Buyer’s guide: smart home security systems
From security cameras to movement detectors and sensors for windows and doors, these home security packages offer something priceless – peace of mind.
While the traditional home security system required a technician to visit your home to wire your set-up, and could lead to neighbours pulling their hair out when your alarm repeatedly sounds while you’re away on holiday, the new generation of smart home security can be controlled by apps, are wireless and easy to install and send alerts straight to your phone.
If you’re looking to safeguard your home, they’re a worthwhile investment that may even bring down the cost of your home insurance. We took a look at 5 of the most popular systems on the market for their pros and cons.
SimpliSafe has built up its name for a well-rounded approach to home security – the choice for those who are a little more serious about protecting their property than just keeping an eye on things from time to time.
SimpliSafe’s professional monitoring service is unbeaten in the industry, and when you opt in to its monthly-charged security call out service, it’s like having your own personal security outfit. After all, it’s all very well knowing that someone has broken into your home while you’re out, but without a response service, it doesn’t necessarily halt theft or damage to your property.
We tested out this service, and were particularly impressed by the design of the individual elements, small and almost unclockable which is important if you cherish the design of your home. Set-up was also extremely easy, and alerts and monitoring software were simple to understand. The indoor camera has two-way audio functions and quality video playback, plus an exterior camera is available separately.
Simplisafe also has extra devices which can monitor for floods, smoke and freezing temperatures that could result in burst pipes.
If you’re just dipping your first toe into home security, you may find this kit a bit of an investment. While a Foundation Kit costs only £249, including an entry sensor, camera, hub and keypad, if you choose not to opt in to the monthly monitoring service, which starts from £12.99, it can still operate as a security system, but its functionality is reduced to a more simple home alarm system without remote control and alerts.
If you already use a Hive system for smart heating or lighting in your home, looking to this smart tech brand for a security system could be a good idea. Hive’s home security devices are among the more design-forward on the market, with choices of metallic finishes for its cameras, for example.
Not only can you get remote monitoring and video playback without a subscription, there’s added functionality that can be used with Hive’s lighting system to make for effective deterrence to would-be burglars. It’s Mimic mode can make it look like someone’s home by turning on and off lights in random patterns. It’s also compatible with Amazon Echo, Google Assistant and IFTTT products.
With indoor and outdoor cameras, all with two-way audio, motion and entry point sensors, the camera kits are good value at £259. However, while Hive offers remote monitoring, it doesn’t at present have an alarm system or response service if any break-ins do occur.
A budget-friendly offering at £134.95 for a starter kit, Veho’s Cave home security system has a lot to offer. It’s modular set-up means you can add any number of devices, from cameras to motion sensors and contact sensors. It also has some clever functions worth noting, including its ability to automatically schedule alarms to be set at a certain time, perfect for taking the hassle out of securing your property over night. Also, if your WiFi goes down, the Cave system can continue working via a separate SIM card.
The set-up process is simple and quick, and like all of these alarm systems, it’s wireless and easy to move when installed, so perfect for renters and homeowners alike.
At present, the Cave is only available in this grey colour, making the components very visible in your home. While this may make for a great deterrent, it also may be too noticeable for those who value their interior décor, especially in the case of contact sensors on windows and doors.
Ring is another big name in home tech, best known for its video doorbells, and its home security system offers some interesting options for protecting your home. Along with your video doorbell, Ring offers internal and external cameras, including outdoor cameras fitted with flood lights to act as an extra deterrent before thieves even make it into your property.
Ring also now offers assisted monitoring in the UK for an extra £8 per month, so that if your alarm is triggered, an alert will be sent to 3 emergency contacts.
If you’re in a large property, there is also a range extender available for purchase separately, which will help to get reliable coverage throughout your home.
Yale is, traditionally, one of the best known brands for security systems in the UK, and their smart home system is an evolution in its offering for its customers. This set-up as some definite plus points, including a loud external siren, housed in a classic Yale box, to act as a detterent, and it can also sync up with Philips Hue lightbulbs to flash red inside your home when an alarm is triggered, helping to disorientate thieves and let them know they’ve been caught.
The starter kits comes with pre-linked components, however, some users do find this system more tricky to set up. It doesn’t require a subscription and can be integrated with most smart assistants.
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