Did you know that Amazon sells home security packages? They were first uncovered by Techcrunch, and Amazon is touting these suites — which include both a consultation and installation by a professional — for homeowners looking for inexpensive home security but aren't experienced with smart home devices.
Amazon offers five packages, ranging from $240 to $840; we looked at each of them to see which, if any, is worth purchasing.
One thing to note is that none of the packages offer professional monitoring services. If there is an incident, such as an intruder, you'll get an alert on your smartphone, but it will be up to you to then contact emergency services. Still, that may be enough for many homeowners.
Amazon's Smart Home Security packages at a glance
|Outdoor Base||Outdoor Plus||Indoor Base||Smart Package||Smartest Package|
What you get:
The smart home speaker that really kicked off Alexa's takeover, the Amazon Echo Dot is a good value, but its audio quality isn't that great.
Philips makes some of the best smart lights, not just because of the lights themselves, but also because of the robustness of Philips' app. Its Hue White Starter Kit is the company's least expensive offering. With this kit, which includes a hub, you can add more lights as you see fit.
The Mr. Beams LED spotlight has more than 6,600 reviews on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.5 stars. Fakespot, which analyzes those ratings for authenticity, gives the spotlight a grade of B, and more than 80 percent are high-quality reviews.
The Litom Solar Lights are waterproof, use solar power, and have a motion sensor built in. They have more than 6,100 reviews on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.5 stars. Fakespot gives those reviews a B.
The OontZ Bluetooth speaker has more than 26,000 reviews and an average rating of 4.5 stars; Fakespot gives those reviews a B. We've also reviewed the OontZ speaker and consider it one of the best Bluetooth speakers for under $50.
Your basic 3.5mm audio cable.
Total: $179.18 (Note: This total may differ slightly from the sum of the buttons, due to fluctuations in product prices)
If you were to buy all these devices separately, you'd save about $60 off Amazon's Outdoor Base price.
What you get:
We gave the Ring Video Doorbell 2 high marks for its design, app and overall good video quality. It's not surprising that Amazon includes this device in a package, as Amazon bought Ring earlier this year. Note that if you want to use the Ring Video Doorbell 2's advanced features, such as the ability to save video recordings, you will have to pay at least $30/year for a subscription.
Total cost: $377.76
If you were to purchase all of these devices separately, you'd save around $112 from the Outdoor Plus price. That doesn't include the recurring cost of a Ring subscription.
What you get:
When triggered, this device emits a 105-dB alarm and flashes a bright red strobe light. It has only 123 reviews on Amazon, with a rating of 3.5 stars. Fakespot gives those ratings an A.
This kit includes two window/door sensors and one motion sensor. It has an Amazon rating of 3.5 stars (on 260 reviews) and a Fakespot grade of A.
This security camera has a rating of 4 stars on Amazon, with more than 2,200 reviews and a Fakespot grade of A. We reviewed a similar camera from Yi but were less than impressed with its performance.
Wink's Hub is needed to connect the camera and motion sensors and strobes together. When we reviewed the Wink hub, we liked its performance, but it's a bit simplistic compared to the Samsung SmartThings hub.
Total Cost: $257.04
If you were to buy these devices separately, you would save roughly $60 over what Amazon charges for the bundle. What's odd about this package, though, is that it's the only one that does not include an Echo Dot, which seems strange, seeing as Amazon is selling the package.
What you get:
Total Cost: $450.04
If you purchase the components as a group rather than individually, you'll be spending at least $125 more. Keep in mind that you'll also need to shell out at least $30/year for Ring's advanced features.
What you get:
The Glow monitors the air inside your home for CO2 levels, humidity and temperature, as well as volatile organic compounds. It has an Amazon rating of 4 stars (on a little more than 100 reviews) but a Fakespot grade of F; more than 56 percent of the reviews are low-quality.
This sensor can alert you if there's a flood in your basement or bathroom. It uses two AAA batteries, which will last up to a year. It has a 4-star rating and a Fakespot grade of A.
Total Cost: $717.37
If you were to purchase all of these products separately, you would save about $100 compared to the Smartest Package cost. As this package also includes the Ring doorbell, you'll have to factor in a yearly subscription of at least $30 if you want all its benefits.
Alll of Amazon's Home Security packages will cost you more than if you bought all the products individually. Moreover, while individual components, such as the Yi camera, get good ratings on Amazon, the packages don't give you the best security cameras, smart home hubs or video doorbells.
Additionally, for the moment, Amazon's Home Security packages are available in only certain areas in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Texas, Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Washington D.C. and Florida.
The premium for these suites — which ranges from $60 to $135 — may be worth it for those who are new to smart home systems and want help with installing everything they need.
However, for others, it may make sense to buy components individually or check out DIY security systems such as Abode; its starter package costs $280 and includes one motion sensor, one door sensor, a gateway (which has an alarm) and a key fob. Add in an extra window sensor ($25), and you're still saving money over Amazon's Basic Indoor package. Plus, you can add professional monitoring to your Abode service, albeit for an extra monthly charge.
Perhaps there's a reason why Amazon hasn't announced its Home Security packages as broadly as it has with Amazon Key and the company's other smart home devices. While there's a convenience in having everything bundled in one, in most cases, you can do better.