Smart Home Diary: Why I picked the Nest Cam with Floodlights


I’ve written about the home-building process a few times in the past. There’s something refreshing about “starting from scratch” with your home and deciding everything fresh. There’s also a benefit to rethinking the role of smart home technology in your life. How much is too much? Would it be easier to use a light switch here vs. a smart bulb? Do I really need that many cameras? For the next iteration of my smart home diary section of HomeKit Weekly, I want to explain why I picked a brand of cameras I never thought I’d go with a few months back. Let’s look at how I ended up choosing the Nest Cam with Floodlight for my outdoor cameras.

HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.


As we wrap up our days in our existing home, I’ve been thinking through what I like about our current home with HomeKit vs. what I don’t like. I heard someone say once, before you buy anything, consider:

  • Can you enjoy the thing?
  • Can you maintain the thing?

When I think about what products I want in my next smart home, I think through a similar ideal:

  • Do I want to maintain this?
  • Is troubleshooting worth the benefit?

I’ve been watching our house-building process and thinking through the role of outdoor cameras. I’ve walked around the property and thought – do I need a camera here? Is there another place having fewer cameras might work? Do I want to drill into the brick (our house is brick), or could I rethink how this works?

Floodlight cameras

We talked about outdoor lightning with our builder, and the topic of floodlights came up. Our plan is for this house to be the final one we build and live in until we’re too old to maintain it. So I’ve been thinking through: what decisions can I make today that I’ll be happy with a decade from now?

As we were thinking through floodlights, combining floodlights and cameras really seemed to make a lot of sense to me. I do enough research on smart home products to know that there were really only a handful of options for a combination floodlight and smart home camera.

I’ve decided to go with Nest for our thermostat mainly because of its exterior appearance of it. I’ll use Starling Home Hub to bridge it over to HomeKit post-installation. Why Nest? As I thought through outdoor cameras, I realized that one thing I wanted to have was 24/7 recording. Unfortunately, there’s no HomeKit Secure Video option for continuous recording. Although event-based recording is great – I am thinking through the long term. Google’s Nest Aware Plus subscription ($120/year) gives me a 60-day event history and 10 days of 24/7 recordings in a cloud-hosted environment. One subscription will also cover all of my cameras (and doorbells). That’s an attractive package in my opinion, so that’s what I’ve decided to go with. Since it’s built into my floodlights, no additional wiring or drilling is needed. I’ll always have a floodlight on the outside of the house, so even if I decide against outdoor Nest cameras in the future, I can remove them and mount a traditional light.

Nest Aware subscription

Wrap up on Nest Cam with floodlights

I recently finished reading Build by Tony Fadell. While it wasn’t a history of his career, it did have a lot of stories from the founding of Nest. Despite your feelings on Google’s purchase of them (Tony has a lot in hindsight), Nest is a quality brand for smart home products. They took thermostats and made them look great while adding new functionality. When I look at the Nest Camera with Floodlight, I see the same appeal. It takes a traditional product and makes it look great while adding new functionality. I’ll use the Nest Aware subscription, but I’ll also use the Starling Home Hub to bridge it to HomeKit for native automations elsewhere in my home.

Have you put it in floodlights with cameras? What’s been your experience?

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