One of the most useful things about a smartphone is the peace of mind it can offer when you go out of town. When you leave the house , no longer do you panic a bandit sneak in and stealing your laptop, or a flame ravaging your apartment. Home security apps may not prevent those problems from happening, but they will let you know the moment something’s amiss.

Today, there are a wide variety of home security apps and devices. Many options don’t even require any extra hardware purchase–you can just set up one or more old smartphones to monitor your abode. Others coordinate with a variety of smart home sensors. At any rate, you don’t have to pony up thousands for a built-in home security system these days. And on top of that, it’s easier to check in on your home than it’s ever been.

The best home security apps of 2017

Below are some of the most popular, best examined, and easiest-to-use home security apps and services available.

1. Manything

Image via Manything

If to you, home security signifies home monitoring, Manything( free on iOS and Android) may be the cheapest and most convenient alternative available. Manything turns an old phone into a home security camera. You can set up one telephone for free, but for multiple phones–and to store recorded data for up to 30 days–you’ll have to subscribe to a monthly Cloud Recording plan. These range in cost from $2.99/ month to $19.99/ month.

On two recent trip-ups, I’ve applied Manything to monitor the front door region of my apartment. I get alerts for any visual activity, which in my suit, largely merely aims up being my cat sprinting from her litter container back to the bedroom. With push notifications, I’m alerted instantaneously when there’s motion( although you can also choose to be notified for loud sounds, as well ). If some people have broken in, I’d be able to call the cops or a neighbor ASAP. You can check the live feed and recorded motion/ music events on the Manything app, or online in a browser.

The only issue I’ve had use it thus far: The app quit operating after five days, when I believe the phone restarted itself for an update.

2. Alfred

Image via Alfred Camera

Alfred Home Security Camera( free on Android) similarly offer smartphone-based home monitoring, over Wi-Fi or a 3G/ 4G network. Alfred sends your telephone alarms when it detects motion activity, and you can customize the sensitivity level for those alarms. It also includes a two-way talking part. This is useful if you need to converse with the house sitter or to make it sound like someone’s at home.

For nighttime, the app also offers a night vision mode, and the ability to turn on the monitoring phone’s flashing as a flashlight. You can also swap between the forward and rear-facing cameras. This app saves videos for seven days.

Some reviewers have been disappointed in Alfred’s video quality, which can vary depending on your telephone model and linkage accelerate. All in all, though, the interface is straightforward and easy to setup. Some find it’s a better app than the one that comes with their fancy home security system. You can pay $3.99/ month to upgrade from the free version( and eliminate the in-app ads ).

3. Presence

With Presence( free on iOS ), you are able to set up the iOS app with an old telephone if you’re on a budget. If you’ve got extra money to spend( or a bigger mansion ), you can tack on additional motion sensors and entry sensors for a complete connected home security answer. You can grab individual sensors for as inexpensive as $34.95 apiece, or a full, multi-device security pack for $199.95 to $499.95.

People Power, the company behind Presence, also crowdfunded for a smartphone security camera robot called Presence 360. Presence 360, which isn’t on sale quite yet, is basically a motorized smartphone stand. It lets you set up to three vantage points for monitoring your home–if it’s set up in a central locating. It can cycle through those viewing points automatically, and you can customize how long it expends at each location.

In the near future, Presence will work with your Amazon Alexa machines, as well. Right now, it’s compatible with other smartphone systems and accessories though, such as GE smart bulbs and Blue Line Innovations’ products.

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