Smart Home Security Options

Fist Alert 2-in-1

I’ve been spending a lot of time researching my smart home security options.  I wanted something that I could maintain myself and something that could still send me alerts.

I already have my Samsung SmartThings hub.  That let’s me talk to many different devices over Z-Wave, Zigbee and other protocols.

Read more: Understanding Home Automation Protocols

Now it was just a matter of finding the different sensors to work with it.  Fortunately for you, I’ve done that research.  Let’s start with window sensors first.

Window Sensor – Iris Contact Sensor

Iris Contact Sensor

These things will run you about $23.  They speak Zigbee, which is a protocol my SmartThings hub does speak.  The batteries will last you about 2 years.  Since they are wireless, you don’t have to re-wire your home to install them.

Simply put the battery in, follow the pairing process with your SmartThings hub and install them in your window.  Very simple and easy to use.

Motion Sensor – SmartThings Motion Sensor

SmartThings Motion Sensor

For $30, I think it’s one of the nicest looking motion sensors.  It speaks Z-Wave and is also made by SmartThings, so set-up is a breeze.  At 1.6 ounces and only 2×2 inches, it’s very easy to conceal.

My only concern is that I have read reviews that state it has a narrow field of view.  If I compare it to other sensors, though, this still seems like the best bang for buck.  It gets my vote, but just barely.

Water Leak – SmartThings Water Leak Sensor

SmartThings Water Leak Sensor

While not technically smart home security, it is smart home peace of mind.  For only $30, you can rest assured that your hot water heater hasn’t burst.  In my case, it would’ve been nice to know that my Central Air Furnace drip pipe was leaking before I had to rip up my hallway floor.

The battery life lasts 17,520 hours according to the manufacturer.  That’s 2 years for those of you that don’t feel like doing math.

Window Break Sensor – 🙁

I am sorry to report that I still haven’t found a decent window break sensor.  The only ones I know of haven’t gotten many great reviews.  The few people I know that have them don’t speak very highly of them and report a lot of false positives.

I am reluctant to recommend something that I would not use, so for now, I will leave this section as a to-be-determined.

Smoke Detectors – First Alert 2-in-1

Fist Alert 2-in-1

Another area that I am not thrilled about.  Nest makes a pretty great product called Nest Protect, but it doesn’t link up to any of my hubs.  This First Alert product comes very highly recommended and it does speak Z-Wave.  The reason I’m not thrilled is I feel this is an area that should have a lot more options, but unfortunately you don’t.

The nice thing about the First Alert 2-in-1 is that it is also Carbon Monoxide alarm, hence the 2-in-1.

Garage Door Opener – GarageIO


While not as cheap as some of the other z-wave garage door openers, this comes very highly recommended from a lot of people.  The setup is about as simple as you can get since it replaces your physical garage door button.  This will also tell you if you’ve left the door open and allow you to close it remotely.

This still allows you to maintain the garage door opener in your car.

Bringing It All Together

Once you have your sensors, it’s just a matter of pairing them all with your hub and setting up your triggers.  I’ll save those for another article, where we will discuss IFTTT (If This Then That), an app that allows you to link all of your devices together and then have reactions when it gets triggered.  An example would be texting your phone if one of your window sensors is triggered.  Turning on all your lights if your smoke detector alarm goes off.  All of those and more can be accomplished with a combination of these sensors, your hub and IFTTT.


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