Adobe Home Security

What is Adobe Home Security?

Home Security Camera Shot

Photographicss / Shuttershock

Abode home security came on the scene in 2014. In 2018, it became majority-owned by the Italian tech company, Nice. Nice is an industry leader in home automation, security, and smart technology. Not only are their products designed to protect, but Abode security systems are also made to comply seamlessly with other smart home technology, like smart lights and thermostats. Abode has over 15,000 customers and counting.

The Abode system has attracted users with its simple DIY security solutions that don’t require a contract. Abode also provides home automation and environmental protection that you can monitor with your smartphone. Abode offers customizable plans with varying levels of protective features, which make it easy to apply Abode systems to different homes and environments. 

Abode home security system notable features

Abode says its products were designed to be simple and customizable, allowing customers to build and configure their system to match their home. Here are some features to take note of:

  • DIY installation instruction included: The Abode home security starter kit comes with instructions on how to set up the system. The owner has the freedom to place the equipment strategically, in order to work along with the interior design elements of the home.
  • Professional installation is an option: If you are not confident in your DIY skills, there’s an option to have a professional install the devices for you.
  • No long contract required: The plans are available on a monthly or annual basis, and customers can change plans with the click of a button.
  • A modern design with a contemporary touch: The hardware is sleek and modern with geometric color patterns, making the design unobtrusive.
  • Affordable monitoring fees: The costs begin at $3.33/mo.* for monitoring with a media storage period of three days.

Abode packages and prices


  • Plan price: $179.00 (includes smart security kit)
  • Monthly cost: $0*
  • Equipment: Includes gateway, one mini door/window sensor, one motion sensor, one key fob, one security sticker, and a self-monitoring phone/web app.
  • No contract
  • Can purchase on-demand professional monitoring (3 days for $8/mo. or 7 days for $15.00/mo.*)


  • Plan price: $219.00* (includes smart security kit)
  • Monthly cost: $3.33/mo.*
  • Equipment: Includes gateway, one mini door/window sensor, one motion sensor, one key fob, one security sticker, a self-monitoring phone/web app, and cellular backup.
  • No contract
  • Can purchase on-demand professional monitoring (3 days for $8/mo. or 7 days for $15.00/mo.*)


  • Plan price: $279.00* (includes smart security kit)
  • Monthly cost: $8.33/mo.*
  • Equipment: Includes gateway, one mini door/window sensor, one motion sensor, one key fob, one security sticker, a self-monitoring phone/web app, and cellular backup.
  • No contract
  • 24/7 professional monitoring

*Prices as of 2/6/2020

Understanding Abode pricing

Abode’s $8.33/mo service fee for the Secure plan and the $3.33/mo. for the Connect plan both require the purchase of a starter security kit. Customers can choose between the Smart Security Kit and the more-expensive iota All-In-One Security Kit.

Also, in order to take advantage of Abode’s pricing for these two packages, users need to purchase a full year of service. The price is valid for the first year, and it is subject to change after that.

There are no contracts or hidden fees. Abode doesn’t require you to purchase any add-on products to use their service, only one of their basic security kits.

Abode equipment

The Abode home security system is designed to fit either the iota or the Gateway kits. The iota comes with more features than the Gateway. It has a built-in motion detector, is Wi-Fi-enabled, has a built-in streaming camera, and it’s compatible with Apple HomeKit. 

While the Gateway has none of these features, it’s a smart home hub, allowing communication with smart home devices. It’s compatible with Z-Wave and Zigbee devices, and with Amazon Alexa and Google Home Assistant as well.

Both the iota and the Gateway provide users with simple connectivity via either ethernet or Wi-Fi. However, iota’s built-in camera, motion sensor, and two-way voice compatibility make it a more versatile choice. 

Abode also offers a mobile app that allows you to self-monitor your system. That app is available on both Google Play and the Apple app store.

Add-on devices for Abode systems range in price, from $24 door/window sensors to $130 cameras

Abode home security system installation

Abode offers professional installation, which costs $99 for an Abode home security starter kit install and an additional $25 up to five add-on devices. However, the Abode home security system does not require professional installation. The user can DIY the install in a few straightforward steps.

  • First, you have to set up the main hub. You plug it in and then connect it to your router. The hub will start to boot up automatically.
  • Then, activate the battery backup by pushing the backup switch on the rear of the hub.
  • You then install the Abode app by downloading it from either the Google Play Store or the Apple app store.
  • After registering the app and verifying your email, you activate your account and enter basic data (like your name and address).
  • You then enter an activation key, and the app is fully installed and ready to connect to your system.
  • You then have to follow the on-screen directions to connect each device.

After these steps have been completed, you invite household members and select the Abode connected home security service plan that best fits your needs. After selecting the service plan, your system is operational.

Abode reviews

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives Abode a C rating on its site. There have been six customer complaints logged on BBB’s website over the last three years and four in the last 12 months. All of those complaints have been resolved or answered, according to the BBB. Three customers have reviewed Abode on the BBB site, giving it an average of four stars (out of five).

Abode earns a similar rating of 4/5 stars on TrustPilot, based on over 2,000 customer reviews. 

Even though a few customers complain about Abode’s cameras not working, difficulty with the system not arming, and an unhelpful or uninformed support team, the overall ratings are boosted by those who are satisfied with Abode’s products and services.

To put Abode’s reviews in perspective, one of its competitors, SimpliSafe, earned a similar overall customer service rating of 4/5 stars on Trustpilot. The concerns pulling down its score mostly concern unhelpful support staff. SimpliSafe gets an A+ on BBB but averages only 1.5/5 stars from customers. Similar to what’s reported on TrustPilot, most of the complaints are concerning unresponsive or unhelpful customer support.

Pros and cons of Abode

Advantages of using Abode

  • No contract
  • Easy setup
  • Relatively high customer satisfaction

Disadvantages of using Abode

  • Sirens are built into the base station, making it hard to know whether you’re shutting off the siren effectively if the base is far away.
  • No built-in streaming camera on the Gateway
  • Some of the add-ons, like door and window sensors, are expensive

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much does Abode cost? $219 for the iota hub or $179 for the Gateway hub, plus $8.33/mo for the Secure plan or $3.33/mo for the Connect plan.
  2. Can you get professional monitoring with Abode? Yes, you can. Abode has on-demand monitoring that you can pay for or 24/7 professional monitoring with its Secure plan.
  3. How much does professional monitoring with Abode cost? $8.33/mo. on the Secure plan.
  4. Does Abode work with Google Home? Yes. There are over 30 commands you can use with Google Home’s assistant.
  5. Does Abode work with Alexa? Yes. There are a variety of commands recognized by Alexa.

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What you need to know about Brinks Home Security systems

Home Security System Concept

Selecting a home security system from all the competitors out there can give you a headache. We’re here to provide a breakdown of one of the better-known brands on the market, Brinks Home Security. Whether you’re looking for a whole-house security system, a Brinks Home Security safe, or a Brinks Home Security box, we have you covered. 

What is Brinks Home Security?

Brinks has over one million residential and business customers in North America and maintains its headquarters in Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas. Brinks Home Security manages an extensive network of independent authorized dealers in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada, but you don’t have to contact a dealer to get service. Reliance on local dealers means customer service can vary from one community to the next, but that authorized dealer may be able to offer an in-home consultation.

Brinks home security systems come in four smart package options that allow you to choose which features you need and which to leave out. Each package includes a way to automate smart features in your home, like lights and locks. The more features you want, the more expensive the plan will be. Additionally, Brinks gives you an easy DIY-installation option for all of its plans, if that’s your cup of tea. 

Brinks Home Security notable features

Brinks’ systems bring customers many unique options, from smart devices to safes. Take a look at the features that make Brinks stand out from the competition:

  • Smart security: Each of the packages includes the Brinks Home Touch, a control panel that you can use to connect your smart home devices.
  • DIY installation: You can install any of the Brinks systems yourself, or pay for professional installation if you prefer.
  • No-contract option: With the Nest Secure package, you will get Brinks Home Security monitoring but won’t have to sign a 36-month contract. Instead, your plan is month-to-month, so you can cancel anytime.
  • Additional products: Brinks sells add-ons, like smart switches, smart locks, and smart thermostats. Also, look into a security safe or a Brink’s home security box for cash.
  • Two-year warranty: If your system breaks in the first two years, Brinks will come out and repair it.

Brinks packages and prices

Brinks Home Security systems come in three standard tiers, plus a Nest Secure option. 

Smart Security Ultimate

  • Equipment cost: 1,099 
  • Monitoring fee: $39/mo.
  • Equipment included: Brinks Home Touch, a video doorbell, outdoor camera, two wireless motion sensors, three wireless door sensors, professional installation, yard signs, and stickers
  • Requires a 36-month contract
  • Includes 24/7 monitoring

Smart Security Complete

  • Equipment cost: $499 
  • Monitoring fee: $39/mo.
  • Equipment: Brinks Home Touch, two wireless motion sensors, an indoor camera with night vision, three wireless door sensors, yard signs and stickers
  • Requires a 36-month contract
  • Includes 24/7 monitoring

Smart Security Essential

  • Equipment cost: $199
  • Monitoring fee: $29.99/mo. 
  • Equipment: Brinks Home Touch, one wireless motion sensor, two wireless door sensors, yard signs, and stickers
  • Requires a 36-month contract
  • Includes 24/7 monitoring

Nest Secure

*Pricing as of 2/5/2020

Understanding Brinks pricing

The cost of a Brinks home security system can be more expensive than many other options since the average cost per month is $30 to $40 for monitored systems, according to Consumer Reports. For the Smart Security Essential Plan, you’ll pay the least at $29.9/mo. plus $199 for equipment. However, keep in mind that you can finance a Brinks system, breaking it into monthly costs over 36 months. 

You will also be charged taxes in your monthly bill, along with other potential fees. Brinks states that it may charge an early termination fee if you cancel before 36 months.

Brinks equipment

Brinks offers advanced equipment focused on smart home automation. You can choose to add doorbell cameras, outdoor cameras, and indoor cameras. The company also sells many smart home products, like smart locks and smart thermostats.

With every Brinks home security plan, you’ll get Brinks Home Touch, which is a smart home hub that controls all of its equipment. You can connect it to Amazon Alexa, Z-Wave, and the Brinks app on your phone for ultimate smart home management. The wireless door sensors and motion detector sensors protect your home from intruders and send you updates direct to your phone.

Brinks Home Security system installation

Because the company operates on a wireless network, all Brinks home security systems allow you to install them yourself. The company claims, “If you can open a box, you can set it up.” They label each device, so you know exactly where to put them.

Also, if you prefer professional installation, you can pay for someone to come to your home. Installation by a professional of a Brinks home security system costs $199, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Brinks reviews

In 2018 and 2019, Brinks received J.D. Power’s #1 rating in customer satisfaction with professionally installed home security systems.

Looking at reviews can give you a better idea of how the company performs. Brinks Home Security has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, but its customer reviews aren’t as glowing. They rate the company between 1.5 stars and three stars. Complaints focus on third-party installation and contract issues. Brinks received a three-star (out of five) average score from Trustpilot, receiving similar feedback. Reviews of Brinks home security systems are on par with its competitors’ ratings.

Pros and cons of Brinks

Advantages of using Brinks

  • Provides smart home devices
  • Well-known brand
  • Can go DIY with any of its plans

Disadvantages of using Brinks

  • Penalties for breaking contract
  • Can be more expensive
  • Low customer service ratings

Frequently asked questions

  1. How much does Brinks cost? Brinks security systems vary in pricing based on monitoring, equipment, installation, and smart home automation add-ons.
  2. Can you get professional monitoring with Brinks? Yes, all Brinks systems come with professional 24/7 monitoring.
  3. How much does professional monitoring with Brinks cost? Brinks includes professional oversight in all its packages, and it costs between $29/mo. and $39/mo.
  4. Do I have to have to pay for installation? No. You can install every Brinks home security system on your own. If you want professional installation, however, that costs $199.
  5. Can I get out of a contract with Brinks? You have 30 days to decide you want out of a Brinks contract. After the initial period, though, all contract terms apply and you may pay a termination fee.

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Everything You Need to Know About Choosing Frontpoint Home Security

Outdoor security system for safer home


Whether you’re designing a brand new home or giving your existing home a facelift, now is the time to think about your home security. Modern home security solutions have come a long way, offering sleek equipment that blends into the background and seamlessly integrates with smart home technology. 

Although not as well known as the industry giants such as ADT, Frontpoint is getting recognition for its streamlined DIY installations, no-contract professional monitoring service, and commitment to customer service. Here’s what you should know about Frontpoint home security.

What is Frontpoint?

With over ten years in the home security business, Frontpoint has long been a disruptor in the market. The company was one of the first to use cellular monitoring instead of broadband and was the first to provide a self-guided app for DIY setup. Frontpoint home security has caught a lot of media attention, including recognition as one of the best home security systems for 2020 by Money magazine.

You can choose a packaged Frontpoint home security system or build your own. Even if you start with a package, you can customize your system with a wide variety of add-ons. Professional installation is not available, but the company claims that DIY setup can be completed in just 30 minutes with no tools, drilling, or wires. 

Furthermore, Frontpoint home security does not require a contract

Frontpoint notable features

As an innovator in home security monitoring, Frontpoint home security is smartly designed and filled with the latest technological innovations. Notable features include:

  • Cellular monitoring: LTE monitoring providers up to 120 times faster response rates than other monitoring methods.
  • Sensor checks: Your system will test your sensors once per hour.
  • Smart technology: Frontpoint learns your routine and alerts you of anything out of the ordinary.
  • Compatibility: Your Frontpoint home security system is fully compatible with other smart home systems, like Alexa.
  • Risk-free: In the first 30 days, Frontpoint will refund your money if you aren’t satisfied with your system.
  • Sleek, modern look: Frontpoint’s equipment looks contemporary and unobtrusive.

Frontpoint packages and prices

Frontpoint home security offers a variety of fully customizable equipment packages, as well as the ability to build your own. You simply pay for the equipment up front or finance it through Affirm, and then pay your monthly monitoring fee. The company offers two monitoring plans from which to choose:

Interactive Plan

  • $1.48/day
  • Includes 24/7 professional monitoring
  • No contract

Ultimate Plan

  • $1.64/day
  • Includes 24/7 professional monitoring, motion alerts, live video streaming, and video history
  • No contract

*Pricing as of 2/5/20

Understanding Frontpoint pricing

Frontpoint pricing is straightforward, with all products and prices listed on the company’s website. The lowest-priced equipment package is $69, the highest is $479.90, and all packages include a free indoor camera. Add-ons range in price from $29.99 for a motion sensor to $167.50 for an outdoor camera. Monitoring charges range from $1.48/day to $1.64/day and are entirely separate from equipment costs.

Frontpoint equipment

Frontpoint is committed to leading the pack in the home security space. Custom rules, smart technology that learns your routines, temporary disarm codes for guests or workers, advanced video analysis, and a strong mobile app are just a few of the features that have earned the security a customer satisfaction score of 4.7 on Trustpilot across more than 6,600 Frontpoint home security reviews. Frontpoint systems are fully compatible with Alexa, as well as a variety of smart home technologies.

Frontpoint home security system installation

All Frontpoint home security systems feature simple DIY installation with no wires, drilling, or tools required. In fact, SafeWise says, “If you can change a lightbulb or peel a sticker, you can install a Frontpoint system,” while Consumer Reports notes that Frontpoint is “Easy to set up and use.” 

Frontpoint systems work well for renters, as there’s no contract, and the equipment is easy to remove without leaving damage behind. Frontpoint does not offer an option for professional installation.

Frontpoint reviews

The average Frontpoint home security review shows strong customer satisfaction. The company earned a 4.7 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot, an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, and a 4.5 out of 5 stars on Consumer Affairs. It’s worth noting that consumer reviews with the Better Business Bureau yielded only two out five stars, but this may reflect the fact that people who contact the Better Business Bureau generally do so because they have a complaint. Reported issues tend to focus on cancellation problems or miscommunication between sales representatives and customers.

Pros and cons of Frontpoint

Advantages of using Frontpoint

  • High customer satisfaction
  • Easy DIY installation
  • No contract
  • Comprehensive home security features

Disadvantages of using Frontpoint

  • Moderately high monthly monitoring fees
  • Lack of professional installation option
  • Difficulty canceling service

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much does Frontpoint cost? Frontpoint home security equipment packages start at $69. The highest-priced package is $479.90. Equipment add-ons are also available at a variety of price points.
  2. Can you get professional monitoring with Frontpoint? Professional monitoring is required with Frontpoint home security systems. There is no self-monitoring option.
  3. How much does professional monitoring with Frontpoint cost? Frontpoint offers two levels of professional home security monitoring at $1.48/day and $1.64/day. The level of monitoring you need depends on your chosen equipment.
  4. What type of monitoring connection does Frontpoint use? Frontpoint uses cellular monitoring on the LTE network, resulting in fast response times and stable connections.
  5. Can I finance my Frontpoint equipment? Frontpoint does not finance equipment directly. However, financing is available through Affirm at an interest rate of 0% to 30% depending on credit score and terms.
  6. I’m a renter. Is Frontpoint right for me? Frontpoint is a great fit for renters. There’s no contract, allowing you to walk away when you no longer need Frontpoint service. There is no complicated installation and uninstallation, and removing the equipment will not leave damage behind.

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Everything You Need to Know About Vivint Home Security System

Everything You Need to Know About Vivint Home Security System

Home security has become an essential part of designing and equipping your home. From simple security cameras to fully-integrated smart home security systems, your options are seemingly endless. One of the major players in the home security space is Vivint. Here’s a look at what you need to know about Vivint home security, including reviews and pricing information.

What is Vivint?

Founded in 1999 as APX Alarm, Vivint changed its name in 2011 when the company expanded beyond basic home security solutions into the smart home arena. Vivint was acquired by Blackstone Group in 2012 and has continued to expand both its customer base and its technological offerings since then. Today, Vivint home security has more than 1.4 million active customers in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. U.S. News & World Report named Vivint Smart Home the Best Full-Service Home Security and Automation Solution for 2020.

The Vivint home security model is simple. The basic Vivint Starter Kit provides a touchscreen control panel, two entry sensors, a water sensor, and a motion sensor. It also includes your choice of additional sensors valued at up to $100 total. You can then select add-ons from an extensive list of home security and smart home equipment on an à la carte basis.

Vivint offers financing at 0% interest if you sign up for a monitoring contract. When your equipment is paid off, or if you pay for it upfront, monitoring is available on a month-to-month, no-contract basis. Both basic and advanced security monitoring are available. All Vivint systems require professional installation.

Vivint notable features

  • Vivint Smart Home App: Control not only your home security features but also your entire smart home, with custom actions and full remote access.
  • Seamless Integration: Vivint home security integrates fully with a variety of popular smart home products and controllers
  • Customization Options: Cameras? No problem. Do you prefer outdoor, doorbell, or motion-triggered indoor styles? Maybe you need smart locks, carbon monoxide detectors, or remote garage door control. Vivint lets you purchase what you need while skipping the things you don’t want.
  • Cancellation Policy: If you need to cancel your service due to extenuating circumstances, just call the company. Especially generous policies apply to those in the military. Several options are also available in the event of a move.
  • Look and Feel: The look and feel of Vivint’s home security equipment reflect the company’s status as a major player in smart home technology. Each piece of equipment is thoughtfully designed, elegantly sleek, and relatively unobtrusive.

Vivint packages and prices

Vivint pricing is straightforward. You build your equipment package (the Starter Kit costs $599) and then decide whether to pay for it upfront or finance it for 60 months at 0% interest. Then you simply pay your monthly monitoring fee, plus the monthly cost of any financed equipment.

Monitoring plans offered by Vivint:

Vivint Smart Security Service

  • $29.99/mo.
  • This basic package includes the SkyControl Panel and Vivint’s app, plus additional customized equipment options.
  • Includes 24/7 professional monitoring
  • No contract if you pay for equipment upfront, 60-month contract if financing equipment

Vivint Smart Home Service

  • $39.99/mo. plus $5/mo. per camera
  • This package includes the SkyControl Panel and Vivint’s app, plus additional customized equipment options.
  • Includes 24/7 professional monitoring, along with video surveillance and local video storage
  • No contract if you pay for equipment upfront, 60-month contract if financing equipment

*Prices as of 1/20/2019

Understanding Vivint pricing

Vivint pricing includes two components: equipment cost and monitoring fees. For a full quote, you’ll need an in-home assessment from a Vivint professional. According to U.S. News & World Report, the basic Vivint Starter Kit costs $599, while add-on equipment is available à la carte. U.S. News notes that add-on prices range from $50 for a smart sensor to $299 for an outdoor camera.  The average Vivint customer spends about $1,500 on equipment, which can be financed at zero interest for 60 months, according to U.S. News. 

Monitoring fees are $29.99 to $39.99 per month and are completely separate from equipment charges.

Vivint equipment

Customer ratings at Consumer Affairs and Trustpilot give Vivint high marks for advanced equipment and integration. According to reviews, the company’s products are high-tech yet user-friendly and integrate seamlessly into your existing smart home. Customers comment that the mobile app is robust and the equipment has a sleek, modern feel. High-tech HD cameras offer infrared night vision, and the system is highly customizable. Quality plays an important role in U.S. News & World Report’s decision to name Vivint Smart Home the Best Full-Service Home Security and Automation Solution for 2020.

Vivint home security system installation

All Vivint home security systems require professional installation. The installation fee is a one-time charge of $49 to $99, depending on exactly which equipment components you choose. A major advantage is that a Vivint home security expert will provide a free in-home consultation to help you design your system.

Vivint reviews

A 2018 J.D. Power study ranked Vivint Smart Home third in customer satisfaction among home security brands. Vivint got an 839 out of 1,000 customer satisfaction index rating, trailing closely behind Brinks Home Security (852) and AT&T Digital Life (847). 

Vivint has a 4-star rating across more than 14,000 Trustpilot reviews and a 4-star rating across more than 2,000 recent Consumer Affairs reviews. In Vivint reviews, customers consistently comment on the friendly and helpful customer service, breadth of customization options, and quality of the equipment. Some customers have noted that the cancellation process is difficult and sometimes requires more than one phone call. Also, depending on the issue, some Vivint reviews report being charged for service calls even when the Vivint equipment is faulty.

Outdoor home security graphic

metamorworks / Shuttershock

Pros and cons of Vivint

Advantages of Vivint home security include package customization, technology, equipment financing, and customer service. Disadvantages include equipment pricing, lack of DIY installation ability, and difficulty canceling contracts.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much does Vivint cost?

A starter equipment package costs $599, with add-ons increasing the average equipment bill to around $1,500. Financing is available at 0% interest. Monitoring plans starting at $29.99/mo. are sold separately.

2. Can you get professional monitoring with Vivint?

All Vivint home security systems have professional monitoring. There is no option to purchase the equipment without a monitoring package.

3. How much does professional monitoring with Vivint cost?

The monthly monitoring fee is $29.99 to $39.99, plus $5 per camera.

4. Is DIY installation available?

All Vivint home security systems require professional installation.

5. How much does professional installation cost?

According to U.S. News & World Report, Vivint professional installation is a one-time fee of $49 to $99, depending on equipment.

6. Does Vivint require a contract?

No monthly contract is required if you pay for your equipment upfront. If your equipment is financed, you must sign a 60-month contract.

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How Incorporating Safety into Bedtime Routine Can Help Ease Your Child’s Anxiety

Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images

These days, parents have a variety of tech and tools to help with bedtime routines. From sound machines and meditation recordings to aromatherapy and story time, these gadgets can help parents with children get their little ones to sleep. 

But for some children consumed by worry and anxiety, those options aren’t quite good enough to get to help them get to sleep and stay asleep. Studies show that 7.1% of children aged 3-17 years of age (approximately 4.4 million) have diagnosed anxiety. For those children plagued with concerns about the welfare of themselves and their families, feeling safe and secure can make a big difference. 

Our experts put together tips to weave elements of safety and security into your daily nighttime routine as a way to ease causes of bedtime anxiety, so you and your child get the best night’s sleep possible. 

Children need to feel safe and secure before going to bed 

Lack of sleep causes children to feel cranky, irritable, and can even lead to depression.  Sleepless nights can also contribute to physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomach aches. We all want good sleep for our children, so what’s getting in the way?

According to the Alaska Sleep Education Center, there are many sources of anxiety that prevent children from falling or staying asleep. Experts say that many of those symptoms revolve around the child’s developmental stage. 

“Toddlers and preschoolers haven’t yet learned the difference between reality and make-believe,” writes Julia Higginson of the Alaska Sleep Education Center. This explains why smaller children will describe their fear of monsters and mythical creatures as a reason why they can’t sleep; they believe them to be real. 

School-aged children who know the difference still struggle because of their imaginations. Often, fears movies, books, and other media can spawn their fears. Those inputs can create scenarios where fiction becomes reality. That, coupled with the fact that school-aged children are beginning to learn that scary things happen in the world, means they recognize those things can happen to them or their family members while sleeping. 

Managing anxiety with children: How to create a positive bedtime routine

If these are some of the reasons for your child’s fears at bedtime, there’s good news. The bedtime routine you create for your child helps them know they are safe and secure — and thereby reduces the causes of bedtime anxiety. When children share control over their feeling of security in their surrounding environment and have a consistent routine to promote their safety, they develop a sense of calm necessary for sleep. They also develop the feeling of security that helps them return to sleep if it’s disrupted. 

How to design security into your child’s bedtime routine 

Let your child know the value of taking safety and security measures in the home

Help your child understand it’s a good thing to take safety and security measures. Let them see you map out a security plan for when unexpected things happen. It will make them feel reassured when you acknowledge there are precautions in place if something goes wrong. You’re sending the message that they’re safe, because, as the adult, you have already done the work both to secure the home and prevent unexpected dangers. This preparation helps the child recognize the parent is the first buffer to their worry. 

Consider explaining general safety to your child. Discuss things like the fastest path out of the house from their bedrooms, how to get outside through their bedroom windows, and the importance of defining a meet-up place in case of an emergency. 

The goal is to offer control and confidence, not layer on fear, so maintain an upbeat tone when speaking with your child. Frequently remind your child that even with these precautions, the chances of dangerous things to happen while they’re sleeping are markedly low. 

Tips and tricks to incorporate safety in your child’s bedroom routine

Make sleep a family priority and stay consistent

Talk often with your child about how important sleep is for the family, both for the adults and the children. Explain to them that, with their help, your family will be making bedtime rituals a part of each evening without waiver. All children — especially children with anxiety — operate optimally when they know their routine. The steps you take leading to bed can provide a smooth path to sleep. 

Children model what they see from their parents, so conducting the bedtime routine with them is helpful. 

Be mindful of every part of your child’s bedtime routine. Schedule out your shared nightly ritual to include time for both the home security measures and other needs — like grooming (baths, brushing teeth, combing hair) and calming tactics (reading, singing, tickling). 

Talk to your child about what safety means to them

When parents are tired and ready for their child’s day to be over, it can be easy to listen to their fears with only a portion of attention, then disregard the fear with, “That will never happen. Don’t be silly. Go back to bed.” 

The truth is, most kids don’t want to lay awake; they simply cannot get to sleep with unsettling thoughts about their safety. 

Try not to rush your child away from their fears or hastily guess what they might be. Instead, listen to them, so you know exactly what you’re dealing with. Depending upon your child’s age, level of imagination, and exposure to news events, they could be experiencing some fears at bedtime that a talk about security can help. Help your child identify which fears are real threats and which are made up.

Displaying patience and empathy will allow your child to name their safety worries specifically. This will help when it is time to introduce conversations around the security measures your family is taking. The important thing is not to be afraid to talk openly with your anxious child

Dr. Mona Potter is the medical director of the McLean Anxiety Mastery Program and McLean Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services. She says one of the techniques she often uses in cognitive behavior therapy is, “to practice ‘detective-thinking’ to catch, check, and change anxious thoughts.”

She says she also encourages children “to approach, rather than avoid, anxiety-provoking triggers.” 

This means children are having anxious thoughts in the first place, requiring open conversations between parents and children about their fears.

Create a routine with your home security system to make your child feel secure

As part of the bedtime routine, provide a security walk-through for your child. Have them follow your own nightly routine involving locking all windows and doors, activating the home security system, securing any automated systems like the Nest Smart Home, a camera system, or a doorbell camera, and leaving the outdoor security floodlight on. Even let them do the locking/arming systems themselves, so they get the feel of it. 

It is a good idea to have a conversation about the importance of the alarm system and how it does its job. Be sure to include that keeping the alarm system’s code private is crucial and that it’s not to be shared with anyone outside the family.

You may also want to let your child suggest what they want to do to help secure the home. If they have an additional ritual or two to add to the nightly security walk-through, it will be helpful for them to offer their contributions.

The walk-through, which shows your child how secure and prepared your home is, is meant to give children with anxiety a sense of control and understanding over their circumstances, not ignite more fear. If you sense increased anxiety from your child during the security walk-through, redirect and try other ways to acknowledge and manage fears.

Provide a safe and calming bedroom space

Ensure the bedroom you’ve chosen for your child is a calming place. 

Make sure your child’s room is clear of external stimuli that could disrupt their sleep. A motion-activated flood light near the window, for instance, would invite more anxiety if it’s triggered in the night by a neighbor’s cat. 

Some ideas that can help extinguish bedtime fears are to incorporate silliness and playfulness in your discussion with your child. You can use dramatic play, draw and talk about the irrational fear, and imagine the perceived threat with outlandish features, like roller skates or a pink unicorn horn. Try not to make it a habit to check under the bed or in the closet frequently, as this can feed into ongoing paranoia. 

Another idea is to externalize the worry by “giving it away.” In Guatemala, there’s a tradition of instructing children to give their worries to little dolls called “worry dolls: or “trouble dolls.” According to Childrens MD, parents teach children to have a conversation with their dolls before bedtime, telling the dolls their worries, then they tuck them beneath their pillow. The dolls are supposed to then worry for the child while the child sleeps peacefully. Perhaps teach your child to “give away” their worries to an inanimate object, such as a stuffed animal or a doll you already own.

Books can also help children to process their concerns, so consider finding books to read at bedtime that have themes around comfort and security. Also, consider putting a night light in their bedroom that will stay on through the night.  

Finally, remind the child how close the parent’s room is if there’s an urgent need.

Regardless of what kind of home security system you use, general safety and security is a must

Be sure to check the locks on your windows and doors. Be aware of where your fire and carbon monoxide alarms are, and keep them operational. If you don’t have a security system, making this investment could be an added benefit. 

The advantage of a routine

A child’s sense of ownership is important

[Responsibility] is about an attitude, the idea of taking action and being proud of doing it, not just always having your mom and dad do it for you,” says Alex Barzi, a licensed clinical psychologist and co-host of the talk show “About Our Kids” on Sirius Doctor Radio. 

A child’s sense of ownership, responsibility, and control over the home’s safety and security will give them an attitude of confidence, thereby reducing nighttime anxiety. Allowing the child to perform the bedtime security walk-through and inviting them to add input in the routine helps instill this confidence. 

In giving the child a sense of ownership, you will also eliminate the nightly power struggles that are apt to occur when a child has no say. When a child has ownership and a role in the bedtime routine, they’re less likely to buck at the system they helped to create.

Routines help parents create a positive connection to their child

Children learn to look forward to the things they enjoy, and they will know that the bedtime routine is enjoyable, since they’re part of it. You’ll also find that since the bedtime routine is consistent each night, there will be more time for caring, natural interactions because all the guesswork is removed.

It’s helpful to create a healthy idea of what “secure” means

Now that you’ve opened up the lines of communication about fears and introduced the topic of home security to your child, you’ve developed an easy habit of talking about tough things. You’ve addressed each of their concerns with an open mind and an empathetic attitude, and this will serve your family well. 

Get to sleep, and stay asleep

Sleep is essential to the entire family unit, and your child will experience greater success in getting to sleep and staying asleep when they know their home is safe and secure.

Speak openly to your child about fear and help them separate the irrational fears from the rational ones. Develop a consistent bedtime routine complete with a security component, and decrease anxiety before bedtime. 

Having a security walk-through included in your nightly bedtime routine gives your children with anxiety a sense of control over their safety. This both teaches them the skills they will eventually need to know and helps them take a role in overcoming their anxiety in the present.

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Doorbell Cameras Buying Guide

Smart home enabled phone

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Doorbell Cameras Buying Guide

As you might’ve noticed on social media, doorbell cameras are rising in popularity, . If you’re considering one for your own home, this guide can help you make the right decision without all of the trial and error. This guide can help you understand what factors to consider when buying a doorbell camera, including equipment cost, features, the field of view, resolution, compatibility with other apps, warranty and reviews.

What is a Doorbell Camera?

A doorbell camera is a security camera that looks just like a doorbell and helps thwart break-ins and theft. It works just like a regular doorbell and chimes when you ring it, but has a video camera built-in that you can use to monitor your home. With some cameras, you can keep tabs on your home security when you’re away using Wi-Fi and a smartphone or tablet. Most doorbell cameras allow you to speak directly to whoever is on the other end using a speaker. Some come with motion detectors so you can record only when activity is detected.

How to buy the best Doorbell Cameras

Now that you know exactly what a doorbell camera is and what it can do to help secure your home, take a look at the factors to consider when shopping for the best doorbell camera.

Types of Doorbell Cameras 

Doorbell cameras come with all kinds of features, price points and video resolution. Doorbell cameras are both wired and wireless, and some can connect to your Google Home or Alexa. There are also doorbell cameras that provide HD video resolution and clear two-way audio. Some cameras require a monthly subscription fee for monitoring.

Choose the Right Size 

Choosing the right-sized camera is important because your doorbell camera should cover the entirety of the area you want surveilled.  

Compare Doorbell Cameras cost 

Several different factors contribute to the overall cost of a doorbell camera, including video resolution and the field of view. You’ll find doorbell cameras ranging from $99.99-$400.

Read Doorbell Camera reviews ­

Before you decide on a doorbell camera, it’s best to research reviews for each brand. Look for detailed reviews that speak to features, resolution, wireless capabilities, design and overall operation. Look for specific details that help you make a purchasing decision that’s right for you and your home.


Most doorbell cameras can be installed without the need for a professional. You can easily do it yourself fairly quickly.

Doorbell Camera brands

In this section, we’ll take a look at the top doorbell camera brands and one or two of each brand’s popular doorbell cameras.

1. Ring

Ring is a top-rated doorbell camera brand that offers a variety of plans and Wi-Fi connectivity for all of its doorbell cameras. Take a look at two of Ring’s best doorbell cameras.

  • Ring Video Doorbell 2
    • Wireless operation
    • 1080p video resolution
    • Integration with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT
  • Ring Video Doorbell Pro
    • Easy setup
    • 1080p video resolution
    • Motion detection

Cost: Starting at $99.99 (monthly fees starting at $3/month)

2. August

August is another top-rated doorbell camera brand that integrates with Amazon Alexa and is available with cloud storage.

  • August Cam
    • 960p resolution
    • Cloud storage for $4.99 a month
    • Motion detection

Cost: Starting at $170 on Amazon

3. RemoBell

RemoBell provides great overall value with live on-demand streaming and infrared night vision. 

  • RemoBell S
    • Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT integration
    • HD video
    • Customizable motion zones, adjustable motion sensors and a 180-degree field of view (horizontal and vertical)

Cost: Starting at $99.00

4. Google Nest Hello

Nest Hello is a great doorbell camera brand due to features and Bluetooth connectivity options. It’s perfect for Nest Device users.

  • Google Nest Hello
    • 160-degree field of view
    • HD video
    • Package arrival notification

Cost: Starting at $149.99 on select sites for a limited time – normally $229 ($5/month)

5. SkyBell HD

SkyBell is great for those who want all of the perks of a doorbell camera in HD video quality. It’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa, and all cameras come with a one-year warranty.

  •  SkyBell HD
    • 1080p HD video with full-color night vision
    • Motion sensor alerts
    • Rain and weatherproof

Cost: Starting at $141.57

6. Vivint

Vivint is a high-quality brand that offers top-of-the-line doorbell cameras that can easily integrate with your smart home. 

  • Vivint Doorbell Camera
    • Vivint Smart Clips (30-second video clips on-demand)
    • Smart visitor detection
    • Custom notifications

Cost: About $199 and about $60 per month (long-term contract required). Toll-free number: 855-688-6632

7. SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe is a quality doorbell camera brand that offers crisp, clear video and works with doorbells on almost any kind of home.

  • SimpliSafe Doorbell Pro
    • 1080p video resolution
    • Connectivity with every sensor in SimpliSafe system
    • Works with existing doorbell

Cost: Starting at $169

8. Frontpoint

Frontpoint is a top brand known for affordability. Its doorbell cameras come with a three-year warranty.

  • Frontpoint Doorbell Camera
    • 720p video resolution
    • Cloud storage
    • Night vision

Cost: Starting at $99 with monthly fees of $49.99

9. Doorbird

Doorbird is a German brand of doorbell cameras that provides superior video quality and top-notch features.

  • Doorbird Video Doorbell Camera
    • Push notifications for up to eight devices
    • Voice with deliveries
    • Free cloud recording

Cost: Prices starting at $416

10. Zmodo

Zmodo Greet is a brand known for its features and affordable prices. 

  • Zmodo Greet
    • 720p video resolution
    • Night vision and motion detection
    • Zmodo Cloud

Cost: Starting at $74.55 on Amazon and monthly costs starting at $4.99

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Best Home Security Cameras

Global demand for security cameras is increasing. Research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics projects spending to reach $8 billion in 2019. Many people feel safer in buildings with outdoor security cameras.

Modern home security camera providers deliver systems with high-tech software and support, along with capabilities such as face recognition and object tracking.

The available technical features can make shopping for security cameras seem daunting. However, understanding key factors can help you choose the best outdoor security camera for your home.

What makes the best home security camera?

Most homeowners consider price when choosing security products. Security cameras are available to fit a variety of budgets. Some customers prioritize company reputation and positive customer reviews, while other consumers look for models with certain features. Additional considerations include available technical and security support and artificial intelligence capabilities.

Below are some of the top-rated home security cameras on the market.

Home Security Camera Shot

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Top 5 best home security cameras

Logitech Circle 2

Price: $130

Amazon average rating: 3.6 out of 5 stars

Best Buy average rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

The Logitech Circle 2 security camera has an extremely wide viewing angle. The 180-degree views catch any activity on your property. However, the short cord limits placement options. This camera captures HD footage, is night-vision capable and has motion filtering options to catch only relevant activity.

The camera comes with free cloud storage for 24 hours of footage. Features including additional storage and smart time-lapses are available with a subscription.

Google Nest

Price: $200

Walmart average rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars

Amazon average rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

This corded outdoor camera is completely waterproof, down to the AC adapter. Because the Google Nest is wired, placement options are somewhat limited. This camera is ideal for capturing 1080p video of your porch, deck or backyard. Google Nest features an entirely glass lens that delivers an extremely clear picture, and the camera differentiates human motions, as opposed to motion caused by wind, to reduce unnecessary alerts.

You can set the system to send smartphone alerts, and photos are accessible for up to three hours after the event for free.

Nest is equipped with two-way audio, and it can capture footage nonstop. Google Nest stores footage in the cloud, but a monthly fee is required to access the footage. Additionally, the constant video uploads can drain your internet data.

Eufy Video Doorbell

Price: $160

Amazon average rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Video doorbells allow you to see and speak to visitors, without wide surveillance. Eufy’s doorbell offers 2K picture quality and can send facial snapshot alerts to your phone. The doorbell can connect to Google Voice Assistant or Alexa. It records for five-minute intervals, as long as motion is detected, and saves footage from three seconds prior to the event that caused the alert.

Hardwired, with internal video storage, this option is difficult to hack. In fact, Eufy boasts military-grade AES-256 encryption on both transmission and storage. There is no monthly fee to store or watch video.

Arlo Pro 2

Price: $400

Amazon average rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars

Best Buy average rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

Completely wireless, the Arlo Pro 2 allows you to choose the best security camera placement for your home. Each camera boasts a six-month battery life. You can connect one to four cameras to the base, and the Arlo Pro 2 comes with free storage of seven days of motion-detected cloud footage. You can also store footage in a USB device. Plugging the cameras into outlets unlocks advanced features, including the ability to set activity zones and continuous video recording.

From the base console, the camera can set off a 100-decibel siren to startle intruders. You can also control the alarm from your phone.

Other features include two-way audio, night vision, and 1080p video captured from a 130-degree viewing angle. However, features such as animal-detection filters are only available with a subscription. According to Wirecutter, the Arlo Pro 2 may also leave short breaks between video clips.

Amcrest 2K 3MP Wireless

Price: $74.99

Amcrest average rating: 4.7 out of five stars

Amazon average rating: 3.8 out of five stars

Cold climates, dust, and rain can damage digital equipment. This Amcrest camera is ideal for extreme weather, due in part to its heavy-duty metal housing.

The camera works well in low light and has built-in LEDs for improved night vision. At less than $100, this is one of the most affordable options for home security.

The Amcrest camera includes software to record and view video on your PC, and it works with Alexa through AmcrestCloud. Amcrest offers an optional cloud storage subscription.

The best home security camera for you

The best security camera for your home depends on your specific needs and budget. As cameras gain popularity, home security companies are delivering more and varied options. Have fun choosing the right camera for your home.

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Best Outdoor Security Cameras

In 2017, there were roughly 1.4 million burglaries across the United States according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting report. In the same report, it is stated that victims of these offenses lost an estimated $3.4 billion in property. It is increasingly clear how important it is to adequately protect your home, no matter where you live, to avoid property loss and potential harm to your family. 

The hard part begins when you initiate your first search online in quest of the best outdoor security systems and find so many choices that you don’t know where to begin. We have remedied that for you by reviewing and selecting the top factors to consider and providing our top five recommended outdoor security systems. 

Home Security Camera Shot

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What to Look For in an Outdoor Security System

First, in establishing your outdoor security options, it is important to know what factors to consider. 

  • Cost – As with any investment, it is important to first determine your budget. With a large number of outdoor security camera options available comes a large variance in prices. Decide what you can afford to spend, both upfront and ongoing, before you begin.
  • Video quality – We’ve all seen the news clips of a burglar caught on tape – but the video quality is so poor you cannot determine the color of the burglar’s hair, much less their identity. With today’s technology, you can avoid this dilemma by selecting high-resolution outdoor security cameras. Look for cameras with 1080p or higher resolution.
  • Night vision – Look for cameras with infrared technology and at least 100 feet of vision so you can keep a close eye on the perimeter of your home even in the dark.
  • Camera operating functions – If you want the capability for your cameras to pan, tilt and zoom, it will be important to select cameras with those specific functionalities. Camera panning means the camera moves horizontally from left to right. When you think of camera panning, think of taking a panoramic picture except in video format. Panning, tilting, and zooming are important to capture a greater range around the camera.
  • Mobile accessibility – If you are interested in the ability to view your home security camera footage from a mobile device and receive motion alerts, it will be important to look for outdoor security cameras that offer this capability and be sure they will work with your specific mobile devices. There may be extra fees involved in this feature.
  • Customer reviews – Look for unbiased customer reviews whether through friends and relatives or third-party sites like Filter out the one-off outlier type of reviews and look for the reviews that are consistent.

The Top Five Outdoor Security Systems

1. Nest Cam Outdoor

Now owned by Google, Nest home security products aim to simplify yet expand your home security needs. The ability to combine Nest with your other Google devices gives you one simple Google login to manage all devices from anywhere in the world. Nest offers doorbell cameras called Nest Hello, other outdoor cameras called Nest Cam Outdoor, smart thermostats called Nest Hub, and a variety of other smart home products. 

Nest Outdoor Camera Options:

Nest Cam Outdoor – The Nest Cam Outdoor is one of the more affordable outdoor security camera options, starting at around $200 each. This discreet and compact camera offers 1080p video resolution with continuous recording and up to 20 feet of night vision. All videos can be stored in the cloud and are accessible using the Nest mobile app. The Nest app also allows you to receive alerts and view your home’s outdoor activity at any time, right from your mobile device.

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor – A close relative of the Nest Cam Outdoor and offering many of the same features, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor also offers a built-in 4k sensor that allows up to 12x zoom for clear close-up views. It is also IP66 certified which means it is dust-tight and protected from water. This outdoor security camera comes at a starting price of around $399 each.

Nest Hello – Nest’s doorbell camera is a tiny but powerful gadget measuring only 4.6 by 1.7 inches. It fits right into your doorbell providing an up-close view of anyone who approaches your door. True to all of Nest’s cam products, it offers high-resolution 1080p HD video that you can monitor from your Nest App at any time. This doorbell camera is priced starting at around $229.

All Nest cams come with a 2-year limited manufacturer’s warranty. 

2. Arlo 

Arlo’s purpose in the home security industry is to provide the ability to “protect and connect with the people and places we love”. They offer indoor and outdoor cameras, cellular cameras, baby cameras, security lights, and more. 

Arlo Outdoor Camera Options:

Arlo Ultra – The Arlo Ultra is Arlo’s top indoor/outdoor security camera. A two indoor/outdoor camera kit can cost around $599. It offers 4K video quality, color night vision up to 25 feet, continuous recording, and up to 12X zoom. There is a built-in siren for additional protection against intruders. These devices are IP65-certified and offer noise-reduction technology so your videos are not impaired by wind and other noises. Using the Arlo app, you can see what’s going on outside your home at all times and view previously recorded videos stored in the cloud. The Ultra also comes with a 1-year trial subscription for Arlo Smart.

Arlo Pro – Sold as a 2-camera kit, the Arlo Pro can be purchased for $499, with each additional camera costing $190 each. It offers 2K high-resolution video and color night vision. Like the Ultra, it also includes a built-in siren and LED spotlight. The Pro 3 comes with a 3-month subscription trial to Arlo Smart.

Arlo Pro 2 – The Arlo Pro 2 comes in a 2 camera kit for $324. Additional cameras cost $144 each. The Pro 2 offers 1080p video resolution and night vision, but only in black and white. It does not offer the siren or LED spotlight and does not come with a trial subscription to Arlo Smart. 

All Arlo cameras are wireless, can be used with the Arlo mobile app, and come with a minimum 1-year manufacturer warranty.

3. Ring 

The inventor of Ring shares that his idea for the Ring Video Doorbell was coined by his wife as, “like caller ID for the front door.” This began the launch of the Ring Video Doorbell which later grew into security cameras, smart lighting, security systems, and televisions. Their mission, simply put, is to reduce crime in neighborhoods. 

Ring Outdoor Camera Options:

Stick Up Cam – Ring’s Stick Up Cam is a small device measuring only 3.82 X 2.36 X 2.36 inches. It offers 1080p HD high-resolution video and can be put up anywhere with or without hardwiring. The Ring app allows you to view what’s going on outside your home from your mobile device. It includes a built-in siren to dissuade intruders and is waterproof to withstand outdoor precipitation. Starting at $179.99, the Stick Up Cam is an affordable option. You will also need to pay for cloud storage, but this will only add about $3 a month to your cost.

Spotlight Cam – The Spotlight Cam features 1080p HD video and is known for extra bright lights which provide for clearer video playback. If a potential intruder approaches the area within the range of the device, a bright light will shine and a siren will sound. It can also be used with the Ring app with storage costing $3 per month. You can purchase a Spotlight Cam for starting prices of $199 depending on whether you choose a wired, wireless or solar-powered model.

Floodlight Cam – The Floodlight Cam offers 1080p HD video, night vision and noise cancellation with a wide-degree field of view. Each Floodlight contains two 3000 degree Kelvin floodlights with a built-in siren and zooming and panning abilities. The Floodlight Cam’s sensors can detect motion from far away and can even detect the difference between a person and an object. This cam must be hardwired into the home and also connects with the Ring app. To purchase this camera will cost you $249 and the $3 per month cloud storage fee.

Most Ring cameras are offered in a wired or wireless version and the Spotlight Cam comes in a solar version as well. Another perk, Ring offers lifetime replacement on stolen cameras and a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty on parts and labor. 

4. Blink

Blink, recently acquired by Amazon, calls itself the next generation of home security cameras. Promising a 1-click connection at an affordable price, Blink is known for no contracts and easy DIY installation. 

Blink Outdoor Camera Options:

Blink XT2 One Camera System – The XT2 records video in 1080p HD during the day and infrared HD night vision after dark. IP65 certified, it is made to stand up to the outdoor elements. The customizable motion sensor allows you to select activity zones so you only receive alerts for those areas. Blink offers a month-to-month agreement with free cloud storage. Using the Blink app, you can keep an eye on what the camera sees at all times and receive important alerts.

5. Kasa Cam

Before creating their smart plug, Kasa Smart was TP-Link, known for all things smart home. Since then they’ve launched smart bulbs, smart light switches, smart cameras and an entire line of smart plugs. Kasa Smart promises an immersive and connected smart home experience.

Kasa Smart Camera Options:

Kasa Cam Outdoor – The Kasa Cam Outdoor offers high-resolution 1080p video and night vision up to 30 feet. The built-in siren offers extra protection to scare off intruders. Using the Kasa Smart app, you can view your home from anywhere. These start at $90 and come with an optional Kasa Care package – a $4-$7 a month subscription plan giving you some video storage space. TP-Link offers a 2-year warranty on the Kasa Cam Outdoor.

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DIY Home Security

Home security systems may seem expensive, but there are several ways you can get around high-cost systems by using DIY home security systems that you install yourself. Each company offers different services, features and add-ons that can bolster your sense of safety.

Find out exactly what to expect from the DIY version of home security, as well as the pros and cons of choosing this route. We’ll also give you insight on how to choose the best DIY home security system for your own home.

DIY home security cameras and hardware

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Your Guide to DIY home security systems

Here’s everything you need to know about DIY home security systems so you can decide if this type of protection is right for you. 

DIY home security systems overview 

Home security systems that allow for DIY installation instead of professional installation can be faster to set up because you can install them on your schedule. At the same time, it’s up to you to make sure your home’s entry points are adequately covered and that all devices are properly installed.

With some systems like Canary, you can use a mobile app rather than a traditional monitoring system to monitor your home. You receive alerts when an alarm is triggered in your home, which allows you to review the incident and decide whether or not to call the local authorities for help.

Most companies also offer the option to upgrade and connect your security system to a monitoring center for additional support. You still get alerts through the app, but if the monitoring center can’t contact you, they’ll call the authorities on your behalf. Others, like SimpliSafe, automatically integrate a monitoring service into your plan so that professionals are prepared to contact the police on your behalf if necessary.

Today’s DIY home security systems operate using a central hub, like a touchscreen control pad, in your home that connects through Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi. Some companies, including SimpliSafe, use cellular systems so you don’t have to worry about losing the connection if your internet goes out. 

Available add-ons include DIY home security video cameras, as well as video doorbells. Other package deals allow you to integrate additional features like key fobs, glass break sensors, sirens and smart thermostats.

DIY home security pros 

One of the major advantages of choosing a DIY wireless home security system is that you don’t have to deal with scheduling a professional installation team to oversee the process. That means you can install the system on your own terms without having to take off work or sit around waiting for the installers to show up. 

Additionally, most DIY home security systems don’t require a long-term contract. Whether you move or simply don’t want to spend the money anymore, you can typically cancel at any time with no penalty. 

Many of today’s systems also allow you to connect with other smart home features you already own, like Alexa or Google Assistant. You can use the same verbal commands to control your security system and also set automatic responses. For example, some systems let you control your lights and thermostat remotely. This would allow you to turn on all of the lights in the house if an alarm goes off.

Smart home enabled phone

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DIY home security cons

DIY home security may not be ideal for everyone. One of the downsides is that you have to figure out the monitoring needs of your home on your own, including how many sensors are required for each exterior door and window.

You will also have to install and connect the system on your own. Some DIY home security systems need to be wired directly to your router, while others connect via WiFi. If you’re not technically savvy, you may prefer the option of professional installation.

Finally, the start-up price for the equipment can add up if you have a lot of entry points in your home. Many companies offer a starter package with a set amount of alarms, but you’ll likely need more than what’s included if you have a lot of windows and doors. Plus, it’s up to you to make sure you’re covering all of the vulnerable spots in your home — there’s no professional installer to double-check your system. 

DIY home security system reviews 

When choosing the best DIY home security system, start by comparing costs on the starter kit, the costs for monthly monitoring plans and/or app use, the contract length and integration with your existing smart home products. 

Once you have found a few systems that meet both your needs and your budget, it’s time to assess their quality and brand reputation. Perform a quick online search of your top contenders to see what actual users are saying about the product. Research reviews on the installation process and the ongoing monitoring process. It’s difficult to fully understand the process for installing sensors is if you’re only relying on the company’s marketing. Instead, see how easy or difficult it was for real customers. You might even find helpful tips and tricks. 

Looking at consumer ratings also lets you see how the company handles any customer complaints or problems. You could uncover potential hidden costs and find out how helpful the customer service team is.

Your home security system, especially if it’s a DIY system, is an important investment in the safety of your home and family. Make sure you choose the right system for your needs.

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Do’s and Don’ts to Deter Burglars | Direct From the Mouths of Intruders

Your home should be a safe haven where you feel comfortable and protected. However, if you are a victim of a burglary, you will feel unsafe and violated that a stranger has set foot in your home and rummaged through your things.

The investigative team at KGW reached out to inmates serving time for burglary in the Oregon Department of Corrections and asked various questions about each burglary. From that information, we’ve created a helpful list of do’s and don’ts that will deter would-be burglars. 

Do: Ensure Your Home Is Completely Locked Up, Including Windows

Many burglars enter homes via unlocked doors or windows. Occasionally, they will kick in a door to gain entry, but most avoid breaking glass at the risk of cutting themselves.

Don’t: Hide Valuables in Obvious Places 

If you tend to hide your important items in your master bedroom, burglars know this trick and will head straight for that room. They also know to look in less obvious places, so you should try to be crafty about where you store these things. 

According to one inmate, they search the most random places, including: “Everywhere! From the stove and freezer to the fish tank and toilet tank, bookshelves and in boxes of cereal.” 

Do: Consider a Home Security System or Signs 

Having a home security system is indeed an effective deterrent because burglars are wary of setting off the alarm or potentially being caught on camera. Sometimes a sign in the yard can be enough to keep burglars at bay.

Don’t: Forget About Outdoor Lighting or Landscaping 

Some inmates mentioned that “large trees, bushes, or shrubs around the home…” provided an excellent cover for burglars to break in without being seen. Don’t let your yard become overgrown, and do make sure you have good lighting so that people can be seen if they try to slink around your home.

Do: Call in the Dog Squad 

Consider adding a large, loud dog to your family. These types of dogs are better at keeping intruders away because most burglars are prepared to work around smaller dogs. 

An inmate mentioned that “dogs are a deal-breaker for me. Big breeds, home protectors, are the best to keep people out.” 

Don’t: Ignore Your Neighbors 

Getting to know your neighbors helps you be more aware of who is in the neighborhood and makes intruders stand out as being out of place if they are casing the area. Additionally, letting your neighbors known when you are going to be out of town means they can also keep an eye on your home while you’re gone. They can even gather your mail or water your plants and you can return the favor when they go on vacation.

Do: Consider Leaving Lights or a Radio or TV On While You’re Out 

If it appears that someone is home, most burglars said they would “absolutely not” attempt to break in. You could also buy a programmable light switch timer that allows you to schedule when to turn your lights on so that you don’t have to remember every time you leave.

Don’t: Skimp on Additional Security Measures

Many burglars suggest “protecting your windows and doors” to prevent easy access through traditional entrances. This could include adding shatterproof glass, investing in window locks or sensors, or adding motion lights near the entrances.  It may feel like you’ll never need the additional security, but you’ll be glad you have it if there are burglary attempts in the neighborhood. 

Keep Your Home Safe 

No one wants to be a victim of a home invasion, so follow these simple do’s and don’ts, as told by burglars themselves, to help guard your property as best as you can. 

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