When it comes to keeping our homes safe, we will take all the help we can get. Safety can’t be assumed no matter where you live. There are many new security devices to offer parents and homeowners to keep their families safe and give them peace of mind.
For us it isn’t a question if we need or plan on purchasing a system for our home, it is which one?
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Home Security Systems
I appreciate the genius of the people who design and develop home security systems. I love SMART technology. Sometimes it seems hard to keep up with all the innovations, but it is worth it! I don’t want to be left out!
We have a lake home to keep safe as well as our permanent residence. We know it is probably just a matter of time before we or one of our neighbor’s homes are broken into there. I would love to have a recorded video of a person who was breaking in. Better yet, I would like to have a system with two-way communication so I could scare them while they lurk about.
I have always said a burglar would be very disappointed upon entering our house. I don’t wear jewelry and we certainly don’t have extra cash laying around. Maybe, I would just say through the camera “Good Luck!”
As I began my quest for finding the security system that we want, it became clear very quickly that this was not going to be easy because of the massive amount of choices out there. I decided I would have to make a List of questions to ask before purchasing a system. I next realized I didn’t have to buy a whole system. I have other options.
- I know I want reliable technology for sure.
- I want to compare costs, but I know you often get what you pay for.
- Great customer service is a must for me. When I check reviews on ANY company, I read what others say. Poor customer satisfaction after the sale is a deal breaker for me.
What company is considered the Best and what does that mean? I found that not all the review sites agree on the criteria to determine the “best.” We might have to narrow it down and then decide what is important to us and what we can afford.
A List of Questions to Ask Before a Purchase
- How long has the company been in business? Sorry, but I read to avoid new startup companies to get a better deal. You want them around for support and service.
- Can everything be controlled by a SMART assistant like Alexa and by apps on my phone? I would never get a system that can’t do this. I love the piece of mind and want to check on my house whenever I want.
- Do we want basic protection, video monitoring or complete home automation? This is where it really gets complicated. It all sounds great, but be sure to look at what is the best for your budget, not how many bells and whistles you can get. You can always add more later.
- How do complete automation and video monitoring differ? I didn’t even know most of the complete automation choices existed. Like everything else that is technical, there is always a new product with updated features. Be careful, it is tempting as most companies offer motion sensors, security cameras, door and window sensors, smart doorbells, along with flood, smoke and freeze sensors. The list goes on.
- How about price? Ask about what the system costs. This may include equipment, monthly fees, installation fees or none of the above. I read that sometimes buying just what you need and installing a little at a time can end up costing more if the company has a “bundle” price. A professionally installed system can cost between $2,000-$4,000.
- Should the system be professionally monitored or self- monitored? This is something I hadn’t thought of. I assumed we would self-monitor. I know professionally monitored systems will likely be out of our price range. If not, remember that a professionally monitored system is 24/7, notifies you and the authorities if there is a break in. You don’t have to worry about your phone being off or dead batteries, etc.
- What do the warranties cover? You know how confusing this can get. Is the equipment under warranty for life but the installation only a month? Be sure to understand what will be replaced if things break down.
- Another question that comes to mind here is how much will updates cost? Like everything else “SMART”, I am assuming there will be improvements and updates. I don’t want to have to start over in a couple of years. This is an investment.
- Will you be required to sign a contract? There are companies that do and don’t. Ask what the cancellation policy is and are the monthly fees guaranteed for the life of the contract? Before you sign, be SURE to read the fine print. A knowledgeable salesperson can seem very trustworthy.
- Does the company have a reliable Mobile App? We travel quite a bit and would like the option of turning system devices on and off, and maybe disarming it completely if we know a friend or relative needs to enter the house while we are away.
- Can I take the security system with me if I move? I had never thought of that!! Some companies let you pack it up and take it with you, while others may charge a disconnect and installation fee -again. Can you break the contract if you need to move?
- Do you rent or own your home? Can you sell your system to another family and have it installed?
The “whole system” may be the way to go if the product is good and the price is right. It seems less confusing. Some people are really good with installing security devices themselves and can make an entire plan of how to build their own system. – If this is you – Awesome, good for you!
A List of Features – What Do We Really Need or Want?
Do we want to completely Automate?
Smart Home Lighting
Smart Home Theaters
Smart Intercom Systems
Literally, everything in your house could be SMART, not just computers and smartphones, but everything: clocks, speakers, lights, doorbells, cameras, windows, window blinds, hot water heaters, appliances, cooking utensils, you name it. And what if those devices could all communicate, send you information, and take your commands? Wow!
For your spouse who cannot handle two remotes at the same time, this will be a problem.
Alexa is very popular and seems to be paired with the most devices, but I am not opposed to checking out Google Home and Homepod as well.
Compare the three smart assistants here.
I want the ability to see what is going on in my home all the time. So for me, cameras are a must, but even this isn’t easy.
Keep These Important Features in Mind When Shopping for Cameras
Field of View- Can the camera scan the location, zoom in, tilt up and down, and be controlled by your smartphone or tablet.
Sound- The camera should have built in sound allowing you to speak to who is in the room or even two-way communication.
Cost- This really varies and you will have to compare features according to price.
WiFi Capability- This is non-negotiable in my book.
Night Vision– Also really important for me. Consider how many days we have in the darkafter 5:00 p.m.
I’m going to share the cameras I found that had very good reviews and seem to be what we need. Using the information from this article, you will need to check out cameras that work for you. Or if you hear of one, and want me to do the research for you, let me know!
On another note, I just read that you should NEVER purchase a security system or security equipment from someone who comes to your door, no matter how convincing they are. This is a scam. Share that information will all family members.
The Arlo Pro 2 Wire-Free HC Smart Security System
The Arlo Pro 2 Wire-Free HD Smart Security System seems to be the camera that keeps coming to the top. It has all the features listed above and more
I need a camera that can be outdoors and has all of the above requirements. They aren’t the cheapest on the market but sure have strong reviews!
They are cute to look at ( I know), and you can add more around the house as you need to. The Arlo Pro 2 comes with a base station and two cameras. Clicking the link will, of course, give you more information and all the details of its features.
It supports Amazon’s Alexa voice commands, but a negative for me is that it still doesn’t support Apple’s HomeKit or Google Assistant. Support for Apple’s HomeKit part of future updates.
like the Arlo Pro 2, comes with Built-in Two-Way Talk and a Siren Alarm, also works with Alexa. This camera also had lots of great reviews.
I decided to take a look at it because it includes all the required features above and a spotlight The Ring Spotlight Camera has an app to control the camera!! You can watch the video, talk to who’s there and control the siren and light from your phone!
Ring Wi-Fi Video Doorbell Pro with Alexa
I think this is one of the most fun security devices. I love that when someone is at your door, rings your bell, you can talk to them on your smartphone and they don’t know you aren’t inside!
I did get to see this live as my brother has one on his house and when we were together he got an alert that someone was at his door. He had access to the live video immediately and began talking to the person ringing the bell.
Ring Video Doorbell Pro, Linkworks with Alexa and is compatible with IOS and Android devices. You can watch your home in 1080p HD video with two-way communication. It also has infrared night vision.
The only downside for me is that even though it operates at minus 5-degree weather, that may not be low enough for where I live. -(sad, I know)
The August Smart Lock Pro + Connect
This is crazy. I didn’t know anything like this existed. You can control and monitor your lock from anywhere. Keep track of who comes and goes all from your phone.
Does this mean we don’t have to drive back and check if we really locked the door? That is huge at our house.
It’s easy to install, connect to Wi-Fi and can be controlled remotely with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri voice commands. It’s pricey, but it really looks like the best Smart Lock available right now.
My point here is not to convince you that I found the best security system or tell you what to buy. This may be a time when we want the “best” because there is really nothing more important than safety.
I simply want to share with you the compiled information that I found for “my list” and hope you find it helpful when searching for the best security system for your family. I know I will be adding security devices to my Gift Lists For my family.
Let me know what you decide!