According to the latest data from the FBI, there were over 1.1 million burglaries in 2019, which means a break-in occurs every 28 seconds in the US. With a smart home security system, you can keep an eye on your home from your smartphone, get alerts whenever someone steps foot on your property, lock your doors from anywhere in the world, and more. Here’s everything you need to know about how to build your own smart home security system and how to choose the right membership plan.
Before You Start:
- You only need one device to start your smart home security system, but you can always add more devices whenever you want. These smart devices can be controlled from anywhere in the world with your smartphone or with voice commands if you have a smart speaker.
- It’s important to find smart home devices that work together. For example, you don’t want to get a video doorbell from Ring and a smart camera from Google because then you might have to pay for two different subscription plans and use two different apps to control your devices.
- Most smart home security devices won’t let you access certain advertised features unless you pay a monthly subscription fee. These membership plans are usually much cheaper than traditional home security plans, but they don’t always offer the same level of protection.
- Lastly, all smart home devices require a strong, reliable WiFi connection in order to work properly. So, you should test your WiFi signal strength at the locations where you want to install your smart devices before you buy them.
If you ever feel confused or frustrated when setting up your smart home devices, HelloTech can send someone to your home to help. We have thousands of professional technicians across the country, so someone can be there to install your smart security devices for you as soon as today.
Start with a Video Doorbell
If you want to build your smart home security system on a budget, one of the best devices to start with is a video doorbell. With this one device, you will receive alerts whenever someone approaches your door. Then you can see and speak to any visitors in real-time.
According to ADT, 34% of burglars enter through the front door and 22% enter through the back door. So, installing video doorbells can help you capture footage of the most common points of entry to your home.
Most video doorbells will record a short video whenever motion is detected. These clips are stored in the cloud, so you can watch them any time you want and easily share them with other family members or even the police.
Add Smart Cameras for Whole-Home Coverage
With smart security cameras, you can monitor your entire home. Just like video doorbells, these smart devices have motion detectors built in, and you will be alerted whenever someone steps foot on your property. Then you can see and speak to any visitors from your smartphone.
However, unlike video doorbells, smart cameras usually have higher resolution video, better night vision, built-in sirens, and some even come with automatic floodlights. Plus, more than a third (37%) of convicted burglars said that just the sight of a security camera would stop them from breaking into a home, according to a recent survey of convicts.
There are two different types of smart cameras: indoor and outdoor. Outdoor cameras are usually waterproof and wireless, so you can mount them anywhere, but you have to charge the batteries every few months. Indoor cameras usually need to be plugged in, and they often come with some kind of screen that block the camera when you want privacy.
Go Keyless with a Smart Lock
In a survey of 500 convicted burglars, more than a third (39%) said they broke into homes through an unlocked door. If you want to protect your home when you’re away, a smart lock will let you know whenever your door is unlocked. Then you can lock your door from your smartphone.
Most burglaries happen when people are at work between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM, according to ADT. When you’re not at home, you can use a smart lock to create “digital keys” for house cleaners, dog walkers, and other guests. This way, they can access your home at designated times, and you don’t have to give your keys to anyone.
You can find smart locks that will work with your existing keys, or you can get one that doesn’t use keys at all. There are smart locks with keypads, so you can use a code to enter your home, or you can find models that use your fingerprint. Some smart locks can automatically unlock your door when you approach with your smartphone or even an Apple Watch.
If you’re not sure how to install your smart lock, HelloTech can answer all your questions. We can send someone to your home to install your smart lock for you, connect it to WiFi, set up the app, and show you how it all works.
Prevent Package Thieves with a Smart Garage Door Opener
While it is not the most common point of entry, ADT claims that 9% of burglars break into homes through the garage. With a smart garage door opener, you will receive alerts whenever your garage door opens, and you can open and close it from your smartphone.
Some smart garage door openers can also prevent your packages from being stolen. With Amazon Key, you can allow delivery drivers to access your garage and drop off packages inside and then close it after they leave.
Cheaper smart garage door openers usually work with most traditional garage door systems, but they will only allow you to open and close your garage door. If you want to be able to see who’s entering and exiting through your garage, you might want to add a smart camera or buy a system that includes one.
Get Smart Smoke Alarms for Automatic Fire Response
Security systems don’t just need to protect you from people. In 2020, local fire departments responded to a home fire every 89 seconds on average, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. With a smart smoke alarm, you will get a notification whenever a fire starts in your home.
Some smart smoke detectors, like the Nest Protect, can detect both smoldering and flaming fires, as well as carbon monoxide. Plus, almost every smart smoke alarm will tell you before your batteries die, so you’ll never have to worry about checking them again.
If you choose the right smart smoke alarm, there’s a chance you can even pair it with your smart security system. For example, if you have a Ring Protect Pro plan and a FirstAlert Z-Wave Smoke/CO Alarm, you can have fire services immediately dispatched to your home when your smart smoke alarm goes off.
Get 24/7 Professional Monitoring with a Smart Alarm Kit
A smart home security system is similar to traditional security systems, except it is usually cheaper, easier to customize, and won’t come with long-term contracts. Most of these pre-built kits come with a few window and door sensors, a keypad, and a base station.
The base station connects all your devices, sounds the alarm, and allows you to get 24/7 professional monitoring for your home, as long as you sign up for the right smart home security membership plan. The keypad is used to disarm the alarm, change your system’s settings, and more.
The window, door, and motion sensors that come with these smart home kits are also very useful. According to a survey of 500 convicted burglars, almost half (42%) broke in through an unlocked window, making it the most popular point of entry. You can place these “contact sensors” on any window, and the alarm will sound when the two halves have been separated.
The best thing about smart alarm systems is the fact that you can add more sensors for floods, fire, motion detectors, and more. You can even add other compatible smart home devices, like smart cameras and video doorbells.
Choose the Right Smart Home Security Plan
Most smart home devices will require you to pay a monthly subscription fee to access many essential features. So, before you start to buy smart home security devices, you might want to compare membership plans and make sure that all your devices will work with each other.
For example, if you just get a Ring Video Doorbell, you probably only need the basic Ring Protect membership plan. This plan starts at $3.99 a month, but it only gives you cloud storage for the video recordings from your smart cameras and video doorbells.
On the other hand, if you get a Ring Alarm kit, you might want to get the Ring Protect Pro Plan for $20 a month. This plan gives you 24/7 professional monitoring and emergency response from police, fire, or medical dispatch. That means when your Ring Alarm system goes off, Ring’s monitoring center will contact you. Then, if you confirm something is wrong or you don’t answer, they will send emergency services to your home.
Many traditional home security services also provide smart home solutions. For example, ADT offers smart home bundles, but there are multi-year contracts, and the 24/7 professional monitoring alone can cost over $60 a month.
If you don’t know which membership plan to choose, HelloTech can answer any of your questions. We also offer our own HelloTech Home membership plans with 24/7 support for all your devices, free in-home services, exclusive offers on the latest devices, and more – all for less than $20 a month.
HelloTech editors choose the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.
Thanks for your feedback, add a comment here to help improve the article