Ultimate Test: home security systems

Keeping your house safe when you’re out doesn’t just mean security cameras and surveillance systems – here is some top tech to protect your valuables and fool any thief.

23rd September 2015
Ultimate Test: home security systems (iStock)

Ultimate Test: home security systems (iStock)

Stop, thief!

Canary

$249 (£158 approx), canary.is

Canary is one of several home security systems – see also setups from Piper and iSmartAlarm – that offer affordable home monitoring via an accompanying app on your smartphone, with no monthly subscription. Its body houses motion, temperature, humidity and air quality sensors, as well as a mic and wide-angle HD video camera with infrared night vision. Over time, these sensors learn what is ‘normal’ for your household, and will alert you if anything seems awry.

Canary

Parson Animals

Price TBC, parson.it

Designed to blend unobtrusively into the most stylish surroundings, the Animals range of home security cameras can be installed indoors and out. Made from recyclable materials, the different models (chameleon, owl, cricket, ‘urban bird’ and so on) are all based around the same HD video camera and MicroSD card slot, but advanced features such as face and number plate recognition, panic detection and ‘people counting’ vary from model to model.

Parson Animals

Netatmo Welcome

€199 (£140 approx), netatmo.com

You know who’s welcome in your home and who isn’t… and  so does this Full-HD video camera, which is equipped with infrared night vision, a 130° field of view and facial recognition software. Welcome sends a message to your iOS/Android device when anyone enters your house – either putting your mind at rest because the kids are home safely, or letting you know it’s time to call 999 – and its footage is stored in the camera rather than in the cloud, to keep you safe from hackers.

Netatmo Welcome

FakeTV

£25, responseelectronics.com

Burglars generally want to avoid confrontation. A lighting timer is one way of convincing would-be intruders that your empty property is occupied, but this LED unit that mimics light coming from a television is an alternative. The flickering LEDs realistically simulate scene changes and fades, and it automatically powers on at sunset. FakeTV only consumes about as much electricity as a children’s night light, making it safer, greener and cheaper than just leaving the telly on.

FakeTV

Ola

From $119 (£75 approx), bit.ly/ola-lock

We’ve been using keys since the first millennium BC, while the first keycard lock was patented in 1975. Doesn’t your high-tech home deserve a security system that’s a little more up-to-date? Enter Ola, which grants you instant keyless, cardless entry via state-of-the-art fingerprint recognition, which can store and recognise up to 1,700 prints. Bluetooth and an accompanying smartphone app mean you can still grant temporary access to others if you need to.

Ola

Yale Keyfree Connected Smart Lock

£500, yale.co.uk

There’s no shortage of ‘smart’ locks that let you open your front door with your phone. But this one comes from the grandaddy of lock design, Yale, and uses the Z-Wave home networking protocol. That means the same app that lets you into the house also gives you remote control of a range of over 1,000 smart appliances (including lighting, window blinds and more) from wherever you happen to be.

Yale Keyfree Connected Smart Lock

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