Reolink and Amcrest are two popular consumer-grade security camera brands. While they have plenty in common, there are also quite a few differences to consider before making up your mind on which to choose.
In this article I carry out a comprehensive comparison, evaluating the key similarities and differences across 9 different categories, including storage, camera specs, intelligence, night vision, and more.
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to test a number of cameras from both brands, which has provided me with some important first-hand experience. I also collated the specs for 52 security cameras (breakdown of 28 Reolink and 24 Amcrest models) to give a helicopter view of what sets these brands apart.
A full list of the analyzed cameras, accompanied by links to my individual product reviews, can be found at the end of this page.
Best for Home Security
Best for Advanced Security
This was a close call however I’ve gone with Reolink as the best for home security. Reolink cameras and systems are generally easier to set up than Amcrests.
There are a number of reasons for this. A larger percentage of Reolinks catalog are wireless or battery-powered cameras which are easier to install than wired.
The Reolink app is better than Amcrest and their full camera range is more “plug-and-play” than Amcrests. Reolink also integrates with more smart home devices than Amcrest.
The cameras also tend to be within a household budget for security while also having a longer warranty, compared to Amcrest.
Best for Advanced Security: Amcrest
A lot of people I know who buy Amcrest cameras, generally don’t use the Amcrest app or an Amcrest NVR and instead install the cameras into Blue Iris via ONVIF.
This usually requires a higher level of knowledge than most people just looking for a simple security solution.
Amcrest’s cameras generally have better specs than Reolinks and tend to perform better at night. They are also sturdier which is important in a commercial setting.
That being said, the Reolink specs are typically acceptable for most homeowners.
Winners per Category
Below is a quick look at the winners in each category.
|1. Power & Data Support||Reolink|
|2. Storage (including NVR & Cloud)||Tie|
|3. Audio & Alarms||Tie|
|4. Camera & Lens Specs||Amcrest|
|5. Intelligence & Smart Detection||Tie|
|6. Video Processing||Amcrest|
|7. Camera Body||Amcrest|
|8. Night Vision||Amcrest|
|9. PTZ Functionality||Reolink|
Both Amcrest and Reolink were founded in the late 2000s (Amcrest in 2013 and Reolink in 2009).
They have similar product ranges, including NVR, PoE Cameras, Wi-Fi Cameras, Wire-Free Cameras, PTZ Cameras, NVR Camera Packages, Indoor Cameras, and Video Doorbells.
Reolink has more wire-free camera options, particularly in the mid-range and high-end categories while Amcrest, has more wired and analog camera options in all budget categories.
Having reviewed their product ranges, while both brands target a mix of businesses and consumers, I think Amcrest leans a little more toward commercial customers, with their higher-end cameras.
Amcrest and Reolink’s PoE cameras generally support ONVIF and RTSP protocols for interoperability with third-party devices and systems.
About the Brands
Amcrest cameras are manufactured by Dahua, which means they are not NDAA compliant. Reolink on the other hand is owned by Shenzhen Baichuan Security Technology Co., Ltd.
Amcrest offers a wider variety of products beyond security cameras, including GPS trackers, baby monitors, car dash cameras, drones, binoculars, and more, while Reolink primarily focuses on security cameras and systems.
Each brand offers cloud storage through their respective platforms, Amcrest Smart Home Cloud and Reolink Cloud.
Amcrest's cloud subscription offers more features, including Smart/AI Notifications, Rich App Previews, and Advanced App Features, while Reolink's cloud subscription primarily focuses on Cloud Storage.
Reolink offers a free plan with the standard Plan starting at $3.49, while Amcrest's subscription plans start at $1.99.
It’s worth mentioning, these Cloud plans are more aligned to the consumer-grade Wi-Fi and Battery powered cameras than the PoE models.
Amcrest has multiple mobile apps, but their quality isn't amazing with poor scores on the iOS and Android stores.
The Reolink mobile app fares a little better and I personally never have had problems with it.
Power and Data Connections
Amcrest cameras mostly use wired connections for both data and power, with some models offering wireless data and wired power connections.
Reolink has a more diverse range of connection options, including cameras with wireless data and battery power, making them ideal for locations without easy access to power outlets.
Both brands also offer models with optional cloud subscriptions for additional storage and features.
Amcrest cameras are available across various price ranges – from budget options to high-end models.
Their prices range from $34.99 to $919.99, ensuring there's a camera option for different budgets.
Reolink also offers a selection of cameras across different price points, with their cameras priced between $44.99 and $299.99.
Both brands provide a mix of budget, mid-range, and high-end camera models.
It is important to note the difference in standard warranty periods for these two brands. Amcrest offers a 1-year standard warranty on their cameras, while Reolink provides a longer 2-year standard warranty on their products.
This difference in warranty periods could help sway buyers seeking longer coverage for their security cameras.
1. Power & Data Support
Amcrest has a number of Coax / Analog cameras which Reolink doesn’t. However, Reolink supports 5Ghz Wi-Fi where as most Wi-Fi Amcrest cameras don’t. Also, Reolink has specialist cameras like their 4G LTE range and also most of their battery-powered cameras can be powered by solar which is not the case with Amcrest.
Amcrest cameras offer a mix of both IP (Internet Protocol) and Coax security camera options.
IP cameras send and receive data through Ethernet and can usually be accessed remotely, while analog cameras use coaxial cables to transmit video signals.
Amcrest has a wide range of power options for its cameras, such as PoE (Power over Ethernet), DC Power, and AC Power.
PoE allows cameras to be powered using the same Ethernet cable that also transmits data, simplifying installations.
Some of their cameras also support Wi-Fi connectivity with 2.4GHz frequency, such as IP4M-1041W and IP5M-1190W models.
Reolink, on the other hand, focuses primarily on IP cameras with no coax camera options. An interesting feature of Reolink cameras is the availability of cameras that support solar panels and batteries, such as the Argus 2E and Argus Eco models.
This makes them a more eco-friendly and convenient choice for people who want to minimize their dependency on traditional power sources.
Reolink also offers cameras that connect through 4G LTE (e.g., Go Plus and Go PT Plus models) which can be useful in areas where Wi-Fi connectivity is limited or unavailable.
Additionally, Reolink provides cameras with dual-band Wi-Fi support (2.4GHz and 5GHz), such as the Argus 3 Pro Solar and RLC-511WA models, which can help reduce interference and provide more stable connections.
While Amcrest seems to offer more options in terms of camera types (IP and Coax) and power options (PoE, AC, and DC Power), Reolink provides greater flexibility in terms of connectivity (Wi-Fi, 4G LTE) and power options (solar panel and battery-powered cameras).
2. Storage (including NVR & Cloud)
Not much difference between the brands here. Both offer Cloud for their consumer models. Both are ONVIF compatible in their PoE range.
First, let's discuss storage options for these security cameras.
On-board storage capacity is essential when it comes to saving footage directly on the camera. Amcrest offers higher on-board storage capacity in many of its models, up to 256 GB, using a microSD card.
In comparison, Reolink offers on-board storage of up to 256 GB for some models and only 128 GB or 64 GB storage capacity for others.
In addition to on-board storage, both brands also offer other storage options.
Almost all Amcrest models support NVR (Network Video Recorder), NAS (Network-Attached Storage), and FTP (File Transfer Protocol) in addition to Cloud storage.
On the other hand, Reolink's support for different types of storage options varies between models; some have only microSD and Cloud storage support, while others also support NVR, FTP, and Cloud.
Compatibility with other Systems
Interoperability is essential when integrating a security camera with other security system components or software.
Amcrest excels in this area, providing compatibility with various software such as Synology, QNAP, Blue Iris, ONVIF, RTSP, and CGI for many models.
Reolink's interoperability options are wider in it’s PoE camera range (with a number supporting ONVIF) while there are fewer options in its Wi-Fi or Wire-Free range.
3. Audio & Alarms
More Reolink models have two-way capabilities and integrated alarms. However, Amcrest models are more catered to commercial applications with audio and alarm interfaces for external systems.
One of the essential features to consider is a camera's audio capabilities, which include an integrated microphone, an integrated speaker, and two-way audio support.
The majority of both Amcrest and Reolink models offer integrated microphones. When it comes to integrated speakers, more Reolink models feature this option compared to Amcrest cameras.
Two-way audio is supported by several models in both brands, making it easier to communicate with the person on the other end of the camera.
Another audio aspect to consider is the presence of an integrated siren. While only a few Amcrest models have this feature, many Reolink models offer an integrated siren or alarm, making them a more suitable choice if you are looking for an additional layer of security.
The Amcrest models with a siren, boast 110 dB which is more than enough to deter an intruder.
Alarm and Audio Interface
While only a few Amcrest models have an integrated siren, quite a number of them have an alarm interface, to connect an external alarm.
Likewise, an audio interface is more predominant in Amcrest models than their Reolink counterparts.
4. Camera & Lens Specs
Amcrest cameras tend to have larger image sensors which makes all the difference.
Amcrest offers a variety of camera models with various lens types and image sensors. Most Amcrest cameras have a fixed focal length, with focal lengths ranging from 1.4mm to 4mm.
The brand also provides a mix of CMOS image sensors, with sizes from 1/1.8″ to 1/2.7″. Amcrest also has a few camera models with motorized lenses, offering adjustable focal lengths for more flexibility.
The resolution of Amcrest cameras ranges from 2MP (1080P/HD) to 4K/Ultra HD. Some popular models include the Amcrest IP2M-1083EW-AI, which boasts a motorized lens and a 4MP resolution, and the Amcrest IP8M-VT2879EW-AI, offering a non-fixed max aperture of F1.5 and 4K resolution.
On the other hand, Reolink offers security cameras with mostly fixed focus lenses, particularly with a 2.8mm focal length.
The majority of Reolink cameras use CMOS image sensors sized at 1/3″ which is a good deal smaller than Amcrest.
A few Reolink models are equipped with motorized lenses, such as the RLC-511WA and the RLC-823A, which provide adjustable focal lengths and accommodate various viewing angles.
Reolink camera resolutions range from 2MP (1080P/HD) all the way up to 12MP, with the RLC-1224A, which is even bigger than 4K!
Some notable Reolink models are the Argus 3 Pro and the RLC-820A, both offering a 4MP resolution, while the RLC-822A provides a higher resolution at 8MP.
Field of View
In terms of field of view, both brands offer cameras with wide horizontal and diagonal viewing angles. Amcrest has a fisheye model with a 180-degree diagonal field of view, while Reolink has the Reolink Duo 2, which boasts a 180-degree horizontal field of view across two image sensors.
5. Intelligence & Smart Detection
Amcrest has a raft of advanced features, which in reality are more suited to commercial applications (For example: people counting, heat maps, and tripwire detection). Reolinks features are better suited to consumers with little setup required.
Amcrest's security cameras offer advanced features like configurable motion zones and motion sensitivity adjustment, which allow users to fine-tune their security preferences. Many Amcrest cameras have smart features such as person detection, vehicle detection, face detection, object detection, and in some cases, people counting and heat maps.
Some models also offer unique features like tripwire detection, intrusion detection, and missing object alerts for added security.
Reolink, on the other hand, focuses more on simplicity and ease of use. Many Reolink cameras come integrated with popular smart assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing users to control their cameras using voice commands.
Reolink's major selling point is its compatibility with various smart home devices like Chromecast, Google Nest Hub, Echo Show, and Fire TV. Most Reolink models offer standard smart features such as person detection and vehicle detection.
However, in comparison to Amcrest, Reolink models are not as feature-rich when it comes to perimeter protection or advanced analytics.
When it comes to motion alerts and notifications, both Amcrest and Reolink offer push notifications and email alerts tailored to the user's preferences. Some Amcrest models also have configurable motion sensitivity and motion zones, which allow users to minimize false alerts by focusing on important areas within the camera's field of view. Reolink models generally provide motion detection with adjustable sensitivity and configurable motion zones also.
6. Video Processing
Amcrest’s the winner here as its cameras generally have higher frame rates, True WDR along with BLC, HLC, and digital noise reduction.
Firstly, frame rate is important as it determines the smoothness of the video. Amcrest cameras typically support higher frame rates, with most models being able to handle 30 frames per second (fps), which ensures smoother video playback. On the other hand, Reolink cameras generally come with a lower frame rate of 15fps. A higher frame rate might be preferred for higher-security areas where capturing fast movements is crucial.
When it comes to continuous recording, Amcrest has a clear advantage as several of its models support this feature, while most Reolink cameras do not. This very much relates to how the camera is powered. As Amcrest offers mostly PoE and Coax cameras, they generally have 24/7 recording; while Reolink’s catalog is weighted towards wireless cameras.
Continuous recording can be useful for monitoring critical areas where you don't want to miss any activity. On the flip side, Reolink cameras seem to focus more on motion-activated recording, which can save on storage space as well as power consumption. Motion-activated recording can be a better choice for low-risk areas or when you only need to record events when motion is detected.
Another important factor to consider is the video coding format. Amcrest cameras offer a wider range of supported formats, including H.265, H.264, and MJPEG, whereas most Reolink cameras work with either H.264 or H.265 only. The H.265 format is more advanced and efficient compared to H.264, providing greater compression without compromising video quality. This means that H.265 allows you to save more video footage while using less storage space.
As for the Wide Dynamic Range (WDR), a feature that helps balance lighting in high-contrast scenes, many Amcrest cameras offer True WDR, with some providing up to 120-140dB of WDR.
On the other hand, Reolink models are more limited in this regard, featuring Digital WDR / HDR. This means that Amcrest cameras generally have better performance in challenging lighting conditions.
Amcrest cameras also provide more video advanced features, such as Backlight Compensation (BLC), Highlight Compensation (HLC), and 2D/3D Digital Noise Reduction (DNR), which help improve video quality and clarity. Reolink cameras, conversely, typically have fewer advanced features, although some models come with 3D DNR or support privacy masking.
7. Camera Body
The Amcrest cameras tend to be heavier (Based on the 52 cameras reviewed, the average weight of Amcrest cameras was double Reolinks!) which usually correlates to being sturdier. And they can operate at lower temperatures.
Amcrest offers a wider variety of materials used in their camera construction, such as plastic, aluminum, and heavy-duty metal cases. This means that they have options for different levels of durability and vandal resistance, depending on the model. Reolink cameras are typically made with metal aluminum, which still offers good durability.
Weather Rating & Temperature
In terms of weather resistance, both brands offer options ranging from IP65 to IP67 ratings, with Amcrest having a slightly higher number of IP67-rated models. This means that, overall, these cameras should be able to withstand harsh weather conditions, such as heavy rain and dust, making them suitable for outdoor use.
When it comes to operating temperature ranges, Amcrest cameras generally have a wider range compared to Reolink models, with some Amcrest options able to function at temperatures as low as -40°F and as high as 158°F. Reolink cameras typically have a temperature range of 14°F to 131°F. This might be an essential factor if you live in an area with extreme temperatures.
Size & Weight
Regarding camera dimensions, Amcrest offers a broader range of sizes, from compact cameras to larger models. Reolink cameras are generally more consistent in size, mostly sticking to a medium-sized form factor. This means that, depending on your preferences and installation area, you may find the appropriate camera size from either brand.
Regarding the camera's weight, Amcrest cameras generally weigh more than Reolink models. Heavier cameras can often be an indicator of sturdier construction and higher durability. However, lighter cameras, like those offered by Reolink, can be more manageable when installing or moving locations.
It's important to note that some specific features, such as vandal-resistance, are available in a few models of Amcrest cameras (like the IP2M-866W). Reolink also offers some models, such as the RLC-542WA, with IK10 vandal-proof ratings. Make sure to check individual models for these features according to your security needs.
8. Night Vision
This was a close call as Reolink tends to perform better in Infrared, however, Amcrest cameras work better in low lighting conditions, with a larger image sensor and True WDR.
Night vision is a crucial component of security cameras, and in my research, it’s clear that both brands offer an Infrared (IR) night vision capability.
However, there are differences in night vision functionality across various models. Some Amcrest cameras provide infrared and full-color night vision via a low-light sensor, while Reolink cameras often achieve this through spotlight technology.
Reolink cameras tend to have more integrated Infrared LEDs which results in those cameras having a slightly longer infrared range in total darkness.
For those looking for cameras with spotlight functionality, both brands offer some models with spotlights/floodlights included. The Amcrest floodlight (ASH26-W) is the brightest of all cameras reviewed, with 2000 lumens of light.
Minimum illumination for color is another factor to consider, as it represents the lowest amount of light needed for the camera to produce a color image. Lower values indicate that the camera can produce a color image in very low light conditions. Amcrest models have lower minimum illumination values, such as 0.005 and 0.009. This generally corresponds to the camera having a larger image sensor to let light in.
9. PTZ Functionality
If you're looking for a security camera with very advanced PTZ features and much higher optical zoom capabilities, Amcrest has a couple of models worth looking at. For everything else, Reolink has an impressive range of options, in a variety of power and data formats (wired, wireless, wire-free, 4G). They also have multi-sensor PTZ cameras, for wide-angle and telescopic auto-tracking (TrackMix Series).
PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) capabilities allow a camera to pan (move horizontally), tilt (move vertically), and zoom (enlarge view) to cover a larger area.
Digital zoom is a software-based zoom that enlarges the image, but the resolution will decrease as the image is enlarged.
Optical zoom, on the other hand, uses a lens to provide a higher-quality, clearer image when zooming in.
Amcrest offers a wide range of security cameras with both digital and optical zoom features. Specifically, most Amcrest cameras provide digital zoom with up to 16x magnification, whereas the optical zoom feature varies between 3x to 32x, depending on the model.
In addition, Amcrest also offers multiple models with pan and tilt features, some even come with PTZ presets, tours, scans, and patterns.
Examples include the Amcrest IP2M-863EW-AI and IP4M-1063EW-AI which offer pan, tilt, and up to 25x-32x optical zoom, for tracking and monitoring larger areas more effectively.
Reolink, on the other hand, tends to focus on digital zoom, with many models having 6x to 16x magnification. While fewer Reolink cameras offer optical zoom, the ones that do, provide a range of 3x to 16x magnification.
Pan and tilt features are available on a number of Reolink models, which tend to be more consumer-grade than Amcrests.
Research & Citations
Hands-On Product Testing
Camera Models included in Research
|Amcrest – IP4M-1046EW-AI||Reolink – Argus 2E|
|Amcrest – AMC4KBC28-W||Reolink – Argus Eco|
|Amcrest – IP4M-1041W||Reolink – Reolink Duo 4G|
|Amcrest – AMC4KDM28-B||Reolink – Argus 3 Pro Solar|
|Amcrest – A5TN28-W||Reolink – RLC-812A|
|Amcrest – 1920TVL||Reolink – Go Plus|
|Amcrest – AD110||Reolink – Argus 3|
|Amcrest – IP5M-F1180EW-V2||Reolink – RLC-511WA|
|Amcrest – IP8M-2496EW-V2||Reolink – Reolink Duo and Duo 2|
|Amcrest – IP8M-VT2879EW-AI||Reolink – RLC-523WA|
|Amcrest – IP5M-B1186EW-28MM||Reolink – Go PT Plus|
|Amcrest – IP2M-863EW-AI||Reolink – Argus Pro|
|Amcrest – IP5M-1190W||Reolink – E1 Outdoor|
|Amcrest – ADC2W||Reolink – Argus 2|
|Amcrest – IP2M-866W||Reolink – RLC-410W|
|Amcrest – IP2M-866EW||Reolink – RLC-520A|
|Amcrest – IP4M-1083EW-AI||Reolink – RLC-510A|
|Amcrest – IP4M-1063EW-AI||Reolink – RLC-542WA|
|Amcrest – IP8M-T2599EW||Reolink – E1 Pro|
|Amcrest – ASH26-W||Reolink – RLC-810A|
|Amcrest – IP5M-T1273EW-AI||Reolink – RLC-822A|
|Amcrest – ASH22-W||Reolink – RLC-823A|
|Amcrest – ASH43-W||Reolink – RLC-511W|
|Amcrest – AB2WFSET||Reolink – RLC-820A|
|Reolink – Argus PT 2K|
|Reolink – RLC-811A|
|Reolink – Lumus|
|Reolink – Argus 3 Pro|