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24 ways to make your home more secure in 2 days

Here's how to set up your own DIY secure smart home with tech you can find on Amazon and elsewhere.

Fox Van Allen
Fox Van Allen is a Los Angeles-based writer for CBS Interactive covering technology, tech lifestyle and gaming topics for GameSpot, CNET, ZDNet and TechRepublic. He has previously worked as a news and feature writer for a number of other sites, including Techlicious, Tecca, WoW Insider (Joystiq) and Blizzard Watch. In his spare time, Fox is an amateur skydiver, retro gaming and arcade enthusiast, 8-bit pixel artist, podcaster and Twitch live streamer.
Fox Van Allen
1 of 24 Chris Monroe/CNET

Keep an eye on your home, even when you're not there

Home security systems are a lot more affordable than they used to be: You can now get a quality smart home security setup in your home for just a couple hundred bucks, thanks to these smart buys we found on Amazon Prime. With its two-day shipping, you can feel safer within the week.

For starters: The Amazon Cloud Cam makes it easy to keep tabs on your home when you're not there: It offers a crisp, 1080p live feed and motion notifications and free 24-hour clip storage, all for $120.

2 of 24 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Here's how to catch Amazon package thieves

If you're worried about Amazon packages being stolen from your porch, or unwanted visitors trying to break in, you need a video doorbell. We like the hardwired Nest Hello ($229) for Google or Nest-based smart homes because of its good looks, motion alerts and optional facial recognition (available for $5 a month).

3 of 24 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The smartest way to alert you to fire danger

There are a lot of smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on the market, but we like the $119 Nest Protect for its stylish look, in-app alarm silencer, and motion-activated nightlight feature.

4 of 24 Chris Monroe/CNET

This next-generation door lock for Nest-powered smart homes

The $279 Nest Yale Lock is another great option for those with Nest-based smart homes: It can lock your door automatically when your Nest detects you're away, and can disarm your Nest Secure alarm system when you come back.

5 of 24 Chris Monroe/CNET

This ridiculously inexpensive security camera option

If you're on a budget, it's hard to beat this $38 camera from Wyze: It captures 1080p video (with free, rolling, 14-day cloud storage), rotates 360 degrees to capture all angles and now includes on-device AI person detection.

6 of 24 Chris Monroe/CNET

This video doorbell with a battery backup

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 ($199) can be hardwired, or you can use its removable, rechargeable battery for an even simpler installation. You'll be able to see and talk with visitors on your phone via the Ring app and receive motion-sensed visitor alerts.

7 of 24 Chris Monroe/CNET

This upgraded pro version of the Ring doorbell

The hardwired $249 Ring Doorbell Pro is a smaller and more sleek device than the Doorbell 2. Though it has similar video and audio quality (and lacks a battery), the Pro does allow you to draw motion zones for much more intelligent motion alert notifications.

8 of 24 Ry Crist/CNET

These attractive, motion-sensing pathlights

There are a handful of great smart outdoor security lights by Ring, but the $30 Ring Smart Pathlight is the best of breed: It sends motion notifications, connects to Ring cameras to start video recording, installs in minutes and offers a year of battery life.

The only downside? You'll need a $50 Ring Bridge to make them all work.

9 of 24 Chris Monroe/CNET

This spotlight cam to keep an eye on your driveway

This hardwired Ring Spotlight Cam ($199) keeps tabs on the outside of your home with 1080p video, infrared night vision and an audible siren.

10 of 24 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

This smart doorbell with a floodlight built in

The $199 August Doorbell Cam Pro features two-way communication, motion detection and 1080p livestreaming. But unlike the competition, it also includes a built-in floodlight.

11 of 24

This smart lock that lets you know if your door is open

The Z-Wave-ready August Smart Lock Pro ($198) has August's DoorSense magnetic field technology built in, so you'll always know for sure whether your door is shut... or whether someone left it wide open.

12 of 24 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

This smart lock that ensures no one will steal your Amazon packages

The Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi ($249) may not work with HomeKit, but it's a good lock with a built-in alarm that supports Amazon Key (where available), so you can get your purchases delivered inside of your home, instead of on your porch.

13 of 24 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

This simple smart plug that makes it look like you're home

Forget those old-school light timers: The $20 voice-activated WeMo Mini Smart Plug can be set to turn on when you arrive home, when the sun goes down, or even at random times to make it look like you're home even when you're not.

14 of 24 Abode via Amazon

This full home security system that doesn't break the bank

We like the $199 Abode home security system because it's so flexible: You can choose professional monitoring, or self-monitor this system that includes door, window and motion sensors for free.

15 of 24 Chris Monroe/CNET

This cam that works as great outside as it does indoors

This $180 Logitech cam features 180-degree wide-angle lens, two-way talk, free 24-hour cloud storage and 15-foot night vision. Person detection, motion zones and up to 31 days of cloud storage are available with a paid premium Circle Safe subscription ($100 a year for one camera, or $179 a year for up to five cameras). 

16 of 24 Chris Monroe/CNET

The perfect outdoor camera that doesn't need to be hardwired

The battery-powered Arlo Pro 2 ($299) has a strong set of features: motion alerts, 130-degree field of view and seven-day event-based video history. Additional storage, activity zones and person alerts available with an Arlo Smart subscription.

17 of 24 Chris Monroe/CNET

This affordable home security system with 24/7 monitoring

One of the most affordable options if you're looking for 24/7 live monitoring ($15 per month with no contract), the entry-level SimpliSafe Home Security includes a base station, keypad, entry sensor, motion sensor and key fob for $300. But if you're willing to pay more, you can add all sorts of extra goodies, including glass break sensors, water sensors, panic buttons and more.

18 of 24 Chris Monroe/CNET

This sensor that'll make sure your home stays dry

The Wi-Fi connected Roost Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector has a good design, reliable performance and, at $90, a reasonable price. Just slip it under a sink or your hot water heater, and enjoy the added peace of mind.

19 of 24 Colin West McDonald/CNET

This smart gadget that'll warn you about open garage doors

With the $59 Chamberlain MyQ, you'll never have to drive back home to double check that you've shut the garage door ever again: You can check right on your phone.

20 of 24 Chris Monroe/CNET

This garage door opener that keeps tabs on comings and goings

With the $98 Nexx Garage, you can open your garage door from your phone, via Alexa voice command or using your boring old garage door remote. It will even monitor activity and let you know if you forget to shut the door.

21 of 24 Screenshot via CNET

This robust smart security system... with a catch

The expandable Vivint Smart Home security system runs from a 7-inch wall-mounted SkyControl panel and works with a wide range of smart sensors: There are door/window sensors, motion detectors, glass break detectors, flood/freeze sensors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. 

The only catch to this robust system is that you'll have to pay a $40 monthly monitoring fee to use it.

22 of 24 Ry Crist/CNET

This smart sensor that scares away thieves

The weather-resistant Philips Hue Outdoor Sensor ($50) triggers both Philips Hue Indoor and Outdoor lights, so if someone tries sneaking up on your home late at night, you'll know about it.

23 of 24 Amazon

This smart speaker that brings all your smart home security pieces together

Yep, really: The Amazon Echo, that same smart-home speaker that lets you play Dungeon Adventure, can also keep the real-life trolls away, by connecting all of the other compatible home security pieces you've got... and allowing you to use your voice to control it all.

24 of 24 Chris Monroe/CNET

This smart doorbell for apartment dwellers

If you want the features of a Ring Doorbell but live in an apartment, check out the $199 Ring Door View Cam: Just remove your old peephole (it's easy!) and install this cam in the opening.

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