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The best cheap home security devices of 2021

Whether you're renting or a homeowner, these home security devices will keep you and your property safe without putting a dent in your wallet.

Home security is important year-round, but the associated costs can add up quickly. Security equipment of all kinds gets cheaper by the day, though, including detectors, lights, contact sensors and other systems that don't require professional installation. And that means you can keep your house and everything in it safe without too much financial commitment.

Luckily, writes my CNET colleague Megan Wollerton, "The era of the $200 security camera is over."

Check out these budget home security devices, including door and window sensors, security cameras and motion detectors. Many are often on sale for under $20. These home security kits and smart home devices can help secure your house and bring you peace of mind when you're away. We update this periodically.

Read more: Turn your old smartphone into a new security camera in 3 easy steps and the best DIY home security systems

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Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

While we're talking affordable deterrence, it might be worth considering dummy cameras as part of your home security kit. Especially for larger properties, where you want your home security system to cover a lot of ground without breaking the bank, fake security cameras can make your house look like a locked-down compound at an affordable price. You can order a four-pack of dummy cameras for around $30 here.

Deterrence will only get you so far with a fake security cam. If a burglar breaks into your house, you'll still want an alarm system -- either some sort of alarm monitoring device or motion detector -- to alert you to the breach.

Read our top home security cameras list including Arlo Pro and more.

 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Alexa Guard can help keep an ear (or some far-field microphones) on your house when you're away. An Echo Dot, which you can find on sale for $25 fairly often, is the cheapest way to get Alexa Guard monitoring in your house. But if you already have an Echo, this monitoring service is totally free and can be set up through the Alexa mobile app.

Just say, "Alexa, I'm leaving" to switch on the home monitoring feature. Then your Echo will listen for glass breaking, alarms or the sound of humans moving around your house (it can distinguish between pets and people) -- and you'll receive a mobile alert if it hears anything.

A subscription-based upgrade to Alexa Guard is also on the way for $5 per month.

Read our Echo Dot with Clock review.

 

Read more: Alexa has a new superpower: Transforming into a security camera and How to use Alexa with your home security camera

Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

It can be tough for renters to boost their home security in part because home security system installation can be pretty involved -- especially when you're talking smart deadbolts. So if you want to add a little security to your door locks without much hassle or cash down, consider a DIY system retrofit lock like this one.

Devices like these, while not Wi-Fi connected, still offer clever ways to add one more home security barrier for burglars to bypass, which equals a little peace of mind for the anxious homeowner. And even though it lacks any of the bells and whistles of a smart lock (like a control panel or burglar alarm), it's portable so you can bring this cheap home security lock with you when you're staying at a hotel or an Airbnb.

Read more about smart locks.

 

Read more: Best home security systems for renters and 7 home security tips for apartments

Wyze

Wyze Cam is the wallet-friendliest smart Wi-Fi camera. This home security camera offers free person-alerts to your Wyze app, 14 days of cloud storage and an SD card slot if you want continuous recording. Wyze's signature outdoor camera security device also got an upgrade for 2020 and now includes weatherproof housing, sharper night vision, a wider field of view, a functional siren and more -- all for $20.

Read our Wyze Cam v3 review.

 

Read more: Best places to install home security cameras

Chris Monroe/CNET

One of the most obvious deterrents to would-be intruders is an occupied house. Throw some smart lights into your kitchen, living room or front porch fixtures, schedule them to flip on at certain times during the night and you instantly make your house much less appealing to the more skittish thief.

One of the most wallet-friendly DIY home security system options: The Wyze bulb. You can get one for $8 or four for $30 -- not too much more than a regular LED bulb. These cheap home security gadgets connect directly to your Wi-Fi network and can be controlled with the Wyze mobile app through your mobile device. These lights are perfect to schedule through your app and forget about.

Read more: Best smart lights of the year and 5 things to think about before buying LED bulbs 

Wyze Labs

If you're less concerned about recording specific rooms and more interested in monitoring entryways to your house, the security sensor kit could be a better affordable equipment fit for you. Wyze is the security company that takes the cake again here, with a $20 security kit that includes a bridge (which connects to the Wyze WiFi camera and helps the devices communicate), two-door/window sensors and one motion sensor.

Again, for the price, this home monitoring security kit is a solid deal. For a small apartment, or if you're just monitoring your front and back doors, these smart home security kit devices could keep you solidly covered with motion detection for super cheap -- eliminating the need for professional monitoring with shoddy customer service or a false alarm.

Read more about Wyze Sense.

 

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