Home security system buying guide

Choosing the right CCTV kit, smart camera or alarm to protect your home

A home is far more than just a roof over our heads - it’s a place where we want to feel safe and protected. A good, well thought out home security system not only protects your family, home and possessions, it also provides peace of mind too.

With so many home security systems available, a bit of guidance can go a long way. The best system for you depends on a number of factors, such as the size of your home and the level of protection you’d like.

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This guide will take you through the different types of security systems, products and accessories on offer, and the key features to look out for.

To make it as simple as possible, we’ve divided our products into two main groups:


No criminal wants to be captured on camera, which makes them an extremely effective deterrent. With smart technology it’s now easier than ever before to set up and expand your own home security system.

Smart cameras

Smart cameras can be linked to your smartphone, and as soon as motion is detected it will send a notification through to your device. You’ll be able to stream live footage and check in on your home from wherever, whenever you want. You can always add more cameras to your smart home to expand the surveillance area at a later date.

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CCTV kits

CCTV kits often come with two or more cameras and can be modified by adding more. You can watch the footage remotely via a smartphone or tablet or watch live footage at home. The kits often include a hard drive with the ability to backup recorded footage to a USB or external hard drive.

What to consider when buying a CCTV kit or smart camera

Indoor or outdoor cameras

Choosing the right camera for its location is an important consideration. We clearly mark on the packaging, and on our website, whether the camera is for indoor or outdoor use. You should only choose a weather-proof camera if it’s going outside.

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Wired v wire-free

Wireless cameras are suitable for renters and homeowners alike, as they are easy to install, take down and move to a different location if required. Don’t get caught out - wireless security cameras are not necessarily completely wire-free. While they connect to your Wi-Fi network wirelessly, they might require a plug-in power supply or be hardwired to the mains, so check the product carefully before you choose.

Battery-powered cameras do not require any power source, making them completely wireless. These are easy to position and relocate, but this does mean you will need to recharge or replace the batteries when required.

Motion detection

Security cameras will trigger recording when motion is detected. Once motion is detected, they will send an alert to the app on your phone or send an email so you can check in on what’s going on.

Smart cameras with built in voice assistants

Cameras like the Nest Cam IQ are now even smarter as they have a voice assistant built-in to the camera – in the case of Nest, it’s the Google Assistant and they also work with Alexa. This clever feature is perfect for busy families; you can ask it for reminders, to add items to shopping lists and even get the camera to check in on the baby.

Several of our cameras (and alarms) in the range are also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple HomeKit, as well as Phillips Hue so you can make your home security system even smarter.

Motorised shutter for privacy

The motorised shutter on the Somfy Indoor CCTV camera protects privacy, and can be controlled through the app.

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Night vision

When it comes to night vision, most cameras use LED lights or infrared to let you see what’s happening at night. The Nest Cam has an all-glass lens so can have true 1080p HD image quality, day and night.

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One-way or two-way audio

Most cameras now incorporate built-in speakers and a microphone, providing two-way audio so that you can see as well as hear and speak to your visitor. One-way audio simply lets you hear what’s going on. This makes them great for more than just security, like checking in on pets, asking for a parcel to be left somewhere, or letting a visitor know you’ll be home soon.

Supersight

More advanced cameras, like the Google Nest Cam IQ Camera go one step further, providing advanced algorithms that can identify when someone’s in your home, alert you and zoom in on their face.

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Cloud storage

A selection of our CCTV cameras have cloud storage. Stored files are kept safe and can be easily accessed from anywhere in the world with just an internet connection.

Respect other people’s privacy

If your camera captures images of people outside the boundary of your private domestic property – for example, in neighbours’ homes or gardens, shared spaces, or on a public footpath or a street you’ll need to consider how you’ll protect and use these images. Read the ICO’s guidance to make sure you’re complying with all the regulations. It’s also a good idea to put up signs to let people know that recording is taking place.

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Floodlight cameras

Protect your home with a motion-activated security camera with built-in floodlights. This all in one security device also has a siren alarm and two-way audio, so you can see, hear and speak to anyone on your property from anywhere. With crystal-clear 1080p HD video, two ultra-bright LED floodlights and a 110-decibel siren alarm, this floodlight camera is a great upgrade option for existing floodlights.

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Designed to detect motion, a security alarm will sound if an uninvited intruder enters your home whilst the system is activated.

Alarm kits

Alarm kits and sets comprises of everything you need to secure your home (control panel, motion detectors, door and window sensors etc.) You can also add extra devices to the kit at a later date, which is especially useful for larger homes.

Control panel

The control panel is the heart of your home alarm kit. It communicates with each installed component within the system. If one of your devices is tripped, it will send a message to your control panel to trigger the alarm. Control panels have a touchpad where you can enter codes to arm and disarm. They can also be controlled via voice commands, or wireless remote controls called key fobs.

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Door and window contacts

Usually comprising of two parts, one part of the contact is installed on the door or window and the other on the doorframe or windowsill. This accessory activates when a door or window is opened, triggering your security alarm.

IntelliTAG™, found in the Somfy window and door sensor, detects vibrations on doors and windows, activating the alarm before intrusion.

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Motion detector

Infrared movement detectors known as PIRs fitted high up in the corner of each room will activate the alarm if they detect body heat and movement. Magnetic contact detectors installed on doors or windows trigger the alarm if the magnetic plates are disturbed.

Look out for pet friendly motion sensors designed to ignore pets' movements, preventing false alarms.

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Wired v wire-free

Don’t get caught out - wireless alarm systems are not necessarily completely wire-free. While they connect to your Wi-Fi network wirelessly, they might require a plug-in power supply or be hardwired to the mains, so check the product carefully before you choose what’s right for you.

With the easy fit wireless range, there is no need to run cables. All the components are self-contained and no wired connections are required between units.

Zones

Some alarm systems allow you to isolate different zones in the house. For example, at night you can turn on the alarm downstairs but leave it off upstairs so you don’t set it off on trips to the bathroom. If you have a pet, you might choose to leave one room free of movement detectors for them to roam around.

Disarming key fobs

You can use a key fob to arm, disarm or emergency trigger your security alarm system. If your alarm is falsely activated, then having a key fob means that you can quickly silence the alarm before it wakes the neighbours.

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Smart alarms

Smart alarm kits can be controlled from outside the home with a device such as your smartphone or tablet. If the alarm is triggered, you will receive a notification on your device and if you have security cameras linked to your alarm kit, then you can also watch what is happening in your home. All of the alarm kits available at B&Q are wireless, we also offer smart and non-smart kits.

Look out for alarms that work with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or Philips Hue to combine lights, sound and voice control to create a really smart security system.

Geo technology

With geolocation, notifications prompt alarm functions based on your GPS location (Global Positioning System). So, when you’ve left home, the handy geolocation feature reminds you to arm the system, giving you one less thing to worry about.

Added surveillance cameras

Alarm sets are also available with a smart camera included in the kit. With a camera linked to your alarm, as soon as the alarm sounds, the camera records what’s going on allowing you to check in and record what’s happening.

Shed and garage alarms

Shed and garage alarms are standalone devices that protect your outer buildings by triggering a loud siren. If motion is detected and the correct key code isn’t entered within a certain amount of time, the alarm will go off and alert you (and your neighbours) of any intruders.

The Yale Wireless Shed and Garage Alarm is easy to install and use and can be wall-mounted or used free-standing. This alarm can also be added to Yale’s alarm kit. To ensure that your shed, garage or summerhouse is extra secure, you could also set up an outdoor camera too.

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More help and advice

Now that you know more about our home security products and devices, why not have a read of our article on how to keep your home secure before buying the right products for your home? Read 20 ways to keep your home secure.