Canary vs YI Cameras

If you're looking for a new home security system, it's no surprise that you've come across Canary and YI. Canary and YI are similar providers, fairly new to the affordable-security market.

Canary was launched in 2013 following a successful Kickstarter campaign. Canary has become known for its successful all-in-one camera systems.

YI Technologies is another modern provider, founded in 2014. The company specializes in selling cameras, including outdoor security cameras and dashcams. They sell more equipment under their sub-brand Kami.

YI and Canary have some similarities, but there are key differences.

Canary vs YI: What do they have in common?

  • Night vision: YI and Canary cameras offer night vision capabilities. Night vision is essential for keeping your home safe at night.
  • Video doorbells: Doorbell cameras have become home security must-haves; Canary and YI provide excellent video doorbell options.
  • Indoor and outdoor cameras: You can purchase cameras for use anywhere.
  • Mobile app: You can monitor your home security system with a free mobile app available on iOS and Android. You can receive security alerts and notifications.
  • Cloud storage: You can use YI and Canary cams with cloud storage.
  • Resolution: You can purchase 1080p HD resolution cameras from YI and Canary.
  • Two-way audio: You can use two-way talk, which is an excellent feature. Two-way talk allows you to make it seem like you're home and communicate with visitors - even if you're not home.
  • Voice control: Amazon Alexa compatibility will allow you to control your system with voice commands.

Canary vs YI: What are the differences?

  • Local storage: Canary uses cloud storage, predominantly. But most YI cameras have a MicroSD card slot, allowing you greater access to local storage.
  • Customizable motion detection: YI offers customizable motion detection - Canary doesn't.
  • Field of view: Canary cameras offer a better field of view.
  • Video quality: The video resolution is the same, but YI has a lower frame rate which results in a slight quality reduction.
  • Customer service: YI's customer service is reportedly inadequate.
  • Pricing: YI Home cameras are extremely reasonably priced, starting at less than $30. While Canary is also affordable, you can't beat $30.

YI: What you need to know

YI is one of the most affordable providers, launched in 2014, offering 1080p HD video cameras, dash cams, baby monitors, and other convenient devices. All equipment is DIY compatible and easy to install; let's break down what they have to offer.

Installation

YI Cameras are all wireless aside from the Kami wired outdoor camera, YI cameras have simple installation, and everything you need will come with your purchase - including detailed instructions. If you need assistance, there may be quite a wait as customer service is reported to be poor.

Equipment

YI offers a range of equipment compatible with the YI Home app. Popular equipment includes:

  • Baby monitors
  • Wi-Fi security cameras (including indoor and outdoor cameras)
  • Dash cams
  • IP cameras
  • Doorbell cameras

YI Cameras are wireless and have motion-activated recordings and 1080p resolution; battery-powered cameras seem to run out of battery quickly. Most YI Cameras have a 110-degree field of view, compared to Canary's usual 145 degrees. The cameras aren't as advanced, but you can purchase more equipment from YI.

Home automation

If you're looking for a smart home ecosystem, YI isn't for you. YI cameras have plenty of advanced features, but third-party integrations aren't great. The only significant integration provided is Amazon Alexa compatibility.

Costs

Equipment costs:

YI cameras are very affordable.

  • The 1080p Home camera is just $24.99.
  • The YI Dome costs $59.99.

You'll get an excellent, feature-packed piece of kit without paying much.

  • Monthly costs: YI only stores short clips when triggered; if you need add-on storage, you'll have to pay for it. There are three plans to choose from:
    • The entry plan: is $5 per month and covers one camera with seven days of history.
    • Standard plan: $12 per month covering five cameras and 15 days of history.
    • Plus plan: $19 per month, covering five cameras with 30-days of history.

Nerd pros

  • Cost: At around $20 for a security camera, Canary can't beat YI on pricing.
  • User-friendly: YI cameras have extremely easy installation; everything you need comes with your new camera.

Nerd cons

  • Quality: YI cuts corners such as framer rate and reliable customer service to cut prices. Most customers would rather pay a bit more and access better resources and services.

Canary Security: What you need to know

Canary was launched in 2013 by a successful Kickstarter campaign; they've become best known for security packages with features including If This Then That (IFTTT) compatibility, sirens, and built-in AI. The Canary app lets you monitor a live feed in real-time and receive motion-activated alerts.

Installation

Wireless cameras are the easiest to install. You won't need to drill holes or use ethernet cables to connect your system. It's a plug-in-and-go installation, and customers report an easy process. You can contact the live chat for help. It takes less than an hour to get your system ready to go.

Equipment

Canary doesn't offer much variety, just a handful of cameras and mounts. Most models are weatherproof and have color night vision, 1080p HD resolution, and built-in climate monitors.

  • Canary View
  • Canary Flex
  • Canary Pro

You can also purchase a mount to install your system, including a stake, twist, or secure mount.

Home automation

Only core smart home devices are offered; there are no dedicated thermostats, smart lights, etc. Your mobile app will oversee your security equipment; the app is available for iOS and Android users. Available integrations include:

  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Assistant
  • Apple Homekit

Costs

If you're buying a new home security system, the core costs you need to consider include:

  • Equipment: You'll buy everything up front, and you can receive discounts for subscribing, but the system is low-cost; even the most expensive camera comes in at $129.
  • Monthly costs: You can do without monthly costs; if you don't need a premium subscription. If you want extra perks, such as add-on storage, you can upgrade for $9.99 per month.

Nerd pros

  • Warranty: Canary's warranty lasts for 60-days, but most customers seem satisfied with their purchase.
  • Price: The priciest Canary camera is the Flex, a $129 camera with weatherproofing; it's suited for outdoor use. Canary is one of the more affordable providers.
  • HD video quality: Canary offers HD 1080p quality.
  • Unique features: Canary provides advanced features, including two-way talk, a built-in siren, and person detection.

Nerd cons

  • No motion sensors: There are no door/window sensors, leaving your home vulnerable. You could mount a camera at each exit, but it's unaffordable.
  • Activity zones: Canary doesn't offer customizable motion detection.

Canary or YI?

If you're looking for the best home security cameras, Canary is one of the best. However, YI has additional detection features, such as baby monitors that can detect a baby's crying and customizable activity zones. Unfortunately, these extra functionalities don't make up for limited smart home integration and poor customer service. Canary is a more reliable provider with clearer camera quality.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.

Officer James Banta

Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.

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