With 2021 almost in our rearview 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 taking your first steps in smart home monitoring, we’ve got you covered.
Please note that not all of the products on this list were featured this year. We’re not going to avoid recommending a great product just because it hit the market before January 1, 2021.
Presenting our selections:
Best DIY Home Security System: Ring Alarm Pro
Ring continues to build the best DIY home security system on the market, and Ring Alarm Pro makes things even simpler by incorporating the equally excellent Eero 6 Mesh Wi-Fi Router and a Ring Smart Lighting Bridge inside. from the same cabinet. An 8-piece kit will get you started for just $ 300, and it can be expanded with Ring’s video doorbell, security cameras, extra sensors, and everything else you need to protect your home. The Works with Ring certification program ensures that third-party products, such as smart locks, are compatible with the Ring system. While the company has raised the price of its professional monitoring service, it is still one of the least expensive plans on the market and includes LTE battery and backup for both the security system and the router.
Best Wired Video Doorbell: Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro
Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro has no equal, as it offers a very high resolution (1664 x 1664 pixels); a generous symmetrical field of view (180 x 180 degrees, vertically and horizontally), so you can see visitors from head to toe; packet detection; and lights and sounds that draw the attention of visitors to instinctively present their face to the camera. The camera price includes installation, even if you don’t have the doorbell wiring in place yet. However, you will want to sign up for a cloud storage plan to get the maximum benefit from the camera. Vivint also offers a fabulous comprehensive home / smart 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 work with your choice of low-voltage wiring or its internal battery. We found the device to be extremely easy to install either way and offers crisp, clear video recordings. Nest’s latest chime can detect people and animals, packages and even vehicles moving in your field of vision, and will immediately alert you accordingly. All video processing is done on the doorbell itself, rather than uploaded to the cloud, improving your privacy. Unsurprisingly, it works well with Google’s smart speakers, which will announce when someone is at your door and even name the person if you recognize them from previous visits.
Best Outdoor Security Camera: Nest Cam (Battery)
Google’s Nest division has always made great smart security cameras and their latest Nest Cam (battery) is the best in its class. It runs on battery, obviously, and can be deployed indoors or outdoors. If you don’t want to worry about charging the battery, you can connect a magnetic charging cable to run on AC power. Like the Nest doorbell, the Nest Cam (battery) will alert you to the presence of people, animals and vehicles, and will learn to recognize faces over time (as long as you sign up for a subscription). The camera offers excellent video quality and is extremely easy to set up and use.
Best Indoor Security Camera: Arlo Pro 4
While Google’s Nest cameras work best with Google devices and Amazon-owned Ring adapts its cameras for Alexa hobbyists, 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. In addition to its stellar smart home support, the Arlo Pro 4 turns out to be a great security camera, with razor-sharp 2K video, accurate smart detection, and a sleek, intuitive app. And while previous Arlo Pro models required the Arlo SmartHub base station, it is purely optional for the Arlo Pro 4. Overall, we can’t think of a better way to spend $ 200 on a smart security camera.
Best Security Camera / Floodlight Combo: Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Pro
Ring didn’t need to improve their security camera / reflector combo, but we’re glad they did. This incredibly powerful security device includes a camera that hangs between and below a pair of adjustable reflectors. The camera offers a resolution of 1080p and has a field of view of 80 x 140 degrees (vertical x horizontal). Adjustable projectors produce 2000 lumens of brightness each. The movement activates both the camera and the lights, and it can also operate the lights on a schedule. Ring’s 3D motion detection with a bird’s eye view is a game changer. It will plot the movement on an aerial map and then show the route that a person traveled while in camera view. Ring Floodlight Cam Pro can also interface with the wide range of Ring Smart Lighting products.
Best smart lock: level lock
Until the level lock appeared, even the best smart locks were bulky monstrosities with huge shields hanging inside the door and geeky-looking keyboards on the outside. The Level Lock engineers changed the game by hiding all the electronic bits within the lock itself. You would never know it was a smart look just by looking at it. The Level Lock communicates with the Level app on your phone via Bluetooth, and a geofencing feature will automatically unlock and close the door as you enter and exit. And just in case the battery dies while you’re out and about, you get a pair of conventional keys, too. The even more sophisticated Level Touch works with a touch of your finger, but costs a little more than this model.
Expect! There is more!
You won’t want to miss our pick of the best smart home products of 2021-22 and the best home entertainment products of 2021-22.