Traditional burglar alarms have been protecting Britain’s properties for decades – but they’ve now got a more contemporary competitor.
A wave of ‘smart’ home security systems have hit the market, with manufacturers claiming they provide many of the features of a standard burglar alarm with the added advantage of enabling you to control, monitor and interact with your home from an app on your smartphone or tablet.
With a recent Which? Trusted Traders survey finding that 70% of us worry about home security in the darker days of winter, could a smart home security system provide enough protection to ease these fears? We’ve tried out five of the latest systems to find out.
See our smart home security system reviews for our expert verdict.
What is a smart home security system?
Smart home security kits typically include a combination of wireless security cameras, sirens, motion detectors, door locks, and sensors that detect when a door or window has been opened.
What you get varies between the different brands, but most manufacturers offer a range of different kits, plus the option to buy extra compatible gadgets separately. All come with a central internet-connected ‘hub’, which wirelessly connects to and communicates with a smartphone app and the other components of the system.
Using the app, you can monitor your home by receiving alerts, viewing photos or video taken by a security camera and, in some cases, control parts of your home such as the lighting, heating or appliances.
Find out more about how it all works in our smart home security buying guide.
Smart security systems on trial
Panasonic and Samsung are just two of the high-profile early arrivals to the smart security market, but it’s not restricted to tech giants – more traditional security names such as Honeywell, Response Electronic and Yale offer their own systems, too.
The potential benefits of smart security systems aren’t limited to the ability to check on your home from your phone. The fact that they can be bought off the shelf for a few hundred pounds and then self installed is bound to appeal to some, as will the ability to customise the system to suit your property and lifestyle.
To find out whether smart home security systems offer the convenience and peace of mind they claim, we installed five systems in the homes of Which? researchers and took them for a test run. We also asked a security expert to assess the systems, examining whether each has what it takes to genuinely improve home security.
So, can a smart security system really protect you from burglars? Discover our verdict by reading our first look reviews:
- Honeywell evohome Security Kit 2 – £248
- Panasonic Smart Home Monitoring & Control Kit KX-HN6012EW – £230
- Response Electronics miGuard Aw1iP116 Wireless WiFi Alarm System with IP HD Camera – £200
- Samsung SmartThings Starter Kit – £200
- Yale Smart Living Smart Home Alarm & View Kit SR-330 – £400
Keeping your home secure
Having some kind of burglar alarm at home isn’t the only way you can improve home security. Our security expert also gave other tips, such as ensuring outdoor tools are always locked away (so they can’t be used to gain access to your home) or using a timer, solar switch or smart plug to turn on a lamp or two to give the appearance that someone’s home when you’re not there.
If you need advice, read more on how to secure your home.