Home Security Buyer's Guide
Home Security Buyer's Guide
The digital and connected age has made home security simpler and more practical for millions. That’s just as well, as casual crime is on the rise and thieves will take the smallest opportunity for a spot of breaking and entering, but you can be on your guard with a range of alarms, sensors and cameras to protect your home and property.
Building a security system
As with traditional security setups, there are technology devices for every budget, ranging from £20 or so up to many hundreds for individual devices, starter kits or whole-home setups. Whereas traditional setups came as one expensive set, buyers can pick up technology-based security gadgets as they need them, to build out what the makers like to call an ecosystem.
Most of these devices are classed as smarthome devices and connect to our smartphones via an app. They use WiFi to connect cameras, doorbells, alarms and other sensors for an always-on picture of what is going on inside and around a property. The key benefit is that we can see what is going on when we are away from the home, or get alerts and can either call the appropriate emergency service or get other assistance.
As there are a huge number of brands and models of security equipment on the market, this guide focuses on the types available and suggests various models, but there are plenty more out there, and it is worth doing some research to find what will best suit your property.
Your traditional fire alarm is great if you’re at home and the toaster starts to burn, or worse. But, what is the point of a fire alarm if no one can hear it? The simple advantage of a connected model is that it can alert you wherever you are. And if it’s serious, you can call for help, or alert family or neighbours if you are out of town.
One example is the Nest Protect fire alarm (£109) that can detect smoke and carbon monoxide. You can silence a false alarm from your phone rather than rushing to stand on a chair and deactivate it, as with traditional models. And if you are not at home, it will send an alert.
The sensors in the Nest Protect monitor the area or fast-burning fires, smouldering fires or carbon monoxide threats. If you have several across a property, it can tell you what and where the danger is, giving you better information. It also provides voice alerts rather than scary beeps.
One of the most popular security gadgets that people are using these (and smart doorbells with cameras in them) to keep an eye on the comings and goings around a property. The low cost of smart cameras means people can have them around the home, indoors and out, and keep alert to any issues.
Most smart cameras have infra-red to work at night, microphones so you can talk to whoever is in sight, and they can save clips to local or cloud storage, or your phone of any suspicious activity. They are often cheap because sellers like to offer extended cloud storage and alert packages, so look out for those before buying.
1080P HD with Night Vision 105° viewing angle.
9.14m night vision viewing range
1080P HD with Night Vision and spotlight
256GB memory for 24 hours recording 2.88m viewing range.
30m night vision viewing range
130° field of view
8 IR LEDs for night vision
Other home sensors
While cameras and smoke alarms make up the majority of smart home security purchases, doorbells, motion sensors, window alerts and other devices are available to help people who are concerned about their security.
For example, the Ring Alarm Contact Sensor £19 provides an alert when a door or window is opened unexpectedly. Hue’s range of motion sensors (from £35) will provide an alarm when movement is detected and the all-in-one Minut Smart Home Sensor (£129) can sense a range of risks including noise, temperature, motion, humidity, mold risk, glass breaking and smoke detectors going off.
As people worry more about security at home, these devices can help provide ease concerns. They can also send alerts to family if installed in the homes of elderly relatives and some can be used as child or pet monitors, or just to see what visits your garden at night, making them infinitely useful.