We are big fans of home alone over here at Keytek and have decided to look at the traps that Kevin Macalister sets up for the ‘Wet Bandits’ and whether they would be useful in actually securing your home.
Now in doing some research into the traps Kevin sets up and the real life consequences of using them on real burglars, we definitely would not advise that you employ any of these tactics. However, there is a ton of home security inspiration to be taken from the Home Alone movies. We will go through some of Kevin’s most ingenuous booby traps and advise you on how to secure your home.
The Spider Surprise
Kevin employs the use of his brothers’ pet tarantula to give one of the intruders a fright. Now, spiders are not the most common of pets in the average UK household. But other pets such as dogs can be a good deterrent to a potential burglar. The noise of them barking or moving around the house is an asset, and the use of a ‘beware of the dog’ sign is an extra precaution.
The Slimy Ladder
Kevin has the ingenious ideas of smearing the rungs of a ladder with goo, making it impossible for one of the ‘Wet Bandits’ to climb up. We can take two things from this, one; do not leave ladders in a place that they can be used to gain entry. Also you can invest in ‘anti-climb’ paint; this has a thick oily coating that looks glossy when applied. However, it remains slippery and makes it almost impossible for a burglar to climb your wall.
Let the TV do the Talking
‘Merry Christmas ya filthy animal!’ may the most iconic line from a fake movie within a movie. Kevin tricks the ‘Wet Bandits’ by playing a film loud on the television. While this is amusing in the film, the principle is solid. Sounds and lights will deter burglars from breaking in. You can set timers on lamps to come on and off periodically, to give the allusion of a presence in the house. You can even buy a T.V Simulator that flashes different coloured lights, so to someone looking through a window, the television seems to be on.
Secure the Perimeter
Kevin uses a couple of techniques to secure the perimeter of his home. He ices the stairs, the ‘Wet Bandits’ slip and fall, so are unable to reach the front door. He also heats up the front door knob to such a temperature that it burns the pattern into one burglars hand; he also throws bricks at them from the roof of the house. We do not suggest ANY of these however; securing your perimeter is a good idea. Your fencing, hedging or walls can attract or deter burglars. Check for weak spots, a rusty lock or unstable fence for example. A thorny hedge around your home can put thieves off, but you will need to make sure that passers by can still see the front of your home, so a burglar won’t go unnoticed. A gravel drive way is a great deterrent, as an intruder will be put off by the noise it makes when walking on it.
Get to know your Neighbours!
Kevin spends the entire movie scared of his ‘creepy’ neighbour Marley and does not go to him for help. But it is he that saves Kevin from the ‘Wet Bandits’ at the end of the film. If Kevin had got to know his neighbour; he could have gone to him for help straight away. It is important to get to know your neighbours as they are the people most likely to notice if something unusual has happened in your house. You can also ask then to keep an eye on your home if you go on holiday, move any post that may be hanging out of your door.
Kevin’s antics are extreme, and of course are done for comic effect, so we definitely don’t recommend you copy him. However a lot of inspiration can be taken from the Home Alone Movies; taking steps to protect your home and belongings is the most effective action you can take against burglaries. So make sure you don’t leave yourself venerable. Visit https://www.keytek.co.uk/security-tips/ to get more advice on how to secure your home.
Bathroom locks are essential in any home, whether it’s only two people that live there, or it’s a house share of 8 people. It’s notoften that you think about the lock on your bathroom door, but it is something that needs some thought. The purpose of a bathroom door lock isn’t to keep out a burglar, but to stop people accidentally walking in when you are indisposed. However, seeing as the bathroom can be one of the most likely places for you to injure yourself, you should think about installing one that can be easily opened from the outside. Having said that, there are still the following security considerations to think about when buying a lock for your bathroom.
1. How much security do you actually need?
The main purpose of a bathroom door lock is to maintain privacy, not to actually provide actual security. The difference between getting a bathroom door lock and a front door lock is that with a lock for the bathroom, you do not have to think about how safe you will be behind the door. Most internal doors have a hollow core, meaning they can be easily kicked down, regardless of what lock is on there. So your main thoughts should be on how much privacy you actually need.
The answer to that really depends on your home situation. If you have young children, you may want to get a lock that is not easy to use, meaning they cannot lock themselves in and you can supervise them easily. If this is the case then you may not want a lock at all. A discreet lock would also work if you have children and still desire a level of privacy. A small lock installed out of a child’s reach is a good solution to the privacy vs safety issue. However if you live with several house mates, you may want a sturdy lock attached to the door, to stop someone walking in without knocking first. So you will want a lock that stops the door from opening when locked from the inside.
2. What would happen in an emergency?
It’s well known that you are more likely to injure yourself in the bathroom than in any other room in your house. This is because you are more likely to be in the bathroom if you are unwell; there is the risk of falling on wet floors or fainting from the heat of your shower. What we are trying to say is, even though you mainly want privacy in the bathroom, there may be some occurrences when someone needs to bypass the security to get to you. This means it’s extremely important to have kind of emergency entry method built in to the bathroom door lock.
As we mentioned before it probably wouldn’t be difficult to kick down a bathroom door, but this is not always advisable and could cause more injury to the person on the other side. So you need to have an emergency entry plan that doesn’t require that amount of force. So whichever lock you buy for you bathroom door, it may be the case that it needs to be unlockable from the outside.
The easier it is to bypass the bathroom door lock the better. In a real emergency situation, you are likely to be in emotional distress, meaning the simpler the bypassing technique the better. It’s advisable to practice before hand, and if you are finding it too difficult to bypass the lock from the outside then you may need to consider getting a different one. It is also a good idea to have a tool you use to specifically open the bathroom door from the outside and know where it is at all times. For example if you use a flathead screw driver then it’s likely to be moved around, and you may not be able to find it quickly when needed. So make sure you have a specific bypass tool that doesn’t move or know that you will have easy access to it when needed. If you have more than one bathroom in your home then it is best to have the same lock installed on all doors, meaning that you only need one bypass method to get in to all the bathrooms.
3. Can everyone use it easily?
Another important factor for choosing a bathroom door lock is the ease of use for everyone who lives in your house. If you are elderly or live with someone who is, or someone in your home has physical disabilities, then it is very important that the lock is simple enough for them to use. Everyone needs to feel like they have some privacy in the bathroom, and installing a lock that’s easy to use can ensure that happens.
If a bathroom door lock is tricky to open, then it’s possible for someone to get locked inside. This is especially true for those who find physical task difficult, so it’s advisable to use only standard locks on your bathroom doors. However if you or someone you live with struggles with standard locks, then there is the option to install what’s call an ‘indicator bolt’. An Indicator Bolt has large handles either side, meaning it’s easy to lock and unlock.
4. What’s the bottom line?
So when it comes to purchasing a bathroom door, you need to consider the safety implications rather than the security ones. A bathroom door lock is there to stop someone walking in when you are using the bathroom, not protect you from an intruder. One of the most important things you need to consider when installing your bathroom lock is how you would bypass it in an emergency.
Padlocks are defined as portable locks with a shackle that may be passed through an opening to prevent use, theft, vandalism or harm. A padlock is traditionally used to secure; gates, sheds, bikes etc.
What do I need to consider when buying a Padlock?
The first thing you need to consider is what your padlock will be protecting. If it’s just going on your shed to stop any kids from stealing your plants then you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money. However if your padlock is securing a £600 bike, then it might be worth investing a little more money in a high security padlock. Once you’ve decided on how much you want to spend then there are some other factors you may want to consider.
Materials and design– As with most things in life you get what you pay for, so if you buy a cheap padlock made with cheap materials, it will be easier to break. Whereas a well-made padlock, constructed with high grade materials will provide you with more protection. If your padlock will spend most of its life outside, then consider buying a weatherproof or waterproof padlock. Its rains a lot in this country so you don’t want your padlock to rust and therefore become ineffective.
The Shackle– you are looking for the silver loop at the top that clicks in to secure the padlock. If you can, get a padlock with the shackle almost completely hidden. One way thieves break padlocks is by snipping the shackle with bolt cutters, but if they can’t get near the shackle, they can’t cut it. Cheaper padlocks tend to have the shackle completely exposed, so again, it goes back to what you are trying to secure and how much you want to spend on a padlock.
Is it a good standard? – To be sure that you are getting a padlock that has been rigorously tested and vetted by a trusted authority, you need to look out for mark of quality. Look for the ‘British Standard’ kite mark. When you see this mark you know that a padlock has been tested by the British Standard Institute and that it passed the criteria set by them.
The British Standard Institute will test the different qualities the padlocks have, for example; how long a padlock would take to pick, or how much force it would take to get through the shackle. So you can be sure that if a padlock has this symbol on, it will be of good quality.
Combination VS Key- You might be more familiar with the key designs as they are more common, but like we’ve stated before it depends on what you are using your padlock for. For example, if it is being used to secure a back gate in a family home, then a combination lock might be best, as many people will need access and there is no risk of losing the key. However if it only one person using the padlock for say, a bike, then a key lock may be more beneficial as you don’t want the code falling into the wrong hands.
If you do decide to go for a padlock with a key then you want as many pins as possible, the more pins the harder it is to copy the key. If you are really worried about someone coping the key then you do have the option of buying a high-end padlock with a restricted key, this means that a Locksmith or key cutter will refuse to cut a new key without evidence that you are the owner.
The Master Lock shrouded padlock has a number of high security features that would appeal to those looking to secure something valuable. It’s a heavy duty padlock with a key opening design rather than a code. It boasts a hardened iron shroud, which has been designed to protect the shackle from anyone using bolt cutters, as well as a dual ball locking mechanism which makes its extremely hard to pick or tamper with. It’s also a great padlock to choose if you need it to endure some bad weather. The Master Lock Shrouded Padlock has a Weather Tough® cover protects lock from water, ice, dirt and grime. It’s currently on Amazon for £35.19, so the price isn’t extortionate, but it’s a little higher than the price of a standard padlock. This will be one of the highest security padlocks you will find, plus it comes with a lifetime warranty, so you can be confident it delivers on all it promises.
The Neulock is a chunky padlock that secures using a bolt and features a seven-lever lock. The padlock has the Sold Secure approval and you can tell it’s a solid peace of kit. It’s made from high grade stainless steel that is rust resistant and won’t corrode. Its designed to attach across a door and its frame, so can serve as a bolt as well as a lock. As part of the testing process, it’s been established that the Neulock can withstand bolt-cutter, drill and hacksaws. The Neulock will come with four keys and a unique ID number, which means that new keys cannot be cut unless the number is provided. It’s currently on Amazon for £64.95, this may seem a large amount of money, but you must consider what you will be securing with the Neulock. Spending almost £65 on a lock will seem worth it, if it stops £1000 worth of items being stolen.
The Rolson is perfect for securing bikes, as it features an in-built alarm that will activate if the lock is tampered with. The 110Db alarm sounds for ten seconds if triggered, after 35 seconds it will reset itself. The idea behind this alarm is that the loud noise will scare off a thief trying to break it or draw enough attention to the situation for them to be apprehended. This does mean that the lock itself isn’t as strong as some more expensive models, so we would recommend that you never use it without the alarm set. Another downside of this lock is that it’s not weatherproof, some users have said that if the lock gets wet, the alarm will no longer work, which may leave your bike vulnerable. You can buy this lock on Amazon for £12, which isn’t exactly breaking the bank. If used properly the Rolson is a good little device, however without the alarm in use, it could leave you open to a theft.
This sturdy little padlock is great if you want a heavy duty combination lock. This padlock will work well on gates, vans, large sheds and garages. You can set your own code and with over 10,000 variations, it’s highly unlikely anyone will ever guess what your code is. It features a 48mm steel body and the shackle is made of hardened steel, meaning it’s a reliable and robust padlock. You can confidently use the Squire padlock outside, ‘All-weather’ is in its name and it lives up to this by being highly resistant to corrosion. It is currently on Amazon for £12, so you’re probably not going to find much better at this price.
5. Yale Closed Shackle High Security Steel Padlock
Yale is one of the biggest names in the security industry, if you’ve done any research on padlocks or any locks for that matter, then you will have come across the name. The Closed Shackle Padlock is perfect for securing anything indoors, tool boxes or internal doors for example. As mentioned before any padlock with a concealed shackle is going to be very hard to tamper with. The Shackle on this Yale padlock is made of boron steel; boron is high-grade precision steel that is used in advanced automotive and heavy-duty industrial applications due to its extreme strength. It also features double ball locking, this means that even if the thief cut the shackle on both sides, it wouldn’t move. The Yale Closed Shackle High Security Steel Padlock is a robust and secure padlock, the only limitation being that it’s not built to withstand bad weather conditions, so its use is limited to inside.
Yale has pretty much dominated the lock industry for over 200 years; they invented the first pin tumbler lock after all! Yale certainly lead the pack when it comes to new ways to protect your home, so it’s no surprise that they have a range of smart home security products. We are going to look at the Yale Smart Lock collection and what it has to offer.
Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock
The Yale Keyless Connected Smart Door lock gives you freedom to secure your home without the need for a key. Simple to use, you now have complete control on how you unlock your door. The Yale Smart Lock is compatible with most 60mm backset Nightlatches and this means that installation is quick and easy. You can go completely keyless and instead use the touch panel control, a key card, a key tag or remote access by installing an app on your smart phone.
The Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock comes with lots of nifty features that make it one of the most appealing smart lock you can get. One of these is the built-in tamper alarm that will go off at 80 decibels the moment it senses someone trying to mess with your lock. Another attractive feature is the 24 hour access code that you can use for guests; this stops you from having to hand out spare keys, which may fall into the wrong hands. Another good feature is that the code is automatically deleted after 24 hours, meaning that no one will be able to use that same code again.
The Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock is powered by 4 AA batteries and the Yale Smart Lock will warn you when the battery is running out. A cleaver fail safe that comes with this Smart Lock is that if it does actually run out of battery, then you will still be able to gain access to your home by simply touching a 9v battery onto the terminals at the bottom of the lock. This provides you with temporary power to unlock the lock; of course you do still need the method of keyless entry, i.e. the key card or your smart phone.
The Yale Smart Lock is perfect for those who have wooden doors with nighlatches, however it doesn’t work with uPVC doors and multipoint locks. The battery life is also questionable, with some users complaining the battery depleted very quickly. Aesthetically the Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock is quite subtle, at a glance you wouldn’t suspect it was a smart lock, which may be a positive for you.
As of April 2019 it is for sale on Amazon for £95, which is a reasonable for such a good smart lock with so many features.
Yale Conexis L1 Smart Door Lock
If you like the sound of the Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock but don’t have a wooden door then never fear. Yale’s Conexis L1 Smart Door Lock is the smart lock you can get for your uPVC door with a multipoint lock. Just like the Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock, you can go completely keyless and use a key card, key tag or your smart phone to access your home. Another feature that it shares with the Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock is the tamper alarm. Statistics tell us that burglars like easy access, so if a horrendously loud alarm goes off when the tamper with the lock, they are more than likely to run away.
A great little extra with this Smart Lock is that you can send virtual keys to anyone who has the app; this can be for a few weeks, or even a few hours depending on who you are sending the key to. The lock and app use Bluetooth to connect with each other meaning you don’t have to rely on an internet connection to gain entry into the house. The Conexis L1 Smart Door Lock will also let you know who coming and going, by knowing which mobile key has been used. The Smart Lock will send notifications to your phone with the identity of the person who has used a mobile key. If you’re into cool, quirky features then you will love the ‘twist and go’ option that comes with the Conexis L1 Smart Door Lock. You literally twist your phone in a 90 degrees, after tapping the lock with your phone.
The Conexis L1 Door Lock is fairly complicated to install, so you may need to hire a professional to fit it correctly and not damage the door. It’s also a good Smart Lock to get if you don’t want a big glaring sign on your door that days ‘I’ve got a very expensive lock’ as it does just look like a normal handle for a multi-point lock. It would only be with proper investigation that someone may realise that it’s a Smart Lock.
As of April 2019 it’s selling for £190 on Amazon, which is a bit on the pricey side, however you can trust that with any Yale lock, it’s going to be one of the best out there.
Yale doesn’t have a huge range of smart locks, but they have definitely gone for quality over quantity. Whether you have a wooden door or a uPVC door Yale have got you covered. As well as including some fancy features at the heart of both the Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock and the Conexis L1 Smart Door Lock is a solid door lock that will make you and your home more secure.
Disclaimer; there is no way to 100% burglar proof your doors. We have put together a guide that will help hinder, discourage and put off potential burglars from entering your home.
Experiencing a break in can be traumatic; some unknown person entering your home can make you feel unsafe, even after the locks have been changed. Keytek® have put together some tips for you to improve your front door security and help to ward off any potential thieves.
1. Upgrade your Locks
Simple but effective. Making sure your locks are not broken, old or rusted is an effective way to improve your front door security. If you do find your locks need changing or upgrading then its best to call a professional locksmith, to make sure the jobs done right.
Whether you have a wooden or uPVC door, make sure you use locks that are ‘British Standard’, that way you can be sure the locks you are using have gone through rigorous testing to make sure they are secure. There is also the option to install Anti-Snap or High Security Locks on uPVC doors. These might be more on the expensive side, but if it stops a burglar from gaining entry to your home, then the extra cost might be worth it.
It’s also worth checking with your insurer that all your locks are insurance compliant. If you have a break in and you find you had the wrong locks, you may not be able to claim.
2. Check the Strength of your Door and its Frame
You need to be sure that a burglar can’t kick through your door, especially if it’s wooden. You can have the best lock in the world, but if an intruder can force his foot through your door then it will be useless. You can reinforce your wooden door by inserting a strike plate made from metal which is attached with extra-long screws that are drilled in to the studs an all sides of the doorway. You can get strike plates from most DIY shops or order them online. If you are not confident to install this yourself, then its best to engage the services of a professional locksmith.
The door frame is another aspect of front door security you can improve on. First thing to do is to make sure that is securely screwed or bolted to the walls around it. You can make it more secure by fitting special bars to make the locking points and hinges sturdier. You could also try hinge bolts; they are designed to prevent the door from being forced off its hinges.
3. Consider Windowless Doors
While having a door with windows in lets more light into your home and is aesthetically pleasing, it does pose a security risk. If the window in your door is placed near the lock, it would be easy for a burglar to smash the window and unlock your door from the inside. If you don’t want to get rid of the windows in your door, then you need to add some security measures. Make sure the glass is reinforced and not easily broken. Another is to install decorative bars or metal reinforcement; this will stop the burglar reaching through if they smash the glass, or potentially could deter him from breaking in all together.
4. Install a Deadbolt for a Wooden Door
Any door is only as strong as its lock, so you need to make sure you have the best one available. You need to make sure your lock extends deep enough into the door frame with withstand any kicking or other types of forced entry. At a minimum your bolt should be 2.5 centimetres in length. You don’t need the most expensive deadbolt out there but it’s probably worth not getting the cheapest. Spending a bit more could be the difference between a successful break in and an unsuccessful one.
5. Extra Measures
Even if your door has all of the above, there are still extra things you can do. Installing a door chain is one; this provides protection for when you are in the house. This could stop a potential burglar getting in at night, while you and your family sleep. To prevent a break in tactic called ‘fishing’ you can install a letterbox guard. This stops a thief from inserting a long wire through the letter box and hooking your keys, if they are positioned near the door. Another way to improve you front door security is to install a security light that points at the front door. Not only will this help you on dark winter nights, it will also shed a light on any suspicious activity. Burglars love the cover of darkness, so a big bright light shining in their face may scare them away. It’s also worth installing a security camera, real or fake at your front door; this is a good way to deter a potential burglar. If they can see a camera pointed at them, they are not going to risk breaking in and it’s doubtful they will spend the time trying to find out if it’s real or fake.
Like we stated at the beginning, it’s impossible to guarantee 100% that anything will keep a determined burglar out. However if you take effective steps, such as the ones above, then you will give your front door security a good chance of withstanding an attempted break in. Keytek® are committed to making sure your home is safe, take a look at our other Home Security Pages.
As a commercial landlord, it is your legal responsibility to ensure that your tenants are not only safe and happy, but that the commercial property you are renting out is also secure and free from any hazards.
With this in mind, you should take the time to fully understand your legal obligations to avoid compromising your tenancy agreement. From the moment you hand over the keys to your property, you should be aware of your responsibilities to avoid potential issues arising in the future.
We’ve created a guide outlining some of your responsibilities when it comes to securing commercial properties.
Is a landlord responsible for a broken lock?
In any property, security should always be a top priority, and this is especially true of commercial buildings, which tend to be home to high value stock, expensive equipment, and important documents.
With this in mind, it is a landlord’s responsibility to make all repairs to the structure and exterior of a commercial building, including broken locks on doors and windows. All locks must be in sound working order and they must also be suitable for the building they occupy.
At the same time, all windows, exterior buildings and other entry points should all have sufficient locks that will deter criminals from entering the property.
Who is responsible for your security system?
There are a whole host of security products that have been developed to deter criminals and prevent crime.
And, thanks to significant advances in technology, these systems can be integrated in all areas of commercial properties, using light, noise and recording to deter criminals from entering the building.
From motion activated night-lights and sophisticated alarm systems through to security cameras and sensors, there are lots of ways to optimise the security of your commercial property. You can read our blogs on Security Cameras or Smart Home Security to learn more.
Although the level of security offered by landlords often stops at ensuring windows and doors lock securely, despite crime being at an all-time high, it is worthwhile investing in further deterrents.
After all, it is a landlord’s reasonability to ensure that a building is secure and that appropriate control measures are in place, which often requires further investment in access control measures that will prevent burglaries and crime.
What are the landlord’s legal obligations?
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) outlines 29 hazards that all landlords must be aware of in order to protect their tenants, including “danger by intruders.” This means that security should always be taken extremely seriously. To learn more about the 29 hazards Click Here.
In addition to this, Section 11 from the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that all landlords must commit to making scheduled visits to the property they are renting out in order to conduct thorough inspections, make any necessary repairs, and keep on top of general maintenance. View the Tenant Act 1985 for more information.
This is also the ideal opportunity to make sure that all existing locks are secure, as they can often succumb to everyday wear and tear, which can put your property at risk. Whether you decide to take responsibility for the repairs, or you appoint an appropriate tradesman or letting agent, you must ensure that the property is safe and secure.
Of course, regular visits to the property will also allow you to check that all security measures and equipment is in full working order.
In this age of smart phones, home hubs and app controlled heating; it’s not surprising to see the emergence of Wi-Fi doorbell cameras. We will do just about anything to keep our home and family secure, so are smart doorbells a worthy investment? We are going to look at the five most popular doorbell cameras in the UK and see what they offer.
The Ring doorbell camera offers you 1080HD video, which is a pretty high resolution for a doorbell camera. It allows you to see, hear and speak to anyone that comes to your door from wherever you are. Ring provides instant mobile alerts and two way talk that you can answer from your mobile, tablet or PC. The Ring doorbell can be adapted to meet your needs; you can adjust the motion sensors. So if you own a cat that will be around your property, you won’t get an alert every time they move.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 includes a quick release rechargeable battery, so you are able to charge it without having to take the whole thing off your front door. If you are worried about it being switched off for any period of time then we recommend you buy 2 batteries, so you always have power for your Wi-Fi doorbell camera.
The camera has a viewing range of 160 degrees and has adjustable motion zones. Don’t worry about having it outside in bad weather, as it can cope with temperatures as low as -5c and as high as 48.5c. it’s is also weather resistant meaning its fine getting rained on, snowed on or even hailed on. Ring will also connect to the Amazon Alexa, so you can see who’s at the door with an Echo Show or a Fire TV.
Ring is the most dominant presence in the Wi-Fi doorbell camera game, so you can be sure it’s the most advanced smart doorbell out there. However it does come with a rather large price tag. So it’s worth looking around to see what other doorbells are out there.
The SkyBell offers almost exactly the same features as the Ring Wi-Fi doorbell. The small difference being that with Skybell you get a notification when someone rings the doorbell, as well as motion notifications.
The set up seems relatively simple, as you only use 4 screws to mount the Wi-Fi door bell and can use any existing doorbells power wires.
The Skybell also features 2 way audio, meaning you can have a conversation with whoever is at the door. The app allows multiple people to have accounts, so everyone that lives in your house can have view who has been to the front door. Even at night you will be able to see clearly who is at your front door in full colour night vision. Also, if you’ve not had chance to look at who’s been around your property all day, then there is an ‘Active History’ function that means you can review any missed visitors, any answered video calls and motion alerts.
One of the biggest differences between the Skybell and Ring is battery vs hard wired, with the Sky bell being wired in. Depending on the doorbell you currently have, you may find the battery controlled Wi-Fi doorbell a little easier to set up. However if leaving something that controls your home security on a battery worries you, then having it wired in is a selling point.
The Vivint Doorbell Camera is probably the most elegant looking Wi-Fi doorbell on the list; it has a thin, understated design meaning that it is considerably more subtle than a security camera and some of the other Wi-Fi doorbells. It’s also comes with the standard features of a Wi-Fi doorbell camera, notifications and video footage etc. The video quality is slightly lower than some other smart doorbells at 720p HD and has a night vision feature.
Vivint promotes a discreet way to secure your home and boasts that it will warn you before a person even rings on your doorbell. On their website its says;
“The minimalist design of Vivint Doorbell Camera mimics a regular doorbell to blend seamlessly with your home exterior and keep your entryway feeling like a meeting place, not a TSA checkpoint.”
So if you’re conscious of advertising that you have an expensive smart doorbell attached to your door, the Vivint might be for you. To be able to use a Vivint Doorbell camera you will need to invest in a Vivint smart home monitoring package and this will cost you extra in equipment and monthly fees. Installation is a bit more involved and requires a specially trained engineer to come to your house and set it up for you. They do not specifically state the price of the camera on their website, but if subtly is your thing then Vivint is definitely worth looking in to.
August is a big player in the smart home security game. They are best known for their smart locks that allow you to open the front door with your phone. However they also have a Wi-Fi doorbell on the market, the August Doorbell Cam. The August can be wired in using the same connection of your current standard doorbell, so there is no need to rely on batteries. You can then set it up inside by using the USB dock provided.
August differs from other Wi-Fi doorbell cameras by not having a night vision feature, but instead including a full colour light that will illuminate anyone standing at the door. However like the others it allows you not only to live stream footage from your front door, but going back and review anything you missed. The camera will start recording when it senses movement, so you shouldn’t miss anything important.
The instillation of the August is a bit more involved than some of the other options, as you are required to mount brackets and use a drill, which if you are not DIY minded, could be a struggle for you.
Like all the other doorbell cameras the Vuebell doorbell comes with its own app, meaning you can check the video feed from anywhere. The doorbell itself includes HD cameras, 2-way audio and Night Vision. The Vuebell automatically detects unusual motions and alerts you by sending a notification to your phone. Or if you are out and someone rings the doorbell you can have a real-time two-way conversation with them.
The camera is pretty good, with a wide viewing angle of 185 degrees and a vertical viewing angle of 118 degrees, meaning that the entire area around your front door will be covered. Like most of the camera doorbells, it runs on Wi-Fi, with Vuebell you can have it up to 100 metres away from your wireless router. That means it doesn’t matter where it is in your home, the connection will not suffer from inference. The doorbell also has eight infrared LEDs that can help you see things even at night. You can capture a clear photo at night within five meters.
The Netvue is a good piece of kit if you’re looking to keep the cost down. However you won’t be able to connect the Netvue with any other smart devices, such as a smart lock or another smart camera. The Netvue does also have a slightly budget look about it.
Video Storage Fees
What most of the makers of these Wi-Fi camera doorbells fail to mention is that if you want to keep the footage of your home then you will need to subscribe to a monthly storage plan. As hours and hours of video footage takes up a lot of storage space, it’s not possible to store it all on the doorbell itself. Most companies will store your footage on a cloud based server, some may offer you some sort of free cloud storage, while others offer you none at all.
The Ring Video Doorbell may be one of the most advanced cameras out there, but they offer no free storage. This means unless you open a live stream immediately after receiving a notification, you might miss what going on. For the motion based video to be stored you have to subscribe to a ‘Ring Protect Plan’. You can either pay £2.50 per month (£25 annually) for their Protect Basic Plan, which will store all live videos for up to 30 days. Or you can pay £8 per month (£80 annually) for the Protect Plus Program. This is useful if you have more than one Wi-Fi camera doorbell, as the plan covers unlimited Ring devices. You still only have 30 days’ worth of storage with this plan, but you do get an extended warranty and discounts in the Ring store.
Skybell does not offer a storage plan of any sort. But it does offer free 7 day storage, so if you are looking for a WI-FI doorbell camera that can store footage for a long time, the Skybell is not for you.
As with the price of the actual doorbell, Vivint are not advertising the price of their video storage plan. However on their website it says you get 30 days’ worth of video (which seems to be the standard) for a ‘fraction of the cost of most video storage solutions’.
August does offer various plans, the Free Basic Plan offer 24 hours of saved video history; this comes automatically with the doorbell so there is no need to sign up. They do offer a ‘Premium’ storage plan, which is around £4 a month or around £50 annually. This offers 30 days of saved video history and saved video clips of all activity captured. On both plans you can download and share saved videos and everyone that has the August app can use it.
Netvue does not offer any free video storage; instead they offer three paid plans. The first is Ring Video Storage which is around £2 a month (or around £20 a year); this plan will record and save any doorbell rings and conversations on the cloud for future viewing for 30 days.
The second plan is around £6 a month (or £69.99 per year) and offers 14 days of 24/7 recording. This means your doorbell will be recording continuously and you can access and review the footage for up to 14 days.
The third is around £1 per month (or £19 per year) and you are able view 10 second of any event, this is available to watch for 30 days.
So, Should you buy one?
Buying a WI-FI doorbell is a good investment in the security of your home, especially if you want to be able to connect with people at your front door while you are away. However, you do need to consider how much you want to spend and how much you are willing to pay for the video storage. We hope this guide has been useful and make sure you check out our other blogs on home security.