Smart Home Security: Choosing a Smart Tech System that Works For You

From wireless DIY solutions to cabled setups that integrate with the rest of your smart home system, smart home security will help keep you and your home safe. But how to choose the right automated system? We take a look at the options
Charley Ward
by Charley Ward
22nd August 2023

Smart home security will be able to keep you and your home safe – but which system would work best for your lifestyle? The rapid advancement of smart technology and internet-enabled products over the last decade has revolutionised the home security sector.

An abundance of wireless DIY solutions are now available to suit all budgets, from smart doorbells that take video footage of everyone that knocks on your door, to keyless lock systems that allow you to remotely control entry to and from your house. A professionally designed smart home security system can even link into your lighting and audio-visual setup, turning on lights and playing music to simulate the appearance that someone is home.

“Not only does this type of security system act as a strong visual deterrent to potential intruders, it allows you to keep an eye on your property from wherever you are,” says Sumier Foster-Shah, product and customer support manager at ERA Protect. If you’re setting up a DIY wireless solution, your basic kit should include a camera, alarm, door sensors, motion detectors and sensors that can tell when a door or window has been opened.

With so many different options out there, though, it’s worth weighing up your choice properly to maximise the effectiveness of your new setup. Here, I’ve broken down the primary considerations you should make in order to pick the right system.

What are the Advantages of Smart Home Security?

One of the advantages of an off-the-shelf, wireless solution is that most bundles can be added to over time if you don’t have the budget to splash out on an extensive system initially. “For instance, with ERA Protect, you can build your own system to suit your property size and budget, by combining products or selecting from ERA’s pre-made kits,” says Sumier.

Learn More: Smart Home Technology: How to Plan Your Smart Home & Choose the Best Technology

smart home security app

Once your home security Base Hub, ERA Protect’s free-to-use mobile app allows you to keep tabs on what’s going on inside your home when you’re not in

Many smart home security kits are compatible with other pieces of tech, too. For instance, the Yale Sync Smart Alarm can be integrated with smart voice solutions, such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, as well as Philips Hue Lighting. This level of functionality allows you to establish a security setup synced with your home’s artificial lighting, providing an additional deterrent for intruders.

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What Level of Smart Home Security Do I Need?

Individual households will need different levels and methods of protection, depending on factors like the size and location of your home and how often you’ll be in the property. Most burglars are opportunists, and if they see a visible security system, they’re likely to move on elsewhere.

If you’re just looking to cover the basics, your needs might be met by one of the starter kit options on the market. These setups will generally include a combination of cameras, sirens, door locks, motion detectors and sensors that can spot when a door or a window has opened.

Choose to add a video entry system such as Ring’s Video Doorbell family for easy and instant security. For instance, Ring’s Battery Video Doorbell Plus (£159.99) provides a head-to-toe view from your front door, allowing you to see an expanded view of visitors, as well as any parcels left on your doorstep.

smart home security motion sensor

Priced at £349.99, Ring’s Spotlight Cam Pro Battery offers 3d motion detection, audio and full HDR video to provide high-level security for your home exterior

Outdoor motion sensor lights are another piece of kit you might choose to add. High-spec solutions allow you to angle the fitting to illuminate darker spots in your driveway/garden.

Smart locks and contactless keys are another potential addition to your security arsenal, with some solutions allowing you to do away with a traditional lock and key, using your smartphone to lock/unlock your property instead.

Nearly all brands will provide the chance to add on upgrades that are tailored to the bespoke needs of your household. For example, some companies offer baby monitoring facilities.

The Panasonic Smart Home system features a night vision camera with a two-way microphone and even comes with a selection of lullabies to soothe baby to sleep. And if you know only the kids are going to be in, Loxone’s setup is capable of disabling dangerous appliances, like the cooker, until you return.

Smart home security indoor camera by Netatmo

The Netatmo indoor camera sends an immediate alert to your phone when an intruder enters your home, complete with a picture of their face and a video recording. To avoid unnecessary alerts, you can train the device to identify loved ones with a single click during the initial setup

For those who travel a lot, whole-house integrated systems, such as those available from Smarthomes, Moss Technical and Loxone, offer holiday modes that simulate occupancy. Some can even learn last week’s activity and play it back – incorporating lights, curtains, TV use etc.

Moss Technical’s Niko Home Control systems can also trigger speakers to play a barking dog track and switch lights on when movement is detected outside. If you have elderly relatives, opting for a solution with a motion sensor can alert you to any unusual activity – set your app to let you know if grandma has not entered the kitchen by 11:00AM, for instance.

fully integrated smart home case study

Moss Technical were tasked to complete a Niko Home Control installation in this new build property in Cheshire. The project involved a fully integrated electrical installation including NHC’s lighting control, heating control, ventilation control, motor control, touch screen control and video entry

It’s also worth thinking about whether you can use the items included in your package creatively. For example, if you have set your lighting, heating and blinds to turn on automatically when you arrive home from work, perhaps through GPS proximity, you could have the system switch off the alarm.

If this level of integration appeals to you, opting for a solution that offers If This, Then That (IFTTT) compatibility could be a good option. On the IFTTT website, you can search through thousands of automation recipes that can help make your tech work harder for you.

What Should You Budget For Smart Home Security?

Some starter security packages might not be enough by themselves if you have a larger property. Shelling out for additional cameras and sensors can quickly add up, so make sure you’re considering the pay off when making your initial choice.

Remember that the cheapest all-in-one kit may not end up the most cost-effective solution if you need a lot of extras to ensure your home is fully secured.

You can purchase good quality security cameras for around £200 each, but if you’re wanting to incorporate many different smart home security features and tech, you might want to engage the skills of a specialist, which will cost more.

It’s worth noting that if your setup includes cameras, many suppliers require you to pay a monthly subscription fee to keep the footage on their cloud-based storage. While these generally aren’t too pricey, it adds another cost to your monthly outgoings. Check your supplier’s T&Cs to make sure you’re on the same page.

Read More: Smart Home Costs: What to Budget for Home Technology

How Confident Are You in Installing a Smart Security System Yourself?

Smart home security features are available in a whole range of different DIY setups – though opting for a fully integrated, wired setup will help take your home security to the next level. “Most security products can be installed by a competent DIYer, however as wiring is required for some products, you may choose to work with a professional to set up certain elements of your security system,” says Sumier.

If you are investing in a fully integrated security solution that connects to your heating, lighting and other smart tech, remember that the success of the system relies on the quality of the infrastructure. Even if you can’t afford to install all your desired home security devices at the time of your self build/renovation, running the required cabling at first fix stage means you’ll be able to install cameras and other products later.

smart home security door handle

Nuki’s smart door lock automatically unlocks your door when you arrive home, and securely locks it every time you go out – without you even having to take your smartphone out of your pocket. You can share digital keys with friends and family and keep track of who is coming and going from the house

Good smart home products should make your life easier, not add complication. If you’re opting to use one company for the entirety of your smart home setup, then you should be able to feed the new security capabilities into your existing system quite easily.

If you elect to use different suppliers for the various smart features within your home, you may end up with multiple apps to control each element – so consider if this is something you’re happy to deal with.

This article was originally published in 2019 and has been updated in August 2023.

One Comment

  1. Elizabeth Southan says:

    Very interesting, as I have permission to build a small affordable home for myself.
    Numerous problems overcome already, but probably more to come as local opposition to the small house on my own land is very virulent!!
    However I have found a super builder and hope to get first stage underway soon!

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