Best smart security devices 2024: what they do, and which ones to buy

The best smart security devices make it easier to know your home is safe wherever you are

The best smart security devices: Image depicts apple mac computer connected to tablet with home security footage
(Image credit: Canva)

If you’re looking for the best smart security devices, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ve rounded up some of the best products to add to your smart home ecosystem to keep your property safe and secure at all times.

Smart security devices can be anything from smart security cameras to smart locks, and this guide has it all, including smart video doorbells, smart sensors and smart smoke detectors.

Everything in this list has been tried and tested by our team, so we can review honestly and point you in the right direction of the products best suited to your needs and budget.

Whatever type of security you’re looking to invest in, these smart security devices offer a whole variety of ways to protect your home, with most linking up to an app on your phone so you’ll always have peace of mind.

Security devices these days are not as costly as they once were, but the technology has only improved, meaning there’s a wide range of options out there that are reliable and incredibly smart.

This guide features some of the main security devices you may wish to add to your home, listing what they’re useful for and which brands and models are the best of the bunch.

Best Smart Security Camera System

If you’re looking for a way to add comprehensive security improvements to your home in a low-touch way, smart camera systems are the way to go. By a 'smart security camera system', we mean a set that uses satellite cameras usually connected to a base station, giving the cameras their own dedicated wireless connection so their feeds are less likely to be disrupted. The base station will perform some of the smart functions, and usually has the option of local storage, so if your internet drops out, the footage is still recorded centrally.

These camera systems often have a lot of features beyond just recording footage that help them function more like larger security setups – they’ll have motion detection, and may have features such as spotlights, built-in sirens, two-way communication and more.

See our guide to the best smart security camera systems.

T3’s best smart security camera system pick

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Arlo Essential Spotlight best outdoor wireless security camerasT3 Award

(Image credit: Arlo)
A wireless outdoor security camera that's hard to beat

Reasons to buy

Solid 1080p picture
6-month battery life
Colour night vision

Reasons to avoid

Spotlight has limited range

The Arlo Essential Spotlight brings with it the perfect blend of functionality, affordability and quality – and we think it's just about the best smart home security camera for most people at the moment.

It's well protected against the rigours of the outdoors, it has battery life that's going to last you half the year, and it has a solid 1080p video feed that you can tune into any time (as well as getting alerts whenever there's any movement in front of the camera's field of view).

You're also free from the need to have a smart hub installed, because this camera can connect directly to Wi-Fi. Add in the spotlight mentioned in the device's name, and you've got a great all-round product – in fact it's so great that you might consider buying two or three. See the best Arlo camera deals for more.

Best Cheap Smart Security Camera

If you want to keep an eye on your home, but don’t need the depth and elaborateness of the kind of system mentioned above, you can grab a cheap smart camera designed with security in mind, but that isn’t so heavy on features. A low-price smart home camera will have motion detection, night vision and cloud recording, which are the key things you need to be able to watch your home from afar.

The cheaper models are plugged in, rather than battery powered, and most can still be wall-mounted, though some are better off being on shelves. If you want more security, you can usually add more than one of the same kind of camera to their apps without making things much more complicated.

See our guide to the best cheap security cameras

T3's best cheap smart security camera

best security camera Neos SmartCamT3 Award

(Image credit: Neos)

2. Neos SmartCam

The perfect starter security camera

Reasons to buy

Incredible price
Excellent image quality
Free cloud storage plus local storage

Reasons to avoid

Limited smart features compared to premium cameras

For under £30, the Neos Smartcam gives you all the basics you need from a smart security camera, in excellent quality. There's 1080p HD recording that's sharp, clear and bright, and short clips are stored for a week in the cloud for free – you can pay a subscription to capture longer clips that will be available for more time. 

On top of that, you've got motion and audio detection, with notifications delivered via the app (and it will capture video when it detects something), plus night vision that works really well. If you pay for the cloud subscription, you can also specify motion zones, meaning you can choose sections of the camera's view that it should ignore for motion detection (so a tree blowing outside of the window won't set it off, for example). 

You can use local microSD card storage as well as cloud storage, and it has a flexible stand designed for standing on a surface, or for wall mounting (with some useful fixtures in the box). It also uses geolocation for arming and disarming, so you won't get bothered by motion notifications when you're at home

It's a simply unbeatable package for the price – it may not have the more advanced detection or alarm features of expensive systems, but it's a tiny fraction of the price, and works almost flawlessly. Read our five-star Neos Smartcam review for more details.

Best Smart Security System

A smart security system is a lot like the classic style of home security system, but extra connectivity can make it easier to control, and means it tells you when there's a problem with a notification on your smartphone wherever you are – and it can tie together with other smart home tech. A system will include a control pad for arming and disarming, a siren that usually doubles as a hub for communicating with accessories, and a number of additional sensors, such as door and window opening sensors and motion detectors. Some include additional smart options, such as wireless tags to disarm the system with no effort.

T3's best smart security system pick

Best smart security: Yale SyncT3 Award

(Image credit: Yale)

3. Yale Sync Smart Home Alarm Family Kit

A comprehensive smart security starter set

Reasons to buy

Great set of core security options
Highly expandable
Works with other smart home tech

Reasons to avoid

Fairly expensive to get into
No cellular backup

There are smart security system options from many manufacturers, and actually a lot of them are very similar in features, so it may be worth thinking about the ecosystem you want to go with – if you like the look of the Ring camera mentioned above, the Ring Alarm Security System might be your best choice, for example. But assuming you're not coming into it with any kind of existing ecosystem pull, this is our recommendation.

Obviously, Yale is a trusted name in security, but its security system gets our nod for being a really well thought-out setup in its own right, both in terms of the original kit and the expansion options. This Yale Sync Smart Home Alarm Family Kit is built around a base station, and all the other accessories connect to it wirelessly. The accessories include a siren, of course, plus a keypad unit for arming and disarming the system, and three sensors: two motion detectors, and a door/window contact sensor.

The motion detectors are exactly what they sound like, and you can tuck them into the corners of the ceiling to look over key areas of the house. The door/window contact sensor fits on the frame of a door or window, and can tell if it's been opened. They can all talk to the base unit over a range of around 200m, so distance is no problem. 

The extendability is what we really like here: you can add more of the same motion sensors or door/window sensors, of course, but you can also add motion sensors that are smart enough to ignore pets, or a smoke/heat detector unit, or a panic button, and even special key fobs that turn off the alarm without you needing to actually bother with the code. It also works with other smart home gear – for example, you can ask Alexa to check the current security status or to arm the system, and you can connect it to your Philips Hue lights, so they might come on or change colour when something unexpected happens.

Our only real issues is that it relies totally on your WiFi for telling you on your phone when something has happened – so if that goes down, it becomes a regular 'dumb' alarm system. This is true for most of the competition too, though the Honeywell Evohome Security system does include a cellular backup communication option, if that's a deal breaker for you.

Best Smart Door Lock

The idea of smart door locks is to keep your home as secure as ever, but to help avoid situations where someone with a key just can’t be home when needed, or to skip having to get a mass of spares cut for guests. With a smart lock, the door can be accessed by other means, which will depend on the lock. Some have keypads, and you can set up a code that will last only for a limited amount of time (or even single-use). Some have wireless access, and you can share the authority to unlock a door with someone’s phone (and, again, time-limit it or revoke it whenever you want). 

They can be handy for locking and unlocking remotely, so that someone comes without their keys you can open it for them, or if someone tries to deliver something, you can open the door just to let them pop the parcel inside (this pairs really well with a smart doorbell – see below). What type of lock you need really depends on your door, and our choice below is one we like for being widely applicable, and easy to install.

See our guide to the best smart door locks.

T3's best smart door lock choice

Best smart lock: IgloohomeT3 Award

(Image credit: igloohome)

4. Igloohome Smart Deadbolt 2S

A great design, useful features, and comes with everything you need

Reasons to buy

Really great app
Looks great
Deadbolt lock useful for most doors

Reasons to avoid

Instructions could be more helpful

The Smart Deadbolt 2S is, as its name suggests, a deadbolt lock, and it comes with everything you need for installation (other than tools), including a deadbolt itself. This means you could add it to most existing doors easily an extra lock, or you could replace an existing deadbolt.

It looks smart, with a PIN pad that only lights up when you touch the panel, and a simple black design all over. You can use the (excellent) app to easily create PIN codes for someone to gain access, or it can be unlocked via phone. There is also a hidden keyhole for emergencies.

It's pretty easy to install, making it the ideal addition to an existing door if you just want to add the flexibility of smart locking.

The only major downside here is that it's not going to be ideal for PVC doors that use multi-point locks. For those, take a look at the Yale Conexis L1 Smart Lock, which is a smart handle/lock replacement for those doors, and is also extremely easy to install and get started with. Read our full Yale Conexis L1 Smart Lock review.

Best Smart Video Doorbell

Smart doorbells are a major convenience – getting a notification on your phone whenever someone presses the button no matter where you are, and being able to see and talk to whoever’s there, means you’ll never miss a parcel or an important visit. But they can also be part of your home security setup, keeping an eye on the front of your house from eye level.

See our guide to the best video doorbells.

T3's best smart video doorbell picks

Smart security system: Ring Video DoorbellT3 Award

(Image credit: Ring)

5. Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus

Easy to install, and works wired or wirelessly

Reasons to buy

Great video quality
Good battery life
Some clever motion-detection features

Reasons to avoid

Smarts are a little limited
Fairly expensive

This is the most advanced doorbell from the company that’s become synonymous with the field – it includes intelligent motion detection (including being able to discern close movement from far away, and to tell when movement is a person rather than something else), Full HD video, two-way talk and, of course, it will notify you when someone presses the button or when it detects motion (your choice).

It can record video to the cloud (which requires a subscription) or you can use it solely to view live video without a subscription. The key feature that’s only available in this ‘Plus’ version is ‘Pre-Roll Video’, which enables you to see four seconds of black and white video of what happened before the motion detector triggered or the button was pushed, as well as what came after.

It runs on batteries or a wired connection, and it’s easy to pop the battery out for recharging, but it will last around two months anyway. It comes with all the major things you need to install it, including two optional wedge mounts to get the optimum viewing angle. Installation and setup are really easy, too.

For the privacy-conscious, a useful new feature is the ability to black out sections of the screen, blocking the camera’s views of those sections entirely – you could use this for your neighbour’s garden or windows, for example.

Best Smart Security Sensor

Security systems are usually based on a couple of key types of sensor: motion and contact. Motion sensors passively detect whether someone or something is moving about in range. Many smart cameras have this functionality built in, but you don’t need anything so techy for it – there are options that are more passive. These can then send a notification if they detect something, or can be set up to talk to other smart home tech. For example, a motion detector in the hallway could turn on some lighting when it detects someone walking past – or it can trigger a smart alarm to start blaring.

Contact sensors are used on doors or windows, and they simply have a couple of units that can tell you whether that door or window is open or not. Again, they can be set to tell you when this happens (if a door opens when you’re out, for example), or they can trigger other smart home gear when this happens.

You'll have noticed that these sensors do feature as part of our smart security system choice further up the list, but here, we're looking at getting the same functions without the siren and keypad and so on.

T3's best smart security sensors pick

Best smart security: samsung smartthingsT3 Award

(Image credit: Samsung)

6. Samsung SmartThings

Great sensors for doors/windows, and motion detection

Reasons to buy

Inexpensive sensors
Some extra useful functionality
Wide smart home platform compatibility

Reasons to avoid

Require a hub to work

Samsung’s smart home system is called SmartThings, and encompasses a broad range of product types. It’s the sensors we’re interested here, though – it sells both a motion sensor (called the SmartThings Motion Sensor) and a contact sensor (called the SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor) that also detects temperature and vibration, so it can detect if a door is being knocked on, or if someone is attempting to force a window.

The SmartThings system works with a wide range of other products, so there’s lots of other smart home tech these can tie into, or you can just use them to get notifications if anything changes. 

They require a hub of some kind – you can use an official SmartThings hub, but they can also connect directly to the Amazon Echo Plus’ built-in control hub. This SmartThings Starter Kit is really good value – it's a hub and a number of sensors, plus a smart plug control unit.

There is a whole smart security alarm system that works with them, very similar to the Yale system above, too. However, if you just want the sensors rather than the alarm and the rest of the gear, you can do that with SmartThings and save some money.

Best Smart Smoke Detector

They may not be security products in the more traditional sense, but smoke detectors are definitely vital to the overall safety of your home, and actually they can feature as part of a security setup, because some will function as the noisy part of a burglar alarm-type smart system. We’re mostly focused on their core functions here, though: detecting smoke (and, in many cases, carbon monoxide) and warning you when that’s the case, even if you’re not at home.

T3's best smart smoke detector pick

Best smart security: Google Nest ProtectT3 Award

(Image credit: Google)

7. Google Nest Protect

So much better than a regular smoke alarm

Reasons to buy

Wired or wireless
Gives warnings before it goes off
Loads of really thoughtful features

Reasons to avoid

Nothing major

This sleek box keeps a watch for both smoke and carbon monoxide, and what has always impressed us about it is that it’s smart in the ‘clever’ sense as well as the ‘connected’ sense – it feels like it was made for real-life, not to tick things off a spec list.

For a start, when it first detects smoke, it doesn’t go straight to a blaring alarm. It sends you a notification saying smoke has been detected, and announcers out loud in a friendly voice that smoke has been spotted, and that the alarm will sound if nothing changes. If the problem is just burnt chips, this gives you a grace period to open the window and clear the smoke, or you can just manually silence the alarm, knowing that you’ve got the situation under control. If you have more than one Nest Protect, it will also tell you exactly which room the problem is in when all this happens.

That feature alone makes us never want to go back to normal smoke detectors – no more false alarms that terrify the cat! – but it does lots more still. It self checks, for example, testing its own components multiple times per day, and running its own sound check once per month (in which its own microphone listens out for the sound, so it can run this while you’re out of the house). And when you turn the lights off, it gives you a single gentle flash of a green light to let you know everything is working correctly before you go to sleep.

It can also discern steam from smoke, so you don’t get false positives from a steamed up bathroom being opened. And it even functions as a night light: when someone walks under, it gives the perfect gentle glow to help you see your way. And you can buy it to be battery powered or cabled in – your choice, and it’s the same price either way. It’s actually the smart home product we’d recommend most people should start with – it’s a truly undeniable upgrade over the dumb old system.

Matthew Bolton

Matt is T3's former AV and Smart Home Editor (UK), master of all things audiovisual, overseeing our TV, speakers and headphones coverage. He also covered smart home products and large appliances, as well as our toys and games articles. He's can explain both what Dolby Vision IQ is and why the Lego you're building doesn't fit together the way the instructions say, so is truly invaluable. Matt has worked for tech publications for over 10 years, in print and online, including running T3's print magazine and launching its most recent redesign. He's also contributed to a huge number of tech and gaming titles over the years. Say hello if you see him roaming the halls at CES, IFA or Toy Fair. Matt now works for our sister title TechRadar.

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