6 ways to keep an eye on your home while you're at work

Deter unwanted visitors and keep an eye on comings and goings remotely

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If you want to be able to keep an eye on your home, or a room in your home, while you're away, then you now have a range of affordable options.

These systems are more than just a motion sensor and a siren – with live video streaming, night vision and environment monitoring all pretty standard, you can keep an eye on what’s happening both inside and outside your home  from your mobile phone. 

With most systems compatible with iOS and Android, it's simply a matter of hooking it up to the Wi-Fi and you’re good to do. Choose from systems that have more of an external presence (handy for deterring uninvited visitors) or an internal presence (double it up as a baby monitor or set it to automatically record video when the motion sensor is triggered.) 

There’s a huge bunch of these systems out there; ones that come with every single gadget you could ever think of and ones that offer up a couple of main features. Here are six options to consider.

1. Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera

A simple to use indoor security system with a motion and sound sensor

Specifications
Best for: Plug in and play
Type: In-door camera
Push notifications: Yes
Comes with: HD camera, night vision, speaks and microphone
Reasons to buy
+Converse through the speaker+Records up to 30 hours of continuous video
Reasons to avoid
-Only records if connected to Wi-Fi 

The Nest Cam does what it says on the tin. Using an HD 130 degree camera, it’ll keep an eye on your ‘nest’ and send footage back to your smart phone or device. 

With a motion sensor and a sound sensor, it’ll record any suspicious activity once either sensor’s been activated. There’s also a microphone and speaker system, which will allow you to talk to the person in the room – no good if you’re 10 miles away and they’re about to steal your home entertainment system but handy if you want to tell the kids to stop squabbling. 

If you know you’re on holiday for a couple of weeks, you can even set it to record up to 30 days’ footage - which also means you can make sure the neighbour is feeding that cat twice a day. 

2. Canary All-In-One Security System

You can’t ask for much more from a reasonably priced internal security system

Specifications
Best for: Internal security
Type: In-door camera
Push notifications: Yes
Comes with: HD camera, night vision, monitors air quality, temperature, humidity
Reasons to buy
+Records footage when triggered+Smart and stylish
Reasons to avoid
-Not for external use 

Keeping an eye on your house has never been easier – place this  all-in-one  system in your room of choice and it will monitor everything going on, even your air quality. 

You can stream the real-time video to your smart phone and if movement triggers the motion sensor, the device’s 147 degree camera will start recording so you’ll have evidence of any suspicious activity. Or you can just keep an eye on the dogs while you’re out. 

3. Panasonic's KX-HN6012EW Home Monitoring & Control Kit

A home security system that you can keep adding to

Specifications
Best for: Design your own system
Type: In-door/external camera
Push notifications: Yes
Comes with: Camera, night vision, window/door sensor, motion sensor, smart plug
Reasons to buy
+Can control compatible lights and systems+Window and door sensor included
Reasons to avoid
-Reviewers say app is poorly designed 

If you’re looking for an easy-to-set-up system that you can continue adding to once you’ve got the basics sorted, this system should tick the box. The standard equipment should be enough to start with, giving you the basis for a full home security system. 

The indoor camera is activated using a motion sensor, or the window and door sensor. Once activated, it’ll send you a warning to your device and start recording. If you’re worried about the sensitivity of the sensors, you can calibrate it so it doesn’t take notice of your pets. 

With the whole system under your belt, you can use the app to control your lights and stereos, plus the 300m connectivity range means you can hook up external cameras too. The downside is it’s a closed system, which means Panasonic products only. 

4. Yale Smart Home Alarm

A gadgety alarm that provides you with a full home control system.. And battery backup

Specifications
Best for: Full home security
Type: In-door/external camera
Push notifications: Yes
Comes with: Smart hub, PIR Motion Detector, Door/Window sensor, live siren, dummy siren, PIR image camera
Reasons to buy
+Build your own security system+Connects to the CCTV and home view camera apps
Reasons to avoid
-Apps can be a bit clunky

If you’re looking to go all out with building your own home security system, this one should do the trick. There’s everything you could ever need – from a range of sensors to trigger notifications to video recording any suspicious action. 

Control the system using the app and arrange for lights and appliances to turn on at certain times. Accessories come preloaded to the smart hub, so you can easily add to your system when you require. With the app linking to the Yale CCTV and home view cameras, you can keep a complete eye on your premises. There’s even a dummy siren, which acts as a deterrent to any potential burglar. 

5. Samsung SmartThings Starter Kit

A starter kit that’s compatible with a range of smart home features

Specifications
Best for: Compatibility with other brands
Type: In-door/external camera
Push notifications: Yes
Comes with: Smart hub, multi-sensor, a presence sensor, power outlet
Reasons to buy
+Compatible with Yale, Philips Hue etc+Design your own system
Reasons to avoid
-Only the basic kit 

When the basic kit is nearing on £150, you know this system isn't the cheapest, but for the convenience of being able to connect a range of systems, hooking it up to Alexa and being able to design your own smart home, splashing the cash should be worth it. 

For starters, you get a couple of sensors, the hub and a power outlet which will connect the system an appliance, such as a lamp. Team up with Alexa to get the whole smart home thing on the go, or even brands like Yale to ramp up the additional security.

Manything

6. Manything

Turn your old smartphone into a home security camera

Specifications
Best for: Casual use
Type: App
Push notifications: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Free app+A use for an old phone that would otherwise be gathering dust
Reasons to avoid
-The phone acting as a camera needs to be kept plugged in, which will affect where you can place it

The Manything app transforms old phones or tablets into home security cameras, which can be viewed from anywhere through the Manything app or website.

Simply download the app to your old phone and your current one, selecting one phone as ‘camera’ and one as ‘viewer’. Users can adjust camera sensitivity, add detection zones to mask areas they don’t want to monitor and set up email or push notification motion alerts.

It's free to set up a spare device as a camera, watch its live feed and be alerted when motion is detected.  Subscriptions start at £2.99/$3.99, which allow you to add more cameras and to watch recorded video which is saved to the  cloud.

Manything works with lots of old devices right back to the iPhone 3GS or iPad 2. The service also works with Android 4.2 and above and the app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and Amazon App Store.