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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.

14 Responses to "Are Home Security Systems and Doorbell Cameras Worth It?"
    • Ruth J, Morrison | October 4, 2022 at 1:45 pm

      I wonder why Simplisafe is not listed in this article?

    • Char Hise | September 27, 2022 at 11:19 am

      We started with the Ring door alarm. We love it, it notifies us when someone is coming up our walkway and approaching the door. Love that we can speak to them, even without being there. We like it so much we put in a flood cam in the back yard. It’s amazing the things that cross our yard. We also ended up putting an alarm system on the doors and windows, just as an added security. We pay extra for monitoring of it, but it isn’t much and well worth the peace of mind.

    • James Olson | September 26, 2022 at 10:05 am

      SimpliSafe is another huge option that is not mentioned in the article.

    • Carolyn Miller | September 24, 2022 at 8:18 pm

      This article should have included the downsides to using these devices.

    • Josephine DiGiovanni | September 24, 2022 at 5:54 pm

      After having a package stolen, we studied our options. We decided on Ring doorbell camera. It was relatively inexpensive, easy ti install and for $30 a year we get notified when someone is on our property and we can talk to them remotely.

    • Josephine DiGiovanni | September 24, 2022 at 5:53 pm

      After having a package stolen from our front door, we went to Home Depot to study our options. We decided on Ring doorbell camera. It was relatively inexpensive, easy fit my husband to direct wire into existing doorbell and for $30 a year we get notified when someone is on our property and we can talk to them remotely. We can also watch the front yard live through our Amazon Alexa Echo Show. Plus we see all kinds of other things we never knew were happening in our community.

    • Meri Cox | September 24, 2022 at 11:15 am

      I am 84 years old and leave alone in a 1-story ranch style home. I have had ADT Security for at least 10 or 15 years. Also I have a battery operated Ring camera on the front of my house. It shows and records anyone approaching my front door but not on my porch. My problem is that in order to receive a small $5 monthly discount, I agreed to a 5-year contract thinking I would always have the need for a security alarm system. Now I am not happy with ADT because if a sensor stops working or becomes damaged in someway, an alarm will go off. This has happened several times in the middle of the night which is frightening! In order to have ADT replace the sensor, it costs $60. I have 16 sensors so it could be quite costly to have sensors replaced, not to mention how disturbing it is to have an alarm go off in the middle of the night. Also, the alarm went off once when I was traveling and the police were sent to my home. Faulty sensors create a terrible situation for me. My daughter wants me to move nearer to her (she lives 18 miles away) but due to the contract, I have 3 more years to pay. Each month costs $34.97 plus I am charged yearly for Ring. Can you advise me as to resolve my security problems?

      • Michael Zelepis | October 6, 2022 at 11:55 am

        EUFY: for doorbells no internet needed and no monthly fees.

        ABODE : windows and door alarms. I recommend adding a siren with strobe that activates fairly quickly (15 – 20 minutes.) Best part you can self monitor so no monthly fees.

        Hope this helps

      • Michael Zelepis | October 6, 2022 at 11:56 am

        I meant seconds not minutes on siren activation. Sorry

    • Ronald A Abbott | September 24, 2022 at 9:58 am

      I have a Comcast Fire & Security System installed in my house for 3 years now.

    • Rodney Givens | September 24, 2022 at 9:50 am

      I love ❤️ Hartford, very mindful of their customers. I am interested in a condo security system, audio/video with smart phone viewing and capability for voice response through my phone (if away from home) incase of intruders. Is there a security system that automatically responds to intrusion into your phone by voice? I am willing to invest in a quality system but not interested in a monthly payment for monitoring service from a security company. I would probably need 4 cameras: back door, front door, living room / kitchen area and bedrooms / bathroom section of my condo.

      Question: What systems are the top 5 highest ratings, the name of the security camera systems and their comparative ratings? I would like feedback to invest in the best system for the value paid / best audio / video system with best features?

      Thank you,
      “Hot Rod”

    • Alison | September 22, 2022 at 3:42 pm

      I started with a Ring doorbell and included the separate chime addition that allows me to select the noise that occurs when anyone rings my doorbell. (I chose “dogs barking”. It really makes door-to-door bell ringers leave quickly.) I loved it so much that I added 3 more cameras…1 that monitors my back door, 1 in my bedroom (I have friends who try to snoop through my drawers when my back is turned), and 1 at the end of my hall outside my bedroom door (so if anyone breaks in while I am sleeping, I will get an alarm when they enter my hall giving me plenty of time to prepare for their arrival at my bedroom door.) I am female, 66 years old and live alone. I feel so much safer now and I installed the system all by myself…but you do have to have Wifi in your house for this set up. I chose to purchase their annual plan so that my videos are saved in the Cloud. One more note: It has REALLY come in handy when certain major “overnight” shippers claim my package was delivered when it wasn’t. All I have to say is, “I have 24/7 Ring video at the front door. I can prove your delivery person did NOT come to my door.” They become a lot more helpful then.

      • Ellen | September 26, 2022 at 11:52 am

        Hi Alison,
        I loved reading your comments about the Ring video doorbell. I’m also 66 yrs. old and have been considering getting the Ring doorbell. I like the “dog barking” sound feature too! My question is, did you install it yourself, or did you have to hire someone to install it, and the additional cameras you later added? I was thinking I’d have to hire an electrician to install it, and they don’t come cheap. But, if it works as well as you describe, I think it’ll be worth it to hire someone to install it. Thanks.

    • James V. Link | September 22, 2022 at 12:14 pm

      I have a BLINK security system, with 3 cameras (one at the front door, one at the rear door that focuses on most of lot, and one that accesses the driveway.

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