The Best Smart Home Security Systems to Protect Your Home
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The Best Smart Home Security Systems to Protect Your Home
We all want to make sure our phones are secure, and advancements like face recognition and fingerprint ID make that easier than ever. Equally important is the security of your home. Enter: Smart home security. These devices, which utilize the newest technology to help keep your home safe, offer an extra layer of protection for you and your loved ones. With a smart home security system, you can check who’s at your door, turn on alarms after you leave the house, or even lock your front door with the press of a button. But there are a lot of home security options to choose from—and that’s where we can help. Optimum’s smart home security guide can help you find the best smart home security devices for your needs. Discover our top picks ahead.
Smart Home Cameras
When you hear a suspicious sound in the night, your instinct may be to jump out of bed with a baseball bat to see what’s there. It’s understandable—but not your only option. Smart home cameras give you the ability to see exactly what’s happening inside and outside of your home (no baseball bat needed).
Smart home cameras generally connect directly to your home’s WiFi network, though they can also connect other ways, like via Bluetooth or Ethernet. They’re usually triggered via a motion sensor: If the camera detects movement, it’ll start recording and send a notification to your phone’s app or the device’s automation hub. Some cameras have sound sensors, too—great for those looking for an added layer of security.
Here’s a breakdown of some popular indoor and outdoor camera models:
Google Nest Cam (starting at $99.99)
With facial recognition, night vision, and 24/7 live footage, Google’s Nest Cam is a great option for your indoor security needs. Leaving the house? Use the app to check in on your space anytime, day or night. The app will also send you notifications if it detects suspicious activity, so you don’t have to constantly check your phone to keep an eye on your home. If you need to save video footage, you can store up to three hours’ worth with the app, or upgrade to the Nest Aware subscription (starting at $6/month) for up to 60 days’ worth of motion capture.
Arlo Ultra 2 Wireless Security Camera (starting at $249.99)
Arlo’s sleek security camera boasts 4K video with HDR and an ultra-wide field of view so you can see what’s happening on your property at all times—day or night, rain or shine. Plus, it offers simple wireless installation, so you don’t have to fuss with the setup. But the feature we love most is the camera’s built-in smart siren. You can set it to sound automatically when motion or sound is detected, or trigger the alarm manually via the Arlo Secure app.
Ring Stick Up Cam Elite (starting at $199.99)
If you don’t trust yourself to remember to charge your smart camera, Ring’s Stick Up Cam Elite with PoE is a great option. This slim camera connects directly to your Optimum router for 24/7 connectivity. You can place it on a flat surface or mount it on the wall, and you’ll be able to monitor your home from anywhere with real-time audio and video. For even more security, get the Ring Protect subscription (starting at $3.99/month). It allows you to save footage for up to 180 days, plus it gives you the ability to customize alerts, change your camera’s settings and modes, and more.
Google Nest Cam with Floodlight (starting at $279.99)
For your outdoor security needs, Google’s Nest Cam with Floodlight is a great choice. It’s equipped with two adjustable LED lights and a 1080P camera that works in both bright and low-light conditions. It’s also weather-proof, so you don’t have to worry about the quality suffering on rainy (or snowy) days. Like Google’s other Nest Cams, you can check in on the 24/7 live stream via the app and save footage as needed. With the Nest Aware subscription, which starts at $6/month, you can also save up to 60 days of event video history.
Today’s smart doorbells don’t just ring: They also allow you to see who’s at your door (without opening it). These convenient doorbells are often homeowners’ first line of defense against unwanted solicitors, porch pirates, and home invaders. They use a WiFi signal to live stream what’s happening outside of your front door, which you can view on the associated app. These livestreams can also be recorded so you can review and save footage as needed.
One thing to consider when purchasing a smart doorbell is whether you prefer a wireless or wired setup. There’s not much of a difference in terms of capability, but it does make a difference during installation:
These can be slightly more difficult to install initially since they require rewiring. However, they’re easier to keep up with over time since you don’t have to change any batteries.
With no need to rewire, wireless doorbells provide simple installation. However, you’ll need to change the batteries regularly—usually, every two to six months. A solid WiFi connection is also essential. Thankfully, Optimum has you covered on that front, with fast and reliable high-speed Internet that’ll keep you connected 24/7.
With those considerations in mind, here are a few great smart doorbells out there right now:
Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 (starting at $174.99)
Make missed deliveries a thing of the past with this high-tech camera from Ring. Featuring head-to-toe HD+ video, radar-powered 3D motion detection, and crisp two-way audio, it’s a great option for those looking for more than just a basic doorbell. The camera is able to detect (and notify you) when a package is delivered within its view. And with built-in greetings by Amazon Alexa, you don’t have to get up to answer your door if you don’t want to—she (or rather, it) will handle the small talk on your behalf.
Nest Doorbell (starting at $179.99)
Whether you prefer wireless or wired, Nest has you covered. Google’s smart doorbell offers 24/7 live recording (that you can check via the app) and boasts an HDR camera that delivers clear, crisp footage day and night. You’ll get notifications when someone’s at your door, and if you’re not home, you can speak with the visitor through Nest’s built-in microphone anywhere, anytime.
Arlo Essential Wired Video Doorbell (starting at $149.99)
Arlo’s wired video doorbell is a great option for those on a budget. It checks all the boxes with high-resolution, 24/7 video, a two-way microphone and speaker system, and smart alerts so you can stay on top of your home’s security. But one of the best features is the camera’s built-in voice recorder. If you’re not home and someone drops by to visit, they can record a message for you to listen to when you return (or anytime via the app).
Eufy SS330 Video Doorbell Wired (starting at $199.99)
Eufy’s wired video doorbell is unique in that it has two cameras (one above the other) to ensure that you can see the full picture, so to speak. The camera’s 2K resolution is crisp and clear, and it can store up to 90 days' worth of video. Like a few of the other doorbell cameras on this list, Eufy’s is also able to detect and notify you when a package is delivered, ensuring your online purchases don’t get snatched up by porch pirates.
Picture this: You’re in the car, headed off to that much-needed vacation, and a nagging thought creeps into your mind: “I locked the doors…right?” Pre-smart locks, your options were pretty limited. You could phone a friend or neighbor to check for you, or you could turn around and risk missing your flight. Neither is ideal. Smart locks make that situation a non-issue: Rather than stress, you can use the associated app to lock your doors and give yourself some much-needed peace of mind. Many smart locks will send you notifications when the door locks or unlocks, and some allow you to set schedules to lock and unlock the door at certain times. Plus, several of our picks are compatible with other technology, like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so you can just shout, “Alexa, lock the front door,” and you’re set. It’s super convenient.
Without further ado, here are a few of smart locks to consider:
August Smart Lock Pro + Connect (starting at $229.99)
Put the days of losing your keys to rest with August Smart Lock Pro + Connect. This award-winning smart lock connects via an app to your deadbolt and allows you to lock or unlock your door from anywhere. If you’re nearby, you can use your smartphone or smartwatch as a digital keypad—and if you’re approaching your door, the smart lock will automatically sense your arrival and can auto-unlock for easy entry. Plus, you can issue temporary “guest keys” to visitors, so you don’t have to worry about making a spare for overnight guests.
Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt (starting at $268)
Schlage’s smart lock pairs with your home WiFi network and other smart home devices to give you peace of mind no matter where you are. The unique lock allows you to create up to 100 individual access codes for guests and visitors and offers one-touch locking and unlocking. If you’re bringing in groceries and don’t have your hands free, that’s okay too: You can tap your iPhone or Apple Watch against the touch screen for hands-free unlocking.
Kiwkset Obsidian (starting at $89.95)
Want to manage who has access to your home? Kwikset Obsidian smart lock lets you do just that. This ultra-sleek touch-screen lock issues a different access code to each member of your household, so you can monitor who’s home and when. It comes with a backup power source and gives you the option to auto-lock your door after 30 seconds, so you never have to worry about accidentally leaving your door unlocked again. The under-$100 option doesn’t connect to your other smart home devices, though, so if that’s a priority, opt for the Alexa-compatible Z-wave plus version ($228.39).
Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro (starting at $149.99)
Versatility is the name of the game with Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro. This smart lock allows you to lock and unlock your door six different ways: with the smartphone app, Apple Watch, your fingerprint, a mechanical key, or by turning on the auto-unlock feature. You can grant visitors access with temporary unique codes, and you can monitor who’s accessing your house via the smart lock’s associated app. Plus, if you’re away from home and need to let someone in, you can do that via the app, as well.
Smart Home Alarm Systems
Smart home alarm systems are ideal for those looking for a comprehensive system that ensures their safety. These systems typically include several devices that are placed on points of entry, and may also include motion detectors and cameras, as well. As far as pricing goes, you’ll usually be paying a monthly fee for service, so factor that in when weighing your options. That said, these are among the best options for those looking for peace of mind. Here are a few all-inclusive home security systems:
ADT Pulse (starting at $9.98/month)
ADT’s Pulse home security system does it all, allowing you to lock and unlock your doors, turn off smart home devices, view live video footage, and arm your security system no matter where you are via your smartphone or smartwatch. Plus, the comprehensive system comes with professional installation and a theft protection guarantee. Prices for ADT’s home security systems vary depending on what you’re looking for—if you’re unsure, they offer plenty of resources to help you narrow down your home security needs.
Ring Alarm (alarm starting at $179.99; subscription starting at $3.99/month)
The Ring Alarm smart alarm system is ideal for homeowners looking for a custom security solution. The basic package comes with an alarm base system, four sensors for doors or windows, a keypad, a motion detector, and an alarm range extender. However, you can also add additional accessories to your package as needed. To control all of Ring’s features remotely (and for the optional add-ons of 24/7 monitoring, phone alerts, and remote viewing) you’ll need to subscribe to Ring Protect. The service starts at $3.99/month and grants you 10% off select purchases at Ring.com and Amazon.com.
Vivint Smart Home (starting at $30/month)
Vivint Smart Home security system is a bit pricier than some of the other options on this list, it also has a ton of unique features. These include car protection with disturbance alerts, automated alarms to deter trespassers or porch pirates, and up to 30 days of continuous video recording. With the smart home system, you’ll also be able to integrate all of your smart home devices (cameras, locks, etc.) for a fully-automated home. And you don’t have to worry about setting it up yourself, as professional installation comes with your purchase.
SimpliSafe Smart Alarm System (starting at $159.22)
On a budget? SimpliSafe has you covered. This smart home security company has a range of packages to meet any needs. For basic home security, opt for The Foundation system. For under $160 (and no monthly fees), you’ll get an entry sensor, a motion sensor, a keypad, a smart base, and 24/7 monitoring for your small home or apartment. For those looking for an all-encompassing solution, there’s The Lighthouse. It’s a bit more, at $302.20, but comes with an outdoor security camera, three entry sensors for windows and doors, a motion sensor, a keypad, and a base station. And like all of SimpliSafe’s alarm systems, there’s no monthly fee—it’s a one-and-done purchase.
Whether you’re simply looking for a smart lock so you can stop carrying your keys around or want a full, comprehensive smart home security system, fast, reliable Internet is a must. And at Optimum, that’s exactly what we deliver, with home Internet + mobile at affordable prices.
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