From DIY security systems to video doorbells and security cameras, these are our top home security product recommendations.rn
By TechHive staff
With 2021 almost in our rear-view mirror, it’s time for our annual roundup of the best home security devices, from DIY security systems and video doorbells to smart locks and security cameras. Whether you’re looking to expand your home security setup or you’re taking your first baby steps in smart home monitoring, we have you covered.
Keep in mind that not every product on this list was introduced this year. We’re not going to avoid recommending a great product just because it hit the market earlier than January 1, 2021.
Ring continues to build the best do-it-yourself home security system on the market, and the Ring Alarm Pro simplifies things even further by incorporating the equally great Eero 6 mesh Wi-Fi router and a Ring Smart Lighting Bridge inside the same enclosure. An 8-piece kit will get you started for just $300, and it can be expanded with Ring’s video doorbell, security cameras, add-on sensors, and everything else needed to secure your home. The Works with Ring certification program ensures third-party products like smart locks will be compatible with Ring’s system. While the company has raised the price for its professional monitoring service, it’s still one of the least expensive plans on the market, and it includes battery and LTE backup for both the security system and the router.
Best wired video doorbell: Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro
The Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro has no equal, delivering very high resolution (1664 x 1664 pixels); a generous symmetric field of view (180 x 180 degrees, vertically and horizontally), so you can see visitors from head to toe; package detection; and lights and sounds that draws visitors’ attention so they instinctively present their face to the camera. The price of the camera includes installation, even if you don’t already have doorbell wiring in place. You’ll want to sign up for a cloud-storage plan to get the full benefit from the camera, though. Vivint also offers a fabulously comprehensive smart home/home security service if you don’t want to go the DIY route.
Best battery-powered video doorbell: Nest Doorbell
Despite its name, the Nest Doorbell (battery) can operate on your choice of low-voltage wiring or its internal battery. We found the device to be extremely easy to install either way, and it delivered crisp and clear video recordings. Nest’s latest doorbell can detect people as well as animals, packages, and even vehicles moving in its field of view, and it will promptly alert you accordingly. All video processing is performed on the doorbell itself, versus being uploaded to the cloud, which enhances your privacy. As you’d expect, it works well with Google’s smart speakers, which will announce when someone is at your door and even name the person if it recognizes from previous visits.
Google’s Nest division has always made great smart security cameras, and its latest Nest Cam (battery) is the best in its class. It operates on battery power, obviously, and can be deployed indoors or out. If you don’t want to worry about charging the battery, you can attach a magnetic charging cable to run it on AC power. Like the Nest Doorbell, the Nest Cam (battery) will alert you to the presence of people, animals, and vehicles, and it will learn to recognize faces over time (provided you sign up for a subscription). The camera delivers excellent video quality and is supremely easy to set up and use.
While Google’s Nest cameras work best with Google devices and Amazon-owned Ring tailors its cams for Alexa aficionados, the Arlo Pro 4 doesn’t force you to choose an ecosystem: it works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit, not to mention Samsung SmartThings and IFTTT. Besides its stellar smart home support, the Arlo Pro 4 happens to be a great security camera, with razor-sharp 2K video, accurate smart detection, and a sleek and intuitive app. And while previous Arlo Pro models required the Arlo SmartHub base station, it’s purely optional for the Arlo Pro 4. All in all, we can’t think of a better way to spend $200 on a smart security cam.
Best security camera/floodlight combo: Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Pro
Ring didn’t need to make its security camera/floodlight combo better, but we’re glad it did. This incredibly powerful security device includes a camera that hangs between and below a pair of adjustable floodlights. The camera delivers 1080p resolution and boasts an 80 x 140-degree (vertical x horizontal) field of view. The adjustable floodlights produce 2,000 lumens of brightness each. Motion triggers both the camera and the lights, and you can also operate the lights on a schedule. Ring’s 3D Motion Detection with Bird’s Eye view is a game-changer. It will plot motion on an overhead map, and then display the path a person traveled while in the camera’s view. The Ring Floodlight Cam Pro can also interact with the wide array of Ring Smart Lighting products.
Until the Level Lock appeared, even the best smart locks were bulky eyesores with massive escutcheons hanging inside the door, and geeky-looking keypads on the outside. The engineers at Level Lock changed the game by hiding all the electronic bits inside the lock itself. You’d never know it was a smart look just by looking at it. The Level Lock communicates with the Level app on your phone using Bluetooth, and a geofencing feature will automatically unlock and lock the door as you come and go. And just in case the battery dies while you’re out, you also get a pair of conventional keys. The even more sophisticated Level Touch operates with a touch of your finger, but it costs a bit more than this model.