- Home Improvement
10 Best Z-Wave Home Security Products
Fibaro Motion Sensor
Motion sensors, which detect the presense of a person in the room through changes in infrared radiation, are by far the most commonly used component in home security systems. You can pick up a basic 'PIR' motion sensor for just a few dollars, and a wireless Z-wave device for not a huge amount more than that.
But if you are looking for the very best products for your home security set up then it is well worth paying the extra money to get a Fibaro motion sensor instead. Here are some of the best features offered by the Fibaro which you don't get with a basic PIR device:
- Built-in Temperature Sensor: The Fibaro is actually more than just a motion sensor, it's a 'multi-sensor'. The built in temperature sensor can be used with your Z-Wave system to control things like heating and windows as well as home security. A color coded display also means that you can tell at a glance what temperature your room is at.
- Accelerometer: Senses vibration on the surface its place on, which is ideal for locations a criminal may use to break into your house. The accelerometer also senses what height the unit has been placed at to improve temperature readings (because warm air rises, so a sensor placed near the floor or ceiling will often give a temperature which differs slightly from the actual feel of the room).
- Adjustable sensitivity: Make sure you pick up even the slightest relevant movement without also getting annoying false alarms (for example from a cat walking around the house) by adjusting the sensitivity yourself to fit your own needs.
- Intelligent Automation: If placed correctly the Fibaro can tell how many people are in your house and make intelligent adjustments to suit the situation. For example, if you have a lot of guests around and your house is packed it might recognize this and open windows or turn on air conditioning to make the house more comfortable.
- Connect Different locations: If you have the Fibaro set up at more than one location you can connect them together to form a single system. For example, a sensor in your office may detect that you are working late and delay your home heating timer so as to not waste energy heating an empty house.
- Monitor Your Home: You can use this handy little gadget to tell how many people are in the house, how often a room is accessed and how long someone is spending in each room. This is great for monitoring teenagers when left in the house alone - you can get alerts if they try to throw a party, check up on what time they come home in the evening, and even see how long they are spending in a study or bedroom doing homework compared to the time they are spending in the living room watching TV.
You can find out more on the Fibaro website.
Schlage Touchscreen Deadbolt
Wireless locks are a great addition to any home security system, adding convenience for you as well as potential security benefits for your home.
This model from Schlage is one of the best. It comes with a touchscreen keypad to allow for keyless entry, and this touchpad is fingerprint resistant so that intruders can't guess your code from marks on the screen. You also get lockpick shields over the key lock, and a built-in alarm capable of triggering if anybody tries to tamper with the lock as well as in the event of forced entry. If you forget to lock the door, it will automatically lock itself after 30 seconds.
You can also set up temporary codes to allow people entry at a particular time of day or for a fixed period (for tradespeople, house guests and so on) and with wireless control you can even open the door for someone when you are not at home!
Aeon Labs Panic Button
In some cases home security is not just about protecting the builing itself, but also about ensuring the complete safety of the person living there.
For this the Aeon Labs panic button is perfect. Basically this product is a battery powered unit with a single button that you carry around with you. This single button triggers a 'scene' you have programmed into your Z-Wave controller, thereby activating any range of different devices all at once. For example, the button could send a phone alert to a carer or relative, perhaps drawing information from presence sensors or cameras to pinpoint exactly where the resident is in the house, and unlock the door to allow emergency services to enter.
Door and Window Sensor with Nexia Home Intelligence
Another product which offers both convenient automation features and improved security is a contact sensor. You place these contact sensors on doors or windows so that your system can sense whether they have been opened.
The security benefits of this are obvious, with alarms being triggered when somebody tries to gain access through a door or window. But you can also use these sensors for a range of other applications, such as automatically turning off the heating in a room if somebody opens the window, checking whether doors or windows have been left open at night and if so which ones -- without having to walk around the house to check; or monitoring whether children are leaving doors and windows open from your phone even when you're not at home yourself.
Nexia home intelligence makes setting up these extra applications as simple as it can possibly be, although be warned - you do have to pay a monthly subscription fee.
Shock, Vibration & Glass Break Sensor
If someone breaks your window - or try to jimmy it open - this sensor with both glass break and vibration detection will send a message to your Z-Wave controller to trigger an alarm and start your cameras recording what is happening.
This is an ideal alternative to a contact sensor on large windows or patio doors, which an intruder could potential break and climb through without opening.
Everspring Smoke Alarm
The main benefit of integrating your fire alarm into your home automation system is that you can get alerts to your phone if the alarm is triggered while you are out of the house. This allows you to call the fire brigade if necessary, as well as to check any cameras you have to see exactly what is happening.
This particular alarm can also differentiate between real fires and common sources of false alarms, such as cooking.
Carbon Monoxide Alarm
If you have any gas appliances in your home then a carbon monoxide alarm is a must, and is something which many people overlook.
Carbon monoxide has no smell, but can kill people in very little time.
If you have automatic doors or windows then one handy tip is to set your system to open all doors and windows when the carbon monoxide alarm is triggered.
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Another useful alarm system which many people overlook is a flood sensor. You can place one of these in your bathroom to detect burst pipes or overflowing baths, or close to an entrance if you live in a house prone to flooding from external sources.
Garage Door Tilt Sensor
Garage doors are often a weak point in a home's defences, as they can be easier to break into that other areas of your house. A tilt sensor placed on the inside of the door is an effective way to trigger an alarm if someone attempts to open your garage door while the alarm is set.
With a 60 degree angle of view and the ability to turn around horizontally up to 270 degree, and tilt up and down 120 degree, the VistaCam should have no trouble taking in the whole of any room it is placed in.
But what really sets this device apart from other IP cameras is the fact that it comes with an additional infrared camera for night vision up to 20 feet.
The picture from this compact little camera is 640 x 480 pixel 480 SD resolution at 15 fps for MJPEG video files..
Siren and Strobe
When your alarm is triggered this combined siren and strobe will shriek out at 110 decibels whilst emitting a bright white flash. External alarm sirens are something which many people forget when building a security system on top of their home automation set up, but they can be effective at scaring intruders away - especially when triggered by door or windows sensors before they have even made it into the house - and can even discourage opportunistic criminals just by their appearance.
It also acts as a Z-Wave repeater to help you cover a wider area with your Z-Wave system.
Piper is a kind of all-on-one system based around a HD video camera. Piper comes with its own free app, and you can actually use it as the primary controller for a reasonably extensive home automation system, or as a high quality secondary controller. It is also ideal as a security camera.
It features a wide-view panoramic HD video camera with 180 degree field of video, its own built in alarm siren, and a suite of additional sensors to monitor sound, temperature, humidity and light levels. The camera itself also has a motion detector mode so you don't need additional PIR or presence sensors, and the controller and app can be used to activate heating, lighting and window controls as well as triggering an alarm.
Because Piper also comes with 2 way audio you can even use it as a kind of virtual presence to not only see what is happening when you are away from home, but also to join in the conversation happening in your living room when you are away from home. You can even use this to speak directly to an intruder in your home warning them that they are being recorded and that the police are on their way.