Smart Home

9 Clever Gadgets That’ll Stop a Home Intruder Cold

Ryan Dube 21-04-2016

In days gone by, the concept of home security meant locking your doors, securing your windows, and maybe even installing an expensive, wired home security system. How times have changed.


While wired home security systems like the X10 wired home automation solutions I Lived in a Smart Home for 20 Years. Here's What You Should Know. MakeUseOf spoke with one of our regular readers and commenters, Ben Stutt, of Rock Hill, South Carolina, USA, about his experiences living in a smart home. Read More have been around for a very long time, the advent of robust Wi-Fi home networks have fueled a surge in wireless home security products. The marketplace is now filled with devices that can be installed in your home and providing security and peace of mind in just minutes.

Some of these devices are obvious — we’ve written often about wireless security cameras 5 Dangers to Consider When Pointing Your Home Security Cameras It is important to carefully consider where you position your cameras, and what parts of your home you point them at. Keeping things secure is important, but so is maintaining your privacy. Read More and door locks — but what you may not realize is the rapid pace of innovation in recent years, and what amazing features you can now expect from today’s home security gadgets.

Electronic Door Locks

When smart door locks first started arriving on the market, the first complaint from security experts was that they are practically an open invitation for hackers to break into your home.

The August Smart Lock for example, is one of coolest looking sci-fi door locks you could hope for.

August Home 1st Generation Smart Lock - Dark Grey August Home 1st Generation Smart Lock - Dark Grey Buy Now On Amazon $99.00 ($3.34 / oz)


The problem is that its multi-colored LED display is a dead giveaway that it’s a smart lock. Anyone who hopes to get into your home really only needs to research black-hat hacker communities to either identify an already exploited security vulnerability in the August system, or hire a hacker to find one.

The likelihood of this isn’t enormous if you’re a regular citizen, but if you are someone who works in a sensitive field or otherwise depends on your security system keeping out the bad guys, this could be a concern.

One solution is the Kevo lock.

Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock with Keyless Bluetooth Touch to Open Convenience in Satin Nickel Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock with Keyless Bluetooth Touch to Open Convenience in Satin Nickel Buy Now On Amazon $79.99


This is a regular deadbolt lock that looks identical to any other key lock out there, except it’s actually a smart lock. Installation requires just a screwdriver, and you can unlock it whenever you arrive home just by touching the lock, so long as you have your smartphone or one of the included electronic key fobs in your pocket.

The lock is compatible with any Android or iOS device, and it even works in conjunction with your existing Nest products. It uses Bluetooth technology, so you don’t have to worry about security concerns from anyone who may be using your Wi-Fi network.

Another solution is the Schlage Sense which looks like a keypad-entry security lock, but in reality it’s a powerful smart lock using Z-Wave wireless technology.

Schlage BE468CAM619-2key Z-Wave Technology Connect Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt with Two Key, Satin Nickel Schlage BE468CAM619-2key Z-Wave Technology Connect Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt with Two Key, Satin Nickel Buy Now On Amazon


The Schlage Sense is a deceptive door lock because it’s appearance betrays the fact that it actually holds a lot of impressive security and technology. It has a regular keylock as a normal backup, and the motorized bolt will automatically work when you type the right code, but the benefits of this lock go far beyond those standard features. It’s actually pretty simple to install too.

Compatibility with your wireless Z-Wave network (which smart hub is best for you? Which Smart Hub for Home Automation Is Best for You? For a while, people thought of the idea as nothing more than a gimmick, but recent product releases have shown that smart home automation is starting to live up to its promises. Read More ) means you can control and monitor the lock from your smartphone, tablet or even a PC. It includes motion detection so that you can set up the lock to alert you any time there’s movement at the door, with an audible alert and a mobile notification.

The lock allows you to program up to 30 different user codes so that not only your entire family can have their own code, but so can your extended family and friends.

Home Monitoring Systems

Because Wi-Fi and bluetooth smart home products are so ubiquitous today, it’s very easy for you to piece together your own home monitoring system How To Build A WiFi Home Surveillance System With Your PC Read More that does everything from video and audio monitoring to air quality The 6 Best Smart Air Quality Monitors and Sensors for Your Home These smart indoor air quality monitors and sensors help ensure your home air is as safe as possible. Read More and motion detection. The following are some of the impressive devices on the market today, and they are all very affordable.

  • Multipurpose sensors (often with humidity, temperature, motion, light and vibration)
  • Smart outlets
  • Wireless cameras
  • Motion detectors
  • Sirens, lights and other alarms
  • Outdoor cameras

When it comes to securing your entire home, you can purchase full systems, or you can buy individual devices that can communicate with one another in order to build your own system in pieces. Here, we’ll discuss both.

Full Monitoring Systems

In the old days of home security, you’d be hard pressed to find any kind of system that can protect your entire home for under several thousand dollars. These days, you have many more options at affordable prices.

One such solution is actually a single, highly innovative device called Cocoon.

Cocoon Complete Home Security Device - Black Cocoon Complete Home Security Device - Black Buy Now On Amazon

Cocoon looks a little bit like a simple home security camera, but it’s much more advanced than that. Using what the company calls “SUBSOUND™ Technology”, the unit can actually sense when there’s movement anywhere inside the house when there shouldn’t be.

It doesn’t only depend on vibrations within the home — the unit comes packed with other technologies like a microphone, HD camera, motion detector and of course a siren.

Cocoon doesn’t issue a notification every time there’s movement in the house. It’s much smarter than that. It actually learns your living patterns, so that whenever you leave the home for work or for any other reason, the system automatically arms itself to notify you whenever anything goes wrong. It’s also pet friendly too — so no false alarms.

A similar all-in-one home security device to this is Sentri.

Sentri is a beautiful wall or table-mounted unit that features all sorts of sensors to let you know everything you want to know about the environment inside of your home, not just its security.

Sentri All-In-One Home Monitoring (Pearl White) Sentri All-In-One Home Monitoring (Pearl White) Buy Now On Amazon $35.00

So what does Sentri do? Well it comes packed with its own sensors, like night vision, motion detector, thermometer, an HD camera, a humidity sensor and even an air quality monitor.

It doesn’t only depend on its own sensors either. The device can communicate with other smart home gadgets you may have installed like your Nest Thermostat, Philip Hue Lights, WeMo Smart Switches and more.

You can customize the background so that the device display compliments your home decor, but at the same time it will enhance your peace of mind by notifying you any time anything inside of your home — from its air quality and temperature to humidity and unwanted motion — ever falls out of expected limits.

Of course, if you want to feel like you live in a home of the future, you really need to check out XANDEM Home.

This advanced technology uses multiple  sensors that you plug into outlets all around your home. Each of the devices communicate with one another using advanced radio wave technology, which allows them to not only sense movement in the home, but also the location of that movement.


Picture the cool advanced laser security systems from the movies, but with an invisible radio wave force field rather than lasers.  It can detect motion through walls and objects.

Beyond the obvious home security benefits of such a system, XANDEM Home also communicates with other smart home devices around your home, like smart lights and smart appliances – so you can use it to enable or disable devices whenever people walk into or out of specific rooms.

It is on the pricier end of most of the products mentioned here, with a price tag just under $500 and a $10/mo charge for the cloud services, but it’s still much less expensive than most full-home security systems on the market today. If there’s  single smart home product that you buy this year, this should be it.

This is one home security gadget that no home intruder can fool.

Security System Components

If you are the kind of person who prefers piecing together your home security system 5 Cheapest Ways to Create Your Own Wireless Home Security Alarm Put one of these five wireless home security alarms together with the recommend components, or use them as inspiration to come up with your own alarm system! Read More , there are some pretty unique gadgets available out there that you may want to add to your home security toolbox.

If you have sheds, bicycles or other objects that you want to secure around your home, there’s still nothing better than a good old fashioned pad-lock to secure them. However, fumbling with an annoying combination lock can be a real pain when you’re in a hurry.

Enter Tapplock, a padlock that you can unlock simply by touching it with your finger.

Tapplock can only be unlocked with your fingerprint, and no one else’s. But don’t worry, if you would like other people to use the lock too, you can just use the Tapplock smartphone app to grant access. They will need to provide you with their fingerprint, of course.

Another smart padlock solution is the Master Lock Outdoor Bluetooth Smart Padlock.

For under $90, you can get a smart bluetooth padlock that you can unlock just by pressing a button on your smartphone. With the included app, you can also grant access to other people who you may be sharing the lock with.

And if you don’t want to use your phone, you can always unlock the padlock old-school style by entering in your own code using the key pad.

Master Lock Padlock, Outdoor Personal Use Bluetooth Lock, 2-7/32 in. Wide, 4401DLH Master Lock Padlock, Outdoor Personal Use Bluetooth Lock, 2-7/32 in. Wide, 4401DLH Buy Now On Amazon $82.19 ($82.19 / count)

The lock provides you a complete log of when the lock was used, and which users unlocked it. The outdoor version is weather resistant, but there’s also an indoor version available for only $70. It’s also made by a well-known padlock company that you know you can trust.

Another cool gadget is the Elephant smart alarm system for doors.

You attach the device to the upper corner of your door, and it uses sound, vibration and motion detection technology to detect when someone is trying to break into your room or your apartment.

It’s ideal for securing specific rooms inside of the home, or apartment doorways, because when you move out or are done using it, you can just take it down without causing any damage at all.

The device includes advanced sensors – an accelerometer, gyroscope and a microphone. Using a neural network to analyse data from all of it’s sensors, the unit is able to detect when an actual break-in is taking place, so you’re less likely to get false alarms or set it off accidentally. It will not only set off an alarm, but it’ll also send you a smartphone notification when anything goes wrong.

Of course, if you’re looking for all of the standard sort of smart home security components like sound and motion detectors, open/close window and door sensors, and wireless cameras, you can’t go wrong with the SmartThings collection of smart home gadgets, which we’ve written about often here at MakeUseOf Creepy but Fun Surveillance Ideas with SmartThings With a set of Smart Home devices like the SmartThings suite, you can spy to your heart's content. Here are some ways to use SmartThings devices to keep a watchful eye over your surroundings. Read More .

Home Security Means Peace of Mind

Whether you decide to buy a smart home gadget that handles full-home security, or components that you piece together to secure your home, when you’re done the knowledge that your home is safe brings a peace of mind that can’t be understated.

Even if your house is never broken into, you be able to enjoy a stress-free life, secure in the knowledge that your home is free of intruders and that everything you own is still there. Can you really put a price tag on that?

For more cool home gadgets, check out the best wireless home intercom systems The 7 Best Home Wireless Intercom Systems and Devices Wireless intercoms are a great way to stay in touch throughout the house. Which is the best wireless intercom for your home? Read More .

Image Credit: confused robber by Creativa Images via Shutterstock

Related topics: Home Automation, Home Security.

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  1. David Craker
    May 15, 2016 at 4:15 am

    Two German Shepherds work for me, I know when an intruder has started walking down the street and when they stop to think before going next door where there is no dogs..

  2. Bill
    May 4, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Locks of any kind have always kept honest people honest. Any security system is better than nothing. Even a recording of a barking dog that is either motion or sound activated will scare a lot of people off.

  3. Anonymous
    April 21, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Other than being new and "kewl" how is IoT security better (more secure) than mechanical security? If you cut the power or the batteries die, your "kewl" security system is just so much dead weight. It may be more convenient to control your entire house from your smartphone but if that phone is compromised, your entire house stands open. With people's constant search for ease of use and convenience, chances are their phones are so badly secured that just about anybody can hack them. It's so cute when all your devices can talk to each other over WiFi and the Internet. I'm sure it makes them feel almost human. Unfortunately, any device with WiFi and Internet connectivity will be hacked, the question is not 'if' but 'when'.

    The TappLock sounded great until I read that it access can be granted to multiple individuals using a smartphone app.

    "Even if your house is never broken into, you be able to enjoy a stress-free life, secure in the knowledge that your home is free of intruders and that everything you own is still there."
    There is no way to describe how you'll be feeling when all these gadgets do not prevent your house from being cleaned out because your smartphone was compromised.

    • Ryan Dube
      May 4, 2016 at 3:39 am

      Ah yes - but being able to provide the face of the intruders to the police would be rather useful I would think?

  4. Su
    April 21, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    The use of deadbolts with keys renders them as vulnerable as any regular lock. The Web is full of how to Vidrios explaining his to break Into them in minutes, if not seconds

    • Ryan Dube
      May 4, 2016 at 3:41 am

      Are you referring to lock-picking? That's never been a very "easy" thing to accomplish, has it? If you're truly concerned someone will take the time to pick your locks, it can't hurt to install a wireless camera in some inconspicuous location in your entryway, so at the very least you've captured an image of the perpetrator to share with police afterwards.