Is it Worth Paying for an Arlo Cloud Subscription Plan?

Arlo Cloud SubscriptionArlo is our favorite line of wire-free cameras.  We are big fans of the Arlo Pro HD Security Camera System and Arlo Pro 2 Camera Security System.  Besides being well made cameras with a long battery life, Arlo throws in one of the most generous free cloud plans of any of the large manufacturers.  They also have a few plans that aren’t free.  Today, we discuss the Arlo cloud subscription plans in detail.

Effective July, 2018, Arlo renamed their cloud services to Arlo Smart and added functionality.  A very detailed explanation of the options available with this new plan are outlined in our Arlo Smart article.

Home Security Camera Cloud Services Definition

For those unfamiliar with the topic of cloud plans, here’s a brief description.  A cloud plan, regardless of camera manufacturer, provides offsite storage of your camera’s video.  Your video is transmitted over the internet to a remote data center where it’s retained for a defined period of time.  Each manufacturer implements cloud storage differently.  Some plans store short video clips of motion events.  Other plans store every minute, 24 hours per day, for a certain period of time.  Internet usage can vary from very light to extremely intensive and it all depends upon the video quality, number of cameras, amount of recording and compression algorithms used.  Some cloud service plans are free, some are paid, some manufacturers have a paid and free plan.

Out of the Box Capability

Now that you have a basic understanding of home security camera cloud plans, let’s take a look at what is free and what a paid Arlo cloud subscription plan gets you.

The free Arlo cloud plan gets you seven days of video retention for all motion events.  This isn’t continuous storage, it’s simply when motion is detected.  If your camera isn’t detecting motion, then nothing is stored in the cloud.  It’s free for the first five cameras on your account.  Most homes won’t exceed five cameras, perhaps some businesses may.

The free Arlo cloud subscription nets you three months of free support.  You can download video events and photos to your phone or tablet as long as they are stored in the cloud.  In the free plan, the download must occur within the seven day window.  After seven days, the video is no longer accessible.

Even though it’s just motion events, the seven days of retention is very generous.  Competitors such as Nest retain it for less than a day.

Paid Arlo Cloud Subscription Plans

There are several elevated plans that come at a cost.  It’s a little confusing because the plans are priced differently for home and business.  The prices are current as of the publication date of this article.

For home, if the seven days of free storage for motion events isn’t sufficient (or you have more than five cameras), consider upgrading to the Premier Plan.  That nets you 30 days of cloud recordings for up to ten cameras plus unlimited support for $99 annually.  The Elite plan bumps you up to 60 days of cloud storage for motion events for up to 15 cameras for $149 annually.

A business plan costs more, but you get a larger number of cameras in each plan.  The costs peak at the Enterprise Plan for business at $499 annually for up to 60 cameras and 60 days of storage.

As mentioned, this is for motion event storage.  Continuous recording to the cloud is very battery intensive so it’s not available for wire-free cameras like the Arlo Pro and Arlo Pro 2.  Continuous recording plans are available for the Arlo Q and Arlo Q Plus.

Is it Worth Paying for a Plan?

The decision of subscribing to a paid plan depends upon a few factors.

The most obvious factor is the number of Arlo cameras you have.  Exceed the free five camera limit and you have to pay.  No choice.

However, if you are at or under the five camera limit, it all boils down to the number of days of retention.  Most can get by just fine with seven days.  However, there are exceptions.  If you rarely check in with your cameras or are an absentee owner (i.e. vacation homeowner), it might make sense to opt for extended storage.  You may have events to review that you won’t know about until you arrive to check your property which could be weeks or months between visits.

So in summary, we believe most can utilize the free Arlo cloud subscription and be in good shape.  Likely no need to pay for an extended subscription.  Seven days is a long time, and it’s fairly manageable.