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8 Things To Consider Before Buying a Smart Home Security System

Getting a smart home security system is often seen as a relatively cheap and easy way of securing your home. However, it doesn’t take long for a setup to get needlessly intricate or expensive when you start purchasing and setting them up without educating yourself first.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through a few important factors, so you know what to look for and how much you should spend. From different types of systems to scalability, here’s everything you need to know before buying a smart home security system.

1. Security Needs

Security needs vary from household to household and depend on what you’re trying to protect yourself against. You need to evaluate the seriousness of the system based on the crime rate in your area and the size of your house. If you’re worried about break-ins or porch pirates, then you should go for an advanced security system with motion sensors that scare away any bad actors.

If you live in a small house, a simple outdoor camera or a video doorbell will do just fine. However, in the case of a large house, you might want a more extensive setup. This can include a wide network of cameras, motion sensors, and alarms to cover all the entry points.

Start your research by first assessing the level of security you’ll need.

2. Types of Systems

Smart home security camera

Once you have an idea of your home security system’s complexity, it’s time to explore available options and choose the right fit. The type of system you go for ultimately depends on two factors: connectivity and monitoring.

Most systems today are wireless, and this encourages flexibility, easy installation, and low maintenance. However, keep in mind that wired systems are generally more durable as you don’t need to worry about signal strength. The only catch with wired systems is that they require lots of drilling and rewiring.

As for monitoring, most security systems let you self-monitor the footage or data from cameras and motion sensors. It’s ultimately cheaper than having a professional security company watch over you. You’ll manage alerts yourself but will lack the third-party emergency support of professional monitoring.

On the other hand, you could go for professional monitoring if you want faster emergency response and support from trained professionals. Although more secure, this option comes with higher costs due to high subscription fees. Then, you would not really need such a service unless there’s grave danger to your or your family’s lives, or live in a house that’s too big for yourself to monitor.

3. Costs


It is important to have a clear idea of how much your home security system is going to cost. You not only need to worry about the upfront payment but maintenance and upgrade costs as well.

The upfront costs include the installation expenses and the actual purchase of the security system. Depending on the type and quality of the devices you purchase, this initial cost can quickly get expensive.

Then comes the maintenance costs, which many homeowners make the mistake of overlooking. You should factor in how much it is going to cost to keep the system updated and running. This includes how often you need to replace the batteries on different alarms, cameras, and sensors.

Never forget that you may also need to upgrade the overall system over time—especially if you’re planning to go with either a sophisticated system with lots of moving parts or a second-hand, used system to save upfront costs.

4. Equipment and Features

The smart home security system market is huge. As such, there’s a multitude of devices and features that you can consider. The best way to judge what features you’d need in your equipment is to think about the purpose of that particular piece.

For example, the role of a smart home doorbell is to connect you to the person at your door through your smartphone. So, when buying a smart doorbell, consider factors like resolution, image quality, night vision modes, and built-in microphone—all of which improve your interaction with your visitor.

Likewise, there are different kinds of alarms and sensors available. You can go over motion detectors, water leakage detectors, noise detectors, and glass-break detectors. There may be sub-features each of these detectors have, consider them too. Generally, the more sensors you go for, the better security your house gets.

The feature that you should really give preference to when buying a smart home security system is robust mobile device integration. This way, you’d be able to monitor any suspicious activity remotely from your smartphone, tablet, or even wearable device.

5. Installation Process

Man installing CCTV camera

The installation process depends on two factors: how comfortable you are with technicalities and how intricate your home security system is.

Many security systems come with DIY installation, including pre-configured equipment and clear instructions. All you have to do is hook up the sensors and cameras and connect them to your Wi-Fi.

On the other hand, more advanced security systems require professional installation. They come with complex wiring and may require integration with your other smart home systems.

The last thing you need is to misconfigure the system and make your house vulnerable. So, when you’re out shopping for a home security system, read product details and buyer reviews. Look out for installation instructions, are they simple, or are they complex?

Make sure that you’re aware of what you’re getting yourself into.

6. Scalability

As you start building a smart home security system, it’s important to make sure that you can easily add other accessories down the line.

For example, you should be able to add cameras and different sensors without having to swap out the system entirely. If that’s not the case, you’ll end up making a very expensive mistake.

Here’s a scenario: you invest in a smart home security system, but put up only two cameras. You plan on adding more cameras (and of different types) a year or two later. When the day arrives, you’ve decided you need wide-angle cameras that offer extensive coverage along with features like facial recognition. But, your current home security system doesn’t support such cameras, and now you’re out of luck.

You’ll either need a new system or forget about upgrades entirely. To prevent this, even if you’re buying a basic system, be sure to get one that’s scalable and supports a variety of devices.

7. Integration with Other Devices

Google smart home

The best smart home security systems will be compatible with multiple ecosystems and third-party devices. Proper integration is highly important so that all your devices are constantly talking to each other. For instance, you may have smart locks in your doors, and you can use your security system to deny/grant access remotely.

Similarly, in case your system detects activity late at night, it can turn on your smart lights with full brightness to illuminate the intruder and scare them off. This in turn also gives your cameras plenty of lighting to clearly capture their faces.

If you have Alexa or other voice assistants, check if your security system is compatible with it. This will help you set up smart home routines, and using your voice is ultimately more convenient than manually checking the footage.

Keep Your Home Safe and Sound

Now that you know what to look for, you can easily build a smart home security system that gives you peace of mind. In short, start by assessing the level of security you need—this way, you’ll know what features you need in your smart home security system.

Then, look at your budget, and shortlist the equipment for your system that matches what you’re prepared to spend. And finally, read reviews of the equipment you’re buying to ensure you end up buying the best quality stuff available. That’s all there is to it.

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