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Home security systems used to be reserved for massive mansions, loaded with treasures and jewels ripe for the taking, Home Alone-style. Not anymore. Technological innovation has touched the home security frontier as well, transforming home security systems from behemoths reserved for the wealthy to tiny, customizable gadgets that the average homeowner can afford.
But do you really need it? Is it worth the investment? If you’re trying to sort out which of the many modern-day security systems might be best for you, here’s a rundown of what’s out there right now.
To get SimpliSafe up and running, all you have to do is customize your system by selecting the monitoring elements—from glass break and motion sensors to door and window monitors—that are right for you, wait a few days for them to come in the mail, and set the system up. The setup process takes about an hour if you want to run through the whole thing from start to finish, including the time it takes to replace the monitoring elements around your home.
One drawback is that the system isn’t compatible with large pets. The motion sensors have been configured to ignore littler ones, but bigger pets can still trigger them. The hack that they suggest is flipping the sensor upside down, but the solution is just that — a hack. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
The unique thing about Ring is that it centers around a video-equipped doorbell, literally igniting your system at the push of a button. Their doorbells come in two to four different colors, and you can select from battery-powered or hardwired options, and their outdoor cameras have a solar choice as well. Ring has expanded into offering a complete indoor home security system as well and charges you based on how long you want to be able to review the video it records, from the inability to record all the way up through professional monitoring that calls you and dispatches the police at the sound of an alarm. It’s important to note that Ring has had some privacy issues in the past, but so far that’s a risk we all assume as we digitize our lives.
Self-described as a “complete security system in a single device,” Canary is the most portable of all of the systems here. It’s just one element that requires zero installation. Canary centers around a single column system that looks a lot like the Amazon Echo, but comes outfitted with a camera, air monitor, and siren. The company has added outdoor elements like weatherproof outdoor cameras and also carries smaller inside ones to provide surveillance across your entire home. Canary also forgoes the professional monitoring service altogether, so if that’s not something you need, it’s a cheaper option that just might work for you.
Has it surprised anyone that the company that changed thermostats forever eventually made its way into the home security arena? Deploying the same sleek design elements that propelled the thermostat into popularity, Nest Secure also utilizes an app and offers traditional monitoring elements like indoor and outdoor cameras, but with one unique bonus: a FOB that lets you turn the system on and off with just a wave over a pod, to replace the hassle of having to remember another passcode in our already passcode-filled world. Much like the Nest Thermostat, you can also set a schedule for your security system that matches your security to your coming and going habits, automatically arming and disarming the system.
Scout offers black, white, and wood finishes to their motion sensor, door alarm, and system hubs that design lovers will go wild over. Like Canary, Scout is easy to set up and highly portable, making it an excellent system for apartment dwellers on the move. One cool thing about Scout is that it offers a water sensor. If water leaks and flooding are something you worry about, Scout will put your mind at ease.
Cinnamon Janzer is a freelance journalist and content writer based in Minneapolis. You can read more about her at www.cinnamon-janzer.com.