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Updated: 23 Jun 2022

Ring smart burglar alarm with outdoor siren on test, plus insecure alarms exposed

Our latest smart tech reviews include a range of feature-packed models to secure your home,  plus models that raised concerns
Andrew Laughlin

If you want a flexible and feature-packed alarm for your property, you should choose a smart alarm. These nifty devices can be controlled either with a keypad or fob, or an app on your phone. 

Ring is one of the biggest names in this market, and we've just tested the new second generation model with outdoor siren. We've also put models from ERA, Eufy and more under the spotlight. 

Importantly with a device intended to protect your home, you also need to make sure it's secure. Read on for two alarms that gave us cause for concern in our latest test. 

Burglar alarm and smart home security reviews - see tested smart alarms and traditional bells-only alarms

Ring 5 Piece Kit (Second Generation) with Outdoor Siren, £290

Originally tested by us in 2021, Ring's 5 Piece Kit (Second Generation) is packed with features, and can be controlled with either a keypad on your wall or a well-designed mobile app you download to your phone.

It comes with a base station, keypad for your wall, a contact sensor, a motion detector and a range extender, but one of the drawbacks we found was the lack of an external sounder/siren. Not only does this project the alarm out of your home, it also demonstrates to any potential burglars that your property is alarmed. The new addition also ups the volume, making it a more well-rounded deterrent.

Installing the hexagonal Ring siren is reasonably simple if you go for battery power using the supplied three D batteries, and the rest of the kit is a doddle, so it's a good option if you're not too handy round the home.

We've now tested the kit with the siren included and you can read our full verdict in this Ring 5 Piece Kit (Second Generation) with Outdoor Siren review.

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More smart burglar alarms on test

ERA HomeGuard Pro Smart Home Alarm System, £250

ERA is a well known brand in burglar alarms and the HomeGuard Pro is one of its wi-fi-enabled alarm models. This starter kit includes a hub base that doubles as the sounder, along with a motion sensor, contact sensor and two key fobs. 

It doesn't come with an external sounder included, but you can use it with the HomeGuard Pro app, along with voice-control systems Alexa and Google Assistant. 

For the full review and test results, see our ERA HomeGuard Pro Smart Home Alarm System review.

Eufy 5-Piece Home Alarm Kit, £160

Eufy makes a range of smart doorbells and wireless security cameras, as well as this burglar alarm kit. Included is a HomeBase hub, a keypad to attach to the wall, one motion detector and two contact sensors for a door or window. 

You can download the Eufy Security app to your smartphone to control the system, or use an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant device.

See how it fared under testing in our Eufy 5-Piece Home Alarm Kit review

Also in the batch: 

  • Somfy Protect Home Alarm Security System (£350) – a comprehensive kit with clever features, such as being able to tell between a door being forced open and a ball being kicked at it, to avoid false alarms. It's compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google and IFTTT smart home software.
  • Boundary Starter Bundle (£200) – an alarm starter kit that comes with a hub and keypad, plus a sensor for a window or door. You can also download an app to control the system via your phone, or with Alexa and Google voice controls.
  • Hey! Security Kit (£130) – a relatively cheap starter kit that includes a smart doorbell and a wireless camera, along with a door/window sensor and motion detector. It comes with an app to control from your phone, and also ticks the Alexa and Google box.
  • Bosch Security Starter Kit (£195) – you get a fair few devices in this kit, including a smoke alarm, motion sensor and a door/window sensor. It offers a wide range of control options, including Apple Homekit and Philips Hue.

Why security matters with smart alarms

You might think when buying smart products that if they are on sale at major retailers, then someone has ensured they will not be easily hacked. Sadly, this is not the case. 

While the UK government is currently preparing legislation for smart product security, at the moment there is no guarantee that the product you're considering has been made with good security and privacy protections by design. 

This is why we run a full programme of tests that puts smart product to the sword – from how well they can fend off hackers to whether they keep your private data, private. And as you can see below, we regularly find causes for concern in our testing. 

A hacker in front of a computer

Security notices placed on alarms

Our security notices are designed to bring attention to issues we've found during testing – either a vulnerability or a product about to lose software update support. 

In our latest batch of smart alarms we've added alert notices to the two below alarms to warn you of issues. 

We are attempting to contact both companies to address the issues and will remove the notices once we have dealt with all the problems we found. 

Security Notice: Burg-Wächter Burg Protect 2210 Smart Alarm

When we tested this alarm in May 2022 we were concerned to see that the app hadn’t been updated since 2019, which for a security product is very worrying. 

You don’t have to set up an account to use it, but it is recommended. But the app lets you use a very weak password that could be easily guessed by a hacker. 

We also found some issues with unencrypted data transfer that gave us reason to worry. 

We’ve contacted Burgwachter about our findings and it told us that this alarm has been discontinued, but it is still on sale on various websites. We will continue talks with the company and update our review of the Burg Protect as soon the matter is resolved.

Security Notice: Veho Cave Smart Home security starter kit VHS-001-SK

We found similar issues with this Veho branded alarm. Not only had the app not been updated in nearly a year at time of testing, but it also had a potential security flaw. 

We’ve contacted Veho about our findings and are in the process of getting the issue addressed and will update our review once we have resolved the issue. 

Until then we would advise you consider other options in our burglar alarm reviews