With so many brands and models to choose from, it can be quite a daunting task to figure out which ones are the best to buy. In this article, you can discover the list of must-have home security devices that you can install at your home to increase the safety of your home.
Securing your home and family is very important nowadays. Your house must be well-equipped to prevent accidents or at least should alert you when anything goes wrong. There are many devices that go into creating an effective security system for your home and your family members.
1. Security Control Panel/Keypad
The control panel is the center point and brain of your home security system. It is the first thing that should be installed.
It is connected to every sensor, camera, and detector in your security and raises an alarm when any of the security devices are triggered (pick up on any unusual activity).
It should have a keypad using which you can set up a security pin code to arm and disarm your alarm system whenever necessary. It will most likely be done on a daily basis.
The control panel works based on the monitoring used in your home; it could be broadband, landline, or cellular connection.
If your security system uses a landline connection, it will lose connection if the wiring gets damaged. However, a cellular system can be relied on even during power cuts or if your wiring gets cut.
The control panel can either be a singular device or have a keypad attached to it. It should anyway be installed in a secure place in your home, but if it has a keypad, make sure you have it installed in an accessible place so that you can arm and disarm your system easily. So, install a home security system with multiple devices set up to control everything at your fingertips or you can get a self-monitoring security system for your house under your budget.
2. Door & Window Sensors
The main purpose of these sensors is to alert you when an intruder tries to break into your home via the doors or windows. It will send a signal to the control panel which will sound the alarm and alert you of suspicious activity. Hence it is an important component of your home security system.
These sensors work in quite a fascinating away. Each sensor device has two parts; one is installed to door/window, and the other is connected to the door/window frame. When the door/window is closed, the sensor components are joined together and the sensor is armed.
If this connection is broken when an intruder opens the door/window, it causes the sensor to send a signal to the central control panel which gets triggered and alerts you about the same.
The door and window sensors from different brands aren’t too different from each other. Some companies sell them as separate devices.
If sold individually, the door sensors are a little larger than the window sensors, but the working mechanism is all the same.
Your doors and windows are among the first line of security between you and the outside environment. If an intruder tries to break in, he will have to go through a door or window.
Hence, it is highly advisable to install these sensors in your home. Sometimes, intruders smash the window’s glass to break in. Therefore, look into window sensors with glass sensors as well.
3. Carbon Monoxide Detector
A carbon monoxide detector alerts you when it detects a higher than a safe amount of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere of your home.
If the detector is connected to a professionally monitored security system, a central agent will be notified if it gets triggered.
There are different types of CO sensors available today:
- Biomimetic: Gel changes color when CO is detected, triggering the alarm
- Electrochemical: Electrodes are submerged in a chemical solution. When they come in contact with excess CO, the electric current flowing through them senses changes. This triggers the alarm.
- Metal Oxide: CO is detected by a silica chip and its electrical resistance is lowered, triggering the alarm.
If the CO alarm in your home, you and your family should evacuate the premises immediately. Check if anyone is showing any flu-like symptoms or illnesses. If this is the case, call 911 and immediately ask for medical assistance.
DO NOT re-enter your home until the CO detector alarm stops ringing. We highly recommend that you have CO alarms installed in your home, preferably one on each floor if you have more than one floor.
4. Door Locks
Another important component of home security, it is pretty obvious what door locks do. They prevent your door from being opened by intruders.
They work by using a bolt or latch across the opening between the door and the frame, thereby preventing the door from opening. There are mainly 2 types of locks:
- Deadbolt: Stays in place until locked manually
- Spring Bolt: Held in place by strings, and once the door is closed, it cannot be reopened until it is unlocked.
Both these lock types are operated by either a doorknob or a key. Due to the development in technology, we have many different kinds of locks today.
One of them is the electronic lock. It has a part known as an actuator that connects the bolt or cylinder to a small motor.
The motor allows the bolt to lock and unlock. Another ingenious type of lock is the smart lock. It can be controlled from your smartphone.
This is perfect to use if you’re away from home a lot, or if you have pets or young children. Using the app to control your smart locks, you can schedule times for them to lock and unlock.
Also, these come in handy if you’ve forgotten to lock your door. You don’t have to worry about as all it takes is a button press from your phone.
Locks are a necessity to ensure a secure house. Also, based on the safety of your neighborhood, you can consider investing in a couple of smart locks or electronics to tighten the security.
Another important door security device, a doorbell’s main purpose is to alert when someone is at the door. Older, traditional doorbells’ only purpose was to ring when pressed.
But now, smart doorbells with audio-video features are available as well. These doorbells have an inbuilt camera that will help you see who’s at the door.
This way, you can avoid opening the doors to strangers or people who look suspicious. Some doorbells even have a 2-way communication feature, enabling you to talk to the person at the door.
So, installing a doorbell is a must, and for tighter security, invest in a smart doorbell with audio and video features.
6. Fire/Smoke Detectors
Fire, heat, and smoke detectors are sometimes sold separately, or there are fire alarms available that have inbuilt heat and smoke detectors.
When you buy the equipment, make sure you check what features it has. As the name suggests, these devices detect fire, heat, and/or smoke, and notify of the same.
There are different types of fire alarms:
- Photoelectric: This has a light source in an electrical sensor positioned at 90-degrees. When light enters, it misses the sensor, but when smoke enters, it scatters the light and triggers the alarm.
- Ionization: This contains a chamber with 2 metal plates having an electric current running across them. When smoke enters the chamber, the alarm gets triggered.
- Dual Sensor: This is a combination of photoelectric and ionization sensors.
Every home should a fire, smoke, and heat detectors installed, and if necessary, there are smart varieties if the same available as well.
7. Freeze Sensors
A freeze sensor senses when the surrounding temperature is tending towards freezing point. This can help stop pipes from freezing and can also alert you if your home’s furnace isn’t working properly.
A freeze sensor uses a negative thermal coefficient (NTC) thermistor (thermal resistor). It helps determine the surrounding temperature and is a very important component of a freeze sensor.
The temperature at which the sensor gets triggered is usually around 41 degrees Fahrenheit; different brands may show slight variations.
Some sensors can be used both indoors and outdoors, but some are only built for indoor use. So make sure you check all the product details before you make a purchase.
You must buy one suited to your needs. If you have a vacation home, make sure you install freeze sensors there as well.
When you’re away from your vacation home, you have no way to check its condition regularly. Installing freeze sensors may help you prevent thousands of dollars’ worth of damages.
8. Flood Sensors
Flood sensors detect a change in the moisture content in the atmosphere in and around the house, and if there is any excess water flowing around.
If detected, a signal is sent to the central monitoring station, and if it is a smart sensor, your smartphone will be notified as well.
Although installing a flood sensor isn’t a must, it is better to do so, especially in your vacation home. Also, take into account the place you live in. Flooding doesn’t necessarily have to happen because of a hose-break or washing machine mishap.
Do you live in a coastal city? Are you near a beach? Does your city have a history of flooding? If so, install flood sensors so you can take the required action before it’s too late.
9. Smart Garage Controller
It is similar to a door and window sensor, except it is for your garage door. You will receive an alert if your close garage door is opened. Also, it is great for when you leave home in a hurry and forget to shut the garage door.
You will receive a notification on your phone and close it with the push of a button from your phone itself. When you install the device, you will have to download an app to your phone using which you can control the door from anywhere. You can lock it and unlock it as you please.
A garage door controller can be very helpful as an open garage is also a potential source of breaking in for intruders. An unsealed garage can make your home a vulnerable and easy target for robbers.
10. Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats are energy efficient and can help cut down your electricity bill. It is an important device to install if you have pets at home.
Earlier on, pet owners trusted fate to keep their homes and surroundings comfortable for their pets. Now, however, you can be in control of the temperature of your home, and make it suitable for your pet!
Smart thermostats are now available, using which you can change the temperature of the interiors of your home so that its interiors stay warm and toasty even when you’re away!
These can be easily operated via your smartphone or a similar mobile device. A smart thermostat can eventually learn your habits and save you money but automatically changing the temperature suited to your preference.
Some varieties also have built-in motion sensors so that they automatically change the temperature of the room when it detects the presence of you or your pet in the room.
11. Image Sensors
What an image sensor does is that whenever it senses movement, it alerts the central monitoring system and takes a picture as well, with its in-built camera.
It has a sensor range, and when movement is detected within this range, it does all this. Some are pet-friendly, so the alarm won’t get triggered every time your dog walks past it.
Investing in an image sensor may cut down costs. Instead of installing window sensors in every window, you can install one image sensor in the same vicinity which will carry out the same function.
12. Outdoor Security Cameras
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your home’s surroundings. Whether it’s to look out for unwanted visitors or watch your kids and pets when they’re playing outside, outdoor security cameras are always a good idea. They will especially be useful when you’re away from home.
They will enable you to keep track of everything that happened around your home when you were away. Some features that a good camera should have are night vision, motion sensing, infrared, weather resistance, audio capabilities, zoom in zoom out, HD video, and a good wide-angle lens.
Most cameras record footage only when motion is detected, but some can be kept on 24/7. Outdoor cameras are great if you’re away for long hours or go away on a trip for a few days. You will be able to keep track of all that went on around your house while you were away.
13.Indoor Security Cameras
Indoor cameras are as important as outdoor ones. They could be used for the simplest things. If you have young children or pets, you would prefer to keep an eye on them as far as possible wouldn’t you?
Also, if a stranger somehow manages to break into your home, indoor cameras will help you keep track of what he’s doing.
You will know if he’s stolen anything, and if you ever have to identify him for the police, you will have footage that will enable you to do so.
The same features considered for outdoor cameras should be considered for indoor ones as well. Night vision is a must, and the camera must have a sufficient field of view depending on the size and the dimensions of the room.
Indoor cameras aren’t an absolute necessity, but they are immensely useful in keeping an eye on your loved ones, and looking out for the bad guys!
14. Key Fob
A key fob is similar to remote control or car keys that lock and unlock your car. Its purpose is to arm and disarm your alarm system.
It should have a panic button that sounds a siren and alerts your central monitoring agency in case of an emergency.
It should also have a Home mode, which means everything else is disarmed except for the door and window sensors.
A typical key fob has 4 buttons; arm, disarm, home, and panic. We recommend you get a key fob as it makes it easier to arm and disarm your home security system in a faster and more efficient way.
15.Small Appliance Controller
Commonly known as smart switches, these controllers can be used to operate different appliances in your home such as the lights, fans, coffee-maker, etc. When connected to any of these home appliances, these controllers enable you to operate the appliances from far away, even from outside the house.
You can switch on your cooker and slow cook your meat even if you’re away at the office. This way, your food will be ready by the time you return home after a long, tiring day.
All you have to do is insert the switch into a power outlet and connect the device to be operated to the switch. Now, the device can be controlled via an app on your phone.
Also, this is useful when you’re not in town. If you want to keep intruders away from your home, simply switch on the light through your phone.
A well-lit home always gives the impression that somebody is inside. A smart switch is not absolutely necessary, but it is very beneficial.
16. Panic Pendant
This is a security device that is meant to be worn or carried by you at all times. It is to be used during emergencies.
It has a button that you must push if you find yourself in a dangerous situation. It will send a signal to your central monitoring station.
A professional will get in touch with you to see what kind of danger you are in and what help you’ll be needing. The necessary authorities will be informed of the same and you will receive help shortly.
A panic pendant is a small battery-operated device. Ideally, it should be weatherproof because you cannot predict when and where you will find yourself caught up in an emergency.
This device monitors specific objects and keeps them still. They can be used on tilting windows, hatches, sheds, and other objects that need to be kept stationary.
If moved, the sensor attached to them will send a distress signal to the central monitoring agency or you. Similar to normal doors/windows, these are specifically made for garages and sheds.
The following page has a table of our top picks for home security systems. It also tells you what devices are available in each company’s system so that you can make an informed decision.
These are essential all the security devices that a proper home security system should have. Based on the type and size of your home and its surrounding environment, there may be some devices you definitely need and some that you probably don’t. These help alot to keep your home safer during the holiday season.
Make sure you buy exactly what you need and what is most suited to your house. Make sure your hame is safe for disabled people.
Once you have an idea of all the devices you need, you can refer to our list above and choose whichever company offers a security system catering to your needs. We hope our article gave you some enlightenment on the importance of home security today.