Finding the right smart security system can often be stressful. On hand, you have the top-of-the-line professional monitoring and alarm systems that will certainly cost you a pretty penny but will offer maximal security for you and your loved ones. One the other hand, you have the influx of cheaper, modern, DIY-looking solutions, smart locks with cameras and video doorbells with smartphone-enabled functionality, some of which have already proven themselves quite useful in more than one occasion.
Admittedly, there’s quite a lot of information to take on and the functionality they offer, alongside their price, varies dramatically. So, is smart home security really worth the investment and which options are best suited to fit your particular needs? Before we answer that, let’s go over the basics of home security systems, as well as their features, how to install them and, of course, their price.
What is a smart home security system?
A smart security system describes a combination of internet-enabled devices or gadgets, mainly door locks, security cameras, motion detectors and other types of sensors used to detect presence in front of a gate or a door or detect and signal the forceful opening of said gate or door.
The specific number and type of devices in a smart security system varies between manufacturers, but almost all of them include a “hub” and a range of kits with the option of buying additional gadgets separately. A hub denotes a central processing unit that is:
- Connected to the Internet
- Communicates with other devices in its network, and
- Communicates with your smartphone via a dedicated app
Through the app itself, you can monitor your property, receive alerts and notifications and view footage your smart camera has taken. Most smart security systems also connect to and allow you to control other aspects of your home, such as heating, lighting and other smart appliances.
Although smart security systems vary from manufacturer to manufacturer in regards to their features, there are some basic features that you definitely need to look out for in this day and age. Alarms.org review of home security systems covers this topic quite nicely and also includes a list of recommendations along with pros and cons for each option. These features include:
- Battery back-up – Getting a security system without proper battery solution during malfunction or power outages is akin to shooting yourself in the leg. Avoid systems without battery back-up.
- Dummy and/or outdoor siren – They are an excellent deterrent of unwanted attention and ideal for those living in a rough neighbourhood. Not to mention that most burglars will avoid a place they know have alarm systems installed.
- Decent wi-fi range – Have in mind that wi-fi signals are easily blocked by concrete and make sure to get a smart home security system where devices are free to communicate to each other without constantly losing signal.
- Smartphone and third-party compatibility – We live in a world where almost every person has a smartphone by their side and there are some smart systems which only work with additional gadgets made by the same manufacturers, such as special and oftentimes cheaply made tablets.
Easy installation is the selling-point of many of today’s smart security systems. That said, it only takes a single mistake to compromise the entire system. Granted, some options can be easily installed, but that doesn’t mean that the entire system can also be easily set up. The location of cameras and sensors is really important, so make sure to check with your local security expert or check with the manufacturer for step-by-step guides to avoid making any mistakes.
You can buy a basic smart security system for a few hundred bucks, but the kit will certainly not cover your entire home for that price. Motion-detector type systems are in range of $500-600 and professional systems have cost you up to a few thousand dollars. How much should you pay can easily be determined by the size of your home, as well as your personal needs.
For some, a door alarm is more than enough, but some prefer having a constant feed of their home while they are away. At the same time, the basic, entry-level packages oftentimes fail to provide what we would consider to be decent security measures and responses. Do your research before forking out your hard earned cash.