clock menu more-arrow no yes

Night Owl Security Cameras Review (2021)

Night Owl offers security cameras and video surveillance systems to help you monitor the inside and outside of your home. In this review of Night Owl security cameras, the This Old House Reviews Team will dive into the company’s offerings to help you find the right equipment for your security needs.

Modern living room protected by a Night Owl security camera Adobe

Founded in 2009, Night Owl Home Security manufacturers affordable video surveillance equipment that’s user-friendly and effective. Night Owl offers customers wired digital video recorder (DVR) and network video recorder (NVR) systems, as well as a selection of wireless systems and cameras.

Night Owl puts video surveillance in your hands, giving you state-of-the-art equipment for use inside your home or business. Keep reading to learn how you can incorporate Night Owl security cameras into your pre-existing home security system.


Types of Night Owl Security Cameras Equipment

Night Owl offerings can be broken down into three categories: wired systems, wireless systems, and individual video cameras. Each offering provides different security features and specifications, giving customers a range of options for satisfying their video security needs.

Wired Security Systems

Night Owl’s wired security systems are separated into DVR and NVR systems. DVR systems are affordable, offer dual sensor technology, and are backwards compatible with your existing CCTV infrastructure. While cost-effective and adaptable, DVR systems require multiple cables for installation.

NVR systems offer increased image clarity and reduced cable clutter for an easy-to-install system, but they’re less affordable and aren’t compatible with analog, AHD, or TVI cameras.

Each wired security camera system offers multiple security modes, 24/7 recording, and remote viewing through the Night Owl mobile app.

Compare Night Owl DVR and NVR systems below:

Comparison

System DVR NVR
System DVR NVR
Camera type Analog IP
Cable type Coaxial BNC Ethernet
Maximum cable run length per camera 300 feet 1,000 feet
Number of available kits 23 6

Here are three of Night Owl’s most popular DVR wired security kits:

  • CAN-C80XFR-82-4L—This expandable eight-channel 4K wired system comes with two terabytes of storage and four spotlight cameras. The system’s night vision provides clear video up to 100 feet away and is compatible with smart devices and computers. The cameras come with built-in, motion-activated spotlights and utilize facial recognition to send you customized alerts. Customers can add up to four more devices to the system if necessary.
  • C5XFR2L-168-B—This system comes with eight 5MP wired spotlight cameras and stores up to 2TB of video storage on its hard drive. The kit offers an expandable 16-channel system, so customers can add up to eight more devices if necessary. The included cameras use human detection technology to alert you if an intruder is in the home.
  • XHD301-84P-B—With patented smart motion detection and enhanced night vision, this system offers customers four 1080p cameras that send you heat and motion detection alerts. The cameras are weather-resistant and can be viewed on your computer, smartphone, or tablet for no monthly fee.

These are the six available Night Owl NVR security kits:

  • IC8-16144-B—Expandable 16-channel system with 14 included cameras
  • IC8-16124-B—Expandable 16-channel system with 12 included cameras
  • IC8-16104-B—Expandable 16-channel system with 10 included cameras
  • IC8-862-B—Expandable Eight-channel system with six included cameras
  • IC802-88—Eight-channel system with eight included cameras
  • IC802-84—Expandable eight-channel system with four included cameras

Each kit has a 4K Ultra HD system with two terabytes of storage. The kit’s included cameras run on L2 Color Boost® Technology that captures full-color video even in the middle of the night. Additionally, each camera uses motion sensors to send real-time alerts to your mobile device.


Wireless Security Systems

For easier setup with less cables, Night Owl offers customers a wireless security solution. Customers have the choice of a complete or expandable wireless kit, which gives you the option of growing your system as needed. Your wireless system sends recorded video to your mobile app or computer using free Night Owl software.

These are the three wireless systems offered by Night Owl:

  1. WNVRC20-841—This expandable eight channel system comes with four 1080p wireless infrared cameras and one terabyte of hard drive storage. The cameras are AC-powered and can be plugged into any wall outlet, providing up to 300 feet of wireless range. The cameras provide two-way audio and enhanced night vision so you can see and hear everything within range.
  2. WG4-2I-16SD-B—This is a four-channel 1080p system that offers two AC-powered indoor wireless cameras. The system works with Google Assistant and is monitored remotely through the Night Owl app at no additional charge. The cameras come equipped with two-way audio and heat sensing technology.
  3. WG4-4OU-16SD-B—This four channel system comes with four AC-powered 1080p cameras, each equipped with night vision and a wide viewing angle for full security coverage.

Additional Cameras

Night Owl offers additional cameras to supplement your existing Night Owl video system or to serve as a stand-alone smart security device. Here are two Night Owl camera offerings that operate as standalone cameras.

  • Smart doorbell—Night Owl offers a doorbell camera that replaces your existing doorbell with 1080p HD video and two-way audio. Footage from your smart doorbell can be displayed directly on your TV using voice-activated Google Assistant commands and can be stored in optional cloud storage.
  • Panoramic camera—This 1080p AC-powered wireless camera provides a 180-degree vertical and horizontal field of view, covering a large area of the surveilled room. The camera includes two-way audio, enabling you to talk to guests or scare off intruders through the Night Owl app.

Special Features

When you purchase a Night Owl security kit or camera, here are some features you can expect:

  • Facial Recognition: Most wired cameras from Night Owl are equipped with facial capture and recognition technology, identifying faces from up to 10 feet away. Using the internal database located in the Night Owl app, you can put a name to each face so your camera can distinguish between a familiar face and a stranger.
  • Built-In Motion-Activated Spotlights: Some Night Owl cameras contain a motion-activated floodlight. The bright light wards off intruders and helps you navigate through your yard at night.
  • L2 Color Boost® Technology: Typical night vision technology displays video in black and white. With L2 Color Boost® Technology, your cameras record in full color even in the middle of the night. Cameras equipped with this technology still have regular night vision capabilities but only switch to the lower quality footage when necessary.
  • Remote Viewing: Night Owl provides you with instant access to your footage with the free Night Owl app, where video and images can be saved for future playback. Setup takes less than two minutes, and there are no monthly fees.
  • Voice Assistant Compatibility: Night Owl integrated Google Assistant with your video system and cameras so that you can control your devices through voice-activated commands. For example, you can pull up live camera feed onto your Chromecast TV using a Google Home device.
  • Weather Resistance: Most Night Owl devices are designed for indoor and outdoor use, as they’re weather resistant and can withstand moisture and debris.
  • Real-Time Dual Sensor Alerts: This technology conserves storage on your system by recording only when motion and heat are detected. Once detected, your camera will begin recording and you’ll receive a push notification from the Night Owl app detailing the alert.
  • Two-Way Talk: Many Night Owl devices come equipped with two-way talk capabilities, allowing you to communicate with guests outside your home or check in on family members.

How Does Night Owl Work?

Night Owl offers a variety of video surveillance equipment that can be accessed and controlled directly from your phone. After purchasing a device or video kit from Night Owl, professional installation is recommended due to the expertise required to properly wire each camera and system.

Once installed, you can begin to monitor your system directly from your mobile device or computer, where you can do everything from reviewing recorded footage to using the two-way audio feature.

Note: Night Owl has five mobile applications that are compatible with various devices.


Night Owl Customer Service

Night Owl provides phone support 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-866-390-1303. Customers can also receive support through the Night Owl live chat function online.

Night Owl offers returns within the first 30 days of purchase. For unopened items, customers will receive a full refund. If the product has been opened or used, it’s eligible for a return with a restocking fee of 20%. If the product has been opened but was defective before arriving, customers receive a free replacement or their money back.

Night Owl provides customers with a one-year limited warranty that covers manufacturing defects in material and workmanship. The warranty doesn’t cover parts or events like bulbs, accidents, and damage from misuse.


Night Owl Security Cameras Reviews

Night Owl isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and holds a D+ rating. This rating stems from BBB’s understanding of how the company deals with customers and handles complaints. Although they provide comprehensive customer support, customer reviews on BBB are generally negative.

Here’s a sample of BBB customer reviews:

“Their app won’t connect to the device 98% of the time. My Wi-Fi, modem, cameras, device, monitor, all of it great. But they are all useless if the app won’t connect. Customer service is no help and they just try to steer you towards buying a newer model every time. I tried to login over the Internet and the site has been ‘down for maintenance’ for over a week with no way of being able to call or email customer service. It feels like they are ghosting their customers. I’m done with this company. Do not buy.” —Brooke W.

Customer service is not good. [I] spoke with agent Annabel [and] she advised [me] that she could not figure out how to help me get my cameras connected to my phone. [I] asked to speak with a supervisor [and] he told her to tell me they will call me back in 48 [hours]. I don’t recommend buying this product because when you have a problem they don’t care and [are] not trained enough to fix their own product. Waste of money. It’s a scam if you ask me.” —Jalany R.


Our Conclusion

Night Owl offers indoor and outdoor cameras, in addition to doorbell cameras and systems that are controlled and monitored by customers. Although the company offers a breadth of video surveillance equipment for homeowners, their customer service has been called into question by many customers.


If you’re unsure if Night Owl is right for you, compare it to other top-rated security companies in the industry like Abode, Vivint, and ADT.

Top-Rated Alternatives to Night Owl

Provider Abode Vivint ADT
Provider Abode Vivint ADT
Get a free quote View Plans View Plans View Plans
Equipment prices $149.00–$1,249.00 $599.00 and up Bundled with contract
Monitoring prices (per month) $45.99 $40.00 and up $29.00 and up
Contract required No No 36 months
24/7 monitoring Available Available Included
Professional installation Yes Pricing by quote $99.00 and up
DIY installation No Not available Not available
Mobile app access Yes Yes Yes
Motion detection Yes Yes Yes
Smart home compatibility Yes Yes Yes
Video surveillance Yes With camera purchase Available
Video streaming capability Yes With camera purchase Available
BBB rating A+ D+ A+

Frequently Asked Questions about Night Owl

How long do Night Owl cameras last?

The life of your Night Owl camera depends on the model and usage, but the company does provide a one-year warranty on workmanship and material defects.

Do Night Owl cameras need internet connection?

No. Your camera doesn’t need internet connection to record, but you’ll need Wi-Fi to look at footage remotely through the application.

How do you troubleshoot a Night Owl device?

Night Owl suggests the following steps if you’re experiencing connection failure or degradation:

  1. Ensure you’re using the correct application.
  2. Make sure your DVR/NVR and mobile device are both properly connected to the internet.
  3. Ensure that your mobile device meets the minimum requirements for remote viewing in your application.
  4. Restart the device and app.
  5. Make sure that the network meets the minimum requirements.

If you’re still having trouble connecting your device to the Internet, reach out to Night Owl technical support online or on the phone at 1-866-390-1303.

Can you talk through Night Owl cameras?

Yes. Some Night Owl offerings, like the indoor panoramic camera, support two-way audio to hear and speak with the person on the other end.


Our Home Security Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews Team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and having the data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for home security providers is on a 100-point scale based on 10 factors:

  • Number of systems (5)
  • Special features (10)
  • Installation options (5)
  • Connectivity and smart home automation (15)
  • Pricing (15)
  • Contract period (5)
  • Warranty (15)
  • Trial period (15)
  • Usability (5)
  • Trustworthiness (10)

Our team reviewed 32 companies and spent 744 hours researching and testing out products to help us compare home security systems on key factors such as package options, cost, reliability, and ease of use. Read more on our methodology here.


To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.