An expert guide to the best home security system in the UK in 2023
Because 63% of UK burglaries take place in homes without security systems, it’s understandable that you’ll want your home to feel more secure. Luckily, a smart home security system is easier than ever to install with plenty of options to suit your budget.
Yet the choice can be overwhelming. How do you know which system offers the most value for money? You’ll also want it to seamlessly integrate with other smart devices in your home like Alexa and Google Assistant. It’s possible to have a diy home security system, but if you’re new to security systems you might not know what you need or how best to integrate within your existing home or new build plans. We would always recommend speaking to experts like our team at John Ross Smart Living for the best advice and installation procedures that will best suit you and your home.
To simplify home security, our Smart Living experts have hand-picked the best home security systems available in the UK today. Whether you need to check on pets and elderly relatives or monitor your home while on holiday, we’ve picked the best systems to help protect your peace of mind.
Before we start, let’s cover the basics of a smart home security system. This will help you determine the level of security you need and how best to budget to keep your home safe.
What makes the best home security system?
Effective security systems are comprehensive. To get the best out of a security system look for the following elements:
Indoor and outdoor security cameras
Home security cameras or CCTV forms the basis of any smart home security system. You can purchase both indoor and outdoor cameras, but your home needn’t look like Fort Knox! Unlike traditional alarm systems, smart cameras can be positioned discretely to provide the maximum level of protection for you and your family. Knowing the minimum requirements will help you pick the best smart security kit for your budget.
- A video resolution of 1080p or higher. If you catch a burglar on camera but can’t see their face you’ll have wasted money. 1080p or higher captures facial features and details easily.
- A field of view around 130º. This allows the camera to capture larger rooms. 160º might be better for outdoors and means you don’t have to buy and install as many cameras.
- A frame rate of a least 15 frames per second (fps). This is the minimum requirement for smooth, non-blurry motion capture. The higher the fps the closer to TV quality you’ll get.
- Night vision range of at least 30 feet. Essential to capture clear images in low light, which is a necessity in gloomy UK winters! It’s also been reported that break-ins rise by one-third when the clocks go back, as burglars take advantage of less daylight. Therefore it’s essential to buy a camera that can film in utter darkness. An optional Ring Floodlight Cam might act as an additional deterrent to intruders.
- Offline or cloud storage. You’ll need 32 GB or higher for local storage. 2 weeks’ worth of cloud storage can cost as little as £4/month. Whether you opt for offline or cloud storage is a personal preference, but bear in mind how long you’ll realistically need to view video footage.
These are the bare minimum requirements for an effective home camera system. Extras like a mobile app or weatherproof camera for potentially damp or cold parts of your home (e.g. the garage) are convenient upgrades you can build into your system over time.
Our experts’ pick:
Luma (Snap One): combines pro surveillance with easy to install gear. Luma Surveillance are known for high video quality and local customer support. Plus, Luma camera keep recording even if your internet goes off and they integrate well with other smart home devices.
Gate entry sensors
Many homeowners opt for vehicle or pedestrian gates on entering their property. Key fob entry, a control panel, motion detector, voice control, and video are just some of the sophisticated technology gate entry systems use to keep you safe.
Driveway automated gates can combine mobile technology or even automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) with smart home integration so that your gate and front door unlock on approach, the lights switch on automatically, and your favourite tune plays on arrival!
There are a few things to consider when it comes to gate entry systems.
- Firstly, no 4-digit codes! 4-digit codes are notoriously poor when it comes to security because over time many people will obtain the code. Therefore it’s better to choose a gate entry system that uses a key fob or another alternative.
- Pedestrian access. Most gates have the option for pedestrian access if there’s no alternative entry to the property. If you opt for wireless connectivity, you can control remote access from your phone.
- Driveway automated gates. This gateway system uses electronics or hydraulics to automatically open for approaching vehicles. Some can operate on solar power. One disadvantage to consider is the amount of power these gates use.
- Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR). Sophisticated gate systems use cameras to scan approaching car number plates and authorise entry.
- Installation. It’s important that gate sensors are fitted by a professional installation service as the positioning of your motion sensors will determine their effectiveness. Our Smart Living team partner with a leading Scottish gate manufacturer for an end-to-end solution.
Our experts’ pick:
Control4: Affordable and versatile, if you want luxury living, our money is on Control4. From a functional point of view you can do so much at the touch of a button (or by voice command). There’s the added security of Control4 being tried and tested, since it’s been on the market for a while.
Smart Door Locks
It wouldn’t be a smart home security system without smart locks. A smart lock enables you to secure your home at the touch of a button, without the need for house keys. Many use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity for remote control. Smart locks can also be paired with door and window sensors.
Here are some key features to look for:
- Remote control via an app. This is a convenient way to lock and unlock your home and alert you to any activity
- Wi-Fi monitoring service in real-time. Know when an elderly relative leaves the house or when the kids return from school with Wi-Fi connectivity.
- Bluetooth connectivity. Additionally, enabling Bluetooth allows the sensor to recognise you and unlock as you approach the gate
- Auto-lock feature. This useful feature means gates will automatically after a set period of time has elapsed
- Smartphone integration. Receive alerts when your smart lock is being tampered with
- Alternative to 4-digit codes. A smart lock can be triggered by voice, touch, and smartphone. You can also set temporary logins for cleaners and dog walkers who may visit your home regularly
- Integrations with your Smart Home. It’s convenient when your smart lock works in harmony with other smart features in your home, like Alexa and Google Assistant. For example, you can set the house lights to come on when you unlock the door
Our experts’ pick:
Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro: It’s hard to beat the Ultraloq for smart features; a fingerprint scanner that allows access without your phone, the ability to run the lock from an external power source, voice activation, great connectivity, and full integration with Alexa and Google Assistant. Available on Amazon for just over £200, the Ultra U-Bolt Pro is a market favourite.
How many times has a courier left a parcel unattended on your doorstep? A video doorbell is a nifty addition to your home security system that protects your from parcel theft and burglary.
- Wireless and hardwired options. Wi-Fi is convenient but picking a video doorbell with landline backup offers additional security.
- 1080p HD as a minimum. Again, blurred footage defeats the point of a home security system. Ensure your video doorbell takes high quality images that can be used by the police in a worst case scenario
- Smart Home Intergrations. Connectivity with other smart home devices makes for a convenient and effective security system
- AI person detection. This is a handy feature combines motion detection and artificial intelligence to distinguish people from other moving objects. A motion detection camera that can’t tell the difference will lead to an annoying barrage of notifications
Our experts’ pick:
Control4 Video Doorbell: It’s Control4 again because it integrates fully into a C4 system giving. This gives the user benefits such as flashing the lights or playing a “ding dong” sound through the house speakers when someone’s at the door. It feels more natural and welcoming than receiving an alert on your phone!
Smart Security Alarm Systems
Smart alarms are affordable options and easy to install. In fact, you might be able to install an alarm by yourself. When the alarm’s motion sensors are triggered it emits a loud noise to scare away intruders. Smart alarms work wirelessly through your home’s Wi-Fi. They can be part of smart home integrations or be purchased as a standalone option.
Pick from open/close or PIR sensors. Open/close are door window sensors that form a connection when a door or window is closed. When the connection is broken the alarm will sound. PIR sensors work by motion sensors and are typically used in hallways and house entry points.
When choosing a security alarm system consider:
- Back-up battery. If your alarm comes without backup ensure that the battery is built to last a minimum of two years
- The potential cost of installation service. Most smart alarm systems should be easy to install at home. However, a more complex alarm might require professional assistance.
- Basic package versus ongoing subscription. Some smart alarm systems require a monthly subscription to unlock the full range of benefits
- Professional monitoring service. Some alarm systems offer professional monitoring, which means that alerts are sent to a monitoring station and assessed by a trained professional. Professional monitoring services usually cost more.
Our experts pick:
Simplisafe: Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, the Simplisafe home security system is easy to install and very customisable – perfect if you want a diy home security system. Get alerts straight to your phone and monitor your home from afar with a range of features that includes automatic night vision sensors and pet-friendly mode, to prevent motion sensors confusing pets for intruders! Buy a basic 7-piece set for £345 on Amazon.
The Best Home Security System Summary
Bottom line: if security and your family’s safety are top priorities then a home security system is a worthwhile investment.
The best home security systems allow you to:
- Keep an eye on elderly or infirm family members
- Check on your pet’s wellbeing
- Ensure your property is secure while on holiday
- Motion sensors and night vision that alert you to an unwanted presence in your home
- CCTV footage can be used by the police or for insurance claims
- Remotely allow access for delivery drivers
- Let guests into your home without the need to leave your deckchair in the garden
- achieve peace of mind
We hope this comprehensive security system guide helps you choose what’s right for your home and family. With a range of options to suit most budgets, you’re bound to find a home security system that works for you.
For more help, don’t hesitate to get in touch. John Ross Smart Living can help you achieve the best home security system to enhance your daily and protect your loved ones and peace of mind. Expertly installed and with hand picked products and systems specific to your needs, let us take the stress out of home security by calling us on 01738 566 566.