The 5 Best Home Security Products & Services Under $25By - 03/20/2019
I’ve covered the home security market for six years. I’ve written many articles and filmed several videos. I feel confident that I’ve written enough to publish a book. Through that experience, I’ve learned that it’s the ‘big name’ products that get the most attention. While I’m a fan of several ‘big name’ brands, there are also a handful of products that I feel are highly underrated. They may not be made by companies that have the sexiness of Nest or the backing or marketing expertise, but they happen to be some of my favorite products/services for home security. In fact, I’d go so far as to call the first three ‘must-haves.’
1. Door Armor: $12+
I am a proponent of perimeter security. This means that you protect your home in layers from the outside in. While an alarm is great at letting you know once someone is inside, you ideally want to stop someone from ever getting inside; this is why I love Door Armor.
In my own home, I use the $99 Door Armor MAX Plus Combo Set. Yes, I know that $99 is more than $25, but they sell a few products that will keep you under that $25 mark including the $12.00 Pry Shield. The Pry Shield does not protect from kick-ins but does protect from prying (crowbars, prying tools, etc.). The only downside is that all Door Armor solutions require that you modify your door frame. If you can’t or don’t want to do this, you could use something like the $22.00 Brinks Commercial Door Security Bar (Amazon Link), but my recommendation remains with Armor Concepts as I’ve tested their products and visited their office to see the product in action. The Door Armor I have installed is strong enough that it can even resist blows from a police battering ram.
2. Smart911: Free
The second aspect of home security that is often overlooked is that home security is about more than burglaries. Often, home security systems will protect from other hazards including fire and medical emergencies. While having an alarm that can call for an ambulance is nice, providing lifesaving information to 911 is even better. I recommend Smart911 for these home security issues.
Smart911 is a free service that keeps a record of your personal information and provides it to 911 when you call for assistance. This includes the names, birthdays, and photographs of all of the people who live in your home, including pets. Each person’s profile also includes medical information like pre-existing conditions and allergies. Providing this information to responders in an emergency can be lifesaving. For example, I made sure my dad, who is a diabetic, set up a profile. You can also add emergency contacts, your preferred medical provider and hospital, and the model and make of your vehicles.
Your profile also includes a picture of your home to help responders find you. You can add gate information or an access code if applicable as well as detailed information like the number of bedrooms and location of each bedroom, fire hydrant location, water shut-off information, electric panel location, and gas shut-off location.
The only catch is that Smart911 is not yet available in all areas. You will also need to keep your profile updated every six months for it to remain active. Smart911 will email you to remind you to log in for your biannual update, but it’s up to you to make sure this gets done.
You can check availability and learn more about Smart911 on their website.
3. Noonlight: Free
Next up, Noonlight. Noonlight is a free app that provides emergency services. In many ways, it’s like a mobile home alarm. I compared it to several other panic button apps. It is by far the best. You can read my comparison here.
For free, you can use the app as a mobile panic button. You simply open the app and hold the button if you feel unsafe. If you release the button, a call will go out to Noonlight’s monitoring center. They will then try to reach you. If they can’t, they will dispatch police on your behalf. This is incredibly helpful for several reasons but primarily for its location accuracy.
Calling 911 from a smartphone can be an issue. People have died as a result of 911’s inability to pinpoint a caller’s exact location or pass along pertinent information. When Noonlight steps in, they can access your phone’s GPS location which isn’t a perfect science but is more accurate than what our aging 911 system can access. Remember, our system was created when landlines were king, not smartphones. Landlines give exact address location, but cell phones will only give 911 call-takers an approximate location without taking extra time to contact your phone’s service provider, significantly slowing down response time.
In addition to emergency response, you can add information to your Noonlight timeline. For example, you might type a note with information about your next Tinder date. Or if you’re traveling, you might enter your hotel name and room number just in case you need help while in your room. You could also leave evergreen information like a description of your vehicle. This information is not passed to Noonlight unless you have an emergency.
In addition to free services, Noonlight has a paid plan with advanced features. You can learn more about the app and features here.
4. Wyze Cam 2: $25
There isn’t much to say about Wyze Cam. It’s a home security camera that sells for $25, and it works. It rivals cameras that are 10x its price, offers 14 days of free cloud storage, and according to the U.S. Based Network Engineer I hired to pull packet data, it does all of this without sending information overseas.
If you want to add an inexpensive home security camera to your home, I highly recommend Wyze Cam (Amazon Link).
5. Ring Neighborhoods: Free
Last, but not least, the Ring App. Ring is the one exception to the ‘big brand’ rule as the company is well known for its Ring Video Doorbell and it’s owned by Amazon. However, you don’t have to own a Ring product to use the Ring app, it’s free for all and provides access to Ring Neighborhoods, a virtual neighborhood watch app. From the app, you can designate your neighborhood, which is created by setting a virtual geofence around your home. Other Ring users within that circle become your ‘neighbors.’ They can use the app to share video clips and concerns and also access the apps built-in chat feature.
You can download the Ring app from iTunes or Google Play.