Reduce stress and increase your wellness by setting up a safe home for you and your family! In this Smart Home Security Guide, we'll share our favorite savvy products that will help you rest easy, both when you're home and away.
Health and wellness isn't just about food–in fact, the very definition of holistic health is the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.
I truly believe that health isn't just about how many calories we consume or how many minutes we spend on the treadmill; rather true and lasting wellness is understanding ALL of the parts or our health as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.
All this to say, having a safe home is an area that is often overlooked when it comes to health. While we may think about the safety of the cleaning products we're using, or strive for non-toxic bedding, the literal security of our homes isn't a topic that many people typically put in the wellness category.
Here at R+R, we're changing that up! Having peace of mind about our physical security is of utmost importance when it comes to decreasing our stress levels and increasing our overall sense of well-being.
With smart technology, security devices have come such a long way and can literally be controlled from our fingertips, from anywhere!
Whether you're on vacation, at work or out on date night with the kids at home, being able to relax and know that your family, pets and belongings are safe allows your vigilance to take a back a seat, so you can rest assured and focus on being present and enjoying yourself.
To wit, we've created a Smart Home Security Guide highlighting our favorite safety products that can truly make a difference in your peace of mind.
After moving into a transitional neighborhood myself last year, I know firsthand how important it is to feel safe, and have personally used all of the products listed below to enhance my sense of safety, security, peace of mind and well-being.
Let's get to it!
SMART HOME SECURITY: CAMERAS
I've found extreme peace of mind being able to monitor and secure my home with cameras. I’ve recently been enjoying next-level security and convenience with Ring’s Wireless Video Doorbell 2! Armed with motion-activated alerts, 1080HD video and two-way talk, Ring lets you watch over your home and answer the door from anywhere through the app. This means that – day or night, rain or shine – you’re always home and can monitor what’s going on right at your doorstep.
I also got the Ring Outdoor Wi-Fi Cam with Motion Activated Floodlight, which we have in our backyard. It’s amazing–not only does it provide lighting at night (which is conveniently motion activated), but there’s even an alarm feature that you can sound if you catch somebody that shouldn’t be there.
I’ll admit, I also love using the camera to keep an eye on our puppy when she’s outside without us.
Ring also sells spotlight security cameras and they’re getting ready to launch a comprehensive whole-house security system, which I can’t wait to get! Check out their website to discover all your options!
SMART HOME SECURITY: AUTOMATIC GATE OPENERS
If you – like me – have a gate at the bottom of your driveway, or anywhere on your property like around a pool – Mighty Mule automatic gate openers are the answer! We have the Mighty Mule Medium Duty Dual Swing Automatic Gate Opener and are really pleased with it.
No more getting out of your car in the dark or in the pouring rain to open a gate.
The Mighty Mule brand offers the “Do It Yourselfer” a professional grade gate opener that is affordable, easy enough to install yourself and exceeds all national and federal safety standards. You can also install the Mighty Mule Automatic Gate Lock for additional security, which automatically locks the gate (and has a manual key as well just in case).
If you're wanting to restrict access to a dangerous area for your kiddos or pets, like around a pool, the Mighty Mule Bulldog Pedestrian Gate Lock is just what you need. It's pedestrian friendly, meaning it does not require a gate opener but instead utilizes a digital keypad for security.
We personally have two remote controls that we keep in our cars for easy access. I'll admit, the gate can be a little slow to open and close, and the remote's don't work too well from a distance (i.e. you have to be pretty close to the gate for it to open), but it sure as heck beats having to get out of the car and open it manually!
SMART HOME SECURITY: LIGHTING
Smart switches can not only help you save money (who doesn't love that?!), but also create ease and safety with their customizable timers and remote access from the app. Make it look like your house is occupied when you're away by turning on lights from the app. Or, if coming home after sunset, turn on the lights in advance so you can return home to a well lit space instead of into darkness.
One of my favorite smart lighting products is the Philips Hue White Ambiance Starter Kit, which is a device that also allows you to control your lights through your smartphone. With this one, you can select from 50,000 shades of white light, from daylight to a warm glow, to match your mood or activity. Plus, LED lights save a ton of money!
We've hooked ours up through Siri, so all we have to do is say “Hey Siri, turn the kitchen lights down to 20%” and it's done. Pretty cool, right?
Wemo (by Belkin) is another great brand I've been using – their Wireless Light Control Switch has a range of capabilities: smart dimmers, app or voice controlled timers, smart plugs where you can control your outlets from the app, and more, plus real-time energy reports on your devices so you can further cut costs. I love being able to turn appliances off from my phone and adjust lighting with the click of a button!
We installed their smart switch in my office and I couldn't be happier with it. I can control it from my phone, set timers and schedules, save on energy costs and make it look like we're home when we're not.
Wellness tip: I have a schedule set in my office so that lights go on at 9:30 in the morning and off at 5:30 at night to give me a gentle reminder when to start and stop working.
SMART HOME SECURITY: KEYLESS DEADBOLTS
If you're still hiding an extra key under your doormat, it's time for a major upgrade. When you go keyless, not only do you never have to worry about losing your house keys, you also never have to worry about someone stealing them.
That’s one of the reasons why we upgraded our door locks with smart deadbolts–I’m obsessed with our Schlage Sense Matte Black Century Smart Lock!
Simply enter an access code on the touchscreen to unlock the door. You can lock and unlock your deadbolt from anywhere using their app – so you’ll never again have to go back home and make sure you remembered to lock your door.
Plus, you can share access codes with trusted friends and family with just a few taps – no more keeping track of spare keys. Or, simply unlock the door from the app if you're expecting company when you're not home.
I love this feature for when we're out of town and need someone to come check on our kitties.
Schlage locks also have a built-in auto-lock and alarm feature where your deadbolt will activate an alarm when the lock is tampered with, or a significant amount of force is applied to the door.
Auto-lock allows you to set your deadbolt to automatically lock after a given amount of time, so if you forget to lock the door behind you when you get home, you don’t have to worry about locking up before you go to bed – it will already be done! We have ours set to auto-lock after four minutes and it's so helpful!
SMART HOME SECURITY: ALARM SYSTEM
At our old house, we used to have the Vivint alarm system, which we really loved since we could control everything from our home and check on our house easily while we were away. But it was super expensive (something like $70/month at the time) and the customer service was pretty terrible.
So when we moved into our new house, we did a ton of research on which alarm system we wanted to get. Here are some notes from our comparison shopping:
- Frontpoint, $2,234.35 would be our total cost over 5 years including equipment and monthly monitoring.
- Vivint, $2,798.40 would be our total cost over 5 years including equipment and monthly monitoring.
- Abode, $1,526.00 would be our total cost over 5 years including equipment and monthly monitoring.
- Ring Protect, $859.00 would be our total cost over 5 years including equipment and monthly monitoring.
- SimpliSafe, $1,298.40 would be our total cost over 5 years including equipment and monthly monitoring.
**Note: each of these systems included a control panel, motion sensor, at least 4 door/window sensors, and a yard sign and window decals. A few also threw in remote key faabs, app usage, and a camera. Otherwise, it was a pretty apples to apples comparison.
So Ring Protect was by far the cheapest, and though they haven't officially launched their system yet, if their doorbells and cameras are any indication, I know it'll be super easy to use and high-quality, sleek devices.
In the meantime, we decided to go with SimpliSafe, which was the 2nd most affordable choice. It's a DIY alarm system that couldn't have been easier to install (literally just stick the sensors where you want them and pair with your device), and it's effective and provides lots of peace of mind.
However, it's not without its flaws. For one, we can't control the system from our phones unless we upgrade our monthly monitoring from $14.99/month to $35/month, which doesn't seem worth the cost to us. Secondly, the system sometimes sets off false alarms when our pets are inside and set off the motion sensors, which can be a pain.
We may switch to Ring when it comes out, but for now, SimpliSafe has been a good option for us.
What are your favorite ways to keep your home safe? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
Disclaimers: I was provided with free products from the brands mentioned above in return for their inclusion in this post with my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by these partnerships. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for Root + Revel to provide free content and healthy living inspiration.
This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust.