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You want a secure home, but the idea of hiring the pros to install a new security system sounds expensive. You can install this yourself, right?
There are loads of options on the market for DIY smart security. From a simple fake camera to the whole kit-and-kaboodle, your options are pretty much limitless. If you are considering home security make sure that you have adequate cover for your home and contents. Make sure you understand the cover that is available and suitable if you have just bought a home in a new county. For example, visit State Insurance for contents cover for a Kiwi home. If you are buying in Thailand then Axa or AIG might be good choices. Get to know how things work in the country you are moving to.
Decide what level of security you want. What do you need to be able to do? Is it a simple wireless camera by the front door? Or do you need a fully integrated hard-wired system that you need an engineering degree to install?
The prices vary in line with the complexity of the install. From a cheap and cheerful $300 to a more elaborate $1599, here are three systems you can easily buy and install yourself.
Nest is owned by Google. It’s designed for simplicity for the end user. There is an indoor and outdoor camera and a smoke/ CO alarm too. The US system offers window alarms, video doorbells and tag entry systems, but they aren’t in NZ quite yet.
The outdoor camera has a high quality 1080p video and is weatherproof. It costs $359 for the camera. The cloud storage costs $8 a month, which allows for five days of rolling footage, $16 a month for ten days, or $34 a month for 30 days. However, there is no inbuilt alarm and the cameras need to be wired in somehow. The outdoor camera needs an outdoor outlet or to be wired up to an inside outlet.
You’ll probably have to employ an electrician for this particular install.
The Arlo system has a bunch of advantages. Its four battery-powered, wireless, weatherproof cameras can be installed anywhere. The quality of the video is good at 1080p and it has night vision. There’s free cloud storage for seven rollover days of sound and motion triggered HD footage. There’s a 100 decibel alarm and no monthly fees.
However, it costs $1599 and all the components must be connected to a central hub. The hub has to be plugged directly to your router via an ethernet cable. This isn’t an issue if all your ‘technology’ is stored in one place (cupboard under the stairs) but most people do not have that central hub… it’s on the kitchen bench, where another coloured wire sprouting from the router doesn’t fit with the NZ beige and white décor.
Another home security system with a four letter name. For $379, Ring’s wireless outdoor camera does everything you’d expect, with a 110 decibel alarm and a motion-activated spotlight. You can access the video feed live via the free app and the cloud storage costs $4.50 a month for 60 days of rolling footage. There’s also a video doorbell for $329 that is easy to install and comes with a lifetime purchase protection fee so if anyone steals the doorbell, Ring will replace it.
The battery lasts over a month, the alarm is loud enough to attract attention and you can reduce the motion sensor so that moving trees or marauding cats don’t set it off.
The latest offering from Spark, Morepork lets you pick and mix what you want. Door and window sensors, image sensor, video camera, motion sensor, smoke alarm and a control panel that ties it all together. The video camera is wired and is only for indoor use. It has infrared and can see up to 6m in the dark. If the sensor is triggered, the camera starts recording and remembers the previous minute too. It has three resolution options.
Most various extras are battery-powered and don’t require being wired in. Everything needs to be within range of your router, and connects via the control panel.
The downside is the price. The full starter kit is $498 and provides the control panel, three door/ window sensors, one image sensor and one video camera. The camera on its own is $169.95. There’s an outdoor camera for $299.95 which requires being hardwired in. Then, there’s the monthly fee. A self-monitoring plan is $39.95 per month for 12 twelve months. That’s quite a lot compared to some of the other options.
What is the best option for you?
So which should you choose? It really depends on what you want. Morepork would be the easiest for someone who wants a simple DIY system. You can easily add components as you need. However, the cost will stack up pretty quickly and the outdoor camera will need an electrician.
For the truly DIY option, Ring is the best. There’s no need to hire a sparky and you can install yourself in an hour or so.
The downside of wireless cameras is that they’ll need recharging and new batteries at some point. Is it worth saving a few dollars for an electrician for a lifetime of climbing up ladders and having to buy batteries?