Top five high-tech home security gadgets
Keep your home safe by adding these tools to your home security system
by Jami Barnett, Ph.D.
ConsumerAffairs Research Team
Imagine coming home to find your front door busted in and your items strewn about the house or missing. Unfortunately, a lot of people face that terror every day. Over 1.5 million burglaries occur each year, costing more than $3.6 billion annually. That’s enough money to buy everyone in the United States a large latte every single day for the next nine months.
Home security systems can help prevent you from becoming the victim of one of these burglaries or another disaster. New technology offers amazing and effective ways to keep your home safe. Choosing which security features you need can be complicated, and ConsumerAffairs wants to help you pick the ones right for you.
Here are five high-tech home security gadgets that can help keep your home and family safe:
Electronic smart locks use WiFi and phone apps to give you control over your locks wherever you are. Some locks have keypad entry codes, so you can give a neighbor or house sitter access to your house when you’re on vacation and then simply change the code to keep them from coming in after you return. Other locks can be linked to cell phones so people who need temporary access can open the door with their phone. You’ll never need to worry about someone making a copy of your house key and coming in without your permission!
Over 70 percent of burglaries happen when nobody is home. Smart bulbs and smart switches make your house look occupied. You can have inside and outside lights go on and off on a schedule. You can also turn lights on and off using your phone, even if you’re miles away.
Many security companies have options to include these in your package, and they’re probably worth the upgrade. If you’re going the DIY route, you can find smart bulbs and switches at your local home improvement store.
Remote control blinds and curtains offer security perks similar to smart lights by making it look like you’re home when you’re not. The blinds can be programmed to close at a certain time of day, or you can control them with your cell phone or other smart devices. Closing the curtains at night when you turn on your smart lights will also prevent anyone from seeing in your house.
Aside from recording potential burglars, surveillance systems can show you who’s at the door before you answer it and even record wild animals in your yard that might be a threat to your pets or kids. Like smart lights and switches, some security cameras connect to your phone, tablet or laptop, so you can monitor your house from anywhere. Professional security companies will install cameras for you, or you can do it yourself.
Water sensors can alert you in case of flooding. Place them under sinks, near your washing machine or by a sump pump, and they trigger an alarm if they detect extra moisture. WiFi enabled sensors can send messages to your phone, giving you a heads-up to run home in case you're out and about. These gadgets aren’t quite as exciting as security cameras, but they can save you a lot of money by helping you prevent water damage.
If you pay for a professionally-monitored security system, ask your alarm company about cellular monitoring. When an alarm is triggered, the system uses a cellular connection, like the kind for your cell phone, to alert your security company. Crooks can cut the phone lines and fiber-optic internet cables for your alarm, meaning some systems can’t call for help when you need it. But cell monitoring will work as long as you have power or a battery backup for your alarm, making it harder for someone to tamper with your system.
While these tech safety tools can be a great addition to many homes, not all of them may work for you. Check out our guide on choosing the best wireless security system for you or read reviews for alarm and home security systems.
- 5/11/17 Last Updated
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