What’s The Best DIY Home Security Kit (Piper vs iSmartAlarm vs Simplisafe vs Canary)

With millions of Americans experiencing home burglaries every year, it has become exceedingly important to find the right home security system. If you have searched through security systems though, you have likely realized that most security systems are expensive and still don’t offer you all of the features that you are looking for.

The alternative solution to choosing a security system from one of the most popular companies on the market is to install a security system on your own. In recent years, numerous companies have created their own security systems, many through crowdfunding efforts. The new security systems are not only highly capable of competing with the well-recognized companies, but they also most cost-efficient and just as effective.

Before delving into some of the top security systems that you may want to think about, let’s review the necessity of a wireless home alarm system.

Why You Need a Wireless Home Alarm System

There are many different home alarm systems on the market, but the main two categories are wireless and wired. Between the two, a wireless home alarm system is ideal – for a number of reasons.

At the heart of it, a wireless home alarm system reduces your level of vulnerability. A wireless home security system is able to withstand power outages, a burglar clipping your wires, and other implications that can cause a wired system to fail.

Wireless home security systems also include multiple sensors that can essentially be placed anywhere. Users don’t need to rely upon wiring in order to operate properly. For instance, if you want to place the wireless sensor at the entrance of doors, windows, and other areas, then it is fully possible.

Finally, with a wireless home security system, you can take your alarm system with you wherever you go. This ultimately makes the investment in your alarm system viable for the long term since you don’t need to leave your system behind and buy a new one.

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The Jamming Concern

There is one specific concern that most professional security experts bring up when discussing wireless alarm systems and that is the “jamming concern.” While a burglar cannot cut wires that do not exist or disable the system, expert burglars are able to interfere with the alarm system’s signal.

Wireless home alarm systems operate through their reception of signals at the right frequency. Experts understand this and are able to use a number of tools to jam the frequency that the alarm system relies upon. Fortunately, some alarm systems have considered the danger of jamming and have implemented features to combat the issue. One such alarm system is Simplisafe, which will be discussed in this comparative review.

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The Top Four Contenders

We have scoured for some of the best home alarm systems that address the main needs of users. The top three contenders that this review will cover are:

  • Piper
  • iSmart Alarm
  • Canary
  • Simplisafe

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Piper Home Security

Piper-Logo Upon seeing the Piper Home Security System, you will note that it looks more akin to a security gadget than anything else. Regardless, this little gizmo provides users with many capabilities. With this tiny device, users are able to tap into the device’s home security, automation, and video monitoring capabilities. This little device is convenient for both homeowners and business owners who are interested in thoroughly monitoring their space. Let’s start with the features.

Features

To provide users with home automation, security, and video monitoring, Piper comes with features such as a motion detector, a siren, microphone, and even a battery backup. Out of these capabilities, the most notable is the motion detector. Upon detecting noise or motion, piper will start recording the space and send you the footage. If Piper is unable to reach you, then the system will reach out to one of your contacts.  Other useful capabilities include:

  • A self-monitoring system that can pan, tilt, and zoom
  • Compatible with Z-wave technology so you can choose your own cameras
  • Includes a smartphone application
  • Uses a Linux operating system
  • Minimum internet speed of 800 kbps
  • Mountable
  • Infrared motion sensor that works up to 30 feet
  • Different options: piper classic at $199, Piper NV at $279, Piper Pro at $299, and Piper Ultimate at $749

 Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing Piper.


PROS:
  • Aesthetic Design
  • No contract needed
  • Wireless
  • Simple to install
  • Application contacts you upon detection
  • One item with many capabilities

CONS:
  • Self-monitoring means that you need to contact the police on your own if the system notes suspicious activity
  • One piper device only monitors one room, unless you purchase more and add them to your network
  • Lacks smoke, fire, or flood detection
  • Classic option does not have night vision
  • Self-monitoring means that you need to contact the police on your own if the system notes suspicious activity
  • One piper device only monitors one room, unless you purchase more and add them to your network


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iSmart Alarm

ISmartAlarm_Logo The iSmart Alarm is similar to the Piper in the sense that it is small, compact, and can be placed anywhere in your home. Like Piper, iSmart is also a self-automation system, which means that you are the only one monitoring your home with the use of iSmart’s security features. Once you have removed all of the components from the box, you can connect the cube to the Ethernet and a power outlet. Afterwards, you tab the sensors and set up the application. With iSmart, you are getting an easy-to-use home automation system with home sensors. Here are some of the main features that you can expect:

Features

One of the main features that should be mentioned is the ability to customize most your home security capabilities. With iSmart, users can customize the volume of the siren and how long it takes to disarm or arm the area. Aside from the sensors that you can place anywhere in your home, there are some automation features that the device includes, although the automation features are not as comprehensive the other devices mentioned in this review. Here are some of the other features worth noting:

  • Includes a smart switch that fits into your outlet
  • Has an IFTT Channel that enables you to connect numerous iSmart devices to the network
  • The camera can pan or tilt
  • The application is extremely user friendly

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing iSmart.


PROS:
  • Completely wireless
  • No contract needed
  • Just upfront cost, no hidden fees
  • Excellent application to use for monitoring your home
  • The device comes with wonderful customer service for those who need help with the device

CONS:
  • No alerts to your home from the motion sensor
  • If you’ve never installed a security system before, installation can be a bit of a challenge the first time around
  • No night vision


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Canary

Canary-Logo- Canary is recognized as a highly sophisticated wireless home security system. The device first arose out of crowdfunding efforts. Ever since the initial model, the Canary has continued to evolve. The current model has surpassed most expectations. There are three operating models to this device; privacy, armed, and disarmed. Upon detecting motion, the device will start recording and send you a video – which is a feature that is similar to the Piper device. One of the greatest components of this device that others do not include is the arming ability. When the last person in the space leaves, Canary will automatically turn on its security system and arm the home.

Once the system is armed, it will record videos and time stamp everything based on when the device is triggered. Upon detection, the device sends information to the resident’s phone if they have the application installed.

Features

Out of the four devices in this review, Canary is probably the most advanced. The system includes sirens, video monitoring, a home automation application, and even cloud support. In addition to these features and the discussion above, here are some other features that are worthwhile:

  • Cloud support
  • 4GHz WiFi
  • 3-mode alert system
  • Regular software updates
  • 1080p night vision
  • Color changing LED ring

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing Canary.


PROS:
  • Wireless technology
  • No contract needed
  • Just upfront cost, no hidden fees
  • Easy set up
  • Night vision

CONS:
    • Is not compatible with other technology, limiting capabilities
    • Requires a broadband connection to operate properly
    • Some users encounter setup problems that don’t arise with other wireless self-monitoring systems


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Simplisafe

simplisafe_logo The final device that this review will touch upon is the Simplisafe. Unlike other home alarm systems in this review, Simplisafe is probably the one with the least advanced features. This device is suitable for users who are looking for basic home security capabilities, without all of the bells and whistles. On the upside, another difference is that unlike other devices, this system is also extremely easy to install. All you have to do is plug everything in and the device is ready to go. In addition, Simplisafe is the most cost-effective option.

Features

In terms of features, Simplisafe provides users with mobile access that includes email alerts, arming and disarming capabilities, and an interactive monitoring package. Also, dissimilar to other options, Simplisafe also includes a satisfaction guarantee. If you aren’t pleased with the system, then you have 60 days to ask for a full refund.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing Simplisafe.


PROS:
  • Wireless technology
  • No contract needed
  • A cost effective option
  • Takes about an hour to install

CONS:
  • Application does not send you alerts when the sensors detect something passing through detection points
  • Does not notify you of open space
  • Very few advanced features


The Final Word

All in all, most of the devices reviewed here provide you with quality security capabilities. These wireless systems are easy to install, include workable and user-friendly applications, and there are no contracts.

However, out of the above three, the most worthwhile security system to use if you are looking for something advanced is the Canary. Canary includes some of the best features from Piper and iSmart. More importantly, Canary includes the motion sensor detection and notifications that Simplisafe doesn’t include. Based on the discussion in the review and the final word, here is a list of the four – starting with the best.

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Available on Amazon

Becoming a dad ignited my interest in home security. I started with security systems and quickly fell in love with the fast-evolving internet of things (IoT). I love to review home security and smart home products, and learn about new technologies in the IoT space.

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