We live in a world where the idea of a smart home has become mainstream. Smart speakers are now a commodity that you'll find in just about any home, you can control your thermostat via an app on your smartphone, and you can go to most retail stores to buy a robot that vacuums your house for you.
We'll soon see discounted prices on just about all of these gadgets as Black Friday quickly approaches. However, if there's one thing you buy during this shopping season, I'd strongly encourage you to make it a home security camera.
That may not be the first purchase that comes to mind, but it is — without a doubt — one of the most important smart devices you can buy.
Why home security cameras are so important
Whether you live on your own, with a partner, or have a family, making sure your house is safe and free of potential threats is critical. Everyone deserves to live as comfortable of a life as possible, and as silly as it may sound, a smart home security camera can really help with that.
You can't always stay on top of everything, and by placing a security camera or two throughout your home, you can rest assured that everything is under control whether you're running errands or taking a much-needed vacation.
Each security camera is unique in its design and the features that it brings to the table, but there are a few pointers you can keep in mind to make your shopping during Black Friday less stressful.
From night vision to motion alerts, home security cameras are designed to spot anything out of the ordinary.
For starters, there are two main types of security cameras — outdoor and indoor ones. This is pretty self-explanatory: Some cameras were designed for outdoor use while others are best-suited to be placed somewhere inside your home. Outdoor cameras come with some sort of weatherproofing to ensure they keep on working even through a rain or snowstorm, along with a design that typically allows them to be attached to any wall, the underside of a roof, or other hard surfaces. Indoor cameras forgo the weatherproofing, and they often have a flat base so that it's easy to place them on a table, counter, or shelf.
Then, there's the feature-set. Just about every security camera will come with a general set of features, including things like alerts sent to your phone when it detects movement, 24/7 monitoring, night vision, a speaker and microphone to communicate to people on the other end, and HD video capture. If you spend more money on higher-end cameras, you'll get enhanced features such as 4K video, the ability to discern people from other objects, zooming capabilities, and more.
Once your camera is set up and ready to go, you can use your smartphone to look at its viewfinder whenever you want. In other words, you can get a live view of your porch even when you're on vacation somewhere warm to get away from the snow.
The whole idea of smart security cameras is to give you extra sets of eyes that never shut off. Even if you live in a safe neighborhood with minimal crime, you never know when a burglar or package thief is going to mosey on by your home. You'll ideally never get a notification from your camera that something fishy is taking place, but in the event that something does happen, it's better to be as prepared as you can be.
The top brands/companies to keep an eye on
If you're new to the world of home security cameras, there are a few key companies you'll want to keep in mind when you go out shopping.
Perhaps the most popular is Nest. Now referred to as "Google Nest" after being rolled under Google's hardware umbrella, Nest has a lineup of both indoor and outdoor cameras — including more affordable base models and its IQ series with more advanced features.
Nest, Ring, and Arlo are among the top companies for home security cameras.
Nest cameras tie in beautifully with the Google Assistant, especially smart displays like the Google Nest Hub. If you have a Nest camera, you can ask the Nest Hub to pull up a live feed of its viewfinder, giving you a large, central display to see what's happening in your backyard, garage, or wherever else you have cameras set up.
Alternatively, if you live more in the Amazon Alexa ecosystem, Ring cameras might be a better fit. Ring also has a wide array of security cameras, including ones that work indoors and outdoors. Ring is owned by Amazon, and as such, you get similar benefits that you do when using Nest with Google Assistant. Over in Camp Ring, you can view a live feed of your cameras on Amazon's smart displays, like the Echo Show 8.
If you don't have allegiance to one smart assistant over the other, you might be better off with a company like Arlo. Arlo has a large collection of home security cameras, including ones that can be used indoors and outdoors, a mobile one that can be placed virtually anywhere thanks to cellular LTE connectivity, and even a camera that's designed specifically for keeping an eye on your baby.
They're more affordable than you might think
A few years ago, outfitting your home with reliable security cameras was a costly investment. Today, however, it's surprisingly affordable.
Indoor cameras can typically be purchased for around $200 apiece, with others — like the Ring Indoor Cam — being substantially cheaper. Outdoor cameras tend to come with larger price tags, but you can get them for around $200 to $300 depending on the model you buy. Of course, Black Friday is bound to take those retail prices and slash them to all-time lows.
You can stop there with that one-time purchase if you'd like, or get additional features/security measures with a recurring subscription.
Nest cameras can be used with Nest Aware, giving you a longer history of videos that are recorded, better motion alerts, and time-lapses. The base plan, offering a five-day history of videos, is just $50/year. Ring and Arlo have similar subscriptions, too, and the beauty of these is that you can sign up and cancel at any time.
They aren't necessary if you just want basic coverage for your home, but the option is there if you want to take things to the next level.
Home security on the cheap
An affordable way to safeguard your home.
As far as home security cameras go, the Ring Indoor Cam is one of the best values. It's easy to install, offers 1080p HD video, two-way talk, and real-time motion alerts. Whether you're just getting started with home security or have a room that's lacking coverage, this is a great purchase.
Whether you're shopping for home security cameras, phones, or anything else in between, Android Central is your home for all of the latest Black Friday deals. We're keeping our articles and shopping guides updated around-the-clock to ensure you get the best deal possible. Happy holidays and happy shopping!
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