These useful gadgets will help you secure your home without breaking the bank
Best Home Security Devices Under $20
It’s impossible to put a price on feeling safe and peaceful in your home. That said, home security systems can cost a pretty penny, and not all of us want to shell out thousands of dollars to outfit our houses, apartments, and other properties with high-tech systems.
So we’ve made this list of the best “20 under 20.” These twenty home security devices will help you secure, monitor, and smarten up your home.
Security cameras are an essential part of most home security systems. They can record trespassers, break-ins, package thieves, and all kinds of other activity. But their mere presence can also deter security threats from the get go.
Unfortunately, security cameras can easily cost hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars. But, if you know where to look, you can find some amazing security cameras that won’t break the bank.
For example, this security camera from ZOSI works in both outdoor and indoor locations and lets you choose between TVI, CVI, AHD, and 960H video output. It has LED lights and night vision, allowing you to see what’s going on no matter what time of day it is.
This $20 camera requires a wired connection, which will be a tough sell for many customers. But, if you’re willing to spend a little bit more you can get a great wireless camera from a company like Wyze.
Cameras help you see what’s going on at your property. But most people don’t want to monitor a video feed 24/7. This is where motion sensors can really come in handy.
Yes, motion sensors, like the ones that open the doors on the Starship Enterprise. Except, in this case, the motion sensors will detect movement at your home, apartment, office, or any other location. You can get an alert on your smartphone or other device when the sensor is triggered, and then check your cameras (or take other appropriate measures).
You can get a great wireless motion sensor for less than $20, like this one from Kangaroo.
Even if you don’t have cameras and other home security infrastructure, a few motion sensors can give you peace of mind.
Motion-activated light bulbs
Smart light bulbs, like the GE Link, are an easy and cheap way to get luxurious lighting that you can control from anywhere. But you can take it even a step further with motion sensor lights.
There are many different kinds of motion sensor lights—from large, sturdy outdoor lights with built-in sensors to cheap indoor bulbs that can be inserted into your lamps and fixtures.
If you want to spend less than $20 on motion sensor lights, we suggest looking at these options from Aukora and Boxlood.
A mailbox sensor
We’ve talked about motion sensor alarms and motion activated lights, but what about a motion sensitive mailbox?
Many security companies, like Ring, sell mailbox sensors that are cheap and reliable. These devices alert you when your mailbox is opened. That way, you can know when your mail and packages are delivered (and you can know if someone else is “checking” your mail for you).
A smart doorbell
“No bell. That’s why I knocked!”
Sorry for the terrible joke. But maybe you would have seen it coming if you’d had an awesome and affordable video doorbell installed. Smart doorbells can let you see everything that’s going on at your door, from package deliveries to door-to-door salespeople to neighborhood kids playing a prank.
While the best video doorbells will usually cost you more than $50, you can pick up a perfectly good smart-ish doorbell, like this one from Honeywell, for well under $20.
Smart smoke detectors
Home security isn’t just about preventing break-ins and robberies. You also need to think about fires and other “natural” disasters. Having a set of good quality smart smoke alarms is one of the easiest and most important steps to securing your home.
Smart smoke alarms have a bunch of features that the older devices you grew up with didn’t have. They can alert you when the alarm is triggered, even if you’re not at home. They can tell you when the batteries are low. You can link multiple alarms together for increased coverage and coordinated activation.
You can grab a quality smoke alarm, like this one from Kiddie, for under $20.
Smart carbon monoxide sensors
A fire isn’t the only dangerous event that can sneak up on you in your house. Carbon monoxide can be a real threat to you and your family’s health if it builds up from a defective stove, water heater, or other device.
With a smart CO detector you don’t have to worry. If you’re willing to spend a little more than $20, you can get a quality carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm combo device.
A panic button
We’re not talking about those red plastic “panic” buttons that people put on their office desks. Real panic buttons offer one of the simplest and fastest ways to contact the authorities in case of an emergency, whether it’s a medical emergency, a break-in, or some other crisis.
A door reinforcement lock
Your home is only as secure as your front door. If you’re worried that your deadbolt isn’t up to the task of securing your entrance, you can get a door reinforcement lock.
These devices are cheap, simple, and powerful. They work by adding an additional, physical barrier to opening your door. You can pick one up from a reputable company, like Defender Security, for well under $20.
A smart speaker
You’ve probably heard of Amazon’s Echo or other smart speakers. You might even have a smart speaker in your home. But did you realize that your smart speaker can be an essential part of your home security system?
You can make a 911 call easily with a voice activated speaker. You can use your speaker to answer important medical questions. Elderly users can use smart speakers to alert loved ones in case of an emergency. The practical uses of these speakers is nearly endless.
While the best smart speakers cost more than $20, you can easily find a decent, voice-activated speaker that’s less than $50.
Fake security cameras
We talked about real security cameras already. But buying and operating a system of high-quality security cameras takes some work and can cost an arm and a leg. A great alternative that can save you time and money is fake security cameras.
You can still get real results with a fake camera. The mere presence of a “camera” on the outside of your house, inside your business, or elsewhere on your property can do a lot to deter potential wrongdoers.
You can pick up a set of fake security cameras, like these ones from BNT, for well under $20.
We’re big fans of smart plugs. They can turn everyday homewares into smart devices by giving you the power to turn things on and off from your phone or through your smart speaker.
You can also use smart plugs to program timed routines for lights, air conditioners, and other devices. If you’re going away on a long vacation, setting your lights to turn on at a certain time with smart plugs can help keep your home secure.
Best of all: smart plugs are cheap. Here’s a breakdown of some of our favorites.
A portable door lock
Home security isn’t just for your permanent residence. When you’re traveling—whether you’re staying at an AirBNB, a hotel, or some other lodging—you can bring extra security with a portable door lock.
These locks are easy to carry and install. You can pick one up from Addalock or another company for less than $20.
Door handle alarms
Smart door locks are one of the best ways to keep track of who’s coming and going from your home. Unfortunately, they can cost $100 or more, per piece. But door handle alarms are a lot cheaper and can still alert you when there’s someone entering your home.
With a door handle alarm, like this one from Sabre, you can use multiple settings: a pleasant chime to let you know when your family and guests arrive home, or a loud alarm that could wake you up if you’re sleeping and scare away anyone who’s trying to break in.
A motion sensor keypad alarm
We’ve already gone over how useful motion sensors can be. With a motion sensor keypad, you get even more utility. When the sensor is triggered, an alarm will go off. The alarm is deactivated by entering the code that you set.
While this system isn’t nearly as robust as one from Vivint or another full-fledged home security company, it can give you some peace of mind (and it’s a lot cheaper).
A door stop alarm
A door stop alarm is another simple device that can help you secure your room when you’re traveling or in a situation where it’s hard to lock your door. These simple door stops will not only stop the door from opening, but they will also let out a shrill alarm that can scare away all unwanted visitors.
A personal alarm
How about a security device that can fit on your keychain and double as a handy flashlight? Personal alarms are just what they sound like: small alarms that you can take with you and can be activated with a simple push of your finger. They’re great for constant, on-the-go security as you walk to your car, go out at night, or do pretty much anything else.
GPS tracking devices
There was a time when GPS tracking was an expensive luxury. Now you can get a cheap and durable GPS tracking device that fits in your hand for under $20!
These small GPS trackers can go on your car, in your purse, or with your other valuable property. If it gets misplaced (or stolen), you can easily track the GPS device using an app on your phone. Here’s a great example of a GPS tracker from Tracki.
Sliding door and window locks
If you have any sliding windows or doors in your home, then you should probably invest in some adjustable locks. These sliding bars can add security to your windows and doors, even beyond what a simple latch near the hand may offer. And they’re very affordable.
Even if you don’t have real security cameras (or fake security cameras), you may be able to deter criminal activity with a security notice on your lawn, door, or window.
Security camera signs, decals, and stickers are very affordable and can be put up easily on your house, business, or rental property.
Get a whole home security system for $20 a month
If you’re willing to spend $20 to get a home security gadget, then why not spend $20 a month to get the complete package from a reputable company?
Some of the best home security companies out there, like Simplisafe, offer packages beginning at less than $20 a month. These professional security systems can hook you up with powerful equipment, constant monitoring, and all kinds of useful services and apps to help you feel safe and secure in your home.
Now that you have the gadgets, here are the next steps to secure your home.
Find a security system for your home
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