mind in the middle of an annual plan, don’t expect to get any refunds.

Customers can optionally add 14 days of continuous recording to a single camera for an extra $9.99 per month, or upgrade that to 30 days for $19.99. You can bring additional cameras to those plans for $4.99 or $9.99 per camera. Like most smart security providers, Arlo defaults to “event” recording — that is, its cameras capture short clips based only on triggers, usually motion or a doorbell ring. Continuous recording consumes large amounts of bandwidth and storage, especially at resolutions over 1080p, and compatible cameras must be plugged into AC power. Most cameras additionally require a paired Arlo SmartHub or Base Station.

Arlo Secure plans compared

Secure

The standard Secure plan adds:

  • Interactive notifications with animated previews
  • Object recognition, including people, packages, animals, and vehicles
  • 30 days of cloud recording
  • Activity zones (customizable detection areas)
  • Audio detection of alarms
  • Theft replacement (a free device if yours is stolen)
  • Priority support
  • Shopping discounts at Arlo.com

Secure Plus

This plan isn’t available in all regions, but builds on Secure with a 24/7 emergency response option — you can request fire, police, or medical crews through the Arlo app, even one of the app’s interactive notifications.

Safe and Secure Pro

Arlo’s deluxe plan is US-only and introduces the option of 24/7 home monitoring, as well as a second app called Arlo Safe, which gets you a variety of perks beyond home security. Here’s everything the plan adds on top of Secure Plus:

  • 24/7 home monitoring (with an Arlo Home Security System)
  • Cellular/battery backup (with an add-on for the Arlo Home Security System)
  • Guardian Mode personal emergency alerts
  • Alerts to emergency contacts when an Arlo Safe alarm is triggered
  • Car crash detection and response
  • Cloud Witness incident recording (sending audio and video to an emergency service center)
  • Family location check-ins and tracking, with the option to send emergency services