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Are Home Security Systems and Doorbell Cameras Worth It?

Suchi Rudra

The knowledge that you and your family are safe in your own home — it’s something you can’t really put a price on. That’s why a home security system, or even a doorbell camera, can be a smart investment. This is especially true if you’ve dealt with package theft or intruders in the past.

In fact, package theft has only increased since the e-commerce boom induced by the pandemic. In 2021 alone, 49 million Americans had at least one package stolen, with an average value of $50 per package. A doorbell video camera can help dissuade these potential “porch pirates” and capture footage of your entryway or front porch. Through the doorbell camera app on your smartphone, you can see and also speak with anyone who comes to your front door even if you’re away. However, the person will not know if you are home or not.

For more complete monitoring of your home, you might consider a home security system. These systems can be as simple or as complex as you like. These days, many companies offer plug-and-play solutions for both indoor and outdoor cameras and sensors. You can then monitor and control from your smartphone and also connect to your smart home assistant.

Which Home Security System is Right For You?

With so many options on the market, how do you know which security system is right for your home? Make the decision easier by first considering why you want to install the system in the first place. Are you only concerned about package theft, or is this a matter of securing your entire home? With your goal in mind, you will be able to more easily determine your specific requirements. These can include video resolution, AI facial recognition tech or a solar-powered battery. More product features will mean a higher price tag.

For home security systems, do you have the budget to pay a monthly fee for professional live monitoring of your home? The more windows and doors you want to monitor with motion detectors and/or cameras, the higher the cost of your security system. Also, both doorbell cameras and home security systems tend to require a monthly subscription fee for video storage to the cloud. And last but not least, check into the details of the system’s installation. Is it straightforward enough that you can do it yourself, or will you need to pay a technician to set it up for you?

Be sure to find out if the company offers a product warranty, lifetime customer support, free returns and free shipping. These factors could help you make the final decision between similar products from different companies.

To get you started in the search for the home security solution that best fits your needs, take a look at the list below:

Doorbell Cameras

Blink: Amazon makes an Alexa-compatible video doorbell camera at the budget-friendly price point of $49.99. You get HD video, motion and chime alerts via the app, and two-way audio. You can also choose to connect up to three cameras to this system. However, you get what you pay for, and reviews for this product do mention some challenges with installation and quality of the hardware.

Ring: The beauty of the Ring video doorbell system is that you can buy the basic camera for $99.99 and then only pay for the extra features you really need. The company’s home security system works the same way. Do you want to accessorize with a chime, a solar charger, a no-drill mount or a quick-release battery pack? You can always start simple, see how it goes, and build up later.

Arlo: With this doorbell system, you will have a $3 per month fee for cloud storage of all the video footage captured by the 180-degree camera. It’s simple enough to install on your own, but it does require a doorbell that already has wiring. You can also connect this system to an Alexa screen device to enable voice control.

Home Security Alarms

Reolink: The tech savvy will geek out about the features offered on this company’s home security cameras: batteries that are solar-powered, rechargeable or 4G LTE-powered (intended for rural sites that don’t have internet coverage like a rural vacation home, farmhouse, cabin in the woods, etc.); and 4K Ultra HD video resolution.

Wyze: This company offers a camera with facial recognition AI to distinguish your friends and family from intruders. Wyze cameras are also able to specifically detect and distinguish packages, vehicles and pets from people. You can also sign up for the 24/7 home monitoring plan at $4.99/month or $39.99/year. There’s no long-term contract required.

Abode: Build your own security system with as many cameras and sensors as you need, including a vibration glass sensor and acoustic glass break sensor. You can also choose to add an indoor or outdoor siren (95 or 107 decibels) with a flashing strobe light. The products are compatible with Apple, Alexa and Google home assistants. They have a fairly easy set-up process, which takes just a few minutes and doesn’t require any special tools. The company also advertises a price match if you find similar devices at a lower price. You can self-monitor or pay a monthly fee for professional, on-demand monitoring.

Eufy: This is another company that makes solar-powered cameras with AI tech. The camera captures video (and tracks the subject) only when a person is in view rather than an animal. However, these powerful cameras do come with a higher price tag. The basic security camera starts at $199 and the night vision camera, with 360-degree panning, goes for $899. On the other hand, both video doorbell products ($149 and $199) offered by Eufy include local storage for video footage and no monthly fee.

Before you try out a home security system, contact your insurance company to see what, if any, discounts they offer. You can also check out what The Harford offers for home insurance discounts.

Have you installed a home security alarm system or doorbell camera? Share your experience in the comments below.

Disclaimer: This article is meant for information purposes only. The Hartford does not endorse or have any association with the products and/or services referenced.

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