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Have An Eye On Your Property: The Best Home Security Systems

When looking for a great deal on a home security system it is important to know what you want it to do before you sign up for all the bells and whistles. If you just want to check in with your kids after school, you probably won’t need much of a system. However, if you want to monitor a distant property 24 hours a day then you will need something more. These following list of the best home security systems 2021 were selected based on their many functions, their affordable price, and how easy they were to set up and operate. By the time you are finished reading them, you will be able to have enough information to make an informed decision about what system is right for you.

Compare The Best Home Security System Of 2021

Logitech Circle 2 Indoor/Outdoor Wired Home Security System - Best Home Security System Overall

Logitech has a good reputation for designing and building some very simple to use, “common-sense” instruments to be used by the consumer. This home security system is another fine example of how to do things effectively, without much hassle. In essence, when this system arrives, all you will need to do is install their software; plug in the master control unit, and connect it to your router via the supplied Ethernet cable. As for the cameras, simply plug them into their power source, and click ‘yes’ to connect them to your network- and it is just that simple. This system is designed to be a stand-alone, wireless security system that will not require you to fish CCTV cables through your home. The system comes with a 2 GB microSD card that will collect about a week of recorded video, even when your computer is turned off. Once set up and signed in, you will be able to watch your video stream from your own Logitech account, via your Logitech App installed on your Windows computer, iPhone, iPad, Android or Blackberry devices. You can have up to six cameras on one system, all built for indoor and outdoor use, able to withstand temperatures between -30°C - +50°C (-22°F-120°F). Some of the features these cameras include are tilt, pan, and zoom, so you can get in close and see exactly what’s going on. If you decide to use one of your cameras as a baby monitor, you can have a lot of fun with this feature, too. Because these are night vision cameras, you will also be able to track every detail, day or night including your child’s cuteness when they are awake. To add more security, you can install optional motion detector flood lights that will enable the cameras to see even more in low light. These are also wide angle lenses able to see up to 100-linear feet in complete darkness.

Simplisafe2 Wireless Home Security System - Runner Up

If you are looking to install your own home security system with minimal monthly monitoring, then this will be a good model for you. SimpliSafe can offer complete home security, monitored by someone else 24/7 for as little as fifteen dollars a month, without any contracts or long term commitments that some of the other larger firms require. Like all home security systems, calls go through call centers, and each company will change what they like for this service. It's $15 a month with SimpliSafe, $100 and up per month with their competitors. SimpliSafe will also not hold you to any contract in case you move. They are strictly month-to-month. They will take care of all the programming and allow you to save some money by installing your security system yourself, and then letting the home office monitor it for you. This model includes an auto-dialing feature like most of the others, but you will have the option of using your cell phone, or a landline. Most other home security systems require a landline that adds additional costs. You also won’t have to experience the hard-sell salesmen that come to your home, and then refuse to give you a solid quote. These companies are notorious for pressuring people to sign the contract with scare tactics, and then get more money out of them with all the upsells. None of that here. SimliSafe sell system is an ‘a la carte’ sales system, so you can easily pick and choose what features you want, and upgrade later all from the comfort of your own computer. This is one of their newer models, and even comes with a flood-detection and carbon monoxide detection options as well.

Lorex Home Center (64GB) with 2 x 1080p HD Home Security System - Honorable Mention

This Lorex is a great solution for indoor/outdoor security and surveillance, without the monthly fees larger companies charge. It is a complete wireless video-intercom system that permits you to mount the cameras as you see fit, and then monitor your property when you like with the fully programmable control panel. Some of the features include the ability to record motion only, so you will not be wasting time watching a still yard. You can also set it to record at intervals that you pre-set. The interval settings can be for only certain times of the day, or constantly throughout the whole day if you live in a densely populated area. Either way, you will have complete control over your video monitoring system and save yourself the monthly monitoring fees service companies like to charge. One downside is that this unit will only see about 30-feet in the dark, so if you are only concerned about something approaching your home this close, that should be enough. If you want a longer range, you will need to add spotlights, or mount another camera further away. Daytime viewing is much different. The clarity is so good; you can even see what color someone’s eyes are. This unit comes with 2GB of storage space, that allows for about four straight hours of recording time before it fills up. By changing the options, you can get more time if you chose to record only once every minute.

Opting for the larger 16GB recording time, you will be able to record continuously for three days, and simply set the unit to overwrite once this is filled up. You can access this information on your laptop, so you can check in from time to time and see what’s going on. This is a great feature if you have teenagers, and want to know what they are doing while you are gone. If you purchase the optional CD cable, you can monitor your property through SKYPE from anywhere in the world. The wireless feature will not interfere with your WiFi service, or cell phone use, so don’t be concerned about that. It will operate on its own frequency 24-hours a day without any problems. This Lorex model will also work as a two-way intercom in case you want to speak with your visitors without actually opening the door. It is as simple as pressing the TALK button, and releasing it for a response. The ‘beep’ function will allow a small sound to ring whenever there is motion if you want to keep that close a watch, but chances are you won’t find much. Just the presence of a camera alone will chase away most ‘would-be-intruders’. One of the other nice features about this Lorex is that the monitor frame looks like a picture frame. This way, it looks like you have a nice portrait sitting on your counter, and not a glaring video cam.

G.E. Window and Door Security Home System - Consider

Few people don’t recognize the GE (General Electric) brand name, so you can surely expect quality products and service from them. This particular product is a no frills, wireless security system priced to sell. It is not a central alarm that will call the local police, but rather a set of four independent alarms attached to the front door, and three windows. Each operates independently of each other, but together they will provide sufficient security for anyone that is not ready to invest in a full scale, monitored system. If you live in a dorm, or have a vacation home, you can have it somewhat protected while you are there, or away. Installation is very simple as there is no wiring or drilling involved. You will just need to attach the unit to the door via double sided tape, Velcro, or wood screws, program your PIN number and activate it. That’s all. You will have 45-seconds to leave your property before it activates, and 30-seconds to disarm it once you return.

You can also set it to operate as a doorbell, in case you want to be aware of when people are entering or leaving your property. This is always nice in a two-story building, or if you have little kids wandering around. Activate and disarm modes are managed by just punching in your 4-digit PIN as you are coming and going. This is not as sophisticated as other models, but easy to operate, with little chances of something going wrong because of its simple design. The window units are a little different though. These are operating independently of each other, and are not as loud as the 120-db door alarm. They will also require a PIN number, but also include an ON/OFF switch so that when you want to open a window, just flip the switch to OFF. When it’s time to close the window again, just flip the switch to ‘ARM’, and you are where you need to be. It is just that simple.

Buyer's Guide

Home security has evolved from the traditional setups that required tons of wiring to systems that require far less wiring or no wiring at all. These systems in recent times ensure the protection of lives and properties via automatic alarms at the slightest hint of a break-in. Some high-end security systems go as far as initiating lockdown procedures to ensure that the criminals don’t get in or out of the home, as the case may be. Home security systems also monitor environmental conditions and inform relevant authorities of hazards like smoke, fires, and floods.

To install the best home security system in your home, you need to consider certain features that affect the ease of use and level of security. And in a bid to make this easy for you, we have compiled all the information you need to make the best security system choice and ensure that your home is truly your safe space.

What are the factors to consider when buying home security systems?

Visual surveillance

Security cameras are a must-have for every security system. They watch and record the events in high resolutions as they happen in real-time, and if the cameras are integrated with your network, you can monitor your home in real-time and protect yourself from incoming intruders. The video feeds from these cameras can also be used in post-incident investigations to identify and apprehend criminals, or in cases of environmental hazards, to understand how it started.

Power Backup

A security system that goes off when there’s a power outage is a bad investment. While selecting your home security system, ensure that it comes with a long-lasting backup battery that will keep it functional even when there’s no power.

Smart Home Integration

Automation is the order of the day and home security systems are not left behind. Automated home security systems allow you to control everything in your home from light bulbs to locks, gates, and thermostats. You should also consider models that feature voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant. Telling your home what to do to protect you from intruders is highly effective, and it'll give you the chance to channel your inner Tony Stark.

The best automated home security systems often come with mobile apps that put you in control and full awareness of the activities in your home. Home security systems with mobile apps are the best because they notify you when any of the security sensors are triggered and even show you live footage of your home right where you are.

Environmental sensors

Wild animals and burglars are not the only things you should worry about in terms of home security. Consider the possibility of hazards like fire, smoke, cold, high temperature, and carbon monoxide, and get a security system that features environmental hazard sensors.

Upgradability

Sooner or later, you may find yourself needing to upgrade your home security system. This often requires retrofitting with extra sensors, security cameras, software, or AI. So, before paying for that home security system installation, check if it will be compatible with extra security attachments.

Monitoring Services

Depending on the model of your home security system, you can decide to have a security company provide 24/7 surveillance. These security specialists will be responsible for responding, investigating, and alerting relevant authorities if anything goes wrong in your home. If you choose not to have these security specialists monitor your home, you will be notified of suspicious activities in your home, but only you will be responsible for reporting it or taking any action.

Before making a decision, consider the fact that professional security companies will lock you into a long-term contract that may require you to pay up to $40 per month. And if you try to end the contract before its expiry date, you will have to pay a termination fee that could cost up to $700 or more. On the other hand, you may miss security alerts if you’re too busy, thereby giving hazards a free ride in your home.

FAQs

What are the components of a home security system?

Security Cameras

Security Cameras watch and record visuals of everything that goes on in your home. They can be installed inside and outside your home and they come with a variety of features, depending on the model. Some are two-way audio enabled, meaning you cannot only hear the feed from the camera, but you can also speak through it. Others are designed with motion sensors to detect movements even when it is dark.

High-decibel alarm

Almost every home security system comes with this component. It is loud enough to alert everyone nearby of a break-in or environmental hazard and disorient or send intruders running. It is connected to every sensor in the security system.

Smoke detectors

Smoke detectors are environmental sensors. They are found in many home security systems and can be bought as independent devices. Using photoelectric sensors, smoke detectors raise alarms when there’s an unusual amount of smoke in the home, which is often a sign of fire.

Door and window sensors

We see these in action in movies all the time. They alert you the moment an intruder enters your home via your door or window. Door and window sensors are made up of two parts- a reed switch and a magnet. When a door is closed, both parts join together to form a security circuit. Should the door or window be opened while the security system is still online, the sensors will trigger the high decibel alarm and send an alert to you.

Motion sensors

In simple terms, motion detectors monitor movement in your home. When armed, they protect a particular region and trigger the high decibel alarm when the region is breached. They are often used to guard spaces with valuables.

Smart locks

Smart locks come in handy when you forget to lock your doors. With a click or swipe on your phone, you will be able to effectively lock your doors and windows, and arm the security system to alert you if anyone breaks in.

Control panel

The control panel is the main hub of the security system. It is in charge of arming and disarming the security system, as well as controlling every single component of the system. Consider getting a modern-day control panel with a touchpad interface, voice control, or wireless remote controls for easy and fast programming.

How do motion detectors work?

The mode of operation of motion detectors varies based on the model. Active ultrasonic and passive infrared (PIR) is the most common motion detector models, and they detect movements in different ways.

Active ultrasonic detectors work by emitting ultrasound waves that bounce off objects and walls back to the emission origin in a specific pattern. An alteration in the emission pattern of the sound waves by a moving object triggers the alarm and the high decibel alarm gets to sing as loud as the male white bellbird.

Passive Infrared (PIR) motion detectors work on the principle of heat detection. Humans and animals emit heat or infrared energy, so when the sensors detect an object with infrared energy or the temperature in the home spikes abnormally, they trigger the alarm.

Some motion detectors, known as dual-technology sensors combine both motion-detecting machineries to monitor movement. They are more accurate and less likely to trigger a false alarm since both sensors must be triggered for them to raise an alarm.

Where should I place my security cameras?

Security cameras are superb home security elements, only if you fix them in places more vulnerable to break-ins. Some of these places include:

  • Garage and Driveways
  • Right above any door entrance into your home
  • Common areas like the bedroom, living room, or kitchen
  • Stairways

How much do security systems cost?

When it comes to security systems, the higher the complexity and efficiency, the more expensive it is. You must also take installation and monthly or annual monitoring costs into consideration. Taking all these into consideration, it is safe to say that home security systems may cost anything from $200 to thousands of dollars; it all depends on the level of security you want.

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