Eufy security cameras are smart IP-based security cameras that are generally designed to work with a base station called a ‘HomeBase’. This is the default setup as seen in my Eufy Cam 2 Pro Review.
However, since Anker brought to life these set of security cameras and paired them up with a hitherto unknown unit called a HomeBase, there have been other smart IP cameras like the YI Indoor IP Camera (a wired unit) or the more versatile Ring Stick Up Battery Cam – units that essentially work alone and have no need for a separate extension to either pair with or report to.
So, naturally, the question comes up: can the Eufy smart security cameras be used without the HomeBase or Base Station if that is what one prefers?
However, before I answer that question as a current user of Eufy cameras, I’d love to clarify some very important concepts first, the most important, in my opinion being what an Eufy Base Station is and especially what it does in the setup and operation of Eufy cameras.
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What Is An Eufy Base Station & What Does It Do?
The Eufy HomeBase is the ‘central processor’ of the Eufy security camera system. It comes standard with a wall charger and needs to be connected to the grid to perform its functions.
Basically, these functions are simple and straight to the point: the unit acts as a WiFi repeater to boost the acquired WiFi signal (from the router) to the cameras. It also acts as storage for the footage recorded (footage isn’t generally stored on the cameras themselves, except in a few exceptions).
Importantly, however, it is the HomeBase that gets connected to the internet in the first place, transmitting the signals it receives (either by ethernet or WiFi) to the cameras so that they can do their jobs of recording what they are set to.
Accordingly thus, cameras need to first be paired to their respective HomeBases or base stations for them to begin the work of recording and transmitting footage remotely – assuming the WiFi or ethernet connection is fine and works as intended.
Can Eufy Security Cameras Be Used Without The HomeBase?
Generally, Eufy security cameras are designed to work with a HomeBase. However, there are a range of Eufy standalone cameras (like the S40 (solar-powered, with 2k resolution and spotlight); the L20 solo cam – resolving at 1080p with the spotlight feature – and the Solocam E20 – resolving at 1080p and without any spotlights) that do not need a HomeBase to record and do their thing.
These standalone cameras generally have about half the battery life typical with models that need a HomeBase to work like the Eufy Cam 2 Pro.
To work, these cameras are paired directly to a WiFi system with the Eufy security apps for the respective OS downloaded and signed in.
They also save footage directly in the camera itself, which contains the internal storage chip for such footage storage.
However, does the fact that some of Anker’s security cameras can work and record without a HomeBase being paired ring out as awesome? Is it something you’d love to try or should try in the first place?
Let’s take a look at the advantages of such a system, together.
Advantages Of Eufy Cameras Without The Need For A HomeBase
There are different advantages, paired with the reality of not committing or daring to be different – in this case, seeking to use the camera type under discussion here without the traditional units that they are paired to before operation and use, generally.
What are these advantages in the real world, however?
- Ability to buy and run just a single camera.
- Elimination of the need to run a base station – with all its challenges.
- Savings on the cost of the HomeBase.
1. Ability To Buy And Run Just A Single-Camera
Eufy security cameras are sold as bundles, usually, with the HomeBase. Such bundles contain at least two cameras and the Base – cameras that need to be connected to the Base first before use.
Ordinarily, this shouldn’t present a challenge except that in the real world of use and need, such an offer may not serve you or even remotely be what you’re looking for in the first place.
For instance, if you’re only interested in covering a single place and recording activity only in such a place, the ‘deal’ that such bundles offer begins to fade into irrelevance.
In such an instance, all that you need is just a SoloCam and nothing else; certainly not the often separate HomeBase nor the added stress of another camera that might just sit in the basement or garage gathering dust.
So, instead of a bundle of items not needed, you simply get to buy and install only what is relevant and useful in your own case.
2. Elimination Of The Need To Run A Base Station
The standard HomeBase for the Eufy camera range comes default with a wall adapter and needs to be plugged into a wall socket at all times to maintain power and do its thing.
Now, that isn’t much of an issue – if sockets and appropriate places to keep the unit aren’t a challenge. If they are, you might just begin to sweat.
For instance, if you have very active kids who also double as curious, keeping the Base safe is a challenge – one that you must figure out and solve even before the purchase; that is if you desire to keep the unit for any appreciable length of time.
Then again, the current HomeBase, 2, doesn’t come with an internal battery as 1 did.
The net implication of this reality is troubling: if power is lost, the cameras immediately stop recording, and everything that happens after this reality is missed.
Compare this with the exclusively battery-powered unit and things will begin to take shape for you, especially if you live in a place (or plan to use the camera in a place) where power isn’t guaranteed 24/7.
3. Savings On The Cost Of The HomeBase
It isn’t sorely out of love that Anker packs the HomeBase as part of a bundle for most of their cameras.
Manufactured like everything else, these Bases cost money to produce and Anker will naturally not mind making a profit on it.
If you choose such units, what your choice loosely translates to is that you’ll be the one footing that bill and paying the company the profit as they have decided on the product.
Now, in an ideal situation, this may not present any challenges and as a matter of fact, is the way the world of commerce is generally run.
However, we’re hardly in a perfect world and situations have a way of always failing to be ideal. If you’re on a tight budget, for instance, or simply have funds budgeted for the camera(s) and nothing else, then, it makes perfect sense to think twice about the Base and maybe, even shun it.
Wisdom, it is said, is profitable to direct. After all, the HomeBase is between $50 to $100 when the standard bundle price is factored in and the unit price of the cameras subtracted.
Disadvantages Of Running An Eufy Camera Without A Separate HomeBase
However, all isn’t rosy with this setup. While there are obvious advantages to a standalone Eufy camera without the standard connection to the HomeBase, there are also some disadvantages that must be factored in when contemplating this type of product and setup.
- Smaller overall storage space.
- The threat of losing all footage if the camera gets in the wrong hands.
- Poorer battery life (when compared to the HomeBase powered models).
1. Smaller Overall Storage Space
Videos are large compared to, at least, photos.
When these videos are security videos, they are bound to be heavier than usual, especially when they are long and need to capture all the details that matter for your security needs.
However, things get pretty much bulkier when 2K enters the mix and you need to both record, save, and playback footage at this rendering point.
The standard HomeBase today, the HomeBase 2 comes powered with a 16 GB eMMC – which is where footage is saved for onward review. While this appears to be much, it fills up pretty quickly. My experience with the HomeBase 2, paired up with 3 cameras (and used in fairly busy locations) has shown that this is just enough for about a month (not more) before newer footage gets written over older ones in an overwriting fashion.
If you choose to go the solo way and completely avoid the HomeBase, it is instructive to note and remember that you’ll be getting only half of the storage space you should have got with the HomeBase powered models (and the space the HomeBase offers its models is pretty poor as it is).
And, it is also noteworthy that, this storage type as offered by the solo camera range, is of the eMMC variant and is non-expandable.
2. The Threat Of Losing All Footage If The Camera Gets In The Wrong Hands.
If you need to use a security camera, there exists an element of distrust already. Now, it does not matter the source of this ‘distrust’…all that matters is that it exists and is very real and potent enough for you to think of a security camera in the first place.
Now, with the standard Eufy HomeBase default setup, the cameras and the HomeBase are separated with the latter always kept in a secure place.
Now, no matter what happens to the camera(s), the footage is at least secure (that is if the challenge did not reach where the HomeBase was stored).
This is the exact opposite of what is obtainable when you decide to opt for an option that sidelines the Base, to wit, the solo cams.
In such a setup, what a smart criminal or intruder needs to do is simply to take the camera with him/her or outrightly damage it and the whole footage is lost.
It is as simple as that.
3. Poorer Battery Life (When Compared To The HomeBase Powered Models)
When opting for smart, battery-powered wireless security cameras, you likely are not envisaging a situation where you have to charge the inbuilt battery every week.
Such reality as posed above takes all the fun from the process of enjoying wireless security and instead, makes everything look and feel like a true pain in the butt.
This is what the Solo cams look like now; at least when compared to the standard options that come with a central HomeBase.
To put matters into perspective, the battery of the Eufy Cam 2 Pro camera is rated to last a whole year, with conservative use (conservative use being described as circa 5 recordings a day and importantly, programming the cameras not to exceed 20 seconds of coverage at a time, in order to maximize battery life).
However, that is an ideal situation and I dare say, more of marketing hype.
In the real world, however, you may get 50 or more footage a day and would want to set the camera to optimum surveillance so that you catch all the action and take action as appropriate.
With my experience, this means charging the cameras every two months or three, max.
Now, if that is the best the Eufy Cam 2 Pro offers in real-life use (and is rated for being good for a whole year on a single charge), do the math and see for how long the standalone cameras that are rated for three months would be good for, battery and charge wise.
Your guess is as good as mine: a week or two max – if you’re getting all the action (60 or more seconds clips) and the camera sees and records up to 30 or more activities a day (which is fairly common and expected, by the way).
Wrap Up: Is Connecting The Eufy Camera To The HomeBase A Good Or Bad Thing?
To wrap up: which is better – using the solo camera or going the way of the HomeBase?
It depends on what your reality is and what exactly you’re looking for in a security camera. To determine this, you’ll need to read carefully the pros and cons and from there, pick one or two tips and then, decide.
However, it is very important to remind you that if you must buy the standalone cameras from Eufy and have got sunshine where the camera(s) is/are going to be mounted, it is a no-brainer to get an option powered with a solar panel.
That way, you completely eliminate the battery charging challenge and don’t even get to think of it again.
The smartest of these options that I can think of is the Eufy Security SoloCam S40 – a 2k option with an integrated solar panel and a spotlight.
While certainly a little pricier than the regular HomeBase powered options, you’d be glad you paid the extra cost and had the stress of constantly taking down the camera to recharge its battery completely taken off your shoulders.