With the holiday season fast approaching (or already here for the last couple months if we follow the ads), it’s time to start thinking about gifts for your friends and loved ones, and we’re here to help. We’ve got a list of five great gifts for your security-minded friends!
- Video Doorbells. Skybell and Ring both have products for about $200. These devices are both a doorbell and a camera. They connect to your wifi and send you a video stream so that you can see who’s at your door. Like a peephole for the digital age! These devices are great because you don’t have to be home to see who’s at your door. Even better than a standard peephole, these devices have motion sensing (so they start recording if someone walks in front of the door), and 2 way audio, so you can talk to whoever is there. That’s a lot of tech packed into a pretty affordable package.
- No Contract Home Security. Despite recent concerns of hacking no contract home security systems like SimpliSafe and LiveWatch allow you to set up a security system with motion sensors, door and window sensors, cameras, and alarms without having to sign up for an expensive contract from a security company. The basic packages are around $100, and both companies provide monitoring services for around $30/month (so, sort of a contract, but you can cancel anytime). These security systems alert you on your smartphone if the alarm is tripped, and if you have a monitoring subscription, the company will alert the authorities and people on your contact list. You can also get the security system without the monitoring (of course, they don’t recommend this).
- Smart Lights. Two of the top brands are Phillips Hue and Stack. These expensive lightbulbs cost about $75 for a starter kit. You might say, “yeah, but they’re just lightbulbs.” These aren’t your ordinary lightbulbs. Depending on the model, they come with WIFI and/or Bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to control the brightness and (on some models) hue of your lights from your smartphone. Not only does this make setting mood lighting convenient, but you can also control your lights remotely. This has a huge advantage to timers. If you leave your lights on all the time, or if you have a timer set for when you are away, there is still a pattern and it could easily look like nobody is home. Sure, it’s better than a dark house, but if someone’s casing the place, it’s not hard to see a pattern. With smart lights you could randomly turn on and off your lights while you’re away making it look very much like your home is occupied.
- Canary. We’re intrigued by these devices. Billed as small, all-in-one security solutions, these are weatherproof security monitors that include a siren, HD camera, and air monitor. Running about $200 these devices provide a great alternative to complex security camera systems. You can monitor them from an app on your smartphone and they are much smaller than most security cameras. Like a canary in a coal-mine, the air monitor is a particularly cool feature detecting air quality, temperature and humidity. You can also pay for a plan that saves the data that Canary collects for 7 days instead of the included 12 hour cache.
- The Package Guard. Of course, we couldn’t complete this list without including The Package Guard. Self-promoting? Maybe. Still, we’re really excited about this product. The Package Guard costs $89 and is a great gift regardless what holiday you celebrate this season. Another smart device, The Package Guard is a Frisbee-sized device where couriers can leave your package. Thanks to Wi-Fi connectivity, it sends you an alert that your package has been delivered. If the package is removed, an alarm sounds and you’re alerted. While we think The Package Guard is an awesome holiday gift, you might even buy one for yourself as a way to keep your other holiday purchases safe when they are delivered!