Best smart home security systems 2021

The best smart home security for UK homeowners: easy to install, affordable and reliable

Best smart home security systems 2021

by William Austin-Lobley |
Updated on

There are a lot of smart home security systems available in 2021. Over the last few years, we’ve seen the big names of smart home devices release increasingly impressive security cameras, doorbells and movement sensors.

Smart home security technology has moved far more quickly than any of us average mortals could’ve predicted. In this guide, we’re going to break down the best smart home security systems available in the UK, so you can make an informed decision when upgrading your home security.

Security Camera close-up

What is a smart home security system?

A smart home security system combines traditional home security methods, such as CCTV and burglar alarm systems, with contemporary smart device features.

As Technopedia so elegantly put it, a smart device can “connect, share and interact with its user and other smart devices.” The connections are typically wireless and use the internet, NFC, Bluetooth, NFC and Zigbee connections. Think smart TVs, smartphones and smart speakers - they are all devices that can connect to wireless networks and talk with each other. Apply this principle to home security devices, and you’ve got smart home security.

Smart home security systems can communicate with other smart devices in a network to create an easy-to-install web of interlinked security devices, such as doorbells, motions detectors, and CCTV cameras.

One example of such a device is a Ring Doorbell. It connects to a home network and communicates with smartphones, allowing users to be alerted via a smartphone or smart home hub that someone is at the front door. The Ring Doorbell video is viewable remotely, and a small speaker allows the device to act as a two-way intercom.

Similarly, Ring has a popular device known as the Stick Up Cam. It’s effectively a CCTV camera with a video feed viewable from a smartphone, computer or compatible smart home hub. It can be set to alert the homeowner to movement, even when they are away from home.

Similar communication and alert features are available on a host of other home security devices, including motion sensors and window tamper alarms.

If you’d like to know more about smart home security systems, be sure to check out our guide at the bottom of the page, where we answer some frequently asked questions. If you’re more than happy to jump right into the good stuff, continue reading for our guide to the best home security systems for UK homes.

The best smart home security systems 2021

Best home security sensor kit

The Yale IA-320 is a great starter kit for a family home or a complete system for an apartment. In addition to carrying a Yale seal of approval, the system offers a twist on conventional motion-sensing alarm systems. As an encrypted wireless unit, there’s no need to run long cables between each alarm - it only requires an AC lead and carries an internal battery in case of a power outage. Each sensor has a range of 200m, meaning that you could even protect a garage or shed with ease.

The system can be armed, partially armed and disarmed via Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa devices and the Yale smartphone app. The app also allows for smartphone alerts, check-ins, and has a proximity reminder that will remind you to set the alarm as you move away from the house - it even reports on who was last to leave the house. Additionally, the system works with Philips Hue lights so that if there is an intruder, red lights will flash along with the siren. We can’t imagine anyone hanging around very long in that situation.

There is no contract, no monitoring fees and no hidden fees with the Yale system, and users will be able to integrate up to 40 Yale devices into the system.

Best outdoor CCTV starter kit

The eufy Security system is a CCTV starter kit, coming with two cameras and a central hub, known as HomeBase. The kit is compatible with a smart home system and will integrate with Amazon Alexa devices.

The HomeBase holds 16GB local encrypted storage that allows you to keep up to three months of video, allowing you to refer back to events without the need for any expensive storage subscriptions.

The two outdoor CCTV cameras have a 1080p resolution and a 135-degree field of vision. The cameras are weatherproof and powered by rechargeable batteries that hold up to 180-days of charge. Each camera has built-in LED spotlights and night vision modes. It supports detection zones, and human detection ensures that pets and local critters don’t set off alerts in the middle of the night. Two-way speak is also here.

This kit serves as a good foundation for those wanting sensors and keypad alarm systems, as eufy offers a comprehensive range of additional products for the security system.

The Best Hive Security Systems

Hive is a well-established name in smart home utilities, offering some of the best thermostats, lighting, heating and energy monitor devices around. What they are less know for, though equally as adept in, is home security. The brand offers a range of cameras, sensors and motion detectors that can build a smart home security system. Even better, though, is the brand’s openness: the Hive Hub is required for any Hive security device to work and is compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa devices.

More than just security devices, many of the devices can use Hive Actions to trigger useful events around the home. For example, the door sensor can detect when your front door is closed and alert the system to switch off all the smart lights around the home.

If any motion is detected while youu2019re away from home, youu2019ll know about it. But it offers more than just security - it can also be used in conjunction with Hive light and heatings, triggering certain smart routines, known as Hive Actions, when you enter or exit a room.

This sensor will alert you when a window or door is opened and can also be used to make sure that windows are closed before leaving the house. Hive Actions work in several ways to promote security and save energy.

The View has a 130-degree field of view with the ability for eight-times zoom. The View will automatically alert and record when encountering movement, and the app can be used for a live video feed and to look back at the previous 24-hours of footage. Its stylish design is great for keeping it hidden from sight.

The Hive 360 Home Hub is a required purchase - it is the central point of communication for all Hive security devices. It allows for integration with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa devices.

The Best Ring Security Systems

Ring is one of the most popular home security and video monitoring brands on the market. That’s no surprise, given that the brand has the might of Amazon behind it. However, it’s not just good marketing that’s got Ring to where it is today. It carries a highly accomplished and easily understood range of products. Each product is sold as an individual unit and is reasonably priced, meaning that you can pick and mix items to build the home security system that works best for you.

As Ring connects to a home internet network, these feeds and alerts are viewable from anywhere with an internet connection. Note that a subscription is available that allows you to store footage and receive monitoring support.

Here are some standouts from the range:

The Ring Alarm 7 Piece Kit is a great foundation for any Ring-centric home security system. Here, the central hub works as the point of communication for Ringu2019s more traditional security devices: the Motion Detector and the Contact Sensor. This central hub allows for the devices to integrate into an established smart home system. It is also compatible with Ring camera products and is expandable via additional sensors that are available separately. The system can be self-monitored, or a monitoring (with cellular backup) subscription is available for £8 p/m.

The infamous Ring Doorbell replaces a standard doorbell. It can send alerts to all Alexa devices and speakers, while the video feed is viewable on any smart device with a screen. This includes smartphones and smart hubs with screens, and even some Alexa TV devices. The device also acts as an intercom, allowing you to talk to the person at your door. It can be battery-powered or hardwired into the mains.

The Ring Stick Up Cam is a CCTV camera with two-way talk functionality and a 130-degree viewing field. It can be installed inside or out and boasts motion detection alerts, and the video feed viewable remotely. There are two models available: battery powered and mains powered.

Think of the Ring Spotlight Cam as an outdoor upgrade to the Stick Up Cam. It has the same basic functionality, but with added infrared night vision, LED spotlight and siren, which you can activate from a connected device to scare off any pesky neer do wells. For more light and more impact, weu2019d recommend the Ring Floodlight Cam.

The Best Google Security Systems

For anyone running a smart home based on the powers of Google Assistant, then we have good news. The Google Nest range has few tasty security and safety options available. Though the product range is smaller and a tad more expensive than the alternatives, its user-friendly and reliable nature is worth it. Plus, as we’ve seen with the Hive range, compatible options from other brands are readily available. Here are the best smart home security options available in Google’s range:

The Google Nest Hub (2nd Generation) is a smart hub with a 7-inch touchscreen, voice control and quick gesture support. Itu2019s a robust hub that is compatible with multiple brands and products and serves as a good monitoring point for camera feeds and home security monitoring. This bundle include the Google Nest Hello Doorbell, an intercom-style doorbell with an integrated camera and two-way talk. It can send alerts to smart devices and smartphones and has a 160-degree field of view.

While the Nest Protect offers no security against intruders, it does offer protection against smoke and carbon monoxide. It carries a comprehensive Split-Spectrum Sensor that can detect both fast and slow-burning fires. The alarm tests itself every day (silently), and alerts and the current alarm state are viewable from a smartphone.

Smart home security systems FAQ:

What is a detection zone?

Many smart cameras and smart doorbells will alert you when they detect movement. However, if you live by a busy road or public footpath, you may only want to be alerted when someone steps into a specified area - these are “detection zones”.

These zones are typically set via a smartphone app and can be set with ease. They won’t stop the camera from seeing what’s happening elsewhere, but the camera will only alert you when something enters the zone you have set.

Detection zone example

What is part-arming?

If an alarm system can part-arm, it means that you can arm only specific sensors, rather than all of them. This is helpful if you own pets - you can leave the room they are in un-armed while you go out, while the rest of the house is activated and will alert you to intrusion or movement. Similarly, you can arm the downstairs alarms when you go to bed, meaning you can get up and use the bathroom at night without worry, but you have the peace of mind that the downstairs is being monitored throughout the night.

Do different brand smart home security devices work with each other?

Whether you can mix and match smart home security systems depends on many variables, including the make and model of smart items you already own. However, it is often true that different brands can function together, especially with some of the biggest names in the market: Amazon Alexa, Google Hub and Hive.

Sometimes individual sensors and camera will not be compatible with another brand’s smart hub, as it needs to communicate with a proprietary hub station. However, it's sometimes the case that the proprietary hub station can then integrate with other brands.

A smart home security system can be as simple, complicated, pure or mixed as you see fit. Whenever you’re in doubt, be sure to check with manufacturers. The vast majority of the time, brands are very transparent about device compatibility.

Does having a smart home security system affect my home insurance?

Sometimes - it depends on your insurance provider. We are still witnessing the growth of smart home security, and many providers have yet to catch up with the technology.

Money Supermarket cites a study by InsuranceNexus that suggests that only 60% of 300 questioned insurance providers are looking to include smart devices in insurance underwriting within the next five years. However, some insurance providers are moving quickly in this area, so if you’re interested in adopting smart home security as a way of looking for lower insurance premiums, seeks these out.

Though a smart home security system may not lower your insurance premiums, there are still plenty of other reasons to have smart home security. They can help you keep an eye on your property when away from home, check windows and ensure that loved ones have arrived safely. They can also act as a deterrent against would-be criminals and can alert you to potential flaws in the way you secure your home.

Get home insurance quotes here.

It may also be valuable to have video footage of a theft, attempted break-in or criminal damage in proving that your claim is legitimate. We’ve seen this trend of growing importance in the automotive world with car insurance claims and supporting dash-cam footage.

William Lobley is a Content Writer and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in technology, gaming and outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

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