If you’re looking for the best home security system to protect your family 2020, you’ve come to the right place! Regardless of your budget and technical skill, there is always a suitable solution for your need. These smart systems are designed to help you monitor your home from afar and to ward off things that may endanger your loved ones.
What is the Best Home Security System in 2018?
Thanks to the advancement of technologies, there are now many smart home products that allow you to control your door locks, thermostats, lights, security cameras, and even vacuums and lawnmowers, simply through your smartphone. People say that we are now going into the Internet of Things (IoT) era, in which nearly all of the devices that we use every day are connected to the Internet.
Now, it is much easier and more affordable than ever before to monitor your home wherever you are, whenever you want. That said, smart security systems nowadays are highly customizable to suit different purposes and situations. So, the answer for the best home security system to protect your family 2018 may vary from person to person.
You may be interested in DIY products that let you install your own system. However, if you don’t want to compromise on any aspect of security, you may want to use a 24/7 professional monitoring service that will notify the local police and fire department when an alarm is triggered. You can take a look at the 5 Best Home Security Companies 2020 to find out whose services that you can trust to safeguard your home, belongings, and loved ones.
DVR vs Cloud Storage
Before we move further, you need to know that there are several different kinds of home security systems. Well, there is no official classification for these products, but people generally categorize them based on the connectivity, storage, and smart features.
Based on the connectivity, there are wired systems and wireless systems. The names are already quite self-explanatory. Wired systems require you to connect the cameras and sensors by using cables. Many people agree that wire installation is extremely exhausting and time-consuming. Wireless systems mostly use Wi-Fi, although there are some that use Bluetooth or other less popular wireless technology. Wireless systems are generally more convenient and easier to install. You don’t need to deal with tangled cables or extensions.
Based on the main processing unit and storage, there are DVR-based security systems and cloud-based security systems. What is the difference between the two?
Well, DVR-based security systems are relatively older. In this system, the cameras are connected to a central DVR, which is also connected to a hard drive for the storage. Meanwhile, cloud-based security systems are connected to the Internet. The cameras save their files in the cloud storage, so you can easily access the recordings via your mobile device. Take a look at DVR Security System Disadvantages (vs Cloud System) to learn more about why cloud-based systems are more favored nowadays.
Security and Home Automation
When looking for the best home security system to protect your family 2018, you are almost certainly expecting something with built-in smart features that allow you to configure home automation tasks. Of course, smarthome security systems nowadays are already equipped with wireless connectivity so that they can connect to the Wi-Fi network in your home.
This opens entirely new possibilities of integrating your security system with home automation. Many entry-level systems now already come with a few door/window sensors, a motion detector, and a central hub which controls all of the devices using wireless protocols like Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave, or even proprietary mesh network protocols. You can add additional door/window sensors, motion detectors, and thermostats, as well as door locks, garage openers, indoor and outdoor cameras, smoke sensors, flood sensors, lights, and sirens.
A smart home security system that is worth its money is supposed to have components that work seamlessly together and can be manipulated to follow custom rules to suit what you need. For example, a good smart system should allow you to create a custom rule in which the lights are turned on whenever the system detects motion, the doors unlocked whenever the fire alarm is triggered, and the cameras begin recording whenever a sensor detects an event.
Most smart security systems now come with a mobile app or at least a web app which acts as a command center. Through this app, you can create your custom rules, arm/disarm your system, and receive alert notifications whenever the alarms are set off. Many but not all apps now also have features that allow you to see the live recording of the camera, lock or unlock doors remotely, change the thermostat settings, silence false alarms, and even notify the local police or fire department to ask for assistance.
Some apps use your smartphone’s location services to arm and disarm the system automatically based on your location. So, when you are away with your smartphone, the system will automatically arm itself. But this also has a potential disadvantage. If you forget to bring your smartphone along, your system will remain disarmed, and an intruder may come in freely. More expensive systems may come with wall-mounted touchscreen panels, which essentially serve just like the apps, but in a fancy way.
Choosing Your Camera(s)
A home security system typically has at least one camera. A small home or apartment probably only needs a single unit to watch the entryway or the living room, the area that people need to pass in order to get into any other room. However, a large house with multiple doors and entryways should be equipped with multiple cameras so that you can monitor every vulnerable part of your home.
Keep in mind that your cameras will not always work in plain brightness. A camera can only capture visible images if there is enough light in the scene. Without light, the camera will only give you black emptiness. Things become problematic when your outdoor cameras don’t have night vision but you hear strange noises coming from your backyard garden.
So, when choosing security cameras to watch your home environment, you probably should consider models that have built-in night vision. Such cameras are equipped with infrared (IR) LED lights. The infrared light is not visible to the human eye, but it can provide enough illumination for the camera’s image sensor to capture images.
This is also great because the intruder may be unable to see your security camera, but you can see them. Some models are further equipped with two-way audio so that you can hear what is happening in the scene and also speak through the camera’s built-in speaker. Two-way audio can be handy for receiving guests and scaring off intruders. You can find the 10 Best Security Camera with Night Vision here, which come with great features, excellent image quality, and reliable performance.
Indoor Security Cameras
When building your smart home security system, surprisingly, one thing that people often overlook is the types of their security cameras. There are indoor and outdoor security cameras. You can’t use an indoor security camera for an outdoor installation – it will most probably break apart within a short period of time. An outdoor security camera can be used for an indoor setting, but this is not always ideal.
There are various types and forms of indoor security cameras. Some models are shaped just like regular cameras. This is generally fine if you just want to watch for potential hazards that may happen inside your home. Some indoor security cameras are utilized as baby monitors; these models are usually equipped with night vision and two-way audio so that you can speak to your baby.
However, there are also mini security cameras that are designed to be hidden. These ‘spy’ cameras will allow you to monitor the condition inside your home in case that a criminal manages to break in.
Some of these cameras are so small, that you can just put it on a wall without pulling attention. Some others are integrated into items like photo frames, alarm clocks, and chargers. You can see our picks of Top 5 Mini Security Cameras here! These mini security cameras are made to hide in plain sight, so that bad people who get into your house won’t know that they are being watched, and that the police are just mere minutes away.
The more expensive indoor security cameras may come with built-in temperature and humidity sensors. This way, the camera can interact with your thermostats as well as smart lighting systems. When a fire hazard happens in the doorway, a thermostat that you put in your kitchen may not notice the problem, but the camera that you put there can tell your system to ring an alarm.
Outdoor Security Cameras
Now, we are going to talk about outdoor security cameras. Most of these products are larger than their indoor counterparts. An outdoor security camera should come with a rugged housing that is fully weatherproof. This is because the unit is going to be exposed to the elements, so it should be able to withstand challenging environmental factors.
The next important thing to consider when choosing your outdoor security cameras is the connectivity. If you just want to mount it on an exterior wall of your home, you probably can drill a hole, through which you pass the power cord and the data transmission cable. However, if you want to mount the units on tricky places, such as on tree branches, you may need to rethink your options.
For installation in a difficult place, you may need to consider outdoor security cameras with wireless connectivity. However, note that some models with Wi-Fi still require dedicated power cords and power outlets. This is probably inconvenient for outdoor installation. In our 10 Best Outdoor Security Cameras 2020, there are models that work with batteries or solar panels. These models are especially great for outdoor applications.
In addition, many outdoor security cameras nowadays come with built-in motion detection. They can be configured to start recording only when motion is detected. This can preserve your storage space and even reduce the power consumption. More advanced models may allow you to customize the motion detection area, which is a useful feature to avoid false alerts caused by you opening your garage door.
Video Doorbells and Smart Locks
Many smart home security systems now come with video doorbells and smart locks. These devices can be very useful for most home owners. Video doorbells will allow you to see who is standing in front of your door through your smartphone without having to open the door. This can save you from a burglar who wants to catch you by surprise.
Some models are able to start recording when motion is detected or when the doorbell is pressed. Afterwards, the unit can send a notification to your smartphone. Some models may include a still image or a short video clip with the notification. More advanced models are equipped with built-in mics and speakers to allow two-way communication. They may also support Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT services.
Smart locks are typically found in robust systems, but you don’t need to spend a grand amount of money to have it. If you already have a home automation hub that is capable of controlling lights and thermostats, you can easily add Zigbee or Z-Wave smart locks into the system.
If you don’t have a home automation hub, you can look for Bluetooth or Wi-Fi locks that can be controlled through mobile apps. Smart locks usually use the same standard pre-drilled holes, so they should be easy to install. However, some models use the existing hardware, whereas some others will require you to remove the existing hardware and replace with its own hardware.
Smart locks can be opened and closed through the accompanying mobile app. Some systems allow you to set access schedules for your family members and friends, so that the doors can be unlocked for them on specific hours on specific days. Other great features that you may want to have are geofencing for automatically locking/unlocking doors based on your location, voice commands through Alexa, Google Home, or Siri’sHomeKit, and integration with other smart home devices.