The Best Home Security Cameras of 2017

security cameras

Security Cameras 2017

One of the biggest benefits of a smart home is being able to know what’s going on when you’re not actually there. Whether you’re checking in on your kids, pets, or an exotic jewel collection, a home security camera is a great tool for keeping an eye on things from afar.

Although capabilities vary from device to device, surveillance cameras allow you to monitor what’s going on in your home through live or recorded video. But not all cameras are created equally. Some have alarms or can send you notifications when they detect activity, some offer two-way audio, some are meant to monitor your baby, and some even double as full-on home automation hubs.

We’ve tested lots of home surveillance cameras over the last few years, so we know what’s important to look for. For instance, you want a camera that’s simple to set up and use. Additionally, one of the very first qualities we notice is an attractive—though discreet—design. It’s important that the camera looks like something you actually want in your home, but depending on your needs, you may not want it to stand out too much.

Device support is critical as well. Our favorite cameras allow you to check in from anywhere, whether it’s an app on your phone or a Web browser. Additional features vary from camera to camera, and each of our top picks offer just enough variety to set them apart from the rest of the competition.

Here are some other important factors to consider when buying a home security cam:

The View

Even though 1080p is generally the standard resolution for cameras we’ve tested, and you won’t find any that stream or record in 4K any time soon, there are benefits to cameras with higher resolution sensors. Few home security cameras have optical zoom lenses, but almost all have digital zoom, which crop and enlarge whatever the camera is recording. The more megapixels a camera sensor has, the more you can digitally zoom in and still be able to see things clearly.

Besides resolution, consider the field of view as well. All security cameras have wide-angle lenses, but not all angles are created equal. Depending on the lens’ field of view, it can see between 100 and 180 degrees. That’s a big range in terms of the camera’s vision cone. If you want to watch a large area, you should consider a camera with a very wide field of view.

Placement

If you want to keep an eye on the rooms of your home, there are plenty of options. If you want to keep an eye on your driveway, backyard, or front porch, you need to be more choosy. Not all home security cameras are rugged enough to be mounted outdoors. You need a camera that’s waterproof and can stand up to rain, snow, and sun, and survive the extreme temperatures of summer and winter. The Nest Cam Outdoor and Netgear Arlo are two models built specifically for use outdoors, while the Nest Cam Indoor and the Netgear Arlo-Q might not survive the next rainstorm if you mount them over your garage door.

Connectivity

Most security cameras use Wi-Fi, but not all rely on it exclusively. Some add Bluetooth for local control and easier setup through your smartphone, while others incorporate separate home automation networking standards to interact with other devices, like ZigBee or Z-Wave. For most cameras, all you need to do is follow instructions on an app to connect them to your home network.

Once your camera is connected, you’ll almost certainly be able to access it through your smartphone or tablet. The vast majority of home security cameras today have mobile apps, and many focus entirely around those apps for doing everything. Some have Web portals as well, which add flexibility for accessing your videos and alerts from anywhere.

Cloud Storage

The videos your camera records probably won’t be stored on the camera itself. Most home security cameras use cloud services to store and offer remote access to footage. Some models have microSD card slots so you can physically pull the video from them when you want to review footage, but this is a rare feature.

Keep in mind that not all cloud services are alike, even for the same camera. Depending on the manufacturer, your home security camera will store different amounts of footage for different lengths of time. This service is often a paid subscription on top of the price of the camera itself, though some cameras offer free cloud storage to varying degrees. Cloud storage service is usually offered in tiers, letting you choose between keeping footage for a week, a month, or more.

Price

As you can see from our picks, most of the top-rated home security cameras on the market are roughly in the $200 range, but some of them also require an additional fee to store recorded video in the cloud. We break down any extra fees in our reviews, so it’s worth taking a look at each to find out which one fits your budget. Then again, you can’t really put a price on peace of mind.

Featured in This Roundup

  • Icontrol Networks Piper nv

    $279.00
    $279.99 at Amazon The Icontrol Networks Piper nv is a unique security camera that doubles as a home automation hub. This time around it offers night vision, a more robust camera sensor, and a faster processor.

  • LG Smart Security Wireless Camera LHC5200WI (With ADT Canopy)

    $199.99
    $199.99 at Amazon LG’s Smart Security Wireless Camera LHC5200WI doubles as a home automation hub and offers contract-free professional ADT monitoring at a reasonable price.

  • Nest Cam Outdoor

    $199.00
    $189.99 at Amazon The Nest Cam Outdoor security camera offers sharp 1080p video, crisp night vision, and motion detection alerts in a stylish weatherproof enclosure.

  • Canary All-In-One Home Security Device

    $199.00
    $149.99 at Amazon The Canary All-In-One Home Security Device keeps tabs on your dwelling with 1080p video capture and sensors for air quality, humidity, and temperature.

  • Logi Circle

    $199.99
    $149.99 at Best Buy The Logi Circle is an attractive and easy-to-use home security camera that lacks a few of the more powerful scheduling and programming features of its competition.

  • Nest Cam Indoor

    $199.00
    $192.75 at Amazon The Nest Cam Indoor is a dual-band Wi-Fi surveillance camera that offers crisp 1080p video, motion and sound detection, and integration with other Nest devices. It’s a snap to install, but you have to pay to view recorded video.

  • Netgear Arlo Q

    $219.99
    $161.66 at Amazon The Netgear Arlo Q is a pricey home security camera that delivers sharp, colorful 1080p daytime imagery and clear night vision video.

  • Netgear Arlo Security System (VMS3230)

    $349.99
    $269.99 at Amazon With Netgear’s Arlo Security System, you can place wireless cameras just about anywhere to keep tabs on your home, but you’re trading some functionality for battery power.

  • Petcube Play

    $199.00
    $179.00 at Amazon The latest security camera from Petcube, the Play, solves all of the issues we had with the original by adding a 1080p camera, night vision, cloud storage, and alerts.

  • Zmodo Pivot

    $149.50
    $99.00 at Amazon Want to keep tabs on what’s happening at home when you’re not there? The Zmodo Pivot camera gives you a 360-degree view, delivers crisp 1080p video, and goes one step further by including multiple security and environmental sensors.

Article Provided By: PC Magazine

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Home Alarm & Security Systems

What matters most?

Cost
SecurityFor many people, the price of a home security system is one of the most important factors in deciding which alarm system to purchase. There are three basic elements to consider: upfront (installation) costs, ongoing (monthly) subscription costs, and equipment costs. Be aware that many home insurance providers offer discounts (up to 20%) for homes with monitored alarm systems.

  • Upfront cost: Installation is either professional or do-it-yourself (DIY): some companies let you choose an installation method, while others offer only one option. Professional installation costs can run $100-$500+, while DIY is free but requires time investment.
  • Subscription cost: Subscription security systems – home alarms monitored 24/7 by outside companies – carry a monthly fee, usually in the $20-$60 range.
  • Equipment cost: You’ll catch a price break on monitored systems, which often offer equipment at reduced cost in exchange for signing a contract. If you purchase a system outright, expect to pay $100+ for a basic system and $500+ for top-of-the-line equipment.

Contract
Many home security companies offer discounted equipment in exchange for a signed contract, similar to how your cell phone company offers low-cost phones. Some contracts are more flexible than others, so read through the contract terms (and online reviews) before signing on the dotted line.

  • Length: Most contracts are for 2-3 year terms. Many allow for cancellation within the first 2-4 weeks of the contract’s term.
  • Terms: Pay special attention to a contract’s fine print: equipment warranties, cancellation clauses, etc.
  • Portability: Many companies make it easy to port your equipment to a new home, so if there’s a chance you’ll move during your contract, check first to confirm relocation possibilities.

Installation
There are two basic installation possibilities: professional installation and DIY options.

  • Professional installation: Many complex alarm systems, usually those that are hardwired into a home, require professional installation. This usually carries a hefty cost ($200-$500+), although some companies offer discount installation.
  • DIY: Do-it-yourself security systems are generally easy to install, often requiring just a few hours to read through the manual and place your sensors.
  • Third-party professional installation: If you purchase a DIY system but aren’t a DIYer, you can hire a local handy person to do your installation at an hourly rate.

Monitoring
Home alarm companies offer monthly monitoring via three types of connection: Internet (broadband/VOIP), phone line, or cellular service. Usually, Internet monitoring is the least expensive option, while cellular monitoring is the most expensive.

  • Internet: Monitoring via Internet is inexpensive, but be aware that if you have an Internet outage (or a power outage that disables your modem), you will be cut off from monitoring.
  • Phone line: Use your home phone line (landline) to connect with your monitoring company. Be aware that if a burglar cuts your phone line, your system will not work.
  • Cellular: Monitoring via cell phone connection is the most expensive option, but also the most secure.

Add-on features
Basic systems are just that: basic. You’ll most likely want to expand your system to meet your home’s specifications – number of windows and doors, outdoor lighting requirements, etc. – so look for a company with the add-on equipment and features that suit your needs.

  • Equipment: Equipment offerings vary greatly by company, so choose wisely before signing a contract.
  • Monthly plans: Monthly plans can range from bargain-basement monitoring via Internet connection to all the bells and whistles, including smoke detection, medical monitoring and home automation.
  • Service upgrades & downgrades: Lifestyle changes may require variations in your security needs; check with your company about the ease of adding services or switching monthly plans mid-contract.

Home automation
Home automation is a very popular feature of today’s home security systems – but one you’ll pay extra to access. Automation affords peace of mind and also keeps your house running efficiently (and inexpensively).

  • Security automation: Easily check that your alarm system is armed, your security cameras are functioning, your doors are locked, and other security features are engaged.
  • Energy savings: Adjust your thermostat while you’re out, double-check that your lights are off, conserve energy by pulling your shades down, and more.
  • Monitor the kids: Unlock the door for your children (or pet-sitter), check that the kids got home safely from school, and even ensure that they’re doing their homework instead of watching TV.

Remote access
Many security companies today offer remote access to the system via web-based dashboards and mobile apps. You can use the app to monitor your alarm or manage an array of home automation functions.

  • Internet dashboard: Log into your company’s website, e.g. mysecuritycompany.com, to have one-click access to your system.
  • Smartphone apps: Monitor your home via a free smartphone app.
  • Tablet apps: Many companies also offer comprehensive tablet-optimized apps to access remote security settings.
Article Provided by: ConsumerAffairs

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Canary Flex is a small, weatherproof security camera

Canary Flex

Canary Flex

Security cameras are slowly making their way out of your house and onto your porches and yards. Canary Flex is following the footsteps of rival Nest by launching a new, smaller weatherproof camera called the Flex that can be plugged into an outlet or powered by batteries. It’s available for pre-order today for $199 and will be in stores by the holidays. Canary is also introducing a new pricing model that is pretty different from what’s on the market, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Rated IP65, the Canary Flex can withstand splashes of water, and thanks to the included weatherproof cord, it can remain plugged in even when it’s wet. If you’d like to go wireless, you can use the bundled rechargeable battery, which should last two to three months of average use, the company said. When it’s running on batteries, the Flex runs on a low power WiFi state to stay connected to the servers without sucking up juice, and also uses a passive infrared (PIR) sensor to detect incidents before triggering the rest of the system. Otherwise, the Flex uses the camera (or “computer vision,” as Canary called it) to monitor activity when plugged in. When triggered, the Canary Flex will record HD video to the cloud.

Unlike its predecessor, the Canary Flex is compact, and fits comfortably in your hand so you can easily move it around should you need to. It also has a magnetic base that lets it swivel 360 degrees in its companion mount. However, you’ll lack the siren that the original camera had, as well as what Canary called the home health sensors. The latter relay feedback on your house’s temperature, humidity and air quality. Those who already own the older Canary camera can use the same app with the new device, and no hub is required.

To make it easier to place the Flex around your house, Canary is also launching a series of accessories, such as a secure mount, a stake mount to stick your camera in your flower pot, and a fun twist mount to wrap your Flex around almost anything.

For those who want complete peace of mind, Canary  is also launching a 4G LTE mount with Verizon that will let your Flex switch to cellular data in the event that your WiFi network drops out. The 4G mount can be plugged in, but also has enough onboard battery to last as long as the Flex’s power pack will. This would be great for those who want to prepare for power outages. It’ll be available shortly after the Flex hits store shelves.

One of the coolest things about this launch is Canary Flex ‘s new pricing model that does away with the industry’s conventional tiers system altogether. Instead of making you pay more to store more of your footage like competitors do, Canary is letting you access the last 24 hours of your timeline for free. That’s twice the 12 hours it previously let nonpaying customers have.

The company is also removing its previous limits on features such as saving and downloading clips, as well as sending them to other contacts. Those who want more support can pay $9.99 a month for one device ($15 for two to three cameras), and that membership will come with up to $1,000 in homeowners deductible reimbursement (for qualifying incidents), as well as dedicated agents who will follow you through your your incident report process. Members also get extended warranties and access to footage from the prior 30 days.

That’s quite a big bump from the free version, and could give Canary Flex a serious edge over its competitors. Both Nest and Canary’s devices cost $199, but the latter says it is working on a more personable approach to security that could make its outgoing alerts more meaningful. Some of these upcoming improvements include refined object, people and animal recognition, as well as better understanding of new versus repetitive motions. These changes will soon roll out to the Canary app as well. In the meantime, you may want to finetune your security camera settings so you’re not getting buzzed for every time your neighbor’s dog jumps, or for random tree branches smacking against your window.

Article Provided By: engadget

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Smoke Detector Market to Hit $600 Million

Expected Growth In The U.S. Smoke Detector Market

Smoke Detector

Between 2016 and 2020 the residential market for smoke detectors will grow, according to a recent Technavio report, and technological trends in the market will shift dramatically.

“The market size for the residential smoke detector market, specifically for the U.S., stands … close to around $400 million,” Sayani Roy, Technavio industry analyst, told Security Systems News. “By 2020, it is expected to hit around $600 million,” she said. Technavio is estimating a roughly 7 percent CAGR for the period, Roy said.

Roy pointed to three key market geographies: Texas, California and Florida. “Texas comprises around 15 percent of the … new demand for smoke detectors, we are not including replacement demand here,” she said. “The rise in residential construction in the state is one of the primary reasons [for this growth].”

California makes up 8.9 percent of the total U.S. market share. “The reason for the growth of smoke detectors in California is … increasing multi-family housing construction projects.”

The market in Florida will grow due to a law that mandates the use of smoke detectors, as well as numerous housing projects in the state. Florida has a 7.7 percent share of the market.

The type of smoke detectors being installed will change over this period, Roy said. The report segments the market into three key detection technologies: ionization, photoelectric and dual sensor.

Ionization-based detectors are most prevalent now, but will drop considerably over this time period, according to Roy. “The market for ionization-type smoke detectors will actually decelerate at a negative CAGR of around 10.85 percent.”

Replacing ionization detectors with either photo-electric or dual-sensor detectors will be a factor in the growth of the market over this period. New construction of residential buildings will increase the market.

Fire-related deaths have been declining mostly due to increased use of smoke detectors, Roy said, and certain detectors are better suited for life safety. “The cause [of] fire deaths is mostly from smoldering fires, which can only be detected by these photoelectric or the dual sensors,” she said.

Another factor in the decline of ionization detectors is their rate of false alarms, which have led consumers to disable their smoke alarms. Disposal of ionization detectors causes an additional problem because they contain radioactive materials, she said.

Increased regulations in the United States will be a major trend in the market, some of which restrict the use of ionization-type detectors, Roy said. “States like Massachusetts, Iowa and Vermont—they have banned the use of ionization smoke detectors in their residential buildings.”

Roy gave another example of government involvement in the market: The city of South Bend, Ind., is considering an initiative to give homeowners two free smoke detectors.

By 2020, photoelectric detectors will be most prevalent, but the dual-sensor market share is also increasing, Roy noted.

The report also divided the market by three power sources for smoke detectors: battery powered, hardwired with a battery backup, and hardwired without a battery backup. In 2016, the battery-powered segment has 60 percent of the market, hardwiring with a battery comprises about 33 percent and hardwiring without a backup battery has the smallest share of around 6 percent.

These market shares will remain mostly the same to 2020, Roy said, with a slight decrease in battery-powered detectors.

Integration of detectors into the smart home will be an opportunity for installers in this market, Roy said, such as integration with home energy management systems.

“Integration with the IoT … is expected to open new avenues for the market in terms of revenue,” she said. This trend is in a very early phase, Roy said, and a lot of activity is expected in the next five years.

Among smoke detector manufacturers, Kidde leads the market with 25 percent of the total market, followed by BRK, Honeywell and Siemens, according to Roy.

Article Provided By: Security System News 

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Alarm Monitoring Service: On-Call Emergency Responders

Alarm MonitoringHome alarm monitoring is one of the most essential services of your home security setup. After all, even if you have the best home alarm system that catches every burglar, this won’t do you much good if no one responds in your time of need. This article discusses central monitoring stations, how they work, and things to ask your alarm provider before signing on the dotted line.

Central Alarm Monitoring Stations

Lots of the top alarm companies will go on and on about the number and quality of central monitoring stations (the station that take your alarm alert and pass it to local authorities), and the inferiority of central monitoring stations other companies use. The bottom line is that you want an alarm company that doesn’t simply use a good central monitoring station(s), but does a good job of installing your system to your needs (or in the case of a self-install, helps guide you through the process), answers your security questions, and makes you feel comfortable with the service you are buying. You want your alarm system setup correctly and with adequate security measures (i.e. doesn’t allow cut phone or internet lines) to begin with. And just because someone has multiple monitoring stations, does not mean those stations are as reliable as the one that the companies that choose one excellent one use. See below under Rapid Response and Criticom for more info on the choice in monitoring station made by Frontpoint and ProtectAmerica, our top two contenders for best security system.

How Important Is A Monitored Alarm System?

According to research studies, homes with a monitored security system are 2.2 times less likely to be burglarized, and business with a monitored security system are 4.5 times less likely to be burglarized. In addition, 85% of police chiefs recommend the installation of monitored security systems.

Rapid Response

So who does our winner, Frontpoint, use? They use Rapid Response for their central monitoring service (the center that processes your alarm event and dispatches local authorities). With a 40,000 square foot headquarters facility in Central New York, Rapid Response Monitoring is listed by Underwriter Laboratories and certified by Factory Mutual. Rapid Response is one of fewer than two dozen Central Stations approved to monitor fire alarms in New York City. In addition to fire alarms, Rapid Response also monitors burglary, supervisory & medical signals, and offers GPS tracking/monitoring. Rapid Response performs monitoring of military, commercial, and residential accounts as well as provides answering service capability for its Dealers. Video, voice and data are processed by highly trained personnel to ensure error free handling of calls and signals. Check out the Rapid Response website for more information.

Do Alarm Companies Monitor The Communication Path?

A very common misunderstanding of alarm monitoring service contracts is that people think that alarm companies monitor the communication path between the alarm in the home or business and the actual Central Monitoring Station. This frustrates a lot of homeowners who assume, instead of reading their contract or asking the right questions.

Typically, you are paying your alarm service provider to process, treat and respond to alarm signals originating from your home that the Central Monitoring Station actually receives.

You are not paying for your alarm company to monitor the communication path, unless this is clearly stipulated in your contract with the associated fees necessary to perform this additional service for you.

Program Your Alarm To Send Self-Tests

Alarm panels can be programmed to send daily €œself-tests€ to the monitoring station once every 24 hours. There are some alarm companies who will notify their clients if their alarm panel €œmisses€ its daily self-test. However, some alarm panels which I have taken over were programmed for a self-test only once every 30 days.

Questions To Ask Your Alarm Provider

I suggest that you ask your alarm service provider to explain what happens if your alarm panel stops €œcalling€ your monitoring station and find out exactly when you will be notified (if at all).

If you have interactive services and your alarm panel is programmed for daily self-tests, you can receive a notification on your cell phone each time that your alarm panel calls the monitoring station, reassuring you once a day that a transmission test has been successfully made.

You should test your motion detectors, door and window contacts on a regular basis to ensure that your home is properly secured. I recommend activating the “door chime” feature so that your keypad(s) make a tone each time your doors and windows are opened and closed. If you open a door and don’t hear a chime, it’s time to verify the contact with your security system.

Alarms and Sensors vs Complete “Home Security”

First and foremost, I think I need to differentiate the term €œhome security system€ from the phrase €œsecurity alarm system€. An alarm system is just that, a system of sensors strategically located around the property designed to pick up motion or some other stimulus and trigger an alarm inside the home, alerting the residents and potentially the local authorities as well. A home security system goes much further than that, although it does include an alarm system within the whole panel of services.

Home Security Monitoring Is Key To Home Security Alarm Systems

Alarm Monitoring

Home security is primarily focused around the concept of €œhome monitoring€ now. Again, a system of sensors and possibly cameras are integrated into the home and then connected to a network that is logged into a central command center. This center is manned 24 hours a day and seven days a week by staff that are trained to respond to triggers in the system and react accordingly. This may include calling the fire department if a heat sensor or smoke alarm is triggered. It may include alerting the homeowner themselves if the temperature of the house drops below freezing and the residents are away so the homeowner can make arrangements to avoid having pipes burst and other problems. It also includes monitoring agents to contact ambulance services if they see a homeowner is injured in the home or an alert is sent via network. The constant watch of an all-time security blanket is a powerful tool and a huge selling point of modern home security systems.

Home Automation And Interactive Monitoring Are An Added Perk

More than just security is being sold by these home security companies. The ability to control your home remotely and have access to what is happening there in real time is extremely alluring for many Americans, especially those who travel frequently for work. They can be told via text message or email alert on their mobile device when a particular door has been opened and a code has been entered into the system, potentially indicating that one of their children has come home.  The possibilities available via home security systems with a networked home monitoring and management system are increasingly limitless as we become more and more connected everywhere we go.

Wireless Communication Signal To The Monitoring Station Is More Secure

Lastly, the technology side of things, many systems are switching to 100% wireless equipment, eliminating the need for extensive wiring and increasing the potential for securing and secluding the hardware required to make the system work. But, it is important to note that hard-wired with supervised wiring or a hybrid alarm system (which is a combination of both hard-wired and wireless components) are just as secure as a wireless alarm system so long as they are installed by a true security professional. But, a top priority no matter how your security system has been installed (hard-wired, wireless or a hybrid of the two) is a wireless communication signal to the monitoring station (such as a long-range radio or cellular communicator).

Article Provided By: A Secure Life

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