Home Security Options

THE YEARLY UPDATE – 20 UNDER $20

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I’m married to a security nut and I say that with the greatest admiration! Security of one form or another has been his job for over 40 years, so it makes sense that he knows a bit about it. Our house was the only one on our street that wasn’t burglarized when we lived in Italy! Security was a morning and evening ritual – house, cars, kids – he locked it all down. Or he left strict instructions for the 85% of the time he was out of town – to me.

Now, over 20 years later, we still have a similar ritual. And a security plan. I’m not talking about the home monitoring system. We have a plan for ‘in the event of a break-in while we’re at home’. You should too. But that’s not today’s topic.

What does a secure home look like to you? Smart home monitoring is pricey but there are great products available that cost far less. I thought these ’20 under $20′ were pretty cool!

1. Defender Security Door Lock for homes with small children

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silver door reinforcement lock

Bad guys know to attack a door at the lock—so put a lock in an unexpected place. The Defender Security Lock can easily be installed nearly anywhere on the inside edge of your door. It’s easy to lock and unlock from the inside, but practically impossible to tamper with from the outside. And since you can place it high on the door, small kids can’t escape when it’s secured.

But it’s not a perfect fit for every door so you may need to get handy with a chisel to fit it on some doorways. Replace it after a few years of wear and tear. Watch for them on sale and buy a couple at a time so you can replace one as soon as it shows deterioration.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Good for childproofing
  • Tamper-proof

Cons

  • Not durable with frequent use
  • Not functional on all doors

2. SABRE Door Security Bar for added door security

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door security bar

A door jammer security device like the SABRE Security Bar has a rubber foot and it fits under your door handle; the bar adjusts to the length you need. 

Pros

  • Works with hinged and sliding doors
  • Adjusts from 28.5 in. to 45 in.
  • Can be used on bedroom doors

Cons

  • May slide on tile floors

3. Defender Security Sliding Window Locks for vinyl window security

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white window lock

This is cool! Literally! The Defender’s Sliding Window Locks offer both protection and airflow. No screws required. Just clamp it on to the window track at the desired location, and it allows for ventilation on those cool Fall evenings. How’s that for a breath of fresh air???

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • Durable die-cast construction

Cons

  • Difficult removal

4. Sliding Door and Window Locks for aluminum sliding doors/windows

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Gripping pads on these door and window locks keep them secure on any sliding door or window track. Double thumbscrews make installation easy and snug. Choosing the lock placement along the track lets you control how far your door or window opens.

Pros

  • Heavy duty aluminum construction
  • Easy installation
  • Snug fit

Cons

  • Poor performance on vinyl windows

5. Addalock lock reinforcement for renters

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red addalock

The Addalock does just what the name suggests: It adds a second lock to your doorknob. You can use it on a front door or on interior doors to block anyone from getting in. It takes seconds to install, and it won’t leave any holes or marks, so it’s a great security device for renters. 

Pros

  • Fast, easy installation
  • Non-marking design
  • Compact size

Cons

  • Non-universal fit

6. Defender Sliding Door Security Bar for securing sliding glass doors

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The Defender Sliding Door Security Bar is just like your grandma’s broomstick in the sliding door track, but with handy components like a hinge that makes it easy to lock and unlock without removing the entire thing and an adjustable telescoping length.

Pros

  • Adjustable telescoping design
  • Hinged operation
  • Extruded aluminum construction

Cons

  • Drilling required

7. Taiker Personal Emergency Alarm for deterring intruders

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gold and purple personal emergency keychains

A whole-house alarm system with monitoring might not be in your budget, but there’s no reason you can’t still scare off intruders with a loud noise. A five-pack of push-button Taiker alarms is under $20, so you can stash one in every room of your house.

Pros

  • LED flashlight
  • Compact key fob design
  • Loud 140 dB alarm

Cons

  • Limited durability

8. SABRE Shed and Garage Alarm for garages and outbuildings

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Even though this alarm is marketed for sheds and garages, you can use it to secure any door in your home. It’s easy to arm and disarm with your own four-digit code, and you can choose between alarm and chime modes.

Pros

  • Loud 120 dB alarm
  • Easy installation
  • Entry and exit delay

Cons

  • Permanent entry delay
  • No remote monitoring

9. GE Personal Security Kit for apartments or dorms

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3-piece security kit

With three separate alarm components, the GE Personal Security Kit is a smart going away present for any college student. It comes with a door/window sensor alarm, a keychain panic alarm, and a doorstop intrusion alarm. All are battery operated and easy to arm and disarm.

Pros

  • Low battery indicators
  • 120 dB alarms
  • Easy operation

Cons

  • Non-universal fit

10. GE Door/Window Alarms for DIY home security systems

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door alarm duo

Door and window sensors like these GE window/door alarms can work almost as well as a full security system without monitoring. Just mount the sensor and the magnet and then select between “Alarm,” “Chime,” and “Off.” The sensors’ shrieking, 120-dB alarms will surprise any would-be intruders.

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • Chime option
  • Extremely loud alarm

Cons

  • Weak adhesive
  • Tricky fit

11. LITOM Outdoor Motion Sensor Solar Lights for outdoor lighting

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Burglars are much less likely to snoop around a house that’s well lit, and LITOM’s motion sensor solar lights can ensure you always have the lights on. Motion detectors sense movement to trigger the lights, and these lights come with three different lighting settings. 

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • 270-degree coverage
  • Waterproof casing
  • LEDs

Cons

  • Sensitive motion detector
  • Two-year lifespan

12. SadoTech Wireless Doorbell for visitor alerts

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SadoTech wireless doorbell

You might not want to splurge on smart doorbells with cameras, but with the SadoTech Wireless Doorbell you’ll always know if someone’s at the door. Just mount the doorbell next to your front door and plug in the base unit where you’ll hear it best.

Pros

  • Modern design
  • LED lights
  • 500-foot range
  • Customizable ring tones

Cons

  • Poor durability

13. TOGU Peephole: Best for seeing who’s at the door

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TOGU peephole

The TOGU peephole gives you a full 220-degree view of someone standing outside, and it comes in eight different finishes to match your door hardware. The included cover prevents anyone from peeking through the hole from the other side.

Pros

  • Quality optic lens
  • Multiple finishes
  • Lens cover

Cons

  • Installation requires drilling
  • Blurred lens over time

14. ZOSI 720p CCTV Camera for monitoring

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Zosi 720p camera

When we found these cheap security cameras, we knew they had to be on the list. But they don’t come with the needed DVR or cables, and the monitoring app for smartphones and tablets is difficult to use. Still, the cameras work well for monitoring in all weather conditions and come with lifetime tech support. 

Pros

  • Lifetime tech support
  • Rugged casing
  • 2-year warranty

Cons

  • No DVR or cables
  • Tricky smartphone app
  • Cloud storage not included

15. Gosund Mini Smart Plug Outlet for controlling indoor lighting remotely

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Smart devices for under $20? It seems too good to be true, but the Gosund Mini Smart Plug Outlet gives you a lot of home automation device management for a low price. Using it with lighting lets you turn house lights on and off from anywhere with your smartphone or, if you have a home assistant, voice commands. IFTTT (If This, Then That) compatibility means it can also be used with other smart home security systems if you choose to add more home automation security devices later on.

Pros

  • Plugs into existing outlet
  • No smart hubs needed
  • Compatibility with Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT

Cons

  • Works only with 2.4 GHz networks
  • May have trouble connecting
  • Doesn’t work with Z-Wave devices

16. VIPERTEK Stun Gun Flashlight for personal protection

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black flashlight stun gun

Most people keep a flashlight next to their bed in case of a power outage, but having a flashlight that doubles as a personal security device is even better. This Stun Gun Flashlight delivers both a loud crackling noise and a nonlethal shock when it’s activated, and it’s rechargeable.

Pros

  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Multiple colors

Cons

  • Weak batteries

17. Artscape Etched Glass Window Film for privacy

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If you live on a ground floor apartment, you shouldn’t have to keep the blinds closed and feel like you’re living in a cave. Artscape Etched Glass Window Films use stylish frosted and etched glass designs to allow light in while completely obscuring the view of any curious passersby. 

Pros

  • Not see-through
  • Removable
  • Stylish

Cons

  • Tricky to install

18. Amazon Basics Portable Security Case for securing valuables

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small, black security box

Just in “case” someone does get into your home, the steel-shelled Amazon Basics Security Case keeps jewelry and firearms under combination lock and key. The included security cable lets you secure the case to a heavy piece of furniture or household fixture.

Pros

  • Steel casing
  • Combination lock or keyed lock options
  • Interior padding
  • Included security cable

Cons

  • Not tamperproof

19. Defender Security Combo Strike Plate for beefing up door security

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Simply installing a new strike plate like the Defender Security Combo with 3-inch screws can give your door the strength it needs to withstand a forced entry.

Pros

  • Deadbolt and deadlatch coverage
  • Solid steel construction
  • 3-inch screws

Cons

  • Non-universal fit
  • Weak screws

20. WALI Fake Security Camera for the illusion of monitoring

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duo of fake security cameras

As the saying goes, “Fake it till you make it.” When it comes to security, it’s not actually a bad idea. A realistic decoy security camera like the WALI is an excellent crime deterrent. It has battery-operated LED lights to give the illusion of night vision, and you can get four for under $20.

Pros

  • Realistic appearance
  • Adjustable angle
  • Battery powered lights
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Hokey “Security Camera” label

adorable animal breed canine

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And never underestimate the value of a dog.


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