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12 smart home gadgets to protect your home when you're away

Travel plans? Make sure you've got these devices installed first

On left, white oval sensor on window panel. On right, person using finger to press buttons on alarm system keypad. Credit: Geeni / Ring

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Whether you're heading out for a summer vacation or work long hours at the office, it’s always nice to be able to check in on your home while you’re away. Knowing that everything is safe and secure will give you peace of mind, allowing you to truly relax and enjoy your time off, and with the right smart home gadgets, you won’t even have to send your neighbor over to check on your house—instead, you can monitor everything that’s happening right from your smartphone.

If you’re looking for smart devices to protect your home (and family!), the following are some of the best products we’ve tested, all of which will provide a sense of security when you’re not there.

1. Google Nest Doorbell

Two smiling people talk into smart doorbell outside of home.
Credit: Google

Google's Nest Doorbell is an interactive device that can allow you to speak, record and transmit audio for you.

Smart doorbells offer audio and video to let you to see who’s at your door, and the best smart doorbell we’ve tested is the Google Nest Doorbell. This battery-powered device delivers crystal-clear footage of what’s happening outside your door, and it even comes with free intelligent alerts that can differentiate between people, packages, animals, and vehicles. Plus, the battery lasts for up to six months per charge, so you don’t need to worry about it dying while you’re away on vacation.

Get the Google Nest Doorbell on Amazon for $180

2. Moen Flo Smart Water Leak Detector

Raindrop shaped plug plugged into wall outlet on ground.
Credit: Moen

Stop major leaks caused by burst pipes and severe storms from ruining your vacation.

If you’re worried about your home’s water tank springing a leak or the basement flooding during big storms, a smart water leak detector can help put your mind at ease. Our top-rated pick is the Moen Flo, which sends near-instantaneous alerts any time it detects water where it shouldn’t be. The device can also monitor the temperature and humidity within your home, and if you’re going away for a long period of time, you can pair it with the brand’s Smart Water Shutoff, which allows you to turn off the water line in your home remotely.

Get the Moen Flo Smart Water Leak Detector on Amazon for $49

3. Google Nest Protect Smoke Alarm

Person using hands to install smart smoke detector on wall.
Credit: Google

For the safety of your home and your family, invest in a smoke detector that can send you alerts on the first presence of carbon monoxide or smoke.

I think it’s safe to say that every homeowner fears a call saying their house is on fire, which is why a smart smoke detector is a must-have smart gadget. The best option we’ve tested is the uber-popular Google Nest Protect, which operates as both a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. It comes in both wired and battery-powered models, and if it ever detects smoke or CO in your home, it will instantly send you a smartphone alert—no matter where you are—allowing you to contact emergency services ASAP.

Get the Google Nest Protect Smoke Alarm on Amazon for $119

4. Arlo Essential Indoor Camera

White and black smart camera mounted on wall.
Credit: Arlo

Allow the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera to be your eyes and ears while you're not around.

There is a wide variety of smart security cameras available today, but we recommend the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera if you want to keep an eye on your home. It streams clear 1080p HD video right to your phone and offers a 130-degree field of view, and with an Arlo Secure Plan, it will store video clips in the cloud for you to review later. Plus, this indoor camera includes a sliding privacy shutter that can be closed when you’re home, providing peace of mind that nobody is watching when you don’t want them to be.

Get the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera on Amazon for $100

5. Amazon Echo Show 8

Smiling family connecting with each other via video call on smart tablet sitting on counter.
Credit: Amazon

With the Amazon Echo Show, you can take your home's security to new levels.

You might be wondering how a smart display, which are often used for entertainment, can help protect your home. However, the Amazon Echo Show 8 offers several cool features that will come in handy when you’re away on vacation. For instance, with the Alexa Guard skill, the device will monitor for the sound of glass breaking and/or smoke alarms and send you an alert if anything out of the ordinary is detected.

Get the Echo Show 8 from Amazon for $90

6. Wyze Lock

Silver smart lock attached to cracked door in home.
Credit: Wyze

The Wyze Lock is a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled lock equipped with the ability to keep a log of who entered your home.

A smart lock is another must-have if you’re going to be away from home for any length of time. The Wyze lock is one of the more affordable options out there, and we were impressed with its ease of installation and overall functionality. It allows you to lock or unlock your door from anywhere, even letting you know if the door is open. It also keeps a detailed history of every time the door is locked/unlocked, and you can use the app to grant temporary digital keys to anyone who might be checking in on your home, such as a pet sitter.

Get the Wyze Lock on Amazon for $130

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7. Nest Learning Thermostat

LED screen on circular smart thermostat mounted on wall.
Credit: Nest

Keep climates cool or warm for plants and pets while you're gone.

The third generation Nest Learning Thermostat is hands-down the best smart thermostat we’ve tested, and it can be used to monitor and maintain your home when you’re not there. Using the Nest or Google Home app, available for iOS and Android, you’re able to set the temperature in your home and even monitor your energy usage. Plus, you’ll be able to turn the A/C or heat back on a few hours before you return from vacation, ensuring your home is the perfect temperature when you walk through the door.

Get the Nest Learning Thermostat from Amazon for $180

8. Wyze Plug

White, rectangular wall plug plugged into outlet on blue wall.
Credit: Wyze

The Vacation Mode feature is ideal for lengthier trips, helping you to keep intruders at bay.

With a smart plug like this one from Wyze, you can make it appear as though someone is home, even if you’re on vacation. The plug, which allows you to control any device from your phone, features a Vacation Mode that cycles on and off randomly, making it look like someone is in the house—it’s ideal to use with a light in your living area! Plus, you’ll also be able to turn the lights on before you arrive back at the house, saving you from fumbling around in the dark to hit the switch.

Get the Wyze Plug from Amazon for $12

9. Chamberlain MyQ Hub

Person smiling while other person shows display on phone screen.
Credit: Chamberlain

Keep your peace of mind with the Chamberlain MyQ Hub.

A smart garage door opener can definitely come in handy when you’re traveling. Our top pick, the Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Hub, allows you to open and close your garage door from anywhere—ideal for those times you rushed out of the house and aren’t sure if you closed the door behind you. That’s not all, either. When used in conjunction with Amazon Key, the door opener allows delivery drivers to place packages securely inside your garage—no code-sharing required.

Get the Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Hub from Amazon for $29.98

10. Ring Alarm Pro

Person using touch keypad on alarm system mounted on wall in home.
Credit: Ring

In the event that an unexpected power outage occurs, this Ring Alarm system comes with built-in Wi-Fi, keeping your valuable items safe.

There are lots of DIY smart security systems available today, but our favorite is the Ring Alarm Pro. This system is a breeze to set up, and there are a variety of sensors that can be hooked up to it, including door/window contact sensors, motion sensors, and more. While you can opt to monitor the system yourself, Ring also offers its Ring Protect Pro Plan, which costs $20 per month and provides 24/7 professional monitoring. If there’s ever a threat, emergency services will automatically be dispatched to your home—it doesn’t get much safer than that.

Get the Ring Alarm Pro, 8 Piece Set from Amazon for $300

11. Eufy Floodlight Cam 2 Pro

White surveillance system with built-in cameras and lights mounted on brick wall.
Credit: Eufy

The Eufy Security Floodlight Cam 2 Pro provides smart intelligence, complete with HD video footage.

The Eufy Floodlight Cam 2 Pro is a security camera and floodlight in one, helping to keep the exterior of your home secure. This floodlight delivers 3,000 lumens of brightness to light up your whole yard, and its built-in camera captures footage in full 2K HD and can pan 360 degrees, letting you see in every direction. It has built-in local storage for motion-triggered video clips, and it can even lock onto a person in your yard and track their movement.

Get the Eufy Floodlight Cam 2 Pro from Amazon for $247

12. Geeni Wi-Fi Door Sensor

White oval smart sensor mounted on white door.
Credit: Geeni

Door sensors allow you to keep track of opened windows, doors or even alternatives like safes.

If you want to monitor your home’s doors and windows without installing a whole security system, Geeni Wi-Fi Door Sensors are one of your best options, as they come in a pack of two and don’t require a smart hub for operation. Once installed, the battery-powered sensors will send you a smartphone notification if the door or window is ever opened, and the battery provides continuous operation for up to two years.

Get the Geeni Wi-Fi Door Sensor from Amazon for $28

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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