Find Out How Smart Devices Can Protect Your Home – AARP

You’re on vacation. Should you worry about what’s happening at home?

Maybe your neighborhood has had a spike in crime or you’re concerned about fire or water damage while you’re away. Advances in technology and home-monitoring systems can provide protection and peace of mind, whether you’re home or not.

Beyond smart speakers and smart devices, today’s smart homes come equipped with doorbell security cameras, utility sensors and other Wi-Fi-enabled systems to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. You can purchase devices that send push notifications to you over your phone or computer, or you can pay as you go with monthly subscriptions.

Cameras can become your eyes, ears

For outside your home, you can invest in something as basic as a single video doorbell, which rings on your phone via a companion app whenever someone presses the button or, if motion is detected, even before that.

With products like Google’s Nest Doorbell, Ring’s Video Doorbell Pro and inexpensive Blink doorbells, you’re able to chat with someone on your doorstep without them knowing if you’re inside. You can see them through your smartphone, but they can’t see you. All activity is time-stamped, and you can archive and share the video.

Blink, $29.99; Google Nest Doorbell, $179.99 and up; Ring Video Doorbell Pro, $169.99

On top of their price tags, these door video cameras come with a subscription option if you want to go back in time to see who was at your door previously. The footage is stored in the cloud.

So while you can chat live with someone on your doorstep for the price of the device, reviewing what you missed will cost you.

Blink allows you to store the video locally with the upfront purchase of a Sync Module 2 ($34.99). The Nest Aware subscription for the Google Nest doorbell can go back up to 30 days and offers other features, like video clip sharing. Ring’s Protect plan for Amazon devices goes back up to 60 days and shares videos and photos.

Blink Basic plan, $3 a month or $30 a year; Google Nest Aware plan, $8 a month or $80 a year; Ring Protect plan, $3.99 a month or $39.99 a year

Instead of paying to access previously recorded video, you can opt for the Lorex 2K Wi-Fi Video Doorbell, which records on a 32-gigabyte (GB) MicroSD memory card, much like the one you have in your smartphone. And its smartphone app lets you chat in real time with visitors and review older videos. The wired doorbell also comes with color night vision, a nightlight and an option to play prerecorded audio messages when someone rings the bell.

Lorex 2K Wi-Fi Video Doorbell, $179

To light up the outside, monitor and greet visitors, and record at the same time, Lorex’s weatherproof 1080p Wi-Fi Floodlight Security Camera — the “p” stands for progressive scan — houses two ultrabright LED lights for a total of 4,000 lumens, full high-definition (HD) recording, 32GB of expandable storage, a remotely triggered siren, two-way audio and infrared night vision. A popular spot for this device is over a driveway, which it will automatically illuminate when someone pulls in.

Lorex 1080p Wi-Fi Floodlight Security Camera, $179


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