Best home video surveillance
Home security systems used to require installers setting up cameras and wires all over a property - now you can simply and easily set up your own home surveillance system using wireless equipment.
These are often available as multi-piece kits, which can be ready and working out of the box. Some have a central security control panel, which provides a single place to operate everything. Most will also usually come with sensors for windows and doors, as well as the ubiquitous security cameras.
However, some companies take a different approach, and aim to reduce the need for multiple pieces of equipment. Additionally, controls are moving into the cloud, which means you can control every aspect of your home surveillance setup from your smartphone or any other mobile device. This allows you get alerts on the go, tap into live-stream recordings, and arm/disarm the system when you need to.
Ultimately, home surveillance is becoming easier to use and manage, with minimal fuss and easy installation. Technology is making home protection easier and more accessible than ever. Additionally, more systems now come with smart home options, so you can use voice commands as well as your mobile to not just keep your home secure, but also warm and lit when and where you need to.
Here then are the best in home video surveillance options.
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Home video surveillance with deep Google integration
Nest provides a wireless home video surveillance system, which can connect with Google Home Hub to provide a smart solution for more than just security.
The main bundle includes a video doorbell, which provides a 160 degrees field of view and records in 4:3 aspect HD video, both during the day and at night. It uses person, motion, and sound alerts to detect visitors. When set up with Nest Aware it can provide continuous streaming and be configured to recognize family and friends, as well as provide a special alert when they come to the door. You don't even need to come to the door to answer, as you can use your mobile device to connect with the doorbell. Prerecorded quick responses are also available if you don't want to answer the door directly.
An outdoor and indoor camera are also included in the bundle, which can provide always-on recording so that nothing is missed. The outdoor camera is waterproof, comes with night vision, has a 12x digital zoom to enhance any detail you need to focus on. Both can also be included in a Nest Aware package to record and store all video automatically to the cloud.
The Nest Aware package comes in three main pricing tiers. All plans offer continuous recording, alerts, and recorded clips on demand, and differ only in the storage required. The 5-day plan comes in at $5 a month (or $50 a year) with 5 day video history. The 10-day plan offers 10 day recording for $10 a month (or $100 a year), and the 30-day plan offers recording over 30 days and is priced at $30 a month (or $300 a year).
Smart thermostats, smart door locks, smart light switches, and smoke detectors are also available.
Wireless home surveillance with desktop and mobile monitoring
Ring is another wireless home surveillance option which allows you to control and monitor everything over Wi Fi from a desktop or mobile device.
The central feature of any Ring home security system is a video doorbell, which comes in four main types. The Video Doorbell and Video Doorbell 2 both use infra-red to detect motion and alert you whenever someone is at the door, whether they ring the bell or not. You can then monitor what is happening from your smartphone or tablet and provide an audio response directly if required. The main difference between the two is that the original Video Doorbell records in 720p HD video, while the Video Doorbell 2 records in 1020p HD video.
Two additional models are the Ring Video Doorbell Pro and the Video Doorbell Elite, both of which use pixel-based technology to detact motion. Both record in 1020p HD video, with 160 degree fields of vision.
While all of the video doorbells have night-vision capabilities, there is the option to purchase outdoor security lighting to work with the system. Additionally, indoor and outdoor cameras are also available to work with the Ring surveillance system. While the original Video Doorbell is reasonably priced, adding hardware can get expensive quite fast.
You can record the video directly to your phone or to a cloud account, or alternatively you can subscribe to a Ring plan to automatically upload everything to a Ring cloud account for 30 days storage.
Home video surveillance made simple
SimpliSafe provides an easy to set-up home video surveillance system, centered on a main base station. This can connect using Wi Fi or cellular networks, which means if your internet goes down your home security won't.
SimpliSafe provide a number of bundles, which usually include core elements of the base station, security keypad, motion sensor, and window sensors. Different packages can add more sensors, panic buttons, as well as sensors for temperature, fire, or flooding. Alternatively you can build you own package to include the hardware and features you think you'll need.
There are also options to include a Simplicam indoor video camera and/or a video doorbell, to provide a full video surveillance solution. These both use motion sensing to begin recording in HD video and audio, across a 120 degree field of vision. Simplisafe state that the Simplisafe cam is uniquely configured to work with heat signatures from people so pets shouldn't cause false alarms. Alerts are provided when movement is detected, and recordings can be managed from a mobile device. Any video streams are also compressed to reduce loss of quality over the internet, and are secured with strong encrytion for up to 30 days.
If there's one real criticism of the SimpliSafe package is that by aiming to be simple and accessible it is perhaps a little too simple compared to rivals, with the video surveillance feature coming across as more as an addon feature rather than a central one. However, if simple and accessible is all you want it gets the job done nicely.
Home video surveillance with Alexa support
Honeywell Smart Home Security is one of the simplest home video surveillance systems out there, but it's also a smart solution that works with Alexa voice commands to offer a lot of possibilities.
The central feature of Honeywell's Smart Home Security system is a single all-in-one device which works both as a motion and audio sensor, and records HD video when triggered. This is automatically stored online for up to 24 hours. Even better, as well as being able to monitor and manage everything from a mobile app, the Honeywell all-in-one has Alexa built-in so you you can also use voice commands to control not just your security, but also any other smart features built into your home - so you can control heating and lighting if you have appropriate smart fittings.
There is also the option to purchase additional motion viewers, both for indoors and outdoors, to complement the system and extend its use in larger homes. And another really nice feature is that you can turn the top fitting to close off the video camera, so as to allow for privacy.
A membership plan is available if you'd like additional video storage or monitoring solutions. The Standard Membership costs $4.99 a month (or $49 per year) and includes 30-day recording, and supports one camera, while the Premium Membership plan offers 60-day video storage and support for multiple camera sources.
Comprehensive home video surveillance with smart home features
Vivint.Smarthome is a comprehensive home surveillance system with video recording built in as standard, and smart home features also available as required.
Core products include a video doorbell, indoor and outdoor cameras, smart locks, and garage control. The indoor video camera comes with full 1080p HD video recording as well as two-way audio. Custom notifications are available, and up to 30 days of continuous recording can be saved. A particularly nice feature is that it also includes a one-touch contact button that your family can push to contact you instantly.
Everything can be managed directly using a mobile app, a home security panel, and voice controls when using Google Home or Alexa. This means you can integrate it with other smart home features, not least lighting and heating, as required, using voice commands or your mobile app. Vivint can also integrate with other wireless security products such as from Nest.
What Vivint offers on top of everyone else featured here is a 24/7 monitoring solution. However, this usually requires a professional installer to set up your system, plus the monitoring will usually come packaged with a product set specifically put together for your home, rather than be offered as an addon with flat-rate pricing.