Your Money MattersConsumer Reports


Consumer Reports: Smart home for the holidays

Posted at 4:00 AM, Dec 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-13 12:15:50-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - A fairly new and unpleasant holiday tradition: so-called ‘porch pirates’ stealing millions of packages from doorsteps. Consumer Reports’ says video doorbells and other smart home products can offer some peace of mind. Of course you’ll want a doorbell with excellent video quality, but that’s not all.

It’s really important to consider your storage options," says Consumer Reports Home Reporter, Dan Wroclawski. "If someone stole something off your front porch, most companies require you to pay for a monthly plan in order to download and view that footage. Without a plan you can only view footage that’s live.”

CR recommends the Nest Hello for $230. It offers several paid video storage options with 24-7 continuous recording and alerts. To monitor more than just your door consider a security camera, the top-rated Arlo Pro 2 for $220 offers several video storage plans including one that’s free, plus packages that come with additional cameras. Always forgetting your keys? How about a smart door lock?

“Smart door locks are super convenient because they allow you to lock and unlock your door from anywhere, so if you have guests coming for the holidays and you’re at work, you can let them in just with a tap of a button on your smartphone," says Wroclawski.”

CR recommends the Schlage Sense Smart for $230.

If all of these products sound like a great addition to your home, you may want to consider a whole house DIY Home Security system.

“DIY Home security systems are a great option because most of them don’t require you to sign up for a long multi- year contract," says Wroclawski.”

CR recommends the $200 Ring Alarm Kit Five Piece Home Security System. It’s easy to set up and comes with what you need to start your home security system. And now that you’ve secured your home, why not keep it cozy all winter long with a smart thermostat. CR recommends the $170 Nest Thermostat E.

CR says you can also create a whole house system from different products and tie them altogether using a smart speaker as a central hub. The second-generation Amazon Echo Plus for $150 is compatible with the recommended products and works with many other smart home products, too.