Smart Locks and Smart Homes Security Devices: What You Must Know

If you’re looking for ultimate solutions for protecting your home or apartment from thieves, smart home security devices are tempting choices. You can control the doors, windows, lights, air conditioners, or even set the cooking time for your oven. Especially, by connecting the devices to your iOS or Android devices, you can keep track of your assets even when you’re far away from them.

But regards the undeniable conveniences these devices provide, it’s still very important to choose a good product. Below is the complete rundown of outstanding smart home security devices we’ve tested so far.

To make it simple, we’ve categorized these devices into two major groups: smart lock systems and surveillance camera systems.

Smart Lock Systems

smart lock home automation

What to Look for When Purchasing Smart Locks as Part of Your Smart Home Security Systems

When being on the market for a smart lock, there are a couple of factors you should account for.

1. Lock Type

These models come in two sorts: lever-style and deadbolt. While the former has the entryway opening lever and lock in one, the latter is intended to take the place of your current deadbolt.

In case you missed it, deadbolts are the most well-known, yet lever locks are getting increasingly common. 

2. Design

It will be fantastic if your smart lock mixes in with your home stylistic layout. More often than not, locks are accessible with an assortment of finishes and styles; for example, bronze, silver, and brass.

3. Connectivity

In request to control and monitor these smart home security systems remotely, you need to make it connectable with your home network. This should be possible in one of a few different ways. Bluetooth, Z-Wave, and Zigbee are the most favorite radios integrated into smart locks since they ask for little power.

Often, smart locks necessitate that you connect the lock to a smart home hub – say, Amazon Echo Plus, or some sort of bridge such as the August Connect module. Generally, hardly any smart locks have inbuilt Wi-Fi, because it requires a great deal of power, and will make them change batteries all the more much of the time. 

4. Smart Home Compatibility

The favorable smart locks ought to have the option to work with Homekit, Google Assistant, and Alexa, which enables you to tie them into other smart home gadgets. In this way, for instance, in case you tell “Goodnight, Siri,” then Apple’s assistant will switch off your lights aside from locking your entryways automatically.

For those who have a home security system, you can likewise connect a few locks to it, so that they will consequently lock automatically as you go out from home.

Top Smart Products for Smart Lock Systems

Abode Connected Home Security & Automation Starter Kit

abode Connected Home Security & Automation Starter Kit, Compatible with Alexa
Abode Connected Home Security & Automation Starter Kit, Compatible with Alexa

It is a simple, useful, well-designed set of devices that allows you to have complete control of your home. The package comes with two sensors for doors and windows, a motion-sensing camera, a key controller, and a gateway. Besides, you can control the whole security process via your IOS or Android devices; the only thing you need is an Internet connection.

If there is one thing that bothers me the most, it would be the door sensors which are needlessly bulky, making it pretty hard for installation.

Moreover, the Adobe Connected Home Security & Automation Starter Kit is compatible with Alexa.

August Smart Lock Pro + Connect

August Home August Smart Lock Pro, compatible with Alexa
August Home August Smart Lock Pro, compatible with Alexa

This is a smart lock called August Pro, coming with necessary connectors that allow you to control your door from anywhere. You can lock or unlock it, even when you’re not at home, with a simple swipe on the smartphone screen. What’s more, August Pro will automatically unlock the door when you arrive and lock it behind after you leave.

Moreover, the device can work with Alexa for voice control, so closing or opening the door would be just the matter of a simple voice command. The DoorSense technology ensures your door completely safe and secured. All in all, there is no doubt about this device’s superiority, only its high-pricing matter.

Surveillance Camera Systems

smart homes surveillance camera

What to Look for When Shopping for Surveillance Camera Systems

Most of these smart home security systems play out similar essential functions — they notice an event, record it, and deliver an alert to you — still, they do not all carry them out the same way. That is not all; a few cameras have exceptional attributes that go past those nuts and bolts.

Below are some common features that you will experience while you shop for the units and why they are significant (we have put them together in alphabetical order).

1. Alerts

Home surveillance cameras show notifications to your phone as they identify events. Without observing the live feed throughout the day, this is the best way to monitor your space in relative real-time. 

Contingent upon the camera, it might send text-based notifications since it recognizes sound, movement, a face (unrecognized or known), or every one of the three. Some are capable of sending alerts to different individuals, for the most part – any other person in the household utilizing the app of that product. Others will deliver emails apart from text messages as a failsafe in the occasion you do not manage to access your mobile device.

2. Battery Backup

Force blackouts occur, and smart robbers cut the power before breaking into your house. As that takes place, your camera becomes dark and, if there is a wrongdoing happening, you will lose all measurable proof. That is why a few cameras these days can likewise run for a little while on battery power, which is an attribute worth searching for.

3. Cloud Recording

A lot of manufacturers provide cloud storage plans with their smart home security systems like iSmartAlarm iCamera KEEP, Arlo Pro by NETGEAR Security System, and Tend Secure Lynx Indoor. Thanks to one of these, your recorded video will be delivered to a remote server and put away for a specific time — often somewhere in the range of one day and seven days — and afterwards deleted to spare space for new recordings. 

While occasionally free, such cloud plans generally ask for a month-to-month subscription. It is worth it considering their benefits, and in case you need an observation record during an excursion or other prolonged time away from your house.

4. Environmental Monitoring

The home ‘vitals’ that the all-around surveillance cameras track differ by model, but three will, in general, be common:

  • The temperature keeps track of plunges and spikes in indoor temperature and alarms since it falls outside the defined range.
  • Humidity monitors relative humidity inside your living space. Humidity that is not in the optimal range — normally characterized as somewhere in the range of 30 and 50 percent — can add to issues, for example, mold buildup, sinus irritation, and static electricity
  • Air quality tracks contaminations such as carbon monoxide and cooking smells. With that being said, monitors do not tend to recognize the pollutant in their alarms, merely alerting that the air quality is “strange.” Thus, this attribute ought not to be viewed as a substitute for possibly life-saving gadgets, for instance, carbon monoxide and smoke sensors.

5. Facial Recognition

A couple of cameras in the market today such as the Tend Secure Lynx Indoor in this rundown of the top picks come with facial recognition. You could call this highlight more precisely as “facial ID” or “facial identification,” since by and by, it is more excellent at recognizing a face from a light, etc. than it is at genuinely recognizing one individual’s face and another’s. 

In case you decide to rely on a camera that has included this attribute, keep in mind that it usually learns faces via increasing exposure to them. Be ready to invest plenty of time before the lens.

6. Local Storage

A few smart home security systems have memory-card slots instead of, or aside from cloud storage. That way, you will be able to store video directly on the gadget. 

It is an appealing feature because it can get rid of the expense of month-to-month storage charges. The drawback (if the cloud backup is not accessible) is that in case a criminal takes your camera, he will take your measurable proof with it.

7. Mobile App

The majority of home surveillance cameras nowadays are accessible basically through a tablet/ smartphone application. 

Apart from giving you a dependable way of seeing the live feed of your camera, it should provide a lot of choices for customizing the manner in which the camera works. The capability of customizing alerts, modifying movement and sound recognition sensitivity, and setting detection zones are part of the key highlights to seek for. The application ought to likewise be intuitive and simple to ace.

8. Motion Detection

Assuming you are monitoring your house since it is vacant, movement detection that you can find in models such as iSmartAlarm iCamera KEEP is considered among the most attractive attributes in a surveillance camera. Integrated sensors gather movement inside the field of view from the camera and trigger video recording. 

Since these sensors have motion-related sensitivity — even leaves blowing outside your window or lighting shift — it is significant the camera system additionally delivers the capability of narrowing the scope of recognition, modifying the sensitivity of the sensor, or else, tweaking this attribute to minimize false alarms.

9. Night Vision

As most of the time, break-ins happen following dark, this feature included in top-rated units like SkyBell HD and Tend Secure Lynx Indoor in this list is close to as significant as motion detection. Most home surveillance cameras indeed support an infrared LED light, versus genuine night vision depending on thermal vision or image intensification.

Nevertheless, some of the smart home security systems will change to night vision automatically in conditions with the low light; in contrast, others enable you to customize how and when it ought to be initiated.

10. Swivel/Tilt/ Pan

You can physically tilt and swivel many surveillance cameras to focus on a specific area of viewing, yet this is a simply set-it-and-overlook-it attribute. A true tilt/ pan camera comes with a motor, which allows you to move its lens — or even follow a moving object in case you are observing a live feed — making use of its application or browser-based application.

11. Resolution

Truth to be told, no amount of security video can support you in case it is not clearly visible, or in any case, distorted. Search for a camera with the resolution that is as high as it can. 

While many units today deliver 720p (usually alluded to as “HD” or “High Definition”), some more up-to-date cameras, including SkyBell HD and Tend Secure Lynx Indoor in this list have a desirable resolution of 1080p (frequently alluded to as “full HD”).

One thing to note, higher-resolution cameras utilize more Wi-Fi bandwidth as well as battery life. Numerous cameras additionally provide a software zoom attribute (which is not a similar thing to having a physical zoom lens).

12. Scheduling

In case you do not know, this feature enables you to ask the camera to switch on and off, recognize movement, or/ and deliver alarms at determined occasions.

This is helpful as you, for example, only need to get notified when your children return home from their study or simply desire to track your home when you are not there. It likewise lessens the quantity of false alarms.

13. Security

There have been a lot of headlines related to hackers trading off baby monitors, home cameras, and other Wi-Fi gadgets to keep an eye on individuals, so make certain to check what steps product makers have taken to get rid of this issue.

Search for smart home security systems which support forward-thinking wireless security protocols, for example, WPA2, and ensure it manages to encrypt web transmission of your user name with the password, and the live feeds. Do not ever forget to change the device’s default ID and password whenever you install a surveillance camera (or a router or other gadgets on your home network).

14. Smart Device Integration

Smart lock and its integration to your smart home

In case you have a house loaded with smart gadgets, think about seeking for a surveillance camera or an all-around home monitor which has a ZigBee, Z-Wave, or— in the long run, a Thread — radio with the ability to connect them. Backing for an automation service, for instance, Stringify or IFTTT is additionally valuable.

This enables the monitor or camera to react to different situations, say, snapping a photo as your Nest Protect notices smoke, or asking the Philips Hue smart bulb to switch on since sudden sounds are identified.

15. Two-Way Audio

By a surveillance camera, we often refer to eyes-on observing. Still, its capability of likewise hearing what is happening will provide you with an increasingly complete picture of what is going on your home front since the house is empty (great enough – the Arlo Pro we recommend in this list comes with this fantastic feature). Besides, it can make you aware of something happening out of the visual field of the camera. 

This highlight will also be able to let you talk through the camera, an incredible tool for remotely frightening an interloper in the act or a rowdy pet. On the other hand, bear in mind that you may have to plug in one powered speaker for this attribute to function.

16. Viewing Angle

The view field of the camera decides the amount it can see. Since you are likely observing a single room, you need a wide angle of viewing. 

Today’s cameras tend to have the 130-degree range. While such wide angles can in some cases lead to picture distortion at the edges in a fisheye effect’s form, especially since leveraged in less sizable rooms, the little-to-no chance is that you are going to utilize a security to catch snapshots for your photograph album.

17. Wireless Range

One of the advantages that wireless smart home security systems such as Arlo Pro provide is how convenient it is to move them around your space. Ideally, your home surveillance camera ought to have the option to keep up a Wi-Fi connection regardless of how far you move it from the router, even in a huge house. 

A few cameras feature an ethernet port also; hence, you have the choice of hardwiring it to the local network. A product model that can support PoE (power-over-ethernet) will take out the requirement for an AC adapter and depends on only one cable (however, your switch or router should likewise support PoE. Another option is to make use of a PoE injector.)

Top Smart Products for Surveillance

SkyBell HD

SkyBell HD WiFi Video Doorbell
SkyBell HD WiFi Video Doorbell

At first glance, this product looks pretty similar to a typical video doorbell which is designed to help homeowners interact with their guests from the outside. But what makes SkyBell HD special is its Wi-Fi adapter for the connection to other available smart devices in your home, such as your smart lock.

The SkyBell itself has a high display resolution (1080p) with full-color night vision. You can stream the image of your smartphone using the Alarm.com app.

However, the SkyBell HD is a little bit dull when it comes to motion detection, which would take a while to realize that people are standing at the door.

Tend Secure Lynx Indoor

Tend Insights Lynx Indoor Home Security Camera With Night Vision And Facial Recognition
Tend Insights Lynx Indoor Home Security Camera With Night Vision And Facial Recognition

This is a surveillance camera for high-quality live streaming. Simply opening the Tend Secure app on your smartphone or laptop, you can monitor what’s going on your house or chatting with your beloved ones. The image quality is good at 1080P resolution. Additionally, the face detection works really well by automatically recognizing familiar faces to eliminate false alarms.

Although you’re able to stream and save what you’ve streamed from the last 7 days on the free Cloud storage, the device needs a stable Internet connection to work with. This means you cannot perform offline recording in any way.

iSmartAlarm iCamera KEEP

iSmartAlarm Deluxe Home Security Package
iSmartAlarm Deluxe Home Security Package

Although this device is highly priced compared to the twos above, it is a great solution for anyone who is looking for a full-featured standalone surveillance camera.

The system comes with a motion and sound sensor, high-quality images (720p HD), and other interesting features. On top of that, it can work on its own or be attached to other iSmartAlarm security systems. You can perform streaming. Also, you can record online or offline videos using the Cloud storage or an SD card, respectively.

About the drawback, the motion detection doesn’t work well on faraway targets. But luckily that wouldn’t be a problem if your room isn’t too big.

Arlo Pro by NETGEAR Security System

Arlo Pro - Wireless Home Security Camera System with Siren. Rechargeable, Night vision, Indoor/Outdoor
Arlo Pro – Wireless Home Security Camera System with Siren

This all-in-one surveillance is perfect if you’re looking for an ultimate security solution for your home. The Arlo Pro is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Echo Show, and Fire TV. It is weather-resistant thanks to a durable construction, so you can place it anywhere, either indoors or outdoors.

Especially, the two-way built-in audio system is featured with both mic and speaker. So, you can listen in and talk back with ease. For storing your recorded live-streamed videos, you can choose either using the free Cloud storage (allows up to 7 days of recordings) or connecting the device to an USB.

Moreover, the system works completely wirelessly and comes with the fast-charging features. But it’s not perfect though as the audio recording isn’t up to par, not to mention its pretty high price.

The IoT (Internet of Things) has made it much simpler than ever before when it comes to set up a smart home in which you can remotely monitor and control your home from anywhere via your smart device and an app. Hopefully, today’s roundup of top six smart home security devices can help you find the right product for your home.

Summary: Top 6 best smart locks and smart homes security devices