Whether you’re renting an apartment as a short-term living solution or you simply don’t want to take on the costs associated with the upkeep of a house, there are still plenty of ways to make the place you retreat to every night as safe and secure as a long-term home.
Keeping the house secure while you’re home, away for the day, or gone for longer periods of time is an investment you can make now and take with you to wherever you might move in the future.
A traditional alarm system—the kind installed by a company with an army of phone dispatchers and a propensity for placing a sticker on every window of a house to inform outsiders that it’s protected—won’t work for most renters. Fortunately, the modern tenant has many more choices for creating a secure home, all of which can be uninstalled and taken on to your next place, should you move.
Here are the three types of gadgets every renter should consider when looking for peace of mind at home, with three different levels of price points and security to meet anybody’s budget and needs:
Yes, you read that right, faking a technologically guarded home could actually ward off suspicious behavior. Think about it—when you’re out at a store and see a security camera in the ceiling or at the door, do you stop to investigate if the thing’s on and functioning? Likely not, and neither will the average person walking through your apartment hallway or strolling past your house from the street.
Costing as little as $10 and up to $40 per dummy camera, these inexpensive devices are easy to install (but check first to make sure it’s allowed at your apartment). Just screw each “camera” mount into the same outdoor spot you’d install a real camera. Point each camera at a front door, a back door, a yard or a garage space. Many of the cameras, like the Q-See Decoy Camera, come with batteries to display the red light “camera on” indicator that people associate with a functioning video recorder.
Get excited—this is the time to channel every spy movie you’ve ever watched. Of course, there are the typical camera-enabled ballpoint pens, but that’s really more for surveillance-on-the-go.
For home use, there are interior and exterior hidden camera options. To monitor the yard, there’s an outdoor thermometer that doubles as a DVR camera to record four hours of color video and store up to 4GB of internal memory.
For covert indoor surveillance, the sky’s the limit when it comes to cameras disguised as everyday objects. The Bush Baby Tissue Box Camera DVR looks and functions like a run-of-the-mill tissue box cover, but with a whole lot of extra features. The camera records 1280p high-resolution video, up to 32GB of storage, and can be controlled via remote control or set to motion-activated mode.
Also serving two purposes is the Working Android Dock with Miniature Spy Camera. It provides real-world function as a Samsung Galaxy charging station, but also records 720p video from a tiny camera located in the front of the dock.
Growing in popularity as a renters’ must-have, Wi-Fi cameras are now being used to not only safeguard places, but also to check in with people and pets. Say “Hhi” to the family when you’re away on a business trip or check in on a pet’s behavior while they’re home alone during the day.
The Nest Cam is a smart home’s dream. It connects with Nest’s other products like the Learning Thermostat and the Protect Smoke Alarm, allowing you to monitor all three from the same Nest app. The Nest Cam provides real-time 1080p HD color footage of what’s happening in your house, can send alerts to your phone when movement is detected, and has a microphone accessible via the Nest app so you can tell your pup to find a new place to snooze.
Wi-Fi cameras like the Motorola Outdoor Home Video System monitor the world outside. Pan and tilt the camera for a 270° view while you watch the live stream from a compatible smartphone, tablet or computer. The camera’s weatherproof casing ensures your home is covered with an eye in the sky even when the weather is frightful.
Security isn’t a concern exclusive to homeowners. Including any of these devices will add to your wellbeing at home, however long you live there.
Which home security options have you used at home? Share your experience in the comments below.
Kelly Schwarze is a tech-lover who provides tips and short-cuts for the not so tech-savvy person. She is especially interested in easy ways to keep your home or rental safe. Visit The Home Depot to see the products Kelly talks about in this article and other options for Home Security and outdoor surveillance cameras.