News & Opinion | October 19, 2017 9:00 am

The 12 Best New Devices for Keeping Your Home Safe

From smart bulbs to zombie deterrents

Welcome to Buy Choice, in which we pick one everyday item, cut out all the noise, and present you with nothing but the best options on the market.


Amazon wants access to your home.

One-time access. For deliveries. “Ha,” you say. “I’ll never allow that!”

But let’s be honest: you’ll probably cave at some point, because convenience.

In the meantime, you should pay a little more attention to keeping things safe.

To wit: 12 newfangled devices and cameras that’ll batten down your hatches … at least until you decide differently.

Because we’re working with only devices that are available right now, you’ll notice a few buzzed-about options missing. Samsung (with ADT), Honeywell (via Indiegogo, no less), Polaroid and Nest are debuting new smart alarm systems in the next few weeks. And as much as we like a system that sees through walls (hello, Aura) or a drone that patrols your house (heya, Aire), those aren’t quite ready yet.

For a total Big Brother vibe: Lighthouse
Lighthouse is an AI-enhanced interactive assistant that uses 3D sensors and machine learning to discern who or what exactly comes across its view. It has night vision, a speaker and a two-way mic. And a daily recap condenses the day into the actual “action.” Downside: You can ask (via voice or text) Lighthouse to see, say what the kids and babysitter were up to, or have it ping you if, say, “Dana doesn’t arrive on Saturday between 10 and 11 a.m.”

For scaring away intruders before they get inside: Ring Floodlight Camera
Amazon’s best-selling security system is a floodlight camera with two-way talk, 1080hd video with infrared night vision, and sound a 110-decibel alarm from your tablet.

For going truly wireless: Arlo Pro by Netgear
No wires here, for anything (including power). Besides offering some solid security specs (motion and sound-activated alerts, two-way audio, a 100+ decibel siren, etc.), these waterproof cameras can be placed anywhere you want. Good if your security needs are constantly changing.

For solving home needs beyond security: Canary
Real-time HD video, 147 degree wide-angle lens, night vision, siren, motion-detection, and just one touch in the app to directly contact the authorities … Canary’s got the works. Plus, it’ll monitor your home’s air quality, temp and humidity. One caveat: The company’s recently changed their pricing policies, which is causing concern for long-time users.

For legit “zoom and enhance” features: Nest Cam IQ
Nest Cam IQ takes the company’s lauded and easy-to-use Nest Cam Indoor — which already cites a zoom and enhance feature — and upgrades it. The old three-megapixel sensor is now a 4K (8 megapixel) version, the zoom is up from 8x to 12x, and it includes HDR imaging

For escaping security subscription fees: Blink XT
A wireless indoor/outdoor video cam with some nice perks — it’s weatherproof, features both motion detection and night vision, live HD video, integrates with Amazon Echo, runs two years on batteries — with a nice starting price point ($130) and no subscription or data storage fees.

For replacing your lock: August Smart Lock Pro
The new, 3rd gen model allows you to lock and unlock your door remotely, control keyless access, track who’s coming and going …. all from your phone. And it’s voice assistant agnostic — it  integrates with Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.

For giving you the best, secret view: TechBillion Security Camera Bulb
Looks like a regular outdoor light for your porch, but this bulb hides a 360-degree fisheye lens. Plus, it offers real-time video, motion detection and a two-way intercom. And it’s currently 37% off.

For plug’n’play ease: YI 1080p
You can set up this camera without a computer (just an app) in about two minutes and get most of your security needs for $60 — use an SD card in lieu of their optional cloud service to really save $.

For replacing professional security systems: Ring Protect
Starting at $199 for a kit (featuring a base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector and and range extender), you can expand this throughout the house as needed … and $10 a month gets you professional monitoring.

For fakin’ out really lazy burglars: Sabre Fake Key Pad
With light-up buttons and a super-easy installation, this might be deterrent (Sabre makes a number of fake items, and a few real ones for detecting open windows or doors). It’s $15, if that helps.

For surviving the roaming zombie hordes of the apocalypse from every angle: EZVIZ Outdoor Surveillance System
Twelve cameras that survive extreme weather conditions, with live images you can monitor all at once (or you can record to a 2TB hard drive). You can also customize the motion detection features, to focus on the important moving images. Currently 24% off.

Worst case scenario? Ask an actual burglar how you should protect your home.