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Does Arlo require a subscription?

What you get for free may not be enough, depending on your circumstances.
By
November 7, 2022
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?

Related: The best smart home devices

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 even activity zones.


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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 Assistant. Some products may support local recording via connected storage.

Many features are locked behind Arlo Secure plans however, among them a few that are sometimes free from other vendors. Specifically we’re thinking of activity zones and object recognition — both of which can reduce false alerts —as well as any form of cloud recording. For contrast, Google’s Nest Doorbell includes free activity zones, three 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 costs.

How much is an Arlo subscription?

Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera 1 Pack
Alyssa Rikka / Android Authority

In the US, a regular Secure plan costs $2.99 per month for a single device, or $9.99 for an unlimited number of devices. Unlimited coverage continues with the $14.99 Secure Plus (see below). Subscribed to the highest tier, Safe and Secure Pro, you’ll be paying $19.99. There are no contracts, but Arlo also doesn’t offer any annual pricing discounts.

Customers can optionally add 14 days of continuous recording for an extra $9.99 per month, or upgrade that to 30 days for $19.99. 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.

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 limits)
  • Audio detection of alarms
  • Theft replacement (a free device if yours is stolen)
  • An extended warranty and priority support
  • Shopping discounts at Arlo.com

Secure Plus

This plan is US-only, and 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 — again, US-only — introduces a second app, Arlo Safe, which gets you a variety of perks not limited to home security:

  • One-tap access to a 24/7 “personal safety expert”
  • Crash detection and response
  • Cloud Witness incident recording (sending audio and video to an emergency service center)
  • Family check-ins, safety monitoring, and “place alerts”

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